Historically the lower weights have been criminally ignored by fight fans who have often made excuses to ignore the divisions and the specific fighters. Thankfully in the last year or two we have seen a shift with Western fight fans finally waking up to the “smaller guys” thanks to the likes of Naoya Inoue and Roman Gonzalez.
Those fight fans have something to look forward to on November 28th when we get the chance to see another of the exciting little men in action. This time it's the turn of Japan's all-action Koki Eto (17-3-1, 13) who will be challenging WBC Super Flyweight champion Carlos Cuadras (33-0-1, 26) in what looks like a sure fire war.
Of the two men it's Cuadras who is the more established. He's a former amateur star in Mexico who has climbed through the professional ranks over the last 7 years. Not only has the champion climbed through the ranks but he's gone on to reach the pinnacle of the sport claiming the WBC title last year, with a technical decision win over Srisaket Sor Rungvisai. Since winning the title he has since defended it 4 times in just under 18 months.
On his rise through the ranks there was plenty of excitement about Cuadras who 29-0 (24) going into his bout with Srisaket and showed that he could box, bang or brawl. Sadly since winning the title he has failed to really shine and what like a FOTY contender on paper against Srisaket became a frustrating fight to watch with Cuadras fighting scared. Whilst he has defended his title 4 times, the competition hasn't been great and his stand out win as champion was another dull affair with Luis Concepcion, a man who has seemingly been made for great fights.
As mentioned Cuadras is a bit of an all rounder. He can punch, he can fight and he can box. Sadly though can also make for dull fights using his feet a bit too much and not letting his hands go as much as he should when he faces a top quality opponent.
Whilst technically the away fight for this bout, which takes place in Tokyo, Cuadras is the “promoter's boy” have long been associated with Teiken Promotions, who will be the lead promoter for the show. It will also be the Mexican's 6th bout in Japan, where he is currently 5-0 (5), though against very poor opposition.
Whilst Cuadras is the more accomplished it's fair to say that Eto is the more exciting, in fact we've often dubbed him the “One Man Highlight Reel” or the “Human Highlight Reel” due to the way he fights and some of his previous contests. Those bouts have included 3 FOTY contenders in the last few years with the most notable being his decision win over Kompayak Porpramook in 2013, a win that saw Eto claim the WBA Interim Flyweight title. Other have included his 12th TKO loss to Yodmongkol Vor Saengthep and an incredible 8th round KO win against Ardin Diale in an OPBF title fight, a fight that saw Eto snatch victory from the claws of defeat.
In the ring Eto is massively flawed. The idea of defense often seems to offend the Okinawa man who has never been one for looking after his health when he goes into a fight, however his offense has made him a must watch fighter. His offense is full of energy, consists of very high output and very unorthodox. Whilst he's not a technically correct puncher his heart and wildness make him a real handful.
As an out and out brawler Eto is so much fun to watch. As a boxer however he's very limited and seems to lack a plan B or C. That may be an issue against Cuadras and it could well be that wee see the gutsy Eto try and try to bring out the brawler in Cuadras, however if he fails to get Cuadras into a war then he'll almost certainly have a frustrating day.
Notably for Eto this bout is at 115lbs, not the 112lbs where he has made his name. It will be only his third bout above the 112lb limit and will see him going up in weight. Interestingly however he is a very gangly fighter, and stands at about 5'8”, and is likely to boast natural height and reach over Cuadras. If he can take advantage of that then there is a huge chance that he could be the one frustrating his foe and could well find a way to keep Cuadras at range. If he can do that then things really could be interesting.
Given what we know of the two men, it's hard to see Eto winning, however we do expect the Japanese fighter to give his all and give Cuadras some real questions.
Excitingly not only do we have the bout, but we know that the winner will be forced to make a mandatory defense next year against Srisaket with the Thai's team expected to make a huge bid to get the fight in Thailand.
Whilst Srisaket Sor Rungvisai is the front runner for our "revelation of 2013" we feel there is one other stand out contender for that award. Koki Eto (14-2-1, 10), the current WBA interim Flyweight champion.
Whilst Srisaket destroyed Japan's Yota Sato in destructive fashion earlier this year there is no arguing that Koki Eto put on one of the most astonishing displays of the year as he defeated Kompayak Porpramook for the WBA interim belt.
Eto's victory over Porpramook was an historic one. It was the first ever time a Japanese born fighter had gone over to Thailand and beaten a Thai in a world title bout.
Rather than relying on his laurels Eto will return to Thailand on Friday in an attempt catch lightning in a bottle a second time and defend his belt for the first time, thus becoming the first ever Japanese born fighter to defend a title successfully in Thailand.
In Eto's way on Friday will be Thailand's very own Yodmongkol Vor Saengthep (32-2, 19), a man also known by the moniker Yodmongkol CP Freshmart.
Although Yodmongkol has an impressive 34 fights on his ledger he's surprisingly young at just 22 years old and even more impressively he comes to the ring on a 26 fight unbeaten run that dates back to April 2010. This staggering run of the Thai's saw him claiming the WBC Youth World Light Flyweight title in August 2010 and defending it on a very frequent basis.
The one problem with Yodmongkol isn't his experience per se but the level of his experience. To date the most notable opponents on his record have been Rolio Golez, Sammy Hagler, Jerson Luzarito, Crison Omayao, Jack Amisa and Edison Berwela. Basically journeymen and Filipino domestic level fighters. Despite that however he's active, having had 6 fights already this year, and he's talented.
Although Yodmongkol is talented we can't help but think that Eto will be coming in to this bout with a lot of confidence and the sort of mentality that nobody can beat him. Not even Thai's. This will make Eto very dangerous and we expect the Japanese fighter to go for the kill from the off with his incredible work rate and power.
Yodmongkol will try and fight off Eto though we sort of imagine this is going to be similar to the recent Srisaket v Mukai bout where the brave challenger doesn't have the fire power to stave off a determined champion. Hopefully a win here for Eto will see him returning to Japan a man who can have big fights at home. In fact Eto against Akira Yaegashi would be a phenomenal war in 2014, whilst Eto against Kazuto Ioka would be a big test for Ioka and Eto against Toshiyuki Igarashi would be nothing short of a war.
Of course if Yodmongkol wins then the future could be interesting for Thailand at 112lbs and he'll have avenged stablemate Kompayak's loss from back in August. Unfortunately however a Yodmongkol/Kompayak bout be very unlikely due to the promotional situation of the two men.
Courtesy of Boxrec.com
Thai veteran Kompayak Porpramook (50-4, 35) is one of those fighters that has really battled away in his career to make a name for himself.
It took Porpramook more than 11 years and 45 fights to earn his first world title shot. When he finally got it he showed the world what he could do in a thrilling contest with Adrian Hernandez. The contest with Hernandez saw Porpramook earning the WBC Light Flyweight title, though unfortunately he'd drop it less than a year later with Hernandez defeating him.
Although Porpramook's first title reign was short lived he refused to accept that that was going to be his only reign and has since claimed the WBA "interim" Flyweight title, a title he defends for the first time on August first.
In the opposite corner to the 31 year old Thai will be young Japanese fighter Koki Eto (13-2-1, 10), a 25 year old who's career has been almost the opposite of Porpramook's.
Whilst Porpramook had to wait and wait for his first title fight Eto has received his inside 5 years of his debut and in just his 17th professional contest. He has, admittedly, climbed in to the rankings quickly and been pushed hard towards a world title but it may still grate on the Thai that he was forced to wait a long time whilst Eto has had his chance without really paying his dues.
Despite being 31 Porpramook has made the move from Light Flyweight to Flyweight excellently and in his most recent bout, a stoppage over Jean Piero Perez, he looked like a fighter who still had several years left at the top.
Porpramook is a hard nosed warrior with heart, a fighters mentality and a style that is hard not to enjoy. He comes to fight every time and whilst he's not the most skilled he knows how to get the most out of what he has as he fights his way inside and goes to war in a style that is both damaging and draining to his opponents.
In the last 10 years Porpramook is unbeaten in Thailand. He not only knows how to fight but he's also a fighter who can cope very well with the harsh conditions of fights in his homeland. His victory over Hernandez was as much about the conditions as Porpramook's own talent, though of course he had to fight in the same conditions.
Whilst on the subject of Thailand it's worth noting that this won't be Eto's first fight there having fought there just under 2 years ago. Although Eto lost in his Thai debut, dropping a decision to Panomroonglek Kaiyanghadaogym, he really did run Panomroonglek close an impressive result considering Panomroonglek almost defeated Koki Kameda just a few fights later.
Although Eto lost to Panomroonglek his record against Thai's current stands at an impressive 6-1 (5) including a stunning KO over the previously unbeaten Denchailek Kratingdaenggym.
Sadly for Eto the win over Denchailek was a bit of a double edged sword. It showed off that he was a powerful puncher but also that he had no idea how to use his size to his advantage and very poor defense.
Whilst Eto can bang (and has shown that numerous times) the way to beat Propramook is to box and move. The Thai is a demon on the inside a waging a war with him is never a good idea. Sure Porpramook can be hurt and has been stopped 3 times in his 4 losses but the last time he was stopped in Thailand was back in 2002 by Allan Ranada, he has improved a lot since then.
If Porpramook, as we expect, can make the fight in to a war we actually think this could be one of those "sleeper fight of the year" contenders. You know, the fights that are amazing yet very few people give it a second glance on paper. Unfortunately if this is a war only man is going to win it and that's the Thai.
World Title Previews
The biggest fights get broken down as we try to predict who will come out on top in the up coming world title bouts.