At the end of this month we get two brilliant world title bouts. There's a WBA Super Flyweight title bout between Kohei Kono and Luis Concepcion, a bout that he was monstrously high hopes for, and a WBA Light Flyweight title bout, which will see Ryoichi Taguchi (24-2-1, 11) defending his title against fellow Japanese fighter Ryo Miyazaki (24-1-3, 15).
Whilst we can fawn over the Super Flyweight bout for days we must admit that the Light Flyweight bout is almost guaranteed to be a thrilling fight it's self and pits men who should gel in the ring to give us a brilliantly exciting war. We don't think it'll over-shadow the Super Flyweight bout but it will be a brilliant bout it's self, and potentially another all-out-war.
The champion will be seeking the 4th defense of his title, a title he won at the end of 2014 when he beat Alberto Rossel. His previous defenses have all ended in stoppage and he looks be developing into a heavier handed fighter than many give him credit for. He has bounced Rossel, Kwanthai Sithmorseng and Juan Jose Landaeta off the canvas multiple times in his last 3 bouts and looks like a fighter who has really come a long way since winning the belt.
For many the stand out of achievement for Taguchi isn't his title win but his 2013 bout with Naoya Inoue for the Japanese Light Flyweight title. That bout saw Taguchi go up against Inoue and show no fear as the two traded in a brilliant 10 round bout, with Taguchi becoming the first man to hear the final bell against Inoue. The bout might have seen the Watanabe gym fighter lose his title to “The Monster” but it was a gallant showing that improved his standing in the sport, along with Inoue's. Since that bout he has gone 6-0 (3) and reached the heights of world champion.
Taguchi is a huge Light Flyweight, standing at around 5'6” with freakishly long arms and real toughness. He's not the most skilled, or the most explosive, but he's a great all-rounder who hits harder than his record suggests, has great stamina, can fight wonderfully on the inside and has really impressive body shots for such a tall man. He's a very talented fighter but one who has been known to give away his height at times, to fight up close, and one who has shown some inconsistency through his career, with a less than stellar performance against Luis de la Rosa at the end of 2015.
The challenger will be seeking to become a 2-weight world champion, having previously held the WBA Minimumweight title. Although he did make his name, on the world level at least, at 105lbs he had previously held the Japanese and OPBF Light Flyweight titles beating the likes Munetsugu Kayo, Katsuhiko Iezumi, Junichi Ebisuoka, Donny Mabao, Jerson Mancio and Michael Landaero at 108lbs.
At Minimumweight Miyazaki became a world champion by taking a narrow decision against Pornsawan Porpramook in a thriller before notching two defenses, a brilliant KO against Carlos Velarde and a majority decision against Jesus Silvestre. After those defenses he felt he had outgrown the division and went in search of a Light Flyweight title. Sadly however for Taguchi he struggled to make weight for his first bout at 108lbs, where he was stopped by Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr in 3 rounds. Since that loss he has managed to get his weight sorted and run up 4 straight stoppage wins to help earn a shot at Taguchi here. Those wins haven't come against top opponents but they have helped re-establish Miyazaki as a contender.
In the ring Miyazaki is an aggressive fighter. Their are defensive flaws but he often uses his offense to mask those flaws and is happy to take one to land one. His shots have thudding power on them, though he has been known to score eye catching KO's as seen in his win over Velarde. That power however hasn't seen him stop a genuinely world class fighter and with his defensive flaws there will be opportunities for all of his opponents, especially given that he is very small for a Light Flyweight.
What we're expecting here is for Miyazaki to come forward, apply pressure and to see Taguchi meet him center ring with the two exchanging in a genuine war. The fight will see shots traded back and forth in a war, though we suspect Taguchi natural size advantage, and ability to box on the back foot as well as the front foot, will see the champion retain the title. He'll be able to take a step back and set up traps whilst Miyazaki just looks for a fight and leaves himself open that little bit too much.
It's not often that a world champion is over-shadowed by his stablemate but that's exactly what has happened to WBA Minimumweight champion Ryo Miyazaki (19-0-3, 11), the stablemate of young superstar Kazuto Ioka.
Many in boxing feel that Ioka himself moved up from Minimumweight to Light Flyweight last year so that the door could be opened to Miyazaki claiming a world title. Whether this was right, or wrong, is up for debate though Ioka's move certainly did help Miyazaki move into the world level.
Prior to the door being opened to a world title fight Miyazaki had himself forged a respectable career having already claimed the Japanese and OPBF titles at Light Flyweight before dropping down to 105lbs to claim the WBA title.
The unbeaten Miyazaki looks to defend his world title for the second time on Wednesday as he takes on WBA "interim" champion Jesus Silvestre (27-3, 20), a fighter who is somewhat well known to Asian boxing fans due to losing efforts in both the Philippines, to Donnie Nietes, and Thailand to Paipharob Kokietgym.
Silvestre is still a young fighter himself, though he also appears to be an experienced one with fights against Nietes and Paipharob being just the ice cap of a deep career. Sure the Mexican youngster hasn't scored any really world class victories but he has beaten several decent opponents like Yader Escobar, Carlos Velarde, Walter Rojas and former Japanese champion Takuya Mitamura, in fact all 4 of those victories have come by stoppage.
Interestingly both men share an opponent in the form of Velarde, who was stopped by both men in the 5th round. For Silvestre, who beat him in 2009, it was a step up for both men for Miyazaki however it was his first world title defense just a few short months ago.
Although Silvestre has had a successful career he has lost to his sole world level fighter he has faced in Nietes. Sure that loss will have been a major learning experience but he's not really been facing the men who will help steady him for genuine world level. He's been facing good fighters, but very few have been proven world level fighters.
From the footage available Silvestre does look like a decent fighter. He has shown good movement, a no-fear attitude, nice boxing fundamentals and against Paipharob he showed an impressive work rate with some excellent pressure work late in the bout.
For those who saw Silvestre's bout with Mitamura, it's obvious just how good his pressure, though of course Miyamura is no Miyazaki and the champion has likely seen the same highly level pressure work in sparring from various sparring partners.
Miyazaki will know what to expect from Silvestre, and has the network at the Ioka Gym to help prepare him for the fight. With that in mind we do have to think that Miyazaki has got his preparation right and will go to the body of Silvestre to slow him down.
If Silvestre can see off the power of Miyazaki, and the body shots especially, then we really could be in for something special. Both guys can fight hard, and if they can each take each other shots then we've got to be honest this will see Miyazaki outshining Ioka's bout against Kwanthai Sithmorseng on the same card.
We'll take Miyazaki to come out victorious but really this will not be easy for the champion nor will it be boring for fans.
Courtesy of Boxrec.com
WBA Minimumweight champion Ryo Miyazaki (18-0-3, 10) may very well be the most unknown Japanese champion right now though he's a fighter who will be looking to make a name for himself in 2013.
Best known as a stablemate of 2-weight world champion Kazuto Ioka, Miyazaki actually won his title after Ioka vacated to move up up to Light Flyweight. Although Miyazaki had to come through former world champion Pornsawan Porpramook to win the belt it was a belt vacated for him to win.
Aged 24 and based in Osaka, Miyazaki came through the tough Japanese amateur scene where he ran up 30 wins from 34 fights stopping a higher than expect 21 bouts early. It was obvious from an early age that despite fighting in the small weights that he was a fighter who could force stoppages.
In 2006, not long after Miyazaki's 18th birthday he turned professional and within 3 years of being a professional he had already claimed the Japanese Light Flyweight title thanks to a victory over Munetsugu Kayo.
After defending the national title once Miyazaki would go on to claim the OPBF Light Flyweight title thanks to a stoppage of Katsuhiko Iezumi. It appeared he was on the fast track to a world title bout though had to wait well over 2 years before that opportunity would arise. Instead of getting the world title bout Miyazaki instead had to do with the OPBF belt that he would defend 4 times before finally getting his shot at the vacant world title.
Although Miyazaki could only manage a split decision against Porpramook the young Japanese fighter genuinely showed characteristics that fight fans need to love. He proved he could take a shot (Porpramook landed enough of them to test out Miyazaki's durability), he proved he could trade with the best of them (often going toe-to-toe with Porpramook) and he could also box on the move (as he did excellently in round 9). Though there are questions with his power (which doesn't look to be as good as his record suggest) and his stamina he does look a pretty decent fighter with genuine confidence and good skills that just needed a little bit of work. Of course it is hard to look good against Porpramook who is relentless, tough and always comes to fight.
The first challenger to Miyazaki's throne is little known Mexican Carlos Velarde (23-2-1, 13) who at 22 years old will be looking for his biggest win by far.
Born in Culiacan and known as "Chapito", Velarde has been a professional boxer since he was 16. On his debut in 2007 he scored a draw with fellow debutant Daniel Contreras Jr before running up a 10 fight winning streak against incredibly limited opponents (who between them had 2 recorded victories).
In Velarde's 12th professional bout he would face his first test as he went up against Jesus Silvestre and unfortunately for Velarde he would come up short suffering a 5th round TKO loss.
Rather than using the loss as a launch pad to fight opponents of a moderate caliber Velarde's team stuck him in with more completely inept opponents as he strung together another 10 wins. Although he did score a notable victory over Jorle Estrada, Estrada's record had been bulked up and he was coming in on the back of 2 defeats.
Like in his first loss Velarde took a giant step up from awful opponents to fringe world level guys and was again beaten as Panamanian Edwin Diaz claimed an 8 round decision over him. Thankfully following the loss to Diaz it appeared that Velarde's men put more faith in him and he added 3 more victories to his ledger including a semi-notable one over Patricio Camacho.
Whilst Velarde hasn't yet competed at the world level he has faced 2 men who have fought for (and one has won) the WBA interim title at Minimumweight, though admittedly he did lose to both.
From watching clips of Velarde he appears to be an offensively minded fighter who stalks an opponent and looks to land his fast left hook on an opponent who comes in. The left hook of Velarde seem to be a punch that he likes to land to the body just as much as the head, though it is wild and he could be punished for the way it loops around. Velarde appears to switch stances at times though it appears to be less a case of choosing to and more a case clumsy footwork, especially when he lets his hands go. Like most Mexicans it appears that he likes a fight rather than a boxing and this is never a bad thing from the point of view of a viewer.
It's unfair to write off Velarde despite his weak opposition so far and in all honesty this looks like it could be a bit of a modern classic. Miyazaki is the sort of fighter can box or brawl and if he looks to brawl the Mexican challenger will return fire with fire in what could end up being an explosive contest. If Miyazaki wants to make life easy for himself he could easily box the socks off Velarde who appears clumsy with his feet and lacking the sort of jab that would trouble Miyazaki, though if the Japanese fighter wants to make a statement he'll do so by causing a tear up.
Although Miyazaki isn't well known, he has the ability to put on memorable bouts and it'd probably be in his best interest here to put on a show that could go viral with boxing fans. Velarde is the perfect foil for such a bout and this could be the type of "youtube classic" that several of Miyazaki's countrymen have been involved in recent years.
For those who haven't seen anything of Ryo Miyazaki the video below shows his full fight with Pornsawan Porpramook.
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.