Boxing is a sport where technical issues rarely become a major problem, but today technical issues prevented Thairath from showing an IBF Flyweight title bout, with those issues meaning none of the bout was aired in the country, despite a notable amount of publicity and advertising done for the broadcast.
The bout in question saw under-rated Filipino star Donnie Nietes (40-1-4, 22) battle against the unheralded Thai Eaktawan BTU Ruaviking (22-4, 15) [ตะวัน BTU เรือไวกิ้ง]. On paper the bout looked like a simple one for Nietes, a former champion at Minimumweight and Light Flyweight, but the reality is that it was a real work out for the Filipino, who continues to chase his legacy.
During the early moments of the fight the bout was all the Filipino's with Nietes show casing a bit of everything, and using the Thai as a bit of a human punch bag at times. That sort of start was hugely impressive but something that Nietes couldn't do through the full fight, and in round 4 Eaktawan managed to get more success of his own, forcing a closer, tougher fight. That type of fight suited Eaktawan, but he was never able to put Nietes under the pressure that could have made the Filipino veteran unravel.
After a few rounds of more competitive and closer action Nietes started to showcase his abilities again, using his movement to land some meaty shots whilst making Eaktawan flail around, missing some shots wildly. The difference between the two was clear again and Nietes, despite having a bloodied nose, resumed total control to the final round, though did so with a lesser output than he had earlier in the bout.
At the final bell there was no arguments about the winner, with Nietes' being the much better fighter through much of the bout, and being a well deserved winner with scores of 117-11, twice, and 116-112. The score cards suggesting a clear, but tough, win for the Filipino, who becomes just the third Filipino to become a 3 weight champion. Despite the loss for Eaktawan he proved he had the drive, toughness and determination to be a handful and we wouldn't be shocked to see him fighting for a world title again in the future.
Some fighters set out on their careers to make a lot of money, others set out to become legends and set new records. One fighter from the second category has been Japanese talent Kazuto Ioka (22-1, 13) [井岡一翔], who appears to be trying to set new records every time he sets foot in the ring, and seems intent on creating a legacy that will last long beyond his career.
He set his first record back in his 7th bout, when he set a Japanese speed record for fewest fights to a world title, he then became the first fighter to win an all Japanese unification bout, the quickest Japanese fighter to become a 2-weight champion and subsequently a 3-weigth champion.
Today he tied a long standing record for the most wins wins in world title bout by a Japanese fighter, winning his 14th world title bout, and defended the WBA Flyweight title for the 5th time, as he took a wide decision win over the teak tough, but thoroughly out classed, Thai challenger Noknoi Sitthiprasert (62-5, 38) [นกน้อย ซีพีเฟรชมาร์ท].
Coming in to the bout Noknoi had won 61 consecutive bouts, but had been fighting at such a low level that his actually ability was a bit unknown. What we found out today was that his ability wasn't outstanding, but his toughness was incredible as he took a really one sided beating, but managed to survive the 12 rounds.
The bout began slowly enough, but Ioka was the busier fighter in the early stages. The one early break for Noknoi was a point deduction from Ioka in round 3 for a low blow, a low blow that replays showed was a legitimate body shot and one that clearly hurt Noknoi right on the bell. From then on Ioka moved through the gears, with only round 6 being particularly competitive, with both men trading shots with success. It was a round that Noknoi may have won, but one that could easily have gone to the flashier Ioka, who was letting combinations rip to both the head and body.
Despite the point deduction in round 3 the referee seemed to miss numerous low ones from Ioka, who landed some brutal blows to the balls. Despite the low blows and combinations Noknoi held strong and hardly seemed to feel the weight of Ioka's shots until round 11 when he was shaken several times, and seemed to be heading to the canvas on numerous occassions. Despite being hurt Noknoi amazingly stayed up right and managed to finish the round by firing back at Ioka, who looked desperate for a stoppage.
Ioka's aggression and hunt for a stoppage continued in round 12 as he tried to finish off the Thai but Noknoi's extreme toughness kept him upright to the final bell in what was a real surprise given the punishment he'd taken.
At the final bell there was no doubting the winner, though the cards were close than we expected with the judges scoring the bout 117-110, twice and 116-111, a remarkably close score given the domination of Ioka.
After the bout Ioka admitted that he was wanting to stop Noknoi and keep alive his stoppage run, the Thai though really impressed with his toughness, and we'd not be surprised to see him get another world title fight down the line based on his sheer durability. We were skeptical of how Noknoi would do, and whilst he was dominated he managed to really increase his standing with this performance.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
In late 2015 Filipino slugger Marlon Tapales (30-2, 13) travelled to Japan and blitzed the fast rising Shohei Omori (18-2, 13) [大森 将平] in two thoroughly one sided rounds. Following that win Tapales went on to win the WBO Bantamweight title in a thriller with Pungluang Sor Singyu in Thailand.
A return bout between Tapales and Omori was made as Tapales' first defense of the title, though unfortunately the Filipino was unable to make weight, forcing the title to become vacant, though the bout went ahead as planned early today. A win for Omori would have seen him become the new champion, with any other result leaving the title vacant.
Having been blasted out in 2 rounds last time, and dropped 3 times in the opening round, it was clear that Omori would be more catious this time and that showed as he looked to establish his jab and keep himself away from Tapales' power. Despite the intelligent game plan it didn't prevent Tapales from applying pressure, which he did excellently in rounds 2 and 3.
Given Tapales struggled to make weight it was clear that Omori was trying to see off the early storm without taking much in terms of damaging shots. In round 4, with Tapales slowing, Omori began to up his own output and upped it again in round 5 as he clearly hurt the Filipino with a series of body shots, clearly aware that body shots had twice dropped Tapales against Pungluang. The Filipino however saw off the storm and came back in round 6, with Omori backing up through the round.
Omori tried to take control in round 7, launching a huge assault at the start of the round. He had Tapales in all sorts of trouble but the tough Filipino rode out the storm and ended the round the better fighter, with both men looking like they had taken a huge amount out of each other.
In round 8 and 9 both men looked physically exhausted and neither had more the flashes of success, with both visibly worn out from the war that they'd had. From then on it seemed like a case that we were either going to the judges, or the fight would change on a single moment. That moment came late in round 10, when Tapales landed a thunderbolt of an uppercut that dropped Omori. The Japanese fighter recovered to his feet but looked gone, with the referee seemingly buying him a few extra seconds to recover. Those few extra seconds helped Omori get through the round, just, but didn't give him nearly enough time to get his wits.
At the start of round 11 Tapales rushed out to a still shaken Omori and unloaded, forcing the referee to end the bout just 16 seconds into the round.
For now the the title is technically vacant, however Zolani Tete won the interim title yesterday, beating Filipino Arthur Villanueva, an dis likely to be upgraded as the whole WBO Bantamweight title scene gets a weekend of huge shake ups. The champion lost his belt, the #1 and #6 ranked fighters both lost and the previously #2 ranked Tete becomes the champion. In theory it opens the door for #3 ranked Omar Narvaez to get a shot, and potentially for Naoya Inoue to move up later in the year for a shot at becoming a 3-weight champion.
On Saturday morning we saw the WBO Bantamweight champion Marlon Tapales (29-2, 12) being stripped of his title due to a failure to make weight ahead of his first defense, a bout against Shohei Omori (18-1, 13) [大森 将平] on Sunday.
Due to the stripping of Tapales, and the potential long term vacancy, the WBO seemingly upgraded the status of the bout between Zolani Tete (25-3, 20) and Arthur Villanueva (30-2, 16), which was originally a world title eliminator but later became an interim title fight.
Sadly for Filipino fighter Villanueva the change in status of the bout didn't do him any favours, in fact if anything it may have inspired an even better performance from the South African, with Tete putting on a dominant and one-sided performance.
Villanueva came to win, don't get us wrong, but from the opening seconds it was clear he was out matched with the Filipino being shut down offensively from very early on.
The slippery Tete managed to find a home for his jab early on and chose when to come forward and press the action, with the Filipino only have very rare moments of success, which were almost instwntly forgotten as Tete tagged him soon afterwards.
Villanueva's toughness served him well, but he was dropped in round 11, a flash knockdown, and never really looked capable of having a big final round to turn things around. Instead he seemed to settle for a 12 round decision loss, with cards of 119-108, twice, and 120-107.
If Omori wins tomorrow the signs are that his first defense will have to be against Tete whilst a loss for the Japanese fighter would see Tete being promoted to the status of full champion.
Every fighter who goes on to major success has their coming of age bout, and today we saw Shun Kubo (12-0, 9) [久保隼] come of age as he claimed the WBA Super Bantamweight "regular" title and forced the retirement of Veneuelan veteran Nehomar Cermeno (26-6-1-1, 15), in what was a brilliant tactical bout between two highly skilled fighters at different stages of their careers.
In their ring walks Kubo looked like a nervous child, a man taking a massive step into the unknown and moving into world class for the first time. Cermeno on the other hand looked calm, calculated and relaxed. Like a man who had been here and done this before. Despite their ring walks it was Kubo who got off to a good start, boxing at his tempo and cautiously picking Cermeno apart with accurate left hands to the head and body of the defending champion. Cermeno looked old and slow during the round, but refused to just hand over his title, and in round 2 the visitor had some genuine moments.
The challenger reasserted himself with a very good round 3, as he out sped, out boxed and out landed the champion, who took some meaty body shots from the patient and cautious challenger. It was the perfect round from Kubo but one that may have left him with a false sense of security with Cermeno upping his pressure in round 4 and giving Kubo a scare or two, despite the fact that Cermeno suffered a notable cut on his right cheek, a result of the straight left hands Kubo was landing. The round was a close one,and one that showed Cermeno was dangerous, despite being behind on the cards.
Kubo took back total control in round 5, as he used his speed and size to land at range on Cermeno, who looked like an old man in there. Although Kubo was the boss Cermeno landed a right hand late in the round to remind Kubo that he was still there. Kubo'sclean accurate punching was again on show in round 6, as he landed some devastating body shots, seemingly hurting Cermeno at one point. Although Kubo landed the better shots through the round Cermeno managed to end the round with some success as he began to force a brawl on Kubo.
Although well behind on the cards there was a sense that Cermeno was a dangerous fighter. That proved to be the case in round 7 when he gave everyone a serious scare. Part way through the round he seriously shook up Kubo with a right hand. The challenger tried to hold and spoil but was eventually dropped as Cermeno went for the challenger. Kubo got to his feet but was hurt again in the final seconds of the round and it suddenly seemed like Kubo's great work was going to come un-done.
Thankfully for the challenger he managed to hear the bell to end the round, though he did come out for round 8 looking unsure of himself and it took much of the round before he managed to reassert himself on the fight. When he did finally refind his feet however Kubo looked just as confident as he had earlier in the fight,and was bouyed further by a loud "Kubo" chant. The chant helped Kubo re-energise but Cermeno still seemed to feel he had a chance and had s respectable round 9.
Cermeno, surely aware that he was behind on the cards, came out for round 10 in an aggressive fashion and seemed to be sent out with a mission. It was a good round for the veteran, and one where he again seemed to hurt the challenger, but Kubo showed his mettle and came through the slight scare to have some success late in the round, possibly stealing the round.
Going into the championship rounds it seemed like we still had a finely balanced fight. Kubo was surely well up on the score cards, but Cermeno had hurt him more than once and looked to be a veteran with the ability to turn it on late. Surprisingly however Cermeno stayed in his corner after the bell to start round 11, technically retiring 5 seconds into the round to hand Kubo the title!
For Cermeno the retirement likely spells the end of his long career. For Kubo it puts him in the mix for major bouts down the line as the champion, and also sees him adding his name to the top Japanese fighters in a division packed with fighters from the Land of the Rising sun. A match up against IBF champion Yukinori Oguni may well be considered, but bouts against the likes of Ryosuke Iwasa, Tomoki Kameda, Shingo Wake and Yusaku Kuga will all be plausible all-Japanese bouts. Likewise a show down with the winner of the upcoming Guillermo Rigondeaux vs Moises Flores bout could also be an interesting assignment for Kubo. The win also sees Kubo moving one step further to becoming he Shinsei gym replacement for Hozumi Hasegawa, who retired late last year.
World Title Results
Whether you like them or not World Titles add prestige to any bout as a result we've included the results of world title bouts in this special section.