Later on Saturday night Filipino fighter Milan Melindo (32-2, 12) got his second world title fight as he took on IBF Light Flyweight champion Javier Mendoza (24-2-1, 19), unfortunately for the talented Filipino it resulted in his second loss. A disappointing technical decision in a bout that was marred by head clashes.
The first of those head clashes happened in the early moments of the bout, a result of the Orthodox Vs Southpaw stances. Despite the clash early on the rest of the opening round was relatively well fought, with the only real drama coming from an accidental low blow by Melindo late on. Sadly for Melindo things didn't look good for him overall as Mendoza seemed to walk through his shots, other than the low blow, as he tried to force his fight on to Melindo.
Through the second round it was clear that Mendoza was more than just a wild slugger, he was actually a capable boxer puncher and although he didn't have the speed of his challenger he simply seemed to big and too strong. Melindo had his moments though all often it was the heavier blows of Mendoza that really left a lasting impression. The same was also the case in the third round as Mendoza continued to take the fight to the Filipino.
The 4th round was essentially fought in a phone booth with Mendoza refusing to give Melindo any space. The close action was essentially Mendoza's dream and although Melindo again had his moments they were fleeting with his most notable punches being low blows. The first of the low blows say Melindo receive a clear warning to keep them up whilst the second, after the bell, seemed deserve a point deduction, though it didn't come.
The 5th round against saw Mendoza taking the action to Melindo and although the pace of the fight seemed to drop off slightly it was again a round that saw Melindo struggle to have more than just a few moments. The Filipino was backed on to the ropes numerous times through the round where Mendoza took the opportunity to land some fearsome shots. Sadly for Melindo he was again dropping below the belt with a number of shots, for which he was eventually deducted a point.
The start of the 6th was good for Melindo who seemed to have real success fighting fire with fire but unfortunately headclashes left both men cut. Melindo was cut over the right eye, in what immediately looked to be a nasty one. More headclashes followed with Mendoza suffering a cut around his left eye. Sadly the cut to Mendoza's eye forced an early finish with the doctor ruling him unfit to continue.
Due to the headclashes we went to the scorecards and there was no real doubting the winner with Mendoza taking a clear win on all 3 cards.
This set back for Melindo is a big one though we suspect he can bounce back from it and remain a relevant contender. For Mendoza this was a great win and we'd really like to see him in with Ryo Miyazaki, stylewise that would have FOTY contender written all over.
Kosei Tanaka showcases his ability, and his flaws, as he defeats Julian Yedras for WBO belt and Japanese record!
In late 2013 we began raving about a Japanese youngster who was preparing to make his professional debut. At the time he was just 17 or 18 and was just getting his B class license. That was Kosei Tanaka (5-0, 2), now just 5 fights later the youngster is the WBO Minimumweight champion, and the new Japanese record holder for the fewest fights to win a world title.
Earlier today Tanaka took the title with a dominant win over Mexican Julian Yedras (24-2, 13) in a performance that could be described as “comfortable but flawed”.
The early going was perfection from Tanaka who claimed the first couple of rounds with amazing boxing. It was the sort of boxing that every fan wishes to see. It saw Tanaka using his movement to open up opportunities for his lightening quick hands, making Yedras look incredibly slow and showing signs of not just being a special talent but a future pound-for-pound level boxer. There really was every thing you could ask for, world class foot work, frightening combinations and sharpness on every punch. It was near flawless for the first 6 minutes.
In the third round things began to change, significantly, as Yedras found a way to cut the distance with his pressure. In theory the close Yedras could get the more the bout favoured him, in reality however Tanaka showed he could more than hold his own on the inside or in a brawl. Yedras was beginning to have success but was forced to take some solid shots in return as Tanaka showed he was capable of beating Yedras up close.
The success for Tanaka appeared to go to his head slightly and it saw rounds 4, 5 and 6 become more and more tricky as Yedras seemed to build on his success round after round. Tanaka's lovely movement was becoming less visible and instead he seemed to hunt the knockout and allow himself to take some silly shots that really weren't necessary. That was particularly clear in round 6 as Tanaka seemed to take a lot of flush shots in the final minute of what was Yedras's first “clear” round, though could well have been his third on the spin if you'd felt like being generous, as one judge seemed to but more about that later.
Having clearly realised he was making this harder for himself Tanaka got back to his boxing in round 7 and seemed to thoroughly dominate the round with his speed, power, shot selection and accuracy which were all sensational. It was a round that ended in brawling though had seen Tanaka showcase everything about himself as a fighter and even seemed to show him hurt Yedras at one point. It was a round that seemed to show Tanaka had plenty in the tank but wasn't willing to show his hand all the time.
Sadly the seventh round was followed by another disappointing round from the youngster who seemed to take more than he needed. It was a close round, and could easily have gone Yedras's way, though it seemed like Tanaka was fighting in neutral as opposed to letting his hands go as he had the previous round. It was also another round that Yedras got inside and had success, particularly to the body.
Having looked slightly tired in round 8 there could have been questions about the youngster's energy reserves but then, in round 9, he came alive and had a thoroughly dominant round. We saw a return to the hurtful but lightning quick flurries, the smart movement, the breath taking accuracy and the skills that will take the young man very far. It was one of the clearest rounds of the fight and was a round that seemed to show Tanaka had a lot in reserve. The same skills were again on show in round 10 as Tanaka continued to show case the skills that had excited the hardcore Japanese fans prior to his debut.
The big question, for many, was how Tanaka would handle the championship rounds. Prior to this bout he had never been beyond 10 rounds. It then seemed very clearly he could handle the distance with ease as he toyed with Yedras in the eleventh. The Mexican looked like an amateur as he missed time and time again whilst being picked off at range and tagged up close. It was showcase stuff from the youngster who looked like an experienced, championship level fighter.
Going in to the final round it was clear that Yedras would need a knockout, even the most generous of judges had to have had him behind by a sizeable margin. Unfortunately for the Mexican he never came close to landing anything to turn the fight around. That was despite Tanaka show boating right in front of him, trying to draw a lead which was eventually punished by another amazing combination. The final round was full of magical moments from Tanaka which also included him turning the Mexican on the ropes whilst making it look effortless.
After the final bell we had it 118-110 to Tanaka, having given Yedras rounds 6 and 8. The closest we could possible see it was 116-112, having given Yedras rounds rounds 4 and 5, though that was being generous. Two of the judges had it in the middle of that window with scores of 117-111. Those cards really couldn't be argued with. The third judge however managed to score the bout a very confusing 115-113 to Tanaka, some how finding another pity round for the Mexican.
The close card, turned in by Puerto Rican Luis Ruiz, was far too close. We know he's not got much experience at this level but with a performance like that we can see why.
Despite the poor card of Mr Ruiz he couldn't take away from the performance of Tanaka which was, at times, amazing. The youngster is now likely to fight in a much bigger bout, possibly against IBF champion Katsunari Takayama who was ringside for television channel CBC, and whilst he showed some flaws here we suspect they came out of contempt as much as anything else. It was clear early on that Yedras couldn't hurt Tanaka and the Japanese fighter didn't seem to mind taking a few shots. The only major flaw was that the youngster got a bit too reckless when he thought he had Yedras hurt, but for a young man competing in just his 5th professional bout there's no real shame in being a little bit excitable.
It's clear than Tanaka doesn't have the KO power of fellow Japanese youngster Naoya Inoue, who's record Tanaka broke with this win, but he has everything else a fighter could want and at just 19 years old the world really is his proverbial oyster. Unification and multi-weight titles are certainly in his future.
The Middleweight division is certainly an interesting one right now, though it's also a frustrating one with one man ripping through the contenders but unable to get a big fight. That man is Kazakh destroyer Gennady Golovkin (33-0, 30) who retained his WBA “super”, IBO and WBC “interim” this past Saturday as he recorded his 20th successive stoppage and over-came the skilful Willie Monroe Jr (19-2, 6). Not only did Golovkin over-come the challenge of his American opponent but he became the first fighter to stop Monroe.
The opening round was a close one with Monroe circling around the ring and having some success with his own quick sharp punches. Unfortunately for the challenger he was forced to work really hard for his success and was forced to take some very solid shots. To his credit Monroe took the shots well but it seemed clear that Monroe was going to have to work amazingly hard to have any real success, and was never really going to get Golovkin's respect.
The second round was the most dominant, by far. Monroe was again on his feet and dancing around to begin with but was caught in the corner part way through the round and was dropped by a monster left hook. The challenger showed his bravery to get up but was sent down again only moments later as Golovkin smelled blood and went for the kill. Monroe saw off the storm with the bell coming to his aid though it seemed that that was going to be it.
Amazingly Monroe took the minute break between rounds 2 and 3 and came back looking a new fighter and actually took the fight to Golovkin as the two men stood in front of each other and took turns in landing shots. It was a great comeback round for Monroe, who appeared to land the higher number of shots, but it seemed that Golovkin had no respect at all for the challenger and was happy to take a few clean shots in the hope of inducing a mistake.
Monroe's confidence from round 3 grew significantly the following round. That growing confidence saw Monroe letting his hands go happily through the round and it was by far his best round as Golovkin seemed happy to let Monroe fight. Golovkin did land some of his own shots but it was a Monroe round and it was well won by the challenger, who really had to grit his teeth. It was clear that if Monroe was going to win more rounds he was going to have to have an amazing engine. Unfortunately however it seemed that he was being broken down mentally by Golovkin, who lost the round but won the mental battle.
The action swung back in Golovkin's favour in round 5 as he began to break up Monroe's face. Not only was Monroe running low on energy but he was continuing to take heavy shots from the champion who seemed to enjoy the fact that Monroe was trying to fight rather than just survive.
Sadly for Monroe his survival didn't last long. Early in the 6th he was rocked, his legs buckled and Golovkin went for the kill. Soon afterwards Monroe was on the ropes, taking hard shots, his movement was gone and his was a sitting duck until he was finally dropped. He looked to be aware and took the count on a knee, until rising just after the 10 count. The referee had every right to stop the action there and then but instead had a look at Monroe, before deciding that enough was enough.
After the fight Golovkin indicated that he wanted big bouts next. The two he seemed to want the most were Miguel Cotto and Saul Alvarez though we suspect he may need to find a different opponent with Cotto and Alvarez apparently having plans to face each other. Despite needing to wait we are expecting to see the Kazakh in the ring twice more before the year is out.
Oh how things can change in the space of just 18 months. In November 2013 all 3 Kameda brothers were world champions. Koki, Daiki and Tomoki. They were in the Guinness book of world records for their amazing achievement together. Since then however things have fallen apart and the trio now hold no titles, and the future for them doesn't look anywhere near as good as it once did.
The latest hit to the Kameda's came this past Saturday night when Tomoki Kameda (31-1, 19), the youngest of the Kameda brothers, suffered his first professional loss and failed to claim the WBA Bantamweight title, being narrowly out pointed by Englishman Jamie McDonnell (26-2-1, 12) in a genuinely enthralling contest.
The fight started really well for Tomoki who seemed to claim the first round and, in round 3, scored a flash knockdown to secure a 10-8 round. At that point it seemed like the fight was Tomoki's to lose and that the Japanese fighter was set to become a 2-time world champion.
Rather than Tomoki losing it McDonnell made the adjustments needed and began to really let his hands go, finding a new gear and using his jab excellently to neutralise Tomoki's naturally quicker hand at range. On the inside both men were unleashing great flurries and the action was fantastic with a real see-saw feel to it though it did seem like McDonnell was getting the best of it more often than not.
By round 6 Tomoki's early lead had been eroded and it was clear that there wasn't going to be a lot in it if things continued to be as well fought as it was. Unfortunately for Tomoki he failed to really find another gear and instead he was being forced to fight McDonnell's fight more and more with McDonnell dictating the pace of the fight, as seen notably in round 7.
Tomoki fought back hard and seemed to clearly claim round 8 as he moved up a gear, securing one of the few clear rounds of the fight. Unfortunately for Tomoki it was his final “clear” round and an attempt to steal round 9 was too close to call, despite seemingly wobbling McDonnell late in the round.
It seemed like it was all to play for in the final 3 rounds and unfortunately for Tomoki it seemed like McDonnell was the hungry man taking the fight to the Japanese fighter and, in round 12, completely dominating a very lazy Tomoki. It seemed that Tomoki fought the final round as if he had it in the bag, though in reality it was too close to call. Stupidly for Tomoki the fact he gave the round away cost him with McDonnell taking the decision with scores of 114-113 on all 3 cards. It was one of the rare times that the judges all got the bout spot on, and it was the type of bout that showed just how good boxing can be, less than a week after the disappointing "Fight of the Century".
Tomoki's "strategy" for round 12 was one of the stupidest things we've seen a fighter do as a challenger, it didn't quite match Daiki Kameda's mental break down against Daisuke Naito but it was similarly foolish especially considering how close this bout had been. Sadly Tomoki showed a real lack of character at the end suggesting he had won all 12 rounds though it did show the lack of class that we are familiar with when it comes to the Kameda's.
For Tomoki it does leave him on the outside looking in when it comes to a big fight. He's still seemingly very popular with the Mexican fans but it's going to be a mystery what his next step is, especially considering he's locked out of a number of mouth watering bouts due to his ban from Japan. Strangely however we may have moved a step close to a really promising bout, with McDonnell now being an attractive opponent for WBC champion Shinsuke Yamanaka, in what would be a bout between the two stand out fighters in the division. A bout between Tomoki and Yamanaka seemed really unlikely but McDonnell and Yamanaka is certainly a possibility, and a mouth watering one at that.
For fans who missed this one, you really should hunt it down, it was enthralling and the type of bout that every fight fan wishes to see. For those who saw it, we won't be saying anything new by suggesting that it was something a little bit special.
At the end of last year we saw Ryoichi Taguchi (22-2-1, 9) claim the WBA Light Flyweight title with an excellent win against Alberto Rossel. Today he made the first defense of that title as he took on Thai veteran Kwanthai Sithmoreseng (49-4-1, 26), and recorded an 8th round TKO win in what was a thoroughly dominant display by Taguchi.
From the first round the tactics of the challenger were clear. Kwanthai was coming in to apply a lot of pressure and neutralise the height and reach of Taguchi. Those tactics however weren't done in the best way and in the opening round Taguchi used his jab and movement to tag the challenger on the move and land some solid shots when Kwanthai did get close. It was much the same in the second round though the round was punctuated with Taguchi dropping the Thai with a hard right hand.
As the bout went on the champion became more and more confident in holding his feet. That was bad new for the challenger who had his only game plan used against him with Taguchi alternating between boxing and fighting, picking his spots to go go to war.
In round 5 Taguchi scored his second knockdown of the fight with Kwanthai being dropped very late in the round from a clean 1-2. Unfortunately the bell came before Taguchi was able to close the show. The champion smelled blood going into round 6 and went for the kill early though saw Kwanthai survive the storm until being dropped in the final seconds of the round.
Kwanthai was drown for the 4th time at the end of round 7 as Taguchi landed a hard right, though again the bell saved the Thai who was falling a long way down on the cards. It was to Kwanthai's credit that he was continuing to fight but he was looking done and a more compassionate corner may have stopped him between rounds 7 and 8.
Taguchi started fast for round 8 and went searching the stoppage with some huge right hands, a left to the body then unsettled Kwanthai who was dropped seconds later. This time the knockdown had come early in the round and it was clear that if Kwanthai was to continue he'd be down again. Instead the referee waved the bout off with Kwanthai having beaten the count but looked thoroughly out of his depth.
For Kwanthai this is almost certainly the end of his career at world level. As for Taguchi the future looks really exciting and promising with possible bouts against Randy Petalcorin or Ryo Miyazaki both being mentioned. Either of those bouts would be mouth watering contests and make up for some of the recent mismatches all 3 have been involved in recent times.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Japanese puncher Takashi Uchiyama (23-0-1, 19) is known by the name “Knockout Dynamite” . He's one of the hardest puncher, pound-for-pound, in the sport and that shown today when he recorded the 10th successful defense of his WBA Super Featherweight title, and iced the previously unbeaten, and teak tough, Jomthong Chuwatana (9-1, 4).
Coming in to the bout we were thinking that Uchiyama, at 35 years old, was on the slide and had seen much better days. We were wrong however as Uchiyama rolled back the clock and put on one of his most impressive performances to date whilst punctuating things with a brutal KO of the year contender.
The bout started tactically with both trying to control the distance, it didn't take long however for Uchiyama to connect with a thunderous right hand that rocked Jomthong and put him on to his heels. A follow up attack put Jomthong in the corner and Uchiyama went for the kill landing a number of huge shots whilst Jomthong tried to recover.
The Thai saw out the storm, some how surviving the onslaught, and managed to fight back at the end of the opening round. It was clear however that he had been hurt.
In the second round things again started slowly with a tactical bit of feeling out. That was until the pace quickened and Uchiyama let his intentions be known with a huge right hand that just whizzed past the challenger. It was clear that Uchiyama wasn't here to play about and was instead intent on finishing this early. Not too much later a right hand did connect sending Jomthong's legs into a stumble before he went down, flat on his back. The referee began the count though waved the bout off mid way through.
It now seems that we may set for much anticipated rematch between Uchiyama and WBC title holder Takashi Miura, unless one of the men managed to get WBO champion Roman Martinez in to the ring in summer, if that happens the rematch may be put off until December.
For Jomthong it's clear he can come back from this, though it may take a while as the Thai seemed to suffer from some notable facial damage.
Note-This was Uchiyama's first defense since being upgraded to the WBA Super Featherweight "super" champion but his 10th defense in total
Late on Saturday we finally got “the big one” as the sports two leading fighters finally met in the ring in a bout to find out who really was the best pound-for-pound fighter of their era and who would end the night as the ruler of the Welterweight division.
In one corner we had Filipino sensation Manny Pacquiao, who entered the bout as the WBO Welterweight champion, the pride of the Philippines and the clear under-dog. In the other corner was WBA/WBC unified champion Floyd Mayweather, an unbeaten American star that was referring to himself as “The Best Ever”.
The fight, billed as the “Fight of the Century”, unfortunately, though predictably, failed to live up to the billing and it looked like two men who were past their primes each putting on a performance that suggested the end was neigh.
The fight started tentatively with Manny beginning very slowly and Mayweather claiming the round with a couple of right hands. The second round was also quiet with Mayweather being forced back at times but doing enough to avoid the assault from the Filipino. It was far from exciting yet it was compelling with a feeling that it could come to life at any time.
The fight did, for a few moments, come alive at the end of round 3 as Pacquiao managed to up the pace and continued to keep the pace up in round 4 as the Filipino took his first clear round. It was a round that showed that Pacquiao could trouble Mayweather and could land his left hand at times. Unfortunately Mayweather managed to stifle the assaults with holding, something that became a real problem in the middle rounds when Mayweather held repeatedly, and although he received warnings, little was really done by Kenny Bayless.
The success from round 4 was rarely replicated from Pacquiao with rounds 6 and 8 being among his better rounds as Mayweather started to show off all the tricks in his arsenal. They ranged from his accurate jab to sharp rights, from intelligent movement to spoiling. It prevented Pacquiao from building momentum and kept the Filipino at range where he was much less effective than he'd have hoped to have been
By the end of the fight Mayweather seemed happy to coast, as he typically does in round 12, and whilst it was frustrating it was down to Pacquiao to up the tempo, something he failed to do.
At the final bell both men celebrated though it seemed clear that Mayweather had done more than enough to claim a competitive but clear win, something that was shown on two of the cards that read 116-112, the third card however seemed too wide at 118-112.
Whilst it was billed as something special the fight really never really came close to living up to the expectations. As predicted by many this was more a case of Marvin Hagler Vs Sugar Ray Leonard than Marvin Hagler Vs Tommy Hearns. It had it's moments but on the whole it failed to come alive, that is, however, a testament to Floyd Mayweather Jr (48-0, 26) who appears set to fight once more before retiring and will likely be defending 3 world titles when he returns to the ring. For Manny Pacquiao (57-6-2, 38) the loss will be a set back, but he'll be back and there is no doubt that he'll manage to remain an icon in the Philippines.
We've often mentioned that 3-weight world champions from Japan were rare. There has only ever been two, Koki Kameda and Kazuto Ioka. We have however seen numerous fighters fall short in attempts to win a third divisional title, fighters like the great Hozumi Hasegawa and Hioki Ioka, Kazuto's uncle. Another who has fallen short is Takahiro Ao (27-4-1, 12) who unfortunately failed in his attempt to claim the WBO Lightweight title this past Friday night.
Ao was hoping to add the title to previous reigns as WBC champion at Featherweight and Super Featherweight. Unfortunately for him he came up against a bigger, stronger, tougher and more powerful Mexican, by the name of Raymundo Beltran (30-7-1, 18).
From the moment the men stood close it was clear that Ao was the smaller man, it was no surprise however as Beltran had actually failed to make weight for the bout, weighting ½lb above the Lightweight limit. Knowing he was the smaller man Ao knew that he would have to use his speed and trickery to have any chance of winning and, for the first 90 seconds, he managed to have some success with his southpaw straight left hands. Sadly that was about it for him as Beltran found his range and managed to pressurise Ao late in the opening round. The pressure from Beltran forced Ao to respond and the two swung wildly at each other for a few moments before the bell.
The second round saw Beltran starting the way he had ended the opening round and almost immediately he dropped Ao with a monster of a right hand on the chin. Ao went down hard. The Japanese fighter showed his courage by getting up at the count of 8 but never managed to land another shot of note as Beltran rushed in for the kill, rocking Ao time after time before the referee mercifully saved the over-matched Japanese fighter.
With Beltran missing the weight the title will remain vacant until later in the year with Britian's unbeaten Terry Flanagan expected to fight for it. For Ao it's back to Japan title-less and considering the future. He came up against a really big fighter here and he may well try again at a Lightweight title, though we suspect his next move isn't going to be rushed. He's only 31, so time is on his side, but he'll likely have to drop back down to 130lbs if he's hoping to fight at world level again. If he stays at Lightweight then his future is probably going to be at the OPBF level, though there is no saying he'd even be able to claim the Oriental title at the weight.
For Beltran the weight issue has robbed him of the title, though he's only really got himself to blame for coming in over weight. He said, after the fight, that he was going to try and remain at 135lbs though we do wonder whether he'd more effective at 140lbs, despite the fact the division is a tough one right now.
Every boxing fan is looking forward to Saturday night's mega-fight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. That, however, isn't the only bout this weekend and world title action actually kicked off on Friday evening in Japan as WBC Super Featherweight destroyer Takashi Miura (29-2-2, 22) took to the ring in search of the 4th defense of his title. In the opposite corner to Miura was Australian Billy Dib (39-4-0-1, 23), a former IBF Featherweight champion who had fought in major bouts in Macau and the US. In many ways this was Miura's chance to break out and score a win against a fighter "known" in the west.
The Japanese "Bomber" started as the clear favourite and seemed to feel that Dib had nothing to trouble him and didn't really force the issue in a relatively even opening round that saw Miura apply some basic pressure. Dib however looked the "weaker" man and it was clear that Miura didn't feel under any threat as looked for holes for his terrifying left hand whilst Dib was forced on to the retreat.
In the second round things heated up a bit with both connecting, though it was even more apparent that Miura had the clear edge in power and physical strength and Dib's shots did little to deter the champion who found himself more struggling with the holding than the blows as Dib did his best to spoil the action rather than fight. The one thing that did go in Dibs favour was a warning that Miura got for a low blow at the end of the round.
The third began with Miura beginning to turn the screw on Dib and a thunderous left hand rocked the Australian hard with a follow up attack sending him down. Dib's fighting spirit saw him managing to to beat the count though he was stopped with his senses looking scrambled.
For Miura this was easier than expected and, barring a few shots in round 2, he was unscathed and looked like he could return to the ring next week. He will, of course, be very interested in the upcoming WBA title fight between Takashi Uchiyama and Jomthong Chuwatana, and may well be ringside to call out the winner for a unification bout though this win may well have helped boost his profile to the point where international fans may be wanting to see him and fights against the likes of Roman Martinez, the WBO champion, shouldn't be ruled out. As for Dib this is probably the end. He's not got the power or physical strength to live with the guys at 130lbs and he's not good enough to beat the best at Featherweight. He's effectively between a rock and a hard place.
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.