Last year we saw Osaka star Kazuto Ioka (18-1, 10) make a move to the talent laden Flyweight division. On his Flyweight debut it seemed as if the weight didn't suit him and he was beaten by tricky Thai Amnat Ruenroeng, who has since proven his quality with wins over Zou Shiming, McWilliams Arroyo and Johnriel Casimero. Following Ioka's Flyweight debut he began to grow into the division, but never looked quite the same fighter that he had been at both Minimumweight and Light Flyweight.
Yesterday Ioka made the first defense of the WBA title that he had narrowly won earlier this year, with a win over Juan Carlos Reveco. In his first defense he took on Reveco's countryman Roberto Domingo Sosa (26-3-1, 14), a man best known for his exploits at Super Flyweight, where he beat Zolani Tete.
On paper it was an interesting contest and a good test for Ioka as a first defense. It wasn't a big name challenger but a tough, strong and naturally bigger challenger.
Whilst Sosa appeared strong and powerful he seemed slow and that made life particularly easy for Ioka who boxed and moved beautifully from the first round to the last using his jab and straight right to pepper the challenger whilst later on the uppercuts were a key weapon for the champion.
Sosa, to his credit, never stopped trying to change the tide but lacked the finesse to do so and at the end it was little wonder that he was a wide loser on cards, with lopsided scores of 120-108, and 119-109, twice, all in favour of Ioka.
It now seems likely that Ioka will face a rematch with Juan Carlos Reveco on New Years Eve with that bout likely to be held in Osaka, the home of Ioka who is considered a major star in the area.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Yesterday fans in Osaka had the chance to see the all action Katsunari Takayama (30-7-0-1, 12) take a huge step towards unifying his IBF Minimumweight title with the WBO belt held by Japanese youngster Kosei Tanaka.
Takayama, defending the IBF belt for the second time, was facing former Tanaka foe Ryuji Hara (19-2, 11) and managed to score an 8th round TKO over Hara, who started well but came apart when Takayama upped the pace and showed his ability to go through the gears.
Early on it was Hara with success. He landed a number of solid body shots on to the champion and also managed to re-open a cut over Takayama's left eye, an injury that has been a recurring one in the champions illustrious career. The cut however seemed to spur Takayama on and in round the champion began to up the pace, when he did that Hara struggled to stay with him with a left hook late in the round being just one a number of solid signs that the bout was changing.
In round 5 the bout was becoming more dominated by Takayama, who was in complete control by the end of round 7. Then it seemed only a matter of time with Hara eventually being saved by the referee in round 8.
Following the bout Tanaka challenged the champion and it now looks like a New Year's Eve bout between the two men is likely barring the WBO ordering a mandatory for Tanaka before then.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
When a fighter fights at home they do tend to get the rub of the green. It's a world wide issue and one that has seen some countries given a harder time than others. We've seen countries like Germany, Thailand, Britain and Argentina in particular come under heavy criticism for home fighters getting the decision in very close bouts. Today it was the turn of Japan as local star Shinsuke Yamanaka (24-0-2, 17) got the rub of the green against Anselmo Moreno (35-4-1, 12) in a WBC Bantamweight title defense for Yamanaka.
Early on the bout was a battle of high level boxing with both men trying to establish their jabs. The better shots were from the challenger who seemed to land at a notably higher rate though it was during these early stages that Yamanaka was landing the heavier shots. For 4 rounds the two men were essentially cancelling each other out with high level boxing and trading of jabs.
The WBC rules, that were in effect, had the bout edge to Yamanaka after 4 rounds with the champion leading by a score of 39-37 on two of the cards whilst the third had the bout even. At this point it was relatively difficult to argue either way with the bout being incredibly close up to that point, though perhaps having 10-10 rounds would have reflected things a little bit more accurately than the typical 10-9 rounds.
The open scoring seemed to spur on Moreno who came on strong in round 5 as the bout picked up pace. It was another highly competitive round but one that seemed to be in Moreno's favour with the slipper Panamanian managing to avoid the bigger shots from Yamanaka whilst landing his left hand. The round saw both men change their tactic with Yamanaka getting on the move whilst Moreno became more aggressive. The success in round 5 was built on by Moreno who seemed to clearly with round 6 with the same tactic of pushing Yamanaka back and forcing the action in what was another good round for the challenger.
The challengers success was halted in round 7 as Yamanaka began to actually land his much vaunted left hand. It was another round that could have gone either way, with Moreno landing plenty of shots himself, but it seemed like Yamanaka could have made enough of a case to get, especially at home. Despite the respite of some success in round 7 Yamanaka really struggled in round 8 and showed some clear frustration, at one point pushing Moreno down. It was clear that whilst a lot of the action was close it was Moreno who was in the ascendency and was managing to get into the head of the local fighter.
The scorecards after 8 rounds were again read out and this time they had changed notably with Moreno leading on one cards, 77-75, and level on the other two, with a score of 76-76.
Moreno's success continued in round 9, his most dominant round of the fight. The challenger rocked Yamanaka and seemed to be looking for the finish before he got caught by a left hand and started to show more respect to the still dangerous champion. Despite Yamanaka earning Moreno's respect it was a very clear round for the challenger, who seemed to have gone into the lead on all 3 cards.
Yamanaka, knowing he was down, went out for round 10 with the intention of getting a KO and he was very left hand happy, almost “spamming” the punch. It was a successful tactic for the champion who seemed to hurt Moreno for the first time in the fight. The challenger, realising the danger that was still in front of him, was happy to hold and see out the storm. The same storm however came again in round 11 as Yamanaka continued to hunt the KO, and almost got dropped himself during a wild exchange that saw his knees buckle but his hands and ass stay off the canvas, had a knockdown been scored that would likely have swung a 10-9 Yamanaka round to a 10-8 Moreno round and made the bout Moreno's almost by default.
With Yamanaka having seemingly got his nose in the lead on two of the scorecards it was all to play for in round 12. The round was a tricky one with both men looking tired though it seemed that Yamanaka, who had put a lot into the previous 6 minutes, was the more tired and it seemed that Moreno just managed to take the round, which was mired in clinches.
Looking at the open scoring from round 8 it seemed that the cards were likely to be declared a majority draw with with 114-114, 114-114 and 116-112. The judges however saw something different and seemingly gave Yamanaka the all important 12th round to give him a split decision with scores of 115-113, 115-113 and 113-115, all from American judges.
The decision was met with some anger online and Chemito also seemed to feel disgusted with the result. Given the result we wouldn't be shocked to hear talk of a rematch, possibly in 2016, though we could see Moreno declining the fight if it was to be held in Japan again.
For Moreno this is a second set back, and one that will hurt just as bad as his previous loss, a controversial technical decision to Juan Carlos Payano. For Yamanaka it was a headache and easily the toughest bout of his career. The next step for both will be interesting and could either see a rematch, to “right the wrong”, it could see both men go their own way, with a move to Super Bantamweight for Yamanaka being one that seems to make sense even if it's not been spoken about too much recently.
Boxing often sees “controversy” with the scoring of fights thought it must be said that sometimes a judge can have an off night. This past Sunday we dare say that the judges got it right as Englishman Jamie McDonnell (27-2-1, 12) did the double over Tomoki Kameda (31-2, 19) and retained his WBA Bantamweight crown.
The two men, who fought in a thriller earlier this year, were expected to be in another thriller here. Tomoki was favoured by the bookies and the view in many quarters was that he would have learned from his first loss. The hope was that linking up with esteemed trainer Ismael Salas would help Tomoki correct the issues that cost him in his previous bout.
The opening round was close. In fact to split them was almost impossible as both jabbed and moved well in a high paced and highly skilled opening round. To score it either way would have been acceptable, as would a 10-10 round, it really was one of those rounds where the two men fought as near mirror images of each other.
The second round saw Kameda really kick things off and for 2 minutes of the round he looked brilliant putting McDonnell under pressure and landing most notable shots, including a very solid left hook. Having “sealed” the round after just 2 minutes Tomoki seemed to ease off the gas late in the round round and backed up, cruising the final 40 seconds or so. Sadly the backing up, which was final in that particular situation, became the story of the fight.
In round 3 it was McDonnell setting the pace and tempo of the fight as he came forward with a determined and intelligent march. Not only was McDonnell coming forward but he was doing it behind a busy jab that seemed to prevent Kameda from getting into a rhythm. Kameda did have have some success with his counters but his shots were often falling short whilst Mcdonnell out worked him and seemingly bullied him around the ring. It was the start of McDonnell's domination of the bout.
McDonnell built on his success from round 3 and by the middle rounds it seemed that the fight had had it's identity sorted with McDonnell instilling his will on to the fight at the expense of Tomoki who was forced to fight on the back foot, where he wasn't particularly strong. By round 8 it seemed like Tomoki would need to make a drastic change in tactics if he was to claim the victory here. He had managed to make rounds 5, 6 and 7 close, by landing the better shots, but he didn't seem to do quite enough to over-come McDonnell's work rate.
In round 9 we finally saw Tomoki actually shining with some solid right hands that landed clean on McDonnell's head. They didn't ever hurt the Englishman but they were the sort of shots that he was going to need to build his confidence and have any chance of defeating Mcdonnell.
Sadly for Tomoki his success from round 9 wasn't built on like it needed to be and in round 10 McDonnell got back to being in charge with Tomoki moving too much and throwing far too little in a round that had looked like many of the earlier rounds. The same could also be said of round 11 where it seemed clear that Tomoki would need a KO but refused to go for it.
If Mcdonnell hadn't done enough in the first 11 rounds he essentially sealed the deal in round 12 with a knockdown of Tomoki, albeit a slip-come-knockdown, that secured a 10-8 round. Tomoki did fight hard in the dying stages of the round but it was clear that it was far too little to over-come the knockdown, or much of the previous 10 rounds.
At the final bell the judges all favoured McDonnel with cards ranging from 115-112 to 117-111. They were varied but all seemed to be in the “acceptable range” given the competitiveness of rounds 1, 5,6 and 7. Despite the close rounds we couldn't see any way to give it to Tomoki with the best he could have expected expect being a 114-113 defeat.
For Tomoki this is a second successive defeat and it's likely he'll need to seriously rethink his career. He looked small in comparison to McDonnell and may well need to consider a move down to Super Flyweight if he can lose 3lbs. If not he'll likely find himself as a either a perennial contender or, if his confidence is shot, a stepping stone for the emerging generation of Bantamweights, including the really exciting Shohei Omori.
McDonnell has hinted in the past of a move to Super Bantamweight and we expect he'll add the 4lbs and move up. That will leave the title vacant and we wouldn't be surprised to see a number of interesting fighters, including Omori and Ryo Matsumoto, all be linked to that title in early 2016.
Whilst the fight wasn't as good as the first one the big issue we have was the commentary on CBS which seemed to sway people into believing Kameda did better than he really did. We began this by saying the judges can have off days, we dare say the commentator had a bad today. We have a lot of respect and time for the commentator in question so we will put it down to a bad day at the office and would hope that everyone who has scored this in favour of Kameda will rewatch it with the sound off.
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.