Earlier today Japanese fans had a treat as they had the chance to see two WBC world title fights live on WOWOW Prime, who have been doing a special event for the day. One of those titles fights saw the all-action Koki Eto (17-4-1, 13) challenge WBC Super Flyweight champion Carlos Cuadras (34-0-1, 26).
Sadly for Eto, and his fans, he was to come up short, though he did put up a brave effort against Cuadras, who seemed too quick, too sharp and too smart for the challenger.
Eto, a former WBA interim Flyweight champion, started slowly with Cuadras having too much skill and speed earlier on. The good start for Cuadras saw him run out to a 40-36 lead when the scores were first announced, after 4 rounds, and bloody the nose of Eto who applied pressure but was ineffective early on.
The middle portion of the fight was more competitive, with Eto having real success in round 6, though Cuadras seemed to be comfortable despite the fact Eto was having more success. The cards after 8 continued to show Cuadras's lead, with the cards reading with Eto having real success in round 6, though Cuadras never 79-73, twice, and 78-74.
Knowing he had to turn the fight around Eto gave his all looking to pull the win out of the fire. This saw him have a great round 9 but he couldn't ever do the damage needed to stop Cuadras who used his feet to secure a decision win, with cards that read 117-111, twice, and 116-112.
The win sees Cuadras retain the title and it now seems like he will be facing Thailand's Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, in a rematch of Cuadras's title winning effort from last year. If that bout ends up being made, as expected, then we could be in for a really explosive one with Srisaket likely to start faster than he did in their first meeting, where a slow start ultimately cost him a technical decision.
(Image courtesy of daily.co.jp)
Every so often a fighter steps up in class and puts on a performance that few could have expected. That was the case earlier today when little Japanese fighter Yu Kimura (18-2-1, 3) shocked the boxing world with a split decision win over Pedro Guevara (26-2-1, 17) to claim the WBC Light Flyweight title. The result, which really was a shock, so Kimura claiming his biggest win just days after turning 32 in what was his first bout scheduled for 12 rounds.
To begin with Kimura didn't look like a champion in waiting. For the first couple of rounds it seemed that Guevara was going to make the 3rd defense of his title with relative ease. He had out boxed Kimura and was establishing his jab and his style on the fight. Kimura, to his credit, fought back well in round 3 but was on the receiving end in round 4.
The WBC open scoring, which is in effect for WBC, JBC and OPBF title fights in Japan, had Guevara in a clear lead after 4 rounds with 2 of the judges scoring it a shut out whilst the other had given Kimura a single round to leave the third card as 39-37.
Kimura's gallant fight back in round 3 was easily forgotten when he was hurt in round 5 and it looked as if Guevara was going to move up a gear and hunt a stoppage against the local fighter. Instead however the fifth seemed to light a fight in Kimura who came back strong and aggressive in round 6 as he began to suddenly turn the fight on it's head, attacking more and grinding the body of the champion. The fight back was unexpected but needed and by round 8 it seemed as if the challenger was feeling in his groove and that the champion was being forced to think of another plan.
The fight back from Kimuda had seen the cards shift drastically with the judges cards reading 79-73, Guevara, 77-75, Guevara and 76-76. It was still Guevara's to lose, but Kimura was certainly not lying down for the champion.
Kimura continued his determined fight back in round 9 as he again took the fight to the champion who tried to retaliate but struggled to keep pace with the Japanese fighter who seemed to be like a little ball of energy. The energy of the challenger had seemingly got the fight to a draw on the cards with 3 rounds left.
The 10th was another where Kimura refused to back down, forced the issue and neutralised the reach advantage of the champion, who was struggling to land his jab effectively. Instead of Guevara's jab it was the aggression of Kimura that was capturing the attention of the judges and it seemed Guevara knew it as he tried to trade through round 11 in a brilliant and close round. The competitive 11th was followed by another close one in round 12 as the bout ended with real suspense.
The Mexican had started well but had slowed down before fighting hard late. Kimura had started badly before coming on, but had he done enough to turn over the scorecards? Had Guevara just done enough to retain the title.
The cards were close with Kimura just doing enough to claim a split decision with scores of 115-113, twice, against a card of 117-111 to Guevara, a card that really was the odd one out of a bout that could have been 115-113 either way.
The win for Kimura, which really a career defining victory for the former Japanese national champion, will see him linked with some intriguing match ups. Including a bout with Filipino slugger Jonathan Taconing, a bout with Ryo Miyazaki or a rematch, and unification, with Ryoichi Taguchi. It could also lead to a potential show down with the fast rising Ken Shiro.
For Guevara however the future is less bright, though we have heard rumours that he may be heading to Flyweight in the near future, which could help solve any issues with stamina that he may have
(Image courtesy of http://www.sponichi.co.jphttp://www.sponichi.co.jp)
It's fair to say that Korean boxing isn't at a high point. In fact there is very little in Korean boxing to be excited about, with even their best prospects looking a little bit limited, though Kyoo Hwan Hwang does look like he will be fun to follow.
The low quality of Korean boxing was shown again today as Young Gil Bae (26-5-1, 21), came up very short against WBC Minimumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin (40-0, 15) in Thailand.
The challenger couldn't actually win the belt, as failed to make weight yesterday, though failed to even make his size weight count for much as he was made to look third rate by a champion who scarcely went through the gears.
From the opening it was clear that Wanheng, the much shorter man, was able to land his jab at will. Bae, who boasted a clear reach advantage, was the man who seemed to want to get inside where his hooks were more likely to connect. For the first 3 rounds it was Wanheng's jab that was key to the fight as he moved, landed the jab and neutralised the Korean slugger, who seemed to run out of ideas quickly and kept repeating the same mistakes.
In round 4 we finally saw the tempo take a significant change as Wanehng went through the gears and began to unload heavy right hands on Bae. Bae, to his credit, did his best to land return fire though it was clear that he lacked the know how to land cleanly and the ability to defend himself from Wanheng's shots which were, at times, looking like they couldn't miss.
After 4 rounds the opening scoring kicked in with Wanheng leading 40-36, twice, and 39-37.
The Thai kept the work rate up on rounds 5, 6 and 7 as he began to clearly break down the Korean who was perhaps lucky that rounds 6 and 7 ended when they did, as both rounds seemed to end as Wanehng was smelling blood. It wasn't an all out offensive from the Thai, but it was calculating and cerebral from the champion who was systematically breaking down the Korean
Sadly Wanheng then completely eased off the gas for the entire of round 8, a round that showed the huge gulf in class between the two men. Wanheng did little, he hardly broke a sweat for the round, but still landed his jab at will when Bae, who was putting forth a genuine effort, failed to do much other than swing at air and follow the champion.
Despite putting little into round 8 Wanheng took the round on all 3 cards, which read 80-72, twice, and 79-73 after round 8.
Having put little effort forth in the 8th it was great to see Wanheng step on the gas in round 9 as he swiftly went on the offensive and a huge right dropped Bae. The Korean got up and a follow up attack from Wanheng was thwarted by Bae who held. A second follow up attack however saw the referee step in to wave Bae, who appeared to be fighting back at the time, though was taking punishment from the under-rated champion.
In isolation the stoppage was an odd one, in reality however it was a mercy stoppage for the Korean who was looking swollen and out gunned. He had no complaint and whilst it did look like peculiar timing, it was likely to come soon anyway.
Over the last few years we've seen Takashi Miura (29-3-2, 22) make a name for himself as a Mexicutioner as he defeated a string of Mexican opponents, such as Gamaliel Diaz, Sergio Thompson, Dante Jardon and Edgar Puerta. This past Saturday he tried to continue to build his reputation though, sadly, came up short in a brilliant bout with another Mexican, Francisco Vargas (23-0-1, 17). The loss was not only Miura's first to a Mexican but also saw him lose the WBC Super Featherweight title, though despite the loss he built on his fanbase and has seemingly became a man that Western fight fans have finally woke up to.
The bout actually started horribly for Miura who was rocked to his core from a hard right hand from Vargas. At that point it seemed almost certain that Miura wasn't going to last long and in fact he was only held up by sheer bloody mindedness. Sadly for the defending champion he was unable to avoid Vargas's right hand and it seemed like a very early night was on the cards.
Vargas's success in the opening round grew and in round 2 he again seemed to be unable to miss Miura who's most notable response was left hands to the body.
It wasn't until round 3 that we began to see Miura finally find his way into the bout, and although his much vaunted power didn't seem to hurt Vargas during the round it was clear that Miura was coming back into it, and was beginning to find his groove.
It was in round 4 that we finally saw the explosive power of Miura in all it's beauty as he dropped Vargas hard, and split his eye. It was a round that saw Miura at his best and it was a round that really acted as a wake up call for Vargas, and the fans, who had perhaps not realised just how hard Miura really punches.
The success from round 4 saw Miura start the following round fast, as if he could smell the blood that was on Vargas's face. Sadly though the Japanese fighter seemed to get over-excited at times and was too intent on loading up rather than using his ability to set up the left hand. As a result Vargas got the time he needed to recover and by the end of the round it was Vargas who was looking the better man again.
The 6th round was one of the most competitive though seemed to show Vargas outworking Miura, who again focused on loading up. Whilst Miura did have some success, especially to the body, he didn't seem to do enough to re-establish the control he had had earlier on. In fact it seemed like Miura was too focused on the knock out and was defensively naive at times, being forced to eat shots whilst trying to land his left.
Despite not looking his best in round 6 Miura was back on top in round 7 and by the end of the round it seemed the end was nigh with Vargas's left eye swelling shut due to the heavy shots that Miura was landing. It was clear that it Miura's power that was the Japanese fighter's key weapon and that Vargas was the better boxer, but the power had made Vargas very wary, and despite the wariness he was being tagged by a lot of clean lefts.
It was a clean left near the end of round 8 that rocked Vargas to his core. A follow up attack seemed to have Vargas in all sorts of trouble before the bell saved the Mexican fighter who genuinely looked spent. The fight looked in the bag for Miura who was expecting to come out for round 9 and finish what he had started before the bell. Instead however it was Vargas with the fast start and a right hand early in the 9th dropped Miura. Sadly it was the start of the end, and although Miura got to his feet, and did his best to survive, he was unable to keep Vargas off him eventually forcing the referee to step in and save the gutsy Japanese fighter.
Since he bout we've seen fans from Europe and the US describe it as a FOTY contender, high praise indeed, whilst news from Japan has suggested that Miura's camp are hoping to secure a rematch for 2016. If a rematch is indeed made we suspect fans will be more hyped it than they were for this first meeting, which was described by some as a bout for boxing hipsters, though turned out to be one of the fights of the year.
(Image courtesy of GBP)
Earlier today in Monaco fans had a real treat with a Golden Gloves promoted card in Monte Carlo. One of the headline bouts of the card featured Kazakhstan's Zhanat Zhakiyanov (26-1, 18), who took on Venezuela's talented Yonfrez Parejo (17-2-1, 8), who was looking to defend the WBA interim Bantamweight title. Sadly for Parejo he was unable to over-come "ZZ" in what was a very competitive and well matched bout.
The fight started very well for the defending champion who used his movement and jab early on to establish his style of fight. It was the start that was expected of the champion and one that really saw him fight to his strengths and make Zhakiyanov look like the limited fighter that we'd seen numerous times before.
The champion's early work had established him the lead during the early rounds however in round Zhakiyanov began to up the pressure cause Parejo some trouble. Those troubles continued into rounds 5 and 6 as the challenger began to find his range and get to a slowing Parejo. It was earlier than expected for Zhakiyanov to get success, but it did show that he had the style to really trouble Parejo.
With Zhakiyanov coming back into the fight it was an interesting middle section of the fight as each guy had their successes in what was a competitive section of the fight. It seemed that Parejo had just done enough, with his movement and range control, to take a good portion of the middle rounds but they were close and sharing them between the two fighters was certainly not out of the question.
In the later rounds it seemed that Zhakiyanov was the one pushing the action, trying to over-turn the slight disadvantage he had faced in the middle rounds. It seemed he did just enough but the fight could easily have been scored any which way with the sheer number of competitive rounds.
The judges seemed to agree that it was close, though did split the two men with two of the judges favouring the challenger, with scores of 113-115 and 113-116 to Zahkiyanov whilst the dissenting judge had it 116-112 to Parejo, all reasonable scores for what was a close bout, though one that we thought Parejo perhaps deserved.
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.