Earlier today fans at the Cebu Coliseum saw local star Milan Melindo (35-2, 12) claim the IBF "interim" Light Flyweight title and secure a shot at the regular title as he out pointed Thai youngster Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr (31-4-1, 15) [ศักดิ์กรีรินทร์] over 12 rounds.
The home fighter, with the crowd well behind him, started well by using his skills to keep Fahlan off balance and prevented the Thai from building any real momentum, despite applying the pressure. Fahlan did eventually land with a key shot that opened up a cut on Melindo's nose and forced the Filipino to be a bit more wary, as he focused on body shots, attempting to slow Fahlan down.
By round 6 it did seem like Melindo was in charge and in round 7 he had one of his best rounds, wobbling Fahlan who had to grit his teeth to see out the round. Despite bing hurt in the 7th Fahlan came out firing in rounds 8 and 9 and seemed to win both of those to close up the scorecards as Melindo's output dropped and the Thai came into the bout.
Despite crawing his way back into the fight Fahlan was unable to do enough in the championship rounds to make up for the early rounds and Melindo had an excellent round 12, letting bombs go, to seal the result.
After 12 rounds it seemed like Melindo, with the crowd supporting him and the home advantage, had done enough to secure the victory and that proved to be the case with the Filipino getting the decision by scores of 115-113, twice, and 117-111.
With the win Melindo essentially books a bout with full champion Akira Yaegashi, and the hope is for Yaegashi Vs Melindo to be made for December 30th, though the cut may force the bout to be delayed until 2017. Sadly for Fahlan this was a second loss in a world title bout, however at the age of 23 he will almost certainly bounce back and get another down the line.
Filipino legend Manny Pacquiao (59-6-2, 38) might be heading towards his 38th birthday, and may have retired earlier this year, but he rolled the clock back big time earlier today as he reclaimed the WBO Welterweight title and dominated Jessie Vargas (27-2, 10).
From the opening round it looked like Pacquiao had all the tools to reclaim the throne as the best Welterweight on the planet. He seemed far too quick, too sharp and too powerful for Vargas, who looked game throughout but could never match the ability of Pacquiao.
The success of Pacquiao, from the opening round, seemed to be focused on him landing his vaunted left hand which Vargas had little answer for. Whilst Vargas did have some success with his own right hand it was limited success, and only a shot here or there whilst he was forced to take a steady stream of shots from Pacquiao, ranging from the thunderbolt left hand to various hooks, uppercuts and even the occasionally nasty jab.
The power of Pacquiao was visible through out. He dropped Vargas in round 2 with massive left hand, left Vargas swollen around the right side of his face and had him wobbling at various times in the latter stages.
Whilst in total control going into the latter rounds Pacquiao seemed to put on cruise control and hold back rather than let his hands really go with bad intent. It seemed, on a number of occasions, that if he had gone for the stoppage he'd have manage to force it, with Vargas's senses looking scrambled at several points.
Whilst Vargas was thoroughly out boxed and outfought he did show some fire, some willing and never gave up trying to land his right hand. Sadly though Vargas' inability to consistently land his right hand, control the bout with his jab or force his fight allowed Pacquiao to almost get away with cruising to the victory.
Two of the cards had Pacquiao winning the bout clearly, a result that most saw, amazingly however one judge had the bout amazingly close with just a point between the two men, a crazy score-card. Sadly that third card could end up being a major talking point with the bout it's self unlikely to live long in the memory, despite the fact that it's seen Manny Pacquiao being crowned a world champion once again.
For Pacquiao the future seems like a ring return in 2017 is likely whilst Vargas will go back to the drawing board, but will almost certainly be back himself at some point during the next 12 months.
Despite being a real unknown in boxing circles prior to this weekend Japanese fighter Hiroshige Osawa (30-4-4, 19) [大沢 宏晋] managed to fight for the WBO Featherweight title on Saturday night as he took on unbeaten Mexican champion Oscar Valdez (21-0, 19).
Unfortunately for Osawa he was unable to shock the world with a performance to remember, though he did, in some ways, impress with his toughness as he took a steady and one-sided beating from Valdez, lasting much longer than many would have expected.
From the opening seconds it was clear that their was a gulf of difference between the two men and Valdez out boxed and out slugged Osawa who was only landing single shots when he had any success, whilst Valdez landed combinations at will, to both the head and body of Valdez.
It wasn't until round 4 that Valdez's much vaunted power really had Osawa in trouble, with the Japanese fighter being dropped, though he gritted his teeth and bounced up to continue the contest, which continued to remain one sided.
With Osawa trying to fight back, and never being in major trouble, the fight became a bit or a procession with Valdez even switching to southpaw to get some rounds in in the alternative stance, and even as a southpaw the Mexican landed at will.
In round 7 Osawa's toughness was too much, with the Japanese fighter taking bombs on the ropes from Valdez until the referee finally, mercifully, saved him.
For Osawa he got to fight for a world title at long last, something he likely didn't expect just a few years ago when the JBC suspended his license. Whilst he came up short no one can fault his bravery or courage. Sadly if anything some will question Valdez, and his struggle to put away Osawa, though he never was in trouble there were flaws exposed that will need to be sorted out before the Mexican takes on an elite level talent.
The second of 4 world title fights this evening in the US saw a new WBO Featherweight champion being crowned as Filipino legend Nonito Donaire (37-4, 24) was out pointed by unbeaten challenger Jessie Magdaleno (24-0, 17).
The fight started slowly and tactically with the first two rounds being very quiet and seemed to be won by Magdaleno's slightly fast work, with Donaire looking like the older and slower fighter. Despite Magdaleno looking quicker there was very little to pick between them in the early stages.
In round 3 Donaire seemed to change tact, bringing more concentrated pressure to Magdaleno who was forced to respond. The round was a much more engaging one and although it was Donaire changing the game plan it was one that he didn't really land a lot in. The same tactic however did pay off in round 4, although it was a round where the key event was a clash of heads that left Magdaleno cut around the left eye.
Despite the cut Magdaleno had a solid round 5, landing what was the best shot of the right up to that point, the success from that round seemed to fill the challenger with confidence and he he looked in control a lot more in the rounds that followed as Donaire looked to land a game change. In round 7 finally landed a major blow, a body shot, but he continued to struggle to land consistently and his blows, which had looked destructive in recent bouts, failed to budge Magdaleno.
Although Donaire seemed to be behind going into the later stages of the fight he seemed determined to continue his game plan of trying to walk down Magdaleno. The right hands from Donaire were starting to land regularly during those stages but Magdaleno himself was having great success with body shots before unloading with Donaire on the ropes late in round 9. It seemed, during the final minute of the round, as if the whole fight changed with both men being hurt. Despite being hurt in round 9 Donaire came out for round 10 looking rejuvenated and pressed forth putting the challenger under pressure and landed some solid shots, but was countered numerous times by the younger man.
Going into the championship rounds Donaire likely thought he was behind and came out looking for a KO, throwing big shots early and connecting with a number of them. Again it seemed like he couldn't turn things around with a single shot, but he was going to keep looking for a KO blow, and often got tagged with counters from a still energetic Magdaleno. Donaire continued looking for a big shot through out the final round and landed several that shook up Magdaleno, though never managed to drop his man, or score a fighting ending KO blow.
Despite the effort from Donaire it seemed clear he had come up short, despite being on the front foot for the most part. He seemed too slow and was never able to maintain any major success to change the fight around. The cards, with scores of 116-112, twice, and 118-110 were all in Magdaleno's favour and despite there being some close rounds it did seem like a 116-112 type win for Magdaleno.
With the loss Donaire is likely looking at retirement, or final run, whilst Magdaleno announces himself as a serious player at 122lbs.
For only the second time ever a Chinese man holds a recognised world title, as earlier tonight former amateur star Zou Shiming (9-1, 2) [邹市明] defeated Thailand's Kwanpichit Onesongchaigym (39-2-2, 24) [ขวัญพิชิต 13เหรียญเอ็กซ์เพลส] and claimed the previously vacant WBO Flyweight title, marking his “successful” transition from amateur great to professional world champion.
The two men were fighting for the second time, having first fought back in 2014 when Shiming easily beat Kwanpichit, and like their first bout it was clear they were in totally different leagues. In fact it wasn't so much a case of whether Shiming would win again, but rather whether he was capable of stopping the Thai.
From the opening stages it seemed clear that Shiming had improved since their first bout, sitting on his shots more and showing a more polished and professional style than he had in their first bout. The style left him more open to counters, and Kwanpichit did have the occasional bit of success, but those moments were few and far between with the Thai being tagged at will. In the second round the success of Shiming worked to great effect with a right hand dropping the Thai.
Shiming continued to dominate through the middle rounds of the fight, though at times reverted to the Shiming we all know, and many hate, with a huge amount of unnecessary movement and little final product. There were some great combinations from Shiming, but they were too few and too far, whether everyone just wishing Shiming would stay in the pocket and really look for the finish.
By the end of round 9 even Kwanpichit was looking like he wanted the bout to end, throwing Shiming down at the end of the round, likely a trick taught to him by countryman Amnat Ruenroeng who he had been training with prior to the bout. The following round Kwanpichit looked little more than a human punch bag, but one that Shiming showed too much apprehension in tagging, despite Kwanpichit stumbling around like an exhausted fighter.
Despite being clearly tired Kwanpichit was able to hear the final bell as Shiming, once again, refused to allow himself to shine. Happy to win the rounds with his feet rather than to make an impression on fans. It was a disappointing and tame ending to a hugely frustrating performance, that saw Shiming score a shut out.
For Chinese boxing the result really is great, and it gives the country a second champion after a string of failures in recent bouts, by Shiming, Ik Yang, Qiu Xiao Jun, Xiong Zhao Zhong and Yi Ming Ma. Sadly though Shiming's reign likely won't last long and it wouldn't be a shock to see him make just a single defense before coming unstuck against a B rate challenger.
For Thai boxing the bout was an insult with no one referring to Kwanpichit by his fighting name and the performance was dire. Kwanpichit never looked like he had any chance and the fact he made it to the final bell said more about Shiming's inability to actually force a stoppage.
Thankfully with the division having plenty of hungry sharks in it we're unlikely to see Shiming's reign last long, with fighters like Daigo Higa, Muhammad Waseem, Iwan Zoda and Donnie Nietes all chasing world title fights in 2017. As for Kwanpichit it's time to look for pastures new, or be used as a stepping stone for a rising youngster who actually has some potential to go places in the near future
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.