Last September we saw Shinsuke Yamanaka (26-0-2, 18) [山中慎介] retain his WBC Bantamweight title with a narrow and controversial split Anselmo Moreno (36-5-1, 12). Today the two men had a rematch and there was no controversy about this one which had a very conclusive ending. A 7th round KO by Yamanaka, who scored his 11th defense of the title.
Of course the ending is only part of our story and how we get to the ending is often more interesting, and boy was this interesting with multiple momentum swings and both fighters being hurt multiple times.
The first started not with round 1 of fight 2 but with round 13 of the Yamanak Vs Moreno rivalry. Moreno came out fast and we had real highlight moments from both, with Yamanaka being clearly hurt from a series of solid left hands from the challenger, before landing his own left late and letting Moreno taste his power. You'd have assumed both would have though twice about about trading but they continued and Moreno was dropped late in the round. Despite both trading neither looked particularly reckless for the most part, instead trying to set things up with the jab, feinting and looking to draw counter opportunities. It was high speed chess with shot guns.
Moreno adjusted in round 2 and the pace started slower, though Moreno did pick things up mad with through the round with both standing fairly centrally and trading technically sound shots. There wasn't the drama of the opening round, but it always felt like we were on the verge of something big happening. The following round something big did happen with with both men being staggered and taking heavy but technically well thrown leather, for the most part.
In round 4 we saw Yamanaka have great success in the middle of the round, backing up the challenger and rocking him, it was a brilliant start but the round spun completely when Yamanaka had a left hand countered and was dropped hard himself. Although he got back to his feet he was clearly hurt and Moreno knew it as the two each swung in big shots. Those big shots resulted in Yamanaka being rocked again on the bell.
The open scoring favoured Yamanaka, just, with two scorecards reading 38-37 to Yamanka, twice, and the third card had the bout 37-37.
Round 5 again saw both men show of their best traits. Moreno was finding a way to land his left hand, he had all but neutralised Yamanaka's jab, which had been a key punch in his arsenal in the early rounds. With the jab gone Yamanaka managed to have some success in the middle of the round with the straight left hand and even landed a solid uppercut. The champions success was over-shadowed though when he was rocked big time, almost going down again, with a massive counter from Moreno. How Yamanaka stayed up was a mystery but it had saved him from a 10-8 round.
In the opening moments of round 6 the fight totally changed. Yamanaka landed what could only be described as a monstrous left hand which detonated clean on Moreno's jaw. Moreno fell hard from the shot and it seemed like the bout could be over there and then. Moreno's champion's spirit showed as he somehow got to his feet. Despite getting up he was clearly hurt and spent the round surviving, holding, moving and did next to nothing offensively in a round that seemed to spell the end.
Moreno managed to come out for round 7 but never looked like a man who had recovered and Yamanaka stalked him from the off, dropping him again with a humongous left hand. Again Moreno showed insurmountable courage to beat the count, some how. The referee allowed him to continue, though could easily have waved it off there and then. A follow up attack sent Moreno down again and that was it with the referee immediately calling a halt to the bout.
For Yamanaka the win clears up the doubts of the first bout. They show that at 33 he's learning, or re-learning, new things, he used his jab here more than he has in years. He scored a win that could well define his career, and cements his place as the premier Bantamweight on the planet.
The Panamanian, who had been really confident coming in to this one, had talked about moving up in weight and we suspect that'll be what he does now. This is however his first stoppage loss and it was a painful one, with the 4 knockdowns and other massive shots landing. His career isn't over but this was a damaging defeat and could have long term effects on his ability to take a shot.
With the WBC and Ring magazine titles around his waist Yamanaka will have several things in his sights. He is 2 defenses away from tying the Japanese defense record of 13 defenses, by Yoko Gushiken, and has long wanted a bout in the US. Perhaps, just maybe, a US bout will come in 2017 along with that Japanese record
(Image courtesy of boxmob.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.
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.