Last year we saw Japan's Ken Shiro (13-0, 7) [拳 四朗] claim the WBC Light Flyweight title with a majority decision win over Mexican veteran Ganigan Lopez (34-8, 19). It was a hotly contested contest with Lopez having a fantastically strong final round and putting the Japanese fighter on to the retreat to hold on for the win.
Today the two men met in a rematch and the outcome couldn't have been much different.
The first round was a technical round, with both men looking to establish their jabs. There wasn't connecting from either man, with the only shots of note being a body shot by Lopez and a right hand from Ken Shiro. Neither man seemed to have any real luck with their jabs and the southpaw/orthodox stance of the two men seemed to see both men struggling to just get their distance right.
The second round also seemed like it was going to be a tactical affair, with both again looking to use their jab to measure the other man. Ken Shiro broke away from that when he feinted to with with his left before landing a brutal straight right hand to the midsection of the challenger half way through the round. The body landed perfectly and sent Lopez down in agony where he was counted out.
For Ken Shiro the win secures him his third defense of the title, his second straight inside the distance, and shows how much he has developed as the champion. As for Lopez it is only the second time he has been stopped in his 42 fight career.
Today was a huge day for Japanese boxing, and boxing at the Light Flyweight division with 4 world title fights taking place in Japan, and two of those being at 108lbs.
The first of those saw WBO champion Kosei Tanaka (9-0, 5) [田中恒成] retain his title with a solid win over mandatory challenger Angel Acosta (16-1, 16). Not long after that attention turned to Tokyo where there was a WBC Light Flyweight title bout between defending champion Ganigan Lopez (28-7, 17) and Japanese hopeful Ken Shiro (10-0, 5) [拳 四朗].
Going in to their bout the WBC title was the only belt not residing in Japan, as Akira Yaegashi holds the IBF title and Ryoichi Taguchi holds the WBA belt. At the end of the day however Ken Shiro would complete the set for Japan and move us one step closer to all an Japanese total unification bout.
The bout started really competitively, with Lopez using his experience and Ken Shiro using his youth, speed and hunger. The competitive action left them almost even after 4 rounds, with Ken Shiro leading 39-37 on two cards and being 38-38 on the third card.
Knowing he was behind Lopez picked up the pace in round 5 that was however countered by the Japanese challenger who turned the tide back in his favour in round 6, before Lopez himself bounced back.
After 8 rounds Ken Shiro had established a lead on all 3 cards, with all 3 reading 77-75 in favour of the challenger. He continued to extend that lead as he took round 9 and essentially put himself 3 up with 3 to play, victory was well within in his graps. It was however also within Lopez's and the Mexican hasn't had the career he's had by just rolling over in the later rounds.
Instead Lopez went on to grit his teeth and fight fire with fire, taking round 10 on two cards and round 11 on two, before claiming the final round, the best round of the fight, on all 3 cards. Sadly for the Mexican veteran his effort wasn't enough, with Ken Shiro eeking out a majority decision with scores of 115-113, twice, against a 114-114 draw card.
Immediately after being given the title Ken Shiro strapped it around his father's waist, as he had stated before the fight, and the relief on his face was clear.
Now with all 4 titles in Japan it seems like talk will begin to have unifications, for the new champion however it's likely he'll have a well deserved rest, and admire his ever growing collection of titles which include the Japanese, OPBF, WBC Youth and now WBC world titles.
For Lopez the loss will be a hard one to accept, but hopefully won't be the end of his career.
(Image courtesy of boxmob and boxingnews.jp)
This past Saturday night didn't, in fairness, have a great day of mouth watering action set to take place with the most interesting bout being a WBC Light Flyweight world title bout between hard hitting Filipino challenger Jonathan Taconing (22-3-1, 18) and defending champion Ganigan Lopez (27-6, 17). Sadly for Taconing the bout ended up being his second loss at world level, though one that would have helped keep his loyal supporters backing him to another potential shot.
The fight started well for the Lopez who used his movement and straight punching to neutralise the pressure and nasty hooks of Taconing, who looked half a second behind the champion in the opening stanza. Taconing did however find his range and managed to have notable success in round 2, one of his best rounds of the fight, as Lopez was forced to take some heavy leather and was back up.
Lopez bounced back from the bad second round and won the third and fourth round by again using his feet and landing the better shots, including a beautiful straight left hand in round 4. Despite landing some humdingers Lopez was never able to make Taconing take a step backwards, but was making him look like a straight brawler looking for the Haymakers whilst Lopez himself was boxing wonderfully and trading just when he needed to. It seemed clear after 4 rounds that if it went to the cards then Lopez was going to win, but Taconing wasn't travelling with the intent of seeing the final bell and continued to press the action.
In round 5 Taconing began a real surge easily winning the round with some very heavy shots that seemed to seriously shake up the champion who had a nightmare round and appeared on the verge of unravelling. Taconing smelled his chance and continued to force the action in round 6 as has clawed back some of the lost ground from the opening section of the fight and it seemed like the challenger was suddenly coming on strong whilst the champion was failing. The challengers momentum continued into round 7, another clear round for the challenger who again seemed to shake up the champion who was looking particularly ragged, despite landing some solid counters that just seemed to bounce off the iron chinned Filipino.
In the 8th round the Filipino continued to try and build on his success, but unfortunately a clash of heads saw him being deducted a point whilst Lopez suffered a cut. The cut seemed to kick Lopez into warrior mode and he seemed willing to go toe-to-toe with Taconing at times as he looked for some way of turning the fight back in his favour.
Sadly at the end of round 8 we had the opening scoring which made a farce of the 8 rounds we had had, with one judge giving Taconing just a single round and another giving him just 2 rounds in what had been a very competitive fight.
Knowing he had no chance on the scorecards Taconing tried to up the pressure in the later rounds, possibly doing enough to claim round 9, but not enough in the final 3 rounds as he seemed to tire and Lopez managed to have his second wind, especially in the final 2 rounds as Lopez managed to again control the bout.
Watching it the bout seemed close, but like Lopez had just done enough. Sadly the cards failed to reflect that nature with scores of 118-109 and 119-108 alongside a much more reasonable 115-112, which seemed to be a fair score.
Sadly for Taconing this must feel like another case of travelling and knowing everyone was against him. We've no complaint about the results but given the scorecards he really was never going to get a decision and that's got to make him wonder why he bothered even turning up. For Lopez the win legitimises him as a world champion, and the performance it's self shows his toughness and ability, but we'll likely have a target on his back going forward.
At the end of 2015 Japanese boxing looked like it was going to rule the Light Flyweight division for the foreseeable future. They had 3 of the world champions and a number of rising youngsters, such as Ken Shiro as well as the promise of Kosei Tanaka moving up in weight. Sadly for Japanese fans 2016 hasn't started the way they'd have hoped with the popular Yu Kimura (18-3-1, 3) [木村 悠] losing the WBC title in his first defense.
The Teiken fighter, who claimed the belt with a big upset last year over Pedro Guevara, was matched hard for a first defense, taking on former challenger Ganigan Lopez (27-6, 17).
The first round was a slow one, with both men looking to find their range and although it did catch fire late on it didn't seem likely to set the tone for the fight. For Kimura however it was a good one, with the champion finding a home for his straight right hand, which looked very crisp.
Kimura's crisp right hand was also a key shot in rounds 2 and 3 which were both competitive and fought at mid range. It seemed the range was ideal for Kimura who was having notable success with the right hand, however Lopez was giving as good as he got and looked to have the significant edge in power, which was allowing him to walk through Kimura's best shots.
In round 4 the fight changed with Lopez adapting his style and moving more, picking his moments more carefully and unloading very smart combinations. He was simply out boxing and out working Kimura who struggled to answer anything during the round, a very 1-sided round.
Given the competitive nature of rounds 2 and 3 we thought the cards would be close, though the judges cards were all 39-37 in favour of the challenger when they were read publicly before the start of round 5.
Sadly for Kimura that was as close as he came to retaining his title with Lopez building on his success from round 4. He continued to box, move and pick his spots for combinations, coming in to the pocket at will where Kimura's lack of power really made life easy for the challenger. Kimura, to his credit, took the best shots that Guevara was throwing, but failed to match his work rate.
By round 8, when the cards were publicly announced again, reading 79-73, twice, and 77-75, it seemed like there was very little chance for Kimura, who was showing a bruise under his right eye and a marking on his nose. The shots of Lopez had began to take their toll and although tough Kimura was showing the scars of war.
Lopez continued to dictate the tempo and action of the fight through round 9 and 10 as he further increased his lead and although Kimura tried to fight back hard in round 11 the champion was in a hole he simply couldn't climb out of. His lack of power was allowing Lopez to take shots with no risk of being stopped, and Lopez's own shots were forcing Kimura to think twice about doing anything too risk.
By the final round Lopez seemed to know he had it in the bag and was happy to spoil, run and hold between his combinations as he cruised the round and cruised his way to his first world title. Although dominant one judge managed to score the bout with the cards reading 118-110、119-109 and amazingly 114-114.
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.