For us the Light Flyweight division has been the best in the sport for the last few years. It's had great fighters passing through it, like Naoya Inoue and Kosei Tanaka, and right now has so much depth to it that we really could do a WBSS style tournament with 8 fighters and not have a clear weak link involved.
Today we saw one of the divisions' top stars showing what he can do, with unbeatenWBC champion Kenshiro (16-0, 9) [拳四朗] succesfully defending against mandatory challenger Jonathan Taconing (28-4-1, 22). Not only did Kenshiro retain his title, but he went he did so by stopping the feared Filipino puncher, who had never previously been stopped.
The champion, making his 6th defense, looked relaxed from the off, and showed his sharp punching, his movement and his ring craft straight away. He was able to find a home for his jab almost immediately and controlled the hard hitting challenger with his movement and straight and straight punching. As a thunder punching southpaw Taconing seemed to pose questions that Kenshiro hadn't yet seen, though it appeared that the Japanese fighter immediately solved every question Taconing could ask.
The Filipino showed ambition, came forward, and looked like he had some determination to make the most of his third world title fight, but was just made to look like a rather crude novice against the smooth, sharp and intelligent champion.
Having won the opening round Kenshiro was actually under a bit of pressure in round 2 as the challenger looked to turn things around. Taconing came out really aggressively for the round, but he was struggling to land and was being force fed clean shots by the champion who found a home for some classy blows, including an eye catching uppercut.
Although Taconing continued to be aggressive in round 3 Kenshiro began to move through the gears, landing more straight right hands, timing Taconing, and even holding his feet with the hard hitting challenger, who was becoming incredibly desperate and wild. That wildness lead to a clash of heads in round 3 that resulted in Taconing being cut on his forehead, in what was a genuine accidental clash. Despite it being an accident Kenshiro was deducted a point, as per the WBC's accidental foul rule, resulting in a 9-9 round.
The point deduction didn't play any part in the outcome of the bout however and in round 4 Kenshiro's accurate punching and fantastic timing gave us an early finish. Taconing was still firing off big, wild, reckless bombs, and about 40 seconds into the round he ate a huge counter right hand, then a left immediately afterwards. Taconing crashed face first to the canvas, and although he got to his feet he was glassy eyed and wobbly, forcing the referee to wave off the action and give the champion his latest win.
It's unclear what is next for the champion, though it is worth noting that WBA "super" champion Hiroto Kyoguchi was ringside for the bout, and the two men have spoken about unifying, leaving the mouth watering possibility that they will indeed clash in December, s has been rumoured for much of 2019.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.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.
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.