The second of 7 world title bouts to end the in Japan was a WBO Super Flyweight title bout that saw defending champion Naoya Inoue (12-0, 10) [井上 尚弥] retain his title in a brilliantly fun fight against the aggressive and tough Kohei Kono (32-10-1, 13) [河野 公平] in a genuine exciting fight.
From the opening seconds it was clear that Kono wasn't in the ring to make up numbers and within a minute he was launching hooks and trying to put Inoue under pressure. Sadly for Kono that wasn't hugely effective in the first round as Inoue's speed and skills saw him land some nasty shots, and he seemed to shake Kono in the final moments of the round. Kono is known as the “Tough Boy” for a reason and proved that in round 2 when he continued to apply the pressure and steamed in again in an offensive manner. Again he was punished with Inoue landing some really brutal body shots that would have taken out most other foes. Kono on the some how saw out the round with going down but he had been badly hurt before the bell.
Kono refused to learn his lesson and continued to apply the same game plan in round 3, and again took some abuse to the body. It was however a better round for Kono who seemed to realise that his offense was causing Inoue to put limit what he was doing and despite taking some monstrous body shots he withstood most of the Inoue assault with no real issue. Kono continued to build on that success with an excellent round 4, a round in which he seemed to genuinely win with sheer determination and work rate, despite a vicious combination at the end from Inoue.
We saw Kono continue to attack in an ultra-aggressive manner through round 5 and once again he seemed to have Inoue hadcuffed at times while unloading flurry after flurry. Not every shot from the challenger got through but there was enough getting through to give him half a hope as Inoue seemed to slow down. Although Kono was having success Inoue didn't look too bothered by things, but was clearly under some pressure.
Sadly for Kono the ultra-aggressive tactic became his undoing in round 6 when he was caught by a frighteningly good counter shot from Inoue. The shot sent Kono down hard and it seemed unlikely Kono would beat the count, so much saw that Inoue rushed the corner and started celebrating. Amazingly Kono regained his feet, and the referee allowed him to go on. It was however a futile effort and a follow up from Inoue sent the challenger down for the second time, this time causing the referee to wave the bout off.
For Kono, who suffered his first stoppage loss here, this is probably the end. He was game and brave through the bout, giving Inoue one of his most interesting tests to date, but it was likely a case of “giving everything and going out on your shield to end your career” rather than anything else.
As for the champion his attention surely turns, once again, to unification bouts and other notable opponents with contests against the likes of Roman Gonzalez, Juan Francisco Estrada, Carlos Cuadras, Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, Kal Yafai, Johnriel Casimero and Jerwin Ancajas all really attractive propositions in the red hot Super Flyweight division. His stoppage here was a much needed statement after some less than flattering performances recent and it may well have put the division on alert once again, much as he did when he took out Omar Andres Narvaez in 2 rounds at the end of 2014.
The second WBA Super Flyweight reign of popular Japanese veteran Kohei Kono (32-9-1, 13) [河野 公平], a fighter from the Watanabe Gym, ended earlier today as he was out pointed by Panamanian Luis “El Nica” Concepcion (35-4, 24), who entered the bout as the interim champion and unified his title with regular belt that Kono was attempting to defend for the 4th time.
Early on Concepcion's movement and skill prevented Kono from landing much clean with the “Tough Boy" struggling with the distance and tempo as the slower Japanese fighter who fought on the retreat through the opening rounds as Concepcion backed him up at will. Despite the good start for Concepcion's we then saw Kono's fighters mentality kicked in round 4 as we started to get the fight many had been expecting and saw the two exchanging blows. It was during the exchanges that Concepcion's power began to take hold and he forced Kono to back off after taking more solid shots.
Having felt the Panamanian's power Kono changed tactic and began to look for counter shots, knowing that his Plan A wasn't a smart one. Those counters were well timed but Concepcion didn't seem too bothered by them with the visitor adapting and changing the pace of the fight, holding when he needed to and disrupting Kono's assault's when the Japanese fighter started to grow in confidence and come forward himself.
Despite Concepcion looking in control at times Kono did break through in round 9 with a solid right hand and it seemed that, for the first time, he had Concepcion in trouble. Concepcion however rode out the storm and got back to the smart work he had been doing earlier in the bout. Going into round 10 it was clear that Kono had a lot of work to do though unfortunately he was unable to turn things around, despite having success with his right hand through the 10th.
Kono again had success in round 11, as Concepcion seemed to slow further, but was unable to finish off his foe who again used his abilities to thwart Kono's charge, with a nasty headbutt causing visible damage. That charge of Kono's was further slowed in round 12 when he took a painful low blow. The pain was clear but so was Kono's desire and he continued to try to turn the bout around, but it was far too little too late.
At the final bell there was no surprise over who had won with Concepcion a well deserving winner with scores of 116-112, 116-112 and 115-113, with the final card a bit too close in our eyes.
Sadly for Watanabe that's their second champion to lose their title this year, with Takashi Uchiyama losing the WBA Super Featherweight "Super" title to Concepcion's countryman Jezreel Corrales in a genuine upset. Watanabe may be able to secure two rematch for New Year's Eve, however it's clear both Kono and Uchiyama are coming to the end of their careers and it would be no shock to see both hang them up in the very near future. If they do it'll be a horrible time for those in charge of the Watanabe gym, who have also seen veteran Akio Shibata retire this year and it could be that the elder statesmen of the gym all vanish in the space of a year.
For Concepcion the bout opens up a lot of doors in Asia with fighters like Takuma Inoue and Sho Ishida both possibly encouraging their teams to offer the new champion a December bout in Japan for solid money and a potential rematch with Kono also plausible. After today's bout we wouldn't be surprised if Japanese fans wanted to see more of Concepcion.
(Image courtesy of daily.co.jp)
Earlier today Japanese fans in Tokyo saw WBA Super Flyweight champion Kohei Kono (32-8-1, 13) [河野 公平] retain his title with a relatively straight forward win against limited Thai Inthanon Sithchamuang (28-8-1, 15) [อินทนนท์ ศิษย์ชะมวง].
The fight saw the two men gradually ease their way in to the bout with the opening round being a relatively quiet one before the pace picked up in round 2. Unfortunately for the challenger the quicker the pace became the worse it became for him and in round 3 it seemed like Kono was beginning to out work and break down the challenger.
The aggression from Kono continued in round 4 with Inthanon being beaten through the round before finally going down, just seconds before the bell. The bell had saved the challenger but it was clear that Inthanon was being beaten up and broken down with little coming back from him.
The following round saw Inthanon being dropped again, this time their was more time in the round but Kono couldn't quite for the stoppage. Despite seeing out the 5th round Inthanon seemed to be on to a hiding to nothing and bravely came out for round 6.
Surprisingly, given he had been dropped in the previous two rounds, Inthanon had a decent 6th and managed to stay up right for the full 3 minutes. That was however just a momentary bit of success for the challenger who tasted the canvas again in round 7, with Kono coming close to scoring a stoppage with a follow up attack before the bell prolonged the contest.
The Thai looked like he had no hope at the end of round 7 though showed his heart in round 8 to fight back bravely. It was a better round from the Thai and it seemed like he grew in bravery coming out and giving Kono a bit of a battle in round 9, though it looked like Inthanon was a man fighting out of desperation whilst Kono, who was a mile ahead on the cards,
Although Inthanon had had success, from rounds 8 through to 10, it seemed as if Kono had snapped back in to searching for a KO in 11 as dominated Inthanon, though was unable to find a decisive blow that would have finished off the game, but out matched Thai challenger.
Having really gone for it in round 11 it seemed that Kono would again go for a stoppage in round 12. Amazingly however Inthanon refused to buckle and when he needed to he fought back, defying the odds to survive to the final bell and hear the decision, something that seemed remarkable given the beating he had received in the earlier rounds, as well as the championship rounds.
Given the knockdowns and one-sided nature of the bout there was no doubting the scorecards, which had given Inthanon some credit for his bravery in the later rounds, with all 3 reading 119-106 to the Japanese fighter.
Whilst Kono failed to secure a stoppage he was never at risk of losing this one and hopefully a bigger bout will be just around the corner for the popular “Tough Boy”. As for Inthanon he defied the general belief that he would be stopped, though never really seemed competitive here.
*Note- TV Tokyo listed Inthanon as being 43-11-1 (22) entering the bout.
For the first time in history we got the chance to see an All Japanese world title fight take place in the US on Friday night, and we got a treat in a brutal, high paced, all action FOTY contender. And an Upset of the Year contender.
The fight in question saw the criminally under-rated Kohei Kono (31-8-1, 13) shock countryman Koki Kameda (33-2, 18) and retain the WBA Super Flyweight title, whilst potentially setting a big Macau show down.
The bout saw two men, who had been jibing each other for months, go straight to action with both men having a shout to claim an action packed opening round. Despite the great back-and-forth it was clear the referee wasn't going to take any infractions and in round 2 took a point from Kameda for low blows, in a horror round that has also seen him dropped. Another deduction from the challenger was made in round 3 as well and although Kameda was more than holding his own the deductions were certainly not doing him any favours at all.
In the middle the challenger started to set himself. The southpaw bad-boy seemed to manage to hurt the champion, sadly however it was the referee who was beginning to get more attention than the fighters with much being made of Celestino Ruiz's bizarre decisions, which included another deduction in round 9.
Kameda had put a lot into the middle rounds and had failed to make the most of his natural boxing and speed to engage in a war. The decision had been a bad one and in the later rounds his pace began to slow and Kono began to have the fight swing back his way as his energy reserves and toughness took over.
The desire of the champion was simply be too much for the challenger who had fought the wrong fight and had in fact fought his opponents fight. The tactics of Kameda may have made for a great fight, and the terrible officiating of the referee may have been almost inept, but the fight had been thrilling and the wait for the cards was equally so. Thankfully however the judges got it right giving the win to Kono by scores of 113-111, 115-109 an 116-108.
Now there are rumours of Kono looking towards a fight with Rex Tso, however a rematch with Kameda, a unification bout with Naoya Inoue or a clash with interim champion David Sanchez would certainly make interestingly alternatives. For Kameda this hits his dream of becoming a 4-weight world champion, however the performance will likely see fans showing him some respect. Sadly for Kameda however this could well be the sort of result that damages the reputation of the “Kameda Klan” who have now lost 4 fights this year between them, a really worrying figure.
WBA Super Flyweight champion Kohei Kono (30-8-1, 13) successfully recorded the first defence of his title earlier today as he fought to a split decision draw with Dominican slickster Norberto Jimenez (20-8-4, 10). The bout, Kono's first since stopping Denkaosan Kaovichit back in March, saw him defending a world title successfully for the first time, though it has had to come in his second reign.
The “Tough Boy” from Tokyo was forced to chase the faster moving Jimenez around the ring for the most part with the speedy youngster living up to his reputation as a mover, a shaker and a dancer. The movement seem to trouble Kono more than the punches of the challenger though unfortunately the speed difference really help prevent a tear up, though damage was done in the second round with the challenger being cut over the right eye.
Kono's pressing and pressuring began to have success in round 4 though Jimenez managed to answer back with uppercuts of his own, it was however a sign that Kono could cut the distance. He did the same in round 6 as he managed land his powerful right straight though the telling blow in the round was a low blow from Jimenez which saw him being deducted a point.
Through the later middle rounds Jimenez seemed to get back on on his bike and generate the space he needed to get his shots off with out risking himself too much. It was a tactic he knew worked and that's exactly what it did here as he managed to collect a few much needed rounds and slow down the charge of the champion.
The champion continued to try and finish off the challenger in the final rounds but was unable to land the punches needed to stop the Dominican who had a break out performance in some ways though also made himself some enemies with what was at times a performance more about moving than fighting.
At the end the cards were a bit all over the place though the deciding card was the 114-114 that resulted ina draw, an odd card given the point deduction
Sadly for Kono this paints a big bullseye on his back, he is a champion there for the taking, a title that many in the division will view as being easy to win. Of course he's not a poor fighter but he's certainly a beatable one and we'd not be shocked if Hideyuki Ohashi pulled out the stops to get a fight between Kono and either Ryo Matsumoto or Naoya Inoue made for 2015, if Koki Kameda decides to "go another route" now he's fighting in the US.
The highlight of the boxing week took place earlier today at the legendary Korakuen Hall as Japan's very own Kohei Kono (30-8, 13) reclaimed the WBA Super Flyweight title that he lost to Liborio Solis less than a year ago.
Solis, of course, was stripped of the belt prior to his controversial fight with Daiki Kameda, and that had left the title vacant. The WBA had rightfully decided that the way to crown a new champion was to match the top two contenders and that's exactly what they did by matching Kono, #2, with Thai veteran Denkaosan Kaovichit (62-4-1, 26), who was himself ranked #1.
Of course the ranking's don't often tell you the real story of a fighters talent but these two were both bona fide world level fighters, both had been former world champions and both knew that this was their big chance to re-establish themselves on the world stage.
The fight started with both men looking to force their fight. This saw Kaovichit coming forward with a busier work rate, his intentions were clear, he was going to be trying to set a quick pace and rack up the rounds early, as he had done against Kono's compatriot and former rival Nobuo Nashiro last year. Kono however was playing the patient game looking to land his heavier right hands at rather than give away his power for speed. This combination of styles made for some very interesting rounds which could be scored either way depending on whether you preferred work rate or clean accurate punches.
In round 4 the power of Kono was finally felt as he landed a beautiful counter right that dropped Kaovichit hard. The Thai had effectively walked on to the shot, which was one that Kono had been practising through out his training camp. To his credit Kaovichit got to his feet, he was still visibly hurt though had the where with all to see out the round and make his way to the bell.
Despite the knockdown in round 4 Kaovichit did incredibly well in the proceeding rounds seemingly winning both round 5 and round 7 as Kono patiently waited for another chance to land his right hand. There was no sense of urgency in Kono's work just the belief that he was going to get a chance to connect with another big right hand at some point. Though in round 6 the Japanese fighter did land some crisp shots taking advantage of the fact Kaovichit was becoming awfully predictable at times.
Having seemingly known he was up on the cards entering the second half of the fight Kono then took round 7 off. He allowed Kaovichit to do as he wished with little really thrown back in anger. It was a big change from round 6 though it seemed to set up Kaovichit for the fall that was to hit the following round as the Thai was smashed by a stunning right hand that laid him down in round 8. This time the shot was enough to see off the Thai whose career must be all but finished.
Whilst this may be the end for Kaovichit it seems likely to re-ignite Kono's career and a fight with former 3 weight world champion Koki Kameda is looking very likely later this year. Although the Kameda's haven't got a Japanese license right now it's expected that Koki will agree to sign on with another gym for his chance to become Japan's first ever 4 weight world champion on the flipside though Koki will know that he won't be given the "promotional protection" that has helped in some of his more recent bouts. In fact if anything he'll have to fight on a Watanabe show, with Kono being the "home fighter".
(Photo courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Courtesy of Boxrec.com
In a mild upset Kohei Kono (28-8, 11) lost his WBA Super Flyweight title in his first defense as champion Liborio Solis (15-3-1, 7) claimed a highly debatable majority decision.
The fight started slowly with neither man managing to really take the opening round, though the bout heated up quickly and both men were trading through out the second round. It was during a trading exchange that Solis suffered a flash knockdown and gave away a 10-8 round.
After being dropped Solis came back well and the two men fought 4 fantastic rounds that had genuine to-and-fro action with neither man getting a clear upper hand over the other. Every round from 3 through 6 could well be up for round of the year as both men showed their warrior spirit and took one to land one.
Despite the action in round 6 it appeared that Kono was changing his game plan and rather than trading headshots he started to dig Solis to the body, a tactic he employed to even greater effect in round 7 as he appeared to be slowing the challenger down. The body shots may have been connecting but they weren't able to stop Solis who actually turned things around in a big 8th round that saw Kono dropped hard and rocked repeatedly as Kono had his best round of the fight.
Kono seemed to lose round 9 as Solis changed his tactics and rather than brawling with Kono the Venezuelan started to boxer and move. Whilst the challenger was boxing he was making the champion look incredibly foolish and and clumsy. The jab and movement, which appeared to score time and time again seemed to suggest that Solis could have been making the bout harder for himself in the earlier rounds.
The boxing of Solis continued through round 10 as the pace started to slow and Solis started to combine his excellent distance work with tying Kono up on the inside effectively neutralising the champion who also had a point deducted in the round just to make things even worse.
Despite having been out boxed for much of the previous 2 rounds Kono came back excellently in the championship rounds and appeared to rock the challenger in both rounds as he looked to close the show. Unfortunately for Kono however he was just a tad too predictable and Solis saw out the final bell to claim a jaw dropping majority decision,
World Title Results
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