Dramatic fights are why we all watch boxing, and that's exactly what fans who tuned into NTV today got as we were treat to an intriguing WBC Bantamweight title fight between Shinsuke Yamanaka (25-0-2, 17) [山中 慎介] and Venezuelan challenger Liborio Solis (23-4-1, 10).
Solis, fighting in Japan for the third time, had talked the big talk before the fight. He had spoken about Yamanaka having a glass jaw and about how he was going to stop the champion, who was seeking his 10th defense of the title.
The talk of Solis wasn't backed up in the opening round as the visitor showed a lot of respect for Yamanaka and threw very little. The best punches of the round were both left hands from the champion and in all honesty the round wasn't a great opener. The pace however did pick up and in the opening stages of round Solis was down, although it looked like a slip-come-push the referee ruled it a legitimate knockdown. It secured Yamanaka a 10-8 round but seemed to fire up solis who let rip with some solid right hands and got into Yamanaka's face.
Although the “knockdown” in round 2 was a messy one there no doubting either of the knockdowns in round 3, with them both being scored by Solis who found a home for his powerful right hand. The first knockdown was a hard one with Yamanaka put onto the seat of his pants and when he recovered Solis smelled blood, forcing the second knockdown soon afterwards. It was a nightmare round for Yamanaka and one that gave credence to Solis's “glass jaw” comments. It has also secured the challenger a 10-7 round and evened up the cards.
Sadly for the challenger he was was unable to replicate his success in round 4 with a recovered Yamanaka showing respect to his rival and not choosing to slug it out. Instead Yamanaka boxed and move, finding opportunities to let his shots go and get out of range before the counters came back at him. It was a much needed comeback round and one that left him 37-36 up on all 3 of the cards, which were announced after the round.
Yamanaka's tactic of using speed and movement continued to be success in round 5 with Solis often throwing shots at the air from outside of range, whilst Yamanaka was connecting with consistent left hands. It wasn't until round 6 that Solis could mount any series assault, but even that was blunted by Yamanaka who countered well and did enough, especially late in the round, to claim it.
Although Yamanaka had waited late to win round 6 he started round 7 with bad intentions and cracked the challenger in the mid-section with a number of very solid left hands. It seemed to lead to the challenger slowing down with his dangerous right hands looking much less potent than they had in round 3. He was still looking to land them, but they were far less frequent than they had been earlier in the bout.
Solis, know he was slipping further behind, came out for round 8 swinging and he quickly looked to land bombs. They were however misfired and rarely came close to the champion who landed the best punch of the round then thwarted many of Solis' attacks by clinching. It seemed as if the fight was starting to wane on a bit, with both men showing a lot of respect to the other and neither really letting combinations go. Sadly for Solis inactivity wasn't an option and the open scoring had him 77-72 behind after 8 rounds.
The 9th saw another dubious call in favour of Yamanaka who was adjudged to have dropped Solis, though it hardly seemed a knockdown and another messy bundling over of the Venezuelan. The knockdown seem to get in cruise control somewhat and the round was a poor one with a lot of holding. It seemed the champion knew the bout was safe on the cards and he didn't need to take any risks, especially given the scare in round 3.
Despite the relatively dull 9th round Yamanaka did come out firing in round 10 and the pace suddenly warmed up with both landing solid bombs on each other. It was the best round for a while with Solis landing several hard right hands whilst Yamanaka's left hand was, as ever, consistently landing. The round seemed to set the stage for a couple of great championship rounds, though the reality was that those final two rounds intrigued more than excited, with the most memorable moment of round 11 being when the two men almost spilled through the ropes.
In round 12 it seemed that Yamanaka was looking for a finish, and opened up a very nasty cut on Solis's nose, but the challenger didn't seem to care about the cut and the two finished the round slugging it out. Solis knew he'd need a knockout, in fact he knew that after round 9, and his failure to get it essentially sealed his fate.
After the final bell the fighters embraced though both knew who the winner was, with the cards all reading 117-107 to Yamanaka.
There is now talk about Yamanaka unifying with IBF champion Lee Haskins, though we suspect he'll actually return to the ring in Summer for a rematch with either Suriyan Sor Rungvisai or Anselmo Moreno, in what will be a mandatory title defense for the hard hitting southpaw.
Whilst looking back the third round was a major scare for the champion the fact he had had to dig deep early on and recovered in the way he did was impressive and he deserves full credit for that. For Solis his effort, especially early, was commendable but in the end he did look like a man relying on landing a big right hand, with out setting it up properly. Had the challenger shown more nous there is a good chance this would have been much close than the cards suggest.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
It's all too rare in this sport that we get unification bouts. We as fans, as much as anything else, love them when they come around and wish we'd have more of them.
Less than a week ago it looked nailed on that we would have a unified Super Flyweight champion. The WBA and IBF titles were bound together with Liborio Solis (16-3-1, 7) set to face Daiki Kameda (29-4, 18).
There was just one problem, weight. On Monday Solis, failed to make the Super Flyweight limit. In fact he was closer to the Bantamweight limit than the Super Flyweight limit. This saw Solis stripped of the WBA title and unableto win the IBF belt. Daiki however was eligible still to win the WBA title and unify it with his IBF belt.
Unfortunately for Daiki the weight difference on the scales had multiplied by the time the two men had gotten in to the ring. Daiki, although above the Super Flyweight limit in the ring was physically smaller than Solis who was said to have been around the Lightweight limit.
Sadly for Daiki the weight difference came in to play early on.
The fight began as a phone booth war, a real tear up with both men unloading on each other in the first 3 rounds. There was more action in these 3 rounds than many 12 rounders have combined as both men decided to go to war with each other.
By round 4 the size disadvantage was taking it's toll on Daiki. The Japanese fighter couldn't hurt Solis who took every shot and came back with his own heavier shots. This saw Daiki changing his game plan and trying to box with Solis rather than going to war with him.
Trying to box with Solis didn't really help Daiki who was walked down, hurt and forced to clinch. By now it was clear that Daiki was going to need to move to a third game plan. This involved lots of shoe shining at Solis's body. No shot was going to hurt the Venezuelan but they could catch the judges eye and help Daiki claim the rounds.
By round 9 it seemed like Daiki had the toughness to take the best of Solis shots. He didn't have the fire power to force Solis into thinking twice about letting his hands go however he did have the work rate to make things interesting and the heart to keep going.
It was the heart and toughness of Daiki that was outstanding and in the final 3 rounds he upped his work, his effort and his energy as he tried to close the show and take the championship rounds. Whilst no one would have begrudged him those later rounds it was simply too little too late, he was in a hole and there was no real escape on the cards.
To us it seemed Solis was a clear winner. The cards would have been close, of course they would, Daiki may well have taken 2 of the first 4 and possibly the last 3, but that was about as good as it got for him. He was battered in the middle portion of the bout and rounds 4-9 were clearly Solis's with the Venezuelan having a very good shout to have won the first 3 as well. At best for Daiki we had it a 115-113 loss, at worst it it 117-111 to Solis.
As per usual however the judges saw things very differently to us. They had it, rather remarkably, a split decision. We believe the cards were read out as 115-113, 112-116 and 116-112, though there was confusion with the announcements.
Oddly the reactions of the two fighters were very odd. Solis celebrated as if he had won the lottery or been told he was crowned master of the universe when in fact he had effectively won a fight for naught, he wasn't going to be reinstated by the WBA nor was he to claim the IBF title. Daiki on the other hand looked solemn despite technically retaining his title on a loss.
Interestingly this result has actually set up some very interesting looking possibilities for 2014.
We are likely to see Daiki fighting against Zolani Tete in a defense of the IBF title, that appears to be almost set in stone with Tete claiming a mandatory position this past weekend.
With Solis beating Daiki but unable to make the Super Flyweight limit we'd not be shocked if 2014 brought us a bout between Tomoki Kameda, who retained his WBO Bantamweight belt on this same show, and Solis. It's a bout that allows the Kameda's to gain some form of revenge over Solis and allows Solis a chance to return to Japan for another world title and another decent payday.
The fact the WBA Super Flyweight title is now vacant could also see Koki Kameda aborting plans to fight Anselmo Moreno in a Bantamweight title fight and instead dropping to Super Flyweight. If Koki does that he could potentially be Japan's first ever 4 weight world champion.
One thing is for sure, there was probably more "good" from Solis failing to make weight than their was bad. Sure we failed to have a unified champion but on the other hand we have seemingly gotten a very, very interesting situation.
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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