To end a great Saturday of boxing we saw Takashi Miura (31-4-2, 24) [三浦 隆司] face off with WBC Super Featherweight champion Miguel Berchelt (32-1, 28), in a mandatory title challenge. Sadly for Miura his age, and stylistic deficiencies, saw him come up short in a bout that promised a lot but fell way short of expectations.
From the opening moments it was clear that Berchelt respect Miura's much vaunted left hand, and instead of standing his ground and engaging he made the most of his natural advantages, notable his speed and movement, to control the range and land on Miura from range. Not only was Berchelt landing be he did so with eye catching shots, including a right-left combination which dropped Miura in the opening round.
From round 1 to round 6 the bout had a very defined pattern, with Miura chasing shadows, hitting air and being tagged by Berchelts shots on a regular basis. Every so often Miura would connect, but his success rate was low, and came in the form of single shots, with no follow ups, allowing Berchelt to get away without any issues at all.
In round 7 Miura began to have success, landing some solid straight lefts that left Berchelt bleeding from the mouth and begin to show signs of doubt. That doubt was slowly becoming clear, but he continued to fight to his game plan, moving and boxing, using his speed and movement to avoid a tear up. In round 8 Miura managed to really have success, with some big body shots, and despite his right eye swelling it seemed like he was starting to get to a tiring Berchelt. The Mexican was still landing the better combinations but the Japanese fighter seemed to be landing the heavier single blows, and the fight seemed to be turning in his favour, even if it was only slightly.
As we moved in to the the final few rounds Miura seemed to get progressively more successful, though Berchelt was never looking second best. In fact whilst Berchelt looked the better fighter, it was clear the fight was much harder than he was expecting, and much more draining than he'd trained for. That showed again when he had to fight incredibly hard in the final round, with Miura clearly looking to land a home run shot, knowing he needed a KO. Miura could never find the shot, but that was only because Berchelt stayed alert, and did all he could to avoid having a final round fire fight.
At the end of the bout it was clear Berchelt had won, though the score cards were rather spread, with one judge scoring it 120-109, another having it 119-108 and the the third having it a more competitive looking 116-111. We were close to the final card, though admit there may have been some bias. The fight was certainly no shut out, but the card of 120-109 suggests several even rounds, given the knockdown in round 1.
The future for Berchelt will likely feature big international fights. From Miura however the future likely consists of retirement, as he's not the high intensity, combination punching warrior he once was. He's still got a warrior mindset, but not longer the energy or intensity to make the most of it, sadly
Yesterday night in Mexico fans had the chance to see experienced Thai Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo (61-3, 41) [ชลธาร อ.พิริยะภิญโญ] take part in his third "world" title bout, as he tool on big punching WBO "Interim" Super Featherweight champion Miguel Berchelt (30-1, 27). Sadly for the Thai it wasn't to be third time lucky as he suffered a painful loss to the talented and exciting Mexican.
Chonlatarn started well in fairness to him and he made it clear that he came to fight as he came forward and tried to put Berchelt under pressure from the opening seconds. That pressure had some success late in the round, as he seemed to tag Berchelt clean, but was caught as the men exchanged punches just before the bell and seemed to struggle with the speed and movement of Berchelt which was allowing Berchelt to tag the Thai as he came in. The following round again saw Chonlatarn applying the pressure and like in the first round he struggled to corner the fleet footed Mexican who ended the round with several solid shots on the Thai.
The Thai tried to apply the pressure again in round 3 but by now the Mexican was totally at ease and and picked his spots to force Chonlatarn backwards with raids on the front foot as well as the smart boxing on the move. With about a minute of the round left Berchelt rocked Chonlatarn and a follow up saw the Thai being forced to take some incredibly hurtful shots as it looked like he as ready to go. To his credit Chonlatarn saw out the round but was left looking like a who was close to being finished.
That finish ultimately came in round 4 with Berchelt biding his time early in the round before exploding with spiteful shots, backing up Chonlatarn and then breaking Chonlatarn with power shots to head and body before a sweeping left hook dropped the Thai hard. Chonlatarn beat the count but was dropped again seconds later from a flurry punctuated with a nasty body shot, this time he stayed down, with an official time of 2:59 seconds of the round gone, though it did seem like a long round.
For the Thai the loss likely finishes his hopes of ever becoming a world champion whilst it sets up a potentially great fight between Berchelt and Vasyl Lomachenko, in what could potentially be a really good test for the highly skilled Ukrainian star.
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.