Earlier today attention turned to Ukraine to watch WBA Flyweight champion Artem Dalakian (17-0, 12) record his first defense, as he scored an 8th round TKO win over mandatory challenger Yodmongkol Vor Saengthep (50-4, 35), in what was a very one sided bout.
The opening round saw the Ukrainian looking much bigger than the challenger, thoiugh he didn't rely in his physicality, instead choosing to box and move. The Thai looked to cut the distance when he could, but he was always too slow and Dalakian caught him on the way in and got out before Yodmongkol had a chance to return fire.
In the first few rounds Dalakian looked more and more in control, with Yodmongkol bringing the pressure but really not doing so in an effective manner. Instead he was essentially trudging towards the champion and being tagged up close. It was progressively more and more one sided, though Dalakian really didn't look like he was looking to finish it too early. Instead the champion wanted to put on a show for the fans, showing his skills, as well as his power and aggression.
The aggression cranked up significantly in round, when the champion dropped the Thai with a brutal uppercut in the opening seconds. The champion really went hunting a finish there and then and unloaded through out the round with a massive and prolonged assault. It was a testament to Yodmongkol's toughness that he saw out the round, but it was thoroughly one sided.
It seemed as if the champion had perhaps punched himself out as he seemed to take round 6 off, and even then the Thai couldn't cut the distance to have any real success of his own. Instead Dalakian took the round off, and still won it, thanks in part to a late flurry. The following round saw Dalakian again showing signs of taking his foot off the gas, but once again the Thai couldn't do anything of any note to make the Azeri-born-Ukrainian pay. Instead the champion unloaded on the bell, likely trying to steal the round, yet managed to drop the Thai for the second time.
Going in to round 8 it seemed like the challenger was there on borrowed time, and it looked like Dalakian had fully recovered from his huge effort in round 5. One again the Thai was dropped, and although he showed a lot of courage to get back to his feet, the referee really could have stopped the bout there and then. Instead the fight was allowed to go on, and a Dalakian follow up forced the referee to stop the bout and save the Thai.
For Dalakian the bout was a perfect home coming defense, and a great way to legitimise his reign whilst Yodmongkol's status as a top contender is clearly over. How he got a mandatory title shot is a bit of a mystery and given his performance here, it's hard to imagine him getting another shot at a world title any time soon.
In 2017 we saw Kazuto Ioka firstly vacate the WBA Flyweight title and then retire all together. Today we finally saw that title find a new owner as Artem Dalakian (16-0, 11) out pointed Filipino-American veteran Brian Viloria (38-6-0-2, 23) in a real break out win to put himself on the boxing map.
The fight started well for Dalakian who looked the younger, fresher and hungrier fighter in the early going. He used his physical advantages well to box at range, and his faster feet allowed him to control the pace and distance of the fight, whilst Viloria looked to walk him down, though was far to slow for the most part to cut the distance. After the first few rounds it began to look like Viloria only had one chance to win, and that was landing a hayemaker to stop the Azeri-born Ukrainian.
Sadly for Viloria he seemed unable to pull the trigger, even when Dalakian was there to be hit. The unbeaten man, mostly fighting with his hands down, did give Viloria chances, but there was veyer few times that he managed to land anything of note. In fact the only real time that Dalakian was in any danger was in round 7, when Viloria landed a brutal right hand that visible shook Dalakian. To his credit the Ukrainian fighter held, spoiled and got through the round, though he deserves to be applauded for not going down from the best punch of the fight.
Dalakian was back in control the following round, though deducted a point in round 9 for pushing down on the head of Viloria, which he had been warned about several times. The original warning seemed to give Viloria the idea of trying to get a point taken from Dalakian by leading with his head, and the referee bought it, though it was only a small respite for Viloria who clearly lost the round and was well behind by that point.
The next real talking point came in round 11, when an accidental elbow caught Viloria in the center of his forehead, and left him with a real bleeder. It wasn't long until Viloria's face was a crimson mask, and Dalakian was hunting a stoppage. It was great round for Dalakian, even if the cut was caused by an accident. The Filipino's chin impressed however and he managed to see out the final couple of rounds.
Despite lasting the distance Viloria was clearly beaten, with all 3 judges scoring it 118-109 in favour of Dalakian. For Viloria the bout really seemed to show how far gone he is, and it's probably time he retires. For Dalakian however the win sets up some interesting fights, including a possible unification with WBC champion Daigo Higa.
Some fighters set out on their careers to make a lot of money, others set out to become legends and set new records. One fighter from the second category has been Japanese talent Kazuto Ioka (22-1, 13) [井岡一翔], who appears to be trying to set new records every time he sets foot in the ring, and seems intent on creating a legacy that will last long beyond his career.
He set his first record back in his 7th bout, when he set a Japanese speed record for fewest fights to a world title, he then became the first fighter to win an all Japanese unification bout, the quickest Japanese fighter to become a 2-weight champion and subsequently a 3-weigth champion.
Today he tied a long standing record for the most wins wins in world title bout by a Japanese fighter, winning his 14th world title bout, and defended the WBA Flyweight title for the 5th time, as he took a wide decision win over the teak tough, but thoroughly out classed, Thai challenger Noknoi Sitthiprasert (62-5, 38) [นกน้อย ซีพีเฟรชมาร์ท].
Coming in to the bout Noknoi had won 61 consecutive bouts, but had been fighting at such a low level that his actually ability was a bit unknown. What we found out today was that his ability wasn't outstanding, but his toughness was incredible as he took a really one sided beating, but managed to survive the 12 rounds.
The bout began slowly enough, but Ioka was the busier fighter in the early stages. The one early break for Noknoi was a point deduction from Ioka in round 3 for a low blow, a low blow that replays showed was a legitimate body shot and one that clearly hurt Noknoi right on the bell. From then on Ioka moved through the gears, with only round 6 being particularly competitive, with both men trading shots with success. It was a round that Noknoi may have won, but one that could easily have gone to the flashier Ioka, who was letting combinations rip to both the head and body.
Despite the point deduction in round 3 the referee seemed to miss numerous low ones from Ioka, who landed some brutal blows to the balls. Despite the low blows and combinations Noknoi held strong and hardly seemed to feel the weight of Ioka's shots until round 11 when he was shaken several times, and seemed to be heading to the canvas on numerous occassions. Despite being hurt Noknoi amazingly stayed up right and managed to finish the round by firing back at Ioka, who looked desperate for a stoppage.
Ioka's aggression and hunt for a stoppage continued in round 12 as he tried to finish off the Thai but Noknoi's extreme toughness kept him upright to the final bell in what was a real surprise given the punishment he'd taken.
At the final bell there was no doubting the winner, though the cards were close than we expected with the judges scoring the bout 117-110, twice and 116-111, a remarkably close score given the domination of Ioka.
After the bout Ioka admitted that he was wanting to stop Noknoi and keep alive his stoppage run, the Thai though really impressed with his toughness, and we'd not be surprised to see him get another world title fight down the line based on his sheer durability. We were skeptical of how Noknoi would do, and whilst he was dominated he managed to really increase his standing with this performance.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
The final, of 5, world title fights today saw WBA Flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka (21-1, 13) [井岡一翔] pull himself off the canvas to retain his title, and stop and the previously unbeaten Thai teenager Stamp Kiatniwat (15-1, 6) [แสตมป์ กระทิงแดงยิม], who genuinely impressed with his incredible toughness.
The first round saw Ioka on the front foot and look to attack the body of Stamp but the Thai wasn't scared of the champion and came back firing bombs in the direction of the Osaka star. Those bombs had a massive effect in round 2 when a huge right hook sent Ioka down, hard. Ioka regrouped but looked hurt and on the retreat until the bell came to end the round. It was clear that Stamp, despite what his record states, hit hard and he shook Ioka up several times again in round 3. Despite showing real power it was the toughness of Stamp which was truly impressing as he walked through some disgustingly powerful body shots from Ioka during the round.
Sadly for Stamp it seemed that, after round 3, he was pretty much depending on his toughness as his work rate slowed dramatically and his combinations became less frequent whilst Ioka stepped up the pace. As Ioka moved through the gears he began to put on an exhibition in body punching, landing hooks and uppercutts to the torso of the youngster. Amazingly Stamp took the blows, and tried to fire back himself,with out buckling through a very tough round 4.
Although round 4 was tough for the Thai things only got tougher as Ioka began to give him a beating in round 5 and 6, a round that was close to being a 10-8 round without a knockdown. Stamp was doing more than surviving, but not much more as Ioka moved, boxed and broke down the Thai.
With Stamp visibly losing his power Ioka engaged him in a toe-to-toe battle in round 7. Up close Ioka was able to land body shots at will and started to use them to launch combinations, switching between the head and body with ease. Eventually the body shots took their toll with Stamp being dropped following a lovely left hand to the mid-section. The Thai was in agony but somehow regrouped to his feet and got up to fight again. Ioka went on the hunt and fired in blows before Stamp swung back, giving Ioka a big opening to the body which he took to score a second knockdown. Stamp got to his feet but wisely spat out his gum shield and the referee saved him from further harm.
For Ioka the win showed both his potency to the body as well as frailties to punchers, and it'd be wise for him to avoid big punchers going forward, though other than Daigo Higa there perhaps is a lack of true punchers at 112lbs. For Stamp the future will be interesting. This was certainly too much too soon, but will the damage linger with the Thai or will he comeback stronger? He could be damaged goods following this, or he could, just as easily, rebuild and come back to be a real star for Thailand over the next decade.
Just moments ago Japanese fans saw popular Osakan Kazuto Ioka (20-1, 12) [井岡一翔] successfully defend his WBA Flyweight title with a confident display against the determined and fiery Keyvin Lara (18-1-1, 6), from Nicaragua.
Lara began the fight with a high energy pressure style that saw him immediately taking the fight to Ioka and forcing the Osakan star on to the backfoot, and against the ropes. Despite being backed up Ioka looked calm and confident as he blocked a huge number of Lara's punches whilst landing some sickening counter shots of his own. For the first 4 rounds it was the same pattern of the fight.
In round 5 we began to see Ioka coming forward a bit more, and backing Lara away at times. The offensive work of Ioka was still mostly counters to Lara's intense pressure but it proved that Ioka was in control and could choose when and how to come forward. There was little Lara could do to stop him, or to defend against the increasingly frequent left hooks to the body which were chipping away at Lara's resolve.
By the end of round 6 we had began to see Lara slow notably whilst Ioka was becoming more aggressive and at one point it seemed he had momentarily buckled Lara's legs before the Nicaraguan regrouped and began throwing back. It was a brave effort from Lara but it was clear that he was being broken down and in rounds 7, 8 and 9 we saw Ioka become more and more aggressive. What had once been single counter shots were now fully fledged 3, 4 and 5 punch combinations to the Nicaraguan.
In round 10 Ioka began to actively hunt the knock out and for the final minute he seemed to have Lara going with something, god only knows what, keeping Lara upright until late in the round. The Nicaraguan seemed ready to go after beating the count but the bell saved him. Well we say saved him, he was quickly finished in round 11 with Ioka starting the assault early and finishing the challenger after just 71 seconds of the round, with Lara being counted out as he began to rise at 10.
The win for Ioka could mean he faces WBA “super” champion Juan Francisco Estrada, with the WBA officially instructing the two to negotiate from tomorrow. That fight would be much tougher than this one, though it's possible that the two men will go in different directions. Either way we don't expect to see Ioka back in the ring until his tradition December 31st bout. If it's not with Estrada it could be with fellow Japanese fighters Daigo Higa or Takuya Kogawa or possibly against WBA interim champion Stamp Kiatniwat.
For Lara the bout was a painful loss but he was impressive with high toughness and energy and we wouldn't be shocked to see him invited back over to Japan to face some of the other Japanese Flyweights, in fact a bout with Higa would be a potential FOTY contender.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Earlier this year Kazuto Ioka (19-1, 11) became the second Japanese fighter to become a 3-weight world champion as he claimed a narrow majority decision over Juan Carlos Reveco (36-3, 19). The bout, which was competitive, had been described as controversial with some stating it was a robbery and the WBA demanding that the two men do it again in a rematch.
Although a rematch was demanded the WBA did allow both fighters to take an interim bout, which both fighters won, by decisions.
Today that rematch took place and this time there was no controversy at all, in fact the bout was more a statement of intent by Ioka than a competitive fight with the champion retaining his title in very impressive fashion, the fashion that may well alert the rest of the division and prove that he is, finally, a fully fledged Flyweight.
The fight started with Ioka looking accurate, sharp, quick and confident, but very much like a man who was fighting conservatively. There was next to nothing wasted by the champion whilst the challenger tried to force a high tempo, though was in effective missing regularly with shots that either fell short or hit the guard. If Reveco was looking to set the pace his aim failed as Ioka calmly stepped out of range, walked around the ring, rest himself and slowly but surely began to break down the Argentinian.
The breaking down process was beautiful to watch with Ioka setting out his stall early. He wasn't busy but what he was determined, landing numerous solid body blows from very early on, shots that seemed to land with a thud time and time again. Reveco, for the most part, took them without showing any real discomfort but it seemed like the sheer force on them was going to take something away from the Argentinian, especially given his high work rate and the question marks about him struggling to make weight.
Through the first 4 rounds the bout was competitive but it always seemed like Ioka was the boss, he was the one choosing when to fight, the one landing the telling blows and the one who controlled the action, despite Reveco's high out put. That changed slightly in round 5 as Ioka stood his ground more and in round 6 it totally changed with the champion essentially taking the round off. If anything those two rounds gave Reveco hope, though it was hope that was demolished in round 7 as Ioka got back in to things and began to bully Reveco, winning the exchanges and backing up the challenger, who was looking gutsy but out matched.
Things went from bad to worse for Reveco who was starting to wear the damage of the fight around his left eye and was losing his footing frequently when he let his shots go. Unfortunately he was also eating shots to both the head and body through round 8 as Ioka began to smell the finish. The smell became stronger in round 9 when Reveco was left bleeding from his eye and took an absolute pasting, with volley's of shots to the head and body. It was the type of round that constitutes a 10-8 and the sort of round that can be the end of fighters chances.
Following the big 9th Ioka seemed to relax, ease off the gas and know that he had it in the bag. Reveco on the other hand put it all on the line and seemed to swing everything he had at Ioka, though only managed to tag the air, on a very regular basis. It was an embarrassing round for Reveco in terms of his accuracy, but he had shown his true grit by just trying to fight following the previous round.
For all his guts and determination Reveco was looking like a beaten and desperate fighter who had little to offer, other than his heart. Sadly form him even that failed, with a body shot in round 11 sending him down. He beat the count but was ruled unfit to continue, subjecting him to his first stoppage loss, possibly even his final bout at the world level, if not final bout all together.
In a number of countries we've seen a spate of weight jumping champions who have picked up straps at multiple weights. In Japan multi-weight champions are relatively rare with many really making their career in one division, possibly two. Amazingly 3-weight champions in Japan are scarce to say the least and at the start of this year only one Japanese born fighter had ever claimed divisional world titles in 3 division. That was the controversial Koki Kameda who had claimed titles at 108lbs, 112lbs and 118lbs. Today Kameda has been joined by the talented Kazuto Ioka (17-1, 10) who claimed the WBA Flyweight title and became the quickest fighter, in history, to become a 3-weight world champion and only the second Japanese born fighter to achieve the feat.
Ioka was fighting in his second Flyweight title bout and found himself up against talented Argentinian Juan Carlos Reveco (35-2, 19), a tough and determined boxer puncher from Mendoza, Argentina. Reveco was himself a 2-weight world champion and a man who had been in fine form winning his last 18 bout, including a victory in a previous visit to Japan against Masayuki Kuroda and a very impressive stoppage of the then interim champion Yodmongkol Vor Saengthep last December.
To us this was one of the most anticipated fights of the year and one that had been talked about for about a year. It was a clash of talented, exciting fighters with differing styles and a lot at stake. For all intents it was a must win for both and it was also a bout that had a sense of possible redemption for Ioka following his loss to amnat Ruenroeng last year in, an IBF Flyweight title bout, his first title bout at Flyweight.
Ioka's problem against Amnat was that he couldn't really get going and the Thai managed to find ways of shutting him down, time and time again. This time around Ioka got going from the off and found a home for his jab almost immediately and he kept Reveco at range during the opening rounds. Reveco tried to slip it but had little success in a very good opening round for the Japanese challenger. From then on though things became a bit tough with rounds 2,3 and 4 being incredibly close. Reveco was determined to get inside and unload flurries whilst Ioka was hoping to use his jab and keep the champion at range. Nether man could have things completely their own way and both managed to make a claim to any of those 3 rounds. We had given 2 of those 3 to Ioka though could easily have seen them go to Reveco.
In round 5 the challenger refound his groove, at least in the early portion of the round. Reveco seemed to wait, biding his time before turning it up late in the round to try and steal it, it was however too little too late for Reveco who, on our card, was 4-2 down.
Reveco seemed to sense that something had to change and he made those changes in round 6 as he put his foot on the gas and started to really take the fight to Ioka with several lovely crisp flurries. It was a really poor round from Ioka who struggled to land anything of note and it seemed that it was the champion who had found another gear. Round 7 was another one for the champion who had quickly close things up on our score card and shown that he had the will to win and the ability to put Ioka under fierce pressure. It was impressive from the champion who was fighting his fight and making Ioka look second best.
The champion tried to continue his success in round 8 but Ioka began to adjust, using his feet to act as the matador to Reveco's bullish assaults. It was the sort of change Ioka needed as the champion was coming on strong and building his momentum. The tactics weren't the prettiest from the Japanese fighter but worked enough for him to repeat them in the 9th round with Reveco failing for find the success he had had just a couple of rounds earlier.
Going into round 10 it was all to play for, we had it 6-3 to Ioka bout could easily have seen it going 6-3 to Reveco with a number of those early rounds being to close to call either way.
It seemed like it was the defending champion who felt the need to change things and in round 10 he really stepped up again in what was one of the fights best rounds with both men landing solid shots as they momentarily traded on the inside. It was a spectacular round though it was quickly forgotten as the 11th outshone it in every way with Reveco seemingly doing enough to take both rounds, though an argument could certainly be had in regard to the 11th. It seemed clear that neither man was sure they'd done enough and that they were going to have to dig deep with shots traded on the outside and the inside.
With rounds 10 and 11 both picking up the pace there was no doubting that round 12 had the potential be the best of the bunch and that's exactly what we got as the two men traded blows, and showed off what they were about. Reveco went all out trying to turn the fight around, as if he knew he had to do something more than the home town hero, Ioka managed to shift between holding his own in exchanges of blows and landing clean accurate counters. Watching Ioka here it was clear he was proving he could do everything he needed to, though at times it left us wondering why he seemed reluctant to trade earlier on. The round was so good that the TYC Sports commentator, Argentinian TV channel, expressed his admiration for the action with an exclamation of "Fantastico", a viewed shared by us and many others.
With the amount of close and highly competitive rounds there seemed to be no clear cut way to call the bout. TYC Sports had the Argentinian well ahead, 116-112, though they had seemed very pro-Reveco through the bout giving Reveco a lead of 78-74 after 8 rounds. We had had it 115-113 to Ioka though could certainly see the same score in favour of Reveco.
Slowly the cards were read out with scores of 114-114, 115-113 and 116-113, giving Ioka a majority decision that was received by tears from his team who know how valuable this win was to his legacy.
For some the result was controversial though in reality it was a bout that was close either way. The momentum shifted several times, the action was high quality from both, many rounds were very competitive and overall the fight was sensational. It was a highly skilled and action heavy fight that saw both men change their tactics throughout. Ioka's jab early saw him taking the lead, Reveco combinations and aggression saw him coming back into things, the Ioka was forced to use his feet before Reveco found a way to cut the distance.
A rematch between the two wouldn't be a bad choice though we expect that Ioka has other plans. The division is a stacked one with bug names, exciting contenders and a lot of good looking match ups. Showdowns with domestic rivals such as Suguru Muranaka and Koki Eto appear to be appealing, a fight with Brian Viloria would be mouth watering, a rematch with Felix Alvarado would also be an exciting proposition. If he's wanting an easier first defense a possible showdown with Noknoi Sitthiprasert may be interesting given Noknoi's run of form which has included more than 50 straight wins.
It really is an exciting time to follow Ioka, though it seems almost certain that we won't see him competing at Super Flyweight. He still seems a bit unsure of himself as a Flyweight and although he seems to have the size to fill into a very good Flyweight we don't seem him really looking comfortable against any of the division's top guys, such as Juan Francisco Estrada or Roman Gonzalez. Those wanting to see an all-Japanese super fight between Ioka and Naoya Inoue will almost certainly be left wanting and in fairness it would appear to be a huge mismatch in favour of Inoue, who is simply too big and too strong for Ioka. Thankfully though with so many exciting options our there Ioka could well be busy with some great fights and not need to look towards his fellow star for a major bout.
(Image, from a post fight press conference, courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
*Note Japanese licensed promoted fighters Roman Gonzalez and Jorge Linares, both of Teiken, have also become 3 weight world champions.
Some bouts look like mismatches the second they are signed. A punch doesn't always need to be thrown for us to know who's going to win. This was this past Friday night in Mexico as the diminutive Filipino Rommel Asenjo (26-4, 20) stepped up in weight and class to battle against the sensation Juan Francisco Estrada (32-2, 23). For Asenjo this was an opportunity he couldn't turn down, a win, however unlikely, would have have seen him claiming the WBA “super” and WBO Flyweight titles.
Sadly for Asenjo his only real success came in the opening with Asenjo managing to be competitive. What made the round competitive wasn't so much what Asenjo was doing, but more what Estrada wasn't doing. In fact the only really major punch in the opening round was a body shot from the champion who only fighting fighting in first gear.
In the second round the champion slowly began to warm up and in the final minute of the round things started to look very problematic for Asenjo who was looking completely out of his depth. Asenjo tried to counter when he had half a chance but was unable to get Estrada's respect whilst the champion really started to land with hurtful and clean shots, almost at will.
To his credit Asenjo saw out the round before going down, and although he was beginning to take a pounding there was still plenty of fight in the challenger. Sadly however his team seemed to know his time was numbered and less than a minute in round 3 they threw in the towel to save their swollen charge.
The ending was weird with he towel coming in when there was no real danger to the challenger, but the damage to his face was significant and in some ways the decision is an understandable one, it's just a shame it came this early into the fight when there was was a chance for Asenjo to go out on his sword.
Sadly for Asenjo this was the second time he'd come up short in a world title fight and we really can't see him getting a third shot. For Estrada it was too easy and it's now time he faced a real challenge rather than a Filipino foe that signed for the bout only weeks before it was set and had to come up 2 weight divisions fro the bout. He's better than this and should be fighting top competition on a more regular basis.
Just a few moments ago we saw a new WBA Light Flyweight champion crowned as Ryoichi Taguchi (21-2-1, 8) dominated Peruvian fighter Alberto Rossel (32-9-0-1, 13) and easily claimed the biggest win of his career.
For the first two rounds two men were competitive and even with with each other but in round 3 the more complete skills of Taguchi began to take hold with the Japanese fighter beginning to settle, find his range and land clean head shots on to the champion.
The success from Taguchi lead to more success and in round 4 he began to corner Rossel landing the crisper and cleaner punchers whilst Rossel was unable to really answer. Rossel tried to fight back in round 5 but was against unable to over-come the clear reach advantage of Taguchi made use of his size excellently.
In round 6 it appeared the end was nigh for Rossel as Taguchi continued to have success time and time again whilst boxing behind his sharp and accurate jab. Rossell tried his best to respond but his out put was often too little and it looked more like he throwing to try and slow Taguchi's offense rather than to try and win the fight.
Rossel efforts had done well to keep him in the fight going into round 8 but a headclash seemed to bother him, a lot and soon afterwards Taguchi dropped him before continuing a vicious assault on the Peruvian who was really starting to struggle whilst being walked backwards.
Rossel came out for the 9th round though was again given a beating by Taguchi who boxed beautifully on the move and scored another knockdown, albeit a somewhat controversial one with a glancing body blow.
The his credit the champion was showing his toughness but that was almost all he had going for him as Taguchi went on the offensive and tried to see off the veteran champion who was spending large swathes of his time on the backfoot trying to avoid Taguchi before throwing a hayemaker. The shots of Rossel were now completely off balance and desperate whilst Taguchi continued to box brilliant behind his jab and never over-exerting himself.
A tiring Rossel continued to back pedal through out round 11 as Taguchi stalked his prey and came forward relentlessly looking to land power shots behind his jab whilst having no worries about the little that Rossel fired back with.
In round 12 it seemed like Rossel was going to go for an amazing come from behind victory, that however ended quickly and about a minute into the round Taguchi showed intention throwing a howitzer of a right hand that narrowly missed the Peruvian. Moments later Taguchi managed to land a similar punch and in the moments that followed Rossel tried to hold and survive whilst Taguchi began loading up the right hands looking for the KO. The round, and fight, however ended with Taguchi on the ropes with the two men exchanging wildly in brilliantly exciting scenes, unfortunately the those scene only lasted moments.
Whilst Taguchi may have wished to have stopped Rossel the Peruvian showed his toughness, especially in the later rounds. He was a defiant loser, but a clear loser and Taguchi is certainly no long just "the man that went the distance with Naoya Inoue" he is, himself, a world champion and a well deserving one.
(Note this fight is to be aired on TV Tokyo in Japan later today)
The Flyweight division is by far the best in boxing right now. The champions are pound-for-pound fighters, the contenders are recognised top class fighters and better yet the best are fighting the best. Time and time again this year the division has given us highlight after highlight. From Koki Eto's brawl with Ardin Diale to the amazing WBC title fight between Roman Gonzalez and Akira Yaegashi we really have been so lucky with the Flyweight division this year.
The final big Flyweight bout of the year came in Thailand this Friday as the WBA regular and interim titles were unified. Going into the bout Juan Carlos Reveco (35-1, 19) was the “regular” champion whilst Thailand's Yodmongkol Vor Saengthep (34-3, 20) was the interim champion. On paper it was a very good match up, stylistically you had a boxer against a pressure fighter and the bout was, unofficially, a bout to decide who was to defend the title against Kazuto Ioka next year.
The opening round showed a difference in speed with Reveco looking a step faster than the Thai. Yodmongkol tried to neutralise the speed with timing and came forward behind a hgh guard looking to land counter punches though all too often he was tagged and unable to respond before Reveco was out of range. All the major punches in the opening round were from the Argentinian.
In the second round we saw a surprise as a counter right hand from Yodmongkol dropped Reveco in the first minute. From then on things were pretty for the rest of the round leaving us with a clear 10-8 in favour of the Thai fighter. Sadly for Yodmongkol that would be his highlight of the fight and it effectively gave away his entire gameplan which appeared to be based on landing counter right hands whilst applying constant, but not intense, pressure.
In round 3 it seemed Reveco was still feeling the effects of the knockdown early though by the end of the round it seemed Reveco had neutralised Yoxmongkol's gameplan and realised that if he didn't over-commit he wasn't going to give Yodmongkol any chance. Sadly for Yodmongkol his gameplan had allowed Reveco to work his way back into the bout. That success of Reveco grew in round 4 as he began to pick up the pace and seemed to realise that Yodmongkol, whilst tough, was a bit limited and that the Thai's pressure could be used against himself. The 4th not only saw Reveco taking control but also proving he could land what he wanted.
In round 5 we saw Reveco taking away the knockdown of Yodmongkol as he scored his own. Unlike the earlier down however this one saw a man hurt and Yodmongkol never got the chance to recover. As soon as he was up Yodmongkol was up he walked over to Reveco who unloaded on him, backing him to the ropes and unloading, shot after shot after shot, the shots just kept coming until the referee eventually waved off the bout saving Yodmongkol who was standing but eating shots and unable to return fire.
For Reveco this should set him up for Ioka in Spring. For Yodmongkol this was disappointing and is likely to see him fade into obscurity, a shame considering how good he looked when he beat Koki Eto, however it is karmic in some ways considering he did rob Takuya Kogawa earlier this year.
(Image courtesy of Thairec.com)
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.