One of the things that is, unfortunately, universal in boxing are bad decisions. We often see these in high profile fights in the UK, US and Germany who all have a reputation for such things. Sadly however they do happen around the world and today we saw the latest addition to the ever growing list of questionable decisions as Japan's Takuya Kogawa (22-4, 13), pictures, was controversially denied the WBA interim Flyweight title.
Kogawa travelled to Thailand, a country that has been less than friendly to championship level Japanese fighters in the past, and gave his all in a thoroughly compelling contest with Thailand's very own Yodmongkol Vor Saengthep (34-2, 20). It was an effort that should have seen Kogawa claim the belt but some how the judges denied him.
The Japanese challenger started fast. He used his natural hand speed and movement to simply out work Yodmongkol who plodded along with his guard up and. Whilst much of Kogawa's work was blocked enough had gotten through for him to win the round with out much debate. The same also applied in round 2, even though Yodmongkol did manage to find himself landing more than he had in the opening round.
Following the great start of the champion things had began to get interesting and Kogawa was being caught more frequently with some classy punches from Yodmongkol. Whilst the champion was beginning to land the better punches it again seemed to be the work rate of Kogawa that left the lasting impression and not the occasional, albeit heavier, shots of the Thai. It seemed that every time Yodmongkol would land something Kogawa would fire back in a short little flurry of punches that continued to catch the eye.
Through the middle rounds the fight began to change slightly. For the first 4 rounds it was all about Kogawa's high out put against Yodmongkol's heavier though less frequent shots. Kogawa was boxing on the move, creating space with his feet and firing off combinations whilst Yodmongkol applied constant though somewhat ineffective pressure. In round 5 though that pressure began to get him closer to the challenger and the crowd began to encourage their man.
Although behind at the mid way point Yodmongkol seemed a lot fresher than the challenger and in round 7 he began to force his fight on Kogawa. This saw the two men enjoying several exchanges as the fight began to represent more of a toe-to-toe battle than anything else. It was clear that this was what Yodmongkol was going to prefer and what was going to really help him if he was to turn the fight around. Surprisingly however Kogawa's hand speed kept him very much in these exchanges and on numerous occasions he was the one forcing Yodmongkol on to the back foot.
It was clear the pace had increased in round 7 and that Yodmongkol knew he his title was slipping away if things had remained as they were in the first 6 rounds. The Thai continued to up the pace in round 8 and it finally seemed that he was beginning to get the upper hand in the exchanges with the commentators becoming hugely excited at one point with Kogawa forced to take shots. Amazingly though Kogawa recovered and seemed to be on the front foot by the end of the round.
Round 7 and 8 had been great though things were just getting better and in round 9 the pace increased again. This round saw Yodmongkol landing 3 flush shots one after the other and it seemed Kogawa was in trouble for a moment though the Japanese fighter recovered swiftly and fired back in an attempt to say “I've still got more fight in me”. It was a brave effort from Kogawa though one that was probably futile in attempting to win the round even though he did more than just see it out.
Kogawa's work rate was always going to catch up with him eventually and that seemed to happen in round 10 as Yodmongkol came on really strong and Kogawa began to look weary. The sharp combinations from earlier in the fight were starting to look ragged, the footwork was becoming sloppy and the shots that Yodmongkol was landing seemed to hurt Kogawa for the first time. It was a clear Yodmongkol round and it seemed like the beginning of the end for Kogawa who looked like he was on his last legs.
The success of the champion in round 10 was repeated again in round 11 as the Thai continued to come on strong. It was obvious by now that Yodmongkol thought his title was slipping away and that he might even need a stoppage to retain the title. A Japanese fighter's spirit however is hard to break and the round finished with both guys trading shots to the bell as Kogawa summoned up some energy from somewhere.
We have no idea how Kogawa had the gas to finish round 11 so well but he found extra reserves in an amazing round 12. From the opening bell to the final bell Kogawa threw relentlessly his combinations just rained down on Yodmongkol who seemed to have his guard pinned up as a result of the relentless, albeit inaccurate, maelstrom of punches coming from the challenger. For the previous 2 rounds Kogawa had looked spent, like he was running on fumes but in round 12 he looked like the energizer bunny. Yodmongkol did attempt to fire back occasionally and landed some solid shots of his own though they were infrequent and seemed to cause Kogawa to bite down on his gum shield and just unload more shots. It was crazy from the Japanese fighter who was showing his will to win was still there as he went all in.
By the time the final bell came Kogawa must have thrown well in excess of 100 punches in the final round.
Sadly when you fight on foreign soil against the champion you sometimes need a KO for the draw and that seemed to be the case here with Yodmongkol receiving a majority decision win with scores of 114-114, 115-114, 116-113. For purposes of interest, we had it 116-112 Kogawa.
The Japanese fighter had every right to be aggrieved though he seemed too exhausted to even think about complaining. He had put everything in to the fight only to have the judges deny him of a belt he had rightfully deserved. As for Yodmongkol he showed his class and seemed to look like a man who was relieved more than happy. There was little celebration from the champion who went through the formalities and probably thanked his lucky stars for a very debatable and controversial decision.
We know we thought Yodmongkol would retain and we knew the fight would be exciting but we didn't think that Yodmongkol would be so lucky or that the fight would be THIS good. If you missed it, you missed a thriller.
(Picture courtesy of Miyata Gym)
Courtesy of boxrec.com
Whilst boxing in Japan this year has generally been great with the likes of Takashi Miura defending his belt in a Mexican barn burner, Koki Eto defeating Kompayak Porpramook in a fight-of-the-year contender and Tomoki Kameda completing a Kameda family sweep it's also had it's down points.
Interestingly many of the Japanese low points have come in the Super Flyweight division with Yota Sato being stopped by Srisaket Sor Rungvisai and Kohei Kono being beaten by Liborio Solis in world title defenses at 115lbs and Hiroyuki Hisataka being stopped by Omar Andres Narvaez
Today however things looked better for the Japanese fighters at 115lbs as the tough and rugged Nobuo Nashiro (19-6-1, 13) traveled to Thailand to battle Thai veteran Denkaosan Kaovichit (62-3-1, 26). It was thought by many, at least us here at Asianboxing, that this was going to be a return to world championship status for Nashiro as he took on the 37 year old Kaovichit, a man many thought was long past his prime.
What began as a hopeful day for Japanese boxing at 115lbs, didn't really go the way many thought it would, in fact for the first few rounds it was Kaovichit who looked the younger, fresher man.
The fight began with Nashiro applying pressure but being fended off with quick combinations by the Thai fighter who was cheered to the rafters every time he threw a punch. It was clear that no matter what Kaovichit did, including landing clear flurries on gloves, he was going to get a reaction from the partisan crowd who refused to react at all to anything Nashiro did.
Nashiro's pressure, which did little in the opening couple of rounds finally seemed to begin to have an effect in round 3 as he connected with his first eye catching shots. Although it was a better round for the Japanese visitor it wasn't a round that he managed to win with Kaovichit out-working him over the 3 minutes.
Despite losing he third round Nashiro kept on with the same game plan and began to have more success in rounds 4 and 5 as he managed to get closer to Kaovichit and land his shots with more and more regularity. Kaovichit, for his part, made both rounds close and may have won them with the help of the home crowd, though it was clear that Nashiro was starting to work his way in to the bout.
Nashiro's success blossomed in the sixth round, arguably the first that you could clearly give him as Kaovichit's age and legs seemed to be starting to catch up with him.
By the end of the sixth it was starting to look likely that Nashiro would be able to break down Kaovichit, though unfortunately for him and Japanese boxing fans he was unable to repeat the success in a very quiet and uninteresting seventh round.
The fight seemed to really come alive at the end of round 8 as both men stood their ground and traded shots inside. It was here that Kaovichit first seemed to think about his age and legs as his movement stopped. On paper the inside game was expected to suit Nashiro but the ending of the eighth seemed to just go with Kaovichit who's hand speed allowed him to again land the more eye catching shots.
From the success at the end of the eighth it appeared that Kaovichit was going to continue an inside battle with the men going straight back to action to begin round 9. It didn't take long this time around for Nashiro to take the initiative and eventually Kaovichit seemed to realise that trading on the inside with Nashiro wasn't the smartest idea. By the time he had realised that however he had lost the round, arguably just the second that he had lost.
With Kaovichit knowing he had won a majority of the early rounds and also knowing he was at home it seemed likely that Nashiro, at the very least, was going to require a knock down going in to the final 3 rounds.
In the tenth round Nashiro began to turn up the pressure and forced Kaovichit into fighting back. The round wasn't a clear one to Nashiro, especially due to the late work of Kaovichit who landed some eye catching combinations late to arguably steal the round, but it was evidence of the Japanese fighter's intent to try and force the stoppage.
If the tenth had been close then the eleventh was genuinely one sided with Nashiro force feeding Kaovichit right hand leads. The Japanese fighter, who was looking a little predictable, seemed intent to load up every right hand he threw in an attempt to take out the Thai and many of them connected cleanly with the head of a tiring Kaovichit who by now was holding on at every opportunity.
With time running out on the Japanese fighter he knew that he would have to have a big round 12. Unfortunately for Nashiro, Kaovichit's survival instincts kicked in and he was again able to hold and smother Nashiro's work in a round he lost but didn't lose it big enough to hand over the victory.
Although Nashiro lost he may well be able to take heart from the fact the fight was incredibly close with the final result being a split decision in favour of Kaovichit. Anyone who has seen a fight in Thailand will know that a split decision in favour of the Thai represents a fight that could very easily have gone to either man. Although retirement is a real possibility for Nashiro we really do hope he gives it another go, he's still got too much left to just walk away from the sport, despite another set back at the world level.
For Kaovichit the end is nigh. He may have won the battle here but the way he faded down the stretch doesn't bode well for him. He certainly wouldn't be favoured over Liborio Solis, the WBA "regular" champion or compatriots Suriyan and Srisaket Sor Rungvisai or Tepparith Kokietgym. Although admittedly a fight with Srisaket would be unlikely, a fight with either Surriyan or Tepparith would see Koavichit really struggling to retain his belt against a younger fresher fighter.
Courtesy of boxrec.com
Former WBC Light Flyweight world champion Kompayak Porpramook (50-4, 35) successfully claimed the WBA "interim" Flyweight title as he stopped former title holder Jean Piero Perez (20-6-1, 14) in the 6th round of a scheduled 12.
The fight actually started quite well for much taller Perez who used his jab effectively and maintained a safe distance using his legs. It wouldn't take long however for Porpramook to start cutting the distance and getting in to the pocket where he was able to land his powerful blows.
With Porpramook knowing he could walk through the shots of Perez the bout became a matter of time as Perez worked incredibly hard to create distance from the dogged and determined Thai. The intelligent pressure of Porpramook's work was tiring out Perez who started every round well before Porpramook would catch up to him and launch a strong attack late.
The attack of the Thai in round 5 really did seem to spell the end for Perez who saw out the round but was starting to look like a man losing heart and it showed in the following round. Porpramook started round 6 fast and rocked the Venezuelan early before forcing the referee to come in and save the now badly hurt Perez.
With the WBA "interim" title now around his waist Porpramook is the only Thai fighter with a recognised "world" title currently around his waist. Aged 30 and with 54 bouts on his record he's certainly an "old" fighter for the Flyweight division though he's still as determined and as exciting as ever.
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.