Last night in the US Tomoki Kameda (36-3, 20) [亀田和毅] fell to his second loss in a boxing ring to Mexican Rey Vargas (34-0, 22), with Vargas successfully defending WBC Super Bantamweight title as a result.
The two men, who had fought in the amateurs, had history coming in to the bout and that history had been on the mind of Kameda in the build up. The Japanese fighter had laid out his plan before the bell, he was going to try and goad the talented Vargas into a fight, and make Vargas give away his advantages.
Sadly for Kameda that game plan failed, badly, and in the ring Vargas did what Vargas does, and used his freakish frame to neutralise Kameda. Vargas was incredibly busy, throwing around 800 punches, and although his accuracy wasn't great, it kept Kameda at range. When the Japanese fighter did get up close, which was rather rare, Vargas snuffed out the problem with some ease, holding spoiling and forcing the referee to split the two men.
Although far, far less busy Kameda did have moments, landing some big right hands. Those shots did little other than catch the eye as his lack of power at Super Bantamweight proved to be another big issue for him.
After 12 rounds there was no doubting the winner, with Vargas comfortably in control for the most part, winning 117-110, with Kameda having been deducted a point late in the fight for punching on the break. It was a deduction that played no real part in the result and seemed to come from frustration in a bout he knew was already out of reach.
For us the Light Flyweight division has been the best in the sport for the last few years. It's had great fighters passing through it, like Naoya Inoue and Kosei Tanaka, and right now has so much depth to it that we really could do a WBSS style tournament with 8 fighters and not have a clear weak link involved.
Today we saw one of the divisions' top stars showing what he can do, with unbeatenWBC champion Kenshiro (16-0, 9) [拳四朗] succesfully defending against mandatory challenger Jonathan Taconing (28-4-1, 22). Not only did Kenshiro retain his title, but he went he did so by stopping the feared Filipino puncher, who had never previously been stopped.
The champion, making his 6th defense, looked relaxed from the off, and showed his sharp punching, his movement and his ring craft straight away. He was able to find a home for his jab almost immediately and controlled the hard hitting challenger with his movement and straight and straight punching. As a thunder punching southpaw Taconing seemed to pose questions that Kenshiro hadn't yet seen, though it appeared that the Japanese fighter immediately solved every question Taconing could ask.
The Filipino showed ambition, came forward, and looked like he had some determination to make the most of his third world title fight, but was just made to look like a rather crude novice against the smooth, sharp and intelligent champion.
Having won the opening round Kenshiro was actually under a bit of pressure in round 2 as the challenger looked to turn things around. Taconing came out really aggressively for the round, but he was struggling to land and was being force fed clean shots by the champion who found a home for some classy blows, including an eye catching uppercut.
Although Taconing continued to be aggressive in round 3 Kenshiro began to move through the gears, landing more straight right hands, timing Taconing, and even holding his feet with the hard hitting challenger, who was becoming incredibly desperate and wild. That wildness lead to a clash of heads in round 3 that resulted in Taconing being cut on his forehead, in what was a genuine accidental clash. Despite it being an accident Kenshiro was deducted a point, as per the WBC's accidental foul rule, resulting in a 9-9 round.
The point deduction didn't play any part in the outcome of the bout however and in round 4 Kenshiro's accurate punching and fantastic timing gave us an early finish. Taconing was still firing off big, wild, reckless bombs, and about 40 seconds into the round he ate a huge counter right hand, then a left immediately afterwards. Taconing crashed face first to the canvas, and although he got to his feet he was glassy eyed and wobbly, forcing the referee to wave off the action and give the champion his latest win.
It's unclear what is next for the champion, though it is worth noting that WBA "super" champion Hiroto Kyoguchi was ringside for the bout, and the two men have spoken about unifying, leaving the mouth watering possibility that they will indeed clash in December, s has been rumoured for much of 2019.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
The Bantamweight division has been dominated over the last 12 months by the WBSS, and the destruction left by Naoya Inoue. Outside the WBSS however we've seen the WBC Bantamweight picture become a mess, with Takuma Inoue claiming the interim title, Luis Nery being in the mix and the crowning of Frenchman Nordine Oubaali (16-0, 12) as the champion.
Today Oubaali made his first defense of the the title, and did so in easy and dominant fashion, stopping over-matched Filipino challenger Arthur Villanueva (32-4-1, 18) in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan.
From the opening seconds Oubaali looked in a different class to Villanueva, who looked like a man who wasn't sure he deserved to be in the ring with the champion. The opening round was all Oubaali, even though he was only fighting in first gear he looked in a class of his own. From there on Oubaali chipped away at the Filipino, breaking him down with clean, accurate shots in rounds 2 and 3. There was very, very little coming back from Villanueva, who did enough to look like he was trying, but not enough to get Oubaali's respect.
By the end of round 3 Oubaali was starting to beat up Villanueva who realised he had to fight back. Sadly for Villanueva fighting back lead to him being tagged cleaner, and in round 4 the Filipino was rocked again.The following round the challenger began to look scared once again whilst Oubaali changed tactics. The champion had gone from landing combinations to looking for more hurtful single shots, trying to actually hurt the challenger with every shot. Those shots were doing damage and by the end of the right the challenge's right eye was nearly closed.
In round 6 the continued beating resumes, with Oubaali scoring a knockdown after a combination. It wasn't a combination of hard shots, but they were clean and the Filipino took a knee. Following that Oubaali went for the kill, with Villanueva managing to do just enough to convince the referee not to step in, but he was now a beaten man.
Knowing that he was out classed, out boxed, out punched and being dominated Villanueva took the decision to retire to retire between rounds 6 and 7, making a wise choice.
Whilst this was an unexpected opportunity for Villanueva it was also an undeserved one, and it's hard to see him getting any more opportunities at world level. As for Oubaali he has an interesting future. His next defense if expected to come against Takuma Inoue, though he will also have eyes on the winner of the WBSS, which will be either Naoya Inoue or Nonito Donaire, and will also have the controversial Luis Nery as possible future foe. This was an easy first defense, but hopefully we'll find out how good Oubaali really is in the near future.
Earlier today we saw unbeaten Thai veteran Wanheng Menayothin (53-0, 18) [วันเฮง ไก่ย่างห้าดาวยิม] make his 11th defense of the WBC Minimumweight title, doing so against former WBO king Tatsuya Fukuhara (21-7-6, 7) [福原 辰弥], with a technical decision.
The bout started pretty evenly, though it seemed like Fukuhara had done enough the take the opening round. Sadly the Japanese fighter was cut in round 2, from a clash of heads, and from then on Wanheng would begin to look like the sharper man, getting his shots off better, landing cleaner and being the one with the more eye catching blows.
Although the better blows were from Wanheng Fukuhara wasn't there to make up the number and the Japanese fighter tried to press the action, come forward and set a higher work rate. The contract in styles made the rounds feel close, but like Wanheng was taking them, something that was back up on the open scoring at the start of round 5
The two would remain competitive at times, though it continued to feel like Wanheng's quality was the difference maker. Fukuhara really had some great moments, including a flurry of body shots in round in round, but it wasn't to be enough, as Wanheng remained composed and on his feet, loking to attack after Fukuhara's assault.
Sadly in round 8 a clash of heads saw Wanheng cut, taking us to the scorecards early on. The judges, unsurprisingly, had him winning, moving 53-0 and securing his 11th world title defense. For Fukuhara it's a second loss to Wanheng and sees him pushed don the pecking order another world title bout.
In 2017 we saw Thailand's Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (47-5-1, 41) [ศรีสะเกษ นครหลวงโปรโมชั่น] announce himself to an international audience as he beat Roman Gonzalez in a close decision to reclaim the WBC Super Flyweight title that he had a lost a few years earlier to Carlos Cuadras. A second win over Gonzalez followed for the Thai who was proving he was no one hit wonder. Last year we saw him again shine on US soil, winning a FOTY contender against excellent Mexican Juan Francisco Estrada (39-3, 26). Just moments ago we saw the rematch between Srisaket and Estrada, and we ended up with one of the most disappointing and odd fights of 2019.
Srisaket, known for being a huge punching Thai southpaw, came out in the orthodox stance, and wasn't fighting to his strengths. Instead of pressing the action he was boxing with the master boxer, and being made to look silly by a sharp, accurate and quick Estrada. Srisaket was being picked off, made to look clumsy and silly and really being schooled in the first half of the fight. Even when Srisaket did turn southpaw there was no concentrated effort to fight in the stance, turning righty against after just a few moments.
Whilst Srisaket did have moments, landing some solid right hands and some notable body shots, he was being out landed, out boxed, out moved and out thought. It seemed as if his entire gameplan was wrong, and yet he was sticking to it, not reverting to what had got him so much success through his career.
By round 7 Estrada was starting to bully Srisaket, and it looked like he could end up forcing a stoppage if he wished. Thankfully for Srisaket he began to wake up, began to realise he had to show more intensity and had to try and keep his title.
Sadly it wasn't until round 10 that Srisaket actually made an effort to fight southpaw. When he elected to to do that he began to have success, landing his power shots and making life very uncomfortable for the Mexican. A low blow in round 11 left Estrada in agony and Srisaket kept the pressure on from there, drawing out the machishmo from Estrada who stood and fought rather than boxed smartly. It made the final couple of rounds exciting, but by then it was clear Srisaket needed a knockout, and he hadn't looked like getting one in over 20 rounds of being in the ring with Estrada.
The final couple of rounds helped Srisaket close the gap on the scorecards, but he was clearly second best, and Estrada took the decision with scores of 116-112, and 115-113 twice. We struggle to see how any judge could have it 115-113, in fact even 116-112 feels closer than it should have been.
The big question after the fight has to be "Why did Srisaket fight orthodox?" He has had success through his career as a southpaw, had success today when he fought lefty and clearly should have fought as a southpaw again. There may be a chance, down the line, for a third meeting, but on this stupid performance it's hard to see many pushing for it to be made immediately given the depth of the division. There are more attractive options out there for Estrada than a third meeting with Srisaket, especially a Srisaket set on proving a point.
Strangely, given how sharp Estrada looked, it may not have actually mattered had Srisaket fought southpaw through the fight or not.
After years of being in Naoya Inoue's shadows today we saw his younger brother get his long awaited chance to announce himself on the world stage, as he took on Takuma Inoue (13-0, 3) [井上 拓真] unbeaten Thai Petch Sor Chitpattana (48-1, 33) [เพชร ซีพีเฟรชมาร์ท], also known as Petch CP Freshmart and Tasana Salapat, in a bout for the WBC "interim" Bantamweight title.
On paper this looked a good bout, two unbeaten men, each looking to cement themselves among the best in the Bantamweight division, and each looking to impress internationally, with the bout being aired in Japan, Thailand, Russia and the US.
Sadly the paper didn't really tell the full story, and didn't show the quality of oppositions, the skills of the two fighters themselves or the styles of the two men. Within seconds Inoue showed the difference between two fighters, shaking Petch with one of the first punches thrown, and then doing the same only moments later. It looked like Inoue was totally in a different league to the Thai, though to his credit Petch recovered well and was aggressive when the fight got into the second round, when he was again punished by the sharp punching of Inoue. It was in the second round where we had the only notable accidental foul, a nasty head clash that left both cut, but not too badly.
The Japanese youngster had spent a lot of time preparing for this bout by sparring top Japanese southpaws, and that showed as he repeatedly landed straight right hands onto the face of the Thai, and wonderfully timed left hooks. Petch kept marching forward, letting his hands go in volume, but kept falling short, missing wildly and and catching Inoue's guard. Through 2 rounds he looked a sensation, with brilliant timing, control and movement. In round 3 however he began to slow down and Petch began to have more success, that success was short lived however with Inoue shining again in round 4 with some more solid right hands.
The open scoring all had Inoue up, 39-37, after 4 rounds. He however did appear to be tiring, and slowed more in the middle rounds as Petch applied more and more pressure. It wasn't effective pressure from the Thai, but was making Inoue work hard and he tried to respond by going to war with the Thai, it was a short lived tactic that Inoue ditched when he went back to boxing and moving. It was was clear that Petch wasn't going to go away, he wasn't going to stop firing shots and he wasn't going to give up, but he was going to continue eating clean shots if Inoue moved around. Despite changing tactics a few times from the Japanese fighter was up 79-73, 78-74 and 77-75 when the scores were announced again at the end of round 8.
It seemed like Inoue was tiring through the middle rounds and like Petch felt their could be an opening late on. That opening however was slammed shut in round 9 when he was rocked hard towards the end of the round. Prior to hurting his man Inoue had looked back to his best, finding the space to land right hands, the occasional combination and showing the genius that he had shown early in the fight. He would go on to hurt Petch again in round 10, and it appeared that a stoppage could be on the cards, but Petch's toughness showed and he continued to grit his teeth and take the fight to Inoue, who was showing nasty bruising under his right eye.
With the bout essentially in the bag going into the final 2 round Inoue seemed to know he didn't need to take too many risks, and he didn't take them, instead doing as he had done through much of the fight. Boxing off the back foot, using lateral movement and make Petch look 1-dimensional and wild. He did invite Petch in for a fight towards the final moments, but it wasn't to be as the bell rang.
Going to the score-cards there was no doubting the winner with Inoue taking the decision 117-111, and with it the WBC "interim" Bantamweight title, to go along with his brother's WBA "regular" title.
For Petch this was evidence that he could fight, but stylistically Inoue was all wrong for him, and it showed round after round. For Inoue the bout showed he can hit hard than his record suggests, but there is something missing that he needs to work on to score KO's. It's also unfortunate, that Inoue didn't manage to really impress the US fans like he'd have wanted, he showed a lot of skill, but there was little drama during the middle of the fight.
Please note - This bout has not yet been shown on TV, there will be spoilers in the first paragraph below, and obviously the result will be given away in the article.
If you do not wish to know the result of the bout between Kenshiro and Saul Juarez, and instead wish to wait for the tape delay broadcast please stop reading.
Today fight fans at the Ota City General Gymnasium had a world title triple header, sadly however for those outside the venue one of the three bouts wasn't televised live anywhere. That bout was the WBC Light Flyweight title bout that pitted unbeaten champion Kenshiro (15-0, 8) [拳四朗] against Mexican challenger Saul Juarez (24-9-2, 13).
The bout saw Kenshiro coming into the contest seeking his 5th defense of the title, and completing an excellent year which had seen him stopping both Ganigan Lopez and Milan Melindo. Juarez on the other hand was looking to claim a world title for the Juarez family, with his brother having fought several times for world titles previously, losing notably in Japan in two of those world title bouts.
Fans in the venue saw the champion take his time in the first round, but he establish himself early in round 2, using his movement, sharp punching and significant size to pick away at Juarez. The skills and speed of Kenshiro saw him establishing the early lead, with scores of 40-36 on two cards and 39-37 on the other when the scores were announced publicly for the first time. The scores, the tempo, the distance was all being dictated by Kenshiro, who controlling everything being his accurate, sharp jab and movement. Not only was Kenshiro dominating but also left Juarez with reddening on the side of his face very early on.
The control over the bout that Kenshiro had extended through the middle rounds, with the champion holding a lead of 79-73, twice, and 80-72, after 8 rounds. He was proving to be too good in every way for the Mexican challenger, who was game but being out landed, out powered, out boxed and out sped. Although it was Kenshiro's jab that was controlling the action he showed enough variation to his shots to try and break through the Mexican's defense and take him out, though Juarez showed enough resolve to make Kenshiro think twice about taking too many risks,
Sadly for those expecting to see Kenshiro get his third stoppage of the year Juarez's toughness stopped it from happening, though Kenshiro continued to completely control the bout, taking the last 4 rounds on all 3 scorecards to wins 120-108 and 119-119, twice. By that point Juarez looked beaten, battered and exhausted, but still tough and game and credit needs to bee given to the Mexican for sticking in there in the final rounds.
Given the bout was "off TV" the performance won't have had his reputation for being in fun fights, because it seems that the fans in the venue were expecting a little bit more from the champion. For Kenshiro's development however 12 rounds here won't have been a bad thing, given he's only done 13 rounds in his last 3 bouts. He would have wanted a stoppage, but such a clear win, and test of his stamina, will do no harm as he looks to unify titles in the new year.
For Juarez it's his second loss in world title bouts, and his family's wait for a world title continues.
In recent times the Kyoei boxing gym has been overshadowed by rival Teiken, who have basically been the big success story of Japanese boxing for the last few years. Today however Kyoei claimed their 13th "world champion" as Tomoki Kameda (36-2, 20) [亀田和毅]claimed the WBC "interim" Super Bantamweight title, with a clear decision win over Spanish based Dominican puncher Abigail "bebe" Medina (19-4-2, 10) at the Korakuen Hall.
The first started perfectly for Kameda, who dominated the early rounds with his speed, movement, and ring IQ. In fact through 4 rounds it was almost impossible to even try to make an argument that Medina deserved anything. The Japanese fighter moved too well, landing all the shots of note and really was good value for his 40-36 lead, a score that was publicly announced after the 4th round.
Medina then began to come alive, losing round 5 but looking more live and becoming more and more aggressive, particularly in round 6 and 7, both rounds in which he upped his work rate and forced Kameda on to the back foot. It was good work from Medina, but seemed like it was a case of needing a KO, and by round 8 Kameda had re-found his groove, boxing and moving brilliantly, landing flush combinations. Kameda's performance in round 8 saw him leading 78-74 after 8 rounds, and looking like the man who had began to sort things out.
Kameda again shone in round 9, as he once again found his distance and landed flashy combinations. He struggled to keep up his success however and Medina did enough get himself back into the fight in round 10, but by then he really did need a KO to win, he was too far behind with too little time to catch up to the Japanese fighters.
Knowing if he stayed on his feet the bout was in the bag Kameda knew what he had to do, and saw out the final 2 rounds to take the unanimous decision with scores of 117-111, twice, and 116-112.
With the win Kameda sets up a bout with WBC "regular" champion Rey Vargas, in what could be a very interesting match up. Sadly his lack of power did again rear it's head, and talk of a bout between Kameda and Naoya Inoue, which has been raised recently from Kameda's father Shiro Kameda, doesn't look as appealing with the knowledge Kameda's power really isn't there at world level, unlike Inoue's.
Earlier today the boxing world turned it's attention to Yokohama for the World Boxing Super Series (WBSS), which featured a notable non-WBSS title bout. That was the opening bout of the broadcast, and fans saw WBC Light Flyweight champion Kenshiro (14-0, 8) [拳四朗] put together a career best performance as he picked apart Filipino challenger Milan Melindo (37-4, 13). Becoming the first man to stop the Pinoy veteran and cementing his place as one of Japan's top fighters, doing so in front of a global audience.
The opening couple of rounds were moderately competitive as the two men tried to figure out their range and timing whilst having the battle of jabs. The speed of Kenshiro seemed to be the difference, but Melindo certainly had moments, including landing some solid body jabs in the opening round and a good right hand in round 2. He was however out landed, out sped and out moved for much of the opening two rounds.
In round 3 Kenshiro began to up the pace, finding more space and landing his jab with ease, following it up with the occasional right hand as he began to really strengthen his control of the bout.
The champion moved up a gear in round 4 and really began to give the challenger a pounding, finding a home for his body shots, and using his feet to make Melindo clumsy whilst landing jabs, rights hands and and even the occasional left hook. It looked like Melindo was being chipped away at with Kenshiro just putting on the boosters. Melindo's suffering would worsen in round 5 as Kenshiro picked up the action, landing more and more frequently with the right hand. The shots weren't KO quality shots, but they were the stinging type of shots that do damage, and the damage was showing on Melindo's nose after round 5.
Melindo's face became more damaged in round 6 as Kenshiro began to put more and more combinations together and really unloaded on to the head and body of Melindo, who had no answer at all. The shots left Melindo cut around the left eye and with a clear mouse under the right eye, worsening his fortunes. The Filipino looked like a mentally defeated man, and every moment of success he had was neutralised instantly with Kenshiro hurting him in return.
It looked like the champion really wanted to become the first man to stop Melindo as we entered round 7. Melindo began to back up more and give Kenshiro the chance too catch him on the ropes, which he did in eye catching and spectacular fashion, wobbling the Filipino several times before the action was halted. The cut on Melindo's eye had worsened and the referee took him over to the doctor who stopped the bout, saving Melindo from further punishment.
With this win Kenshiro has now recorded 4 defenses of the title, with the last 3 coming by stoppage. With wins over Ganigan Lopez, Pedro Guevara and now Melindo he has a solid claim to being the #1 man at 108lbs.
For Melindo the beating was a bad one. It may not send him into retirement, but probably shows he's got too many miles on the clock to become a 2-time champion.
In 2017 Thailand's Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (47-4-1, 41) [ศรีสะเกษ นครหลวงโปรโมชั่น], aka Wisaksil Wangek, put himself on the boxing man as he became a 2-time WBC Super Flyweight champion and ended the long unbeaten run of Nicaraguan great Roman Gonzalez. Since then he has further strengthened his resume with a stoppage win over Gonzalez and a decision win over Juan Francisco Estrada.
Today Srisaket made history by becoming the first man to defend a major world title on a major MMA promotion as he headlined ONE Champion's "Kingdom of Heroes" show in Bangkok. In the opposite corner to the Thai was unheralded Mexican challenger Iran Diaz (14-3-3, 6), a man who proved his toughness and determination despite being the clear loser.
The first round saw Srisaket put the pressure on the Mexican straight away and land a huge number of body shots. The predictions of many was that this bout wouldn't go long and the way the Thai started the bout he seemed intent of living up to the predictions of the fans and media. To his credit however Diaz saw off the storm and made it into round 2. He then slowly began to create a bit of momentum for himself, building round by round and neutralising some of Srisaket's offense. The Mexican wasn't really winning rounds as such, but was giving a much better effort than many expected as he created distance and found a home for counter right hands.
After 4 rounds Diaz had not only lasted longer than expected but had taken a round on one of the judges scorecards, with the open scores being 40-36, twice, and 39-37. It was amazing that Diaz's body was still upright given the punishment he had taken, but he was doing more than just surviving.
Having made things a little bit competitive in rounds 4 and 5 it seemed like Diaz was finding a groove. That was totally destroyed however when Srisaket upped the tempo, particularly in rounds 7 and 8, as the Thai looked to rip Diaz apart with head shots and body shots. Diaz managed to see off the storm, and potentially should have had a knockdown scored in his favour in round, following a flush uppercut that was ruled a slip by referee Jay Nady.
The open scoring after 8 rounds saw scores of 80-72, 79-73 and 79-74 all in favour if Srisaket who had the bout in the back but still wanted the knockout. He hunted it again in round 9 but was again on the canvas, again ruled a slip though again it seemed like there was a punch involved, with Srisaket being caught by a counter right. The Thai repeatedly caught Diaz up top with some vicious head shots from round 9 to round 11 as he seemed intent on closing the show for the local fans, wobbling Diaz badly at one point he couldn't send the Mexican down.
Having been taken into round 12 Srisaket suddenly changed his mentality and rather than being the aggressor, he turned into a slippery counter puncher and had some fun and sliding the shots of Diaz, with the Mexican picking up the tempo and swinging for the fences. It seemed like Srisaket had landed everything in his arsenal and had decided not to fire off any more bombs in the final round, with the bout well and truly in the bag.
At the scorecards both men looked happy with themselves. Srisaket was the clear winner, with the judges scoring the bout 119-109, twice, and 120-108. On the other hand Diaz was likely happy to have seen the final bell and put himself in the mix for good fights, maybe not world title fights but other good fights in a stacked division.
Srisaket's future looks likely to be in big divisional fights, including a potential rematch with Estrada or a unification bout with IBF champion Jerwin Ancajas.
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.