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
Over the last few years we've seen Takashi Miura (29-3-2, 22) make a name for himself as a Mexicutioner as he defeated a string of Mexican opponents, such as Gamaliel Diaz, Sergio Thompson, Dante Jardon and Edgar Puerta. This past Saturday he tried to continue to build his reputation though, sadly, came up short in a brilliant bout with another Mexican, Francisco Vargas (23-0-1, 17). The loss was not only Miura's first to a Mexican but also saw him lose the WBC Super Featherweight title, though despite the loss he built on his fanbase and has seemingly became a man that Western fight fans have finally woke up to.
The bout actually started horribly for Miura who was rocked to his core from a hard right hand from Vargas. At that point it seemed almost certain that Miura wasn't going to last long and in fact he was only held up by sheer bloody mindedness. Sadly for the defending champion he was unable to avoid Vargas's right hand and it seemed like a very early night was on the cards.
Vargas's success in the opening round grew and in round 2 he again seemed to be unable to miss Miura who's most notable response was left hands to the body.
It wasn't until round 3 that we began to see Miura finally find his way into the bout, and although his much vaunted power didn't seem to hurt Vargas during the round it was clear that Miura was coming back into it, and was beginning to find his groove.
It was in round 4 that we finally saw the explosive power of Miura in all it's beauty as he dropped Vargas hard, and split his eye. It was a round that saw Miura at his best and it was a round that really acted as a wake up call for Vargas, and the fans, who had perhaps not realised just how hard Miura really punches.
The success from round 4 saw Miura start the following round fast, as if he could smell the blood that was on Vargas's face. Sadly though the Japanese fighter seemed to get over-excited at times and was too intent on loading up rather than using his ability to set up the left hand. As a result Vargas got the time he needed to recover and by the end of the round it was Vargas who was looking the better man again.
The 6th round was one of the most competitive though seemed to show Vargas outworking Miura, who again focused on loading up. Whilst Miura did have some success, especially to the body, he didn't seem to do enough to re-establish the control he had had earlier on. In fact it seemed like Miura was too focused on the knock out and was defensively naive at times, being forced to eat shots whilst trying to land his left.
Despite not looking his best in round 6 Miura was back on top in round 7 and by the end of the round it seemed the end was nigh with Vargas's left eye swelling shut due to the heavy shots that Miura was landing. It was clear that it Miura's power that was the Japanese fighter's key weapon and that Vargas was the better boxer, but the power had made Vargas very wary, and despite the wariness he was being tagged by a lot of clean lefts.
It was a clean left near the end of round 8 that rocked Vargas to his core. A follow up attack seemed to have Vargas in all sorts of trouble before the bell saved the Mexican fighter who genuinely looked spent. The fight looked in the bag for Miura who was expecting to come out for round 9 and finish what he had started before the bell. Instead however it was Vargas with the fast start and a right hand early in the 9th dropped Miura. Sadly it was the start of the end, and although Miura got to his feet, and did his best to survive, he was unable to keep Vargas off him eventually forcing the referee to step in and save the gutsy Japanese fighter.
Since he bout we've seen fans from Europe and the US describe it as a FOTY contender, high praise indeed, whilst news from Japan has suggested that Miura's camp are hoping to secure a rematch for 2016. If a rematch is indeed made we suspect fans will be more hyped it than they were for this first meeting, which was described by some as a bout for boxing hipsters, though turned out to be one of the fights of the year.
(Image courtesy of GBP)
Every boxing fan is looking forward to Saturday night's mega-fight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. That, however, isn't the only bout this weekend and world title action actually kicked off on Friday evening in Japan as WBC Super Featherweight destroyer Takashi Miura (29-2-2, 22) took to the ring in search of the 4th defense of his title. In the opposite corner to Miura was Australian Billy Dib (39-4-0-1, 23), a former IBF Featherweight champion who had fought in major bouts in Macau and the US. In many ways this was Miura's chance to break out and score a win against a fighter "known" in the west.
The Japanese "Bomber" started as the clear favourite and seemed to feel that Dib had nothing to trouble him and didn't really force the issue in a relatively even opening round that saw Miura apply some basic pressure. Dib however looked the "weaker" man and it was clear that Miura didn't feel under any threat as looked for holes for his terrifying left hand whilst Dib was forced on to the retreat.
In the second round things heated up a bit with both connecting, though it was even more apparent that Miura had the clear edge in power and physical strength and Dib's shots did little to deter the champion who found himself more struggling with the holding than the blows as Dib did his best to spoil the action rather than fight. The one thing that did go in Dibs favour was a warning that Miura got for a low blow at the end of the round.
The third began with Miura beginning to turn the screw on Dib and a thunderous left hand rocked the Australian hard with a follow up attack sending him down. Dib's fighting spirit saw him managing to to beat the count though he was stopped with his senses looking scrambled.
For Miura this was easier than expected and, barring a few shots in round 2, he was unscathed and looked like he could return to the ring next week. He will, of course, be very interested in the upcoming WBA title fight between Takashi Uchiyama and Jomthong Chuwatana, and may well be ringside to call out the winner for a unification bout though this win may well have helped boost his profile to the point where international fans may be wanting to see him and fights against the likes of Roman Martinez, the WBO champion, shouldn't be ruled out. As for Dib this is probably the end. He's not got the power or physical strength to live with the guys at 130lbs and he's not good enough to beat the best at Featherweight. He's effectively between a rock and a hard place.
Although Japanese fighter Takashi Miura (28-2-2, 21) maybe not be the #1 Super Featherweight in Japan it's hard to dislike him with his vicious style, heavy hands and his ever growing reputation as a Mexecutioner. That reputation was further enhanced today as he retained his WBC world title and made unexpectedly light work of mandatory challenger Edgar Puerta (23-4-1, 19) who was stopped in the 6th round of their world title bout
For our British readers "The Bomber" might be Tony Bellew, who fights in a few hours time, in Japan however that name is owned by Miura who showed off his world class power early on as he dropped Puerta inside the opening round. At that point it looked clear this one wasn't going to go the distance with both men fighting with bad intentions, power shots coming from each man as they looked to hurt their foe.
Despite being dropped early the Mexican managed to show genuine grit and resiliency, the sort we expect from Mexican fighters, as he began to have some genuine success of his own in the second round. Unfortunately for the challenger he appeared to be putting a lot into his attacks and was still being forced to take several solid shots in return as Miura continued to find a home for his heavy shots, including an eye catching right hook in round 3 that detonated clean on Puerta's head whilst body shots seemed to regularly connect with the Mexican challenger taking a lot of them.
After 4 rounds the open scoring showed the Japanese fighter clearly in control of the bout with the judges scoring it 39-36 39-36 40-35 to the champion. It was hard to believe that Miura was a man who had been inactive for 11 months prior to this bout and instead of looking rusty he looked hungry. He was fighting like a man who wanted to prove he was the best and wanted to move beyond the likes of Puerta and into the realms of unification bouts.
Miura's control of the bout grew and in the 5th round round it seemed that Puerta was starting to struggle, the body shots were taking their toll and the Mexican was looking like a fighter who was beginning to break down under the pressure. To his credit Puerta did try to fight back but lacked the power, speed and technique to change the fighter and was being held in there by his guts and determination more than his skills.
In round 6 a huge left hand from Miura staggered Puerta before a follow up attack saw Miura over-whelming a tired and beaten looking Mexican who was lucky that the referee was quick to act and save him. With almost a minute of the round left it was likely that Puerta would have been badly battered had the fight been allowed to continue much longer.
For Miura this was a 4th successive win over a Mexican fighter and his third would title defense, it seems however he wants a change next time out and will seeking a rematch with fellow Japanese world champion Takashi Uchiyama. The two men met almost 4 years ago with Uchiyama needing to pull himself off the canvas to stop Miura and defend the WBA world title, since then however Miura has really developed into a world class fighter, as shown today in one of his most rounded and complete performances, whilst Uchiyama has shown some signs of slow down. A rematch between the two is looking more likely than ever though it will depend on Uchiyama winning his upcoming bout on December 31st against Israel Hector Enrique Perez, a bout that is widely viewed as a "gimme" for Uchiyama.
When it was announced that WBC Super Featherweight champion Takashi Miura (27-2-2, 20) would be fighting against Mexican Dante Jardon (24-4, 20) we knew we were in for some early New Year fireworks. Both men are fighters first and boxers second, both like to unload and both have real power in their hands. What we didn't expect however was a bout that was disappointingly one sided.
From the first minute of the first round it seemed clear the men were in different leagues. Miura took control from the off and the highly touted Mexican simply had no answer. From first minute the Jardon was put on the back foot, tagged by hard southpaw left from Miura and bossed around. Jardon, a supposedly huge puncher, was simply unable to get Miura's respect and from then on life was always going to be hard.
Jardon tried hard to get some respect early in the second round but Miura seemed to take many of the shots of Jardon on the arms as he continued to break down the Mexican challenger who was beginning to swing in hope as much as anything. Whilst Jardon was looking desperate Miura looked like a man with a point to prove, as if he wanted to make a statement to all those who are writing him off as a second rate champion. It was clear that Miura had some anger to take out and unfortunately he was taking it out on Jardon was taking a pasting.
By the end of round 4 it wasn't a question of who was going to win but more a question of just how long Jardon could survive and whether or not Miura could keep up the electric pace he had set himself, having seen Miura's fight with Sergio Thompson however it was clear that Miura could do this pace for 12 rounds if he needed to.
In round 5 Miura seemed to turn more of his attention to the body of Jardon, it was as if he was wanting to break the Mexican as well as beat him up. Poor Jardon hard no answer to the thunderous body shots which seemed to take their toll early in the round and a follow up flurry eventually sent a beaten looking Jardon to the canvas for the first knockdown of the fight. Jardon managed to show heart to get to his feet though few would have complained had the bout been stopped there with the Mexican's legs looking wobbly, impressively however he saw out the round.
The heart of Jardon seemed to be all he had as Miura continued to attack him through round 6. Jardon was landing clean counters through the round but they were having next to no effect on Miura who took them and fired back as he continued to look for the finish. Jardon seemed to be lost on what to do. When he tried to fight back he was tagged, when he retreated his was walked down and tagged. It was as if there was nothing he could do to prevent the inevitable.
Jardon had done well to see out round 7 and had a very spirited effort in round 8 before being dropped late in the round as Miura secured a second 10-8 round. The WBC open scoring after 8 told us nothing we didn't already know. Miura was a mile ahead on the cards with scores of 80-71, twice, and 80-70 and the best thing Jardon had done was to make it this far. He had been brave, he had been tough but he had been beaten up round after round after round.
In round 9 Miura dropped Jardon for a third time and this time the referee had decided enough was enough waving it off immediately and calling a halt to proceedings with Jardon on his haunches. The Mexican, who was bleeding from the nose, knew that he had given his all but had been clearly beaten by the much, much better man. This wasn't a case of "the better man on the night" winning, but the better fighter winning and the same would happen if they fought again, Miura was simply too much for the Mexican.
When you consider this is the third notable victory for Miura this year, after victories against Gamaliel Diaz and Sergio Thompson, in a FOTY contender, then it's hard to argue with Miura being the Japanese Fighter of the Year. Thankfully due to his very fun to watch style he's a man with a lot of options and we'd love to see him fight either Takashi Uchiyama in a WBC/WBA unification or Mikey Garcia in a WBC/WBO unification. If he can't get a match with either of those men then it may well be a case of taking on easier foe, he deserves an "easy" bout after the 3 impressive results this year.
Could we have seen the birth of a new Mexi-killer this year?
For the third time in just a few weeks we think we may have seen a new front runner for fight of the year and, like the previous two, it involved a Japanese fighter.
Firstly we were calling the Omar Figueroa/Nihito Arakawa bout the fight of the year, then came the memorable war in Thailand between Koki Eto and Kompayak Porpramook. Well Takashi Miura (26-2-2, 19) against Sergio Thompson (27-3, 25) may well have stolen the honour and if not it's put up a hell of a challenge.
Miura, defending his WBC Super Featherweight title for the first time had been forced to go to Mexico to face #1 challenger Thompson, a man viewed as a real danger. Thompson, who's best win came via 2nd round TKO over Jorge Linares was a guy with a real reputation as a tough and hard hitting fighter who no one would willingly fight and of course Miura was similar with dynamite power and a Japanese mentality.
It was obvious from the moment this was signed that it was going to be special.
We'll admit we had high hopes for this though what we didn't expect was for it to exceed our expectations almost from the off.
The opening round was an interesting one and probably one of the worst. Miura spent much of it scouting Thompson who instead of boxing just winged in wild, loping right hands. It was easy for the Japanese southpaw to avoid many of the swings though he himself wasn't as reckless as Thompson and appeared to shake Thompson near the end of the round with pretty much his first left hand.
The first round made it clear that Miura was technically the better boxer. Thompson, for all of his reputation as a puncher didn't appear capable of setting up his shots and seemed almost unable to understand that he was fighting a southpaw.
Miura started the second quicker than he had started the opening round and managed to drop Thompson who took an "8 count" whilst sitting down before getting to his feet. As soon as the referee allowed them to fight on Miura was back on the attack and seemed almost intent on finishing this quickly rather than dragging it out, Thompson however saw out the round proving his toughness and his will to win.
If the second round was great the third was even better as both men traded bomb after bomb after bomb. This was the sort of action you see more often in a video game or movie than a real fight and it seemed like one man, or the other was going to go down after ever shot. The action raised the crowd who were very pro-Thompson and started chanting "Ye-Yo", the nickname of the Mexican, though couldn't help their man who was being bullied by the end of the round.
The bullying by Miura continued in the fourth round as the Japanese champion really tried to take Thompson out of the fight again. It was beginning to look a bit like a man against a boy and poor Thompson was the boy who was beginning to take a bit of a beating.
It appeared obvious that Miura was in the lead through the first 4 rounds, he had scored a 10-8 round and appeared to be bossing Thompson, but when the open scoring was announced the crowd booed the fact Miura was in the lead. It seemed as if the fans had expected their man to be winning rounds despite taking a beating in several of them.
It wasn't until the fifth round that Thompson really found some traction in the fight as he used his jab and moved much better than he had in the previous rounds. This seemed to suggest that Thompson, if he chose to box, could claim rounds with out being broken up by the power punching and aggressiveness of Miura though of course boxing isn't typically the Mexican mentality.
The Mexican mentality, as we all know, is to say "I have bigger balls than you and I'm here to have a fight" and that's exactly what Thompson did in round 6 as he hurt Miura badly for the first time. Miura seemed ready to go down for the first time in the fight but somehow managed to hold and recover before fighting back and dropping Thompson flat on his face. Some how the referee didn't call a knockdown from Thompson falling though was forced to soon afterwards as Miura scored his second 10-8 round and almost finished off Thompson before the round was over.
Thompson seemed to realise that going to war with Miura was a stupid idea and that it didn't really matter on the size of his balls if he could win the fight so in the seventh round he went back to boxing. With the crowd loudly chanting "Ye-Yo" once again it seemed like Thompson had taken his second clear round and once again had shown that he could beat Miura by boxing.
It's said that success breeds success and that seemed true for Thompson who built on the seventh round by dropping Miura in the eighth scoring his first stoppage. With Miura still hurt Thompson pounced on him trying to turn the fight around in one big assault but the Japanese fighter used his experience to try and hold on. Unfortunately for Miura his holding didn't work but instead his power did as he rocked Thompson, then get rocked himself, then rocked Thompson and got rocked himself again in some insane back and forth action.
Despite Thompson twice being knocked down the crowd again booed when the open scoring for the first 8 rounds were announced. It was again as if they were unable to see their man was losing, putting up a brave fight for sure but losing despite a effort in the seventh and eighth rounds.
Having seen out the hairy moments in the eighth round Miura was again on the front foot in the ninth despite his nose and eye being bloodied. He appeared to rock Thompson once again before a clash of heads saw Thompson going down. It seemed that Thompson, who was ruled fit to continue after the headclash, had all but punched himself out and he struggled to land much of note in a round that allowed Miura to steady the ship.
Miura seemed to be able to sense that Thompson had little left to offer and really went on a hard charge in the tenth round looking to not just win the round but to win the fight. Thompson, to everyone's amazement managed to stay on his feet despite taking an absolute hammering from Miura who seemed intent on keeping the decision out of the judges hands.
Thompson managed to see off the tenth round assault though was again blasted in the eleventh round by Miura who seemed to be sure that he needed a knockout. To a neutral observer he was clearly in the lead though to those watching at the Plaza de Toros in Cancun the fight was close and with a possible robbery playing on the mind of Miura he just kept hunting the knockout.
Surprisingly Thompson managed to see his way through the eleventh and then through the twelfth, a round in which he actually had some success off his own, though it seemed clear that the Japanese fighter had retained hit title in a very dangerous defense.
Unfortunately fighting away from home things are never as clear cut as they seem and the scorecards, announced in Spanish by the classy Jimmy Lennon Jr were bewilderingly close at 113-112, 114-110 and 114-111, though thankfully all 3 were in favour of Miura who certainly made some new fans even if the Mexican's didn't want to full admit it.
Interestingly Cuban Yuriorkis Gamboa was sat ringside cheering on Thompson. There had been talk recently of Gamboa facing Takashi Uchiyama in the US though with Miura's win here it's fair to say Japanese fans will be clamouring to see Uchiyama/Miura II a bout that we've got to admit, we'd love.
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.