The month of August hasn't been great for Japanese Super Bantamweights. Back on August 16th we saw Ryosuke Iwasa lose the IBF title to TJ Doheny in Tokyo. On August 23rd Hinata Maruta was held to a controversial draw against Ben Mananquil in the Philippines. That run unfortunately continued this past Saturday when 37 year old Hidenori Otake (31-3-3, 14) suffered his first stoppage loss, being taken out inside a round by WBO Super Bantamweight champion Isaac Dogboe (20-0, 14).
Otake had gone over to Arizona confident, he had spoke about taking Dogboe long and defeating him based on his stamina. That confidence showed as he looked to stand toe-to-toe with Dogboe and take the fight to him. Sadly for Otake that was a mistake as Dogboe was sharper, quicker and more accurate, landing solid uppercuts and left hooks at will.
One of those left hooks was a dynamite shot right on the chin, sending Otake down hard. The Japanese fighter, who had proven toughness, got to his feet at the count of 4 and went on to the front foot, trying to take the fight to Dogboe. It was a mistake and he was forced to touch down again only moments later.
Otake continued to fight but was totally unable to avoid the left hooks from Dogboe and the bout was stopped as Dogboe unloaded a big flurry on to the Japanese fighter.
This is likely to be Otake's final bout as a professional, and we're expecting him to announce his retirement very soon. As for Dogboe the future is very exciting and he openly called out the other world champions after his win, with potential show downs against Rey Vargas, Daniel Roman and TJ Doheny all interesting looking bouts for the young fighter from Ghana.
The second of 4 world title fights this evening in the US saw a new WBO Featherweight champion being crowned as Filipino legend Nonito Donaire (37-4, 24) was out pointed by unbeaten challenger Jessie Magdaleno (24-0, 17).
The fight started slowly and tactically with the first two rounds being very quiet and seemed to be won by Magdaleno's slightly fast work, with Donaire looking like the older and slower fighter. Despite Magdaleno looking quicker there was very little to pick between them in the early stages.
In round 3 Donaire seemed to change tact, bringing more concentrated pressure to Magdaleno who was forced to respond. The round was a much more engaging one and although it was Donaire changing the game plan it was one that he didn't really land a lot in. The same tactic however did pay off in round 4, although it was a round where the key event was a clash of heads that left Magdaleno cut around the left eye.
Despite the cut Magdaleno had a solid round 5, landing what was the best shot of the right up to that point, the success from that round seemed to fill the challenger with confidence and he he looked in control a lot more in the rounds that followed as Donaire looked to land a game change. In round 7 finally landed a major blow, a body shot, but he continued to struggle to land consistently and his blows, which had looked destructive in recent bouts, failed to budge Magdaleno.
Although Donaire seemed to be behind going into the later stages of the fight he seemed determined to continue his game plan of trying to walk down Magdaleno. The right hands from Donaire were starting to land regularly during those stages but Magdaleno himself was having great success with body shots before unloading with Donaire on the ropes late in round 9. It seemed, during the final minute of the round, as if the whole fight changed with both men being hurt. Despite being hurt in round 9 Donaire came out for round 10 looking rejuvenated and pressed forth putting the challenger under pressure and landed some solid shots, but was countered numerous times by the younger man.
Going into the championship rounds Donaire likely thought he was behind and came out looking for a KO, throwing big shots early and connecting with a number of them. Again it seemed like he couldn't turn things around with a single shot, but he was going to keep looking for a KO blow, and often got tagged with counters from a still energetic Magdaleno. Donaire continued looking for a big shot through out the final round and landed several that shook up Magdaleno, though never managed to drop his man, or score a fighting ending KO blow.
Despite the effort from Donaire it seemed clear he had come up short, despite being on the front foot for the most part. He seemed too slow and was never able to maintain any major success to change the fight around. The cards, with scores of 116-112, twice, and 118-110 were all in Magdaleno's favour and despite there being some close rounds it did seem like a 116-112 type win for Magdaleno.
With the loss Donaire is likely looking at retirement, or final run, whilst Magdaleno announces himself as a serious player at 122lbs.
Every so often we get world title challengers who really don't deserve to be ranked, with little qualifications for a world title bout and really no chance against any world class fighters. That was seen today when WBO Super Bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire (37-3, 24) gave a harsh reality lesson to the woefully inadequate Hungarian challenger Zsolt Bedak (25-2, 8).
The opening round was relatively competitive with Donaire spending much of the round easing himself into the contest whilst a tense Bedak looked like a fighter who was stepping up and trying to make sure that he wasn't over-awed too soon. Sadly for the challenger the round was the only one where he looked even close to being competitive.
In round 2 Donaire moved through the gears with a left hook shaking up the Hungarian who was dropped in a follow up attack from the Filipino. Bedak got to his feet, and was somewhat lucky that Donaire was looking for a 1-punch KO as it gave him time to recover some senses, though the Hungarian was tagged several times before being dropped again from a counter shot at the end of the round. That secured Donaire a 10-7 record but seemed to show that the bout really was a massive mismatch of ability, speed and power, with Bedak too slow, too limited and too feather fisted to have any kind of a chance.
With Bedak already in a hole, and having been dropped twice, it seemed like the bout was a case of "when" not "if" the challenger world get stopped. That ending was in round 3 when Donaires speed and power again took it's toll on Bedak with a series of shots that resulted in Bedak going down for the third time in the bout. The Hungarian did his best to get to his feet, but the bloodied fighter couldn't convince the referee that he was fit to continue.
With the win Donaire records the first defense of his current as a world champion, sadly the bout was a huge mismatch but it was a home coming for the exciting Filipino who hasn't fought in a world title bout in the Philippines in 7 years, with his last world title bout their being a 4th round TKO win over Raul Martinez. Hopefully his next bout will be a more notable one.
When it comes to Bedak, the WBO have to explain what they thought qualified him for a world title fight, especially against a genuinely top fighter like Donaire.
Every so often we get a fight that isn't expected to anything special, in fact the bout may well be derided as a mismatch, but turns out to be an amazing fight that takes on a life of it's own and leaves fans wanting more. This past Friday we had one such fight as Nonito Donaire (36-3, 23) and Cesar Juarez (17-4, 13) put on something very special for the WBO Super Bantamweight title.
The bout was supposed to be a mismatch, in fact some bookies in the UK had Donaire at almost unbackable odds. Despite the feeling of a mismatch the fight actually ended up being very competitive, thrilling and a bout that really told a story that showed what makes boxing such a special sport.
The bout began like many expected. Donaire was simply too good, too smart, too fast, too accurate and seemingly had too much of everything. The first round saw the landing a monstrous right hand to effectively welcome Juarez into the fight and followed it up with a number of massive right hands up top and left hooks to the body. It looked like the story of the fight was going to be a very short one and it seemed like Juarez simply had no idea what to do with Donaire.
Rounds 2 and 3 were much like the opening round. They were all Donaire with the Filipino seemingly in total control, he couldn't miss and it seemed like Juarez was certain to be stopped. The much vaunted power of Donaire was connecting time and time again, and the shots were clean every time. The only real variance came in the final 30 seconds of round 3, when Juarez finally managed to have some success of his own, albeit only limited success.
Having clearly taken the first 3 rounds Donaire seemed to grow and in round 4 he continued to land right hands. The success of Donaire's clean shots seemed to stagger Juarez who went down as the fighters seemed to tangle feet. It was ruled a knockdown, but was a controversial call. It seemed however that it was going to be incident and not long afterwards Juarez was down again, a legitimate and painful looking knockdown. The second knockdown seemed to hurt Juarez who came out fighting, as if he was wanting to go down swinging rather than just take a loss. The opportunities that Juarez gave allowed Donaire to land further bombs but the Mexican saw off the storm and seemed to win a mini battle with himself. It was a 10-7 round but it was a round that had plenty of positives for Juarez, who had proven just how tough he was.
In round 5 Donaire looked for the kill, he again landed some bombs but they didn't have they effect they had had earlier in the fight. Instead they seemed to spur on Juarez who, near the end of the round, cornered Donaire and got off with some serious offensive work with the Filipino on the ropes. It was a sign that Juarez was there to fight, and wasn't merely there to make up the numbers. He had gone through hell early on and was now ready to pay it back.
The payback from Juarez continued in round 6 as Donaire began the round on his toes, moving but not punching, hit output dropped off completely whilst Juarez moved through the gears and began to cut the ring off, forcing Donaire on to the ropes. It wasn't a clear and decisive round, but it was a notable round, with Donaire slipping late and seemingly injuring his ankle. His corner went to work on it, and did seem like it was going to be dramatic, though it never seemed to clearly effect the fight following the slip.
With Donaire clearly slowing in terms of his output Juarez began to turn it on and round 7 was a massive round for Juarez who regularly pinned Donaire against the ropes and unloaded with flurry after flurry. In the first 90 seconds the action was all Juarez with the Mexican really forcing the issue whilst the second half of the round saw Donaire having some success, but not enough with Juarez continuing to out work him.
Juarez continued to build on his success and in round 8 he continued to press the action. He was forced to eat some counters, some huge counters, but on the whole it was the work of the Mexican that left a lasting impression. The aggressive work of Juarez seemed to be helping him claw his way back into the fight and seemed to really be taking it's toll on Donaire who marking up and being forced to fight Juarez's fight. Despite the complexion of the fight changing it seemed as though Juarez had too much ground to make up, though he wasn't going to just give up.
Rounds 9 and 10 continued in much the same vein, with Juarez forcing the action with an insane work rate and intense pressure. He had mixed success, but in both rounds he managed to get Donaire on the ropes and unload with the Filipino becoming more and more ragged by the round. So ragged was Donaire that it seemed he was knocked down in round 10, though the referee called it a slip. Despite becoming ragged Donaire was landing his right hand counter at will, though it had no effect at all on the Mexican who seemed to just reset himself and come right back at the Filipino star, who must have wondered what it would take to stop his 24 year old foe.
Although rounds 9 and 10 were Juarez's rounds he was still going to need several KD's, if not a KO, to win and he seemed to know it as he came our fast in round 11. That lead to a number of brilliant exchanges with Juarez forcing Donaire to the ropes and Donaire firing back in a flurries of shots, as the two traded, standing toe to toe. The action was dictated, again, by Juarez but Donaire was being forced to hold his own. The round was brilliant and both men deserve credit for their efforts, though the round will quickly be forgotten
The reason round 11 will be forgotten is because the two then gave us a round of the year contender, in fact they may well have given us the best round of the year.
Juarez came out fast and immediately had Donaire on the ropes and began unloading his shots. Donaire eventually got some space and freedom but his respite was short as Juarez charged back in, almost immediate. The assault from Juarez continued until thee was about a minute left. It seemed like Donaire was running on fumes, and then suddenly Donaire fired back stopping Juarez in his tracks. The Mexican regrouped and was tagged again before the two traded solid shots to the bell. It was breath taking, jaw dropping and and all action.
By the final bell it seemed like the early success of Donaire was easy to forget. He had been dragged through hell for the final 6 rounds of the fight. The work of Juarez, whilst not the cleanest, was eye catching, and it seemed that overall Juarez had certainly done enough to make the cards at least close. Sadly the effort wasn't really shown on the cards which were 116-110, twice and 117-109, all in favour of Donaire, who reclaimed the WBO Super Bantamweight title.
Whilst the Filipino got the win, we dare say it's come at a cost and it's unlikely that he'll be the same fighter, in fact the punishment taken here will have aged Donaire significantly and the 33 year old may have just used his “final” good performance in what was a very tough, exciting and brilliant fight.
The final bout of 2014 took place in Osaka a few hours ago when Cuban sensation Guillermo Rigondeaux (15-0, 10) successfully defended his WBO and WBA "super" Super Bantamweight titles in what may go down as being one of his most memorable, exciting and interesting bouts. In fact it was a bout that may have seen Rigondeaux retain his titles but suddenly look beatable, fallible and flawed with serious question marks arising about his durability.
The bout was a supposed mismatch as the talented Cuban battled against unheralded Japanese fighter Hisashi Amagasa (28-5-2, 19). Rigondeaux was a 1/100 favourite. On paper it was a show case bout for the Cuban against an opponent who was bigger than him but open, an opponent that really was expected to be made for him to counter, break up and use as a human punch bag. Instead what we ended up with was an entertaining, though relatively 1-sided, affair that had drama in the middle of it and really grotesque and nasty damage done to the challenger.
Early on Amagasa looked hungry and he effectively ran over to Rigondeaux, swung his shots and fought as if he felt he would need to stop Rigondeaux early to have any chance. It was an entertaining start by the challenger, who seemed to have more intent than the last 2 challengers of Rigondeaux's. Sadly for Amagasa it wasn't long before Rigondeaux turned the tables and started making the challenger look clumsy whilst picking him off with his speed and accuracy. The way the Cuban turned the bout around was beautiful in some ways though unfortunately he managed to take what was beautiful and make it dull as he began circling around the ring and using his feet to avoid a fight whilst continuing to pick the Japanese fighter.
Whilst Rigondeaux was too fast his style was frustrating to watch, thankfully Amagasa did occasionally get into range and have success. those moments were few and far between but made it obvious that the challenger wasn't just there to be a showcase foe, he was there to win.
Late in round 7 we had a huge momentum shift as Rigondeaux was caught by a counter right hand from the Japanese fighter and dropped. It was a shock considering how much Amagasa had struggled to land anything clean and it seemed to even shock Amagasa who ran over to the corner to celebrate, unfortunately however Rigondeaux was quickly back to his feet. A follow up attack saw Rigondeaux being bundled down and the referee ruling it a knockdown, Rigondeaux was still groggy but it was far from a legitimate knockdown, it did however result in a 10-7 round.
Amagasa trying to build on his success in round 8 but sadly Rigondeaux managed to recover his sense and by the end of the round the Cuban was back in charge. In round 9 Rigondeaux further reestablished himself as he scored a knockdown of his own and from then on it seemed he was in complete control whilst Amagasa's face began to swell quickly, breaking up after every puncher of Rigondeaux's. Sadly the swelling become more and more grotesque and by the end of round 11 he looked like a extra from a horror movie with what appeared to be a broken cheekbone, a broken jaw and a broken orbital bone. Rightfully he stayed in the corner and accepted defeat rather than have his already broken face further damaged.
We hope we get to see Amagasa back in the ring next year, but the damage done here may well leave him on the shelf for a very long time and even if he returns the chances are he will never be the same. He can take heart from his effort, which was great, but that effort almost certainly cost him long term. Despite the loss we want to thank Amagasa for putting up an amazing effort full of courage even in the most serious of adversity, we're sure he made some new fans with this performance.
Sometimes the most significant fight on a show isn't actually the "main event" and that was the case today in Macau as Zou Shiming headlined the card with his fight against Luis Dela Rosa whilst the most significant bout was the Super Bantamweight title fight between Cuban sensation Guillermo Rigondeaux (14-0, 9) and Thailand's Sod Kokietgym (63-3-1, 28).
The bout, widely viewed as a mismatch of giant proportions, went the way many expected with Rigondeaux retaining his title though there was certainly an air of controversy surrounding the ending of the contest.
After 80 seconds of the fight starting there was a major headclash which saw Sod dropping to the canvas hard. It was a clear headclash and a hard one even though Sod wasn't left bloodied he was certainly groggy. Sadly the referee failed to give Sod reasonable time to recover from the accidental foul.
Moments after being told to continue Sod went to touch gloves though was caught by a hard left that sent him down hard. He was up at 9 though still groggy, a combination of both the stunning left hand and the head clash, and the referee waved off the bout immediately much to the anger of Sod who felt he had been sucker punched.
Whilst few will make a fuss about the ending, and in fact many will suggest that Sod should have "defended himself at all times", it still won't have done Rigondeaux any favours despite the result being very impressive. It was, as we suggested, a lose-lose situation for Rigondeaux especially if you, like Sod, feel Rigondeaux delivered a sucker punch.
Whilst some fans will have loved the "nasty side" of Rigondeaux others will have questioned the need for the shot that finished off Sod. Some will certainly suggest that Rigondeaux deprived us of a fight, though it was a fight that many didn't want to see anyway and we dare say some people just want to complain.
(Image courtesy of Top Rank)
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.