Earlier today news broke that former 2-time WBC Super Flyweight champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (50-5-1, 43) [ศรีสะเกษ นครหลวงโปรโมชั่น] had tested positive for Covid ahead of his rematch, this Saturday, against Carlos Cuadras (39-4-1, 27). Since that it has been revealed that Srisaket had been replaced by Jesse Rodriguez (14-0, 10), with Rodriguez and Cuadras fighting for the WBC title.
Following that story news has now broke from Srisaket's team announcing that the Thai fighter hasn't tested positive for Covid after all. However the bout is still off due to a medical issue that has affected Srisaket, with promoter Surachart Phisitvuthinun, the head of Nakornluang, explaining that that things will be addressed in more depth later today, or early morning tomorrow for fans in Thailand.
Given the medical situation we want to wish Srisaket all the best, and hope that it's nothing serious, though this isn't the first time a Thai boxer has had medical issues in the US, with Poonsawat Kratingdeanggym testing positive for a blood disorder ahead of a fight with Guillermo Rigondeaux, which was originally reported to have been HIV.
WBO #4 and WBA #7 bantamweight Jonas Sultan is back in the United States to solidify his bid to a shot at a world title.
The Zamboanga City-native Sultan left for the United States Saturday night after spending the holidays in a posh Cavite house owned by Zamboanga Valientes owner Junnie Navarro.
The 30-year-old Sultan, who spent his entire Philippine vacation together with his family, will be joining stablemate and current world superflyweight kingpin Jerwin Ancajas in Los Angeles, California.
“While he is coming off a remarkable win last October in New York, Jonas is more eager to score another spectacular win for his next fight as he is getting a lot of inspiration from his newly-born child and hopefully, that next fight would be for a world title,” said Navarro.
Fighting as a heavy underdog in his last bout, Sultan (18-5, 11 knockouts) floored erstwhile unbeaten Carlos Caraballo of Puerto Rico four times en route to a 10-round unanimous decision win on October 30, 2021 at the famed Madison Square Garden in New York.
“Last December pa tuloy tuloy na training ko at kahit na nanganak misis ko, tuloy pa din training kasi ang isip ko dapat ready ako anytime na bigyan ng chance sa world title,” said Sultan who snatched the WBO Intercontinental crown in beating Caraballo.
While in Los Angeles, Sultan will serve as one of the main sparmates of Ancajas who is scheduled to defend his IBF crown against Fernando Martinez of Argentina on February 27, Manila time, in Las Vegas.
Currently, there are three holders of four bantamweight titles, two of them Filipinos namely Nonito Donaire, Jr. (WBC ) and Johnriel Casimero (WBO).
Sultan hopes to challenge the third titleholder, Japanese superstar Naoya Inoue who owns the WBA and IBF belts.
“Si Inoue ang gusto ko kasi hindi maganda para sa akin na Pinoy vs. Pinoy ang maglaban sa world title. Pero kung ano talaga ang mas magandang laban, handa lang ako,” added Sultan who is now solidly backed by Go For Gold, Globalport, MLV Accounting and Finn Cotton.
CAPTION: WBO Oriental bantamweight champion Jonas Sultan at the NAIA Airport as he waits for his flight to the United States Saturday, Jan. 30. (Photo courtesy of Jonas Sultan)
Earlier today fight fans at Koraskuen Hall got a treat as they got a thrilling card headlined by a Japanese Super Bantamweight title bout, and also featuring several other bouts of note. The card wasn't a massive one, not by any stretch, but was a very good domestic level show.
The first bout of note saw former 2-time world title challenger Masayuki Kuroda (30-9-3, 16) [黒田雅之] return to the ring for the first time since May 2019, when he lost to Moruti Mthalane. Sadly for him however it wasn't a happy return as he was out boxed by unbeaten youngster Kantaro Juri (4-0, 2) [重里侃太朗] in an 8 rounder at Super Flyweight. Throughout the fight Juri proved to be too big, too quick, too sharp and too accurate, especially with his jab. Kuroda had moments, here and there, but they were few and far between and after 8 rounds there no questioning the decision. The judges all sided with Juri, with scores of 79-73, 78-74 and 77-75.
The second bout of note on this card ended with a genuine upset as the unheralded Taison Mukaiyama (7-2, 4) [向山太尊] scored a stoppage win over the ranked Toru Kiyota (11-5, 8) [清田亨], who entered with top 10 rankings with the JBC, OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific. Mukaiyama looked crude at times, being made to miss and losing balance early on, but in round 2 a left straight left hand stopped Kiyota. Kiyota recovered to his feet but was instantly under pressure and the referee was forced to save him just moments later. Notably Kiyota was ranked #4 in the WBO Asia Pacific rankings and this win will put Mukaiyama on the verge of a title fight of some kind.
On the subject of title fights the main event of the show as a Japanese Super Bantamweight title bout, as defending champion Gakuya Furuhashi (28-8-2, 16) [古橋大輔] faced off with Yusaku Kuga (20-5-2, 13) [久我勇作], the man he beat for the title last year. From the off this was a great fight, living up to the high expectations fans had of it. Kuga got the better of the early going, jabbing well and moving well, but Furuhashi, like he did in their first bout, kept coming forward and showed little respect to Kuga's much touted power. This lead to Furuhashi forcing Kuga to fight at a high pace, somethign that was expected to take the gas out of Kuga's tank.
In round 4 Furuhashi was left with a cut eye, from an uppercut, and after 5 rounds Kuga was leading on all 3 cards, 48-47, twice, and 49-46.
It was there that Furuhashi began to make the most of his aggression, his pressure and his work rate, as he started to get up close and get to the body of Kuga. He forced Luga to clinch, spoil and try to slow the tempo of the bout, but Furuhashi was incredibly determined to turn the bout his way, and he really got his way back in to the bout in the middle rounds, taking the lead on two of the scorecards as we went into round round 10. It was there that Kuga dug incredibly deeply and managed to narrowly out work and out battle Furuhashi. Sadly for him however it wasn't enough to take home the win.
The scores, after 10 rounds, were 95-95, twice, and 96-94 to Kuga, resulting in a majority draw, and leaving the door open to a third bout between two two men, who have know given us two amazing bouts around a year apart.
Tomorrow fight fans at Korakuen Hall will get the chance to see Japanese Super Bantamweight Gakuya Furuhashi (28-8-1, 16) [古橋大輔] face off with the man he beat for the title last year, Yusaku Kuga (20-5-1, 13) [久我勇作]. Today, ahead of their much anticipated rematch, the two men took part in their weigh in, and both men made the 122lb limit for the bout, at their first attempt.
On the scales both men came in bang on the divisional limit of 122lbs, and both looked in great shape for the bout, and seemed incredibly relaxed.
Their first bout, last January, saw Kuga enter as the champion, but get broken down in 9 rounds, of a truly thrilling fight that was one of the main highlights of the Japanese schedule last year. Since then bother men have fought once, with Furuhashi retaining his title and Kuga booking this fight with a win over former champion Ryoichi Tamura, in what was the third bout between the two men.
At the weigh both fighters spoke confidently to the media, with Furuhashi explaining he can only imagine himself winning by KO, and explained that he's expecting Kuga to fighter differently to how he did a year ago. Notably Kuga's issue in their first bout seemed to be him running out of steam, and we wouldn't be surprised by that being on the mind of both men here.
Kuga explained that he has evolved since their first bout, but stated that he will win this time around, and like Furuhashi he seemed really confident of coming out on top, in what could be a genuine thriller, much like their first.
Related - Furuhashi and Kuga go again in Japanese title rematch!
Last year Japan hosted one of the biggest upsets of the year, as the unheralded Masamichi Yabuki (13-3, 12) [佐藤政道] scored a 10th round TKO win over the previously unbeaten Kenshiro Teraji (18-1, 10) [寺地 拳四朗], ending the latter's long reign as the WBC Light Flyweight champion. The win put Yabuki on the boxing map, and saw him put his name among the top in the division, a packed division, but was a win marred with controversy due to repeated head clashes that that went unpunished, much to the chagrin of Kenshiro and his team. The head clashes resulted in Kenshiro's promoter, and former fighter himself, Hisashi Teraji being highly critical of the JBC and the officials regarding the bout, who seemed to be in no rush to order a rematch. Something the WBC eventually did after reviewing footage of the bout.
After the WBC ordered a rematch the teams involved, which included the BMB Gym and Misako Gym, who promote Kenshiro, the Green Gym, which promote Yabuki, and Shinsei Gynm, who promoted the bout, all promises to work together to organise the rematch for early 2022.
Today we finally saw news break regarding the when, and where, of that rematch.
The bout, announced by Shinsei Gym, will take place on March 19th and will be head at the Kyoto City Gymnasium under "The Real Fight" banner.
The two fighters attended the press conference to announce the bout the two men and both gave quotes to the media at the event.
Yabuki stated "The opponent is a player with higher overall skill than myself. Just like last time, I just fight with the challenger spirit and defend firmly." Notably Yabuki also stated that stamina was going to be key explaining he, "We are trying to improve our physical strength by strengthening our running for the rematch." He also stated that the press saw a switch turn on inside himself, and he came across as a man with a point to prove.
Kenshiro stated "I am lucky to have a rematch immediately. I want to seize this opportunity and return to the championship." He also explained that if he fights like he normally does he will win this bout, and was critical of the officials, much like his father had been. Interestingly Kenshiro explained that he did think about retiring, to become a sushi chef after the loss, but admitted he couldn't end his career on the bac of the Yabuki, loss and seemed intent on getting revenge for that defeat.
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