A couple of weeks ago ALA gym announced the next "Pinoy Pride" show, an event subtitled "A Legend in the Making", set for May 28th.
When the event was announced their was two bouts confirmed for the show. They were a contest between Arthur Villanueva (28-1, 14) and Juan Jimenez (22-9, 15) and the much anticipated contest between Milan Melindo (33-2, 12) and Javier Mendoza (24-3-1, 19). Along with those two bouts it was also confirmed that long reigning WBO Light Flyweight champion Donnie Nietes (37-1-4, 21) would be on the card.
Over the weekend it was reported that Nietes' has now got an opponent, Raul Garcia (38-3-1, 23).
It was several weeks ago that Nietes would face Garcia, if the WBO would allow the Mexican to be the challenger, and it seems the WBO have indeed agreed to allow "Rayito" to challenge "Ahas".
Garcia is a former WBO Minimumweight champion and a former IBF Minimumweight. Notably however he hasn't fought in a world title bout in more than 4 years, and lost his two last bouts of note, losing split decisions to Moises Fuentes and Pedro Guevara. Given that he's now more than 3 years since a win of note, a stoppage over a faded Sammy Gutierrez in December 2012 it's hard to give him too much of a chance here.
According to rumours this could be Nietes' last defense of the title before moving to Flyweight later in the year, however other rumours have surfaced that Nietes will make another defense, later in the year, in the US in a mandatory defense of the belt. For Garcia however the bout is likely to be his last chance at the top and a loss here really could be the end of his career at the top level.
Vijender Singh moves to 5-0 (5)
The Vijender Singh (5-0, 5) circus continued earlier today when the touted Indian, a former amateur stand-out, took part in his fifth professional bout and scored a 5th round TKO win over the stubborn but horribly limited and incredibly over-matched Matiouze Royer (14-25-6, 3), from France.
The bout was supposed to be a step up in class for the 30 year old Indian fighter, and whilst it was indeed a step up that really said more about his level of competition in his first 4 bouts than it did about Royer, who seemed little more than a human punch bag for 5 rounds.
The heavily tattooed Frenchmen fought much of the fight coming forward behind a tight guard whilst throwing only a handful of shots, most singles. Singh on the other hand let his shots go in combinations, easily won the rounds and showed some nice movement whilst fighting at his own pace.
In round 5 a hard right hand from Singh dropped Royer, and heavily damaged his nose. The Frenchman got on his bike for a few moments before the referee took him to the doctor who, after some deliberation, waved the bout off to give Singh his 5th straight stoppage win.
Whilst many of those cheer leading Singh will celebrate the fact that he gave Royer just the 3rd stoppage loss of his career the reality is that Royer, a natural Light Middleweight, looked smaller than Singh and looked like a man resigned to losing before a punch was thrown. He is a tough fighter but this was a second successive stoppage loss, and the third time he has been stopped in the space of a year.
For a man with the amateur background of Singh, and given he is 30, it's time that he team actively matched him with a higher calibre of opponent. There is a lot to like about Singh, but his team seem to be their utmost best to make him a circus act rather than really progressing his career and he could easily have taken on a fighter like Royer on his debut. It's a shame that Singh's talent isn't being allowed to really shine, but it seems like his team view him more like a potential cash cow than a genuine prospect, and that's a real shame
Earlier today we were informed that Korean based Pakistani fighter Muhammad Waseem (3-0, 3) was pencilled in to return to the ring on July 17th in a bout against former world title challenger Jether Oliva (23-5-2, 11), in what is a massive step up in class for the "Falcon". The bout will take place in Singapore and will see the two men battling for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Flyweight title.
Waseem, a former amateur stand out for Pakistan, made his debut last year under the guidance of Korean promoter Andy Kim and claimed the South Korean (KBC) Bantamweight title on debut. Since then he has slowly lost weight and it seems like he is going to settle down at Flyweight, where he will be facing Oliva.
Although a "novice" in terms of professional experience Waseem is a highly experienced amateur and has fought on the international level. In fact during a 103 fight amateur career he won close 90 bouts and competed notably at the South Asian Games and the Commonwealth Games. That experience has seen Waseem fast tracked and a bout against a notable name seemed like a logical next step.
Whilst Waseem is unknown outside of the hardcore fans Oliva is somewhat known,. The experienced Filipino debuted way back in 2007 and fought in an IBF Light Flyweight world title bout back in 2011, against Ulises Solis. Although he was widely beaten by Solis he would bounce back and in 2014 he ran Moruti Mthalane close in an IBO title fight. More recently Oliva has come up short against Luis Nery, Zolani Tete and Pedro Guevara, losing 3 of his last 4. Althogh that sounds bad he has been competing with naturally bigger men in bouts on the fringes of world class.
Although Oliva has suffered 5 losses 4 have come to fighters who held world titles, whilst the other, to Nery, came to a naturally bigger unbeaten man on his way to a title.
At the moment no other details regarding the show have been revealed but this is a brilliant match up and we really are interested to see how the touted Waseem looks in what is a genuinely monstrous step up in class.
Earlier today Japanese warrior Akira Yaegashi (23-5, 12) [八重樫 東] took part in a public training session as he puts the final touches to his training ahead of his May 8th defense against Mexico's Martin Tecuapetla (13-6, 10).
The session, which came at the Ohashi gyms, saw Yaegashi speak about the recent loss by close friend Takashi Uchiyama (24-1-1, 20) [内山 高志] and seemed to be open in his belief that anything can happen in boxing.
Yaegashi also spoke about his feelings towards his upcoming bout. He seemed to suggest that the bout will be an intense one, and that he will be happy to engage in a slugfest if necessary. Saying that however he did suggest that skills are important and that he would like to use his skills during the bout.
As for the actual training he looked sharp, lively and it's clear he's pretty much ready for the bout on May 8th. The 3-weight champion looked as hungry as ever and it seemed obvious that he, and trainer Koji Matsumoto, had been working hard to prepare for the bout against the hard hitting Mexican challenger.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Last night in the US fight fans saw hard hitting Dominican Jonathan Guzman (21-0-0-1, 21) record his 21st stoppage victory as he stopped brave but out gunned Mexican warrior Daniel Rosas (20-3-1, 12) in 8 rounds. That bout was to decide the next opponent of Japan's slippery Shingo Wake (20-4-2, 12) [和氣 慎吾], in a bout for the now vacant IBF Super Bantamweight title.
As a result of Guzman's win he will now be facing Wake, at somne point over the coming months, for the IBF crown that was recently vacated by Carl Frampton, who has officially moved to Featherweight.
At the moment their seems to be no set time scale for the bout, though it's likely to come over the summer with the two teams, Kyoei on behalf of Wake and Al Haymon's team on behalf of Guzman, negotiating the best deal for their fighter. That could mean that the bout ends up in the US on a PBC show, like the Guzman Vs Rosas bout did, or end in Japan aired on TBS, who have invested in Wake's recent bouts.
Sadly for Wake it seems like the wait for his shot seems to never end and it's now almost 11 months since he won his IBF eliminator, easily out pointing Mike Tawatchai. Incidentally it does lead to questions regarding the IBF's rankings, with Rosas having an IBF ranking despite having lost 2 of his previous 5, and struggling in his 2 of his subsequent wins, with neither of those wins coming against fighters even close to world rankings. He appears to have moved into the rankings in February at the expense of Luis Rosa, who fought a Featherweight bout in January, however the Guzman bout was the first time Rosas had made 122lbs since his TKO loss to Rodrigo Guerrero, more than 2 years ago.
Whilst the ranking of Rosas is very questionable it's fair to say that Wake Vs Guzman will be a very good bout with the heavy handed Guzman bringing real fire power to the slippery movement and sharp punching of Wake and the bout really should get the winner a fair amount of attention as well as the IBF title.
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