Just moments ago fight fans around the world were able to see unbeaten Filipino sensation Mark Anthony Barriga (9-0, 1) put on a masterclass of boxing to dominate hard hitting Colombian Gabriel Mendoza (29-6-2, 23) and become the IBF mandatory challenger at Minimumweight.
From the first round it was clear that Barriga was several levels above the Colombian, who had fought for a world title only a year ago and it never really changed as Barriga controlled round after round with his excellent movement, counter punching. The Colombian struggled to ever connect cleanly and instead he was being tagged by regular counters, jabs and combinations.
The one saving grace for Mendoza was his toughness, and despite being stung a few times he never looked like he was going to be stopped. It was possible that Mendoza's survival had a lot to do with Barriga's relative lack of power, but it scarcely mattered with the Colombian looking gun shy for the most part, knowing that he was going to be tagged as and when he let his own hands go. With Mendoza throwing less as the bout went on Barriga went on the offensive more, and left Mendoza with a swollen right eye.
At the end of the contest there was no doubting the winner, with Barriga taking the decisions thanks to scores of 120-108, twice, and 119-109, with one judge managing to find a sympathy round for Mendoza.
With this win Barriga will likely face either Hiroto Kyoguchi or Vince Paras, who fight later this month in an IBF world title fight.
On the under-card of the show, which was an incredibly long one, fans saw former WBO Super Flyweight champion Marvin Sonsona (21-1-1, 15) out point Arief Blader (23-28-2, 8) in what was a dreary performance from both men, Genesis Servania (31-1, 14) score a stoppage over Jason Butar Butar (27-24-1, 18), with a brutal body shot, a wide US win for AJ Banal (36-2-1, 23), who easily out pointed Master Suro (12-14-1, 2) in what was a dire bout.
This past Saturday was certainly a busy day in the world of professional boxing with notable bouts all over the world, from Japan to Germany, Germany to Cananda. Due to all the action some did sneak under-the-radar some what, including several bouts in the Philippines which featured former world title challengers looking to re-establish themselves as contenders ahead of 2016.
One of those bouts featured the talented, yet highly frustrating, Arthur Villanueva (28-1, 14), who was fighting for the first time since a controversial loss to McJoe Arroyo in an IBF Super Flyweight title bout. The talented "King" Arthur was up against the unheralded Victor Mendez (19-3, 15) in a bout that was supposed to help the Filipino rebuild some career momentum and claim the WBC International title.
Given his ability it was thought the bout was going to be a straight forward win for Villanueva, instead however it turned into a very frustrating night for the Filipino fans who saw both men stall and become almost mirror images of each other, waiting and waiting for a mistake. Neither man was willing to take a risk and neither was willing to force the issue in a bout that really failed to ever truly come alive. Both did have their moments during the contest but on the whole both failed to really turn in a performance of note.
The bout, which was close, in part due to a lack of action, saw Villanueva do just enough to claim the win with cards of 116-112 and 117-111, whilst Mendez won on the third card with a score of 115-113 in his favour. Although both did look like they had more ability than they showed, it was a case that the styles didn't gel.
Another of the men was Milan Melindo (33-2, 12), a former 2-time world title challenger. The talented Melindo, who was last seen losing a technical decision to Javier Mendoza, had complained about the officiating in his last bout but got very lucky as some questionable judging helped him claim a victory over Victor Emanuel Olivo (9-1, 4).
Olivo came into the bout as an unknown teenager and was taking the bout on late notice, filling in for the ill Carlos Fontes. Despite that he put in a truly excellent performance from the first round to the last as he forced the issue with combinations and movement. Melindo was left bloodied and hurt though managed to take the decision with some viewing the as an out-and-out robbery. The bout was scored 96-94 by all 3 judges, with two favouring Melindo though even the 96-94 in favour of Olivo suggested the bout was more competitive than it really was.
Whilst Melindo and Villanueva failed to shine AJ Banal (34-2-1, 23) put in a good performance, stopping Emilio Norfat (25-7, 19) in the third round, of their scheduled 10 rounder, and the exciting Kevin Jake Cataraja (2-0, 2) extend his perfect record with a cuts based TKO win over Ellias Nggenggo (10-9-3, 3)
Earlier today it was announced that Filipino youngster Kevin Jake "KJ" Cataraja (1-0,1) would return to the ring on November 28th to face Indonesian Farris Nenggo (10-8-3,8) as part of the upcoming "Pinoy Pride 34" card.
The talented Cataraja made an immediate impression when he began his professional career earlier this year with an impressive victory against Ardi Tefa and it seems like ALA aren't going to allow him too many "easy bouts" as he continues his professional development and moves through the ranks at what we expect to be a fast pace, especially for a Filipino prospect.
The youngster turned professional with quite a lot of hype and his debut saw him live up to some of that hype, show casing some fantastic ability, great speed, solid power, fantastic composure and the sort of traits that a trainer and team would love one of their fighters to have at that stage in their career.
At the moment the full card hasn't been fully announced though we know that ALA have will be show casing a number of their fighters, including 4 former world title challengers, Milan Melindo (32-2,12), Arthur Villanueva (21-1,14), Rocky Fuentes (35-8-2,20) and AJ Banal (33-2-1, 22KO). At the moment only one of their opponents has been announced, with Banal set to fight Emilio Norfat (24-5-0, 18) from Tanzania.
For those who missed Cataraja's debut against Tefa we've included it below.
A log day of noteworthy boxing began a few hours ago in the Philippines with Pinoy Pride XXX. The show, dubbed "D Day" was seen as a major day for Nonito Donaire and Donnie Nietes, who are yet to two fight in the two headline bouts.
Whilst the headline bouts are a while away we have seen some of the under-card which has featured a couple of prospects and a former world title contender.
The show began with Ralph Jhon Lulu (11-0-2, 5) extending his unbeaten record with a majority decision win against Gerry Patenio (4-8-2, 2). The scorecards ranged notably here with one judge having it a shut out to the unbeaten man whilst another judge viewed it even. The one big take away however is that Lulu cannot be rushed and isn't ready to be looking at genuinely interesting match ups.
The second bout on the show was much more competitive on paper with Jeson Umbal (8-3, 6) taking on Eric Panza (7-4-1, 1) in a well matched bout. The difference was really just the power of Umbal who twice dropped Panza as he went on to claim unanimous decision win courtesy of cards that read 76-74x2, 77-73. Without the knockdowns this would have been a majority draw.
The highlight of the early bouts was a short but memorable slugfest between the unbeaten Joepher Montano (3-0, 2) and Australian visitor Tyson Maher (0-2). The two men went straight to war and acted like defense was a naughty word as they each hunted a knockout. Sadly whilst the action was intense it was short lived and Maher was stopped mid way through round 2 as his corner threw in the towel following a knockdown. Although was a war it always seemed like Montano was in control, though Maher did try his best to keep things competitive.
The final non-title fight on the show saw AJ Banal (33-2-1, 22) winning a clear decision over limited Indonesian visitor Junior Bajawa (14-6, 7). All 3 cards had this bout scored 80-71 though Banal did have problems in the final few rounds as a cut, from a headclash, seemed to bother him. It was however the only trouble he had the entire fight as he continued his rebuilding process following his 9th round TKO loss in 2012 to Pungluang Sor Singyu. This was Banal's 5th straight win and Bajawa's 5th straight loss, though it did a 3 fight stoppage loss run for Bajawa. Incidentally Bajawa is now 0-6 outside of his homeland.
Earlier today saw the official weigh in for this Saturday's Filipino super show, "Pinoy Pride 28", and rather wonderfully all the title level fighters made weight for their bouts.
The main event of the show will see WBO Light Flyweight champion Donnie Nietes (33-1-4, 19) defending his belt against Mexican fighter Carlos Velarde (26-3-1, 14). On the scales Nietes was 107.5lbs whilst Velarde was bang on the limit at 108lbs. From what we understand this will be Nietes's last bout as a Light Flyweight before he joins the fray at Flyweight strangely however this is his lightest weight since he defended the WBO Minimumweight title against Mario Rodriguez more than 4 years ago. As for Velarde this is his first title bout at Light Flyweight though he has fought as high as Flyweight in the past. In his previous title bouts Velarde has fought Minimumweight with the most notable of his title bouts being his WBA Minimumweight title bout with Ryo Miyazaki last year, which ended with Miyazaki scoring a KO of the year contender.
In an IBF Light Flyweight title eliminator it was Milan Melindo (31-1, 12) who was the heavier man on the scales weighing in at 107.5lbs for his bout against Saul Juarez (20-3, 11) who was 107lbs. As for the IBF Inter-Continental Super Bantamweight title bout between defending champion Albert Pagara (21-0, 15) and Raul Hirales (22-3-1, 11) both man weighed the same, bang on the 122lb limit.
An interesting non-title bout at Featherweight saw AJ Banal (31-2-1, 22) weigh in at 124.5lb marginally less than Thai foe Maxsaisai Sithsaithong (15-5, 4), who was 125lbs on the scales. The Thai enters this bout seeking his second win following a failed OPBF title challenge back in June whilst Banal will be hoping to move towards a world title bout. Back at Light Flyweight recent world champion Merlito Sabillo (23-1-1, 12) came in at 107lbs, the exact same as Indonesian foe Faris Nenggo (8-6-3, 2) who has been selected as an easy for foe Sabillo following his painful loss to Francisco Rodriguez Jr (16-2, 11) earlier this year. Having just mentioned Rodriguez Jr he was 113lbs for his bout with Jomar Fajardo (14-5-1, 7), who was 112lbs himself. The weight from the Mexican visitor is telling seems to indicate that he won't be returning to Minimumweight, a division in which he holds both the IBF and WBO titles following wins over Sabillo for the WBO belt and, more recently, Katsunari Takayama for the IBF title.
As well as the bouts mentioned the show will also feature several undercard bouts.
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