Earlier today we had a show in South Korea featuring a pair of WBO Oriental title bouts.
The first of the title bouts saw former world title challenger ArAr Andales (12-2, 5) score a TKO win over Viatnam's Minh Phat Sam (7-4, 5), for the WBO Oriental Minimumweight title.
From the off it was clear that Sam was the naturally bigger man, sadly for him that was pretty much the only advantage he had, as Andales was quickly, sharper, and more technically skilled. As early as round 3 Sam's face was swelling, and both eyes were rapidly closing and in round 4 the swelling got worse and it seemed a stoppage was inevitable, but Sam tried to gut it out and fight back.
As the rounds went on Sam's face become more and more swollen, whilst Andales looked very comfortable, using Sam's face as target practice. In round 7 the swelling was bad enough for the referee to take Same to the ringside doctor who waved off the bout, saving Sam from further punishment. The correct decision by the doctor, and one that saw Andales crowned the new champion.
In a much slower paced fight we saw WBO Oriental Flyweight champion Olimjon Nazarov (26-5, 14) retain his title with a win against Filipino challenger Michael Mendoza (11-2-2, 4). This fight was much slower and more technical than the opening bout with both men trying to out box the other, and both wanting to be the counter punch for much of the bout. The Filipino was the sharper, quicker man, and did seem to land the better single blows, in most rounds, but he seemed happy to be very conservative, and may well have given rounds away at times against the promoters fighter.
Whilst the bout did end up warming up, particularly in rounds 7 and 12, it never really caught fire and as neither man was all that willing to take risks. Nazaraov was the man often seen coming forward, and taking shots as a result. Mendeoza looked the much more polished, but he seemed almost happy to do just enough to win rounds. A risky tactic when he's the away fighter, and a tactic that backfired with Nazarov getting the decision 115-113 form all 3 judges to retain his title.
Ater the bout we can't help but think Mendoza will be kicking himself, especially given that he visible shook Nazarov a number of times, but seemed unwilling to roll the dice ina bout he could have won, very easily.
Earlier this week we reported a Philippines Vs South Africa double header set for May 22nd. Now more details have emerged from that show, including a change to one of the fights and a title on the line.
The changed fight will see former world title challenger Simpiwe Konkco (19-6-0-1, 7) take on 26 year old Filipino Jomar Caindog (11-2-1, 4), and not ArAr Andales (12-2, 4), in fairness this is a slightly less interesting fight in out eyes, but still a really good match up. Caindog might not be a former world title challenger, like Andales, but he's no slouch and he gave China's Jing Xiang a real test in 2019, with his only other loss being a competitive 6 rounder to Samuel Salva, very early in his career. He'll be travelling to win, as we saw him do in China against Xing, and he should make for a tactical test for Konkco.
The other bout, between former 2-weight world champion Hekkie Budler (32-4, 10) and Jonathan Almacen (7-3-2, 2), is now being reported as a WBC International Light Flyweight title bout, and should see the winner being put rather high in the WBC world rankings.
We want to thank the fantastic Ian Melodillar for the updates.
Earlier today our good friend Ian Melodillar informed us of a South African card, set to take place in May 22nd in Johannesburg. The card is set to feature two excellent bouts between established South African locals and talented Filipino hopefuls, and they genuinely feature some of the biggest names in the lower weight classes.
One of the bouts sees former unified Light Flyweight champion Hekkie Budler (32-4, 10) return to the ring for the first time since December 31st 2018, when he was stopped in 10 rounds by Hiroto Kyoguchi. The "Hexecutioner" will be up against 21 year old Filipino Jonathan Almacen (7-3-2, 2), in what is the biggest fight of Almacen's career, by far.
At his best Budler was one among the very best little men in the sport and holds really notable wins over the likes of Florante Condes, Nkosinathi Joyi, Pigmy Kokietgym, Xiong Zhao Zhong and Ryoichi Taguchi. He is also particularly well known for his bloody 2017 thriller with Milan Melindo, which took place in Cebu City. He is also a 2-weight champion and one of the few South African fighters in recent years to make a mark at the very top level.
Almacen on the other hand is probably best known for mixing with some notable Filipino talent, such a ArAr Andales and Robert Paradero, though he really lacks a win of any note. At 21 and taking on a ring rusty and aging Budler this is a genuine chance for Almacen to make a mark on the sport.
The other bout sees former world title challengers clash, with South African veteran Simpiwe Konkco (19-6-0-1, 7) battling 21 year old Pinoy ArAr Andales (12-2, 4). Both of these men have fought for world titles in recent years and both are fighters who will want to get back to mixing at world level.
The talented Koncko hasn't been seen since losing to the then WBC Minimumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin in 2019, and the Thai great moved to 54-0. Prior to that Konkco had managed to compete well at a good level. He had run Hekkie Budler close in 2015 and went on to bat the likes of Siyabonga Siyo, Nkosinathi Joyi, Lito Dante and Toto Landero. Though did see his nice run come to an end against Wanheng.
Andales on the other hand is a baby faced youngster who debuted in 2017 and got a shot at Knockout CP Freshmart in 2019, losing a close technical decision to the Thai. Since then his career has stumbled a little bit, losing to Joel Lino, but he's won his last 2 and has proven he's always a hungry fighter who will be coming in to this with a point to prove.
Sadly for both Filipino's they need to remember history is against them, and it's been very rare for Filipino fighters to win decisions in South Africa over the years.
Yesterday in the Philippines there was an interesting show headlined by a GAB Minimumweight title bout, between Joel Lino (11-3-1, 4) and ArAr Andales (10-2, 2). On paper the bout looked excellent, despite both fighters picking up recent defeats.
In one corner was Andales, who had given WBA world champion Knockout CP Freshmart a very competitive bout in August, losing a close technical decision to the Thai, who appeared to be under pressure from the 20 year old Filipino. In the other was Lino, who had suffered 3 straight decision losses coming into this bout to Masataka Taniguchi, over 12 rounds, Ginjiro Shigeoka, over 8 rounds, and Toto Landero, also over 8 rounds.
Despite their recent losses both came into this with hunger and from the opening moments both were engaging in a fantastic little war, looking to get the respect of their opponent. As the bout went on the pace merely increased and the bout became more and more of an inside war, with both men holding their feet and just unloading up close.
Whilst neither man was much of a puncher they were unloading as if they believed their power was going to be too much for their opponent. This made for some thrilling back and forth action, and there was a lot of body shots going in by both men in rounds 3 and 4, with Lino landing the better quality blows.
Notably whenever Andales had his moments of success it wasn't long until he found himself back on the back foot and under pressure from Lino, who seemed stronger, tougher and more accurate.
Early in round 6 Lino hurt his man, and had him on the ropes, where he began to tee off on a tired and hurt looking Andales. Andales tried to fight back but the assault from Lino just didn't end and eventually the referee came in and saved the youngster.
For Andales this is a second successive loss whilst Lino ends his losing run with a fantastic win for the GAB title.
Given how young both men are there's a very good chance we'll see both of these men up against each other in the future, and given how good this bout was, we certainly won't be complaining about that!
Tomorrow in Thailand we'll see unbeaten WBA Minimumweight champion Knockout CP Freshmart (19-0, 7) [น็อคเอาท์ ซีพีเฟรชมาร์ท] defending his title against Filipino teenager ArAr Andales (10-0, 2). The bout, which will be aired on Channel 7, will mark the 7th defense of the title for Knockout, and his third against a Filipino, and will be Andales' first bout at world level.
Today, ahead of tomorrow's bout, the two men took part in their weigh in and both fighters managed to make weight, in fact both men hit the scales at the divisional limit of 105lbs, and both looked in great shape.
For the champion the weight is slightly heavier than he's been in his last two bouts, hitting the scales at 104½lbs for his last two defenses. It is worth noting that he has been inactive since last November's win over Byron Rojas, in their second bout, and may well have some ring rust, and outside distractions, with rumours of a unification bout with WBO champion Vic Saludar doing the rounds in recent days.
Interestingly this is the 5th fight in a row that Andales has hit the scales at 105lbs exactly. Those fights include his two biggest wins to date, a KO win over Charlie Malupangue and a decision over Cris Ganoza. It's also worth noting that this will be his third bout of 2019, and his 5th bout in 12 months. Whilst there is positives to take for Andales, in terms of activity, it will also be his first bout outside of the Philippines.
Not only did the two fighters take part in their weigh in today but both also under went their physical examinations, with no issues being found with the health of either man.
For fans wanting to watch this bout it will be aired on Thai Channel 7, from 13:45 local time.
Related - Unbeaten Andales looks to upset WBA champion Knockout
(Image courtesy of Phet Yindee Boxing Promotion /Thairec )
News! We try and give you the most interesting news stories from the Asian boxing world!