Boxing in the US might have been back for about a week or so but for the first time we saw Asian fighters in action on a televised US show since the ongoing global situation became such a big issue. That was thanks to Top Rank, who held two bouts featuring Asian fighters on their latest card from the MGM Grand.
The first of those two bouts saw unbeaten Kazakh hopeful Bobirzhan Mominov (11-0, 8) [Моминов Бобиржан] take a clear decision over Filipino-American Cameron Krael (17-16-3, 4) in a 6 rounder. Through out the bout Mominov looked the much stronger, better and more polished fighter, with some very hurtful shots thrown through out. Krael however showed his gameness throughout and did enough to deserve a round or two on each scorecard.
In round 6 Mominov had a point deducted, but was still comfortable, taking the win with scores of 58-55, twice, and 57-56 to maintain his perfect record.
The second bout saw a mild upset with under-rated Filipino Mike Plania (24-1, 12) take a career best win as he secured a 10 round majority decision over WBO #1 ranked Bantamweight Joshua Greer Jr (22-2-1, 12). Plania, who entered as the under-dog, dropped Greer in the opening round, and again in round 6 to establish a huge lead on the cards in the first 6 rounds. That lead was established not just from the knockdowns but also the incredibly negative tactics of Greer, who did very, very little in the first 7 rounds.
Surprisingly Greer managed to put his foot on the gas in round 8, and showed that he had heart, and determination, as he tried to turn things around. By then it was too little too late, and his inability to cut the ring off and make a tiring Plania pay, and Plania managed to see out the bell, boxing incredibly well off the back foot in the final round.
After 10 rounds we had the obligatory "crap score card", of 94-94, a totally repulsive score from the action we had seen, followed by scores of 96-92 and 97-91 in favour of Plania.
Whilst we may have all missed boxing recently, none of us have missed the terrible scorecards the sport gives us, and it's fair to say they too are back. Thankfully they didn't deny the rightful winner of a bout, but did still manage to leave a bad taste in the mouth.
Later today we'll see Filipino fighter Mike Plania (23-1, 12) battle against world ranked Joshua Greer Jr (22-1-1, 12) in a bout at a contracted 120lbs. Last night in the US the two men made weight for the contest with no major issues.
Greer, a world ranked Bantamweight who has got his eyes on a world title fight later this year, came in at 120.1lbs, bang on the contractual limit. Coming in to the bout he is r.anked #1 by the WBO, #2 by the IBF and #9 by the WBC, and despite being very highly regarded as has struggled in his last 2 bouts.
Despite technically being over the contracted limit Greer was wearing protective clothing, that was adding to his weight, and was officially regarded as being at 120lbs.
Plania, who is ranked #11 by the WBA and #12 by the IBF at Super Bantamweight, actually came in lighter than Greer at 119.5lbs. This was his lightest weight in over 2 years, and we need to go back to his May 2018 win over John Rey Lauza to find the last time he came in under 120lbs.
Tonight's show will also feature unbeaten Kazakh hopeful Bobirzhan Mominov (10-0, 8) [Моминов Бобиржан]. At the weigh in he came in at 152lbs, whilst American opponent Cameron Krael (17-15-3, 4) was 147.25lbs for the bout.
Although this looks like a mismatch on paper Krael is much better than his record suggests and has given serious tests to a number of prospects in recent years. This could end up being the show's hidden gem.
Our Kazakh sources have informed us that two unbeaten Kazakh prospects are looking likely to return to the ring in December, though specifics haven't been made available as to when, where or who against.
One of those prospects is Bobirzhan Mominov (9-0, 8) [Моминов Бобиржан], who was last seen in the ring in September, stopping Anzor Gamgebelli, in 2 rounds to claim the WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Welterweight title. The unbeaten Mominov is a well travelled fighter, having fought in the US, Argentina and Kazakhstan, and we're expecting his next bout will him go over all ground, and least in terms of location, with the US said to be the most likely.
The other prospect is 28 year old Arman Rysbek (5-0, 4) Рысбек Арман, who is expected to fight on the same show as Mominov. His career has also seen him fight in the US, Argentina and Kazakhstan, though his competition has been dire and he is in need of a step up after scoring 5 straight forward wins already this year.
We're hoping to have more details shortly, but we do like to see both fighters staying busy and fitting in another fight before the year is over.
Earlier today in his homeland of Kazakhstan, the talented and unbeaten Bobirzhan Mominov (9-0, 8) [Моминов Бобиржан] claimed his first professional title.
The Florida based 26 year old faced off with limited Georgian veteran Anzor Gamgebelli (36-26-3, 19), seemingly a late replacement for Filipino Junjesie Ibgos (13-3, 11), and scored an easy win.
The unbeaten fighter fighting in Kazakhstan for his the second time, dropped his man twice in the early stages before securing a quick stoppage.
The win saw Mominov claim the WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Welterweight title, the first belt of his career. On the other side Gamgenbelli has now been stopped 18 times in 65 fights and we really need to wonder about the level of competition he's been able to beat through his career.
(Image courtesy of prosports.kz)
Sources in Kazakhstan have informed us that unbeaten prospect Bobirzhan Mominov (8-0, 7) [Моминов Бобиржан] will be back in action on September 15th in the Kazakh city of Aktobe, for what will be his second fight in his native Kazakhstan. Whilst return to Kazakhstan for a fight isn't big news for the Uzbek what is big news is that the bout will be his first title bout, with the unbeaten 26 year old fighting for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Welterweight title.
Mominov, who has already fought 4 times this year, across Argentina, USA and Kazakhstan, will be facing off with Filipino foe Junjesie Ibgos (13-3, 11). The Filipino, who was seemingly the third choice opponent behind an unnamed opponents from Thailand and African, will be fighting for the second time this year, though will be on the road for the third time in 5 fights, following losses in Australia and Canada.
Despite losing his most notable bouts to date Ibgos is a heavy handed puncher, dubbed the "Tornado", and will be looking to put pressure on Mominov in what appears to be the Kazakh's first real test as a professional. So far the opponents for Mominov have been poor, with either very padded records or no real self belief. Against Ibgos however he's up against a fighter with quite a big of ambition for himself, and the Filipino visitor will certainly look to score his career best win.
The title may not be a big one, but for both men it's a stepping stone to bigger and better things, including a potential WBC world ranking. It's also a chance for Mominov to put on a show in front of his fans back in Kazakhstan. Sadly however at the time of writing no other details of the card have been revealed, so it's hard to imagine what bouts will be on the under-card, despite the fact the show is less than 2 weeks away now.
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