It’s fair to say that 2020 was a year of surprises, both in terms of boxing and life in general, afterall did anyone predict a pandemic heading into the year? For us the surprises came regularly through the year, and came at every in the sport. From domestic level, with prospects being shocked, national titles changing hands even world level shocks.
Due to the sheer number of upsets we had in Asian Boxing in 2020 it’s genuinely been hard to pick one as the upset of the year. Do we go with the biggest in terms of the betting? Do we go with the result that was the biggest surprise to us or do we try to find some middle line?
Rather than trying to define an upset we’ve come up with a compromise and we will be having joint winners here, with one for the biggest betting upset that we saw, and one for the biggest surprise result that we saw. That surprise result really was one out of the blue, that we certainly didn’t expect.
The betting upset of the year came on November 27th in Thailand as unheralded Thai Panya Pradabsri, also known as Petchmanee CP Freshmart, took on countryman Wanheng Menayothin, the long running WBC Minimumweight champion.
The bookies opened this one with Wanheng almost an unbackable favourite, with the champion opening at 1/10 with STSbet and later being 1/12 with several UK bookies. He was seen as being well on the way to his 55th straight and his 13th title defense before the two men stepped foot in the ring. Panya on the other hand opened at 6/1 to score the upset.
By fight time money had poured on the challenger, who had been backed into around 3/1, and he would then go on to take a very close and hard fought decision over Wanheng, leading to some nice wins for bettors.
Panya’s upset win was the biggest with widely available odds, however there was one bigger upset in Asia, and that was Daishi Nagata’s shock win over Koki Inoue in July. Nagata entered that bout an 8/1 under-dog against Inoue, before forcing a stoppage win. Sadly only STS had odds on this one, and it really wasn’t one that most could bet on, but was, admittedly, a massive surprise result
Other similar upsets scored by Asian fighters include:
Masayoshi Nakatani upsetting Felix Verdajo - With Nakatani starting as a 6/1 under-dog
Akui Furutani upsetting Takayuki Okumoto - With Furatani a 9/2 under-dog
Mike Plania upsetting Joshua Greer Jr - With Plania a 4/1 under-dog
Kenichi Horikawa upsetting Daiki Tomita - With Horikawa a 7/2 under-dog
Upset scored against an Asian fighter by a non-Asian:
Carlos Gongora upsetting Ali Akhmedov - With Gongora starting as a 7/1 under-dog
With just a single win in a decade the 36 year old Yuichi Ideta wasn’t even expected to put up much of a fight on December 27th when he battled former Japanese Welterweight champion Ryota Yada. Ideta had fallen from 12-0 (7) to 13-15-1 (7) and had lost 11 in a row and had been stopped 5 times during his career. Whilst some of those losses weren’t embarrassing ones, such as losses to Keita Obara and Nobuyuki Shindo, he had lost to some very limited fighters, like Ryota Itoyama, Quaye Peter and Ryuji Ikeda.
Amazingly with the deck stacked against him, and no one really giving him a chance Ideta out worked, out fought, outmuscled and out landed Yada to take home the decision win.
This genuinely was the biggest shock to us for the entire year, and was the first decision loss for Yada since 2014, in what was his 6th bout.
Similar upsets to this one include:
Juan Carlos Raygosa defeating Dauren Yeleussinov
Adrian Lerasan beating Tanes Ongjunta
Jeny Boy Boca beating Sarawut Thawornkham
Ryosuke Nishida beating Shohei Omori
Earlier today at Korakuen Hall fight fans had the chance to see Japanese Light Welterweight champion Daishi Nagata (15-2-2, 6) [永田大士] make his first defense of the title he won earlier this year, when he stopped Koki Inoue. In the opposite corner to the champion was veteran Akihiro Kondo (32-9-2, 18) [近藤 明広], who seemed to be entering the bout in a must win situation.
On paper this all seemed set up for Nagata and to look good in, against a rugged but slow, battle worn veteran with some name value. Sadly however things didn't go as expected for Nagata who was left a bloodied mess, with a brutal cut on his left eye, which forced an early conclusion to the contest.
Nagata started well an won the opening round, fighting aggressively and setting a high pace, moving in and out and letting his punches flow. It seemed the ideal game plan, to rack up points and make the most of the very clear speed difference between the two men. Kondo battled back in round 2 but Nagata's tempo didn't slow and he seemed to establish a very clear lead through the first 5 rounds, using his energy, speed, aggression and skills.
Kondo fought more conservatively, countering well and biding his timing, though was losing the rounds and after 5 rounds we got the open scoring, which had Nagata up 48-47, twice, and 49-46.
Then we got drama in round 6 as Kondo began to come forward more and a clash of heads came as a result, leaving Nagata's left eye badly damaged. The bout continued regardless until a doctor's inspection in round 7 ruled him unfit to continue and took us to the scorecards partway through the 7th, which was scored.
When the scores were tallied two cards had the bout even, 67-67, whilst the third had it 67-66 to Nagata giving us a majority draw. A disappointing outcome for both.
After the bout Nagata admitted that he was disappointed, and wished he could have done more, been smart, busier and deal with Kondo's head movement. He seemed to a potential rematch but seemed disappointed in himself.
Kondo also seemed unhappy and admitted that he didn't want the bout to be stopped when it was, knowing that he was coming on strong and that his gameplan was based around the bout going long, and racking up rounds after the mid-way point. He also seemed to suggest that this wasn't the end of his career and that he would be back.
For fans wanting to watch this one, it will be shown on tape delay on Fuji TV this coming weekend.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Tomorrow at Korakuen Hall fight fans in Japan will be able to see Daishi Nagata (15-2-1, 6) [永田大士] make his first defense of the Japanese Light Welterweight title, as he takes on veteran Akihiro Kondo (32-9-1, 18) [近藤 明広], who is looking to add the title to his collection of titles.
Today the two men took part in their weigh in for the bout and both men made the 140lb limit with no issues, with both men hitting the scales at 139.8lb and looking in fantastic condition.
At the weigh in Nagata, who is coming in to this fight on the back of a career best win over Koki Inoue, looked in incredible shape. He spoke like a man who had a point to prove, and the same determination that he had when he was challenging for the belt. He spoke about wanting to make a meaningful bout for the fans and it seems very much like he's coming into the bout with a lot of excitement and the confidence of the Misako Gym, which has been on a great in recent years.
Kondo on the other hand spoke about how he'd prepared for the contest by losing weight earlier than usual, and as a result was in perfect shape. He seemed to suggest he had improved his strength and stamina from recent contests and had a lot of respect for Nagata. Interesting he also spoke about his experienced, citing that this his 43rd professional bout and that he had had 43 amateur bouts, with that being more than 80 bouts of experience to rely on here.
For fans wanting to watch the bout and can't make it to Korakuen Hall, it will be shown on tape delay on Fuji TV this coming weekend.
Related - Nagata seeks first defense as he goes up against tough guy Kondo
(Image credit - Misako Gym)
Back in September we reported that Tsubasa Murachi (5-1, 3) [村地翼] and stablemate Rentaro Kimura (2-0, 2) [木村蓮太朗], who both notched wins on September 27th, would be back in action on December 10th at Korakuen Hall.
Earlier this week we broke the news that Kimura's opponent for that show would be Thunder Teruya (7-7-1, 4) [照屋雄太], who has really turned his career around after a 2-6-1 start, with the two men set to fight in an 8 round bout.
Now we can also reveal that Murachi has seemingly had his opponent named!
From what we understand Murachi will take on Isao Aoyama (12-7-1, 3) [青山功] in an 8 round bout at 53KG's, which is a contracted weight just under 117lbs.
For Murachi the bout will be his second since losing to Froilan Saludar in a WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight title bout, which really came too soon in his career. For Aoyama the bout will see him getting a chance to build on a January win over Marzon Cabilla. On paper Aoyama will be the under-dog, but he is 3-1 in his last 4 and is no push over, giving the likes of Akinori Hoshino and Keisuke Nakayama really good, close, and competitive bouts.
Murachi's bout with Aoyama and Kimura's bout with Teruya, will be part of a show that will be headlined by Japanese Light Welterweight champion Daishi Nagata (15-2-1, 6) [永田大士] defending his title against Akihiro Kondo (32-9-1, 18) [近藤 明広]. The show will take place under the Diamond Glove banner, with bouts shown on tape delay on Fuji TV.
Earlier today it was announced that the December edition of "Diamond Glove" would be headlined by Japanese Light Welterweight champion Daishi Nagata (15-2-1, 6) [永田大士] making his first defense. The champion, who dethroned Koki Inoue in a notable upset back in the Summer, will be in the ring on December 10th as he takes on veteran Akihiro Kondo (32-9-1, 18) [近藤 明広], who is now in the must win stage of his career.
Nagata had entered the bout with Inoue as the mandatory challenger, and forced a TKO win over the previously unbeaten Inoue, who announced his retirement after the bout. That was Nagata's second title fight, having previously come up short in an OPBF title fight against Rikki Naito, and it showed he genuinely belonged among the best Japanese fighters at 140lbs. He's aggressive, exciting, a smart fighter who uses pressure and under-rated boxing skills.
A win here for Nagata would likely see him enter 2021 with as the champion as we head into next year's Champion Carnival.
As for Kondo he really is in need of a win. He is best known internationally for his 2017 bout against Sergey Lipinets in the US for the IBF 140lb title. Since then he has gone 3-2, with a huge KO loss to Downua Ruawaiking, in a world title eliminator, and to youngster Andy Hiraoka. A loss here will likely see the 35 year old hanging up the gloves and walking away from the sport, ending a career that saw him debut as a professional way back in 2006.
As is typical with Diamond Glove shows this will be held at Korakuen Hall and will be shown on tape delay on Fuji TV.
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