At the end of May it was revealed that little known Indian fighter Neeraj Goyat (11-3-2, 2) would take on British-Pakistani fighter Amir Khan (33-5, 20), in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on July 12th. The bout looked odd from the moment it was announced, then got weirder when the WBC Pearl title was confirmed for the bout.
Now however that bout is off, with Goyat suffering an injury in an automobile accident. It didn't take long however for Khan's team to secure a replacement for Goyat, plugging former Featherweight world champion Billy Dib (45-5-0-2, 26).
Dib, who was actually pencilled in for the card anyway for a bout with Carlos Lopez (28-9, 9), really doesn't make for an appealing opponent. Dib had his best days at 126lbs, not the 147lbs where this bout will be taking place.
Although Dib does hold some name value, though not a huge amount, it does feel very much like they looked down the card at who else was on the show and saw Dib as the most viable option at such short notice, even if Dib wouldn't make for an interesting fight.
Regardless of what we all think of the fight, and of the likely fact this show will be little more than a propaganda event for the Saudi Arabian government, it is worth noting that the card will get a lot of interest. Not only does it have Khan but will also feature unbeaten Filipino prospect Dave Penalosa (15-0, 11), outspoken English Bantamweight Prince Patel (19-0-1, 14) and a clash between Heavyweight contender Hughie Fury (22-2, 12) and former Heavyweight title holder Samuel Peter (38-7, 31).
One of the televised fights from ESPN5 today saw the unbeaten Dave Penalosa (15-0, 11) battle against Mexican visitor Marcos Cardenas (19-7-1, 15) in a bout for the WBO Oriental Featherweight title. On paper this looked like a really interesting match up on paper, and looked even better when the under-dog, Cardenas, looked to be the bigger man.
From the opening moments Penalosa looked the crisper, sharper, smarter and faster man. The opening round was however pretty competitive and very close. Through rounds 2 and 3 though we began to see Penalosa stamping his authority on the contest, backing the Mexican up and landing thudding shots to the head and body of Cardenas.
To his credit Cardenas came to fight and was throwing back, showing his toughness and trading shots, but he appeared to be getting methodically broken down by Penalosa's right hook and southpaw lefts, where were landing cleanly.
A slightly wobble from Penalosa early in round 4, when he seemed to get caught clean by a right hand, only seemed to light his fire more and he went on the hunt to take Cardenas out, landing some very spiteful shots to the body. Those body shots took the fight out of Cardenas who was dropped 3 times in the round before the referee waved off the contest.
Whilst the performance wasn't perfect from Penalosa it was exciting, brutal and fantastic to watch. He seemed to be angered by being tagged early in round 4 and really sought to make a statement afterwards. Dubbed the "The Hunter", he really did hunt Cardenas and is quickly going to become a must watch fighter with performances like this.
Tomorrow ESPN5 will be showing a stacked card with a number of really interesting fights. Thankfully everyone made weight for the show, though some fighters did struggle on the scales.
Thge main event will see unbeateen Filipino Dave Penalosa (14-0, 10) taking on Mexican foe Marcos Cardenas (19-6-1, 15), in a bout for the WBO Oriental Featherweight title. Both did make the 126lbs limit, though not on their first attempt. Originally Penalosa was 128lbs whilst Cardenas was 127lbs. Thankfully both did make the weight after being given time to lose the excess.
A second title bout will see GAB Light Welterweight champion Jheritz Chavez (8-3-2, 6) make his second defense, as he takes on Junar Adante (7-11-1, 4). Both of these men made 140lbs for the bout, coming in at the Light Welterweight limit.
The highly anticipated Bantamweight bout between the exciting Kenya Yamashita (13-4, 10) [山下賢哉] and 2-weight world champion John Riel Casimero (25-4, 16) saw both men hitting the scales at 118lbs, dead on for their really exciting looking 10 round bout.
Unbeaten teenage sensation Carl Jammes Martin (11-0, 10) weight in at 118lbs dead on for his contest with Thai visitor Petchchorhae Kokietgym (17-2, 8), who was 116lbs for the bout. This will be Martin's first televised bout and is a huge chance for him to wow an audience, who have only been able to see him fight through social media.
A 10 round bout between Carlo Caesar Penalosa (13-1, 6) and Yokthong KKP (18-5, 11) saw Penalosa come in at 113lbs whilst the visitor was 114lbs in what could be a pretty competitive match up, if Yokthong has prepared properly.
(Image courtesy of ESPN5)
Back in December we reported that Kenya Yamashita (13-4, 10) [山下賢哉] would be returning to the ring on February 17th to take on former 2-weight world champion John Riel Casimero (25-4, 16). It now seems that those plans have changed slightly, but not significantly, and that more bouts from the card have been added, and in fact more details in general have now been confirmed for the card.
So the change, is that the bout will not take place on February 17th but instead February 16th, 1 day earlier than previously reported. It's nothing big, but still something worth noting.
More interestingly the card the bout is on is set to be televised, with ESPN5 showing the card in the Philippines, in what is huge news and really exciting news for Filipino fight fans!
Another bit of news is that there is a host of other top Filipino fighters now confirmed for the card.
Along with the Casimero Vs Yamashita bout we will also see Dave Penalosa (14-0, 10) battle against Marcos Cardenas (19-6-1, 15) in a bout for the WBO Oriental Featherweight title, in what should be a really good test for Penalosa. We will also see teenager Carl Jammes Martin (11-0, 10) make his TV debut, as he battles Thai foe Petchchorhae Kokietgym (17-2, 8), who was last seen in October being stopped by Giemel Magramo. This should be a great opportunity for Martin to raise his profile and something we're looking forward to seeing, as we've followed him for a while and been very impressed from the fan cam footage that's been made available.
The final bout of an early card on ESPN5 saw the unbeaten Dave Penalosa (14-0, 10) take on Tanzanian visitor Twalib Tuwa (21-6-2, 14), and make it 4-0 (4) for the Philippines against Tanzanian visitors as he stopped Tuwa in the second round.
The opening round saw Penalosa applying educated pressure as he stalked his man. Tuwa on other hand was on the retreat, backing up none stop and looking to avoid the aggression of the local favourite who was looking dangerous. Tuwa's survival instincts worked for much of the round, but he was dropped late in the round as Penalosa's pressure and power paid off.
The second round saw Tuwa trying to fight back against Penalosa to begin with, but he was punished for showing some ambition and was rocked hard. He retreated, like a hurt animal, and the Hunter went to work, before landing a gut busting left hand to the mid-section of Tuwa, who went down hard and stayed down for the count in agony. That was despite the fact referee Danrex Tapdasan seemed to give a very slow count, giving the visitor every chance to continue if he wanted.
For Penalosa this is his second win this year, following almost 2 years away from the ring, and it seems clear he's wanting to make up for lost time and will be using these opportunities on ESPN5 to do so. He looked sharp, aggressive and exciting and hopefully we'll see him fight again this year
Tuwa on the other hand was dire. This is the 4th time he has been stopped, with other notable stoppage defeats coming to Kwanpichit OnesongchaiGym and Japhet Uutoni, both several weights lighter than this bout.
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