Last night boxing promoter announced that WBA Light Heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol (19-0, 11) [дмитрий бивол] would finally get the huge fight his career has been needing, as he will be return on May 7th to take on Mexican megastar Saul "Canelo" Alvarez (57-1-2, 39), with Bivol seeking to defend his title against the undisputed Super Middleweight champion.
The bout, one of the most interesting bouts that could be made at 175lbs, gives both men a chance to prove something. It gives Canelo a great chance to become a 2-time Light Heavyweight champion, proving that he really is a pound for pound great, and modern legend. As for Bivol it gives him a massive chance to show what he's capable of against a legitimately well regarded opponent, a stark change from his recent run against under-whelming challengers like Lenin Castillo, Craig Richards and Umar Salamov.
Whilst the bout is a genuinely interesting one, pitting the skills, body punching and under-rated defense of Canelo against the methodical approach and understated skills of Bivol, the biggest talking point after the fight was announced was, sadly, not the fight it's self. Which is a very good fight but not a headline grabbing super fight, or even a fight that looks likely to be a major success. In fact the fight might be the best out there for Canelo in terms of quality of opponent, but not in terms of marketability, or star power.
Despite Bivol being something of a dull fighter to watch, who last fought in the US in 2019, and has had a string of dreary bouts, with the ones against Castillo, Richards and Salamov all being under-whelming displays from the Kyrgyzstan born champion, this bout will be the first that sees DAZN break their long standing promise of no PPV. In fact the bout will only be available on PPV in USA and Canada, a decision that has seen a lot of fans turn on DAZN, with even DAZN subscribers being charged a 1-off fee for the show. Something they repeatedly promised not to do.
Whilst the fight is a good one, we're not sure how many DAZN subscribers in the PPV territories will be willing to pull out a further $59.99 for the fight, though that is a discount compared to those who aren't subscribers. In many ways however this is a move towards something bigger with DAZN, and a clear sign that their model isn't going to work in the long term.
A week ago we got the official announcement that the long awaited Middleweight unification bout between IBF Middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin (41-1-1, 36) [Геннадий Геннадьевич Головкин]and WBA "Super" Middleweight champion Ryota Murata (16-2, 13) [村田 諒太] was a done deal, with a press conference in Japan announcing the bout. The press conference confirmed that it would be on December 29th, at the Saitama Super Arena, and shown on DAZN around much of the world, and Amazon Prime in Japan.
There was no under-card announced, and no supporting bouts confirmed for the event.
That changed this morning when two major under-card bouts for the show were announced.
The "lesser" of those bouts is an all Japanese Lightweight bout as former WBO Super Featherweight champion Masayuki Ito (27-3-1, 15) [伊藤 雅雪] takes on Shuichiro Yoshino (13-0, 10) [吉野 修一郎], in a bout in a bout for the WBO Asia Pacific and OPBF Lightweight titles, both held by Yoshino.
This bout has been spoken about in Japan or over a year now, but had failed to come together due to Ito suffering an upset loss last December. Despite that it's still a very highly anticipated one, and one that both men were looking forward to, as they explained at a press event today to confirm the bout.
Yoshino, who has been one of if not the the top Lightweight in Japan for several years now, stated that "I'm only thinking about winning over Ito. I'm not thinking about the future". He also explained that he was happy to get a fight on such a big stage, and that it seems clear that he's looking at this as his chance to break out and make a name for himself internationally. Ito on the other hand showed his gratitude to those who helped put the bout together, explained that he was lucky for this chance and that he sees it as a crucial moment in his career.
The other bout announced is more likely to get international fans excited as WBO Flyweight champion Junto Nakatani (22-0, 17) [中谷 潤人] returns for his second defense, as he faces off with 22 year old Mexican challenger Cristian Gonzalez (14-1, 4).
Nakatani was last seen defending his title with an impressive performance in the US against Angel Acosta, making his US debut with that win, and got rave reviews from American fans. His inclusion on this card is a smart move, especially given the fact the Flyweight division is one with notable international interest thanks to world champions from Mexico, Ukraine and the UK. As for Gonzalez he is somewhat unknown outside of Mexico, but he does hold a win of note over perennial contender Saul Juarez, and has won 8 in a row since a 2019 loss to Angel Ayala Lardizabal.
At the press event to announce the bout Nakatani explained, "I'm glad to have a defense battle in such a historic event in Japan" and added that "It is an honour to be able to play a match at such a big event. I want to win and connect to the match between Mr. Murata and Golovkin."
Last night WP Boxing took to social media to give us the sad news that their planned May 1st card at the Workpoint Studio in Bang Phun has had to be postponed, adding to a growing list of postponed shows, due to Covid19, the full statement for which can be read below:
"Due to the ongoing spread of COVID-19 virus, WP Boxing is aware of the dangers and dangers that may arise from the spread of the virus. And would like to cooperate with all parties to the end In order to resolve the situation quickly
Thankfully, as per the statement, it appears the postponement will be around 1 month, and we'll still be getting the show as was, with the excellent match up between Thananchai Charunphak (11-1, 9) and Adrian Lerasan (9-4, 2) headlining the card. Sadly though it again shows that the Covid19 pandemic isn't over and that boxing is still being affected by it in a big way, as also seen yesterday when 6 Japanese shows were postponed.
Earlier this week WP Boxing announce their next show, and released a poster to promote the show, which will take place on May 1st at the Work Point Studio in Bang Phun. And if we're being honest it is one worthy of some extra attention, even if none of the fighters on it are "stars".
The main event will see touted Thai youngster Thananchai Charunphak (11-1, 9) take on the criminally under-rated Adrian Lerasan (9-4, 2) from the Philippines in a bout for the WBC Asia Flyweight title.
Thananchai is someone we've been big fans of for a few years now and the 21 year old has been racking up notable wins over the likes of Wittawas Basapean (Samartlek Kokietgym), Suriyan Satorn (Kompayak Porpramook) and Wicha Phulaikhao (Pigmy Kokietgym) whilst rising quickly through the ranks. There is a case that he has been beating up old men, but here he takes on a hungry fellow young lion.
Lerasan is not a big name. He's not a big deal. But he is a tricky customer, who's tough and hungry, and will be determined to build on his last to Thailand, when he upset the touted Tanes Ongjunta. In fact Lerasan battered Ongjunta into submission after 8 rounds in one of the forgotten upsets of 2020. To date that is one of two notable wins on his record, with the other being a decision over Jeny Boy Boca, but he also impressed in a 2019 loss to Dave Apolinario and the 22 year old is certainly no push over.
That bout is partnered with another WBC Asia title fight, as will Thai youngster's collide as Danai Ngiabphukhiaw (8-2, 4) takes on the hard hitting Phanuwit Siriwong (8-2, 7) in a Light Flyweight bout. Both of these men are teenagers, neither has created much noise, but a win here will give them a huge boost, and given their styles, with Danai being an accurate puncher and Phanuwit being heavy handed fighter, we should get something of an intriguing stylistic match up.
From the poster it's also confirmed that the show will air not just on Work Point, and the WP Boxing social media channels, but also DAZN, giving the 4 youngsters on the card an international audience. An audience they will be looking to connect with and impress.
Note - For those wondering about the date, the show will air on May 1st in Thailand and April 30th in the US.
Later today we'll see WBA "super" and Ring Magazine Light Flyweight champion Hiroto Kyoguchi (14-0, 9) [京口 紘人] make his US debut, as he takes on Mexican challenger Axel Aragon Vega (14-3-1, 8) in Dallas.
Earlier, ahead of their bout, the two men took part in their weigh in and both fighters came in comfortably under the divisional limit of 108lbs.
On the scales the champion was 107.6lbs and looked in good shape, though maybe not the best of his career. Vega also looked in great shape and was even further under the limit, weighing in around 107.2lbs for the bout.
Despite both coming in at similar weights they looked like they belonged in different divisions. On the scales Vega was thicker set than the champion but looked diminutive compared to Kyoguchi, who was towering over the Mexican fighter. It looked in some ways like a father stood over a young child.
For fans wanting to watch the bout it will be streamed, worldwide, on DAZN as part of a stacked card also featuring the long awaited rematch between Roman Gonzalez and Juan Francisco Estrada.
Related - Related - Kyoguchi makes his US debut, takes on Vega!
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