Just moments ago in Yokohama fight fans saw Nicaraguan legend Roman Gonzalez (48-2, 40) return to a Japanese ring return for the first time in over 5 years, as he battled Filipino foe Diomel Diocos (14-6-3, 4).
The bout was expected to be a mismatch in favour of the popular "Chocolatito" and it proved to be just that as Gonzalez mowed down the Filipino in 2 rounds.
Gonzalez showed his trademark pressure from the off, backing up Diocos who looked out of his depth. In the second round a combination from the Nicaraguan, with Diocos on the ropes, forced the referee to step in wave off the bout.
After the win, in what was Gonzalez's 50th professional bout, he stated he was going to chase another world title title, showing that he does still have ambitions to become a world champion once again, though it is unclear which route he will go down to reclaim a belt in the future.
This bout was televised in certain areas by ESPN in certain markets, but sadly wasn't shown in others, including Japan where the bout took place.
Tomorrow in Yokohama Nicaraguan great Roman Gonzalez (47-2, 39) will make his Japanese ring return, for his first bout in the country in over 5 years, as he takes on Filipino foe Diomel Diocos (14-5-3, 4) in a 8 round bout at 116lbs.
Today the two men weighed in for their bout and both men made the contracted weight. Diocos was bang on the 116lb agreement whilst Gonzalez was just under the limit at around 115.75lbs.
Diocos genuinely looked amazing on the scales and has clearly been preparing hard for this bout, the biggest of his career so far. Gonzalez on the other hand looked a touch fleshy, though he often has had a slight fleshy look to his body. It's clear that if Gonzalez wants to continue fighting at Super Flyweight that wouldn't be a problem.
Despite not looking as good as the Filipino it's hard to imagine anything but a Gonzalez win here. If he does however lose then retirement will will loom over the Nicaraguan great.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
On Saturday we saw a number of Filipino fighters fighting on the road. The first of those was Allan Vallespin (9-1, 8) who suffered a nasty KO in Japan to Masaru Sueyoshi (14-1, 9) [末吉 大] and soon afterwards Diomel Diocos (10-2-3, 3) was stopped by the world class Daigo Higa (12-0, 12) [比嘉 大吾], with both of those set backs coming at the Korakuen Hall.
Later in the day we saw two more Filipino's suffer defeats on the road.
In South Africa it was disappointment for Joey Canoy (12-3-1, 6), who was beat by former WBA Minimumweight champion Hekkie Budler (31-2, 10), who became a 2-time IBO Light Flyweight champion. The Filipino had some moments during the fight but he was out classed by Budler and broken down by the talented South African, who should really begin to turn his focus towards world class Light Flyweights, like Kosei Tanaka, Ryoichi Taguchi and Akira Yaegashi, rather than continue to fight against the likes of Canoy. Budler, one of the most notable South African's in the sport, has still got time time carve out a really notable career, but will have to look to face top fighters in the next 12-24 months if he's going to leave the legacy his ability desevres. As for Canoy this was a third loss in 7 bouts, and and his second stoppage loss in his last 4 bouts, showing the huge gulf between himelf and world class.
The disappointment also travelled to the UK where veteran Ardin Diale (32-11-4, 15) suffered a 10 round shut out defeat to Welshman Andrew Selby (8-0, 5), with Selby claiming the WBC International Flyweight title. Diale had his moments, and exposed some issues with Selby, but lacked the speed to really test the Welshman who was too quick and too smart. Although Diale was shut out he will take positives from this bout, and it was certainly a less punishing contest than his 2016 loss to Higa, in which he was battered into a 4th round stoppage. For Selby the performance showed moments of magicv, but he does look to be some way from a world title bout, and will have a lot of work to do before thinking about contests with the likes of Kazuto Ioka, For Diale the loss probably leaves him as a gatekeeper, though he's a solid one, and came up against someone who was a stylistic nightmare here.
Earlier today we saw the popular, and fast rising, Daigo Higa (12-0, 12) [比嘉 大吾] extend his perfect start to his professional career as he secured a 4th round win against the brave, but out-gunned, Diomel Diocos (10-2-3, 3).
The opening round saw Higa set the pace for the bout, and it was clear that he was looking to continue his stoppage run. Unfortunately for fans expecting a super quick blow out Diocos showed real survival instincts and not only fought back, in patches, but managed to neutralise Higa at times in the first 2 rounds but clinching when Higa got too close. It was a game plan that risked irking the referee, and fans, but did help the Filipino survive the first two rounds.
In round 3 Higa begane to just punch his way through the clinches, showing he was the stronger man. With Higa now punching when Diocos was holding the Filipino's main survival tactic was starting to become his own undoing. The round was a torrid one for Diocos who took a pounding and was forced to take some huge shots as Higa began to hunt the KO. Diocos managed to survive but it looked like it was only a matter of time before he would be broken down.
Higa continued to press the action in round 4, and quickly had the break through he needed hurting the Filipino who later dropped to the canvas as Higa let his shots fly. As soon as he was down the referee called a halt to the contest.
Following the bout Higa stated that his intention is to face the winner of the March 4th bout between Nawaphon Por Chokchai (36-0, 28) [นวพล นครหลวงโปรโมชั่น] and Mexican Juan Hernandez (33-2, 24), who face off for the WBC Flyweight title.
Higa's win made it 2-0 to Japan against the Philippines as countryman Masaru Sueyoshi (14-1, 9) [末吉 大] stopped the previously unbeaten Allan Vallespin (9-1, 8). Vallespin came out swinging and put Sueyoshi under incredible pressure in the open two rounds, with Sueyoshi looking like a man trying to find his feet in the bout. Sadly for the Filipino his pressure worked against him in round 3 as he took a huge counter right hand which send him flat on his back and forced the referee to immediately stop the contest.
Another stoppage on this card saw a notable upset as Sueyoshi's Teiken stablemate Yamato Hata (3-1, 3) [波田 大和] suffered a 4th round TKO loss to Takuya Hashimoto (6-5, 6) [橋本 拓也]. The bout saw Hata start well and in round 3 he managed to drop Hashimoto. That however wasn't enough to stop Hashimoto who came out swinging in round 4 and dropped Hata with a huge left hook. Hata got to his feet but never managed to recover and he was stopped soon afterwards as Hashimoto went on the hunt, forcing Hata's team to throw in the towel.
Tomorrow fight fans in Japan will get the chance to see OPBF Flyweight champion Daigo Higa (11-0, 11) [比嘉 大吾] return to the ring to take on Filipino Diomel Diocos (10-1-3, 3), in what is said to be a world title prelude for the destructive Higa.
Today the two men under-went the weigh in for their up coming bout, with men making weight for the bout.
On the scales the visitor was the lighter man, coming in at 113.3lbs for the bout, well over the Flyweight limit but under the the agreed Super Flyweight limit. Although the lighter man Diocos looked in good shape and seemed hungry to score one of the first big upsets of the year.
Higa on the other hand was 114.6lbs for the bout, making the most of fighting at Super Flyweight and not draining his body too much for the bout. Although well over the weight Higa seemed confident and admitted that fans would be there to see him claim a 12th KO win, something he will be aiming for.
Interestingly Higa also stated that he would be in Thailand in early March to attend the WBC Flyweight title bout between Nawaphon Por Chokchai (36-0, 28) [นวพล นครหลวงโปรโมชั่น] and Mexican Juan Hernandez (33-2, 24), with the plan being to fight the winner before Higa's 22nd birthday in August!
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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