"Champions of Gold" kicked off just a few minutes ago with a battle between unbeaten fighters as former Russian amateur star Egor Mekhontsev (4-0, 4) defeated the brave and tough Mike Mirafuente (2-1, 2), of the Philippines.
The bout was a physical mismatch with Mekhontsev towering over Mirefuente though if the fight was won on heart Mirefuente would have made life very difficult for the Russian, in fact for the first round Mirafuente did indeed make life difficult for the Russian as he swung, and connected with, some serious hayemakers that seemed to trouble Mekhontsev. Sadly for Mirafuente the power of Mekhontsev did take it's effect leaving his right eye damaged at the end of the first round.
As the fight went on Mirefuente had less and less success and was dropped in round 3 as the Russian began breaking down the Filipino fighter. Despite being tagged repeatedly Mirefuente refused to just buckle and, courtesy of his bravery, as a result he managed to give Mekhontsev the toughest fight of his career until he was pulled out by his corner at the end of 3 rounds.
The decision by the corner was the right one though though we'll admit that Mirafuente did, at times, make life difficult for Mekhontsev who will have learned something here despite controlling the fight
Russia's Olympic gold medal winner Egor Mekhontsev (2-0, 2) fought for the second time since turning professional and did exactly what he was supposed to as he dominated Thailand's Atthaporn Jaritram (4-1, 1).
The opening round saw Mekhontsev using his fast but powerful hands to control his Thai opponent who looked completely out of his depth from the off. In the second round Mekhontsev moved up a gear and started to unload combinations on the Thai who took them well but had absolutely no answer to them. A minute into round 2 the power of Mokhontsev's began to take it's toll as he dropped the Thai and a minute later Mekhontsev forced the referee to step in and save the helpless Thai.
Although he is still at a very early stage in his career it does look like Mekhontsev has the skills, speed, power and technique to be fast tracked. At his advanced age, 29, he perhaps should be moved aggressively over his next few fights. He has all the ability needed to fight much more experienced professionals and it's clear that he knows his way around the ring very well. There is no point keeping him in these sorts of match ups as they are not going to develop his skills and now he's used to fighting in front of the cameras and big lights it's time to think about giving him a test.
(Picture courtesy of Boxrec.com)
Top rank have announced that Russian Olympic champion Egor Mekhontsev (1-0, 1) will have his fight with unbeaten Thai Atthaporn Jaritram (4-0, 1) streamed on Top Rank TV. They confirmed this over twitter as can be seen below.
Top Rank's exciting looking "Ring of Gold" card has been fully announced and will feature and impressive 10 bouts, including 3 title bouts, 3 Olympic gold medal winners, 4 former world champions and 9 unbeaten fighters.
The card, at the Cotai Arena, Venetian Resort in Macau is expected to kick off with a 4 rounder between local fighter Kuok Kun Ng (2-0) and Rocky Alap Alap (5-10). Although Kun Ng is still a novice we do really like him and with him being the "Macao Kid" we do see the future potential in him as a local star.
Kun Ng/Alap Alap is the only 4 rounder on the show, though is joined in the under with 3 bouts scheduled for 6 rounds.
The 6 rounders include the first of the Olympic champions in the form of Russian Egor Mekhontsev (1-0, 1) who takes on unbeaten Thai Atthaporn Jaritram (4-0, 1). Mekhontsev, who won gold in the Light Heavyweight division, is regarded as a fighter with all the tools needed to be a superstar and we'd expect them to be on show against Atthaporn who, although unbeaten, hasn't faced anyone of any note.
Another of the 6 rounders is set to see Filipino prospect Harmonito Dela Torre (11-0, 6) take on the limited Indonesian Yakobus Heluka (7-5). We like what we've heard about Dela Torre but, as with many Filipino prospects it's hard to know just how good he will end up being. Despite the questions marks are Dela Torre it'd be a huge upset to see him beaten.
The remaining 6 rounder will see China's Ik Yang (14-0-0-1, 9), real name Yang Lian Hui, fighting against Thailand's Petchsamuthr Duanaaymukdahan (8-2, 1). We do like Yang and think he has a very fan friendly style though we've got to admit that Petchsamuthr impressed up last time out going 6 hard rounds with Felix Verdejo. Although this isn't a marquee bout we do expect it to be very enjoyable to watch.
As with the 6 rounder we also have a trio of 8 rounders. Of those the leas interesting to us is one between Filipino Jerwin Ancajas (18-1-1, 10) and Thailand's Inthanon Sithchamuang (20-6, 11). On paper this looks pretty interesting but Inthanon's chin has been cracked when he's faced good foes in the past, including both Rocky Fuentes and Mark Anthony Geraldo. We'd expect Ancajas to do the same.
One of the other 8 rounders sees Chinese icon Zou Shiming (3-0), another Olympic gold medal winner, taking on Thai Yokthong Kokietgym (15-3, 11). On paper this looks like an amazing test for Shiming though Yokthong has been stopped twice, including 2nd round KO to Ryuji Hara, and has never beaten anyone of any sort of note. Shiming may not manage to score a stoppage but should really be able to over-come his Thai rival.
The most interesting of the 8 rounders sees Japanese Olympic champion Ryota Murata (2-0, 2) taking on Brazilian veteran Carlos Nascimento (29-3, 23). This bout shouldn't be difficult for Murata though should allow him another stoppage and a few more rounds at a decent level. Nascimento, once a world title challenger, isn't as big or strong as Murata though could use his experience to give Murata a few questions before finally being stopped.
The first title bout, fought over 10 rounds, will see Hong Kong's sensationally popular Rex Tso (11-0, 7) attempt to unify his WBC Asia Council Continental Super Flyweight title with the WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight title. Unfortunately for Tso a victory won't actually mean a lot as he attempts to take on Mako Matsuyama (7-7-1, 3) a very limited Japanese fighter who has won just 3 of his last 8.
In the most recent bout to be announced on the card, and the second title fight, we will see former world champion Akifumi Shimoda (28-3-2, 12) taking on fellow former world champion Marvin Sonsona (17-1-1, 14). This bout, for the WBO International Featherweight title, has been made in the last day or two and keeps Shimoda on the card after Simpiwe Vetyeka was taken from the card due to the WBA. This bout, one we favour Shimoda in, is a good bout on paper, though we do feel that Sonsona probably isn't big enough or strong enough to test Shimoda at Featherweight.
The only world title bout on the card will see Mexico's talented, though unexciting, Miguel Vazquez (33-3, 13) defending his IBF Lightweight title against Russia's Denis Shafikov (33-0-1, 18). This is the hardest bout on the show to call with Vazquez being a very slippery customer though Shafikov is strong as a bull and will always come forward. Great bout and one we can't wait to see.
We hope to have more details on the actual running order sooner rather than later though we'll admit we're really excited about this card.
The 2012 Olympic gold medal winner Egor Mekhontsev (1-0, 1) was, as expected, successful on his debut. Fighting against the win-less PJ Cajagas (0-3-1) it was expected that Mekhontsev would come out on top, though the fact he scored a 3rd round stoppage was interesting.
Although Mekhontsev was the 4th notable Gold medal winner to join "Top Rank" his debut was much less high profile than the other two. Unfortunately we can't help but feel that their is less belief in the Top Rank organisation in Mekhontsev than both Ryota Murata and Vasyl Lomachneko. In fact it's between Mekhontsev and Zou Shiming as two who seems likely to achieve less.
From reports we've been receiving it's likely that we'll see Mekhontsev, Shiming and Murata all returning on the same date, February 22nd 2014. The rumour is that the trio will be fighting on a card in Macau (tentatively dubbed "Triple Gold", "Gold Rush" or "First of Gold 3"). We're hoping that Mekhontsev will be facing a better opponent than he did tonight. If he doesn't then it's obvious that Top Rank have next to no belief in him, despite his excellent pedigree.
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