Earlier today our good friend Ian Melodillar informed us that a deal had finally been reached regarding the long spoken about IBF Light Flyweight world title eliminator between Christian Araneta (19-1, 15) and Sivenathi Nontshinga (9-0, 9), with the bout now set for April 25th in South Africa.
This match up pretty much has everything we want to see in a bout, with two young men both looking to put themselves on the verge of a world title shot.
Filipino fighter Araneta is the older fighter, at the age of 25, and is a hard hitting southpaw who has been a professional since 2013. Since making his debut he has had a fair bit of buzz around him in the Philippines, and within about 18 months of his debut he had won his first title, the Philippines Light Flyweight title. Since then he has slowly crafted a solid record and notched wins over the likes of Jesse Espinas, Jerry Tomogdan and Roland Jay Biendima. His one defeat came in 2019, when an injury forced him to retire in the corner against Daniel Valladares in Mexico, since then however he has bounced back with two wins.
Whilst Araneta has the edge in experience and is the more physically mature fighter he will go in to this as the under-dog. That's because Sivenathi Nontshinga, dubbed the "Special One", is one of the most dangerous fighters that you've probably never seen. The 22 year old is a massive puncher for the weight and within just 9 fights he scored notable stoppages over both Siyobonga Siyo and Ivan Soriano. Standing at around 5' Nontshinga is a fantastic boxer-puncher, and every shot in his arsenal looks heavy, with his jab seen physically jolting Soriano last year. Despite his power and physical strength he is still a touch raw, and his inexperience shows, but he is very heavy handed and very dangerous.
It's worth noting that the winner of this would become the IBF mandatory challenger for the title currently held Felix Alvarado, and with that in mind we are looking forward to this eliminator, and the eventual world title fight for the winner.
Late last night in the US fight fans saw unbeaten Uzbek Israil Madrimov (5-0, 5) [Исроил Мадримов] score his most significant win to date, as he stopped world ranked veteran Charlie Navarro (29-10, 22) in a WBA world title eliminator.
From the opening round it was clear that Madrimov had little respect for the 40 year old Navarro, despite Navarro having had world level experience and solid power. Instead of having respect for his man he saw the bout as a chance to make a statement. From the early moments he was showing off what he could do, dropping his hands, coming forward and tagging Navarro, who struggled to land anything of note himself.
As the bout went on Madrimov began to chip away at Navarro, who was regularly put on the back foot, and hitting air. By round 4 the power shots of Madrimov, where were starting to land with alarming consistency from both hands, were leaving Navarro looking lost and being beating up. It wasn't technically polished from Madrimov, but it was effective as he landed hooks from both hands at will whilst nothing was coming back to make Madrimov need to change things up.
In round 6 Madrimov managed to drop his man with a body shot and although Navarro beat the count he was dropped a second time with the referee then calling a halt to the bout.
The win will push Madrimov to the verges of a WBA world title fight, and we wouldn't be surprised to see the Uzbek getting a shot at a world title before the end of the year. We suspect he will need to tidy up a bit when he faces a world champion, but this was a battering a veteran, and a real statement from one of the most amazing athletic talented in the sport. As for Navarro this is likely the end of his very long career.
The main event of today's Dangan card at Korakuen Hall was a Japanese Super Featherweight title eliminator between former Japanese Featherweight champion Taiki Minamoto (16-6-1, 13) [源大輝] and the teak tough Takuya Watanabe (37-9-1, 21) [渡邉卓也]. The two men looked well matched on paper and it seemed almost a given that we would be getting a special bout as the styles looked almost certain to gel. We assumed it would be Minamoto's power against Watanabe's toughness, and that we would get a thriller.
We assumed right!
In the opening round it looked like Minamoto's power was not actually his key to victory, instead it was his speed, and he looked much quicker than Watanabe. Watanabe however was pressuring, landing the effective shots and forcing Minamoto to give ground.
From then touch paper was lit and rounds 2,3 and 4 were incredibly wars, each progressively more exciting than the previous. Two them men seemed to try out man each other on the inside, firing off bombs, and mixing shots between head and body at close range. For 3 straight rounds we saw Minamoto fight Watanabe's fight, and although he held his own, he did lose all 3 rounds, and was left with a bloodied nose and the need to reassess his tactics.
Having fought the wrong fight for 3 rounds Minamoto changed up what he did in rounds 5 and 6 as he looked to get some control in the bout. Rather than warring on the inside he boxed on the outside, using his speed and movement to jab and move against the slower Watanabe. The tactic worked really well, and he seemed to actually hurt Watanabe a couple of times in round 5.
The movement was a good change from Minamoto, but not something he could keep up and by round 7 we were back on the inside, and back to trading back and forth. Sadly for Minamoto this round killed any momentum he had, and he was rocked hard late in the round as Watanabe began to land clean shots that stiffened the legs the legs of Minamoto.
Going into the final round it seemed like Watanabe had done enough to avoid defeat, but a win wasn't in the bag for him. Regardless he came out swinging, and gave Minamoto a real beating in the final 3 minutes. It seemed like Watanabe was determined to stop his man, though some how Minamoto remained on his feet, despite being legitimately battered through the round.
At the end of 8 rounds we though Watanabe had done enough, and so did the judges, scoring the bout 77-75, 78-76 and 79-73 in favour of Watanabe. The 79-73 card seemed unfair but the other two were a pretty accurate reflection on what had been an 8 round war.
With the win Watanabe secures a title shut during the 2020 Champion Carnival, and will face either Masaru Sueyoshi (19-1-1, 11) [末吉 大] or Kosuke Saka (19-5, 16) [坂晃典], who face off in early December.
For those who don't subscribe to Boxing Raise this is the quality of bout you're missing out on, for those who do subscriber this was another instant classic on the service which is quickly becoming a must have for fight fans.
Tomorrow in Tokyo, and live on Boxing Raise, fight fans will get a really interesting card as part of the God's Left Bantamweight tournament. Despite the focus being the two tournament semi-finals the show's main event will actually be a Japanese title eliminator Japanese title eliminator between Taiki Minamoto (16-5-1, 13) [源大輝] and Takuya Watanabe (36-9-1, 21) [渡邉卓也], who battle for a shot at the Japanese Super Featherweight title in the 2020 Champion Carnival.
Today, ahead of that bout, they took part in their weight in and both men made the 130lb limit with no issues.
On the scales Watanabe, a former WBO Asia Pacific champion at Super Featherweight, was bang on the 130lb limit and looked in great shape, as he always does. He stated he was in the best condition, and had been able to make weight whilst also taking on water, suggesting he's not had to dehydrate to make the weight. He sounded incredibly confident and despite being the under-dog he sounded like a man with real fire in his belly for this.
Minamoto on the other hand was 129.6lbs, making the weight with some wiggle room. It wasn't much of a surprise to see him make weight with ease, given he was moving up after simply out growing the Featherweight division, where he had been the Japanese champion. He seemed to suggest that the weight was much better on his body than cutting the extra 4lbs and he looked strong, powerful and sounded incredibly confident.
The winner of this is expected to face either Masaru Sueyoshi (19-1-1, 11) [末吉 大] or Kosuke Saka (19-5, 16) [坂晃典], who battle on December 7th, in next year's Champion Carnival.
Related - Hard hitting Minamoto takes on teak tough Watanabe
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today at the Korakuen Hall we saw former Japanese 2-weight champion Nobuyuki Shindo (20-6-2, 8) [新藤寛之] take on Yuto Shimizu (14-4-2, 5) [清水優人], in a Japanese Light Middleweight title eliminator, with the two men battling for a place at the 2020 Champion Carnival. On paper this looked an interesting bout, but anyone who has watched Shindo over the years will know that his bouts aren't always the best to watch and that's sadly what we got today.
The first round was slow, to say the least, though did have drama when Shimizu connected with a body shot and dropped Shindo to his backside, securing a 10-8 round to begin the fight. It was about the only thing of note. The bout then took a while to get going, with the two men often cancelling each other out, missing wildly and trying to force a lead from an opponent to counter. Rounds 2 and 3 were awful and awkward as a result, though the pace did, thankfully, pick up in round 4 as Shindo realised he had to turn it around.
Whilst Shindo did pick the pace up it was still only really patches of the bout that had action, with both having moments, but the bout really lacked intensity and there was never any reason to get too excited. What didn't help was the fact both men looked like they were punching through treacle,
Thankfully that did change in the later rounds as both began to dig deeper, and Shimizu in particular upped his work rate, wanting to do anything he could to secure the victory. His aggression paid dividends in the end with a tired looking Shindo being out worked in the final rounds as Shimizu secured the win.
With scores of 77-74, 77-76 and 76-75 Shimizu's late surge was important, but in reality it's hard to see either of these men picking up a title win in 2020. Both are two slow. Shindo should probably think about retirement whilst Shimizu has earned his title shot, but we can't see him being competitive at title level.
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