Last night in Mexico we saw an IBF Super Flyweight eliminator as unbeaten Filipino Jade Bornea (17-0, 11) faced off with Italian based Moroccan fighter Mohammed Obbadi (22-2, 13). Going in both men were looking to secure themselves a shot at IBF champion Jerwin Ancajas, who will be defending his title in February, and it was clear that this was a major bout for both men, who had a lot of respect for each other.
The opening round started slowly, but heated up really nice in the last minute or so, with both fighters picking up their pace at about the same time. When that happened Bonrea became the stalker, whilst Obbadi showed some lovely movement, quick hands and good straight shots. The final minute of the round really was something very exciting, and saw both have some really good moments. Through the round the best single shots seemed to come from Bornea, but Obbadi had good success with his volume and it was probably his output that shaded what ended up being a really good round.
The second round started much like the first round had ended, with the major difference being that Bornea was fighting the second as a southpaw, and landed one or two gorgeous shots from the lefty stance, including a brilliant straight left hand. It was another really good round, but it was clear that Obbadi had tasted Bornea's power and wasn't really wanting to taste it too often, keeping range more and touching Bornea at range. It was a really nice round from both fighters, though again the heavier, more telling shots were from Bornea, with those shots just edging him the round.
In round 3 Bornea continued as a southpaw, and it seemed like he was very confident at the start of the round. He seemed to hurt Obbadi with a brilliant body shot early on, and although Obbadi seemed to recover it was clear Bornea had smelled blood, and went the body several times through the round, landing some shots that were thrown with the intention of taking the wind out of Obbadi's sails and his footwork. The pressure from Bornea seemed to intensify and Obbadi seemed to be doing all he could to survive. Soon afterwards a headshot hurt Obbadi, and a body shot sent him down for the count.
Notably at the end Obbadi's left eye was a complete mess, it appeared the right hooks from Borena had really damaged his face whilst the body shots had taken the fight out of him.
For Bornea this is, by far, the most notable win of his carer, and whilst he might have to wait for a world title fight, he showed what he could do here and put in a very solid performance. As for Obbadi, this is a set back, but there's a lot for him to work with, and there's a good chance he will find himself back in the mix in the future. Sadly for him however this was a second stoppage loss, and there will be question marks about his toughness, durability and heart.
Interestingly last night we saw two world title eliminators both taking place at Super Bantamweight, as the WBA and the IBF both held eliminators on the same night in different countries, both featuring Asian fighters.
The IBF eliminator was held in Carson, California, as saw the in form Hiroaki Teshigawara (22-3-2, 15) [勅使河原 弘晶] fight outside of Korakuen Hall for the first time, as he faced former WBO Bantamweight champion Marlon Tapales (35-3, 18).
This bout was shown on Showtime and WOWOW and saw Tapales put in one of his very best performances as he dominated Teshigawara. Teshigawara looked to try and get his jab into play in the first minute of the fight, but Tapales showed his experience, and avoided most of Teshigawara's shots whilst landing some solid ones of his own, including two really good right hooks. Those should have served as warning shots for Teshigawara, but the Japanese fighter didn't take the warning. With less than a minute of the first round left Tapales backed Teshigawara onto the corner and unloaded, with Jack Riess giving Teshigawara a count and decided the ropes kept him up. Teshigawara would then be dropped, this time hitting the canvas, and although he got to his feet he really had no idea where he was. The bout really should have been stopped there and then. Instead Reiss gave Teshigawara the benefit of the doubt, until he was dropped within seconds of round 2, and Reiss this time stopped the bout.
With the win Tapales gets a chance to fight for the IBF title, currently held by unbeaten Uzbekistani Murodjon Akhmadaliev (9-0, 7) [Муроджон Ахмадалиев].
The other world title eliminator took place in Mexico and saw former another former WBO Bantamweight champion book a world title fight. This time it was the turn of Tomoki Kameda (38-3, 20) [亀田和毅] who took a wide decision over Venezuelan fighter Yonfrez Parejo (24-5-1, 12) in what was a rather typical Kameda performance at Super Bantamweight.
Kameda, who was a very respectable puncher at Bantamweight, hasn't carried his power up, unlike Tapales. That showed here, as it has in pretty much everyone of his bouts at 122lbs. From round 1 to round 7 it was almost impossible to give anything to Parejo, who was out boxed, out fought, out sped and out thought. As Kameda slowed down Parejo began to have moments, notable in rounds 9 and 12, both of which he took on all 3 cards, but those were few and far between as Kameda looked comfortable and cruised to a clear decision win. After 12 rounds the scores were 118-110, 117-111 and 116-112.
After the final bell Kameda revealed he had damaged his right hand, and had fought a lot of the bout effectively one handed. Regardless he dominated and booked his place in a world title fight, also against Murodjon Akhmadaliev, who is the unified WBA and IBF champion.
At the moment it's unclear whether Tapales or Kameda will be instilled as the next mandatory for Akhmadaliev, though sadly with two mandatory challengers waiting in the wings it seems almost impossible to imagine a bout between Akhmadaliev and Stephen Fulton, which would have given us an undisputed champion, taking place in 2022.
Notably the WBA situation is a confusing mess right now as Azat Hovhannisyan (20-3, 16) was also announced as the mandatory challenger for the WBA title in November. That leaves the potential that the Kameda Vs Paradejo bout wasn't a final eliminator, but just a "normal" eliminator, something that would likely be of surprise to the Japanese press who seemed to be of the under-standing that Kameda's bout was a final eliminator. As is often the case with the WBA, things are never quite as clear or as logical as they should be. It should be noted that their last mandatory challenger, Ronny Rios, also failed to get a shot after he was forced to pull out of a title bout late.
(Thanks to Deuce @rangerrollins for the information regaridng Hovhannisyan)
The next 24 hours or so are crazy for fans of the sweet science, with so much action taking place in such a little amount of time. One of the notable bouts which has gone a little under the radar is a WBA Super Bantamweight world title eliminator, as Tomoki Kameda (37-3, 20) [亀田和毅] battles Venezuelan fighter Yonfrez Parejo (24-4-1, 12) in Mexico, with the winner set to get a world title fight next year.
Yesterday, ahead of their bout, the two men took part in their weigh in for the contest and both men 122lb and both men hit the scales on the divisional limit.
After making weight Kameda thanked those involved in putting on the show and he also spoke about how happy he was to fight in Hermosillo for the first time on his career. He has fought, extensively, in Mexico before but he seemed really glad to be fighting in an area that has such strong boxing links. He also explained that he was happy to have been able to prepare for the bout there, and that he has been preparing for this bout for 3 months, which included sparring with world champions, such as Nonito Donaire.
Although he's prepared well Kameda did complain that he didn't have any of his favourite food and sports drink, which he would have had had the bout been at home in Japan.
As for Parejo, he came across as less confident and less relaxed, even though he stated that he would make the most of his opportunity here.
For those wanting to watch this one, the bout is reportedly going to be streamed live on Kameda's own YouTube channel.
Earlier today at Korakuen Hall fight fans had the chance to see the latest show in the Dangan series of cards, and it was an excellent one on paper with two major Japanese Featherweight bouts.
The first of those two bouts as a Japanese title eliminator between former 2-time title challenger Reiya Abe (22-3-1, 10) [阿部麗也] and the often under-rated Daisuke Watanabe (12-5-2, 7) [渡部大介]. These two had fought before, with Abe taking an 8 round decision, but it was expected that they would give us an interesting and competitive bout this time around, with Watanabe really going on a solid run since their first bout.
Sadly rather than an interesting bout we saw an underwhelming one.
The bout saw Watanabe trying to come forward whilst Abe looked to using his excellent footwork and smart boxing. This lead to some interesting moments, but it seemed that every time Watanabe landed, Abe would come back with something of his own, and that resulted in Watanabe being cut from a counter left hand in round 2. Abe would also land telling blows in round 3, leaving Watanabe with a swollen right eye, that forced his team to retire their man at the end of the round. This resulted in Abe picking up a TKO3 win, and securing himself a shot at the Japanese title in the new year, against the winner of the main event of the show.
That main event saw Japanese Featherweight champion Hinata Maruta (12-1-1, 9) [丸田陽七太] successfully make his first defense as he beat Ryo Hino (14-3-2, 9) [日野僚], taking a wide and clear decision over the challenger.
Hino got off to a good start, using his boxing skills well and he seemed to just about edge the first two rounds, by sneaking inside and using his southpaw stance well against the taller, faster Maruta. It was a good start for him, but one that seemed to force Maruta to plan B, and it was plan B tat saw Maruta having success and dropping Hino with a solid right hand. Hino, realising Maruta was quicker, sharper and more powerful, tried to play the counter puncher in round 4 but it wasn't hugely successful and in round 5 Maruta scored a second knockdown, this time from a gorgeous burst of clean accurate punches.
With the two knockdowns in his favour Maruta was in a comfortable lead when the scores were announced at the end of round 5, with Maruta leading 48-45, twice, and 49-44.
Hino tried to turn things around in the second half of the fight, particularly in round 7, but Maruta sniffed things out, kept it long before deciding to try and take out Hino in rounds 8 and 9. To his credit Hino saw out some torrid moments, before trying to turn things around in round 10, only for Maruta to respond with some big shots of his own as we went to the bell.
After 10 rounds there was no denying Maruta was the clear and worthy winner, taking the decision 97-91, twice, and 96-92, to set up a compelling bout with Abe, in 2022. That bout may end up being a double title bout, with the Japanese and the now vacant WBO Asia Pacific titles potentially both being on the line for the bout.
Tomorrow at Korakuen Hall fight fans will get an interesting card, with 4 of the top Featherweights in Japan in action, with a Japanese title bout, and a Japanese title eliminator both taking place on the same card. Today those 4 men all took part in their weigh in, and all 4 made weight with no issues at all.
The Japanese title eliminator will see former 2-time title challenger Reiya Abe (21-3-1, 9) [阿部麗也] battle against Daisuke Watanabe (12-4-2, 7) [渡部大介], with the men clashing to secure a shot next year during the Champion Carnival. These two have fought before, with Abe taking a decision over Watanabe, but that was more than 3 years ago and Watanabe has come a long way since then whilst Abe has failed to live up to the potential he clearly has.
At the weigh in both men came in comfortably under the 126lb limit, weighing in at an identical 125.66lbs. They both looked in great shape, though it did seem like Abe was the naturally bigger man, being several inches taller than Watanabe.
Interestingly Watanabe did mention that he was wanting to fight small here, and he'll be aggressive, whilst swearing that will avenge his loss to Abe. Abe on the other hand seemed to be focused on using his footwork and counter punching here to take the win, and secure his third shot at the Japanese title.
In the main event of the show we'll see Japanese Featherweight champion Hinata Maruta (11-1-1, 9) [丸田陽七太] make his first defense as he takes on Ryo Hino (14-2-2, 9) [日野僚], in what is expected to be a very technical match up. At the weigh in these two men also hit the scales at 125.66lbs.
After the making weight Maruta ate to some rice balls, to help recover from the weight loss, before admitting he was happy to have the press around for the fight. Notably this was the first show that reporters were allowed to do face to face interviews with fighters after weigh ins, something that had been stopped due to the pandemic. To prepare for the bout he explained that he had done a lot of sparring with southpaws and wasn't worried about the fact Hino is a lefty.
As for Hino, he seemed less confident and it appears that he knows a won against Maruta would be a big ask. Despite that it's clear he's not going in to the ring tomorrow to roll over and lose, so he could end up putting up a good effort here, in what is his second shot at the Japanese Featherweight title.
Related - Touted genius Maruta takes on Hino in first Japanese title defense!
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