Today has been a hectic day for fight fans across Asia with a whole host of shows taking place across the continent. Those weren't all huge, but they featured at least one bout of some note.
The main event of this card saw talented Filipino Mark Magsayo (20-0, 14) dominate former Thai world champion Pungluang Sor Singyu Onesong (53-7, 35). Magsayo never managed to hurt Pungluang, who is a tough old rugged lump, but thoroughly dominated him and landed some highlight reel combinations in the later stages. The win saw Magsayo claim the WBC Asian Boxin Council Featherweight title, and it's now time he got a big fight. As for Pungluang it's clear he's still a serviceable fighter at regional level, but this was a 4th loss in 5 for the former WBO Bantamweight champion.
In a hotly contested bout for the GAB Bantamweight title Giovanni Escaner (20-4, 12) narrowly over-came Renoel Pael (23-10-1, 12), with a 12 round split decision. On paper this didn't look like it'd be competitive, but the styles gelled well and in the end their was very little to split the men.
In a Featherweight bout Virgel Vitor (15-2, 9) impressively destroyed Alan Alberca (11-4, 6) in 4 rounds. Vitor's power was on show through out the bout and he really did look like a brutally spiteful puncher through out. Alberca gave a good effort but was no match for Vitor and his power.
Chinese fighter Ainiwaer Yilixiati (17-1, 11) claimed the WBC Asian Boxing Council and IBO Asia Middleweight titles, as he took a clear decision win over Japan's Ryosuke Maruki (16-7-1, 11). This was a 6th straight win for Yilixiati, following his 2017 loss to Jayde Mitchell whilst Maruki has now lost 3 of his last 4.
The main event here saw the talented Andika Sabu (17-0, 8) pull himself off the canvas to take a decision over Filipino Richard Rosales (14-10-2, 8). The 23 year old Sabu has got potential and time on his side, but he also has a lot of areas to work on. Sadly for Rosales he is now 2-6 in his last 8, dating back 2 years.
Unbeaten Indonesian Lightweight Hebi Marapu (15-0, 11) extended his winning run as he took a 6 round decision over veteran Isack Junior (26-12-3, 9). The powerfully built Marapu has shown promise, but at 30 years old it's now or never for that promise and we would be hugely disappointed if he fails to secure a big bout in 2020.
Bang Phli, Thailand
Hard hitting Thai youngster Thanongsak Simsri (11-0, 11) extended KO streak, and claimed his first title, as he stopped Nattee Thongsingcle (2-2, 2) in 3 rounds to claim the Thai Light Flyweight title. The 20 year old Thanongsak has been drubbed "Srisaket II" in the Thai press and whilst that is a big tag to live up to, he has now racked up 11 wins in just over 14 months.
On the same card veteran Mike Tawatchai (47-13-2, 30) scored a 3rd round KO win over 16 year old novice Keerati Rueangdet (0-2).
Macao S.A.R., China
Exciting young hopeful Lap Cheong Cheong (7-0, 4) shone in front of local fans as he took a dominant decision win over ShanTuo Lu (2-4). The 22 year old Cheong Cheong shut out Lu over 6 rounds, to take his second decision win of the year, following a wide decision win over Muhammad Wahid in May. Lu, who has still never been stopped, never looked competitive but did serve as good foil for the youngster to shine against.
Former world title challenger Ernesto Saulong (22-5-2, 9) came up short in a bout against the unbeaten Brock Jarvis (17-0, 15). The match up, for the WBA Oceania Super Bantamweight title, was a clear win for Jarvis, who had too much of everything for Saulong who has now won just 1 of his last 5.
Filipino fighter Giovanni Escaner (19-4, 12) showed his value in an exciting bout with touted American Joshua Greer Jr (20-1-1, 12) on Friday night, despite losing in the 8th round from a nasty body shot.
The Filipino, who was riding a good 8 fight winning run, looked to set the pace from the off, pressing the fight and coming forward. That style made the fight tough for Greer, who used his speed well to maintain some distance from the Filipino and landed some solid body shots. The styles gelled brilliantly, with Greer being caught quite a bit against the ropes. The opening round action became more intense in a thrilling second round, that saw more trading, and saw Escaner have more success with his pressure. It was the round of the fight and seemed to force Greer into a change of tactics, as he was tagged more than he would have wanted to be.
In round 3 Greer started to move more, using the ring and his faster feet to neutralise the pressure of Escaner. The tactic was a smart one from the American who fought smartly for around 2 minutes 58 seconds of the round, but was dropped right on the bell as he dropped his hands and was caught. It was proof that Escaner could hurt his man, but also proof that Greer could make his life very easy by moving more and using his brain. Greer would begin to show more intelligence in the ring, continuing to use his movement more, and picking his spots, unloading big combinations when he was comfortable. It seemed like Greer was putting a lot into his combinations, but when he was having his moments he was catching the eye, and managing to get plenty of body shots through. Those body shots seemed to take their toll on Escaner who began to slow down as the rounds went on, and it became harder and harder for Escaner to get their shots off.
By the end of round 7 Greer began to stand toe-to-toe with Escaner. Earlier in the fight this could have caused issues for the American, but a lot of the sting was being lost from Escaner's shots and Greer was beginning to push him back. It felt very much like Escaner was breaking down, and Greer was still there with plenty in the tank. Greer's confidence was high and he went into round 8 with the intention of continuing a phone booth war. Part way through the round, when the two men were both trading, Greer landed a solid body shot. It took a moment or two, but Escaner would drop in agony and take the 10 count.
Despite the loss Escaner certainly showed what he could do and grew his following, likely to the point where he will get another bout in the US. As for Greer this is his 17th straight win, and doors will surely be open to him going forward.
The bout wasn't a FOTY contender, by any stretch, but was genuinely fun to watch, and both men proved that they could be very TV friendly, which is always a good thing.
The next few days are packed with interesting match ups, some of which have gone a bit over-looked. One of those is the Bantamweight clash between once beaten American Joshua Greer Jr (19-1-1, 11) and Filipino Giovanni Escaner (19-3, 12). On paper this is one of the best bouts taking place on Friday, yet in the eyes of many is a mismatch, with the bookies also seeing the contest as a foregone conclusion.
With the UK bookies Greer is a 5/19 favourite to win the bout, and extend his current winning record to 17 fights. Coming in he is unbeaten since December 2015, when he was beaten by the then 7-0 Stephen Fulton, in a result that saw Greer's record fall to 3-1-1 (2). Escaner on the other hand is available at 50/11 to win, and extend his own 8 fight winning run, which has included strong wins over Naoto Uebayashi and Rene Dacquel. The draw is available as high as 33/1.
Interesting the bout has a method of victory market available for it. A Greer decision win is available at events, whilst Greer by stoppage is available at 2/1. A stoppage for Escaner, who has stopped 5 of his last 8, is 9/1. A decision for the Filipino is 12/1.
It's also worth noting that the bout has been priced at 4/7 to go the distance and 11/8 to end early.
On May 8th we'll see WBO Super Flyweight champion Naoya Inoue (9-0, 8) [井上 尚弥] defending his title against mandatory challenger David Carmona (20-2-5, 8). Today, ahead of that bout, Inoue took part in a public training session that saw fans being invited to seeing the talented young champion preparing for his upcoming contest.
The session saw Inoue sparring with a pair of Filipino fighters, Giovanni Escaner (14-3, 10) and Raymart Gaballo (12-0, 10), with both giving Inoue a good work out, but the champion did get the better of both of them, whilst displaying his criminally under-rated foot work against them.
After the spar he said he was feeling a little bit tired, bit did seem very confident of beating Carmona and it's obvious that Inoue is still improving as a fighter, and still developing as a young man.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
It's fair to say almost every boxing fan was focusing on the action in Osaka earlier today, however there was also a show that took place in Tokyo, at the Korakuen Hall. This card didn't feature any world title bouts, in fact it featured no title bouts at all, however it did feature a number of really interesting match ups across a variety of levels.
One of those bouts saw unheralded Filipino Giovanni Escander (13-3, 9), who was ranked #3 by the OPBF at Flyweight, battle against touted Japanese prospect Naoto Uebayashi (7-1-1, 4), who was ranked #13 by the OPBF at Bantamweight.
On paper this was supposed to be another win for Uebayashi. He was "the bigger man" and had been hyped from early in his career following a notable amateur career that had seen him compile an excellent record of 88-14 (47) record. On paper Escaner was going to be the smaller, lighter, weaker fighter and the "designated loser" if you will
In reality however things couldn't have been much different to the expectations as Escaner proved his strength and ability. Instead of being respectful of his taller foe the Filipino was bullish and took the fight to Uebayashi. Almost from the off it was clear that Escaner was the stronger and more powerful man, a real worry for Uebayashi who had looked fragile at times in his career, notably being dropped by unknown Thai Imron Lookkhlongtan in his second professional bout and was also dropped by domestic foe Yusaku Kuga just 2 fights later.
Uebayashi was down again here, relatively early on before both men ended up being cut. The knockdown should have served as a reminder to Uebayashi that his chin wasn't the best and that he had to use his length advantage if he was going to win. Instead however Escaner repeatedly got inside and in round 8 he finally finished off the Japanese fighter who really has a lot of rebuilding to do if he's to even reach domestic title level.
For Escaner this was potentially a break out win. It was his second notable stoppage win in Japan, following a 7th round TKO against Junichi Ebisuoka last November. His record may not suggest it but as he proved here he's a fighter with the style, strength and toughness to really be a handful and we'd not be shocked to see him fighting in a title bout next time out, either domestically or at the OPBF level.
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