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)
Later today many Western fans will get their first chance to see Japanese Super Bantamweight contender Hiroaki Teshigawara (22-2-2, 15) [勅使河原 弘晶] in action, as he takes on former WBO Bantamweight champion Marlon Tapales (34-3, 17) in an IBF Super Bantamweight world title eliminator.
Yesterday the two men took part in their weigh in and both men made the 122lb limit with no issues, in fact both men were around 0.5lbs under the limit, and both looked in great shape for the bout.
Tapales, the naturally smaller man, seemed to be brimming with confidence, and he looked in, arguably, the shape of his career. Although not a big fighter, or a fighter with a hugely impressive looking record, he is a dangerous and gutsy fighter who has scored some great wins, and his bout with Pungluang Sor Singyu for the WBO Bantamweight title is a genuine forgotten gem of a bout, with incredible drama. He will know he needs a win here to get a chance to become a 2-weight world champion, but he'll also feel he's the under-dog.
Although unknown outside of Asia Teshigawara is "Mr Korakuen Hall", who is hugely popular at home thanks to fighting his entire career, so far, as the Holy Land of Japanese boxing. He has had an excellent run of results at home, beating several former world title challengers, and he'll known a win here will open up a world title fight in 2022 for him. Although not the most technically gifted fighter he's actually a smart boxer, who sets a unique rhythm that can upset fighters, and he's crafty. He's also a man who came through the ranks thanks to Koichi Wajima, and embodies some of Wajima's never say die mentality.
Despite only travelling to the US recently Teshigawara, also known was "Teshie", didn't explained that he wasn't tired, ans instead stated "I'm in great shape. Tomorrow I'll spend all my life defeating Tapales and win. I'll sell the name of Hiroaki Teshigawara to the United States,"
For fans wanting to watch this one, it will be featured on the card headlined by Nonito Donaire Vs Reymart Gaballo.
Earlier today at Korakuen Hall Japanese fight fans got a stacked card from the Ohashi Gym with 4 notables on it, including a Japanese title bout, and several bouts involving promising prospects.
The first of the 4 notable bouts saw Suzumi Takayama (4-0, 4) [高山 涼深] score an opening round win over touted teenager Kosuke Tomioka (4-2, 3) [富岡 浩介]. On paper this one looked like a really interesting bout between two southpaws, but sadly for Tomioka he never even got a chance to get into the bout. After less than a minute a straight left hand from Takayama put Tomioka down. To his credit Tomioka got up, but Takayama smelled blood and jumped on his man, sending him down again. Tomioka showed how bravery by getting up again but was dropped a third time with the referee then halting the bout after just 107 seconds.
Sadly it's hard to see where Tomioka goes here, especially given his loss in the 2020 East Japan Rookie of the Year final to Shunpei Kubo.
The second bout of note saw OPBF ranked Super Flyweight Masayoshi Hashizume (18-0-2, 11) [橋詰 将義] score an 8th round TKO win over Yoshiki Minato (9-5, 4) [湊 義生]. For Hashizume this was his first bout in over 2 years and despite that he looked sharp from the off, with nice jabs, and good speed. Minato tried to fight back was cut in round around the right eye.
As the rounds went on Hashizume's natural size, strength and power played more and more of a factor, as he let his shots go more willingness and in round 8 he ended up forcing the referee in to save Minato in the first minute of round 8.
The third bout of note saw Japanese Youth Bantamweight champion Toshiya Ishii (4-1, 3) [石井渡士也] score a 5th round TKO against the heavy handed Jin Minamide (4-2, 3) [南出仁]. This was exciting from the off, with both letting heavy leather go in the first round. The power of Ishii told first as he dropped Minamide in the first round.
To his credit Minamide not only got to his feet but battled on, though was dropped again in round 3, as Ishii's power, accuracy and speed showed it's self again. Minamide again beat the count, but having been dropped twice in the first 3 rounds he was in a hole. and desperate to try and turn things around. Sadly for Minamide his aggression and hunger came back to bite him, and in round 5 a serious of big shots from Ishii forced the referee to come in and save Minamide.
The main event was a much anticipated Japanese title bout at 112ls as Japanese Flyweight champion Seigo Yuri Akui (16-2-1, 11) [阿久井政悟] made his second defense of the title, and stopped the previously unbeaten Taku Kuwahara (8-1, 4) [桑原拓] in a brilliant 10 round war.
The bout started almost perfectly for Akui who's early power saw him dropping Kuwahara with a counter right hand in the first round. It was a perfect shot and seemed to show that Akui's power could be too much for Kuwahara. That was until the challenger began to show what he could do and finding his groove through the rest of the first half of the bout. The fight back from Kuwahara was impressive, showing his guts, determination and skills as he managed to close the gap on the scorecards.
After 5 rounds we had the open scoring with scores of 47-47 on one card and 48-46 on two others, both to Akui.
Kuwahara had bounced back really well from the bad start, landing good body shots, using his amateur skills well, and showed that he belonged at this level. Akui then began to pick things up himself, applying more constant and intense pressure, trying to take the play away from Kuwahara, who continued to box and move, using his speed and accuracy to try and out work Akui and get his respect.
Going into round 10 it seemed to close to call, and then the judges cards were essentially ripped up as a huge right hand from Akui dropped Kuwahara for the second time in the bout, with just over 10 seconds of the bout left. The referee immediately waved off the bout.
After the contest Akui and his team seemed to suggest that they would be hunting a world title fight in 2022, after the Champion Carnival. That could well mean a rematch with WBO champion Junto Nakatani, who stopped Akui back in 2017.
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.
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