In a thoroughly unenjoyable and lacklustre contest fans saw Jesse Espinas (20-4, 11) take a huge step towards securing himself an IBO "world" title fight as he out pointed veteran Denver Cuello (38-6-6, 26). The bout, on paper, had the ingredients of being a good one, but just never seemed to get going as neither man had the work rate or energy to make things exciting.
The first few rounds were truly turgid. They were plagued by inaccuracy, holding, spoiling, wrestling and stalling. The amount of clean, quality shots were minimal and neither fighter seemed to watch to light the touch paper.
If anything it seemed like the 32 year old Cuello wanted it a little bit more, and came forward at least making it look like he wanted a fight, but he rarely let his hands go and his trademark aggression wasn't there. The best he did was an occasional 2 punch combination, that seemed to be more out of impatience and frustration rather than trying to hurt Espinas, who did very, very little.
As we went through the middle rounds it seemed like even the fans had gotten bored of what was going on. There was so little atmosphere in the venue, and it seemed, at times, like the noise was coming from conversations between fans rather than cheering on their guy. Though to be fair there was little to cheer.
In the final few rounds it seemed like Cuello's tank was running near empty and that he wanted to keep something in it, just in case, and Espinas then managed to finally show something to take the last few rounds. That proved vital with Espinas taking the decision, 96-94 and 97-93 twice.
Given how dreary the fight was we can't imagine there will be much demand to see either man again. Cuello, who was once a fearsome and exciting fighter, looks a near shell of what he once was, and Espinas looks so gun shy it's worrying to think what will happen when he faces someone like currently IBO champion Maximo Flores.
For those who missed this one, it's not worth hunting down. It promised something but totally under-delivered.
Earlier today at the Panphil B. Frasco Memorial Sports Complex, Liloan, Cebu fight fans were able to see the unbeaten Mark Vicelles (11-0-1, 5) claim his biggest win to date, out pointing Jesse Espinas (19-4, 11) over 10 very competitive rounds, to claim the very lightly regarded WBA Asia South Light Flyweight title.
The bout was nip and tuck from the off with neither man ever establish much of a lead. Vicelles got off to the better start, winning 4 of the first 5 on 2 of the scorecards, and 3 of the first 5 on the other card. Espinas however battled back hard, reeling the bout back his way during the middle section of the contest. The hard fight back from Espinas saw him going into the final round well in it, and there was just a point separating them, on all 3 cards, as we entered round 10.
Sadly for Espinas his great fight back was nought with two judges giving the all important 10th to Vicelles, securing him a narrow majority decision win, with scores of 96-94,twice, and 95-95.
Sadly for Espinas this is a second notable loss in a row, following his August 2018 loss to Edward Heno in an OPBF title fight, and the 26 year old Southpaw will really need to rebuild as soon as possible, without another lengthy break.
Vicelles on the other hand is now unbeaten in 12 and and adds Espinas' scalp to a victory over Robert Onggocan in April to rack up his 8th straight win. He's not getting much attention but is clearly a very talented prospect, and the 23 year old is obviously one to make a note of.
Earlier today in Laguna fight fans were able to see OPBF Light Flyweight champion champion Edward Heno (13-0-5, 5) successfully make his second defense, and turn back the challenge of fellow Filipino Jesse Espinas (19-3, 11). Not only was it a bout fans in Laguna, at the venue, could see but so too could fans on the the Games and Amusements Board facebook group.
The bout started somewhat slowly with Heno looking to see what his challenger had in his arsenal. An early head clash did cause a slight delay in the action but from then on Heno seemed to always be a touch too quick and too sharp for Espinas, who had moments but rarely managed to really get the respect of the champion.
Heno seemed happy for the most part on the back foot, counter and pick holes in Espinas, and whilst it wasn't hugely exciting it was a tactic that worked well, and neutralised the power of Espinas pretty well. Even when Espinas did have success Heno slowed him in his tracks and gained his respect.
The boxing of Heno saw him take the win comfortably on the scorecards, with scores of 118-110, 117-111 and 116-112, to build on his previous defense against Merlito Sabillo.
Sadly for those wanting to watch the fight the video on the GAB facebook is less than stellar.
(Image of the score card due to the Games and Amusements Board facebook)
For whatever reason we tend to think that boxing records show how good a fighters is, the reality however is that the numbers say less about the fighters than we suspect, and instead they say more about the match making and management of the fighters. This can be seen in various ways with some fighters racking up huge winning streaks, whilst facing absolutely nobody of any sort of quality, whilst other fighters suffer losses because they weren't afraid of losing and in fact took losses to good fighters in a positive manner, often improving themselves as a result.
This was shown again on Friday morning when long term unbeaten fighter Paipharob Kokietgym (32-1, 25) [ไผ่ผารบ ก่อเกียรติยิม] suffered his first career loss, in what will go down as one of the 2016 Asian boxing upsets of the year.
Paipharob, who began the day as the WBO Oriental Light Flyweight champion, was expected to see off Filipino foe Jesse Espinas (13-2, 9) with out too many issues, in fact Espinas had been stopped just a couple of fights earlier by the unheralded and unbeaten Christian Araneta. Instead however a determined and spirited Espinas decided he wasn't there to become#33 and it was clear from very early that he was there to win.
In the early stages the bout very close, Paipharob looked the stronger, and naturally bigger, fighter but Espinas showed some lovely sharp shots to both the head and body and his movement regularly left Paipharob out of position, missing, and open to counters.
The misses from Paipharob, combined with the hurtful shots from Espinas, took their toll as early as the 4th round with Paipharob being dropped in the early portion of the round. The knockdown seemed to spur on the Filipino who looked to land some real hayemakers but his lack of composure saw him regularly missing and it seemed like Paipharob had seen off the danger by the end of the round. Despite failing to take his chance in round 4 the Filipino did have a solid 5th round as Paipharob began to look like a fighter who had started to feel the pace and was no longer able to keep up a steady output, something that was also seen in the 6th round with Espinas closing that round big.
In round 7 the two engaged in some solid back and forth but the round's highlights seemed to come from Espinas who was finding the target more regularly than the local fighter, who was struggling to land much clean, and what he did land often came back with interest.
Paipharob got off to a hot start in round 8 but that start was short lived with Espinas landing a vicious series of shots off the ropes, including a body blow that dropped Paipharob for the fight's second knockdown. A follow up attack, with another spiteful body shot, dropped the Thai with the referee waving the bout off almost immediately.
For the Thai this loss leaves his title hopes in tatters and it was a disappointing way for him to lose his unbeaten record. For Espinas however the win puts him in the "shop window", so to speak, and we wouldn't be shocked to see him rewarded with a world ranking in the next set of WBO updates and another big fight, in either Japan or Thailand.
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