It’s fair to say that 2020 was a year of surprises, both in terms of boxing and life in general, afterall did anyone predict a pandemic heading into the year? For us the surprises came regularly through the year, and came at every in the sport. From domestic level, with prospects being shocked, national titles changing hands even world level shocks.
Due to the sheer number of upsets we had in Asian Boxing in 2020 it’s genuinely been hard to pick one as the upset of the year. Do we go with the biggest in terms of the betting? Do we go with the result that was the biggest surprise to us or do we try to find some middle line?
Rather than trying to define an upset we’ve come up with a compromise and we will be having joint winners here, with one for the biggest betting upset that we saw, and one for the biggest surprise result that we saw. That surprise result really was one out of the blue, that we certainly didn’t expect.
The betting upset of the year came on November 27th in Thailand as unheralded Thai Panya Pradabsri, also known as Petchmanee CP Freshmart, took on countryman Wanheng Menayothin, the long running WBC Minimumweight champion.
The bookies opened this one with Wanheng almost an unbackable favourite, with the champion opening at 1/10 with STSbet and later being 1/12 with several UK bookies. He was seen as being well on the way to his 55th straight and his 13th title defense before the two men stepped foot in the ring. Panya on the other hand opened at 6/1 to score the upset.
By fight time money had poured on the challenger, who had been backed into around 3/1, and he would then go on to take a very close and hard fought decision over Wanheng, leading to some nice wins for bettors.
Panya’s upset win was the biggest with widely available odds, however there was one bigger upset in Asia, and that was Daishi Nagata’s shock win over Koki Inoue in July. Nagata entered that bout an 8/1 under-dog against Inoue, before forcing a stoppage win. Sadly only STS had odds on this one, and it really wasn’t one that most could bet on, but was, admittedly, a massive surprise result
Other similar upsets scored by Asian fighters include:
Masayoshi Nakatani upsetting Felix Verdajo - With Nakatani starting as a 6/1 under-dog
Akui Furutani upsetting Takayuki Okumoto - With Furatani a 9/2 under-dog
Mike Plania upsetting Joshua Greer Jr - With Plania a 4/1 under-dog
Kenichi Horikawa upsetting Daiki Tomita - With Horikawa a 7/2 under-dog
Upset scored against an Asian fighter by a non-Asian:
Carlos Gongora upsetting Ali Akhmedov - With Gongora starting as a 7/1 under-dog
With just a single win in a decade the 36 year old Yuichi Ideta wasn’t even expected to put up much of a fight on December 27th when he battled former Japanese Welterweight champion Ryota Yada. Ideta had fallen from 12-0 (7) to 13-15-1 (7) and had lost 11 in a row and had been stopped 5 times during his career. Whilst some of those losses weren’t embarrassing ones, such as losses to Keita Obara and Nobuyuki Shindo, he had lost to some very limited fighters, like Ryota Itoyama, Quaye Peter and Ryuji Ikeda.
Amazingly with the deck stacked against him, and no one really giving him a chance Ideta out worked, out fought, outmuscled and out landed Yada to take home the decision win.
This genuinely was the biggest shock to us for the entire year, and was the first decision loss for Yada since 2014, in what was his 6th bout.
Similar upsets to this one include:
Juan Carlos Raygosa defeating Dauren Yeleussinov
Adrian Lerasan beating Tanes Ongjunta
Jeny Boy Boca beating Sarawut Thawornkham
Ryosuke Nishida beating Shohei Omori
On October 31st we'll get the chance to see the "Monster" return as Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16) [井上 尚弥] defends his WBA "Super" and IBF Bantamweight titles against Australian challenger Jason Moloney (21-1, 18) in Las Vegas.
The bout, which will be Inoue's Las Vegas and Top Rank debut, but not his US debut, is the final big bout of October and one of the most anticipated lower weight bouts of the year.
Today Inoue left Japan, heading to the US where he will quarantine and put final touches to his preparation for the upcoming contest.
Before leaving Japan, along with his father and trainer Shingo Inoue, brother, Takuma Inoue (13-1, 3) [井上拓真] and cousin, Koki Inoue [浩樹井上], he spoke with the media at Haneda airport.
At the airport Inoue revealed he wasn't sure of how many rounds of sparring he had done in total for Moloney, but did admit it was less than usual. However he added that he been sparring for Casimero earlier in the year and has amassed a lot of sparring this year.
As for his condition he stated it was the same as usual, and that he isn't feeling stressed about not fighting recently, stating that the important thing was recovering from injuries, and that he feels it's only really been half a year since he last fought. In regards to his it appears it's completely on line with what he and his team were expecting.
In regards to fighting in Las Vegas he has revealed there's no anxiety about his Las Vegas debut, and spoke about his previous fights on the road, having fought in Glasgow and LA. It also appears he's not too bothered about a lack of crowd, something he's strangely experienced from outside of the ring having attended fan-less events as part of the Ohashi Gym earlier in the year.
(Image credit - Ohashi Gym)
At the end of the month WBA "Super" and IBF Bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16) [井上 尚弥] will be stood in a ring, in Nevada defending his titles against Australian challenger Jason Moloney (21-1, 18). What few are perhaps aware of is that he's still, currently, in Japan.
Earlier today Inoue took part in his last sparring session at the Ohashi Gym, as he sparred with youngster Keisuke Matsumoto (1-0, 1) [松本圭佑].
Following the session Inoue sent a message to the media through promoter Hideyuki Ohashi explaining:
"I was able to finish the final sparring with convincing results. This time it is an unknown world with no spectators in Las Vegas, but I am very excited" [Translated]
Inoue's father, and trainer, Shingo Inoue also commented to the media stating:
""I've been practicing the best. The content is perfect with attack power, defense, speed of entry and exit. Just enter Las Vegas to adjust weight and relieve fatigue. The sparring was also good," [Translated]
Inoue and team will leave Japan tomorrow, and will head straight to quarantine in the US ahead of the Moloney bout. He will be accompanied by his brother, Takuma Inoue (13-1, 3) [井上拓真], who will be there for last minute in Las Vegas, and by cousin Koki Inoue [浩樹井上], who will reportedly be in the US for companionship.
For those wondering, Inoue has had a PCR test, and it has come back negative.
(Image below courtesy of Ohashi Gym)
Earlier today a former Japanese national champion announced he was retiring from professional boxing, reporting that he was going to tell his promoter and will look to begin a new career.
The fighter in question was former Japanese Light Welterweight champion Koki Inoue (15-1, 12) [浩樹井上], who lost the title yesterday at Koakuen Hall via a 7th round TKO loss to Daishi Nagata (15-2-1, 6) [永田大士].
Inoue's statement can be seen below.
【the report】 Today, I am going to retire after telling my intention to the chairman. Thank you so much for all the support. I will go through my second life so that I will never regret it.
Interestingly his twitter bio changed from his boxing achievements to "ボクシングやってました" essentially "I was a boxer".
Earlier this month Inoue Inoue was on a video on Akira Yaegashi's youtube channel and may have actually leaked his future plans, telling Yaegashi that "I want to enter the animation industry when I retire".
It is a very well know that Inoue is a huge anime nerd and it would seem like working in the industry is something he has been thinking about for a while. If that is the option he takes then it would certainly see him following his dreams.
At the age of 28 there is also a chance of this retirement being more of a break then a full end of boxing. We have seen that happen a few times in Japan in recent years, with the likes of Katsunari Takayama, Masao Nakamura and Kohei Oba all coming back to the sport after retiring.
Whether this is a full retirement or just a break we want to wish Inoue all the best in the next chapter of his life.
Earlier today boxing resumed in Tokyo with the first card in the Japanese capital. The show was fought behind closed doors and will have it's two bouts shown on Fuji TV this coming Sunday. For fans wanting to watch them spoiler free this is our spoiler free introduction. We will let you know there was two bouts, one went the way that was expected, the other did not. If you do not wish to have the outcomes spoiled please stop reading here, and just know that on Sunday night you will get at least 1 surprise.
One of the two bouts was an OPBF Featherweight title bout and the other was a Champion Carnival bout for the Japanese Light Welterweight title. They were the only two bouts on the show, promoted by the Ohashi gym.
This same introduction will be used for both this bout, and the one that went the way fans expected to offer some protection for those who have clicked the link and still want to watch the fights as live.
!End of Spoiler Warning!
The bout that went the way people would have expected was the OPBF Featherweight title clash that saw defending champion Satoshi Shimizu (9-1, 9) [清水 聡] secure his 5th defense, as he stopped Kyohei Tonomoto (9-3-1, 4) [殿本恭平] in the 7th round.
Very early on the challenger was down, tasting the power of Shimizu's hard left hand. He got to his feet but was down again soon afterwards from a right hook. This left Tonomoto, who was brave, in a big hole and know the power of Shimizu was incredibly destructive.
As the bout went on Tonomoto managed to battle his way into the bout, though given the whole he was in he had a lot of work to do.
In round 7 the challenger once again tasted the power of the champion and wasbacked into the corner before Shimizu wailed away with clean punches. This forced the referee to stop the contest, giving Shimizu the TKO win.
For the champion this was a much needed victory. The 2012 Olympic bronze medal winner would likely have seen his career over had he lost here, especially given his loss a year ago to Joe Noynay at Super Featherweight. It does seem he is fighting at a better weight for himself. Following his win his promoter Hideyuki Ohashi stated he wanted his fighter to face fellow regional title holder Musashi Mori (11-0, 6) [森 武蔵], who holds the WBO Asia Pacific title. That is a bout that has been talked about and is one we'd love to see later in the year, preferably when fans are allowed to attend bouts.
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