Although yet to be announced the talk from Japan, for several weeks now, is that Takuma Inoue (13-0, 3) [井上 拓真] will be challenging WBC Bantamweight champion Nordine Oubaali (16-0, 12) on November 7th as part of the WBSS Bantamweight final show in Saitama.
Today the media was in the Ohashi gym and had the chance to see quite a lot of activity, including Takuma himself training with a former foe, as he steps up preparations for the Oubaali bout.
Takuma's training today saw him working with Mark Anthony Geraldo (37-9-3, 18), the man Inoue actually beat for the OPBF Flyweight title way back in 2015, in what was Inoue's 5th professional bout.
Geraldo has been selected as a sparring partner for Inoue for several reasons, not least because he's a southpaw, like Oubaali, and shares similar height to the French-Moroccan, but also because Gerlado has shared the ring with Oubaali.
The Filipino was actually stopped by Oubaali in a WBC Silver title bout in late 2017, suffering only the second stoppage loss of his career.
Inoue told members of the Japanese press that Gerlado was still strong and that he thought it they would have good sparring. It seems clear he is focused on preparing for Oubaali, despite the details not being totally ironed out for the bout, it's looking likely that we'll see the bout being announced in the not so distant future for the under-card of Naoya Inoue's (18-0, 16) [井上 尚弥] clash with Nonito Donaire (40-5, 26).
(Image - Nikkan Sports)
On Saturday fans in Singapore had an excellent looking show which had an impressive 4 title bouts, all for regional WBC titles. Not only did it have a number of title bouts but also had some brilliant match ups, at least one paper.
One of those match ups saw Qudratillo Abduqaxorov (8-0, 5) take on Filipino foe Adones Cabalquinto (23-2, 15) in a bout for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver Welterweight title. On paper the bout looked like a really good step up in class for Abduqaxorov but it was one he managed with a unanimous decision over the Filipino, who suffered his second loss in 4 bouts.
The bout was competitive at times but the unbeaten Uzbek was a clear winner on the scorecards, which read 117-111, twice, and 118-110 in favour of the 22 unbeaten hopeful. Although not a massive win it's the sort of victory which could potentially put Abduqaxorov in the mix for a fringe WBC world ranking.
Another Uzbek scoring an impressive win on this card was Azizbek Abdugofurov (3-0, 3) who took just 104 seconds to defeat previously unbeaten Thai Chaloemporn Singwancha (17-1, 13). The Thai was stepping up to Middleweight for this bout but it was though that his experience may help him at least remain a little competitive with the 24 year old Uzbek, instead Chaloermporn was beaten and battered. Notably this was a step up for both men, however it was, in fairness, a bigger step upfor the Thai than it was for the Uzbek who had been in with the better competition prior to this bout.
With his win Abdugofurov claimed the WBC Asian Boxing Council Middleweight title, his first professional title.
Another novice claiming his first title was Muhamad Farkham (2-0, 2) who easily saw off Indonesian veteran Elly Pangaribuan (4-7-2, 1) in 2 rounds to claim the WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver Cruiserweight title. On paper this looked like a credible step up for the 27 year old Farkhan but the Indonesian has looked awful for several years, and has now been stopped in 7 recorded bouts.
The other fighter claiming a title was Filipino Jeson Umbal (11-5, 8), who became the first man to stop Mark Anthony Geraldo (33-7-3, 15), and claimed the WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Super Bantamweight title. The unheralded Umbal, who had lost to Geraldo earlier this year, inflicted a cut on his countryman that forced the referee to call a halt to the contest in round 5 and give Umbal the TKO win on cuts.
In a non-title fight our Canadian friend Ryan Ford (7-0, 5) continued to run through unbeaten Asian fighters as he blew away Muhammad Meeraj (2-1) in 95 seconds.
Over the last few years we have seen boxing branch out from the typical Asian strong holds of Japan, Thailand and the Philippines with numerous shows in China, a world title fight in Sri Lanka and the growing expectation that India, Pakistan and Vietnam will develop boxing stars of the future. Another country slowly making a mark is Singapore where their appears some hope of becoming a bit of a hub for boxing, much like Macau was supposed to be.
Singapore is of course a small country in terms of population, with a little over 5.5 million people, but given the high wealth of the country and it's gambling sector it's thought that the country could be a major player down the line and it seems that promoters are envisaging a future where Singapore is big.
Earlier today we were informed of a card set for the country for July 23rd, with the card in question featuring 4 title fights and some very good match ups.
One of the key match ups, reported today, will see fast rising Uzbek Qudratillo Abduqaxorov (7-0, 5) battle against experienced Filipino Adones Cabalquinto (23-1, 15) for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Silver Welterweight title. This will be a serious test for Abduqaxorov but a win could, potentially, see him take a huge step towards a world title fight. For Cabalquinto the bout sees him taking on a dangerous fighter after facing two very limited foes since being stopped by Al Rivera last November.
Another promising Uzbek on the card is Azizbek Abdugofurov (2-0, 2), who fights for the third time in as many months. The unbeaten Uzbek is scheduled to face unbeaten Thai Chaloemporn Sawatsuk (17-0, 13), AKA Chaloemporn Singwancha, in a bout for the WBC ABC Middleweight title. For the Thai this is a real text, having had a very underwhelming career so far, whilst the Uzbek could well score a genuinely notable win.
At Cruiserweight Malaysian novice Muhamad Farkhan (1-0 1) will face Indonesian Elly Pangaribuan (4-7-2, 1) in a bout for the WBC ABC Silver Cruiserweight title, essentially allowing the Malaysian fighter to become a novice champion. Whilst down at Super Bantamweight Jeson Umbal (10-5, 7) will face former OPBF Super Flyweight title challenger Mark Anthony Geraldo (33-6-3, 15), in an all Filipino bout.
Earlier today it was revealed that Shinsuke Yamanaka (23-0-2, 17) was preparing for his upcoming WBC Bantamweight world title fight, against Anselmo Moreno (35-3-1, 12), by sparring two Filipino fighters.
One of those fighters that has been helping tune up Yamanka is is 23 year old world ranked contender Marlon Tapales (27-2, 10). Although little known outside of Asia Tapales proved his ability in 2013 when he gave Mexican Super Flyweight David Sanchez all he could handle in a very competitive contest for the WBC silver Super Flyweight title. Although much smaller than Moreno, Tapales has got the southpaw stance like the Panamanian and is a a solid and credible fighter for sharpening world skills with.
The other is Mark Anthony Geraldo (31-6-3, 14), a 24 year old fringe contender. Geraldo came to the attention of many western fans last year when he faced Efrain Perez and showed some wonderful skills en route to a 6 round decision win. Since then however Geraldo has lost twice, with the most recent of those coming in Japan to Takuma Inoue in OPBF title fight. Talented with good handspeed and combinations Geraldo is also a very good fighter to test world class skills against.
Much of the sparring so far has seen Yamanaka focus on using his right jab, a punch that many feel he has under-used in recent times. It seems like he has realised that that punch could be a key weapon here, as could his body shots which we are also said to have been a focus in his recent sparring sessions.
Japanese youngsters really are on the rise in recent times with numerous sensational talents breaking through and making a name for themselves after very few fights and at very young ages.
The latest of those appears to be Takuma Inoue (5-0, 1), the younger brother of current WBO Super Flyweight champion Naoya Inoue, who claimed his first professional title earlier today with a sterling performance at the Korakuen Hall and really showed that he was as good as many are hyping him to be, even if he lacks his brother's thunderous power.
The 19 year old, who has been fast tracked at a similar pace to the "Monster", was facing experienced Filipino Mark Anthony Geraldo (31-6-3, 14) in what looked to be a really good test on paper. In the end however Geraldo, like Takuma's previous opponents, struggled to keep pace with the Japanese youngster who was sharp from the off and appears to be learning fight after fight.
From the opening bell Takuma took control, show casing his movement and sharp punching which was exemplified by his lighting jab and clean straight right which found a home on Geraldo almost from the get go. The 1-2 of Takuma and his movement allowed him to easily take the first 4 rounds and look like he was going to be in very a very easy nights work.
Geraldo, to his credit, began to have success in the middle portion of the fight as Takuma began to slow slightly. It however was still clear that Takuma was racking up the rounds with his excellent boxing and that Geraldo was really struggling to make any kind of a case to claim a round. The Filipino, for all his experience, was always looking a step behind the Japanese teenager who looked like a fighter more developed than his experience would suggest.
The open scoring after 8 rounds showed just how one sided the bout was with Takuma effectively close to a shut out. The scores however had two effects, one of those was to see Takuma put on cruise control whilst another was to inspire Geraldo who went into the final 4 rounds knowing he needed a KO to win. The Filipino really did go seeking that knockout, though never came close to stopping the Japanese youngster. The closest we came to a major turn around was a flash knockdown against Takuma in the final round, though it was little more than a minor success for Geraldo who had done too little too late.
At the end the decision was never in doubt with Takuma winning courtesy of scores of 115-112,116-111,117-110. It was however a clear win than one of those scores suggests with Takuma having run of a very wide margin before taking his foot off the gas late and allowing the score to close up a bit. There was however no signs of real issues with stamina, more a bit of complacency.
At ringside numerous fans were reportedly stating that Takuma, whilst excellent, wasn't as good as his older brother. That however is no surprise with very fighters on the planet being as good as Naoya. Their was however serious hope that a world title fight would be next for Takuma. We suspect that maybe delayed a little bit, with maybe a single defense of the OPBF title before Takuma moves to world level, however it's clear that the 19 year old is head to a world title sooner rather than later.
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