Rio Olympian Charly Suarez successfully defended his WBA Asia superfeatherweight crown in scintillating fashion Sunday night at the Elorde Sports Complex in Parañaque.
The 33-year old Suarez, from Davao Del Norte, defeated veteran international campaigner Mark John Yap via 12-round unanimous decision, winning on all three scorecards, 120-108, 120-108 and 118-110.
Yap initially displayed veteran moves when he befuddled Suarez with stiff jabs and hooks to the body.
Suarez took full control of the bout midway through the 6th round when he opened up a cut beneath Yap's right eye courtesy of a powerful left hook coupled with a quick right straight.
Yap showed a lot of guts second half of the fight but Suarez' left-right combinations and counter attacks were too much to handle for the Cagayan De Oro-native fighter.
"It was a great learning experience for me. This fight taught me how to be patient and be tactical when facing a resilient boxer like Yap," said Suarez.
The win improves Suarez record to 12-0, 7 knockouts while Yap drops to 30-17 with 15 KOs.
It was Suarez' first successful defense of the WBA Asia belt which he won last March.
On Thursday we were expecting to see Filipino veteran Mark John Yap (30-15, 15) facing off with former world title challenger Miguel Marriaga (29-3, 25). Sadly that bout was cancelled on Wednesday after Yap missed weight by a staggering 8.7lbs!
The bout, being fought at a contracted 128lbs, saw Marriaga make weight with ease. The Colombia was 127.3lbs on the scales, very comfortably under the contracted weight.
Yap however was 136.7lbs. He wasn't just above the contracted weight, but was above the limit for the next 2 full divisions! He was a career heaviest and was a long, long way above his best fighting weight of 118lbs, the weight that he had held an OPBF title at and fought a world title eliminator at.
Sadly prior to the fight Yap did seem very disinterested in trying to win the bout, taking it for just the money rather than longer term career benefits. He had told Ryan Songalia, for Ringtv.com,
“All I can say is I’ll try my best. If I can’t, I’ll surrender because the fight is late notice. I just want to avoid accidents and just want to be safe in the ring.”
Whilst it's true he did take the fight at short notice, only being offered the contest on July 3rd, he was apparently only 10lbs over the weight when he was given the call. That makes it seem very much like he had no intention of trying to make the weight today.
At the age of 31 it seems this is almost certainly the end of him as a fighter getting calls on late notice and potentially even the end of his career.
Sadly this is one in a number of strange incidents in Yap's career in recent years, which also saw him and former promoted Takashi Edagawa, of Muto gym in Japan, falling out massively in 2018. Yap had claimed Muto had treated him badly whilst Muto had reported that he told them he was retiring.
Given he has lost 3 of his last 4 and now had this issue with the scales it's very hard to think that his name has any value left in the sport. That's a real shame as between 2015 and 2018 he looked like a very good fighter and notched wins against the likes of Juan Jose Landaeta, Hiroyuki Kudaka, Takahiro Yamamoto, Kentaro Masuda, Seizo Kono and Takafumi Nakajima.
For those wanting to read Ryan Songalia's piece where he spoke with Yap before the fight that's available here.
Tomorrow in "The Bubble" at the MGM Grand we'll see Filipino veteran Mark John Yap (30-15, 15) up against former world title challenger Miguel Marriaga (29-3, 25). On paper this looks like a mismatch, just looking at the records, though Yap is much better than those numbers suggest.
The bookies in the UK have, interestingly, priced this bout up and have made Marriaga a very clear favourite. In fact they have made him almost impossible to back.
The heavy handed Colombian is best priced at 1/25 to win, whilst Yap is available at a huge 12/1, with most having him at around 10/1/ The draw is best priced at 28/1.
Sadly the only market, currently, available in the UK is the "To Win" one though we would expect other markets, such as Method of Victory, to be available closer to fight time.
Whilst we do think Yap is better than his record indicates we do worry for the Filipino who is a natural Bantamweight taking on a very strong Featherweight. For us that is a bigger issue than anything else, and Marriaga is a big puncher at Featherweight.
Earlier today the brilliant Salvador Rodriguez, who works for ESPN, revealed that Filipino veteran Mark John Yap (30-15, 15) would be back in the ring on July 16th when he is scheduled to face former world title challenger Miguel Marriaga (29-3, 25) from Colombia.
As per Rodriguez's tweet the bout will be on a Top Rank Card in Las Vegas, in the "Bubble", and is actually a pretty decent fight, despite the records of the two men.
Looking at Yap's record he doesn't look very good, but on reality he is a much better fighter than his record suggests. He was was 19-12 (10) and has won 11 of his last 14 bouts, though on the flipside of that he has lost 3 of his last 44 and has just a single win in the last 24 months. Among his more notable wins are victories over Juan Jose Landaeta, Hiroyuki Kudaka, Takahiro Yamamoto and Kentaro Masuda.
Marriaga on the other hand is much more well known in the West for his world title bouts against the likes of Nicholas Walters, Oscar Valdez and Vasyl Lomachenko. The Colombian is the naturally bigger man, a big puncher and he has picked up 4 wins since his 2017 to Lomachenko. He is also the naturally bigger man, fighting at Featherweight and Super Featherweight, compared to the Bantamweight division that Yap has had his best results at.
Over the past couple of days there was two notable Filipino fighters in action in the US, sadly though both suffered set backs in clear decision losses.
The first of those was on Friday, when former OPBF Bantamweight champion Mark John Yap (30-14, 15), who was dominated in Las Vegas by the unbeaten Angelo Leo (18-0, 8). The bout was the main event of a Mayweather promoted card at Sam's Town Hotel & Gambling Hall and those who had their bets on Leo never really looked like losing their money as he out sped, out boxed, out fought and out landed Yap, who looked like a fighter who was out of his depth.
Given that Yap gave Takuma Inoue a really good test last year, and was the OPBF champion less than a year ago, we do wonder whether the 30 year old has slipped a lot, or perhaps isn't as good as he was when he was being managed by the Mutoh gym in Japan, who played a major part in the best run of his career. His split with Mutoh was certainly not a good one, and this was only his second bout since that split. On the other hand Leo looked like a top prospect, and he is certainly going to be one to watch in the years to come.
On Saturday it was Neil John Tabanao (17-6, 11) who was the clearly loser, as he was widely beaten by super talented American Tremaine Williams (17-0, 7). Tabanao, who once promised so much, was unable to get into this fight and instead had to rely on his resilience to see out the 10 rounds against the diminutive but sharp punching Williams, in what was a very 1-sided bout.
It's worth noting that prior to this fight Tabanao had himself lost to Leo, back in April, and rather strangely the losses for the two Filipino does lead us to a rather interesting though that Yap and Tabanao could face off in a real cross roads fight, as could Leo and Williams.
Sadly this was not a good weekend for Filipino fighters and they were both easily out classed by US prospects.
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