Boxing in the US might have been back for about a week or so but for the first time we saw Asian fighters in action on a televised US show since the ongoing global situation became such a big issue. That was thanks to Top Rank, who held two bouts featuring Asian fighters on their latest card from the MGM Grand.
The first of those two bouts saw unbeaten Kazakh hopeful Bobirzhan Mominov (11-0, 8) [Моминов Бобиржан] take a clear decision over Filipino-American Cameron Krael (17-16-3, 4) in a 6 rounder. Through out the bout Mominov looked the much stronger, better and more polished fighter, with some very hurtful shots thrown through out. Krael however showed his gameness throughout and did enough to deserve a round or two on each scorecard.
In round 6 Mominov had a point deducted, but was still comfortable, taking the win with scores of 58-55, twice, and 57-56 to maintain his perfect record.
The second bout saw a mild upset with under-rated Filipino Mike Plania (24-1, 12) take a career best win as he secured a 10 round majority decision over WBO #1 ranked Bantamweight Joshua Greer Jr (22-2-1, 12). Plania, who entered as the under-dog, dropped Greer in the opening round, and again in round 6 to establish a huge lead on the cards in the first 6 rounds. That lead was established not just from the knockdowns but also the incredibly negative tactics of Greer, who did very, very little in the first 7 rounds.
Surprisingly Greer managed to put his foot on the gas in round 8, and showed that he had heart, and determination, as he tried to turn things around. By then it was too little too late, and his inability to cut the ring off and make a tiring Plania pay, and Plania managed to see out the bell, boxing incredibly well off the back foot in the final round.
After 10 rounds we had the obligatory "crap score card", of 94-94, a totally repulsive score from the action we had seen, followed by scores of 96-92 and 97-91 in favour of Plania.
Whilst we may have all missed boxing recently, none of us have missed the terrible scorecards the sport gives us, and it's fair to say they too are back. Thankfully they didn't deny the rightful winner of a bout, but did still manage to leave a bad taste in the mouth.
Later today we'll see Filipino fighter Mike Plania (23-1, 12) battle against world ranked Joshua Greer Jr (22-1-1, 12) in a bout at a contracted 120lbs. Last night in the US the two men made weight for the contest with no major issues.
Greer, a world ranked Bantamweight who has got his eyes on a world title fight later this year, came in at 120.1lbs, bang on the contractual limit. Coming in to the bout he is r.anked #1 by the WBO, #2 by the IBF and #9 by the WBC, and despite being very highly regarded as has struggled in his last 2 bouts.
Despite technically being over the contracted limit Greer was wearing protective clothing, that was adding to his weight, and was officially regarded as being at 120lbs.
Plania, who is ranked #11 by the WBA and #12 by the IBF at Super Bantamweight, actually came in lighter than Greer at 119.5lbs. This was his lightest weight in over 2 years, and we need to go back to his May 2018 win over John Rey Lauza to find the last time he came in under 120lbs.
Tonight's show will also feature unbeaten Kazakh hopeful Bobirzhan Mominov (10-0, 8) [Моминов Бобиржан]. At the weigh in he came in at 152lbs, whilst American opponent Cameron Krael (17-15-3, 4) was 147.25lbs for the bout.
Although this looks like a mismatch on paper Krael is much better than his record suggests and has given serious tests to a number of prospects in recent years. This could end up being the show's hidden gem.
This coming Tuesday we'll see Filipino fighter Mike Plania (23-1, 12) take part in his biggest bout to date, as he headlines a Top Rank card and takes on the world ranked Joshua Greer Jr (22-1-1, 12). On paper the card is the most interesting of the Top Rank shows on ESPN since they began showing boxing again, and the Plania Vs Greer bout is one we really like.
Interesting the bookies do see the bout as a massive mismatch with Greer a clear favourite. The odds on the American, who has struggled in several recent bouts after creating some buzz earlier in his career, is 1/5 to win the bout by any means. Plania on the other hand is 4/1 to win and pick up the biggest win of his career. The draw is available as high as 28/1 at the moment.
Notably the bout has got the "Method of Victory" market available. The most likely result appears to be a decision win for Greer, with odds of 2/5 on that outcome being available. A stoppage for Greer has been priced at 9/2. As for Plania a decision is available at 6/1 and a stoppage at a huge 12/1.
Given the individual odds on either man to score a stoppage it'll come as little surprise to see that the bout is expected to go the distance. The bout is 1/5 to go the distance and 10/3 to not last the schedule 10 rounds.
Earlier today it was reported that 23 year old Filipino Mike Plania (23-1, 12) would be back in the ring on June 16th when he will take on WBO #1 ranked Bantamweight Joshua Greer Jr (21-1-1, 12) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
The bout will be held behind closed doors and will be fought at 120lbs, rather than Greer's more established 118lbs or Plania's typical 122lbs.
The bout has managed to fall into place as Plania is currently in the US, located in Miami, and won't need to fly Stateside specifically for the contest. In fact he was pencilled in for a bout in Miami in July. This will be his 4th straight bout in US and his 6th in total in the country. Although not well known he is regarded as a very promising young Filipino and actually dropped Juan Carlos Payano in his US debut back in 2018.
As for Greer Jr the once beaten American is regarded as a big hopeful, and will turn 26 just days before the fight. He's best known for his gimmick, of bringing a pillow to the ring, but has been rather fortunate in recent bouts with razor thin decisions against former Naoya Inoue opponent Antonio Nieves and Nikolai Potapov, with some questioning whether he is as good as he thinks he is.
Interestingly this bout is now expected to be the first bout featuring a Filipino since the sport was pretty much put on hold a few months ago.
According to several Thai sources once beaten Thai hopeful Kongfah CP Freshmart (30-1, 16), aka Jakkrawut Majoogoen, will be kicking off his 2020 campaign on January 24th. Whilst that's not particularly interesting it appears his choice of opponent is rather notable, with Thai sites stating that Kongfah will be up against once beaten Filipino Mike Plania (23-1, 12), in what would be a mouth watering match up.
The bout, said to be for the WBC Asia Diamond Super Bantamweight title, is a brilliant one on paper.
The Thai's only loss came early in his career to Daigo Higa, and since then he has reeled off 16 wins. Kongfah has also moved up in weight and claimed the OPBF Silver Super Flyweight title whilst notching wins against the likes of Renz Rosia, Ryoji Fukunaga and Hyuma Fujioka. This is however a big step up for the Thai again a Filipino who's only loss was a very competitive one to Juan Carlos Payano, and since then he has reeled together 8 wins of his own, including 4 in the US.
Whilst reports in Thailand are saying it will be Plania in the corner opposite Kongfah, we do, have some doubts, as the Filipino last fought in December. However two separate sources have reported Plania's name in regards to the bout, and they have both claimed to have had the news from the events promoter.
The fight will take place at the Siam Paradise Entertainment Complex and will be televised on Channel 7HD from 13:45 to 15:00 local time
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