Earlier today fight fans in Kobe saw former WBO Bantamweight world champion Tomoki Kameda (39-3, 21) [亀田和毅] score an impressive and dominant win over hard hitting Dominican fighter William Encarnacion (19-4, 15).
On paper this looked an interesting match up, especially given it was the bout for Kameda as a fully fledged Featherweight. Instead however it was one sided beat down by Kameda, from the start of the bout.
From the off Kameda looked too quick, too sharp and too crisp for Encarnacion, who looked slow in comparison and had no answer to Kameda's speed and jab. Notably however the highlight of the round was a left hand to the body from Kameda. Having lost the opening round Encarnacion looked to turn things around in round 2, when he began pressing more, but the speed of Kameda proved to be too much, again.
In round 3 the body shots of Kameda began to take their toll, with Kameda dropping his foe with a combination to the body. Encarnacion recovered to his feet but was down again, again from body shots, later in round 3 as Kameda continued to break down the visitor, who was dropped a third time in round 4, this time staying down for the count.
After the bout Kameda stated that he was wanting to chase a world title fight with unified Super Bantamweight champion Murodjon Akhmadaliev (11-0, 8) [Ахмадалиев, Муроджон Кахарович], but if that can't be organised he would move up full time to Featherweight to pursue a big bout at 126lbs.
Tomorrow fight fans are in for a genuine treat as Matchroom Boxing and DAZN gives us arguably the card of the year, in what is set to be a genuinely mouth watering show.
Today, ahead of the event, the fighters involved took part in their weigh in for their bouts, two of which are of particular interest to us.
One of those will see WBC Super Flyweight champion Jesse "Bam" Rodriguez (15-0, 10) defending his title for the first time, as he takes on 2-time champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (50-5-1, 43) [ศรีสะเกษ นครหลวงโปรโมชั่น] in a mouth watering clash. The bout is a potentially huge test for the 22 year old Rodriguez, and is an incredibly dangerous first defense for the stellar youngster.
On the scales the two men weighed in at 114.6lbs and both looked in great shape. It was hard to believe that Rodriguez was competing as a Light Flyweight just 8 months ago and this only his second bout whilst campaigning at 115lbs, but he looked in great shape. As for Srisaket, the 35 year old "Rat King" looked determined and looked in better than we often see him at weigh ins, where he has had a reputation of looking a touch gaunt and drained, which is no surprise given his incredible strength and power.
The other bout of note on this card will see WBA "Super" an IBF Super Bantamweight title defense by Murodjon Akhmadaliev (10-0, 7) [Ахмадалиев, Муроджон Кахарович] make his third defense as he takes on American challenger Ronny Rios (33-3, 16). On the scales these two came in at an identical 121.2lbs, in what should be a very fan friendly and entertaining battle.
Unified champion Akhmadaliev faces Rios!
Rodriguez faces Srisaket in first world title defense
Late yesterday Matchroom announced the line up for their card on June 25th, and it looks set to be a special show, with a number of major fights on the card, at 112lbs, 115lbs, 122lbs and 147lbs.
Whilst the card is one of the best of the year on paper, we really need to focus on two bouts for the card.
One of those is a WBC Super Flyweight title bout, as the talented Jesse "Bam" Rodriguez (15-0, 10) defends his title for the first time, taking on former 2-time WBC Super Flyweight champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (50-5-1, 43) [ศรีสะเกษ นครหลวงโปรโมชั่น]. For Rodriguez this will be his first defense of the title, which he won back in February when he beat Carlos Cuadras, incidentally he got that bout when Srisaket had to pull out of a scheduled bout with Cuadras due to nephritis, though was rumoured to have contracted either Covid19 or Aids.
For Srisaket this will be a chance to become a 3-time champion, though a loss to the incredibly talented and young Rodriguez would likely end his career at the top. As for Rodriguez, wins over Cuadras and Srisaket back to back would put him in the running for Fighter of the Year.
Another bout on this card of major interest to us is a WBA "Super" an IBF Super Bantamweight title defense by Murodjon Akhmadaliev (10-0, 7) [Ахмадалиев, Муроджон Кахарович], who will be taking on American challenger Ronny Rios (33-3, 16), in a bout that should be a lot of fun. This was arranged for November, but was scrapped on fight week when Rios contracted covid and was replaced by Jose Velasquez, who gave the unbeaten champion a good 12 round work out.
Other bouts on the card include a bout between WBC Flyweight champion Julio Cesar Martinez (18-2-0-1, 14) and McWilliams Arroyo (21-4-0-1, 16), who are facing off in a rematch of their 2021 No Contest, and a fight featuring unified female Welterweight queen Jessica McCaskill (11-2, 4), against a yet to be announced opponent.
Yesterday the IBF officially ordered their Super Bantamweight champion Murodjon Akhmadaliev (10-0, 7) [Ахмадалиев, Муроджон Кахарович] to begin negotiating with mandatory challenger Marlon Tapales (35-3, 18), himself a former WBO Bantamweight champion.
The bout, which will also likely see Akhmadaliev risking his WBA "super" title, came about after Tapales scored a 2nd round win over Japan's Hiroaki Teshigawara [勅使河原 弘晶] in December. That bout saw Tapales become the IBF mandatory and get a shot at becoming a 2-weight world champion.
Jake Donovan, reporting for BoxingScene, has reported that the teams have until February 2nd to negotiate a deal if they are intending to avoid purse bids. If it does go to purse bids things could get very interesting as Akhmadaliev is a Matchroom fighter and Tapales has been fighting on PBC shows in recent years.
The talented Akhmadaliev, arguably the best fighter at 122lbs, has defended his unified title twice. He made his first defense against former champion Ryosuke Iwasa [岩佐 亮佑], in what was a mandatory that Iwasa earned after beating Tapales, whilst he also beat Jose Velasquez last year, with Velasquez filling in at short notice for Ronny Rios. He will be looking at Tapales as a stepping stone to a major unification bout later in the year, and will also have to contend with a WBA mandatory later in the year.
As for Tapales he is looking at having another signature win, following his incredible 2016 win over Pungluang Sor Singyu. At times in recent years he has looked like he has aged, particularly in his loss to Iwasa, but when his back is against the wall he has shown what he can do, stopping not just Pungluang but also Shohei Omori, twice, and Teshigawara. He would be the under-dog against the unbeaten Uzbekistani champion, but should be considered a live under-dog, especially with his reputation for ripping up scripts.
Interestingly last night we saw two world title eliminators both taking place at Super Bantamweight, as the WBA and the IBF both held eliminators on the same night in different countries, both featuring Asian fighters.
The IBF eliminator was held in Carson, California, as saw the in form Hiroaki Teshigawara (22-3-2, 15) [勅使河原 弘晶] fight outside of Korakuen Hall for the first time, as he faced former WBO Bantamweight champion Marlon Tapales (35-3, 18).
This bout was shown on Showtime and WOWOW and saw Tapales put in one of his very best performances as he dominated Teshigawara. Teshigawara looked to try and get his jab into play in the first minute of the fight, but Tapales showed his experience, and avoided most of Teshigawara's shots whilst landing some solid ones of his own, including two really good right hooks. Those should have served as warning shots for Teshigawara, but the Japanese fighter didn't take the warning. With less than a minute of the first round left Tapales backed Teshigawara onto the corner and unloaded, with Jack Riess giving Teshigawara a count and decided the ropes kept him up. Teshigawara would then be dropped, this time hitting the canvas, and although he got to his feet he really had no idea where he was. The bout really should have been stopped there and then. Instead Reiss gave Teshigawara the benefit of the doubt, until he was dropped within seconds of round 2, and Reiss this time stopped the bout.
With the win Tapales gets a chance to fight for the IBF title, currently held by unbeaten Uzbekistani Murodjon Akhmadaliev (9-0, 7) [Муроджон Ахмадалиев].
The other world title eliminator took place in Mexico and saw former another former WBO Bantamweight champion book a world title fight. This time it was the turn of Tomoki Kameda (38-3, 20) [亀田和毅] who took a wide decision over Venezuelan fighter Yonfrez Parejo (24-5-1, 12) in what was a rather typical Kameda performance at Super Bantamweight.
Kameda, who was a very respectable puncher at Bantamweight, hasn't carried his power up, unlike Tapales. That showed here, as it has in pretty much everyone of his bouts at 122lbs. From round 1 to round 7 it was almost impossible to give anything to Parejo, who was out boxed, out fought, out sped and out thought. As Kameda slowed down Parejo began to have moments, notable in rounds 9 and 12, both of which he took on all 3 cards, but those were few and far between as Kameda looked comfortable and cruised to a clear decision win. After 12 rounds the scores were 118-110, 117-111 and 116-112.
After the final bell Kameda revealed he had damaged his right hand, and had fought a lot of the bout effectively one handed. Regardless he dominated and booked his place in a world title fight, also against Murodjon Akhmadaliev, who is the unified WBA and IBF champion.
At the moment it's unclear whether Tapales or Kameda will be instilled as the next mandatory for Akhmadaliev, though sadly with two mandatory challengers waiting in the wings it seems almost impossible to imagine a bout between Akhmadaliev and Stephen Fulton, which would have given us an undisputed champion, taking place in 2022.
Notably the WBA situation is a confusing mess right now as Azat Hovhannisyan (20-3, 16) was also announced as the mandatory challenger for the WBA title in November. That leaves the potential that the Kameda Vs Paradejo bout wasn't a final eliminator, but just a "normal" eliminator, something that would likely be of surprise to the Japanese press who seemed to be of the under-standing that Kameda's bout was a final eliminator. As is often the case with the WBA, things are never quite as clear or as logical as they should be. It should be noted that their last mandatory challenger, Ronny Rios, also failed to get a shot after he was forced to pull out of a title bout late.
(Thanks to Deuce @rangerrollins for the information regaridng Hovhannisyan)
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