The idea that age is just a number rarely seems to apply in boxing, with father time defeating pretty much every fighter, sooner or later. To the 41 year old Yuki Nonaka (33-10-3, 10) [野中 悠樹] father time doesn't seem to apply, and today he showed, even at an advanced age, that he was still a fantastic fighter, capable of beating heavy handed and younger fighters.
The talented Nonaka, a true veteran, was up against the hard hitting Shinobu Charlie Hosokawa (11-4, 10) [細川チャーリー忍], who had travelled to Osaka in an attempt to record his first defense of the OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific Middleweight titles.
On paper it looked like the hard hitting fighter, himself 34, was coming to feast on a notable foe, travelling to improve his name around the country and potentially move towards bigger and better fights. To Nonaka however the contest was about proving he was still credible force at Middleweight, like he had been at Light Middleweight.
It was clear that Nonaka was the quicker, sharper fighter almost immediately as he used his jab and controlled range through much of the first round. At the end of the opening stanza a counter from Nonaka sent the crowd crazy as Hosokawa was dropped, securing a big 10-8 round for the challenger. Hosokawa would bounce back in round 2, applying more intense pressure, forcing Nonaka to work harder to create space. It lead to some really interesting rounds as Hosokawa's energy and aggression went straight up against Nonaka's foot work, timing and counter punching.
After 6 rounds the judges score cards were announced publicly, and they were 57-56, twice, and 58-55 all in favour of Nonaka. Despite being down it seemed like Hosokawa was in the ascendancy, taking round 5 on all 3 cards and also looking like the man who had won round 6, that was despite being cut from an accidental headclash in round 5.
Sadly for Hosokawa his pressure failed to pay dividends in the second half of the fight as Nonaka used his legs brilliantly to control the range and tempo, keeping Hosokawa at the end of his straight shots and using the size of the ring fantastically. This movement of Nonaka had seen him take rounds 7 and 8 with no argument, ans also take round 9 on two of the scorecards as his lead extended. The one respite for Hosokawa was securing a 10-8 in round 10, when Nonaka was deducted deducted a point for spitting out his mouth piece. It wasn't to be enough for Hosokawa, who was unable to get a break through in the final 2 rounds.
After 12 rounds it seemed like a close but clear win for Nonaka, who would get the decision with scores of 114-112, twice, and 115-111.
With the win Nonaka set a Japanese male record for the oldest champion at regional level. Amazingly he is 12 years old than the age that his manager, Hiroki Ioka, retired at. Ioka, a 2-weight world champion and the uncle of Kazuto Ioka, seemed incredibly impressed by his charge and his energy at such an advanced age. Hosokawa cut a frustrated figure at times, and seemed to realise that the footwork of Nonaka had been too good. It was however a clear learning experience for Hosokawa, who will have learned more in this loss than he has from any of his other pro bouts.
For fans wanting to watch this bout, it will be added to Boxing Raise in the coming days.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today the OPBF released their update rankings for the end of 2014. The rankings have seen a lot of changes, especially at the top with a number of titles either changing hands or being given up by fighters.
Since the November ranking update we've seen Ryosuke Iwasa vacate his Bantamweight title, as he prepares for an IBF Bantamweight world title eliminator, and we've seen Hisashi Amagasa being removed of the title due to his world title bout with Guillermo Rigondeaux. This has opened up 2 vacancies. On the other hand we've seen a new champion crowned at Super Flyweight, courtesy of Ryo Matsunmoto who stopped Rusalee Samor, and at Light Middleweight, where Dennis Laurente holds the title following his win over the retiring Tadashi Yuba.
As far as the actual rankings we've seen a lot of shake up there as well.
At Minimumweight Go Odaira (now #3, previously #1) has dropped following his loss to Katsunari Takayama in a world title bout. Odaira's fall has seen both Jetli Purissima (#1) and Roque Lauro (#2) move up a place and it could well be that we get an all Filipino title fight in Spring if, as we suspect, Kosei Tanaka vacates the title to challenge for a world title.
At Light Flyweight we've seen a change in the top 5 as Ryoichi Taguchi (previously #4) has been removed from the rankings following his WBA world title win on New Years Eve. Taguchi's place has been filled by Filipino puncher Richard Claveras (#4) whilst Omari Kimweri (#12, previously #6) has been dropped harshly following more than a year of inactivity.
At Flyweight there hasn't been a lot of changes though we have seen Ardin Diale (#2) climb above Japan's Tetsuma Hayashi (#3) with the fighters just swapping places. We're still expecting to see champion Koki Eto vacate his title in early 2015 and for Takuma Inoue (#1) to fight for the vacant title and a bout between Inoue and Diale would be mouth watering.
We've seen a big shake up at Super Flyweight. As mentioned we've seen Ryo Matsumoto (previously #4) win the title with a knockout win against Rusalee Samor (previously #5). Not only do we have a new champion but also a new #1 contender as Japanese champion Sho Ishida (#1) moves above Mark Anthony Geraldo (#2) in a straight swap. With Matsumoto's win we've also seen Rex Tso (#3) move up one place, whilst Marco Demecillo (#4) move up 2 places, just like Jerwin Ancajas (#5).
In the Bantamweight division we have, as mentioned, seen the title vacated though the other changes have been minimal. The only notable change has seen Konosuke Tomiyama (#11, previously #9) fall 2 places and allow Naoto Uebayashi (#9) and Jethro Pabustan (#10) both into the top 10. With the title being vacant we're hoping for a bout between the highest ranked fighters, Kentaro Masuda (#1) and Shohei Omori (#2).
At Super Bantamweight we've seen JR Magboo (#9, previously #1) fall heavily following a shock loss to Jhon Gemino (#5, previously unranked). Magboo's fall down the rankings has allowed Albert Pagara (#1) to move up a place whilst the recently crowned Japanese champion Yukinori Oguni (#2) has climbed 2 places. Filling out the top 3 is former world title challenger Hidenori Otake (#3) who remains as he was. Filling out the top #5 is Shun Kubo (#4, previously #7), following his brilliant win over the world ranked Luis May.
In the Featherweight division we've seen Hisashi Amagasa (#3) give up the title ahead of his world title loss to Guillermo Rigondeaux. Amagasa fills out the top #3 which still sees Mark Gil Melligen (#1) and Vinvin Rufino (#2) as the top contenders. Amagasa's placing has however his Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo (#4) who has dropped a place. Filling in the top 5 is Satoru Sugita (#5) who has remained where he was a month ago.
At Super Featherweight we've only seen a minor change in the rankings as Daiki Kaneko (#1) has swapped places with Rikki Naito (#2).
At Lightweight we've not really seen much in terms of changes at the top with Filipino fighter Rey Labao (#4) swapping places with Brett William Smith (#5).
At Light Welterweight we've not seen any changes at the top.
In the Welterweight division we've seen Filipino fighter Czar Amonsot (#5, previously #3) drop 2 places and fall below Tim Hunt (#3) and Dan Nazareno (#4), both of whom have moved up a single place.
The Light Middleweight division has a new champion with Dennis Laurente (previously #1) who defeated Tadashui Yuba (previously #4, now retired). That has obviously lead to a shake up at the top and the top contender now is Japanese champion Yuki Nonaka (#1, previously #3), who retained his title with a split decision win over Charlie Ota. The changes at the top have also allowed Dennis Hogan (#3) and Takayuki Hosokawa (#4) to climb 2 places whilst Michael Zerafa (#5, previously #8) fills out the top 5.
At Middleweight, where Akio Shibata recently defended his title, we've seen a shake in the top 10. The top ranked challenger, Ryota Murata (#1) is where he was however Les Sherrington (#2) and Dwight Ritchie (#3) have swapped places. Makoto Fuchigami (#7, previously #4) has dropped hard following his loss to Shibata. Fuchigami's all has allowed Garth Wood (#4, previously #6) and Hikaru Nishida (#5, previously #7) both into the top 5. A notable new entry in these rankings is big punching Maebara Tyson Koki (#12) who is really fun to watch even if he does have his limitations.
December saw Yuzo Kiyota retaining his title with his first defence. Sadly the rankings haven't really left him with clear options for a second defence with little in terms of changes, however Ben McCulloch (#6, previously #8) did feature in a notable bout when he was blasted out in a WBA interim world title bout.
At Light Heavyweight we've seen Blake Caparello (#2) swap places with Robert Berridge (#3) in the the only change at the top.
There has been no changes at Cruiserweight whilst there has a been little in terms of change at Heavyweight.
(For those interested the full rankings can be found here http://www.opbf.jp/data/ratings/2014/12.pdf)
OPBF ranking update for October
Earlier today the OPBF released their updated rankings which hasn't seen the biggest changes but has seen some notable ones.
At Minimumweight we have, of course, seen a new champion crowned as the sensational Kosei Tanaka recorded a 10th round TKO victory over Ryuji Hara to claim the title. Further down the rankings we've also seen another star break through with Ken Shiro claiming the #11 ranking in the division following his recent victory.
In he Flyweight division the changes have been minimal we've seen a small shake up with recent contender Ardin Diale being the main benefactor as he's climbed to #4 though the changes have been limited to say the least with 4 men being swapped around in the middle of the top 10.
At Bantamweight we've seen the continued emergence of Shohei Omori who is now ranked #2 after his recent win over Bunta Mitaka whilst compatriot Takahiro Yamamoto has dropped from #2 to #5 in the only changes.
In the Featherweight division we've seen recent title challenger Ryo Takenaka drop to #8 following his loss to champion Hisashi Amagasa we've also seen Bong Joon Suk fall from #8 to #15 in a drop that we believe is due to inactivity.
The changes at Super Featherweight are very limited with the only change being that of Junpei Hara who has been removed from the top #15.
In the Lightweight rankings the changes are very limited with recent challenger Futoshi Usami dropping to #14 whilst George Kamboso Jr climbs to #13.
At Light Welterweight we continue to see the free fall of the once promising Ja Ik Goo who is now ranked #11 and has fallen 2 more places, it seems almost certain that a dream fight between him and Keita Obara is now little more than ever being a dream. The dropping of Goo has seen Kazuya Maruki and Hayato Hokazono both climb 1 place.
At Welterweight the first change of note has seen Tim Hunt climb over Dan Nazareno following a poor run of form from the Filipino. Another change has seen Tetsuya Suzuki drop out. One notable thing about these rankings is that Shamgar Koichi, #11, now seems to be recognised under his real name of Koichi Aso.
We've seen a major change at Light Middleweight where the exciting Koji Numata vacated the title. Further down the rankings we've seen Michael Zarafa drop following his los in Russia to Arif Magomedov and as a result the top 4 are now Dennis Laurente, Beau O'Brien, Yuki Nonaka and Tadashi Yuba. Any vacant title bout with those 4 promises to be very exciting and we're really looking forward to an announcement regarding the title.
In the Light Heavyweight division we've seen inactive Korean In Ho Cha drop from #4 to #6 whilst the exciting Damien Hooper has climbed to #5.
The Cruiserweight division has seen Brad Pitt climb above Vaitele Soi to take the #3 ranking.
We've seen no changes at Light Flyweight, Super Flyweight, Super Bantamweight, Middleweight or Super Middleweight divisions.
OPBF Ranking update for May
This past day or so saw the OPBF issue their updated rankings.
One of the division that saw very little in terms of change was the Minimumweight division which saw only a solitary change from April. This change was that Benezer Alolod, previously #3 at Minimumweight, had been removed. This wasn't due to a loss but division inactivity with Alolod having not fought as a Minimumweight since March 2013 vicotory over Rey Loreto.
Alolod being removed has seen everyone previously ranked 4-12 move up one place.
We see Benezer Alolod making a re-emerging at Light Flyweight where he replaced South Korea's Myung-Goo Yun at #2. Yuh appeares to have, like Alolod, been moved up the weights, but more on him later. The reason why Alolod has been ranked so highly in his new division was his 3rd round retirement victory over Jerson Mancio back on May 14th that forced Mancio to drop from #6 to #11 and effectively ruling Mancio out of another OPBF title fight any time soon.
The Flyweight division saw absolutely no changes over the past month.
One of the most active divisions this month was the Super Flyweight division where Marco Demecillo dropped 2 placed falling from #3 to #5 as highly touted youngsters Rex Tso, #3, and Sho Ishida, now #4, climbed over him. At #6 when then find the emergence of Myung Goo Yuh, who we believe recently scored his 8th successive T/KO victory.
Further down these rankings Jerwin Anacajas has climbed a place to go to #7, a position above his compatriot Melvin Gumban. Rey Perez, previously #12, has been dropped by the rankings whilst former #2 world title challenger Hirofumi Mukai has been given a #13 place and Michael Dasmarinas is now #14.
The big mover at Bantamweight is unbeaten Japanese youngster Shohei Omori who has taken the #6 ranking courtesy of his victory over Christian Esquviel on May 22nd. Omori's ranking has effected fewer people than one might imagine with only Hiroki Shiino, Yutaka Kawaguchi and Yushi Tanaka each dropping 1 place each. The changes due to Omori being given a high ranking were neutralised somewhat by Shnun Kubo changing divisions.
Another change at Bantamweight saw Jethro Pabustan climbing one place to go to #12, one place above Naoto Uebayashi.
The first change in the Super Bantamweight division is at #9 where Shun Kubo emerges, having previously been a ranked Bantamweight. Below Kubo we've seen a few changes including a big jump up the rankings for talented Chinese youngster Qiu Xiao Jun who is now #11 having recently beaten Indonesia's Rasmanudin. Below Jun are Jrunriel Ramonal, Jimmy Paypa and Kojiro Takada who hold places 12,13 and 14 respectively.
The Featherweight division has seen only a small number of changes. The highest of those came at #7 as Noriyuki Ueno climbed above Ryo Takenaka in a straight swap that relegated Takenaka 1 place. Whilst the Ueno/Takenaka swap was the change at the highest ranking it wasn't the most significant, that instead came at the #13 place as Maxsaisai Sithsaithong was given a ranking ahead of his OPBF title fight with champion Hisashi Amagasa. Sithsaithong's ranking relegated those below him and dropped Ryota Kajiki out of the rankings..
There wasn't any changes at Super Featherweight with the rankings staying identical to what they were a month ago.
The only change at Lightweight saw recent title challenger Ricky Sismundo, AKA Harada Door, drop from #7 to #10 following his loss to champion Masayoshi Nakatani.
The sole change at Light Welterweight was the removal of Prawet Singwancha who had been inactive for a year prior to these rankings being published. Singwancha, who was previously #10 has quite possibly retired given that he is now 37 and hasn't won a fight in amost 2 years.
The Welterweight division is exactly as it was a month ago with no changes at all
At Light Middleweight we've seen Yao Yi Ma, previous;y #3, drop way down to #10 based on his inactivity in recent months. The falling down the rankings of the Taiwanese fighter has given a booster to numerous fighters including Beau O'Brien who now sits at #3.
Although the top #5 are exactly as they were a month ago the rest of the division has been really shaken up. Firstly we've seen Hikaru Nishida jump from #8 to #6. Nishida's climb has been helped by the fact Nobuhiro Ishida has finally been removed from the Middleweight rankings. Ishida's removal has benefited a number of others but not Eung Chang Lee, the man who lost to Esquiva Falcao recently, or Tomohiro Ebisu, who actually lost on the same day as Lee did. Both Lee and Ebisu have dropped from the rankings.
Although there was a number of changes at Middleweights there was no changes at all at Super Middleweight.
The Light Heavyweight division has a number of changes including the removal of Mark Flanagan, previously #3, has seen various fighters moving up a place however Togasilima Letoa, previously #10, has also been removed.
Mark Flanagan was removed from his high ranking position in the Light Heavyweight division because he had moved up to Cruiserweight and scored a major win over Daniel Ammann to take the #1 sport at Cruiserweight. This in turn dropped Ammann from #2 to #6.
In the heaviest division in professional boxing we've seen the inclusion of Japanese fighter Nobuhiro Ishida who has been given a #6 ranking following his close loss to Kyotaro Fujimoto and his announcement about continuing his career.
(Image courtesy or the OPBF)
OPBF Ranking update for April
Earlier today saw the OPBF posting their updated rankings for the end of April. The OPBF, which is short for the Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation is seen as the go to title for many in Asia and is often seen, like the EBU title in Europe, as the big stepping stone between domestic level and world level.
This months rankings has seen some notable changes with new fighters being ranked, new champions being crowned and a shake of the positions in a number of divisions.
In the Minimumweight we had a new champion crowned as Ryuji Hara (previously #1) defeated Donny Mabao (previously #2) on March 30, just after the March rankings had been published. For Hara this was a tough day at the office though it saw him taking his step from domestic to regional champion.
The fact the top 2 fighters battles each other gave the division a nice big shake up Japanese champion Go Odaira now the #1 contender and Kosei Tanaka (#2) breathing down the neck of the champion.
The 108lb Light Flyweight division saw very little movement with Randy Petalcorin (#7) swapping places Kenichi Horikawa (#8) being the only change in the top 15.
An interesting division this month is the flyweight division which has seen Takuya Kogawa (#4) re-enter the rankings ahead of Kwanpichit 13 Rien Express (#5) who had himself climbed over Jung Oh Son (#6). It seems likely we may see some action in and around the top 5 over the next few months with this type of change.
The rankings at Flyweight have also welcomed in Michael Dasmarinas (#13) following his win in late March over Zoren Pama.
In the Super Flyweight division the big change has been that of Yohei Tobe (#2) who has climbed over Marco Demecillo (#3) following Tobe's Japanese title success. The only other changes have been a result or Rey Perez (#15) dropping from #9 though in all honesty he shouldn't be ranked at 115lbs considering his last fight there was more than 2 years ago.
Kentaro Masuda (#2) has established himself as one of the top Bantamweight contenders following his victory, in a Japanese title fight, over Yu Kawaguchi (#7). Prior to this month Masuda was ranked #15 and this was clearly the major change at 118lbs which has also seen Konosuke Tomiyama (#5) burst back in to the rankings.
We'll admit we're assuming that current OPBF champion Ryosuke Iwasa will vacate his title before the next mandatory is due, in December, so a fight between Masuda and Monico Laurente (#1) would certainly be possibility.
In mid April it was announced that Shingo Wake, the defending Super Bantamweight champion, would be making the next defence of his title against Jae-Sung Lee (#1) this has of course left everyone else scrapping for the next title opportunity. This has caused a few small changes in the rankings. Notably Albert Pagara (#4) has climbed over the top of his Filipino compatriot Genesis Servania (#5) whilst former champion Roli Gasca (#7) has climbed over Rikiya Fukuhara (#8). The only new entrant is China's very promising Qiu Xiao Jun (#13) who claimed his place courtesy of a victory over rival Johnathan Baat.
The division with the biggest shake up this month has certainly been the Featherweight division. Joel Brunker (#1) hs remained where he was but pretty much everyone else has been shuffled around with some of the rankings not really making a lot of sense. For example Yuki Ogata (#10) has dropped from the #2 rankings following his loss to Satoshi Hosono who is some how unranked whilst Vinvin Rufino (#4), who was stopped in 8 by defending champion Hisashi Amagasa last month, has shot up from #7. Very strange month here.
At Super Featherweight Rikki Naito (#1) has become the top contender following Ryan Sermona's (#8) loss to Shingo Eto (#3). There has again been wide scale changes here though most of them do make sense. Although the division makes sense we do wonder why Daiki Kaneko hasn't got a ranking.
Thankfully the Super Featherweight will see it's champion Jomthong Chuwatana defend his belt on July 12th against Koseki Nakama (#7) who has moved up one place.
In the popular Lightweight division Yoshitaka Kato (#4) has climbed over Ji-Hoon Kim (#5) and Brett William Smith (#6) as Kato has started a climb back towards the title he lost earlier this year. One of the biggest drops was that of Valentine Borg (#10) who dropped from #8, interestingly Joebert Delos Reyes wasn't rewarded for his stunning upset over Borg from March 28th.
As for the champion, Masayoshi Nakatani will be defending his belt next Wednesday against Harada Mondo (#7).
Another division that saw another champion crowned was the 140lb Light Welterweight division which saw Keita Obara claiming the title with an excellent victory over Jay Solmiano (#7). Whilst Obara's victory was a key one for him it has reshuffled the division to leave Korea's Ja Ik Goo (#1) as the top contender with Hiroki Okada (#2) and Shinya Iwabuchi (#3) both highly ranked and fights with Obara against any of that trio would see fireworks.
With Welterweight champion Yoshihiro Kamegai now booked to fight Robert Guerrero in the US we know he won't be defending for a while but there is no mandatory due until next year. The Top 4 haven't changed but with Kamegai having recently beaten Jung Hoon Yang (#10) it's no wonder the Korean has fallen numerous places from #5. Czar Amonsot (#5) has filled in with fighters in the lower half of the top 13 all shuffling around as a result.
The only change in the championless Light Middleweight division has seen Beau O'Brien (#4) stop with Michael Zerafa (#5). We'll admit we're not experts in the Australian boxing scene but it's very difficult to understand what O'Brien has done for such a lofty ranking.
With Akio Shibata announcing his next defence of the OPBF Middleweight title would be coming in July against Hikaru Nishida (#8) it may be little surprise to hear that no one in the top 10 has changed places at all. Below the top 10 there has been some changes with Eun-Chang Lee (#13) bursting in to the rankings despite his last fight being fought at Super Middleweight.
The somewhat weak Super Middleweight division hasn't seen any changes at all in the rankings.
The only change in the Light Heavyweight division has seen Dane Muliva (#7) enter the rankings.
One of the biggest shocks this month was in the Cruiserweight division where David Aloua stopped Brad Pitt (#3) to claim the title. The victory for Aloua allowed Daniel Ammann (#2) to climb a place whilst Anthony McCracken (#4) climbed over Lawrence Tauasa (#5).
The Heavyweight rankings have seen Lucas Browne (#1) climb up a place to being the top contender to Solomon Haumono. In other changes we've Alex Leapai (#4) dropping whilst Kyotaro Fujimoto (#2) has moved up a place.
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