It’s fair to say that 2020 was a year of surprises, both in terms of boxing and life in general, afterall did anyone predict a pandemic heading into the year? For us the surprises came regularly through the year, and came at every in the sport. From domestic level, with prospects being shocked, national titles changing hands even world level shocks.
Due to the sheer number of upsets we had in Asian Boxing in 2020 it’s genuinely been hard to pick one as the upset of the year. Do we go with the biggest in terms of the betting? Do we go with the result that was the biggest surprise to us or do we try to find some middle line?
Rather than trying to define an upset we’ve come up with a compromise and we will be having joint winners here, with one for the biggest betting upset that we saw, and one for the biggest surprise result that we saw. That surprise result really was one out of the blue, that we certainly didn’t expect.
The betting upset of the year came on November 27th in Thailand as unheralded Thai Panya Pradabsri, also known as Petchmanee CP Freshmart, took on countryman Wanheng Menayothin, the long running WBC Minimumweight champion.
The bookies opened this one with Wanheng almost an unbackable favourite, with the champion opening at 1/10 with STSbet and later being 1/12 with several UK bookies. He was seen as being well on the way to his 55th straight and his 13th title defense before the two men stepped foot in the ring. Panya on the other hand opened at 6/1 to score the upset.
By fight time money had poured on the challenger, who had been backed into around 3/1, and he would then go on to take a very close and hard fought decision over Wanheng, leading to some nice wins for bettors.
Panya’s upset win was the biggest with widely available odds, however there was one bigger upset in Asia, and that was Daishi Nagata’s shock win over Koki Inoue in July. Nagata entered that bout an 8/1 under-dog against Inoue, before forcing a stoppage win. Sadly only STS had odds on this one, and it really wasn’t one that most could bet on, but was, admittedly, a massive surprise result
Other similar upsets scored by Asian fighters include:
Masayoshi Nakatani upsetting Felix Verdajo - With Nakatani starting as a 6/1 under-dog
Akui Furutani upsetting Takayuki Okumoto - With Furatani a 9/2 under-dog
Mike Plania upsetting Joshua Greer Jr - With Plania a 4/1 under-dog
Kenichi Horikawa upsetting Daiki Tomita - With Horikawa a 7/2 under-dog
Upset scored against an Asian fighter by a non-Asian:
Carlos Gongora upsetting Ali Akhmedov - With Gongora starting as a 7/1 under-dog
With just a single win in a decade the 36 year old Yuichi Ideta wasn’t even expected to put up much of a fight on December 27th when he battled former Japanese Welterweight champion Ryota Yada. Ideta had fallen from 12-0 (7) to 13-15-1 (7) and had lost 11 in a row and had been stopped 5 times during his career. Whilst some of those losses weren’t embarrassing ones, such as losses to Keita Obara and Nobuyuki Shindo, he had lost to some very limited fighters, like Ryota Itoyama, Quaye Peter and Ryuji Ikeda.
Amazingly with the deck stacked against him, and no one really giving him a chance Ideta out worked, out fought, outmuscled and out landed Yada to take home the decision win.
This genuinely was the biggest shock to us for the entire year, and was the first decision loss for Yada since 2014, in what was his 6th bout.
Similar upsets to this one include:
Juan Carlos Raygosa defeating Dauren Yeleussinov
Adrian Lerasan beating Tanes Ongjunta
Jeny Boy Boca beating Sarawut Thawornkham
Ryosuke Nishida beating Shohei Omori
Earlier today at the EDION Arena Osaka we got the latest show from Green Tsuda and surprisingly it was a card packed with upsets and surprises. In fact the 3 main bouts all went against the favourites, giving the show a genuine surprise feel.
The show kicked off with a opening round TKO win by Ryuichi Kitazono (1-0, 1) [北園 龍一] who stopped the limited Hummer Taku (1-3, 1) [ハンマータク] with 2:36 of round 1 gone. Kitazono dropped Taku with a 1-2 and although Taku got to his feet the bout was stopped.
The second bout on the show as also a short one, as Sho Hatsuda (3-1, 1) [初田 翔] scored a 2nd round TKO win over Ryusuke Harada (1-2-1) [原田 竜輔]. This started calmly but quickly caught fire and the two men were trading solid shots in round 2, before an uppercut from Hatsuda shook Harada, and a stoppage came soon afterwards. This was a good bounce back for Hatsuda who hadn't been seen in the rung since a November 2019 loss to Takumi Chono.
Another 2nd round TKO saw the brilliantly talented and fast rising Jinki Maeda (6-0, 4) [前田 稔輝] continue to impress, as he took out Kaito Okubo (5-2, 2) [大久保 海都]. This was really competitive in the opening round, but a straight left hand from Maeda in round 2 landed perfectly, dropping Okubo who's corner had seen enough. This was a second solid win for Maeda since winning the 2019 All Japan Rookie of the Year and we expect to see big things from him next year.
The first of the upsets saw Katsunari Takayama (32-8-0-1, 12) [高山 勝成] return to the ring after more than 4 years away and defeat 2-time world title challenger Reiya Konishi (17-3, 7) [小西伶弥]. Takayama started brightly, and fulkl of energy, despite his 37 year old legs. He boxed well at range, looked sharp through out the opening round, and looked quick, using his legs brilliantly. In round 4 he began to slow his footwork and increase his output, which should have suited Konishi, but still it was Takayama out working the younger man, winning round after round.
After 6 rounds Takayama had impressed all 3 judges, winning with scores of 60-54, 60-55 and 59-55, to take the decision and move towards another potential world title fight. After the bout he spoke to fans and stated "I enjoyed the fight. I want to show a better move in the next one. First of all, my goal was to enter the world ranking, so I want to aim for even higher next year." [Translated]
The second upset saw former Japanese Super Flyweight champion Takayuki Okumoto (23-10-4, 11) [奥本貴之] come up short against big under-dog Akio Furutani (9-4, 3) [古谷昭男]. The inform Furutani looked to take the fight to Okumoto, getting on the front foot and causing Okumoto problems almost from the off. Okumoto, to his credit, tried to fight back and had success in rounds 2 and 3, but Furutani wasn't to be denied and he began to move through the gears, despite suffering a cut from a clash of heads. In the later rounds Furutani again showed his aggression, and it forced Okumoto into a fire fight in the final rounds, by then however it was too little too late for Okumoto.
After 8 rounds the judges turned in scores of 76-76, even, and 77-75, twice, to give Furutani the upset decision win. It's worth noting he was a 9/2 under-dog yesterday with some betting companies in Europe!
The main was also a major upset, in fact this was the biggest upset of the day, by far.
This one saw "Naniwa Terminator" Ryota Yada (20-7, 17) [矢田良太] lose a shock decision to veteran Yuichi Ideta (14-15-1, 7) [出田裕一]. In fact this should go down as one of the biggest upsets of the year, though we didn't see odds of it.
Coming in this was expected to be a blow out for Yada, a former Japanese national champion, after all the 36 year old Ideta hadn't scored a win since February 2011. Instead of rolling over and suffering another loss Ideta fought like a man with a point to prove, with the two men trading straight shots in the first round. A big right hand from Yada connected in round 2 but Ideta took it well and began to try and break Yada mentally, something he continued to try in round 3, as he slowly crushed the distance and landed some solid right hands of his own, despite suffering a cut from a clash of heads.
In round 4 Yada landed another big right, but he failed to dissuade Ideta who was coming forward with a persistent mindset and forcing his fight. He backed up Yada, got him on the ropes and out worked him, something he did again in round 8.
After 8 rounds the scores came in, once again we had a 76-76 card, but that was over-ruled by scores of 77-75 and 78-74 to Ideta who scored one of the biggest show wins of 2020 in one of the final shows of the year.
Tomorrow in Osaka fight fans will be able to see "Naniwa Terminator" Ryota Yada (20-6, 17) [矢田良太] headlining the Green Tsuda card at the EDION Arena. The hard hitting Yada is expected to pick up an easy win as he takes on the experienced Yuichi Ideta (13-15-1, 7) [出田裕一], who has really struggled to pick up wins in recent years.
Today, ahead of their bout, the two men took part in their weigh in and both men came in very comfortably under the Welterweight limit.
On the scales Yada was around 146.5lbs, well under the 147;b limit. Despite being well under the limit the former Japanese Welterweight champion looked powerful, strong and in great condition, as he always does. He spoke confidently of ahead of the bout.
Ideta came in even lighter on the scales, coming in at around 145.8lbs. He looked in good shape, but nothing like the ripped monster that Yada was. He spoke not so much about the bout coming up, but about his return to boxing, after retiring when the legendary Yonekura Gym closed, only to return to boxing and join the Misako gym, which he claims has allowed him to have his best training so far. At the age of 36 however it could be too little, too late, for him to mount a serious return to the sport.
For those wanting to give this one a watch Green Tsuda have confirmed that it will be shown on Boxing Raise on their "On Demand" section over the coming days.
This past Monday we saw a scheduled Light Flyweight bout between Katsunari Takayama (31-8-0-1, 12) [高山 勝成] and Reiya Konishi (17-2, 7) [小西伶弥] cancelled at the 11th hour after Konishi had a positive result from a PCR test, suggesting he had Covid19. Over the days that followed Konishi had a number of other tests, all come back negative, suggesting that his original test was a false positive.
Following the negative tests Konishi stated that he wanted to get the bout with Takayama re-organsied for as soon as possible, something Takayama also seemed very open to. What we didn't expect was for the bout to be given a new date just days after the cancellation. However that's exactly what has happened today with a new date being announced just moments ago.
The bout, which was originally scheduled for November 23nd, will now take place on December 27th at the Green Tsuda promoted "CRASH BOXING vol.21 in Hirakata" event.
Following the new date being confirmed Takayama has thanked people for their support and admitted that he was grateful to fight this year, rather than needing to waiting any longer to return to the ring. His trainer, Hiroake Nakade, has also given quotes to the media explaining that for the next month he Takayama will continue to train and will enter the ring in perfect condition.
Even before this bout was added the card the show was already looking like a good one with several notable names on the show. They included "Naniwa Terminator" Ryota Yada (20-6, 17) [矢田良太], who will be in the main event against Yuichi Ideta (13-15-1, 7) [出田裕一], former Japanese champion Takayuki Okumoto (23-9-4, 11) [奥本貴之], Japanese Youth Super Bantamweight champion Toshiki Shimomachi (12-1-2, 8) [下町俊貴] and the highly regarded Jinki Maeda (5-0, 3) [前田稔輝]. With Takayama and Konishi the show now has added star power.
On paper a bout between Takayama, a multi-time world champion, and Konishi, a 2-time world title challenger, should provide a lot of fire works, and is up there for the bouts we are most excited about for what's left of the year. It might not have a title on the line but the styles of the two should give us a sensational barn burner.
Earlier today the Green Tsuda Gym announced their next card under the "Crash Boxing Banner" and it's set to be an interesting one on December 27th from the Hirakata City Gymnasium in Osaka, with 7 bouts announced for it. Notably several of the fighters set for the card had originally been pencilled in to fight on November 3rd, before that show was cancelled due to Hiroto Kyoguchi (14-0, 9) [京口 紘人] testing positive for Covid19.
Not only have all 7 bouts been announced but also a serious step up in how the show will be ran in regards to making the event more covid safe than any other in Japan.
The first will all be given PCR tests 4 weeks before the fight, and 10 days before the fight, as well following the usual rules of a PCR test on the day of the weigh in. The venue, which can be set up to take 3,5000 people in a normal event, is expected to have between 1,300 and 1,500 fans in attendance along with 30 guards and 10 medical staff.
The day before PCR tests will be carried out at a local hospital, with space being rented for the testing and weighing, and fighters will then be bussed to a hotel, with cafeteria's only available to those involved in bouts. A bus will also be prepared to take fighters from the hotel to the venue, with Masaya Motoishi, the promoter, clearly wanting to lead the way in how to have more covid safe events.
As for the bouts, the main event will see "Naniwa Terminator" Ryota Yada (20-6, 17) [矢田良太] battle against Yuichi Ideta (13-15-1, 7) [出田裕一] in an 8 round Welterweight bout, with the plan being for Yada to essentially tune up ahead of an OPBF title fight next year. On paper this really should be little more than a stay busy bout for the hard hitting Yada.
In the co-feature former Japanese Super Flyweight champion Takayuki Okumoto (23-9-4, 11) [奥本貴之] will take on Akio Furutani (8-4, 3) [古谷昭男], in an 8 round bout fought at a contracted 53KG's, which is around 116.9lbs. For Okumoto this will be his first bout since losing the Japanese title in December 2019 whilst Furutani will be looking to build on an October 2019 upset win over Keisuke Nakayama.
The only title bout on the show will see Japanese Youth Super Bantamweight champion Toshiki Shimomachi (12-1-2, 8) [下町俊貴] seek his second defense as he takes on Satoru Hoshiba (7-4, 2) [干場 悟]. The 24 year old Shimomachi will, if he wins, need to vacate the title due to his age, though given his recent performance we're really excited to see him moving into the main Japanese title mix. As for Hoshiba he'll be coming into this bon the back of successive victory and will be a live under-dog, albeit a very clear under-dog.
Staying with youngsters we'll also see the brilliant Jinki Maeda (5-0, 3) [前田稔輝] face off with Kaito Okubo (5-1, 2) [大久保海都], in a bout that has been rescheduled from November 3rd. Although relatively deep down the card this could end up being the show stealer. We've been really impressed by Maeda, who won Rookie of the Year in 2019, but Okubo is no push over and should pose a genuine test for Maeda.
The other 3 bouts on the card are all 4 rounders including the debut of Ryuicho Kitazono (0-0) [北園 龍一] and a bout featuring unbeaten 35 year old female fighter Rin Murai (1-0-2) [村井 理].
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