Earlier today the WBA announced that Japanese Middleweight Ryota Murata (16-2, 13) [村田 諒太] had been upgraded from their "Regular" champion to their "Super" champion, following the announcement that Saul "Canelo" Alvarez had officially left the division.
Whilst this is big news in some ways, with Murata now holding the primary title with the WBA meaning that there is no question about him being the WBA's main champion, in reality it serves little purpose than to delay his mandatory obligations.
As a WBA "regular" champion he was supposed to defend the belt in a mandatory defense every 9 months, though of course 2020 was no normal year and mandatory obligations were paused for much of the year. As the "Super" champion however that 9 months gets extend to 19 months between defenses.
In reality the bigger difference isn't really felt by Murata but by us, the boxing fans, who will now have to remember that the WBA will be creating a new title in the near future, after likely upgrading Chris Eubank Jr to the Regular champion.
Given how the WBA likes to work it really could be a rather random fight to see a new "interim" champion being crowned later this year, and sadly that could take one of the more notable contenders out of the mix for the big fights as they get ahold of, and defend, the rather pointless interim title.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
At the start of November we were expecting to see WBA Light Flyweight "Super" champion Hiroto Kyoguchi (14-0, 9) [京口 紘人] defending his title against unbeaten challenger Thanongsak Simsri (14-0, 12), from Thailand. Sadly that bout was cancelled following the weigh in, when Kyoguchi tested positive for Covid19 after a PCR test.
The hope was then for the bout to be re-arranged before the end of the year, with Simsri remaining in Japan until late December, with his Visa set to expire on December 31st.
Until today however it seemed unclear if the bout was going to actually be rescheduled before the end of the year, or whether Simsri's 2 weeks in isolation, from when he arrived in Japan in October, were going to be for nought.
And then we stumbled on this on the WBA website:
Although there has been no official announcement in Japan it now seems that the bout is set to take place in Japan on December 26th, boxing day for our UK readers, with the WBA themselves having the bout on their schedule.
If this is going to be the case, and it very likely will be, then it will have to see things move very quickly, with an announcement likely next week, and details regarding the when, where and what it'll be shown on.
Originally the bout was set to take place on Kyoguchi's own YouTube channel at the INTEX in Osaka.
In regards to streaming we wouldn't be surprised if the plan was still for Kyoguchi's YouTube channel to stream the bout. In regards to venue it is worth noting that there is set to be two other noteworthy shows on December 26th in Japan, one in Aichi and in in Tokyo, and the INTEX Osaka list no scheduled events between December 17th and January 17th
Sadly the WBA schedule doesn't help in regards to location other than stating a rather obvious "Japan". The bout is also not listed by Watanabe gym, who list the only bout on December 26th featuring one of their fighters as between current OPBF champion Hironori Mishiro (9-0-1, 3) [三代大訓] and former WBO Super Featherweight champion Masayuki Ito (26-2-1, 14) [伊藤 雅雪], with Mishiro being a Watanabe Gym fighter.
Although there is obvious questions about the date and venue it would seem very strange for the WBA to list the bout and give it a date, if the bout hasn't now been set and agreed. With that in mind we are expecting an announcement very soon to confirm the bout.
Strangely this announcement may be the reason why news regarding another bout has gone oddly quiet in recent days and it could be that this card in Osaka is set become a rather big event as a post-Christmas celebration of boxing in Japan. Of course we now need to wait and see.
Note - The INTEX Osaka had scheduled events from December 18th to December 20th but they have now been cancelled.
Earlier today former boxing world champion Ryol Lee Li shared and interesting image, see below, that appears to confirm a future world title bout. Not just that it appears to have some of the details about the contest.
The clipping essentially states that WBC Light Flyweight champion Kenshiro Teraji (17-0, 10) [寺地 拳四朗] will be making his 8th defense of his title against fellow Japanese fighter Tetsuya Hisada (34-10-2, 20) [久田 哲也], who gave WBA Light Flyweight "super" champion Hiroto Kyoguchi (14-0, 9) [京口 紘人] a good test last year.
More details then quickly emerged regarding the bout, which is now reportedly set for December 19th at the EDION Arena Osaka, in Osaka City.
The show is set to be the first time that Kenshiro has headlined a card since winning a world title, with the affable champion typically playing second fiddle to another major name, such as Ryota Murata (16-2, 13) [村田 諒太].
The bout is said to be part of a show organised by Shinsei Promotions, Teiken Promotions and Misako, who are working together to put the event on and that Kansai TV, the Kansai affiliate of Fuji TV, will be in charge of the broadcast. At the moment it's unclear whether Fuji TV themselves will be showing the bout live or not.
It should be noted that the bout hasn't been officially announced yet, but it is expected to be confirmed in the very near future, with confirmation expected in the next week or so.
Interestingly this bout was originally scheduled for way back in 2017, when Kenshiro was the Japanese national champion and was supposed to defend that title in a champion Carnival bout against Hisada. That bout was cancelled at relatively short noticed when Kenshiro managed to get a chance at Ganigan Lopez for the WBC, the same title he holds today. The decision of Kenshiro to vacated the Japanese title to face Lopez left the Hisada to face Kenichi Horikawa for the title, with Hisada winning and working his way up the rankings his shot with Kyoguchi last year.
In regards to the aforementioned Ryota Murata, it's become highly unlikely he'll fit in a fight before the end of the year, and he's expected to concentrate on making a ring return in 2021.
Earlier today the WBA released their updated rankings which featured a number of changes.
At Minimumweight we've lost Japan's Ryuji Hara (#5), who is now set to fight IBF champion Katsunari Takayama on September 27th. Hara's removal has allowed countryman Takumi Sakae (#7) to climb a place. We've also lost Thailand's Pigmy Kokietgym (previously #9) who has been replaced by his recent conqueror Jaysever Abcede (#9).
The Light Flyweight division has had a trio of small changed in the middleweight of the top 15. The first has seen Paipharob Kokietgym (#6) swap places with Jonathan Taconing (#7), in what is just a straight swap. Slightly lower down we've seen Kompayak Porpramook (#9) climb into the top 15, with some rumours already linking him to a world title fight.
At Flyweight we've lost Filipino-American Brian Viloria (previously #3), who is now set to fight for a WBC title in October. This is notably the only change.
There haven't been many changes at Super Flyweight, in fact the only one we spotted was the removal of the promising Ryo Matsumoto (previously #12) who has left the division and made his intention of being a Bantamweight very clear.
There has been more of a shake up at Bantamweight where Panomroonglek Kaiyanghadaogym (#4) has been moved up a place courtesy of Tomoki Kameda's (#8, previously #4) recent loss to defending “regular” champion Jamie McDonnell. Strangely we've lost Jerwin Ancajas (previously #10) and Shohei Omori (previous #11) who's rankings haven both vanished without real explanation. It's also worth noting that Ryo Matsumoto hasn't been ranked here.
We have no ranked fighters at Super Bantamweight, though that's the same as last week month.
In the Featherweight division we've seen Japanese champion Satoshi Hosono (#3) climb a place whilst his countryman Hiroshige Osawa (previously #14) has dropped from the rankings, allowing Thailand's Thong Sithluangphophun (#14) to climb a place.
We've seen a new addition at Lightweight as OPBF champion Masayoshi Nakatani (#15) breaks into the rankings and continues his pursuit of a world title.
At Light Welterweight we've seen Filipino fighter Czar Amonsot (#13) drop a couple of places down the rankings.
The Welterweight rankings have seen Thailand's Teerachai Kratingdaenggym (#6) fall a single place.
At Light Middleweight we've seen no changes with Kanat Islam (#6) remaining the sole ranked Asian. There has also been no changes at Middleweight where Ryota Murata (#15) is the sole ranked Asian fighter.
Above Middleweight there are no Asian fighters ranked, though there are interim champions at Cruiserweight, Beibut Shumenov, and Heavyweight, Ruslan Chagaev, who both held their titles a month ago.
Note-We have asked the WBA to explain the removal of Anacajas and Omori, though we're not expecting a reply unfortunately.
Earlier this week the WBA released their latest world rankings and, as always, it left us with as many questions as anything else.
At Minimumweight and Light Flyweight there were no changes at all in the top 15. The means that Japanese youngster Takuma Inoue (#2) remains a ranked Light Flyweight when it's clear he will not be competing at 108lbs in the future.
The first change actually comes at Flyweight where new interim champion Stamp Kiatniwat (#1) has climbed 5 places. As part of the shake up following Stamp's climb we've also seen Noknoi Sitthiprasert (#6) climb 3 places whilst Suguru Muranaka (#8) has climbed a couple of positions. Lower down the rankings Nawaphon Por Chokchai (#13) has climbed a single place.
At Super Flyweight we've seen a number of fighters shuffle down the rankings. These have included Toshiyuki Igarashi (#7), Rex Tso (#8), Petchbarngborn Kokietgym (#10) and Ryo Matsumoto (#12). Strangely Thai Oleydong Sithsamerchai (#15) has been re-ranked despite the fact he's not fought since March.
At Bantamweight we've, unsurprisingly, lost Daiki Kameda (previously #6), which actually just left questions as to why the WBA even re-ranked him recently. The only other change of note for ourselves is the new entry of Kenny Demecillo (#14), who recently claimed the WBA Oceania title.
Amazingly there isn't a single Asian fighter ranked at Super Bantamweight, despite how strong the division is through the continent with the likes of Albert Pagara, Yukinori Oguni and Genesis Servania.
At Featherweight we've unsurprisingly lost Dennis Tubieron (previously #11). Tubieron's removal has opened a place for PABA champion Thong Sithluangphophun (#15) who is, of course, a new entrant.
There is, somehow, not a single ranked Asian fighter at Super Featherweight despite the likes of Daiki Kaneko, Masayuk Ito and Rikki Naito all seemingly being more proven than some of the fighters who are ranked, such as #14 Sandro Hernandez.
There us also not an Asian fighter ranked at Lightweight.
At Light Welterweight we've seen no changes with Czar Amonsot (#11) and Ramal Amanov (#15) being the only two ranked Asian's at the weight. We've also seen no change at Welterweight, where Teerachai Kratingdaenggym (#5) is the only ranked Asian, or Light Middleweight, where Kanat Islam (#6) sits alone.
A notable change comes at Middleweight where we see Japanese Olympic star Ryota Murata (#15) claim a ranking, as a result he is now ranked by all of the “big 4”.
There are no Asian fighters ranked at Super Middleweight or Light Heavyweight.
At Cruiserweight we've seen Beibut Shumenov (#1) strengthen his top ranking by claiming the interim title with his recent win over BJ Flores. Shumeniv is however the only ranked Asian.
There is no ranked Asian at Heavyweight, though “regular” champion Ruslan Chagaev is an Uzbek fighter.
We have, publicly, asked the WBA to explain the rankings of Oleydong, Takuma Inoue and that of #9 ranked Bantamweight Robert Vazquez. Sadly we're not expecting much in terms of an explanation.
(Image courtesy of the WBA)
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