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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