Earlier today we had a show in South Korea featuring a pair of WBO Oriental title bouts.
The first of the title bouts saw former world title challenger ArAr Andales (12-2, 5) score a TKO win over Viatnam's Minh Phat Sam (7-4, 5), for the WBO Oriental Minimumweight title.
From the off it was clear that Sam was the naturally bigger man, sadly for him that was pretty much the only advantage he had, as Andales was quickly, sharper, and more technically skilled. As early as round 3 Sam's face was swelling, and both eyes were rapidly closing and in round 4 the swelling got worse and it seemed a stoppage was inevitable, but Sam tried to gut it out and fight back.
As the rounds went on Sam's face become more and more swollen, whilst Andales looked very comfortable, using Sam's face as target practice. In round 7 the swelling was bad enough for the referee to take Same to the ringside doctor who waved off the bout, saving Sam from further punishment. The correct decision by the doctor, and one that saw Andales crowned the new champion.
In a much slower paced fight we saw WBO Oriental Flyweight champion Olimjon Nazarov (26-5, 14) retain his title with a win against Filipino challenger Michael Mendoza (11-2-2, 4). This fight was much slower and more technical than the opening bout with both men trying to out box the other, and both wanting to be the counter punch for much of the bout. The Filipino was the sharper, quicker man, and did seem to land the better single blows, in most rounds, but he seemed happy to be very conservative, and may well have given rounds away at times against the promoters fighter.
Whilst the bout did end up warming up, particularly in rounds 7 and 12, it never really caught fire and as neither man was all that willing to take risks. Nazaraov was the man often seen coming forward, and taking shots as a result. Mendeoza looked the much more polished, but he seemed almost happy to do just enough to win rounds. A risky tactic when he's the away fighter, and a tactic that backfired with Nazarov getting the decision 115-113 form all 3 judges to retain his title.
Ater the bout we can't help but think Mendoza will be kicking himself, especially given that he visible shook Nazarov a number of times, but seemed unwilling to roll the dice ina bout he could have won, very easily.
Earlier today RealFight PH broke the news that WBO Oriental Bantamweight champion Vincent Astrolabio (15-3, 11) would be defending his title against world ranked Flyweight contender Genisis Libranza (19-1, 11) on February 27th.
For Astrolabia this will be his third defense since winning the title in April 2019, when he stopped previously unbeaten Indonesian Patrick Liukhoto in 9 rounds in Jakarta. Since then he notched defenses against Kevin Aseniero and Wilbert Berondo, stopping both men.
The 23 year old champion has turned his career around well after suffering 3 defeats in 5 fights, including a decision loss to John Mark Apolinario, a TKO loss to Yuki Strong Kobayashi and a narrow decision loss to ZongLi He in China and will be coming into this bout with some genuine momentum.
Libranza on the other hand is a 27 year old challenger who turned professional in 2014 and was unbeaten until he challenged the then IBO Flyweight champion Mortui Mthalane in 2017., with Mthalane stopping him in 4 rounds. Since that loss he has has reeled off 8 straight wins, including victories over Michael Enriquez, Ryan Rey Ponteras and Renz Rosia. Those wins have seen him climb into the
The current winning run of Libranza has seen him break into the WBO, WBC and IBF world rankings, and he currently has a very high IBF ranking. Despite that he will be moving up in weight for this bout, and we do wonder if he can really compete up at Bantamweight.
This bout has been added to the February 27th card headlined by IBF Minimumweight champion Pedro Taduran (14-2-1, 11), who will be defending his title against fellow Filipino Rene Mark Cuarto (18-2-2, 11) in General Santos City.
A huge thanks, as always, to Ian Melodillar for bringing this story to our attention.
Despite Covid19 still ravaging the world right now sport is one of the few escapes some of us have, and boxing is obviously the escape we've chosen. Sadly there are very few boxing events dotted about the calendar for the month of January, so when we get them we do need to hope for something exciting, memorable and action packed.
Today, in the first Korean of 2021, we get exactly that as Buffalo Promotion gave us something spectacular in Seoul.
The show was just a 5 bout show, though all 4 under card bouts were incredible. The first 2 bouts from the show were just amazing, non stop 4 round wars well worthy of a much, much bigger event. The second two undercard bouts were still solid, but not quite as action packed as the contests that opened the show.
After 4 brilliantly captivating under-card bouts we finally got on to the main event, and that had high expectations to begin with, as teenager Jong Seon Kang (12-0-2, 6) [강종선] battled Nam Jun Lee (11-7-3, 5) [이남준] in a contest for the WBO Oriental Featherweight title.
Over the last few years Kang has earned a reputation as one of the most fan friendly fighters on the planet and despite being just 19 years old his wars have become some of the most exciting bouts out there. Lee on the other hand was a known tough guy, who had gone the distance against the likes of Shuya Masaki, Masatoshi Kotani and Pan Soo Kim. Together they were expected to make for a very exciting bout. That meant going in we were expecting something special.
It really didn't matter what we expected however this over delivered, from the fight round to the final bell this was fought at an electric pace with brilliant action, and Kang, being Kang.
Early on the bout was fought at mid range, with Kang using his longer, sharper, quicker, jab and establishing control at range. He could, and maybe should, have done that all night long. That however isn't Kang's MO. Instead is made to entertain and from the middle rounds he tried to take Lee out, moving through the gears and taking the fight on the inside, regularly pinning Lee on the ropes and unloading huge shots, getting in and working the uppercuts, firing hooks to the head and body and trying to break down and beat up the legitimate tough guy in front of him.
Lee wasn't there just making up the numbers. He tried fighting back, he tried battling, and he let his own hands go. He tried to maintain the pace and tempo with Kang but couldn't. Instead he had to try and pick his moments, hoping Kang would tire himself out and slow down, two things that never really happened. He dug deep, he landed numerous shots on to Kang's face, and even seemed to leave Kang with a bloodied nose and a very reddened face early on, but even that couldn't couldn't stop the teenager from coming forward.
As the rounds went on it seemed like both men were being chipped away at. For Lee the punishment he was taking was adding up. He had been hurt a number of times, but gutted it out and fired back. For Kang the insane tempo and work rate had to be draining, especially with what looked a badly damaged nose for most of the fight. The accumulated damage saw both men shaken and hurt in round 11, and it seemed like either man could go on to force a stoppage. Amazingly however the men saw out not only round 11 but also round 12.
After the bout somehow went 12 rounds we went to the scorecards, and the judges favoured the 19 year old Kang, who seemed the very worthy winner. Sadly though this was another draining and punishing war for the teenager who is unlikely to have a long career, but will have a fantastically fun one to follow.
As for Lee he's now 37 and we do wonder if maybe he put it all into this bout and should perhaps consider retiring on a high. It was a loss for him, but the bout is a legitimate early for the Fight of the Year, that might well be the perfect way for him to bow out.
Through out the entire 12 rounds there was pretty much no clinching, a nice mix of outside boxing, and inside battling, it was fought at an incredible tempo from round 1 to round 12 and it will, genuinely, go down as one of the best off 2021. It intense, exciting, punishing and totally exhilarating. If you missed it, you need to do everything you can to watch it as soon as possible. It is that good, that violent, that brutal and that exciting!
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