It's fair to say almost every boxing fan was focusing on the action in Osaka earlier today, however there was also a show that took place in Tokyo, at the Korakuen Hall. This card didn't feature any world title bouts, in fact it featured no title bouts at all, however it did feature a number of really interesting match ups across a variety of levels.
One of those bouts saw unheralded Filipino Giovanni Escander (13-3, 9), who was ranked #3 by the OPBF at Flyweight, battle against touted Japanese prospect Naoto Uebayashi (7-1-1, 4), who was ranked #13 by the OPBF at Bantamweight.
On paper this was supposed to be another win for Uebayashi. He was "the bigger man" and had been hyped from early in his career following a notable amateur career that had seen him compile an excellent record of 88-14 (47) record. On paper Escaner was going to be the smaller, lighter, weaker fighter and the "designated loser" if you will
In reality however things couldn't have been much different to the expectations as Escaner proved his strength and ability. Instead of being respectful of his taller foe the Filipino was bullish and took the fight to Uebayashi. Almost from the off it was clear that Escaner was the stronger and more powerful man, a real worry for Uebayashi who had looked fragile at times in his career, notably being dropped by unknown Thai Imron Lookkhlongtan in his second professional bout and was also dropped by domestic foe Yusaku Kuga just 2 fights later.
Uebayashi was down again here, relatively early on before both men ended up being cut. The knockdown should have served as a reminder to Uebayashi that his chin wasn't the best and that he had to use his length advantage if he was going to win. Instead however Escaner repeatedly got inside and in round 8 he finally finished off the Japanese fighter who really has a lot of rebuilding to do if he's to even reach domestic title level.
For Escaner this was potentially a break out win. It was his second notable stoppage win in Japan, following a 7th round TKO against Junichi Ebisuoka last November. His record may not suggest it but as he proved here he's a fighter with the style, strength and toughness to really be a handful and we'd not be shocked to see him fighting in a title bout next time out, either domestically or at the OPBF level.
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