Over the past day or so he officials for this weekend's most significantly fight, the Minimumweight unification bout between Katsunari Takayama (27-6-0-1, 10) and WBO champion Francisco Rodriguez (14-2, 10), have been announce.
The referee will be the very under-rated and often over-looked American Samuel Viruet who's last bout was the Sergey Kovalev Vs Cedric Agnew bout back in March. His appointment should be good news for Japanese fans as he was also the third man in the ring when Daiki Kameda stopped Raul Hidalgo. That was the last time, from what we can see, that he refereed a bout between a Mexican and a Japanese fighter.
As for the judges they will be Waleska Roldan, Glenn Trowbridge and John Madfis, who like the referee area ll American.
Waleska Roldan will be doing her first world title fight of the year with her last coming in December 2013 when she was ringside for the Shawn Porter bout with Devon Alexander. Roldan is a busy judge and she tends to usually get the right winner even if she does occasionally have a score that looks ever so slight out. Again Japanese fans will be happy to know that her last notable bout involving one of heir fighters went to the Japanese fighter as she was a judge for the Tomoki Kameda Vs Paulus Ambunda fight just over a year ago.
Glenn Trowbridge is the most famous of the three judges and is a regular fixture in world title fights. Sadly the last of those saw Trowbridge being well off mark as he had Jessie Vargas a clear winner over Anton Novikov, perhaps indicating that he takes home bias into fights. The last fight with a Japanese fighter that he was part of was Yoshihiro Kamegai's US debut, a stoppage against Hector Munoz and the one prior to that was Nobuhiro Ishida's opening round shock against James Kirkland. Amazingly you need to go back to 2011 to find a fight involving a Japanese fighter reaching a decision with Trowbridge as a judge, and that was Kai Zama's split decision loss to Paul Green, Trowbridge sided with Green.
John Madfis hasn't done a world title bout in over a year, with his last one being Marco Huck's third bout with Ola Afolabi in June 2013, Madfis scored that one 117-111 to Huck. The last fight with a Japanese fighter he did appears to have been Nobuhiro Ishida's wide decision loss to Dmitry Pirog in Russia, Madfis had that contest a shut out to Pirog. Although not the most experienced of judges he has shown some bottle and was the only judge to score Ulises Solis as the winner over Luis Alberto Lazarte in a 2010 bout in Lazarte's home of Buenos Aires, for that he has our respect.
We'll admit that we don't mind these officials. We do have some question marks over Trowbridge due to his score in the Vargas/Novikov bout his reputation the previous years has been generally solid and we all have off nights. Hopefully the judges won't leave us frustrated at the weekend.
(Image courtesy of Nakazato boxing)
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