After covering a big obvious bout from the history of controversies involving an Asian fighter last time in this series we get to look at a lesser known controversy and one that, rather oddly, ended with the right guy winning, albeit on review. Given the bout needed an official review, and had the original result over-turned, that kinda shows just how erroneous the original decision was, and just how poor the judging for the bout turned out to be.
So join us again as we take a look at another Controversial Clash!
Petchsuriya Singwancha (15-10, 8) Vs Kerry Hope (22-7, 2)
The Hong Kong boxing scene certainly isn't a well established one, and it certainly wasn't much of a boxing scene in 2015, with Rex Tso being the countries only notable boxer. With Tso being the only fighter of note DEF Promotions had to bring in international fighters to fill up cards and typically this mean bringing in lower tied fighters from through out the Asia-Pacific region. On August 29th 2015 they had a card headlined by Tso taking on Brad Hore. On the same shower was your usual mix of regional journeyman, novices, and professional losers, though we'll admit Rey Megrino is someone who is much better than his record.
Aside from the Tso bout only one other bout stood out. That was the 12 round regional title clash between Petchsuriya Singwancha, of Thailand, and Australian based Welshman Kerry Hope.
The Thai had been in 25 fights prior to this one, and had done little of note with his career. He lost his first 4, and 5 of his first 6, but did manage a couple of low key wins over the likes of Xingxin Yang and Ryosuke Maruki, with the win over Maruki netting the Thai the WBC Youth Light Middleweight title. Interesting Petchsuriya lost a rematch to Maruki and had also lost to the likes of Koki Tyson and Dennis Hogan with 9 of his 10 losses coming by stoppage.
Kerry Hope on the other hand had originally made his name as a talented but light punching fighter on the British scene. He was a win some, lose some, type but a skilled fighter who's biggest issue was a lack of power. Despite not being a banger he had proven to be a potential banana skin, and had scored a big upset in 2012 when he beat Gregorz Proksa to claim the European title. In 2015 he he left the British scene and began fighting in Australia, after two bouts there, both wins, he then took on Petchsuriya,
The bout, for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Middleweight title, had issues before the first bell with the Thai missing the Middleweight limit. By 6 lbs. This wasn't a little over the weight but he was closer to hitting the limit for the weight class above than hitting the one for the division he was supposed to be fighting in.
From the opening seconds the taller, bigger looking Hope found the range for his jab and although there wasn't much on the shot it was landing regularly and preventing Petchsuriya from letting much go himself. The clean punching from, Hope continued to be the clear factor in the bout and he looked several levels better than the diminutive Thai, who spent much of the fight doing little, allowing Hope to fight at his pace and range.
For 12 rounds Hope fought a controlled fight. Petchsuriya managed to have some moments, though they were few and far between, and it seemed like a very, very clear decision for the Welshman. He seemed to out land the Thai in pretty much every round, Petchsuriya seemed to be content to to survive, look for counters and bide his time, waiting for a mistake that never really came.
Some how the judges disagreed with what every one else saw. Rather than a comfortable win for Hope the bout was ruled a draw. There was a card of 117-111 to Hope, 115-113 to Petchsuriya and a 114-114 card, resulting in a draw.
The decision was scandalous. There was no way to have had the bout even, never mind finding 7 rounds to give Petchsuriya the win. The WBC then reviewed the bout, had new judges score the bout, and the new judges, along with original judge Jerrold Tomeldan, all scored it 117-111 to Hope.
The result was reversed on the review, with Hope clamining the WBC Asian Boxing Council Middleweight title and judges Visuth Yingaupagarn and Pongpan Rattanasutorn were then suspended and retrained.
Whether Visuth Yingaupagarn and Pongpan Rattanasutorn scored in favour of their fellow Thai due to bias or ineptitude wasn't clear, though both were back ringside judging bouts in April 2016, if not earlier. That was less thna 8 months after their terrible work here.
Often in boxing if we see two men clash in a thriller we want an immediate rematch. Sadly quite often when we get them it's not quite as good the second time around. The punishment of their first bout, and experience of sharing the ring with their opponent, came make a rematch feel somewhat disappointing given how good the first was. Sure we get the odd bout where the sequel is just as good, it's rare for the sequel to be better than the first.
Today we look at rare bout where the rematch was probably better, and where the experience of the first bout between the two men was a positive. It allowed both fighters to tweak their game plans, but not negatively impact the bout, and like their first contest the two men took part in exhilarating war.
Yong Soo Choi (24-2-1, 14) vs Takanori Hatakeyama (21-0-1, 17) II
In 1997 Yong Soo Choi had travelled over to Japan to record his 6th defense of the WBA Super Featherweight title, fighting to a draw in a 12 round thriller with Takanori Hatakeyama. That was their first bout, and that was a strong contender for the 1997 Fight of the Year. It was a thriller, with the two men landing huge shots through out in what was an instant classic.
Following their first contender Choi had return to Korea and made his 7th defense of the title, stopping Gilberto Serrano in Seoul, in 9 rounds. That win over Serrano had seen Choi being behind on two of the score cards be he finally got to a tiring Serrano with some huge booming hooks. After dropping Serrano Choi knew he had his man there to take when the bout resumed and he quickly dropped him a second time. Despite the win the result really covered over what had been a rather poor performance from Choi, who had looked slower, older, and wilder than he had in previous fights. He had looked like someone who had lost something, though it was little surprise given the sheer number of wars he had been in during title reign.
Choi wasn't the only getting a win in after the first bout between the two men, with Hatakeyama scoring one of his career defining wins, a stoppage over Koji Arisawa in what has been dubbed "the biggest Japanese title fight". Whilst Choi had looked looked poor in his interim bout Hatakeyama had looked the opposite. He had looked like a man who had learned from 12 rounds with Choi and he really shone in his win over Arisawa, in what is a real must watch for fans of this series. Now aged 23 Hatakeyama had matured a bit more, physically, from their first bout and had knew he could go 12 with Choi, having done so in their first bout.
As anyone who saw their first will know, these two matched each other well. Both were tough guys, heavy handed, liked to let shots go and had staggering wills to win. Stylistically they were made for each other. Although Hatakeyama was just that little bit quicker Choi was physically more imposing and that made their first bout so compelling. It turned out their second bout would be just as good.
The first round wasn't as thrilling as it had been in their first bout. Hatakeyama seemingly aware that he could outbox Choi, if he stuck to a game that involved creating distance and using his speed. Of course trying to use his legs was always going to be a draining strategy, especially if he couldn't get Choi's respect. With that in mind he knew he'd have to hold his ground sometimes, and when he did the bout came alive, with the two men launching huge bombs at each other.
Despite the tweak to Hatakeyama's style it actually only helped the bout, as it limited the amount of time the two guys were too close, to work, and reduced the number of clinches.
As the bout went on the action got more and more violent, with round 8 being absolutely sensational, and one of the best rounds of 1998. And that wasn't even the end as the two men continued chip away at each other and knock absolute lumps out of each other.
We won't ruin how this ends, but like their first bout, if you've never seen it you owe yourself the opportunity to watch this thrilling, punishing and hotly contest war between two men who were just amazingly well matched and made for absolute barn burners!
By Eric Armit
-Filipino Mike Plania wins upset decision over WBO No 1 bantam Joshua Greer
-Giovani Santiago goes to 26-0 with debateable decision over Antonio DeMarco
-The Jose Pedraza vs. Mikkel LesPierre fight is called off after LesPierre’s manager tests positive for COV-19 on the day of the fight
-Gabriel Flores moves up for his first ten round fight and is 18-0 after outpointing Josec Ruiz
-WBO super bantam champion Emanuel Navarrete halts Uriel Lopez in non-title action for win No 28 by KO/TKO
-Edwin Palomares spring upset as he stops 25-2 Carlos Ornelas
Las Vegas, NV, USA: Super Bantam: Mike Plania (24-1 W PTS 10 Joshua Greer (22-2-1). Welter: Giovani Santillan (26-0) W PTS 10 Antonio DeMarco (33-9-1). Super Welter: Bobirzhan Mominov (11-0) W PTS 6 Cameron Krael(17-16)
Plania vs. Green
Filipino Plania gets a big win as he floors WBO No 1 bantam Greer twice on the way to a majority decision victory. Plania made a dream start putting Greer down with a left hook in the opening round. Greer survived the crisis and began to work his way into the fight from the second. Plania continued to be dangerous with his left hooks and he produced another in the sixth to score his second knockdown. Greer was not out of the fight and he began to eat into Plania’s lead as the Filipino tired over the late rounds. The stronger Greer clearly won the last three rounds but it was not enough to offset Plania’s early work and the two knockdowns. Scores a harsh 97-91, and 96-92 for Plania and 95-95. The 23-year-old “Magic” Plania makes it nine wins in a row since suffering his only defeat against former WBO champion Juan Carlos Payano in 2018. He was unrated before this one but that will change now and obviously a fight with WBO champion John Riel Casimero would be a dream match but Casimero has his eyes on a unification fight with Naoya Inoue. Greer had scored good wins over Nikolai Potapov and Antonio Nieves but this is a huge set back when a title fight had looked a certainty for him later this year or early next.
Santillan vs. DeMarco
Santillan maintains his 100% record but looks lucky to do so as he takes a razor-thin majority verdict. Santillan’s youth and strength were expected to prevail against former WBC light champion DeMarco who had been finding life tough. Santillan worked hard trying to force the fight against the older man but DeMarco’s experience showed. He was if anything busier than fellow-southpaw Santillan and more accurate with his work. Most of the rounds were close with neither fighter dominating and the punch stats showed little between them but DeMarco just seemed to have the edge. The judges saw it differently on scores of 96-94 twice for Santillan and 95-95. The 28-year-old “Gallo de Oro” from San Diego was facing his toughest test so far and if he takes away his lessons from this fight he could be challenging for a title by late 2021 or early 2022. At 34 DeMarco still has plenty to offer but his run of just two wins in his last eight fights put him in the “useful scalp for younger fighters to collect” category.
Mominov vs. Krael
The Kazaks march on. Mominov outworks and outpunches a useful Krael for a points victory. Mominov pressed the fight working behind a stiff jab and scoring well in the early rounds with short punches from both hands. Krael has a good chin and plenty of heart and weathered the early punishment to fight back hard over the closing rounds. Mominov was cut over his left eye and lost a point in the last round for a punch to the back of the head but it had no effect on the final result. Scores 58-55 twice and 57-56 for Mominov. The 28-year-old former World Military Champion is making steady progress. Hawaiian Krael is now 1-3 in his last 4 fights but the win in that run was over useful Ravshan Hudaynazarov.
Las Vegas, NV, USA: Super Light: Light Gabriel Flores (18-0) W PTS 10 Josec Ruiz (21-3-3).
Flores vs. Ruiz
When the manager of Trinidadian Mikkel LesPierre tested positive for COVID-19 on the morning of the fight with Jose Pedraza that bout was cancelled and Flores found himself topping the bill. The unbeaten prospect stepped up in style winning every round over Honduran Ruiz. After dominating the first round with some powerful jabs and good movement Flores put Ruiz down in the second with a left hook followed by a straight right. Ruiz made it to his feet and saw out the round and never again looked seriously hurt. Flores boxed for much of the fight on the back foot rattling Ruiz with counters. Ruiz tried hard to get inside to work on the body but the lateral movement and speed of Flores frustrated those attempts with Floes too slick to be caught. He plugged Ruiz with stiff jabs and hard rights and outpunched and outlanded the slower Latino all the way with only his lack of punching power (just six inside the distance wins) and the sturdy chin of Ruiz (just one loss by KO/TKO) allowing the fight to go the distance. Scores 100-89 for Flores for all three judges. Still only 20) he signed pro with Top Rank at 16) Flores is an immense talent and is being sensibly matched. He could be a real title threat by 2022. Miami-based “Scorpion” Ruiz is flattered by his record as his opposition has been somewhat less than modest but he gave Flores some useful ring time.
Collard vs. Kaminsky
After winning only one of his first five fights Cassius Clay Collard has found some form and he took a deserved split decision over previously unbeaten Kaminsky. Collard made a strong start working well to head and body and soon had Kaminsky bleeding from the nose. Kaminsky worked the body trying to slow Collared but also suffered a cut over his left eye. He was countering well but lacked the power to keep a storming Collard out and although he made a strong finish it was not enough to overcome Collard’s early dominance. Scores 58-56 twice for Collard and 58-56 for Kaminsky. Collard is now 6-1 in his last 7 fights with four of those wins coming against unbeaten fighters albeit with modest records. Israeli Kaminsky, 19, “The Lion of Zion” was a silver medallist at the US Under-19 championships. He has plenty of time and now needs to take a deep breath and start again.
Mexico City, Mexico: Feather: Feather: Emanuel Navarrete (31-1) W TKO 6 Uriel Lopez (13-14-1). Edwin Palomares (13-3-1) W TKO 5 Carlos Ornelas (25-3).
Navarrete vs. Lopez
Navarrete gets a workout as he halts Lopez in six rounds. Navarrete was not putting a great deal into this early. He was content to use his longer reach to keep banging home jabs on the advancing Lopez. Navarrete was constantly changing guards and although not loading up on his punches he was keeping a high work rate. Lopez kept marching forward and had some success but not much. Lopez landed a cracking right to the chin in the fourth and that caused Navarrete to up his pace. He was spearing Lopez with long jabs and powerful hooks and uppercuts but to his credit Lopez kept marching into the hurt zone. A short left hook stopped Lopez in his tracks in the fifth and a series of shots from both hands dropped Lopez to his knees. He was up at eight and had to survive some fierce attacks to make it to the bell. In the sixth Navarrete handed out a brutal beating to a game Lopez who just kept soaking up the punishment and trying to punch back. The end came when Navarrete forced Lopez to the ropes and then buried a straight right to the body that saw Lopez fall to his knees. He made it to his feet but the referee just waived the fight off. The 28-year-old WBO super bantam champion gets win No 28 by KO/TKO and his twenty-sixth victory in a row. It is difficult to see who can match him at his weight or to see any big money fights in his division so by next year he will probably be trying unify the titles at featherweight. Lopez just a gutsy journeyman.
Palomares vs. Ornelas
Palomares gets a career best win and springs a major upset as he halts Ornelas in five rounds. Ornelas started well scoring with his right jab and straight lefts. In the second Palomares, sporting pink hair, was getting past the jab and scoring with hooks and uppercuts inside and he dominated the action in the third with relentless attacks. Ornelas tried to turn things around with some lefts in the fourth but was soon on the retreat as Palomares banged home to head and body with both hands forcing Ornelas to hold. Ornelas simply surrender in the fifth. He dropped to one knee when under pressure and then started to rise only to go down on one knee again. He stood up at nine but the referee rightly stopped the fight. Palomares, 24, the Mexican featherweight champion, had put up a good performance in taking 21-0 Irving Turrubiartes to a split decision in his last fight but BoxRec had him 25 positions below Ornelas in their world ratings. Ornelas was rated in the world’s top 15 as he went 21-0 at the start of his career but is now 3-4 in his last 7 with all three losses by KO/TKO.
Arlamow, Poland: Super Middle: Robert Parzeczewski (25-1) W PTS 8 Sladan Janjanin (27-6). Feather: Kamil Laszczyk (28-0) W TKO 5 Piotr Gudel (10-5-1).Super Middle: Przemyslaw Gorgon (10-6-1) W PTS 6 Patryk Szymanski (20-4)
Parzeczewski vs. Janjanin
Pole Parzeczewski brutalises Bosnian Janjanin on the way to a wide unanimous decision. Parzeczewski scored a knockdown in the first, two in the second and one each in the third and fifth rounds. Despite this and a broken nose, Janjanin survived the eight rounds and did a “victory” dance at the end of the fight to celebrate going the distance. Parzeczewski was not taking this fight lightly and tried hard to get the much smaller and lighter Bosnian out of the fight but failed and also suffered an injury to his right hand. The scores were 80-67 for Parzeczewski on all three cards. He has useful wins over Dariusz Sek, Dmitri Chudinov and Patrick Mendy and is said to be facing experienced Canadian Ryan Ford in his next fight. Janjanin is 4-5 in his last nine fights including a points loss to Martin Murray in November.
Laszczyk vs. Gudel
No problem here for Laszczyk. His speed gave him a big edge and he rocked Gudel with a right to the head in the first round. Accurate jabs and some tasty left hooks gave Laszczyk the second round and he scored well with right hooks in the third. In the fourth a right to the head forced Gudel to drop to one knee. He made it to his feet and the bell saved him. Laszczyk ended it in the fifth flooring Gudel twice before the referee intervened. After nine years as a pro and with a 28-0 record the 29-year-old Pole has been fed a stream of soft-touch opponents and seems to be going nowhere-slowly. Now 3 losses in his last 4 fights for Gudel
Gorgon vs. Szymanski
Szymanski’s slide continues as he losses a split decision to a very ordinary Gorgon. Szymanski had much the better technique and used his skills to edge in front. He then seemed to lose his way and boxed very defensively looking to hold and smother Gorgon’s attacks. Gorgon finished strongly and a right to the head saw Szymanski take a knee in the last round. Scores 58-55 twice for Gorgon and 57-56 for Szymanski. Just very ordinary prelim fighter Gorgon was 3-3-1 in his previous 7 fights and should not have caused Szymanski any problems but after winning his first nineteen fights, including five victories in the USA Szymanski has fallen to 1-4 in his last 5 with three of those losses inside the distance.
Fight of the week (Significance): Mike Plania’s win over WBO No 1 Joshua Greer has shaken up the WBO bantamweight ratings
Fight of the week (Entertainment): Plania vs. Greer was close and hard fought
Fighter of the week: Plania for beating WBO No 1 Greer with honourable mention to Gabriel Flores beating useful Josec Ruiz in his first ten round fight
Punch of the week: The right to the body from Emanuel Navarrete which finished Uriel Lopez
Upset of the week: Plania beating Greer was a surprise as was Edwin Palomares stopping 25-2 Carlos Ornelas
Prospect watch: No new names this week
Next Week’s Action:
Tuesday 23 June
Las Vegas: Super Fly: Andrew Moloney (21-0) vs. Joshua Franco (16-1-2) (WBA super fly title): Feather: Chris Diaz (25-2) vs. Jason Sanchez (15-1). Light: Joseph Adorno (14-0-1) vs. Alexis del Bosque (17-5).
Thursday 25 June
Las Vegas: Bantam: Jason Moloney (20-1) vs. Leonardo Baez (18-2). Light Abraham Nova) 18-0) vs., Avery Sparrow (10-1).
Friday 26 June:
Small shows in Tijuana and Haltom City, Texas
Saturday 27 June
Shows in Brampton, Canada, Czech Republic, Wuppertal Germany, Mexico City, Moscow and South Korea.
One of the things we love about doing this series, more than any other, is the total lack of limits we have for it. The only real limit is "the fight must be good". There isn't really an age limit, or a limit based on the profuile of the bout, or the location. As a result we get to enjoy some really high profile bouts, and some really obscure bouts, some new bouts and some older ones. Today we look at one of the more obscure ones, and one we only have access to thanks to some amateur camera style footage. Despite the limited quality of the footage the bout is a real fun hidden gem from the Japanese scene back in 2012.
Koichi Aso (14-4-1, 9) vs Tomohiko Sakai (7-4, 1)
The shaven headed Koichi Aso is one of the Japanese domestic level fighters who epitomises everything we love about Japanese boxing. He's a flawed but aggressive, exciting, heavy handed fighter who pushes forward, no matter what. He's never been a world beater, and never looked like being one, but what he has been is an exciting warrior who has always been worth watching. His rough around the edges style has cost him through his career in terms of wins but his style has long made him one of the more memorable domestic level Japanese fighters of the last decade or so. Coming in to this bout he had been struggling. He had lost 2 of his previous 3, including an opening round loss to Shinya Iwabuchi, and seemed to be clearly in need of a win.
Tomohiko Sakai on the other hand a real obscure fighter, even in Japanese circles. He had been a professional for years, with little success, and despite regularly fighting at Korakuen Hall he hadn't really managed to create any buzz. He was, for all intents, an unknown, who had been in just a single 8 rounder prior to face Aso. On paper he was the lamb to the slaughter, and having debuted as a Super Flyweight, was expected to be bully, battered and beaten up by Aso. Given Sakai's lack of power, with just a single stoppage to his name by this point, it was almost impossible to see him holding his own with Aso.
What we ended up getting wasn't a Fight of the Year contender, but it was a damn fine little bout at Korakuen Hall, as Aso's pressure was on show from the opening moments, and Sakai relied on his boxing skills, his hand speed and punch picking. It was the typical pressure fighter Vs boxer style match up, and like many bouts of that style match up, it was clean good fun early on.
It seemed inevitable that, sooner or later, Aso's pressure was going to break down Sakai, but instead Sakai became aggressive, feeling he could take the power of Aso and we began to see more and more inside action. Aso was still the one who was mostly on the front foot, but when Sakai needed to he fired back, and made sure to hit Aso with enough to keep Aso honest and take rounds with his clean and effective punches.
As the fight went on the pace never really slowed down in terms of output, it was instead full consistent, exciting exchanges. Sadly it perhaps lacked in the drama stakes, with neither man ever looking like they were hurt, but it turned into a very hotly contested and competitive bout, something that wasn't expected, and was a legitimate hidden gem of the 2012 boxing calendar which had the fans wonderfully engaged through out.
A very good and very fun little war that, sadly turned out to be Sakai final bout.
By Eric Armit
-Jesse Magdaleno beats Yenifel Vicente who is thrown out after losing four points for low blows and Adam Lopez edges out Luis Coria
-As boxing returns in Germany Jack Culcay scores comfortable decision over Howard Cospolite and prospects Marten Arsumanjan, Vincenzo Gualtieri, Jama Saidi and Artur Mann score wins
-Mariusz outpoints Kevin Johnson in the first action in Poland post the lockdown
Las Vegas, NV, USA: Super Feather: Jessie Magdaleno (28-1) W DISQ 10 Yenifel Vicente (36-5-2,1ND). Feather: Adam Lopez (14-2) W PTS 10 Luis Coria (12-3).
Magdaleno vs. Vicente
Magdaleno gets the win as he is two quick for the aggressive Vicente who suffers two knockdowns and four deductions for low punches before being thrown out in the tenth. Vicente was trying to force the fight in the first stalking the elusive Magdaleno. He managed to trap Magdaleno on the ropes but was caught by a sharp right counter to the temple and went down. It was not a heavy knockdown and Vicente was up early and easily made it to the bell. Vicente continued to chase down Magdaleno in the second and third but Magdaleno was just too quick for him. The fourth amazingly saw Vicente lose three points for low punches. Vicente had landed low a couple of time in the third and when he went low again early in the fourth the referee deducted a point. Then with just over a minute gone in the round Vicente landed a vicious low right which had Magdaleno dropping his guard and turning away and as he went down Vicente landed a hard right to the head. Magdaleno was on the floor for over two minutes with a doctor attending him. It seemed a clear case for disqualification but Magdaleno got up and the referee indicated he was deducting a point from Vicente and with all of that is was five minutes before the fight resumed. When it did Vicente attacked wildly and after yet another low punch the referee again deducted point from Vicente and Magdaleno boxed and countered his way to the end of an incident filled round which instead of being 10-9 for Magdaleno was a 10-6 round. Vicente had not learned his lesson from the first round and in the fifth was wide open as Magdaleno put him down with a strong counter right jab over Vicente’s low left. Vicente continued to chase down Magdaleno but was too wild and Magdaleno was too quick and too tricky. As his frustration and desperation increased Vicente suffered another deduction when within ten seconds of the start of the last round he landed way below the belt. Vicente then connected twice more below the belt and the referee finally disqualified him. Third win over good level opposition for the former WBO champion since moving up to featherweight. He sits at No 4 in the WBO ratings behind Michael Conlan, Ryan Walsh and Carl Frampton and as the champion is fellow-Top Rank fighter Shakur Stevenson a title fight in 2021 is feasible. Dominican Vicente was 23-0-2 at one time but has found it tougher against better quality opposition and was lucky not to get thrown out of this fight long before the tenth.
Lopez vs. Coria
An excellent scrap between Lopez and Coria reminded us of what we had been missing during the lockdown as Lopez had to hold off a strong finish from Coria to take a majority decision. Coria made a fast start getting inside and outscoring Lopez. Lopez made some adjustments from the third using his better skills to pile up the points. Coria came back into the fight late as Lopez tired and busted up Lopez who had huge swellings around both eyes but Lopez had done enough over the middle rounds to just deserve the verdict. Scores 96-94 twice for Lopez and 95-95. Lopez wins the vacant NABF title. Lopez was to have fought Coria in November but instead he stepped in at just one day’s notice to tackle Oscar Valdez and save the show. Although stopped in the seventh round he had Valdez down in the second. Coria, 21, was coming off three low level wins and was in his first ten round fight. His performance here should get him plenty more assignments.
Berlin, Germany: Super Welter: Jack Culcay (28-4) W PTS 12 Howard Cospolite (18-8-3), Middle: Marten Arsumanjan (10-1-1) W RTD 7 Bjoern Schicke (16-1-1). Middle: Vincenzo Gualtieri (15-0) W PTS 10 Alexander Pavlov (10-1). Middle: Jama Saidi (17-1) W PTS 8 Jay Spencer (1-2). Cruiser: Arthur Mann (16-1) W KO 3 Rad Rashidi (18-7).
Culcay vs. Cospolite
“Golden Jack” eases himself back with a good workout against French journeyman Cospolite. The former holder of the secondary WBA super welter title was making the first defence of the WBO International title. Culcay had the better skill set and more power but at times he made it harder than it needed to be as he elected to fight inside and not use his superior boxing. One of the reasons from working inside was that despite bouncing his punches off the head of Cospolite he was not making a dent in the Frenchman’s aggression so he eventually started to target the body more. Without ever really threatening an upset Cospolite made Culcay work hard all the way. Scores 117-111, 116-110 and 116-112 for Culcay. The 34-year-old Ecuadorian-born Culcay only lost to Demetrius Andrade for the WBA title on a split decision and gave Sergey Derevyanchenko a good fight last year. He is rated in the top ten by both the IBF and WBO and another title chance is not out of question. Cospolite, 37, has lost in shots at the EBU and EU tiles but only been stopped once.
Arsumanjan vs. Schicke
A minor upset here as home team fighter Schicke losses his unbeaten tag and his EU title against fellow German Arsumanjan. The fight was even over the early rounds but the power and strength of Arsumanjan became the deciding factor. He pressured Schicke into fighting inside and began to break the unbeaten fighter down. Arsumanjan scored heavily with head shot in the sixth and Schicke’s corner retired their man at the end of the round. Schicke went to hospital just for observation. Big win for Arsumanjan who had his cousin Arthur Abraham in his corner. This was a big step up in opposition as he gets his fourth win in a row rebuilding after a shocking first round kayo loss to a fellow novice in 2018. Schicke had been carefully matched so has a recover job on his hands.
Gualtieri vs. Pavlov
Gualtieri just does enough to get by Pavlov in a desperately close fight for vacant German title. Some good early work with his jab saw Pavlov give Gualtieri some problem over the first three of rounds. Without really being totally dominant Gualtieri found his rhythm and swept the middle rounds to establish a good lead. Pavlov ate into that lead by taking the eighth and ninth to make it close but Gualtieri earned the decision with a strong last round. Scores 96-94 and 96-95 for Gualtieri and 95-95. “El Capo” has faced a mixed level of opposition and there is still room for some improvement. Pavlov was going past six rounds for the first time and had faced only some very weak opposition but he impressed here.
Saidi vs. Spencer
Saidi is just too talented for the strong but limited Spencer and outboxes him all the way. Not a big puncher Saidi never really looked like ending it early but he won every round. Scores 80-72 for Saidi from all three judges. The 26-year-old German “Hammer”, a former undefeated IBF and WBO European champion was having his first fight since putting up a creditable performance in losing a close unanimous verdict against Culcay in November. A former German kickboxing champion he has wins over experienced Sasha Yengoyan and Predrag Radosevic. Ghanaian Spencer has done all of his fighting in Germany
Mann vs. Rashid
Kazak-born German Mann makes it nine inside the distance wins with kayo of Rashid. Mann controlled the fight with his jab in the first before flooring Rashid with a combination late in the second. He ended it in the third with brutal uppercut that put Rashid down and out. The 29-year-old “Thunderman” was stopped in four rounds by Kevin Lerena in a challenge for the IBO cruiser title in March last year and this is his second win as he seeks to re-establishes himself
Konary, Poland: Heavy: Mariusz Wach (36-6) W PTS 10 Kevin Johnson (34-17-1).
Only a super optimist could have expected this fight to be entertaining. This struggle between two 40-year-old former world title challengers was a slow and dreary affair. Wach won it almost exclusively with his jab as he used his 6’7 ½” height and 82” reach to keep the 6’3” Johnson out. Johnson was a little livelier than in some of his recent performances but only just. He looked to have done enough to take the third and was competitive over the fourth and fifth but other than that he was never in the fight. Scores 99-91, 98-92 and 97-93 all for Wach as he wins the Polish International title. The big Pole hardly used his right and after the fight stated he had injured the hand but the way he is fighting now the Scandinavians should sue him over his “Viking” nickname. Over the years Johnson has fallen from 27-1-1 in his first 29 fights to 7-16 in his last 23 and this is his fifth loss in a row.
Fight of the week (Significance): Both Culcay and Magdaleno showed they still have a part to play
Fight of the week (Entertainment) Adam Lopez vs. Luis Coria gave the fans a treat
Fighter of the week: Jack Culcay performed well
Punch of the week: The uppercut from Artur Mann that flattened Rad Rashid
Upset of the week: Marten Arsumanjan winning over Bjoern Schicke was not on the cards
Prospect watch: No one stood out
Observations: Obviously the absence of spectators was strange but it was also curious to see everyone except the fighters and referees wearing masks which obviously makes the strictest testing of those three for every fight important as you can’t have social distancing in the ring!
We're in the middle of another month and once again it's time to look at some commercials featuring boxers from Asia!
Rex Tso - "Heavy Hammer Grilled Iron Plate"
Hong Kong fighter Rex Tso was, at one point, among the the nation's biggest sports stars and the marketing departments of various companies knew it. As a result Tso featured in a number of adverts, one of which was this one, which we believe was for Cafe De Coral Hong Kong and their "Heavy Hammer Grilled Iron Plate", which appears to be a glorified mixed grill. According to the company the product features steak, pork, seafood sticks, sausages and soup. Not the best advert or the most interesting, but still at least it's advertising a good looking product!
Daigo Higa - "JTA"
Another rather notable name modern day name featured in a recent commercial was Daigo Higa, who stared in an advert for JTA Corporate. The advert is a very simple one focusing more on Higa than the actual company the adverts trying to promote. Supposed the advert is for Japan Transocean Air and Japan Airlines but in the end the company only really gets mentioned at the very end of the commercial. It's nice to see Higa looking happy but as a promotional video. Yeah this ain't good.
Bernabe Concepcion - "Johnson and Johnson"
It's fair to say that Bernabe Concepcion isn't the most well known fighter out there, but it's still interesting to note that he was in this very peculiar advert for Johnson and Johnson. We're not sure if Concepcion was more famous in the Philippines than we were lead to presume but it's clear they have actively selected the fighter. As for the advert it's self, it's a sweet caring one, and appeals to those who see Johnson and Johnson as a key brand of families. Odd, sure. Still a notable advert and something that we suspect few have seen.
Guts Ishimatsu - "Asahi Shinbun Digital"
There are very few fighters in as many commercials as Guts Ishimatsu. Part of that is the remarkable career change that Guts has made, going from world class boxer to professional actor. With that in mind he's in a lot of adverts, and they are pretty wide ranging in terms of products that he's affiliated with. One such advert is for the digital edition of the Asahi Shinbun. Essentially this is an advert for the online version of a Japanese newspaper...with Guts' natural charm shining through throughout.
Chris John - "Kuku Bima Ener-G!"
To end this we go to Indonesia for an energy drink advert featuring Indonesian boxing great Chris John alongside spiritual guardian Mbah Marijan. The advert was filmed close to Mount Merapi, which sadly erupted in 2010 killing Marijan. The advert seems to show John running from the volcano with thanks to the energy drunk, which shows off the various flavours of the drink. For those curious the Kuku Bima energy drinks come as powder, which needs dissolving in water.
We continue looking at controversies by going to an incredibly obvious one, in fact the bout is one of the most famous robberies in the sports history and a bout that goes down as one of the biggest disgraces in amateur. Through this series we will look at some amateur bouts, but this is certainly the on that stands as being the worst.
Park Si Hun Vs Roy Jones Jr
We had to. The 1988 Olympic final at 156lbs is regarded as a disgusting robbery with American fighter Roy Jones Jr being robbed blind by the judges against Park Si Hun. Where many covering this bout begin the story at the 1988 Olympics, we really need to roll the clock back 4 years and look at what is essentially a prologue to the bout to fully set the scene.
At the 1984 Olympics, in Los Angeles, the South Korean team was an excellent one. They felt they had a number of gold medal contenders and were seen as one of the best teams there. In the end however it was the US who dominated the games, which didn't have the Soviet Union or Cuba attending. From the 12 divisions the US ended up winning 9 golds, a silver and a bronze. Korea on the other hand left with just 3 medals, a single gold, a silver and a bronze.
A number of those medals for the Americans came on the back of some questionable judging, with American fighters winning 36 of the 37 decisions they were involved in. As well as decisions favouring the locals a number of other decisions had gone against South Korean fighters, so much so South Korean officials pretty much accused one judge and referee of having a US bias.
Just 4 years after the LA games things went to Seoul, South Korea, and the US were again expecting big things from their team, especially with Cuba again boycotting. It was a chance to get revenge for all the issues South Korea felt had harmed them 4 years earlier.
Things didn't go their way to begin with though, and that was increasing the anger of the Koreans. They essentially forced official Keith Walker, who they had been angered by 1984, home in 1988 when he was involved in a bout involving Byun In Jung. They were also annoyed at Oh Kwang Soo losing a close decision to Michael Carbajal. They also had to wait almost 24 hours for a decision to be made regarding Anthony Hembrick, who showed up 12 minutes late for a bout with Ha Jong Ho.
One of the US' big hopes was Roy Jones Jr. An athletic freak who was just 19 years old but seen as a sensationally talented youngster. He had taken wins at a number of notable competitions, including the 1984 US National Jr Olympics, and the 1986 and 1987 National Golden Gloves. Outside of the US his success continued and he took a silver medal at the 1986 Goodwill games. He was one of their big hopes for a medal and cruised his way to the 156lb final, taking an opening round win before 3 straight 5-0 decisions.
Park Si Hun was the Korean hopeful at the weight and had come in to the Olympics as a genuine star. He had been a 2-time Asian Amateur Champion and had won a gold medal at the 1985 Boxing World Cup. To reach the Olympic final he had taken 3 clear and decisive wins, but had struggled in the quarter final against Vincenzo Nardiello, in what was regarded as a genuine controversy in it's self.
The bout was a highly anticipated one. It was a chance for local fans to see their local hero take a gold, or for the sensational American to take home the top honour. It was a chance for Korea to get one over on the national they felt had treat them badly in 1984. It was a chance for revenge.
Straight from the opening round the Korean fight looked classed, to slow, too ridged and was unable to time Jones' exceptional speed. The Korean struggled to land anything of note whilst Jones landed near enough at will. The domination of Jones grew round by round and in the end it seemed like he had done more than enough to take the decision. He had been the aggressor, he had landed significantly more punches, he had dominated and was surely about to get the gold medal.
Then he lost.
The judges some how found a way to give the bout to Hun, giving him a 3-2 split decision. A decision that simply couldn't be explained. A decision that defied belief. A decision that sent the crowd into immediate cheers, but left Hun looking confused and Jones in tears as he left the ring.
Soon after the bout the three judges who had given the bout to Hun were suspended, the result was seen as a dark point in amateur boxing, and despite the loss Roy Jones was given the Val Barker trophy by AIBA. It also lead to a change in the scoring system, using a flawed computer scoring system rather than the 20-point must system that had been in use.
In 1997 an investigation was completed. It found that the judges had been wined and dined by the organisers but that there was no evidence of any corruption regarding boxing at the Olympics.
The change in scoring sadly did little to clean up the sport, and caused numerous issues in it's self, but was a direct result of this bout.
After the bout Jones would turn professional, making his debut in 1989, and go on to be one of most talented fighters of his generation. He would have professional success from Middleweight to Heavyweight and will, eventually, be inducted into the hall of fame. As for Hun he retired from the sport, became a teacher, and then got back into the sport as a coach in the 2000's.
When you have two fighters known for their exciting styles, which mix aggression, power and scary toughness, face off we tend to expect a special type of fight. Today we look at once such fight from the early part of this century, and this really was a properly brutal war that saw the fighter landing heavy leather through, in what turned out to be an instant classic. Despite being an instant classic it's one we suspect most fans haven't actually seen, making it a perfect fight for this series.
Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai (37-2-1, 31) vs Lakva Sim (16-2-1, 13)
Thailand's Theera Phongwan went by a number of names, such as Yodsanan 3-K Battery, which he was called in this fight, and Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai. No matter what name he was using he was always an aggressive, hungry fighter who came forward and looked to take the heads off of his opponents. Due to his style and power he was dubbed the "Thai Tyson" on his rise through the ranks. He had suffered a couple of early set backs, losing twice in his first 10 bouts, before reeling off a long unbeaten run to earn a shot at the WBA title. In many ways he was the Srisaket Sor Rungvisai of his era, a hard hitting southpaw from Si Sa Ket. Like Srisaket, Yodsanan also got his shot on the back of his destructive run, rather than the level of his competition.
Lakva Sim on the other hand a 30 year old Mongolian who had won the WBA Super Featherweight title in 1999 when he beat him and broke down popular Japanese star Takanori Hatakeyama. His reign was a short one, losing the title in controversial fashion to Jong Kwon Baek, but he was owed a second shot due to the controversy of the loss. He had racked up 5 straight wins following his title loss, and had looked destructive against the likes of Hidekazu Matsunobu. Although he was getting on Sim was still very highly regarded for his power, aggression, toughness and thrilling style. He had been unlucky in both losses, both split decision defeats in South Korea to more experienced fighters, and had given everyone he had faced absolute fits with his all out aggression.
Given the fact both men had similar hard hitting styles it's fair to expect this to be a war, and it really lives up to the expectations.
From the opening round both men were finding themselves in range, and both were finding themselves launching some huge bombs, with Sim often forcing Yodsanan on to the back foot and catching him with hard short right hands up top. The Thai responded in kind with some big left hands and nasty body shots. By the end of the first round we were already seeing both men needing to prove their toughness. Things then ramped up a gear in round 2 as both men had moments where their power and aggression forced the other backwards.
With the sun beaming down on the two men, in an outdoor event in Thailand, we would have expected the bout to slow down, a lot, but instead the pace remained hot. The heat and humidity seemed to take their foot work and movement away, rather than their output, and both men continued landing huge head shots and wicked body shots.
Even when the pace did, eventually slow, it seemed that we still had a lot of brilliant back and forth action with Sim the one forcing the pace, with his pressure. Yodsanan, who should have been the man more adapt with the Thai conditions, seemed to be the one flagging more, but even then he still had real bursts of activity and huge power shots in what was a genuine test of both men's toughness and mental fortitude.
We don't think many fans will have seen this punishing war, but really if you're reading this, you owe it to yourself to get 50 minutes of free and watch this all heavy handed, bombs away thriller from 2002!
This weekly feature is one of our favourites to do, and is a great chance to rewatch some amazing bouts from the past. This week we go back to 1994 for an instant classic, and one of the most watched all-Japan bouts in history. It's a bout that was a product of the WBC having an interim champion and a real champion unifying the titles, and was something that exceeded the high expectations that many in Japan had for the bout, and was a massive ratings success across various Japanese regions.
Yasuei Yakushiji (22-2-1, 16) Vs Joichiro Tatsuyoshi (10-1-1, 8)
In one corner was WBC "regular" Bantamweight champion Yasuei Yakushiji, a star in the Chukyo region where the bout was held. Yakushiji had suffered 2 losses early in his career, when he started 2-2, but had gone 20-0-1 following that run. He had claimed the WBC title in December 1993 when he beat Korean Jung-Il Byun, and had defended the belt twice, including stopping Byun in a rematch. Although not a name that was known on the wider boxing world, he was a solid and well respected Japanese fighter who had made his name as the star fighter of the Matsuda gym.
Interestingly Yakushiji got his opportunity at Byun due to stepping in as a substitute for Jocihiro Tatsuyoshi, who had had to cancel a bout due to an eye injury.
Whilst Tatsuyoshi had missed out on a bout with Byun he was actually the interim champion, having won that title back in July 1993 when he beat Victor Rabanales in their second clash. Sadly it was that bout that saw Tatsuyoshi suffer his eye injury and take almost a year away from the ring. Despite the lengthy break from the ring he was still a Japanese boxing megastar, and just 5 months prior to facing Yakushiji he had made his US debut, stopping Josefino Suarez on an Elorde card in Hawaii. Enigmatic, with an exciting and unique style, Tatsuyoshi was the Japanese megastar of his era.
The bout, held in Nagoya, saw Yakushiji get home advantage but even as the away fighter Tatsuyoshi had a huge fan base at the Rainbow Hall, with fans from Osaka following their hero across the country as well as local fans who were fans of the style and personality of the Osakan.
From the opening round it was clear that Tatsuyoshi was going to be on the outside, fighting behind a very busy jab and on his toes. He was the quicker, more agile man and the one with the smarter feet. Yakushiji on the other hand was going to have to press the fight, and take shots to get at "Joe of Naniwa".
By round 2 Yakushiji was starting to find his own range as the bout moved from first gear, into second gear and the action began to pick up. From there on things just got better and better as the two men really began to get the best out of each other in a brilliant, thrilling, technical and highly competitive back and forth. It wasn't a brawl with wild and reckless bombs in the early stages, but was a brilliant technical war, with both men using their jabs to unlock the bigger artillery in their arsenals. Even when the pattern changed, and Yakushiji got on the back foot things were still real technical exciting.
In the middle round the action heated up further, we again weren't seeing brawling, as such, but very technically correct and exciting action. Punches were at mid-to-close range, they were traded back and forth and they were clean shots. Very rarely did we see the two men falling into each other, or being forced into a clinch as they responded with shots when they were tagged, rather than smothering.
We won't ruin the bout totally, but if you like excellent, high level, aggressive boxing, this is a special fight, with an excellent atmosphere, and was the first time, in history two Japanese fighters fought to unify world titles, the WBC "regular" and WBC "interim" titles. The fact this was such a fantastic bout makes it a genuine must watch, for every fight fan!
When we have some free time we're hoping to add a series of fun articles to the site. Hopefully these will be enjoyable little short features