One of the amazing things about Closet Classics is getting the chance to find over looked fights featuring fighters who don't get the love they deserve. Today we find one such bout, and it's one that has often gone over-looked and is a genuine hidden gem of the Asian boxing world. It wasn't a Fight of the Year contender, but was a surprisingly fun to watch bout, that combined skills, action and featured a modern day star. Also it was a bout that got better the long it went,
Chris John (33-0, 19) vs Osamu Sato (26-2-3, 15)
When we think of Indonesian legend Chris John we don't typically think of thrilling bouts and all out wars. In fact for the most part we think of John's technical skills, his speed, his smart combinations and his ability to get in and out without taking too much damage. What's often forgotten however is that John had real dog in him, and when he needed to fight he could. He wasn't afraid of having a fight, as he did in his 1997 thriller with Muhammad Alfaridzi. He were have another of Johnson's more action packed bouts as the "Dragon" went to Japan to defend his WBA Featherweight title.
For John the bout was his first defense of the WBA title, after being upgraded from the interim champion that he'd become when he beat Oscar Leon around 9 months earlier.
Osamu Sato, who had been involved in some thrillers by this point, was well known for his action bouts, including his 2002 thriller with Willie Jorin, and his come brilliant bout with Yoddamrong Sithyodthong. Entering this bout he had been a former WBA Super Bantamweight champion, and despite only having a short lived reign "Hulk" was still very popular in his homeland thanks to aggressive style, and pressure mentality. He wasn't the most polished fighter out there, but was a physically strong and imposing one with a great engine and a genuine will to win.
From the opening round it was clear that Sato lacked the skills to box with John, but that had never held Sato back in the past against better boxers, like Yoddamrong and Jorin, as he fought to his strengths. He wasn't going to try and out point the Indonesian, but instead he was going to try and out fight John, out muscle him and out strength him. He was going to press, push, come forward and fight.
The opening round saw John as the aggressor quite often, whilst Sato often backed off, trying to get a read on the champion. It was something we'd seen a lot from Sato over the years, with the Japanese local coming forward in bursts. From then on however we began to see Sato coming forward more and more often.
With Sato pressing for much of the fight it left him open to clean counters as, but he had moments of success himself, with his blows not looking as clean, but looking heavier. He looked to be the aggressor, pushing the fight more round by round, again a tactic we had seen from him in the past. The difference in hand speed and technique was obvious, but the pressure from Sato often forced John to move away, rest and was having success, albeit rather limited success at times.
As the bout went on Sato's aggression continued, launching huge right hands around the guard of John, who was forced to pick his counter shots more intelligently, leaping on the mistakes Sato made. Sato's desperation made the action more and more thrilling, and yet John didn't get engaged in a sloppy war, but boxed, a brilliant, polished fight against a fun and aggressive fighter, who became the perfect foil for the Indonesian.
This bout wasn't the most action packed, or competitive, but it was a pretty fun, clean bout that had an edge of drama running through out and saw both men landing a solid number of big shots. A real fun bout with an excellent final round.
By Eric Armit
-Oscar Valdez stops Jayson Velez in ten as he campaigns for a shot at the Super Feather title
-Vergil Ortiz breaks down and stops Sammy Vargas in seven rounds
-Joe Joyce crushes Michael Wallisch in three rounds
-Isaac Dogboe returns and stops Chris Avalos as he moves up to featherweight
-Edgar Berlanga makes it 14 first round wins at the start of his career as he flattens Eric Moon and Elvis Rodriguez gets his second inside the distance win in less than three weeks
Las Vegas, NV, USA: Super Feather: Oscar Valdez (28-0) W TKO 10 Jayson Velez (29-7-1). Light Heavy: Edgar Berlanga (14-0) W KO 1 Eric Moon (11-3). Feather: Isaac Dogboe (21-2) W TKO 8 Chris Avalos (27-8). Welter: Elvis Rodriguez W KO 2 Dennis Okoth (4-4-1).
Valdez vs. Velez
Valdez struggled early to find his range and timing but then ended the bout emphatically halting Velez in the last round.
Velez was taking the fight to Valdez in the first reddening Valdez face with jabs and throwing rights. Valdez connected with some hard body shots and did enough to take a close opener. Velez was busier in the second throwing lots of punches with Valdez looking to counter but not throwing much. Velez used his longer reach to score at distance in the third and fourth. He was busier with Valdez on the back foot but landing crisp counters and two left hooks rocked Velez in the fourth. Velez was again forcing the fight in the fifth until just before the bell a wide left hook counter dumped him on his rear. He was up at eight and the bell went before Valdez was able to throw another punch. Velez marched forward in the sixth but there was very little power in his punches and Valdez was now catching him more often with counters and twice rocked Velez with lefts to the head. Velez fought back and pressured and outworked Valdez throughout the seventh and eighth. He was still being caught by counters but walked through them. Velez had been warned earlier for a low punch and when he landed another at the start of the ninth the referee deducted a point from him. Velez tried to claw back some ground but late in the round he was staggered badly by a left hook and Valdez connected with a series of head punches. Velez stormed forward throwing punches in the last but was raked with counters until an overhand right followed by a left hook put him on the canvas. He made it to his feet at eight but when a right to the head sent him tumbling into the ropes and down the fight was stopped. Second fight at super featherweight for 29-year-old Valdez after relinquishing his WBO super bantamweight title. He is now No 1 with the WBO and the WBC at super feather and will be aiming to become a two-division champion in 2011. Velez made Valdez work hard all the way but tired from the pace he had set himself and suffers his first loss by KO/TKO.
Berlanga vs. Moon
Berlanga against showcases his power as he destroys Moon inside the first round. Moon came out throwing punches but some stiff jabs from Berlanga put him on the back foot. Berlanga hunted Moon around the ring before trapping him on the ropes connecting with two body shots followed by two clubbing rights to the head. Moon dropped to his knees and as he tried to rise he tumbled to the canvas on his side and the referee immediately waived the fight off. Done and dusted in just 62 seconds. Fast? No only the sixth fastest finish for Berlanga who has won all of his 14 fights inside a round. He is ready for tougher tests but at 23 there is no need to rush. Moon was 4-1 in his previous 5 contests but Berlanga just punched too hard.
Dogboe vs. Avalos
Dogboe gets his first win since suffering back-to-back losses to Emanuel Navarette as he finally subdues a tough Avalos in the last round. Despite not having fought for fourteen months Dogboe looked sharp from the start. He was slotting jabs through the guard of Avalos and digging in with some hurtful left hooks with Avalos constantly on the retreat. Avalos did better in the second round. He was standing and trading and scoring inside with hooks from both hands. Dogboe had success with overhand rights and left hooks but looked to have been rattled by a right before the bell. After some early exchanges in the third Dogboe took over with strong jabs and left hooks to the body in a fast-paced contest. Dogboe dominated the fourth with a sustained body attack. When he shifted to the head he twice stung Avalos with overhand rights. Avalos looked to be wilting under the jabs and body shots from Dogboe in the fifth but a low punch from Dogboe saw the referee deducted a point from the Ghanaian. Dogboe continued to hunt Avalos down in the sixth with Avalos tiring and getting caught with jabs and quick rights. Avalos was livelier in the seventh. He was throwing hooks from both hands and then smothering Dogboe’s work on the inside. Dogboe launched a savage attack in the last round rocking Avalos with lefts and rights to the head. There was no escape for Avalos and after hurting Avalos with a left hook to the head a thunderous head-snapping right to the head was enough for the referee to step in and save Avalos. The 25-year-old “Royal Storm” is small for a featherweight at 5’4” but he has the backing from Top Rank and good credentials so can be guided to a title shot in 2021 but it remains to be seen if he can make it at featherweight. Former IBF and WBA title challenger Avalos was having only his second contest in three years. He has been in too many hard fights and is unlikely to be able to work his way to a third title chance.
Rodriguez vs. Okoth
Rodriguez racks up his second inside the distance win in the last three weeks. Neither fighter committed themselves to little more than tentative jabs until late in the opening round when Rodriguez landed with a strong southpaw right hook to the body. Rodriguez tracked Okoth around the ring in the second before connecting with a powerful straight left that dropped Okoth on his back. The referee did not bother with a count and it was some time before Okoth was able to get up. The tall, 24-year-old, Dominican southpaw has won inside the distance eight times with the draw being a technical one. He looks special. Second loss by KO/TKO for Okoth who represented Kenya at both the World Championships and the Commonwealth Games.
Tokyo, Japan: Super Fly: Kenta Nakagawa (19-3-1) W TEC DEC 9 Yuta Matsuo (15-5-2)
Southpaw Nakagawa makes a successful first defence of the national title in his second reign as champion. The secret for Nakagawa was to box at distance and keep the aggressive Matsuo out. The contrasting styles made for an interesting fight with Nakazawa scoring with straight lefts and Matsuo with hooks on the inside. After five rounds two judges had it close at 48-47 for Nakagawa with the third seeing Nakagawa in front 49-46. Matsuo tried to force the pace over the second half of the fight but the quicker hands and greater accuracy of Nakagawa saw him increase his lead. He looked to be on his way to a points victory when a clash of heads in the ninth saw both fighters cut-Nakagawa over his left eye and Matsuo on his forehead. With both fighters shedding blood the fight was stopped and went to the judges cards with Nakagawa winning on scores of 88-84 twice and 88-83. Nakagawa, 34, turned pro in 2004 but was inactive between 2005 and 2011. He returned to action to eventually win the national title in 2016 only to lose it in 2017 before regaining it again in 2019. Matsuo, 30, was having his second shot at this title.
Minsk, Belarus: Light: Isa Chaniev (14-3) W PTS 10 Vladyslav Melnyk (11-2). Super Middle: Sergei Gorokhov (10-2-2) W PTS 10 Levan Shonia (15-19). Super light: Gaibatulla Gadzhialiev (7-2-1) W TKO 8 Artem Ayvazidi (12-19-1).
Chaniev vs. Melnyk
Chaniev builds an early lead then holds off a strong finish from Melnyk. Chaniev took control circling Melnyk scoring with jabs and overhand rights and then darting in with a cluster of punches. Melnyk was just not quick enough in countering and his timing was off. Chaniev swept the first four rounds before Melnyk began to score well with hooks in the fifth and did enough to edge the sixth. Chaniev rebounded and used his strength to collect the seventh and eighth. Melnyk battled back and outscored Chaniev over the last two rounds but it was not enough to swing the fight his way. Scores 99-92, 98-93 and 98-94 for Chaniev. A much needed win for the 27-year-old Russian after a loss to Richard Commey for the vacant IBF title and to Pavel Malikov. Ukrainian Melnyk, 21, showed promise and was coming off an impressive win over unbeaten German Edgar Walth.
Gorokhov vs. Shonia
Gorokhov held off an aggressive Shonia in the first round and then used his better skills to pick up the points. A strong but crude Shonia remained competitive and Gorokhov struggled to keep him out although he rocked Shonia a couple of times in the sixth. Shonia just kept motoring forward scoring with clubbing shots inside but Gorokhov was able to pound Shonia with jabs and counters as he boxed his way to victory. Scores 97-93 twice and 96-94 for Gorokhov. Russian Gorokhov fought two draws with modest opposition in 2020. Eight losses in a row for Shonia who has never been beaten inside the distance.
Gadzhialiev vs. Ayvazidi
Gadzhialiev gets a late stoppage victory over Ayvazidi. Gadzhialiev worked his way inside using good upper body movement and battered at Ayvazidi’s body over the early rounds. Ayvazidi showed some nice skills but he lacked the power to get Gadzhialiev’s respect. Gadzhialiev kept changing angles and connecting with some strong hooks and uppercuts mixing his punches cleverly to head and body. Gadzhialiev strayed low in the fourth and lost a point but a left to the ribs put Ayvazidi down in the fifth and after the eight count a right to the body floored him for the second time but he fought back to make it to the bell. Ayvazidi put in a brave effort in the sixth taking the fight to Gadzhialiev but was being caught with rights to the head and left hooks to the body. In the seventh a tiring Ayvazidi was badly hurt by a punch that landed on his waistline and stepped back in pain Gadzhialiev then landed a right that landed on the left thigh of Ayvazidi. He went down and the referee stopped the fight. Although Russian-born the 29-year-old Gadzhialiev fought for Azerbaijan as an Elite class amateur competing at the 2012 Olympics, getting a bronze medal at the World Championships and putting together an impressive 11-3 record in the WSB but he has disappointed as a pro. Sixth loss in a row for Ukrainian Ayvazidi
Indio, California: Welter Vergil Ortiz (16-0) W TKO 7 Sammy Vargas (31-6-2). Middle: Shane Mosley Jr (16-3) W PTS 8 Jeremy Ramos (11-9). Super Bantam: Hector Valdez (13-0) W PTS 8 Josue Morales (11-12-4)
Ortiz vs. Vargas
Ortiz breaks down and batters a courageous Vargas to defeat in seven rounds. Impressive start from Ortiz. His jab had reddened the face of Vargas in the first thirty seconds and he continued to pierce the guard of Vargas before connecting with some flashy hurtful combinations later in the round. A good second round from Vargas as he bobbed and weaved under Oritz’s jab and worked inside with hooks and uppercuts. Ortiz just could not find the target with his jab and was on the back foot throughout the round. Ortiz was more accurate with his jab in the third and connected with some vicious hooks. Over the last minute of the round Vargas was again boring in and denying Ortiz punching room. The pace slowed over the first two minutes of the fourth but then Ortiz exploded into action. He rocked Vargas with a left hook and then bombarded him with punches driving Vargas across the ring to the ropes and pinned him there under pressure to the bell. Ortiz took the fifth round off. He was content to smothering Vargas work inside but rarely threw a right, worked only with his jab and allowed Vargas to get in close. Ortiz upped his pace in the sixth. He was using a stiff jab to keep Vargas on the back foot and landing overhand rights. Ortiz launched a furious attack in the seventh. He connected with a series of head punches until Vargas lunged forward and down bringing Ortiz down with him with both ending on the canvas. When they were up Ortiz continued to batter Vargas around the ring until the referee jumped in to save Vargas. Ortiz retains the WBA Gold belt with his sixteenth inside the distance victory. The 22-year-old from Dallas looked a little flat at times but he finished with a real power showing. The WBA Gold title is a dead end. He could be rated No 1 and be the mandatory challenger to Manny Pacquiao but as he sits outside the ratings he can’t be the mandatory challenger unless he relinquishes the Gold belt. He is developing into a real threat but is not yet ready for IBF/WBC champion Errol Spence or WBC champion Terence Crawford but will be by late 2021. Canadian-based Colombian Vargas posed some problems for Ortiz early but did not have the punch to match Ortiz and suffers his third inside the distance defeat with Errol Spence and Danny Garcia the other fighters to have stopped him.
Mosley vs. Ramos
Mosley outboxes Ramos to take a comfortable unanimous decision. The 6’1” tall Mosley made good use of his height and longer reach to outwork Ramos and he swept the first three rounds although Ramos worked hard to get inside and keep the fight close. Mosley went off the boil in the middle rounds but was still doing most of the scoring. He picked up the pace again in the sixth and closed strongly against a tiring Ramos to take the decision. Scores 80-72 twice and 79-73 for Mosley. He has won 6 of his last 7 fights with the loss coming against Brandon Adams in the final of the 2018 Contender series but at 29 he is going no further. Puerto Rican Ramos falls to 2-8 in his last 10 outings.
Valdez vs. Morales
Valdez easily outpoints Morales to make it a double for Dallas. The Texan was able to keep the light punching Morales on the defensive in every round. He was quicker than southpaw Morales forcing the fight all of the way. Morales showed a nice jab and some quick movement but was in survival mode for much of the fight. Valdez tried hard to finish it inside the distance but never really had Morales in any serious trouble and had to settle for winning by decision. Scores 80-72 twice and 79-73 for Valdez but it was difficult to see which round Morales did enough for one judge to award him it. Valdez was coming off a third round kayo of former IBF light fly title challenger Luis Alberto Rios. Morales keeps his record clear of any inside the distance losses.
Castro Urdiales, Spain: Welter: Jon Miguez (12-0) W PTS 10 Zoltan Szabo (27-24). Miguez floors late substitute Szabo twice on the way to a unanimous points victory in the first post-virus show in Spain. Szabo made an aggressive start against the clever boxing of Miguez and did enough to make the fight even after four rounds. Miguez changed that by flooring Szabo heavily with a left to the head in the fifth. From there Miguez was the boss and he sealed the win by dropping Szabo with a body punch in the eighth. Szabo had fought hard but he was exhausted but survived as Miguez tried to end the fight early. Good performance for the 23-year-old “Goodboy” in a useful learning fight. Szabo was a substitute for a substitute. He came in at just one week’s notice and gave Miguez some needed work.
London, England: Heavy: Joe Joyce (11-0 W TKO 3 Michael Wallisch (20-4).Super Bantam: Chris Bourke (8-0) W PTS 10 Ramez Mahmood (11-1).Middle: Denzel Bentley (13-0) W RTD 6 Mick Hall (15-3).
Joyce vs. Wallisch
Joyce batters Wallisch to defeat inside three rounds. Wallisch tried to stand and trade with Joyce in the opener but was quickly forced onto the back foot as Joyce rammed home jabs. Wallisch landed three consecutive rights to the head but Joyce just shrugged them off and clubbed Wallisch with punches to head and body. Joyce continued to rumble forward in the second. Wallisch was able to find the target with head punches but they just bounced off Joyce who kept bludgeoning Wallisch with shots to head and body until Wallisch dropped to one knee and then sat on the bottom rope. He made it to his feet and Joyce was unable to land any more heavy punches before the bell. A series of thumps from Joyce saw Wallisch drop to a knee at the start of the third. Wallisch got up at eight but some more heavy shots from Joyce made Wallisch fall to his knees and the referee stopped the fight. When Wallisch’s best punches just bounced off Joyce the fight was virtually over. Joyce is just so powerful that he steamrollers opponents and so far no one has been able to stand up to Joyce’s power. Daniel Dubois will have been cheered to see how easily the slow Wallisch was able to land rights to the head of Joyce but it remains to be seen whether he can move the mountain. All four of Wallisch’s losses have come inside the distance and he is a very ordinary fighter with a cleverly padded record.
Bourke vs. Mahmood
This was a fast-paced close fight between two quick good technical boxers. Bourke staggered Mahmood with a left in the second and attacked hard but Mahmood recovered quickly and forced the fight in the fourth. It continued to be a close fight with neither fighter able to take charge and it was an interesting rather than exciting contest. In the end it was the quality of the counter lefts and body punching from southpaw Bourke which gave him an edge over the jab and higher work rate of Mahmood. Bourke looked to have a built a winning lead and despite a late effort from Mahmood he looked a good winner. Referee’s score 96-94 for Bourke. An international level amateur Bourke, 25, collects the vacant BBB of C Southern Area belt. Mahmood, 26, was moving down after winning the BBB of C Southern Area feather title last year and will bounce back.
Bentley vs. Hall
Bentley gets the win as hall is pulled out by his corner due to a swelling around his right eye. Bentley uses a hands-down loose limbed style shooting punches from various angles but also scoring with a fast jab. Hall continually changed direction to throw Bentley off and did some good work with his own jab. Bentley switched to southpaw in the third. Hall found it hard to adjust to that and Bentley was able to connect with a series of left hooks. Both fighters switched guards a couple of times in the fourth. Hall had success with some rights but the eye-catching word was coming in the flashy hooking from Bentley. Hall marched forward in the fifth. Bentley was catching him with quick hooks but Hall kept pressing. He was getting through but there was a swelling around his left eye and Bentley was catching him with punches from a variety of angles. Hall took heavy punishment in the sixth and now there was a serious swelling under his right eye. He battled hard to the bell and then his corner wisely pulled him out of the fight. The 25-year-old Bentley had only 17 amateur fights but already shows class and has won eleven contests by KO/TKO. Hall’s other two losses came against jack Arnfield and this is only his second fight in three years and he put in a very competitive showing here.
Kobe, Japan: Light Fly: Kenichi Horikawa (41-16-1) W TKO 10 Daiki Tomita (14-2). Horikawa shows that age is just a number as he stops Tomita to win the vacant OPBF title at the age of forty. Horikawa outboxed Tomita who lacked the experience to turn the fight his way. Horikawa worked well with his jab and pierced Tomita’s guard with straight rights and then used good footwork to avoid Tomita’s lunging attacks. After eight rounds Horikawa was up on two cards 78-74 and 80-72 on the third. If Tomita was hoping Horikawa would fade he was disappointed. In the tenth Horikawa forced Tomita to the ropes and bombarded him with punches with the referee stopping the fight as Tomita dropped to the canvas. Horikawa the oldest pro in Japanese rings had previously lost in a fight for the OPBF minimum title and was 3-6 in Japanese title fights . Tomita, 22, like Horikawa, had also failed in a shot at the OPBF minimum belt but had won the WBO Asia Pacific title in September.
Michoacan de Ocampo, Mexico: Welter: Alejandro Davila (21-1-2) W PTS 10 Lupe Rosales (36-26). Super Welter: Carlos Molina (33-11-2) W PTS 10 Abraham Juarez (16-6).
Davila vs. Rosales
Davila halts experienced veteran Rosales in nine rounds to win the vacant WBC Fecombox title. Davila rebuilding after having a 21-bout unbeaten record ruined by a tenth round stoppage loss against Mikael Zewski in Canada in November. Rosales, 38, was considered a prospect when he went 25-1 at the start of his career but that was a long time ago.
Molina vs. Juarez
It is also quite a time since 37-year-old Molina was IBF super welterweight champion but he is sticking to East-West home is best. After a string of losses on his travels he gets his fourth win in Mexico over ordinary level opponents with a stoppage of inexperienced Juarez. No happy homecoming for Juarez who has lost fights in Canada, Italy, France and Germany
Augustow, Poland: Light Heavy: Pawel Stepien (14-0-1) W PTS 10Marek Matyja (17-2-2). In a return contest for the vacant national title Stepien outboxes Matyja and looks a clear winner but has to settle for a split decision. Stepien made a cautious start jabbing to keep Matyja out and scoring with straight rights. Matyja attacked strongly in the third getting inside and occasionally trapping Stepien on the ropes. The accuracy of Stepien’s jabs and counters began to have an effect and Matyja was struggling to close the distance. He put in a big effort in the last but was always second best and Stepien stayed cool and worked his way to victory. Scores 97-93 twice for Stepien with the third judge to everyone’s amazement turning in a 98-93 card for Matyja. Stepien remains unbeaten but for a guy with five first round victories he was expected to show a bit more aggression. Matyja had drawn in two previous attempts at the national title
Bang Phun, Thailand: Bantam: Nawaphon (49-1-1) W KO 4 Suradech Ruhasirj (6-2)
WBC No 2 Nawaphon halts novice Ruhasirj in four rounds. Nawaphon chose to just walk through Ruhasirj but the fellow-Thai showed a fast accurate jab and constantly connected with rights to Nawaphon’s head. However Nawaphon marched forward landing vicious punches to head and body. In the fourth Nawaphon sent Ruhasirj reeling into the ropes. As Ruhasirj ducked a left he turned his head into a booming right that sent him face down on the canvas and the fight was over. Nawaphon lost on a third round stoppage against Juan Hernandez in a challenge for the WBC flyweight title in 2017. He has scored 13 wins since then but all against unthreatening opposition and I can’t see him giving too much trouble to the winner of Nordine Oubaali vs. Nonito Donaire WBC title fight. Third loss in a row for Ruhasirj
Kariya, Japan: Light Fly: Masamichi Yabuki (11-3) W KO 1 Tsuyoshi Sato (10-2-1). Yabuki wins the vacant Japanese title with first round kayo of Sato. Yabuki floored Sato early with a left hook. Sato beat the count but a right put him down again and he was counted out. All eleven of Yabuki’s wins have come by way of KO/TKO. He now wants to challenge the new OPBF champion Kenichi Horikawa who won the OPBF title on Saturday. Sato had won his last nine fights but suffered his second inside the distance loss here.
Fight of the week (Significance): The win by Joe Joyce keeps him on track for a huge fight with Daniel Dubois with honourable mentions to the wins for Oscar Valdez and Vergil Ortiz which will also lead to some big fights
Fight of the week (Entertainment): Nothing stood out
Fighter of the week: Virgil Ortiz for the beating he handed out to a competitive Sammy Vargas
Punch of the week: The right from Nawaphon that flattened poor Ruhasirj was a thunderbolt.
Upset of the week: None. All of the favourites won
Prospect watch: None I haven’t already spotted
Good to see Golden Boy back on the scene.
The Henry Tanajara vs. Mercito Gesta fell through but this time it was not due to COVI-19 but Gesta suffering from food poisoning.
Fourteen first round wins in a row at the start of his career for Edgar Berlanga but he needs another five to equal the record held by Ty Brunson.
Good to see boxing returning to Spain.
Usually when it comes to "Controversial Clashes" the controversy is something that we, as fans, can see. Be that score-cards that don't make sense, a dodgy stoppage, an ending that doesn't add up, and favouritism by an official. Today's however isn't as clear cut, and in fact even now, almost a decade later, it's still unclear what actually happened...if anything.
This is "Glovegate" before "Glovegate" became a thing.
Riyo Togo (9-4-1, 8) Vs Mariana Juarez (36-6-3, 16)
We need roll back to April 2013, when the much unfancied Riyo Togo travelled to Mexico to take on Mariana Juarez, one of the stars of Mexican female boxing. On paper this was a mismatch of huge proportions.
The 37 year old Togo was little more than a regional level fighter, but one with power. She was a natural puncher who had claimed the OPBF Bantamweight and fought as high as Featherweight. There was little on her record to suggest she belonged in a big bout, and just 9 months earlier she had lost a clear decision to Janeth Perez in a WBA female Bantamweight title bout.
Two things were clear about her heading into this bout. She could punch, and she was not a natural Super Flyweight. She was much, much bigger than Super Flyweight.
Juarez on the other hand was a star of female boxing. A good looking woman, with Mexico behind her. She had struggled early in her career, losing 2 of her first 3 bouts, but turned that around and was 27-3 in 30 previous bouts before facing Togo. Outside of boxing she was getting a lot of attention for her looks, and was mixing boxing with modelling, to increase her profile beyond that of just the sport.
The bout was set up as a WBC female Super Flyweight world title eliminator and the reward was a shot at a world title.
After 20 seconds of boxing the two women began to brawl more, a tactic that was going to suit the heavy handed Togo. Within just a minute of the fight starting Juarez was rocked back but covered up and recovered. From there on it seemed like she was aware Togo could punch, but decided to fight fire with fire. It was a mistake and with just seconds left in the round Togo landed a brutal combination to the chin of Juarez, who was dropped hard.
Juarez got to her feet but was judged as being in no fit state to continue as the referee waved off the bout. The decision gave female boxing one it's biggest ever upsets as Togo took the surprise win over the Mexican star.
Rather than getting a world title fight Togo rematched Juarez less than 3 months later. Then things took a turn.
Before the rematch Togo's gloves were confiscated by the WBC who found the padding had been removed. This lead some to believe that Togo's gloves had had padding removed ahead of their first bout, and that the knock out had been a result of that. Despite much innuendo however there is still no certainty about it. Togo's padding may have been removed, though the gloves seemingly got through all the checks from the commission suggesting they weren't.
Interestingly however Juarez revealed her team had never checked the gloves for the first contest, only checking the wraps. There is a very real chance that there was something going on with the gloves and there's also a real chance there wasn't. No one knows for sure, other than Togo's team.
Sadly for Togo the rematch saw Juarez take a clear decision over her, despite Jaurez being shaken late on. Togo couldn't repeat this win a second time around.
Given the padding was removed from the gloves in regards to a rematch you would assume some form of punishment was given to Togo from the WBC. Surprisingly however that doesn't seem to have been the case and she actually fought again the following October, in what was her final career bout, retiring at the age of 38.
As for Juarez, she went on to have a pretty damn good career in the sport after this loss, and was still holding a world title beyond her 40th birthday! In fact after this bout she has gone 18-2-1 (2) to hold a record of 54-9-4 (18).
One of the best things about boxing is just how global it is. In few other sports will we see two men from totally different continents battle it out for victory on a third continent. Today we look at a bout that really does show the global appeal of the sport, as a we see a Thai fighter battle with a Panamanian in the US. More notably the video we're using is from Thai TV. Whilst the global appeal of the fight is interest the bout it's self is something special, with both men being dropped in a brutal, thrilling and action packed war!
Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai (44-2-1, 36) Vs Vicente Mosquera (20-1-1, 10)
Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai, dubbed the "Thai Tyson", was a strong and aggressive Super Featherweight who had won the WBA Super Featherweight title in 2002 with a win over Lakva Sim. Whilst there is a debate over whether he deserved the victory or not he had managed to score defenses since winning the belt making his international debut in his second defense before making his US debut 6 months later. He returned to the Us for his 4th defense 8 months later. Coming into this bout bout Yodsanan had been unbeaten in well over 30 bouts and for over a decade! Given his style any bout featuring Yodsanan had the potential to be action packed, though, they also had the potential to be over very quickly.
In the opposite corner to the destructive Thai was Panama's Vicente Mosquera. Dubbed "El Loco" Mosquera was fighting in his first world title bout and was fighting outside of Panama for just the second time in his 22 bout career. Up to this point he had had just 2 set backs, both coming against Armando Cordoba, who he had a draw against in January 2000 and a narrow loss to March 2000. He had racked up 9 wins following that loss, including wins over Ali Oubaali, the brother of Nordine Oubaali, and future world title challenger Roinet Caballero. Come in he had been in good form, but little suggested he was going to be part of something special.
From the opening moments it was clear we were going to be getting something thrilling as Yodsanan began to pressure the man from Panama, there was no real feeling out process and instead both were throwing heavy leather within the first minute. Around 50 seconds in Yodsanana's legs seemed to buckle and although he recovered he seemed be feeling the effects of Mosquera's shots more than expected, especially given how he had gotten taken huge shots from Sim. Within the final 30 seconds of the round the Thai was forced to touch down for the first of the bouts knockdowns.
In round 3 the fight came alive with a lot more drama as Mosquera was dropped, for the first time in his career, then he came back and dropped Yodsanan later in the same round, in what was an insane 3 minutes of wild, crazy action.
As the fight went on the drama began to subside a little, but the action didn't with both men regularly connecting with massive shots, rocking each other in a crazy fight that saw both men needing to withstand serious punishment. Mosquera, the better boxer, seemed the more comfortable and the more natural, but the power of the Thai always posed a threat to the challenger, who knew he had to be wary.
We had more drama late, with another knockdown in round 11, the most significant of the ones from the bout.
You've never seen this one, this is an insane battle of toughness, heart, desire, action and drama.
Had it not been for the insane first bout between Diego Corrales and Jose Luis Castillo that took place around a week later, this would have been remembered as something special. Sadly however it was easily forgotten following one of the greatest fights in history.
By Eric Armit
-Felix Verdejo returns in style as he stops unbeaten Will Madera inside a round
- In his first fight for sixteen months former undefeated European heavyweight champion Agit Kabayel comfortably outpoints Greek Evgenios in front of a live audience in Magdeburg
-Boxing returns in Japan as Olympian Satoshi Shimizu retains OPBF featherweight title with stoppage of Kyohei Tonomoto and Daishi Nagata halts unbeaten Koki Inoue to win the Japanese super light title
-Heavyweight prospects Jared Anderson and Peter Kadiru get quick wins
Tokyo, Japan: Feather: Satoshi Shimizu (9-1) W TKO 7 Kyohei Tonomoto (9-3-1). Super Light: Daishi Nagata (15-2-1) W TKO 7 Koki Inoue (15-1).
Shimizu vs. Tonomoto
Shimizu almost ended this one in the opening round. A left put Tonomoto down and although he beat the count he was down again from a right. After surviving that disaster Tonomoto worked his way back into the fight but he continued to take punishment from taller southpaw Shimizu. In the seventh Shimizu broke through again and had Tonomoto badly shaken and ready to go and the referee stopped the fight. The 34-year-old double Olympian (He competed in 2008 and won a bronze medal in 2012 losing to Luke Campbell) was making the fourth defence of the OPBF title. He has some rebuilding to do after suffering a shock stoppage loss against Joe Noynay in his last fight a year ago. Japanese Youth champion Tonomoto was 4-0-1 in his last 5 fights but only rated No 14 by the OPBF.
Nagata vs. Inoue
A major upset as unfancied Nagata wins this all-southpaw scrap with stoppage of Inoue. Nagata took the fight to Inoue from the start and was getting through with right jabs and lefts to the head. A clash of heads saw Inoue badly cut over his right and there was also a growing swelling around the eye. Inoue’s timing was out and he seemed to have lost some of the power that had given him twelve inside the distance victories. After five rounds two judges had it close at 48-47 but the third saw it wider at 49-46 for Nagata. Inoue fought back hard in the sixth but his injuries were worsening and when the referee asked the doctor to examine Inoue in the seventh the doctor advised the fight be stopped. Nagata, 30, was 61-25 in his time as an amateur and is now 7-1 in his last 8 fights. This win earned him the Japanese title. Inoue, the cousin of Naoya Inoue, announced his retirement after the fight. He is just 28 and it is expected that his retirement may be short lived
Las Vegas, NV, USA: Light: Felix Verdejo (27-1) W TKO 1 Will Madera (15-1-3). Heavy: Jared Anderson (5-0) W TKO 1 Hector Perez (7-3).Feather: Martino Jules (10-0) W PTS 8 Aleem Jumakhonov (8-3-2).
Verdejo vs. Madera
Verdejo blows away unbeaten Madera inside a round. After the initial sparring Madera began coming forward trying to get inside against the jab of taller Verdejo. There were just twenty seconds to go in the round when Verdejo staggered Madera with a counter right. Madera was on unsteady legs and Verdejo unleashed a barrage of punches forcing Madera to a corner and two thudding rights and a left hook sent Madera down where he sprawled with his upper trunk out under the bottom rope. Madera tried to rise but fell back and the fight was stopped. Good to see the 27-year-old Puerto Rican back in form. A 2012 Olympian (he lost to Vasiliy Lomachenko in the quarter-finals) had his career interrupted by injuries received in a motorcycle accident and then blew his chance of a fight with Terry Flanagan for the WBO light title when he was stopped in ten rounds by Antonio Lozada in what was meant to be a warm-up for the Flanagan fight. A title shot sometime in 2021 looks a very real possibility. Perhaps even against Lomachenko. Madera,29, was unbeaten with a couple of useful wins and had good amateur experience behind him including New York Golden Gloves and Empire State titles but Verdejo just punched too hard for him.
Anderson vs. Perez
Perez feels the destructive power of Anderson and is floored and stopped in 105 seconds. Anderson jabbed strongly and then rocked Perez before connecting with an overhead right that dropped Perez to his knees and the fight was stopped. Still only twenty Anderson has won each of his five contests in the first round with only one opponent lasting more than two minutes. The 6’-4””Big Baby” was US National champion at 200lbs (91kg) in both 2017 and 2018 and is a star of the future. It had been hoped that Puerto Rican Perez, who had won his last four fights, might give Anderson some ring time but Anderson simply obliterated him.
Jules vs. Jumakhonov
The only really competitive fight on the show saw Jules remain unbeaten by outboxing Californian-based Tajik Jumakhonov to take a majority decision. Southpaw “Titan” Jules had skill and speed on his side and he outboxed the aggressive Jumakhonov out-throwing and out-landing him over the first three rounds. Jules lacked the power to keep Jumakhonov outside permanently and hooks from Jumakhonov on the inside had blood dripping from Jules’ nose from the fourth round and the Tajik was working well to the body and connecting with clubbing head shots over the fifth and sixth. It looked as though Jumakhonov might take control but Jules used some excellent footwork to reassert himself as he boxed his way to victory. Scores 78-74 twice for Jules and 76-76. The 23-year-old from Allentown was moving up to eight rounds for the first time. He turned pro after losing out at the US Olympic Trials for a spot on the team for Rio and he still have work to do as a pro. Jumakhonov was 7-1-1 going in and has an entertaining style.
Wiesbaden, Germany: Super Middle; Shefat Isufi (30-4-2,1ND) W TKO 3 Bosko Misic (20-13).Middle: Uensal Arik (31-2) W TKO 4 Dustin Amman (4-2). Super Middle: Arben Shemallari (8-0) W PTS 8 Istvan Zeller (38-30).Light Heavy: Marko Stankovic (5-0) W KO 3 Ericles Torres Martin (20-15-1)
Isufi vs. Misic
Isufi gets active again with stoppage of Bosnian Misic in three rounds. He scores win No 22 by KO/TKO and collects the German interim title. The Serbian-born German lost widely against Billy Joe Saunders for the WBO super middle title in May last year. Eleventh inside the distance loss for southpaw Misic.
Arik vs. Amman
Arik halts horribly overmatched Ammann in four rounds in a fight for the interim German title. The 39-year-old German-born Turk has won thirteen on the bounce but his opposition has been somewhat less than moderate and the 22-year-old Ammann fits into that category.
Shemallari vs. Zeller
In a night of rubbish titles Shemallari wins the vacant Universal Boxing Federation belt by outpointing consistent loser Zeller over eight rounds. This is the first time German Shemallari had had to go the distance for victory with his seven previous victims lasting less then thirteen rounds between them and naturally none of them had positive records. Now 32 Shemallari did not turn professional until he was 31. Hungarian Zeller suffers his tenth defeat in a row
Stankovic vs. Torres
Stankovic (Stark) makes it a double for Serb/German fighters with kayo of ancient Cuban southpaw Torres and is now the proud owner of the UBF European title. First fight for Stark for two years and fourth victory by KO/TKO. Five consecutive losses for 43-year-old Torres
Cologne, Germany: Heavy: Hussein Muhamed (15-0) W TKO 2 Frank Bluemle (16-8-2).
Muhamed marches on with second round stoppage of Bluemle. The 6’5” Muhamed was too big and punched too hard for Bluemle who has spent most of his career fighting at cruiserweight and the fight was halted in the second round. Of Syrian parentage the 29-year-old German has scored 13 of his wins by KO/TKO and another by disqualification with only the experienced, but elderly, Yakup Saglam lasting the distance. Muhamed started working as a sparring partner for Anthony Joshua before the Klitschko fight and has continued to be used by Joshua but without a name promoter behind him he has a low profile. Bluemle is 2-6in his last 8 fights.
Magdeburg, Germany: Heavy: Agit Kabayel (20-0) W PTS 10 Evgenios Lazaridis (16-3). Heavy: Peter Kadiru (8-0) W RTD 3 Eugen Buchmuller (16-6). Super Middle: Artur Henrik (1-0) W PTS 4 Miguel Aguilar) 11-66-1).
Kabayel vs. Lazaridis
Kabayel shakes the dust from sixteen months without a fight and wins wide unanimous decision over Lazaridis. Kabayel found the range early and was connecting with stiff jabs and long rights. The 6’6” Lazaridis was taller and heavier but slower and from the second round Kabayel was able to control the fight with his jab. Lazaridis had to soak up some hefty right crosses but he did so and punched back when he could showing a willingness to trade punches with Kabayel. From the fifth the fight was very one-sided. Kabayel was just pacing forward firing his jab and following that with a right cross. He did hurt Lazaridis in the seventh with a left hook to the body but he was one-paced. There was very little variety in his work and he threw very few body punches. Lazaridis had a good eighth round but Kabayel dominated the ninth and tenth as he put in a big effort trying for a stoppage but Lazaridis stopped him in his tracks with a right just before the final bell and never really looked to be in any trouble. Scores 100-90, 99-91 and 98-92 for Kabayel. The 27-year-old Kabayel, a German of Kurdish descent wins the vacant WBA Continental title. A former undefeated European champion who has a win over Dereck Chisora Kabayel will now be hoping to land some big fights through Top Rank in the USA after this fight was carried by ESPN. Right now he does not figure in the top 10 with any of the four sanctioning bodies but there are plenty of good fights out there for him. His trainer stated that Kabayel had suffered a hand injury in training before the fight but did not advise his trainer until the injury caused some pain during the fight but it was never a factor. “Achilles” Lazaridis did the job he was there to do. The 32-year-old Greek, an elite level amateur, went the full ten rounds and found the target often enough to remind Kabayel he was in a fight. Lazaridis would make a useful test for the many of the young heavyweights coming through now.
Kadiru vs. Buchmuller
Kadiru gets injury win over Buchmueller. Kadiru had big advantages in height, reach and weight and used his longer reach to stab home fast jabs in the first round with Buchmueller too slow to counter. Kadiru continued to use his longer reach to score in the second with Buchmueller trying some wild lunges. After missing with a wild right Buchmueller suddenly gripped his right shoulder and dropped to one knee. He flinches badly when the referee had the doctor examine his shoulder but Buchmueller chose to box on and Kadiru failed to apply any pressure so Buchmueller made it to the bell. Kadiru spent the first part of the third on the back foot just jabbing and not looking to take advantage of Buchmueller’s injury. He opened up over the second half of the round finally firing some rights. At the bell Buchmueller walked back to his corner shaking his head and his team pulled him out of the fight. Third inside the distance win in a row for Kadiru but it was a very insipid performance. The 23-year-old 6’4 ½” prospect won gold medals at both the Youth Olympic Games and the European Under-22 Championships. He is quick with good movement but still has a long way to go and much to learn particularly in what he does with his left hand after throwing a jab as he seems to leave himself wide open to counters. Ironic that 39-year-old Kazak-born Buchmueller should have to retire with a shoulder injury as he came in at very short notice when Ruben Wolf pulled out with an arm injury. Buchmueller is 0-4 in contests against unbeaten fighters.
Henrik vs. Aguilar
Former German amateur champion Henrik turns pro with a win over Nicaraguan journeyman Aguilar. Really just a workout for Henrik. He showed nice movement, good hand speed and put together some flashing combinations. As always Aguilar did just enough to avoid a stoppage and gave Henrik a peaceful entry into the professional ranks. Scores 40-36 for Henrik on the three cards. The 22-year-old from Bremen fought as Artur Ohanyan-Beck in the amateurs and was German champion at Under-18, Under-19, Under 21 and elite level. He did not want to carry the hyphenated Ohanyan-beck name as a professional so chose the fight under his father’s Christian name of Henrik. Spanish-based Nicaraguan Aguilar is certainly consistent-as a loser. He is 0-53-1 in his last 54 fights.
Fight of the week (Significance): With his quick destruction of Will Madera Felix Verdejo has put himself very much in the title scene.
Fight of the week (Entertainment): Not much to chose from with Martino Jules and Aleem Jumakhonov the only really close fight
Fighter of the week: Felix Verdejo at his explosive best
Punch of the week: The right from Jared Anderson
Upset of the week: Daishi Nagata for his win over unbeaten Koki Inoue
Prospect watch: None that I have not already named
Top Rank is doing a great job of staging boxing matches under very strict circumstances but it is about time they caught a break. In earlier shows injuries and COVID-19 tests have forced late changes and their show in Las Vegas last Tuesday was hard hit when Filipino Mark John Yap came in almost 9lbs over the contract weight and fellow Filipino John Vincent Moralde tested positive for COVID-19 decimating the show-but they went ahead anyway in the best tradition of the entertainment business.
The SES show in Magdeburg saw a sensible approach to social distancing with estimates of between 600 and 1000 attending.
It was held in an open air setting with a beautiful lake as a backdrop.
To look forward to:
Top Rank offering on Tuesday will feature Oscar Valdez against Jeyson Velez as Valdez works towards a shot at WBO champion Jamel Herring- with former WBO super bantam champion Isaac Dogboe, Edgar Berlanga, Guido Vianello and Elvis Rodriguez in eight round fights
In Tokyo on Wednesday champion Kenta Nakagawa defends the national super fly title against Yuta Matsuo.
On Friday Vergil Ortiz and Sammy Vargas clash at welter in Indio with Hector Tanajara vs. Mercito Gesta also on the bill.
Also on Friday in Miami former WBC flyweight champion Cristofer Rosales faces Jeno Tonte, Melvin Lopez tackles Szilveszter Kanalas, and Reymart Gaballo vs. Szilveszter Ajtal with John Vincent Moralde also listed if he clears the virus testing.
Saturday sees a Queensberry show in London with Joe Joyce against Michael Wallisch.
By Eric Armit
It takes a lot to upset me but I am really disappointed. I have realised that everyone else has been mentioned as the next opponent for Saul Alvarez except me. I threw my hat into the ring but it seems it was just too much trouble to dig through the 999 other hats to find mine. What have I done wrong? How hard can it be to pick out an opponent who is no threat and cheap? I qualify on both of those criteria so came on “Canelo” make your choice before it become a bore and we lose interest in who you are going to face next.
Boy it has been a depressing couple of weeks. We have Mike Tyson talking about fighting; we have Oscar De La Hoya “training” for a fight. We have Floyd Mayweather Jr apparently ready to fight again and Michael Nunn at 47 appearing in a MMA exhibition and in the ultimate exhibition of hypocrisy we hear the poor WBA whinging that it is so very difficult to cut down the number of titles. That’s like some guy driving whilst using his mobile phone complain about the number accidents caused by people driving and using their mobile phone. If you are not part of the solution then you are part of the problem. Here’s a hint WBA try to stop inventing more. That would be step in the right direction. Lockdown madness rules OK!
Jarrell Miller will hear his fate on 5 August when he is called in front of the Nevada State Athletic Commission to explain his latest positive test. After his positive tests before the Anthony Joshua fight I was surprised Top Rank gave him another chance to save his career but Bob Arum has made it clear that Miller betrayed the trust they placed in him so even if his career is not over finding someone else to trust him is not going to be easy and if his career is over he only has himself to blame.
To be honest boxing does not need Miller. If there is one thing there is no shortage of it is heavyweights. Putting aside such as Tyson Fury, Anthony Joshua, Dylan Whyte etc. there is a huge list of unbeaten heavyweights active right now. We have Joe Joyce, Daniel Dubois, Filip Hrgovic, Efe Ajagba, Tony Yoka, Agit Kabayel, Jermaine Franklin, Junior Fa, Frank Savage, Guido Vianello, Petar Milas, Cassius Chaney, Jared Anderson, Darmani Rock and Viktor Vykhryst all unbeaten so the future of heavyweight boxing is in safe hands.
Both Joyce and Dubois have matches coming up as they look towards one of the biggest heavyweight fights in the history of British boxing. In two Britain vs. Germany bouts Joyce faces Michael Wallisch on Saturday and Dubois takes on Erik Pfeifer on August 29. If they both come through those bouts then Joyce and Dubois are paired in a fight for the vacant European title with the winner mandated to fight Marco Huck. I can’t see the winner being interested in a Huck fight. Whilst there is plenty bubbling up at heavyweight with the talk of two or three fight series featuring any two of three from Fury, Joshua and Wilder and with Dillian overdue a chance those guys have a stranglehold on the four titles and boxers such as Joyce, Dubois and Oleg Usyk could find themselves still waiting for a title shot this time next year.
Boxing is slowly shaking off the effects of the COVID-19 virus. Top Rank has led the way. Golden Boy re-launches on Friday with Vergil Ortiz vs. Samuel Vargas in Indio. German promoters are continuing action there with a clash between Jack Culcay and unbeaten Abass Baraou set for 28 August in Berlin and Tyron Zeuge tackling Giovanni De Carolis on 27 November. Culcay vs. Baraou is a real 50/50 match. Another big fight will see Jeff Horn and Tim Tszyu exchanges punches in Brisbane on 26 August. There are signs all over that the sport is stirring. Queensberry staged the first show in Britain, Miguel Cotto has asked for clearance to stage a show in Puerto Rico on 22 August. Gyms are scheduled to reopen in South Africa on 1 September. European title fights featuring French fighters will see Samir Ziani making a voluntary defence of the super featherweight title against Alex Dilmaghani on 22 August in Redditch with the winner to face mandatory challenger Martin Joseph Ward and Maxime Beaussire challenging champion Matteo Signani in Caen on 10 October. There will be a show in Aarhus, Denmark on 19 September. It will be mainly amateur matches with on professional fight. There was a small show with spectators in attendance in Okinawa on Sunday and Oleg Usyk is reported to be staging his first promotion in 1 August.
Filipino Eumir Felix Marcial has been signed to a professional contract by Manny Pacquiao’s MP Promotions. He won a gold medal at the World Youth Championships and a silver medal at the World Championships and had qualified for the 2020 Olympics. He has reportedly received a $200,000 signing bonus and the intent is to still have him compete at the rescheduled Games as well as fight as a professional.
The last few weeks have seen some tragedies hit boxing.
Three promising members of the Kazakh amateur team who had recently advanced from the Youth squad to the Senior level died in a car accident and unbeaten American super welterweight Travell Mazion was killed in another car accident this one outside Austin, Texas. The 24-year-old Mazion was 17-0 and had won the NABF title in January. Javier Gonzalez was another unbeaten young fighter to pass away recently. The 21-year-old from Gomez Palacio was 15-0 and was ready to move up to eight rounds when cancer ended his young life.
Let’s hope the outcome is better for retired Nigerian heavyweight champion Ngozika Ekwelum who is fighting cancer of the bladder and is about to start another series of chemotherapy. He faced British heavyweights Billy Aird and John L Gardner in the UK in the 1970’s.
From a personal point of view I was so very sorry to learn of the death of Dickie Cole. Dickie was a great referee and was the head of the Texas Commission but for me he was a much loved friend who was head of the WBC Ratings Committee when I was a member. Dickie would often attend the Ring Officials and leave me in charge of the Ratings. Later Dickie would catch up with me and say “Jose wants to see me-what have you done to the ratings I can’t leave you alone for a minute “. He was such a lovely man and any time I met with him was a good day for me. My thoughts go out to his family. RIP Dickie the world is a poorer place without you.
South Africa’s former WBA featherweight champion Simpiwe Vetyeka saw his career ended in 2018 when he was hit by a passing vehicle has made a successful return-as a trainer of amateur boxers and has already produced some local champions.
When certainly fighters get in the ring you tend to know you can expect something exciting. There are fighters who simply give us excitement by the bucket load, and others that don't. Today we feature a bout featuring someone we know always gave his all in the ring, in what was a short, but thrilling, brutal and bruising bout from the turn of the century. It was a bout that provided drama, excitement and, sadly, heartache for one of boxing's true good guys.
Hiroyuki Sakamoto (35-3, 25) vs Gilberto Serrano (18-4-1, 15)
Coming in to this Venezuelan fighter Gilberto Serrano was the WBA Lightweight champion, he had taken the title from Stefano Zoff in November 1999 and was looking to make his first defense 4 months later as he took on Hiroyuki Sakamoto. Prior to winning the title Serrano was a hard hitting fighter who had lost in his first world title fight, a war with Yong Soo Choi, but had moved up in weight and found success at 135lbs, busting Zoff's eye to the point where the Italian needed to be stopped. Despite being from Venezuela Serrano had been a genuine world traveller with bouts all over the place, including his title win in the US and his loss to Choi in Korea, though this was his first contest in Japan.
Whilst Serrano was the world champion he was travelling to the lions den to face off with the popular Hiroyuki Sakamoto, a popular Japanese fighter. Sakamoto had had a hard life, being abused as a child before moving into a children's home. He had lost his first two world title fights, including a split draw to Stevie Johnston, but had kept banging on the door, doing enough to get a third shot. In the ring he was a heavy handed, aggressive fighter and was dubbed the "Japanese Duran" for his aggressive style that always saw him bringing the pressure and making everything a war. He wasn't the most skilled but was tough, strong, powerful and very exciting to watch.
After a lengthy TV build up, which focused on Sakamoto's upbringing and hard luck story, we got to the ring. Given the styles and power of the two men it was clear we should expect something exciting, and that's exactly what we got.
After about 50 seconds of feeling each other out the bout caught fire and with one of the first clean shots that landed Serrano went down. The crowd went crazy and Sakamoto went into seek and destroy mode. Serrano, to his credit, got on the back foot, knowing about Sakamoto's power, and looked to fire off combinations at range. There was an immediate tenseness before Serrano suffered the second knockdown, just after the 2 minute mark. From there on the round was a war with Sakamoto looking to take Serrano down for the third time. Despite dominating the round Sakamoto was left with a gash under his left eye
Round 2 started hot, with Serrano looking to make up for the 10-7 opening stanza and Sakamoto looking to take out the champion, knowing the gash under his eye was going to be a ticking time bomb. As a result round 2 was another action packed one, but this time it was Serrano getting the best of it, and unleashing heavy shots to the head of Sakamoto. The challenger struggled with the foot work and movement of the champion and the shots coming his way had left both of his eyes swollen messes less than 2 minutes into round 2. From there on the drama intensified. Would Sakamoto's eyes hold out long enough for him land another bomb? Was he even able to see enough to even land a bomb? Could Serrano take bomb? The euphoria of the opening round knockdowns was instantly gone and Serrano was taking advantage of Sakamoto's injuries.
Sakamoto was near blind heading into round 3, but pressed forward regardless, hoping to chase down the heavy handed champion. Due to his pressure Sakamoto was left with a bloodied nose, his eyes swelling further, but his desire driving him on in search of the hail Mary he was beginning to need. He continued searching at the start of round 4, knowing that he needed something, and he needed it quickly as what was left of his sight was rapidly disappearing.
Whilst not an all out war, this is one that fans deserve to watch. The big shift in momentum from the opening round to the second, the heart and desire of Sakamoto, the power of both men, the sense that if Sakamoto landed clean he could change everything. An incredible display of will against skill.
By Eric Armit
-Jose Zepeda keeps on track for third world title challenge with win over Kendo Castaneda
-Luis Alberto Lopez wins split decision over Andy Vences
-Carlos Takam comes in as a late substitute and outpoints Jerry Forrest
-Boxing returns to the UK with Brad Foster retaining his British and Commonwealth titles with point victory over James beech
-Super Bantamweight Carlos Castro moves to 25 wins as halts Cesar Juarez
Las Vegas, NV, USA: Super Feather: Luis Alberto Lopez (21-2) W PTS Andy Vences (23-2-1). Welter: Jose Zepeda (32-2,1ND) W PTS 10 Kendo Castaneda (17-2). Light: Andres Cortes (13-0) W PTS 8 Alejandro Salinas (10-4).
Lopez vs. Vences
Lopez just edges past Vences on a close split decision. An even first round saw Vences using his longer reach to stab Lopez. with jabs. Lopez was trying to jump past the jab and connect with bursts of hooks. Vences had the better of the exchanges in the second. He was using his jab well and connected with a couple of strong right crosses. Lopez had his jab on target over the first half of the third but Vences outscored him over the last two minutes using jolting jabs and straight rights to edge into the lead. Vences solidified that lead by taking the fourth. Lopez just could not get past Vences jab and was being caught with rights at distance. Lopez upped his pace in the fifth and was getting through with hooks inside with Vences losing some of his accuracy. A clash of heads saw Lopez cut over his right eye and Vences suffer a small cut on his forehead. The referee asked the doctor to examine Lopez’s cut but the fight continued with Lopez getting the better of some wild exchanges. Lopez attacked fiercely in the sixth and a huge right uppercut had Vences staggering badly and in trouble. He was fighting through a fog. Lopez was clubbing him with rights and driving him around the ring with punches jarring Vences as he struggled to stay up and somehow he made it to the bell. It was Vences landing the big punches in the seventh until a clash of heads resulted in a cut over the left eye of Vences. The doctor decided the cut was not serious enough for the fight to be halted and Vences continued to outscore Lopez with long lefts and rights. The pace dropped in the eighth but Lopez just did the better work only for Vences to press hard in the ninth and take the round scoring with some good rights to the head. He also outscored Lopez in the tenth with Lopez’s work rate dropping off. Scores 96-94 twice for Lopez and 96-94 for Vences. I saw Vences as the winner but it had been a hard close fight. An important win for Mexican Lopez who has won 9 of his last 10 fight with the loss coming against unbeaten Ruben Villa. He did well to win this one as he suffered a broken thumb. Now he will look to crash the world ratings. A bad thirteen months for Vences as he lost his unbeaten record against Albert Bell in June last year. His next fight will be crucial in deciding whether he has hit his ceiling.
Zepeda vs. Castaneda
Zepeda comprehensively outpoints an aggressive but limited Castaneda. Zepeda outboxed Castaneda without every really going in to high gear. He constantly found gaps for his southpaw jabs and frustrated Castaneda’s attempt to counter with some great defensive work. He was constantly changing angles and raking Castaneda with accurate shots from both hands. Castaneda tried switching to southpaw a few times but it made no real difference which guard he adopted. Zepeda seemed comfortable at just boxing on the back foot and winning the rounds without really sitting down on his punches and going for an inside the distance finish. Castaneda just could not find a way into the fight he was not quick enough to pressurise Zepeda. Castaneda had some success over the seventh and eighth rounds as Zepeda seemed to coast his way through those rounds before taking charge again over the closing two rounds to ease his way to the decision. Scores 98-92 twice and 97-93 for Zepeda. The 31-year-old Californian is due some luck in a world title fight. When he fought Terry Flanagan for the vacant WBO light title in 2015 he had retire after two rounds with a dislocated shoulder and in February last year lost a majority verdict to Jose Carlos Ramirez for the WBC super light title. He is No 3 with the WBC so he has good chance of getting a third title shot next year. Texan Castaneda came in as a substitute when Ivan Baranchyk was injured. He had scored useful victories over 24-3 Eudy Bernardo and 20-2 Stan Martyniouk This is his second loss in a row having dropped a majority verdict against unbeaten Yomar Alamo in February. He was not expected to win here but he gave Zepeda ten useful rounds of work.
Cortes vs. Salinas
This was the fight of the night as Cortes extended his 100% record. From the opening bell these two ignored the niceties and spent eight rounds trying to knock bits off each other. Pressure from Salinas forced Cortes to fight with his back against the ropes in the early action. Cortes was countering well and just stealing the points but was cut over his left eye in a clash of heads in the second round. Salinas had a big fourth as late in the round a hard right stunned Cortes and he went down on one knee. That gave Salinas an edge in the scoring but Cortes recovered quickly and as Salinas slowed Cortes battled back and then forged ahead with a strong finish to take a deserved decision. Scores 79-73, 77-74 and 76-75 for Cortes which illustrated how close and difficult to score many of the rounds were. Las Vegan Cortes, 23, is making good progress. Salinas from Ohio has now lost 3 of his last 4 fights. All against unbeaten opposition.
Las Vegas, NV, USA: Heavy: Carlos Takam (39-5-1) W PTS 10 Jerry Forrest (26-4). Super Bantam: Carlos Castro (26-0) W RTD 4 Cesar Juarez (25-9).
Takam vs. Forrest
Takam comes in at short notice and outpoints Forrest in a dull contest. Takam fought a more controlled fight than normal. He was bouncing on his toes and outboxing a negative Forrest who seemed reluctant to commit himself and allowed Takam to take the first round. Forrest was more positive in the second coming forward behind his southpaw jab but neither fighter was throwing much or landing much. Takam is no speedster but he was quicker and getting his punches off first to take the third and fourth rounds. Takam was cut over his right eye in the fifth but again did enough to take the round with Forrest just not active enough. Takam took the sixth. He used his 20lbs extra weight to force Forrest back scoring with a series of rights and working Forrest over on the ropes. The seventh and eighth went to Forrest’s as he connect with some goods lefts eating into Takam’s lead. Takam’s work rate dropped and he was clinching more. Takam was on his toes in the ninth bouncing around and spearing Forrest with single punches. Forrest was lumbering forward for all three minutes but was too slow with his footwork and his punches. Both landed some clubbing shots in the last with Takam just that bit more accurate. Scores 98-92, 97-93 and 96-94 all for Takam. The 39-year-old Cameroon-born Frenchman came in at just two weeks notice after Jarrell Miller yet again tested positive. He tired late but his higher punch output deservedly got him the decision. He had been scheduled to face Oscar Rivas next Tuesday but injury ruled Rivas out and although Takam’s father had died just a week ago he felt this was an opportunity he could not pass up. He has lost big fights against Alex Povetkin, Joseph Parker, Anthony Joshua and Dereck Chisora but winning here keeps his hopes of another big fight very much alive. Forrest was a disappointment. He had taken unbeaten Jermaine Franklin to a split decision loss. He was slow and crude at times with poor footwork and has scored his wins on the backwoods circuit.
Castro vs. Juarez
Castro pounds a gutsy Juarez into a fourth round retirement. Good first round for Castro. With his much longer reach he was popping Juarez with jabs and catching him with rights when Juarez came forward. Juarez had a little success when he could take Castro to the ropes but that was a rare event. Castro was keeping Juarez on the end of his jab in the second and when Juarez tried to lunge inside he was staggered by a right. Juarez has a solid chin and he was soon coming forward again and drawing Castro into some exchanges but Castro was the one scoring with the better punches. Castro was using his jab to set Juarez up for overhand rights in the third and he again staggered Juarez with a couple of rights to the head. A focused body attack had Juarez backing up and he was taking some serious hurt at the bell. Castro handed out some savage punishment in the fourth. He was cutting Juarez in half with hooks to the body and staggering him with hooks and uppercuts to the head. Juarez would not fall but his corner wisely retired their man at the end of the round. Castro, 26, has climbed to No 3 with the WBC after victories over 32-1 Genisis Servania, 18-2 Mario Diaz and former WBC super bantam title challenger Jesus Ruiz. The IBF and the WBO also have him in the top 10 so 2021 could see him scrapping for a world title. He is a very upright stylist with a strong jab and good variety in his punches. Juarez has lost to Nonito Donaire and Isaac Dogboe in title fights but took a beating when being floored and stopped by unbeaten Angelo Leo in December.
Pionki, Poland: Light: Damian Wrzesinski (20-1-2,1ND) W KO 4W Otto Gamez (19-3). Heavy: Marcin Siwy (21-0) W TKO 1 Kamil Bodzioch (6-1)
Wrzesinski vs. Gamez
Local fighter Wrzesinski beats Venezuelan inside four rounds. Wrzesinski took the first round with some strong jabs although Gamez showed some clever upper body movement and quick hands. Gamez was livelier in the second. He was holding his hands low and springing forward with some useful hooks. Wrzesinski was finding the target with long rights in the third and with Gamez, who has spent most of his career fighting at super bantam, lacking the power to keep him out Wrzesinski continued to get through with heavy rights with Gamez looking shaky at the bell. Wrzesinski rocked Gamez with rights at the start of the fourth and Gamez looked ready to go but the right that put him down only seemed to skim past the Venezuelan’s head. Gamez showed no inclination to get up and just sat watching the referee count him out. Wrzesinski, 33, retains the Polish International title with his sixth inside the distance win. His only loss is a majority verdict against Jean Pierre Bauwens in 2017 and he is 9-0-1, 1ND since then but against carefully selected opposition. Gamez record is misleading. Like so many Venezuelan fighters his record is heavily padded with 19 of his victims having only 12 wins between them and he collapsed here once Wrzesinski applied pressure.
Siwy vs. Bodzioch
Siwy blows away novice Bodzioch. Siwy went after the quick finish and Bodzioch was forced to stand and trade. A left followed by a right to the head put Bodzioch down heavily. He made it to his feet but Siwy drove him to the ropes and staggered him with another big right the referee stepped in. Despite his impressive statistics Siwy only creeps into the EBU ratings at No 17 due to his low quality opposition. Bodzioch was overmatched here but is only 24 so he will have time to recover from this poor performance.
London, England: Super Bantam: Brad Foster (13-0-2) W PTS 12 James Beech (12-1). Super Welter: Hamzah Sheeraz (11-0) W RTD 6 Paul Kean (12-2). Light: Mark Chamberlain (6-0) W TKO 1 Stu Greener (3-5).
Foster vs. Beech
Foster successfully defends his British and Commonwealth titles with a hard-fought unanimous verdict over fellow Midlander Beech. The fight started at a hectic pace and that set the pattern for the whole twelve rounds. Foster’s combination punches gave him the first two rounds but Beech banged back to take the third. Beech was cut over the left eye in the fourth and Foster was impressive with his hooking to the body with both hands. The fifth was a little scrappier and close but both fighters scored well in the sixth with Foster again attacking hard to the body but with Beech countering well. A right from Foster brought blood from Beech’s nose in the seventh. The pace of the fight was still high with both landing quality punches in a fight that was there for either fighter to take. The entertainment level was high and it was a pity there were no spectators to enjoy the spectacle. Foster outlanded Beech in the eighth but was warned for being careless with his head and was cut over his left eye. Again the body work from Foster was impressive but Beech kept firing back hard. Both landed with good punches in the tenth with Foster slightly ahead but with the fight still liable to go either way. Foster’s body punching paid dividends over the final two rounds as he hammered at Beech with combinations of hooks and uppercuts to emerge a clear winner. Scores 116-113 twice and 117-111 for Foster. The 22-year-old “Blade” was making the fourth defence of the British title making him the owner of the Lonsdale Belt the highest quality trophy in boxing and this was the third defence of his Commonwealth belt. He is making great progress. Despite losing Beech enhanced his profile with his performance here. This is the fifth fight in which he has suffered a cut so that may be a problem for him.
Sheeraz vs. Kean
Sheeraz continues his excellent progress with battering of Kean. Great start for Sheeraz as with just ten seconds gone in the opening round he landed a short right to the head that dumped Kean on the floor. Kean beat the count and survived by boxing and moving. The 6’1” Sheeraz dominated the second with some stiff jabs and landed a rib-bending left to the body that hurt Kean. Sheeraz kept up the pressure over the third and fourth with Kean punching back when he could but spending most of the time pinned to the ropes as Sheeraz connected with long rights. Kean did a bit better in the fifth firing hooks to the body of the taller Sheeraz but he took a pounding on the ropes before the bell. Sheeraz continued to land heavily in the sixth and with Kean cut over his right eye and never in with a chance his corner stopped the fight before the start of the seventh. The 21-year-old Sheeraz dedicated his victory to his aunt who died from COVID-19 leaving five children including quadruplets motherless. He retains the WBO European title with his seventh inside the distance win and he looks an outstanding prospect. Scottish Area champion Kean had won his last four fights but was never in with a chance after that first right hand.
Chamberlain vs. Greener
Southpaw hope Chamberlain gets another first round victory. Chamberlain sent Greener into the ropes with a left hook then landed a couple of body punches before two brutal lefts sent Greener down and the fight was stopped. All over in 55 seconds. Fourth first round finish for the 21-year-old former English Elite Level champion. Greener was coming off a win over unbeaten Tyler Davies but was wiped out in this one.
Rosarito, Mexico: Welter: Ronald Cruz (21-5) W TKO 4 lisandro de los Santos (25-20-1). Feather: Malikai Johnson (7-0-1) W TKO 1 Rigo Cruz (2-4).
Cruz vs. de los Santos
Cruz batters poor de los Santos to defeat in four rounds. In a farcical one-sided bout Cruz handed out a beating to Mexican de los Santos all the way. Cruz lost a point in the third for low punches but other than that slip he just hammered away at human punch bag de los Santos until the referee called him off in the fourth round. A very chubby looking Puerto Rican-born Cruz was having his first fight since suffering three tough losses in a row in 2014 against Kermit Cintron, Errol Spence and Dmitry Mikhaylenko. de los Santos has a 100 % record. All of his 20 losses have come by KO/TKO
Johnson vs. Cruz
A bad night for boxers carrying the name Cruz. “Machine Gun” Johnson ended this one quickly. He was digging in some vicious body punches until Cruz dropped to his knees. Cruz just beat the count but the referee would not let him continue so all over in the first round. The 22-year-old Newark-born Johnson is now based in Sacramento. He started out in kick boxing. The draw on his record was a technical draw and he gets his third first round victory. All four of Cruz’s losses have come inside three rounds.
Toowoomba, Australia: Super Light: Steve Spark (10-1) W TKO 4 Michael Whitehead (7-4-1).
In front of his home town fans Sparks retains the IBF Australasian title with stoppage of Whitehead. Sparks dropped Whitehead in the first and fourth rounds before the fight was stopped as Whitehead dropped to the floor under a barrage of punches. Now ten wins by KO/TKO including a run of eight on the bounce for the 23-year-old Australian No 1. Whitehead going in the opposite direction with four losses in his last five fights.
Dusseldorf, Germany: Super Welter: Ahmed El Mousaoui (33-3-1) W TKO 2 Sergej Wotschel (14-5-1). Light Heavy: James Kraft (18-0-1) W PTS 6 Karel Horejsek (17-13-3).
El Mousaoui vs. Wotschel
Frenchman El Mousaoui crushes Wotschel in two rounds. El Mousaoui handed out serious punishment to a game Wotschel in the first. Wotschel tried to punch with El Mousaoui in the second but wilted under some left hooks to the body and was shaken with overhand rights before the referee jumped in and halted the fight. El Mousaoui, 30, lost important fights against Jeff Horn and Ceferino Rodriguez but has re-established himself with a run of nine wins against an acceptable level of opponents. German-based Russian Wotschel had won 8 of his last 9 fights and this is his first loss by KO/TKO.
Kraft vs. Horejsek
Home advantage played a big part here as Kraft takes a split decision over Czech Horejsek. The visitor was able to rumble past the reach of the 6’3” Kraft and did enough damaged inside to earn at least a draw but to no one’s surprise the judges gave Kraft a split decision win. The 23-year-old “Baby Boy” from Munich turned pro at 17 so is still learning the sport and being carefully protected but in struggling to get by the 38-year-old Horejsek he looks to still need plenty of protection. On a good night Horejsek can be competitive as in the past he has drawn with Lennox Clarke and Adam Deines and taken Rocky Fielding the distance.
Biloxi, MS, USA: Cruiser: DeShon Webster (12-3-3) DREW 10 Samuel Clarkson (22-6-1). Middle: Vladimir Hernandez (11-4) W PTS 10 Aaron Coley (16-3-1). Super Feather: Jeremy Hill (12-0) W PTS 8 Xavier Wilson (11-2-1). Super Middle: Lorenzo Simpson (8-0) W KO Alex Duarte (16-9-1).
Webster vs. Clarkson
In the first boxing show in the USA in front of a live audience since early March Webster and Clarkson fight to a draw in an entertaining contest. Clarkson was forcing the fight early but Webster was boxing well. He was landing more with Clarkson throwing fewer but heavier shots. Clarkson rocked Webster with a right in the fifth but Webster steadied himself and looked to have a small lead after eight. Clarkson came on strong with a series of hooks to take the ninth and chased Webster down in the tenth to close the gap. Scores 95-95 twice making it a majority draw with a score of 96-94on the third card but it was not announced who had the 96-94 score. Both were in need of a victory with Webster losing over twelve rounds against Tervel Pulev in December and Clarkson to Israel Duffus in March.
Hernandez vs. Coley
Minor upset as Hernandez rebounds from consecutive losses to take a split decision over fellow-southpaw Coley. This was close to the final bell with Hernandez just outworking the taller Coley. The judge’s cards showed two scores of 96-94 for Hernandez and 96-94 for Coley. Denver-based Mexican Hernandez has a couple of useful victories on his record but had been stopped by Israil Madrimov and outpointed by French star Souleymane Cissokho in his last two fights. Californian Coley had won 7 of his last 8 outings.
Hill vs. Wilson
Hill gets unanimous decision over Texas-based Wilson. Scores 78-73, 77-74 and 77-76 for Hill. Good win for the lanky Hill but the scores are deceptive as Hill scored two knockdowns in a fight that saw both fighters rocked on numerous occasions in what was otherwise very closely contested. Hill was moving up to eight rounds for the first time.
Simpson vs. Duarte
No round given but “Truck” Simpson produces a savage left hook to the body that almost cut poor Duarte in half. Fifth win by KO/TKO for the 20-year-old southpaw from West Baltimore. He is one to watch having won a gold medal at the US Silver Gloves Tournament for six year in a row as he grew from 95lbs to 165lbs. He also took gold at the National Police Athletic and the US Under-17 and Under-19 Championships. In the background at just four years of age he had the trauma of watching his father bleed to death from a gunshot wound on the streets of West Baltimore. Brazilian Duarte suffers his tenth loss by KO/TKO.
Fight of the week (Significance): Carlos Takam’s win should see him get at least one more big payday
Fight of the week (Entertainment) Brad Foster vs. James Beech was twelve rounds of quality and exciting action with honourable mention to Andres Cortes vs. Alejandro Salinas in an eight round war
Fighter of the week: Jose Zepeda for brushing aside useful Kendo Castaneda to keep himself in the title picture
Punch of the week: The left to the body from Lorenzo Simpson which had Alex Duarte writhing on the canvas in agony
Upset of the week: No biggie but Andy Vences was a slight favourite over Luis Alberto Lopez
Prospect watch: British super welter Hamzah Sheeraz 11-0 who shoed skill and power in halting Paul Kean.
Activity picking as between Tuesday and Saturday there were shows in America, Poland, United Kingdom, Australia, Czech Republic, Germany, Latvia, Mexico, New Zealand, Thailand and South Korea.
Inventiveness to the fore as the show in Germany was staged in a car park with the spectators watching the action from their cars and on big screens.
Some different approaches with referees in London wearing masks and those in Nevada not doing so.
No Commission personnel present at the show in Rosarito so again Box Rec will show the fights as No Contest or not record them at all
Tuesday 14 Las Vegas Top Rank: Super Feather: Jamel Herring defending the WBO title against Jonathan Oquendo
Thursday 16 Las Vegas Top Rank Feather: Miguel Marriaga vs. Mark John Yap. Light Felix Verdejo vs. Will Madera
Saturday 18 Magdeburg, Germany: Heavy; Agit Kabayel vs. Evgenios Lazaridis. Heavy: Peter Kadiru vs. Ruben Wolf. Spectators will be allowed in for this fight with the approval of the local Health Board and with some social distancing.
Almaty, Kazakhstan, MTK Global: Super Middle: Dauren Yeleussinov vs. Arman Rysbek plus a number of other small shows.
We're back again with more commercial's featuring boxers. This time is maybe the most eclectic selection so far, featuring a herbal product, a Wonderboy promoting a banking product, a Monster in his underwear and a legendary along with a monkey. Yes the world is a strange place and commercials are real oddities.
Manny Pacquiao - Tolak Angin
We kick off this months look at commercials featuring Asian boxer's by returning to the face of Asian boxing, Manny Pacquiao. Here Pacquiao is promoting a herbal supplement Tolak Angin. The product is best known for being available in Indonesia, but has spread around the globe and could be purchased in the UK from Amazon at one point. The commercial is a really basic one, but one that sadly left us wondering what on earth the product is...needing us to research it. For an advert appealing to a market who knew what the product was this is great, but those who didn't know would just be confused...as we were.
Rex Tso - Standard Chartered Balance Transfer Loan
From one of the most marketable men in Asian boxing to another, with Hong Kong star Rex Tso advertising Standard Chartered Balance Transfer Loans. Yeah we were completely lost by that idea too. The commercial does little to connect Tso to the product and appears to be more of a training video until the final seconds when we see the product details on the bottom of the screen. Yeah this is just a terrible mess of a commercial. Really bizarre.
Ryota Murata - Under Armour
Japanese star Ryota Murata is another very marketable fighter and someone who has often found himself as a face of products in Japan. One of his most notable contracts has been with sportswear company Under Armour with this being one of the many commercials for the company he has featured in. Give the previous two adverts this month at least we know what he's promoting, which is a huge improvement from the Rex Tso advert. Still it's a bit boring and little more than a training video.
Naoya Inoue - Body Wild Airz
We stay in Japan as we feature Naoya Inoue walking around in his underpants! Yup this one sees the Monster advertising some underwear in what is a short but interesting advert that clearly makes it obvious what he's advertising. An advert making the product clear seems a novel here, but it's good to see Bodywild using one of the faces of Japanese boxing to sell their product, rather than just...featuring him training.
Guts Ishimatsu - ENEOS
One of the few men who always seems to be in humorous and entertaining adverts is the legendary Guts Ishimatsu. He's in another here for ENEOS, who are an oil and energy company. We'll admit we're not totally sure on what the commercial is selling us, though it appears to be some kind of loyalty card, but in reality that hardly matters, seeing the interactions here between Ishimatsu and the Monkey is brilliant. We suspect, although we could be wrong, that part of the advert is a call back to a previous Ishimatsu advert, for Ape Escape, but even if that's not the case this is still a funny advert and much more memorable than other adverts we tend to see.
Although it's not unheard of it is rare for a decision in the sport to leave someone so disillusioned with it that they walk away from boxing in disgust. Perhaps the most famous example was Dave Tiberi, who left the sport after losing a very controversial decision to James Toney. Two of the judges for that bout weren't even licensed in the state where that bout took place. Tiberi however, isn't alone and today we look at another bout that sent a fighter, essentially, into retirement. This was less high profile, but incredibly controversial, and very much a dubious decision.
Teiru Kinoshita (21-1-1, 5) Vs Cyborg Nawatedani (9-2-2, 4)
We suspect most fans reading this will recognise the name of Teiru Kinoshita. He's a 2-time world title challenger, he took Zolani Tete 12 rounds in a bout for the vacant IBF Super Flyweight title in July 2014, before Tete travelled to the UK and stopped Paul Butler, and also lost to Jerwin Ancajas on a Manny Pacquiao under-card. The man from Kobe was a decent domestic level boxer. Not world class, by any stretch, but a decent domestic fighter with good skills, and a total lack of power. This was going to be his third bout since losing to Tete 13 months earlier, and a clear step up from the stay busy bouts he had had since the Tete bout.
Whilst Kinoshita is pretty well known Tomoya "Cyborg" Nawatedani really isn't. Or rather wasn't. He entered the bout with a 9-2-2 record but had gone 8-0-1 since a struggling start to his professional career. He had turned things around really well and had notched notable domestic wins over the likes of Junichi Ebisuoka, Sho Nakazawa and Shunji Nagata. He wasn't anywhere close to the world rankings but the then 26 year old was getting his career on track, building momentum, moving towards a Japanese title fight. He had been climbing up the domestic rankings and a win over Kinoshita would likely have helped him secure a title bout the following year.
At this point in time Kinoshita was being lined up for a second world title bout. He was still highly ranked by the IBF, with a top 5 ranking, whilst Nawatedani was ranked #6 in Japan. On paper this was a mismatch, but in the ring things did not go as expected in this all southpaw bout.
From the opening round Nawatedani pressed the action. He looked crude and was caught coming in, but didn't seem the slightest bit discouraged by Kinoshita who quickly began to back off. With Kinoshita going backwards there was even less pop on his shots than usual. He really couldn't keep Nawatedani away, and the unheralded man kept march in, landing the better shots, and the most eye catching shots. Not only was he landing the better blows, but he was also out landing Kinoshita.
It wasn't just the first round that Nawatedani did better than Kinoshita, but pretty much every round. Kinoshita would land some good shots, but they were few and far between whilst Nawatedani's success was consistent, regular and and far more frequent. He was the one dictating the pace, forcing the fight and even left Kinoshita cut late on.
After 8 rounds both men were left with some swelling, and it was clear both had been in a fight, and it was a good fight with Kinoshita being dragged into a war and doing all he could to survive. After the final bell their was a loud applause from the fans who had been treat to a bit of a forgotten, small hall classic. Then we got the scorecards and, giving Kinoshita the split decision.
The reactions said it all. The crowd cheered the card that had gone to Nawatedani and the mildly applauded the actual result. The result that had favoured the home town fight got a mild applause, whilst a scorecard in favour of the visiting fighter, got a roar.
After the fight various Japanese papers reported on the bout, and then Nawatedani essentially vanished from boxing. After this result that was no surprise. He had given his all and had his momentum stopped, when really the bout should have ended in a huge boost for him.
This isn't a very well known controversy, but is a notably one, especially given that just a few fights later Kinoshita would take on Ancajas, and look totally inept at world level against the Filipino.
(Footage courtesy of Westbrook Satoshi)
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