To close out the Closet Classic series for 2020 we thought it would be a good idea to feature a bout that took place "on this day", and with New Year's Eve being a big day for boxing in Japan in recent years it left us with a lot of options. We've gone with a bout that isn't one of the more famous New Year Eve bouts, but is very much a Closet Classic. It's a bout that goes over-looked, and often ignored, yet was a real thriller between two exciting little men. Not only was it a thriller but their controversy, excitement and drama.
Katsunari Takayama (30-7-0-1, 12) Vs Jose Argumedo (15-3-1, 9)
Coming in to the bout the always fun to watch Katsunari Takayama was the IBF Minimumweighgt champion, and was hunting his third defense of the title. He was 32 years old and had had a long and successful career winning the WBC, WBO and IBF Minimumweight titles, along with the WBA interim title. Although not the most skilled or the biggest puncher in the sport he was an all action fighter who could box, but almost always ended up in a war and had provided so many Fight of the Year contenders, including a sensational 2014 war with Francisco Rodriguez Jr. The reason Takayama was so great to watch was that he let his hands go, a lot, and took risks as he attempted to break down opponents with work rate. He lacked power but made up for that with volume, speed, heart and desire and even in his 30's was still a little energiser bunny full of energy, and able to fight at a very high work rate through the full 12 rounds. Sadly for Takayama the wars he'd been in had taken a toll on his flesh, and he was prone to cuts, which had been a massive issue 2 fights earlier against Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr, and caused that bout to be stopped in round 9.
Whilst Takayama was a known quantity at world level, the same couldn't be said of Mexican challenger Jose Argumedo. The 27 year old Mexican had lost on debut, to future WBC champion Oswaldo Novoa, and later lost a rematch to Novoa, but had scored decent wins on the Latino scene with victories against the likes of Saul Juarez, Martin Tecuapetla and Javier Martinez Resendiz. Other than Novoa the only other loss on Argumedo's record was a split decision to Carlos Velarde. Although not too well known he has proven to be a limited, but very strong and tough fighter. He came forward a lot, took a good shot and hit hard for a Minimumweight. Notably this was his first bout outside of Mexico and his first world title bout, in what was a clear step up in class.
The bout started with Takayama trying to use his speed against the slower but visibly bigger Argumedo. Despite being the slower man Argumedo was managing to land plenty of eye catching shots, which had more power on them than Takayama's quicker blows. Within 2 minutes of the first round it was already clear we were going to get a treat to end 2015, and the bout did not disappoint as the action got more and more intense. The only problem was the occasional clash of heads, which were a result of the two men fighting at such an aggressive and exciting pace.
In rounds 2 the action became more and more intense, with both men landing a lot of leather. Despite the two men having very different styles they were both delivering fireworks to end the year, and they were giving us some amazing exchanges. Not only were they both unloading shots but they were both taking them clean as the bout started to go through the gears. Sadly the round also saw Takayama suffer a cut, from a clash of heads. The cut seemed to put a big question mark on "how long" the bout would last, and with that in mind Takayama knew he would have to put his foot on the gas even more.
From there on we ended up getting something truly tremendous, between two men who fought incredibly hard for the title, and gave all they could in a thrilling contest.
We won't ruin what happens here, but this is a tremendous bout, and if you're looking for some fireworks before ringing in 2021, this is a great throw back to 5 years ago, and a bout that if you've not seen before is seriously worth a watch. On the other hand if you already seen it, watch it again, it's a second viewing!
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