Today we want to take a look at something different to usual. There is, after all, a real lack of actual fights taking place right now and whilst we are chomping at the bit to talk about in ring action there's not a lot of it to talk about. There doesn't appear to be much being announced either and we're sort of sat an impasse until the year kicks off properly.
With that in mind we've decided to look at some out of the ring work some fighters have done in recent years, and look at how some fighters have kept themselves in the minds of fans between fights. Here we look at 5 commercials featuring fighters from Asia. Whilst some of these are for relatively obscure local companies others are for international giants.
Tomomi Takano - Kitchen Punch
Japanese fighter Tomomi Takano is one of the most marketable looking fighters in the history of the sport. Incredibly easy on the eye, with looks that will instantly get peoples attention. She has been in a host of commercials over the years but the one that intrigued us the most was this one for "Kitchen Punch", which...certainly could raise questions in the political correct West about the "women in the kitchen" stereotype. Still it's an amusing advert, features a woman who should have been in far more adverts, and the item they are selling has punch in it's name. Clever from those involved!
Rex Tso - Nike
This 2017 Nike advert features a man who was, at one point, the face of Hong Kong sport. Rex Tso was involved in a lot of adverts, he seemed to be linked to almost every major Hong Kong company from Hauwei to HongKongBroadbandNetwork and even the Hong Kong International airport. Here though we see him being featured in a 2017 advert for Nike.
One odd thing about Tso's adverts is there was quite a few where he knocked down as a boxer, perhaps not helping the star of your advert look good here folks!
Nonito Donaire - McDonald's
One fighter who has always been willing to poke fun at himself has been Nonito Donaire, and he has been in a number of adverts for various products over the years. Here we share an old advert of a much younger looking Donaire helping promote McDonalds in the Philippines...maybe this is how he made the move Featherweight!
Koki Kameda - Snickers
We've all seen some form of the "You're not you when you're hungry" adverts that have done a world of good for Snicker's. What you may not have known is they did something similar in Japan. One of the Japanese adverts featured a Karaoke setting and Koki Kameda. This is one where you don't need to know the language to know exactly what the commercial is doing.
Daisuke Naito - Haseko Corporation
It only makes sense to from a commercial with Koki Kameda that makes complete and utter sense to everyone to a Daisuke Naito advert that has us scratching our heads at what is going on. This commercial features a smiling singing Naito, along with a lot of other people, in an advert that has us wondering whether this was actually a success or not
On paper Nonito Donaire's 18-5 record for the decade is rather dire, but the reality is that he did more in the decade than most will realise. He went up and down the scales, one of the very few fighters to actually have success whilst going back down in weight, and proved to be incredibly competitive in mid 30's, years after many wrote him off. He is a man who has revived his career multiple times in the decade and proven so much more than many would have realised during a 10 year span that saw him move from Super Flyweight all the way up to Featherweight, then back down to Bantamweight. Not did he do that, but he took some big scalps along the way and remained one of the most classy and humble competitors the sport has ever seen.
Beginning the decade Donaire had abandoned the Flyweight division and had just claimed the WBA "interim" Super Flyweight title, stopping Rafael Concepcion. He didn't remain at 115lbs for long, though did take a very notable TKO8 win over Hernan Marquez before leaving the division to compete at Bantamweight. It was at Bantamweight that he looked his best, dominating Volodymyr Sydorenko in his Bantamweight debut before scoring a sensational win over Fernando Montiel, to claim the WBC and WBO Bantamweight titles. His pursuit of a challenge saw him unify the WBO and IBF Super Bantamweight titles, winnign the WBO belt from Wilfredo Vazquez Jr before beating Jeffrey Mathebula for the IBF title. Sadly his reign at 122lbs left something to be desired, as he went legend chasing with wins over Toshiaki Nishioka and Jorge Arce, rather than legacy chasing.
A loss to Guillermo Rigondeaux in 2013 lead Donaire to move up to Featherweight where he looked poor, yet still ended up picking up the WBA title. Wins over Vic Darchinyan and Simpiwe Vetyeka came in some poor performances and a loss to Nicholas Walters showed that the weight wasn't a good one for the "Filipino Flash" who moved back down to Super Bantamweight and reclaimed the WBO title there. The reign was a short one, losing a very competitive bout in his second defense against Jessie Magdaleno, and it was here that many thought he was a spent fight. A loss to Carl Frampton in 2018 seemed to further prove that.
After the loss to Frampton we saw Donaire move back down to Bantamweight to compete in the WBSS and was given no chance by many and was a 34/1 outsider for the tournament. Many thought that a former Featherweight champion making Bantamweight was going to be too much, but the reality is that he made the weight really well and looked big, strong, powerful and tough. A nightmare for anyone. He would defeat the much fancied Ryan Burnett, the #1 seed and the #2 favourite, in his quarter final bout and then stop Stephon Young toe reach the final, where he gave Naoya Inoue a real test.
It's expected that Donaire will get another big fight in 2020, and we wouldn't be surprised at all if he ended up picking up another world title. Even in his late 30's he still looks a real handful and has had a very impressive decade, no matter what his record states.
The Super Bantamweight division is one of the most interesting at the moment in terms of the fighters in it, though has sadly been lacking in good match ups. Hopefully that will change in the near future as some of the notable fighters, finally, face off against each other.
Here we have looked at some of the best in the division with short profiles on 9 of the best in Asia as well mentions of other top Asian's in the division and the other top names in the division world wide.
Other Asian fighters at Super Bantamweight worth making a note of are-
Yukinori Oguni (14-1-1, 4)-Oguni is a technically well schooled boxer-mover who is the current Japanese champion and a former OPBF title holder, who lost the belt by stoppage to Wake. Although talented he is a light puncher and will likely struggle to get beyond Japanese level again. Despite that he will be in interesting fights, especially at domestic Japanese level.
Yasutaka Ishimoto (26-8, 7)-Another Japanese level fighter who is often in entertaining bouts is Ishimoto, who is best known for out pointing Wilfredo Vazauez Jr. Ishimoto has come up short in a couple of Japanese title fights but is expected to get a third shot shortly and it could well be his last. If he manages to claim a domestic title then that will be a perfect way to close out his career.
Yusaku Kuga (11-1-1, 7)-One beaten Japanese prospect Kuga is a talented and capable fighter who is expected to reach OPBF level in his career. Aged 24 he's not viewed as a sensational prospect but certainly as a man with real promise. Promoted by Watanabe his future is bright but it's hard to see his route to the top considering his domestic competition. Saying that however we do like a lot.
Hikaru Marugame (5-0, 3)-Marugame is another Japanese prospect and one who is tipped to go a long way. The 25 year old turned professional last year and has looked fantastic at times though has yet to have a serious test. That comes on October 19th when he takes on Jonathan Baat in a really testing 8 round bout at the Korakuen Hall. A win there would be a big statement for the youngster.
Kongthara KKP (7-0, 5)-We'll admit we don't know enough about Kongthara to really make a comment about how good he will be, but so far he has been really impressive and already holds wins over Shingo Kawamura and Nouldy Manakane. The talent he has shown has already impressed and he's already proved his stamina and ability over 12 rounds. One to keep an eye on.
As well as the Asian fighters there are also copious non-Asian fighters in the division worth noting.
Guillermo Rigondeaux (15-0, 10)-The best of the division, by some margin, is Cuban sensation Rigondeaux. Unfortunately Rigondeaux is a fighter who has proven to be hard to match, had to advertise and almost impossible to keep onside. Plenty of fans will accuse fighters of ducking him though comments from his own manager make it seem like he's actually as tricky outside of the ring as he is on the inside. An on song Rigondeaux is a pure boxer, but sadly his time may be running down.
Carl Frampton (21-0, 14)-Northern Irishman Frampton is regarded by many as the clear #2 in the division. He's a boxer-puncher with a lot of talent, a growing fan base and a combination of skills, speed and power. In a recent bout fans saw Frampton being dropped twice, in what was his US debut, those knockdowns saw some question his chin, and ability, but he did win the bout and has continued his unbeaten run. It's now thought that Frampton will be fighting Wake before the year is out in what really looks like one of the best bouts the division could give us.
Leo Santa Cruz (30-0-1, 17)-Mexican warrior Santa Cruz once looked like one of the sports emerging stars. A 2-weight world champion with an exciting style he was supposed to be a throw to the Mexican fighters of old. Unfortunately a lot of the shine and good will he had built in his career has been damaged in the last couple of years as he's gone through a number of WBC defenses against weak opponents. Although he's tough and does throw a lot of punches the belief seems to be growing that he's a divisional cash cow but one with out the ability to face the other top fighters.
Scott Quigg (31-0-2, 23)-WBA “regular” champion Quigg was often seen as the weakest of the champions. In recent times however he has looked impressive and his recent blow out of Kiko Martinez was one of the most impressive wins of 2015. He's looking for a showdown with Frampton though it does seem unlikely that we'll see that one as mandatory obligations and promotional spats are standing in the way. Hopefully we'll see Quigg fight another top name in the near future, and Donaire is said to be the man his team are targeting in what would be an intriguing contest.
(Images courtesy of www.boxrec.com apart from the images of Kubo, courtesy of Shinsei Gym, and Kim, courtesy of the KBF)
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