We return to the Minimumweight division for this week's closet classic which came in May 2013 and was a genuinely fun, and often over-looked bout from Japan. In one corner was the WBA Minimumweight champion, making his first defense of the title which he had won in an instant classic, whilst the other corner featured 22 year old Mexican fighting in his first world title bout. Together they made something short, but thrilling.
Ryo Miyazaki (18-0-3, 10) vs Carlos Velarde (23-2-1, 13)
No one will ever try to describe Japan's Ryo Miyazaki as a special boxer. Technically he was quite limited, almost predictable, but he was tough, rugged, and seemingly always got caught in wars. His technical limitations were always pretty clear, but his ability to fight hard and fight tough made him one of the most fun to watch Minimumweights of his time. His WBA Minimumweight title win in December 2012, against Pornsawan Porpramook, was a brilliant bout, but not his only classic. In fact just a few months after his title win he was involved in another great bout as he took on Mexican challenger Carlos Velarde.
Mexican youngster Carlos Velarde was relatively unknown outside of the Mexican domestic scene. His only bout outside of Mexico up to this point was a loss in Panama to Edwin Diaz. Despite that loss he had bounced back with 3 wins, including a technical decision over Oswaldo Novoa, to get a shot at Miyazaki and the WBA title. Aside from the loss to Diaz the only other marks on Velarde's record were a TKO loss to Jesus Silvestre in 2009, when he was just 18, and a draw in his 2007 debut, when he was just 16. Despite having no major win on his record he had proven to be exciting, fun to watch and aggressive. He was pretty much the type of guy who was going to make for fun fights, especially if he thought he needed to score a stoppage to get a win, as he likely he would here.
From the opening round Velarde came forward, trying to pressure Miyazaki. Miyazaki was more cautious, and willing to move away when he needed to, but still tried to fight fire with fire. Within a minute we were already seeing some great back and forth action. It was exciting, but also technically correct, with neither man being reckless. Miyazaki looked the more versatile, but the challenger looked very polished, and like a fighter with a very clear gameplan, based around breaking down Miyazaki.
In round 2 the tempo picked up slightly, but kept the same type of pattern as the opening round. Velarde coming forward, throwing more, and Miyzaki picking his spots more. It was great two-way action despite the fact the styles were often very different, with nice lulls to catch your breath, and then great intense bursts of action.
We won't ruin any more of this fight, but for those looking for something short and enjoyable to watch. It also has a truly brilliant finish to it and that alone is worthy of the time it takes to watch the bout.
A fun, short, exciting bout, with a fantastic finish. A perfect closet classic.
The smaller division's often get derided in the west, by fans who only want to watch the bigger men. Thankfully those who do follow the "little men" they get rewarded with a lot of hidden gems. Today we look at one of those gems from late 2012, in fact it was from very, very late in 2012 being one of the final bouts of the year, and a very late contender for Fight of the Year,
Ryo Miyazaki (17-0-3, 10) Vs Pornsawan Porpramook (27-4-1, 17)
The bout in question was a WBA Minimumweight title bout pitting an unbeaten Japanese warrior against an experienced Thai warrior, who had previously held the title. The belt was now vacant, and this bout was put together, with promises of incredible action.
In one corner was unbeaten Osakan fighter Ryo Miyazaki, a flawed but exciting fighter who had been regarded as the #2 at the Ioka gym, behind close friend Kazuto Ioka who vacated the title to move up in weight. Miyazaki lacked the natural skills of Ioka, but had an aggressive and exciting style that relied on his pressure and physical strength. He fought to his strengths, and didn't try to be a boxer like his friend and stablemate. Notably he had first made a mark at Light Flyweight, winning the Japanese and OPBF titles at 108lbs, and before dropping down to Minimumweight for this fight. It was assumed that if he could make weight without depleting his body too much his strength, toughness and power would make him a nightmare at 105lbs.
In the other corner was Thailand's Pornsawan Porpramook. He was very much a proven quantity at Minimumweight but someone who had come up short in most of his biggest bouts. He had lost to the likes of Donnie Neites, Oleydong Sithsamerchai, Edgar Sosa and Akira Yaegashi, with the Yaegashi fight being something special it's self. Although he had typically come up short he had won the WBA title in 2011 when he travelled over to Indonesia and beat veteran Muhammad Rachman. His reign was short, losing to Yaegashi in his first defense, but he had bounced back with 4 wins to earn a shot at the now vacant title. He would, however, have to return to Japan, where he lost to Yaegashi, to fight for the belt.
Given what we knew of the two men, that both were warriors, both liked to impose themselves and both could fight it was a bout that promised a lot and it delivered.
The two men started rather cautiously, trying to figure the other out in the opening moments. It was a rather slow and cautious build, with neither man wanting to be the first to take a risk. Despite that you could feel that the touch paper was going to be lit sooner or later and that things were going to pick up in a big way sooner or later. There was a flash point towards the end of the first round, and you could tell both were eager to step it up.
In round 2 both men would begin to put their foot on the gas, with Porpramook pressing more and showing the style that had seen him getting dubbed the "Tank", walking down Miyazaki and forcing the Japanese fighter to respond. When that happened the bout began to step up in intensity. Miyazaki wasn't being dragged straight into a war, but the war was being forced onto him why a tank determined to make this more than just a fight.
From round 3 onwards we began to get something amazing, despite Miyazaki trying to box on the back foot he began to embrace the war more and more and the action kept building.
Despite Brad Vocale, the referee, playing too much of a role early on the fight managed to over-come his interjections as the two men just pounded each other, round after round.
If you've not seen this one, it is well and truly worth the time to watch, enjoy and realise just how thrilling these two warriors were and how great Minimumweight fights can be!
During the next year we're expecting to see the Light Flyweight division become the “must watch” weight class. Given that it's often been an over-looked weight class we're really hoping that 2016 can be a year where fans do get excited and do start to give the division the attention that it deserves, and of course we also hope to see some great match ups. Ahead of any major announcements we've thought of 5 fights that we want to see this coming year in what is the second part of out "Bouts we want..." series, following on from the Minimumweight version here.
The interim Champion
The Philippines have several other notable fighters in this division including WBA interim champion Randy Petalcorin who is a much touted southpaw with venomous power and an exciting style. “Razor” is exciting fighter though one who hasn't yet scored a major win with his best scalp to date being against Walter Tello. Hopefully this year we will find out a lot more about the 23 year old southpaw and find out if he has the ability to claim a “real” world title.
Milan Melindo will be the next Asian fighter to fight for a Light Flyweight title when he steps up to take on IBF champion Javier Mendoza on April 25th. Melindo is a fabously talented fighter but one who seems to struggle when he steps up a level and he has struggled with both Jean Piero Perez and Martin Tecuapetla in recent bouts. He's talented but lacks the power and consistency to be genuinely world class.
The notable none Asian (I)
Having just mentioned the IBF champion it makes sense to talk about him a little bit. The heavy handed Javier Mendoza is a wonderfully fun fighter to watch with serious power, aggression and pressure. He's not the most technically capable nor the fastest but it may well take a very good fighter to beat him. Melindo, in our eyes, lacks the style to get the job done in Mexico but it will be fun when the two collide.
The notable non Asian (II)
Mexico's Pedro Guevara may well be the best fighter in the division and yet the 25 year old is generally over-looked by many in the division. Part of the reason he is over-looked is that he lost his first step up bout, coming up short against John Riel Casimero, however since then he has scored 4 straight wins including notable victories over Raul Garcia, Mario Rodriguez and most recently Akira Yaegashi. This kid is extremely talented and appears to have all the tools to be a star.
Images courtesy of:
WBO Boxing (Nietes)
Essam Sanbani (Raymi)
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