There is one bout which will also be close to the site, and that's because it was the first bout we managed to run an official live stream for through the broadcaster. Thankfully the bout wasn't just a fight that we streamed, but it was also an instant classic and a genuine Fight of the Year candidate with two well matched, but stylistically very different, men giving us an absolutely incredible war that will go down as one of the best Flyweight bouts in recent memory. This was something special for us as a site and something just as special for us as fans. This was 2018 at it's absolute peak.
Sho Kimura (17-1-2, 10) Vs Kosei Tanaka (11-0, 7)
In one corner was Cinderella man Sho Kimura. Kimura had been stopped in a round on debut and had a career that had toiled away without recognition until 2017 when he pulled out one of the shocks of the year and stopped Zou Shiming in China. That win saw Kimura become the WBO Flyweight champion and an instant star in China, where the country almost adopted him. He had built on the win over Shiming by defending the belt twice, and had quickly become a man that fight fans wanted to see. He wasn't the most skilled, or the fastest or the most flashy, but what he was aggressive, tough and had an incredible engine. He was the sort of unstoppable object that makes for thrilling fights and with his ability to bite down on the gumshield and go for it late he was gaining a real reputation as a must watch fighter.
Kosei Tanaka on the other hand was the man groomed for success. He was a stellar amateur who had won his first world title in just his 5th professional bout, then won his second in his 8th bout. Now, in bout #12, he was looking to tie Vasyl Lomachenko's record for fewest fights to become a 3-weight champion. Tanaka had looked like a sensation rising through the ranks. He had shown he could box, he could brawl and that he could bang. He had also, sadly, shown he could be hurt, going down against Vic Saludar and Palangpol CP Freshmart. It was those vulnerabilities than really made us question the move up against a rugged, solid punching, fighter like Kimura. On one hand Tanaka had all the skills, but on the other hand Kimura wasn't the sort of fighter a boxer was going to easily out box, and in fact Kimura had beaten 2 Olmypians in his previous 3 fights.
The fight had high expectations on it, it was a rare fight that Western fans didn't need to go looking for, given the free stream that was available and it was a chance for both men to impress an international audience.
Thankfully it exceeded expectations, in a big way, as the two men put on a show case of violence from the opening round to the final bell. The styles gel perfectly and they set a hot tempo from the off. Kimura's pressure and Tanaka's willingness to to box up close saw the first round look completely unlike a typical opening round. This was a hot tempo to start the bout, and it only got hotter and hotter as the bout went on. Both men taking the best their opponent had, and firing back with just as good shots of their own.
As the rounds went on the pace just got better and better. It was a rare fight that started fantastically, but got better, and better as it went on, and even the final rounds, after both had inflicted massive amounts of punishment the other, continued to be thrilling. In fact the later rounds, with both men swelling badly around the eyes, saw some of the most eye catching moments of the fight, with a particular sequence in round 12, where both took it in turns to launch massive right hands, being regarded as one of the moments of the fight.
This was a fight that we hoped would be good, and in the end it turned out to be sensational. If you missed this, some how, we really do suggest you make up for it now.
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