Last we looked at a very controversial bout featuring Koki Kameda, what few realise is that that wasn't actually the only time Koki himself was in a bout that saw the scorecards and judging being questioned. Whilst the win over Juan Jose Landaeta was a massive controversy, that saw an loud outcry from the Japanese fans, the media and former fighters he had several other questionable decisions go his way as well. Today we look at one of the most overlooked of his controversial wins, and one that did see a number of Japanese fans question the outcome.
Koki Kameda (27-1, 17) vs Nouldy Manakane (24-10-1, 15)
Years after winning the WBA Light Flyweight title in controversial fashion, in the aforementioned bout with Landaeta, Koki Kameda moved up through the weight. He took the WBC Flyweight title, with arguably his career best win against Daisuke Naito, and later moved up and claimed the WBA "regular" Bantamweight title. His reign there was truly unspectacular, full of under whelming performances and narrow wins. One of those, his 4th defense, saw him taking on Noldi Manakane from Indonesia.
With 35 bouts to his name Manakane was known regionally as a decent regional fighter but nothing particularly great. He had rebuilt well following a 1-4 start to his professional career and won the PABA, but wasn't really seen as being a world class fighter. If anything he was ranked more because of the PABA title than any specific win he'd score. His competition had been frightfully poor, inexperienced and limited and whilst we accept not all Indonesian and Thai's have complete records none of them seemed like the sort of preparation opponents needed for someone to move into world title level.
Despite the poor competition of Manakane, and his record, he was selected to be Kameda's challenger for an April 2012 bout. On paper a mismatch, even with Kameda looking a rather poor fighter at Bantamweight. He was given the green light by TBS, the television company behind Kameda, and the fight was on. The expectation was that Kameda would finally look good as a Bantamweight. Those expectations were very much wrong.
The opening round saw little in the way of action. Both men were patient, almost to a fault, there was little more than jabs from either man, in what made for a remarkably dull first round, with the main highlight being a looping right hand from Manakane almost 2 minutes into the round. Following that shot Kameda seemed to become even more negative. Whilst it could be put down to the typical "feeling out round" it was still dreary for a bout assumed to be a massive mismatch.
The pace began to pick up in round 2, but for the most part it was Manakane bringing the pressure, coming forward and throwing. To his credit the better work was from Kameda, it was clear Kameda was the more skilled boxer, the smarter man in the ring, and the one with that extra class. That however didn't make up for his laziness, and the short bursts of aggression from Manakane were certainly eye catching, if somewhat ineffective.
Round by round Manakane's confidence grew and he began to make a fight of things. He realised Kameda didn't have the power to hurt him and seemed happy to take extra risks, pushing the aggression more, and out landing Kameda in the exchanges. The fans who had expected the blow out win for Kameda were instead seeing the local man moving away and fighting like a man in sparring partner mode. This was obviously notable in some of the middle rounds, with round 5 being a very clear example of Kameda not being at the races.
Even when Kameda stood his ground and looked to fight with an increased output he didn't shine or show much consistency. He could only put his foot on the gas for bursts, something he did well in round 6 before going back off the boil soon afterwards.
That's not to say that Kameda looked bad when the tempo dropped. He still looked like a real talent, he showed some really nice touches, both defensively and offensively, but their wasn't much of them. For example landed a cracking left hand in round 11 and he had a fantastic round 12. Sadly though he made things hard for himself than they needed to be, he fought like a man scared of someone who was, essentially, a regional journeyman and struggled to get the juices going.
After the final bell Manakane celebrated. He like though that despite losing the final round he had built up a decent lead. That however didn't show on the official scorecards with scores of 117-110, 118-110 and 115-113. Scores that simply didn't make sense. The scores were met by mostly mild applause with a spattering of boos.
After the bout various international news sources reported that "Kameda dominated throughout the 12-round bout at Yokohama Arena in his fourth defence of the title he won in December 2010", but that was simply not true. Those in Japan felt the bout was close, some putting it down as a bit of a robbery in favour of Kameda, who had been getting a lucky run with the judges at this point in time. Plenty felt Kameda had deserved the win, though many felt it was by a point or two and that the scorecards were terrible, to say the least.
There was a rumour in some Japanese circles that the bout had been deleted from the internet at the time to stop people watching it and complaining about match fixing, genuinely that's an explanation we found on one Japanese site,
There is, of course, an argument of quality against quantity and the better shots did, for the most part, come from Kameda. There is no argument there. Some of the punches he landed were genuinely fantastic. The issue is that there wasn't enough of them. They were few and far between, and he was out worked by so much in some rounds that his quality shot or two was easy to forget. Round after round Kameda looked happy to try and old man the old man he was facing and it meant what was supposed to be a mismatch turned into a real struggle. The wrong tactics were applied round after round from Kameda, who looked incredibly lazy through out. The finish was good from Kameda, but it was impossible to give him a 117-110 or 118-110 card from the action in the ring. Those wide cards made it seem like Manakane, a very limited fighter, was being stitched up.
Interestingly Manakane has since fought in a number of Japanese bouts. In 2012 he lost to Eita Kikuchi and a debuting Kenji Kubo, was stopped in 2013 by Koki's younger brother Daiki Kameda, and lost to Juki Tatsuyoshi and Ryo Suwa in 2018. In none of those returns to the country did he look the same as he did here. As for Kameda he managed 4 more defenses, but 3 of those were hotly contested split decisions and he eventually gave up the title rather than face Anselmo Moreno. He dropped down to Super Flyweight and then lost to Kohei Kono in what was his final professional bout.
Despite the controversies Kameda has remained a notable figure in Japanese sports culture. He had a special event on an online streaming service, where he fought 5 people in the same event, and also fought Pongsaklek Wonjongkam in an exhibition style bout. He has however left the ring with many criticising his career, his opponents and bouts like this.
Whilst we don't see this as a robbery our selves, we do see the scorecards being rather awful. Interestingly Michael Lee, who had the bout 118-110, ended up doing Kameda's next two bouts, favouring him in both which ended in split decision wins for him. As for Ferlin Marsh, who put in the 117-110, he never got a call back to do a Kameda fight, but does appear to have been very consistent since his score here.
By Eric Armit
Many writers of British history find it irresistible to write about the PTS period. No that’s not Post Traumatic Stress it is Plantagenet, Tudors and Stewarts as there was always something happening during the reigns of the respective regents of those three eras. It is very much like the heavyweight division today. The head that wore the crown then was always likely to have his reign come to an end in a dramatic fashion. Over those three periods we cut the head of a king, supposedly disposed of others by drowning one in a vat of wine and another by inserting a red hot poker up where I dare not mention and killed one in battle. No king retired peacefully or willingly but a couple were stripped of their titles and sent to some awful foreign place such as France or Italy. It should also be noted in a reflection on the emergence in the present day of female boxing that we also chopped the heads of three queens!
We do things in a much more civilised manner these days. King Anthony Joshua travelled to one of our former colonies and was ambushed and deposed by that foreign villain Andy Ruiz. Joshua was not executed for this failure but did not escape being pilloried. He regained the crown by defeating the usurper Ruiz. However as has happened throughout the PTS period there have always been other claimants to the throne. For many years it was Deontay Wilder a citizen of Alabama an area to the West of our thirteen colonies. However Tyson Fury, a giant from our North West, established a strong claim for kingship by vanquishing Wilder. Fury himself had been the strongest claimant until he was unable to enter the field of battle to defend his crown. Eventually with the aid of the powerful Warren Clan and Bob Arum, a citizen of one of our thirteen colonies, he has now gained considerable recognition as king in his own right.
Just as in the PST period we have young pretenders waiting to claim the throne such as Daniel Dubois and we face invasion from foreign forces such as Oleksandr Usyk from Ukraine and Kubrat Pulev from Bulgaria so no real change there. No drugs problems in those days. In fact we did not even have tobacco until 1586-hell of a long time to wait for a smoke! Things are much different today with there having been failed tests or contested results surrounding Fury, Dillian Whyte and Hughie Fury although all have been cleared on this. In a reminder of the PST period Fury’s positive test came from eating boar’s meat. Perhaps that’s what made the English such formidable fighters. I can hear Sir Francis Drake saying I don’t care if the Spanish Armada is sailing up the channel I am not going anywhere until I finish me game of bowls and my boar’s meat sandwich.
One feature of the PST period we might think of reintroducing is the scale of punishments existing then. Today for a drugs offence it seems the maximum punishment is two years suspension and too often it in nothing more than a slap on the wrist. We should reintroduce that old favourite hanging drawing and quartering. Those of a delicate nature should skip this bit as I am about to describe the process. The miscreant was hung by the neck then taken down whilst still alive had his guts cut open and his innards drawn out and then placed in his hands often whilst still alive then be cut into four pieces with each piece being displayed on a spike at the entrances to the city. Now that’s what I call a deterrent!
Additionally no one ever confesses these days when caught on a positive test so how about a session on the rack to enhance their memories
Just as today where we have COVID-19 back in the Plantagenet era we had the plague. Ignorance allowed the plague to have a far more tragic result. Today promoters deserve a vote of thanks for the way they are working with the health officials to keep boxing alive. Top Rank blazed the trail but in Britain both Queensbury and Matchroom picked up that torch.
One of the infamous historic incidents in the PST period is the still unanswered question of what happened to the two princes Edward V (before he could be crowned) and the Duke of York who were locked in the Tower of London and mysteriously disappeared. Modern equivalent of mysterious disappearance? When was the last time you saw WBA heavyweight champions Manuel Charr and Trevor Bryan in a ring?
Of course Wilder has caused a stir with his ridiculous claim that Fury loaded his gloves for their second fight. Firstly it has taken Wilder more than ten months to realise Fury’s gloves were loaded and secondly he is accusing the Nevada Commission of incompetence. It makes him look pathetic and a poor loser.
To finish with the heavyweights Alexander Povetkin is free of COVID-19 but too late to save his return fight with Dillian Whyte with even the 30 January looking in question. Whyte has accused Povetkin of faking the COVID-19 case saying Povetkin is only using it as an excuse to get more time to prepare. You have to hand it to the heavyweights they really know how to make themselves look silly. Luis Ortiz has challenged Andy Ruiz, Daniel Dubois and Joe Joyce face each other on 1 November with new heavyweight prospect David Adeleye vs. Danny Whittaker and WBO No 1 super light Jack Catterall tackling Tunisian Abderrazak, Tony Yoka takes on Christian Hammer in Nantes on 27 November, there’s talk of a Filip Hrgovic and Mike Hunter fight which would be the first real test for Hrgovic and of interest since Hunter drew with Povetkin in December-a result for which he did not get the credit he deserves and may be the reason why Povetkin was not seen as too big a risk for Dillian Whyte.
Then there are the two big nights with the kings putting their crowns on the line with Tyson Fury defending the WBC tiara on 5 December with former undefeated European champion Agit Kabayel the likely opponent and 12 December with Anthony Joshua putting the IBF, WBA, WBC and IBO titles on the line against Kubrat Pulev. The executioner is sharpening his axe but let’s hope it is not a king’s head which ends up on the block next month.
The WBA’s disappearing trick does not just apply to heavyweights. Their secondary champion at cruiserweight Beibut Shumenov won the title in July 2018 and has yet to defend it. That is disgraceful when there is an interim champion in Ryad Merhy who would fight him tomorrow. It is ridiculous that the WBA keep inventing new titles to garner sanctioning fees but are willing to let Shumenov freeze their title for two years
The situation with Saul Alvarez seems to change from day to day with him having recently been declared a free agent you would think there would be a queue at his door and lots of rumours flying about. The latest twist is talk of going back to DAZN to fight Callum Smith in Texas next month in front of a live audience as spectators are allowed in Texas. That would reduce the number of title holders the WBA have super middle with Smith the real champion and Alvarez the holder of the secondary title. You can’t be sure this is the final outcome with other names still being thrown around but Alvarez vs. Smith would be a tough ask for both fighters and better than some of the other matches being talked about.
Luke Campbell is reported to be coming along well in his recovery from COVID-19 and his WBC lightweight final eliminator against Ryan Garcia is now rescheduled for 19 December with a shot at Devin Haney the prize for the winner.
Good to see that a settlement has been made in the court case between Carl Frampton and Barry McGuigan. Boxing needs Frampton in the ring in big fights and boxing needs McGuigan finding and developing new talent on his promotions.
It was surprising to see that Felix Sturm is to return to the ring in Hamburg on 19 December under the Universum banner. The former world middleweight and super middleweight champion will be 42 in January and this will be his first fight since February 2016. In early 2019 Sturm was arrested and spent eight months in custody. In April he was convicted of tax evasion, violation of anti-doping laws and assault and the case is going through the Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe.
Former undefeated WBO super middle champion Gilberto Ramirez is ready to return to the ring. He will fight Alfonso Lopez on 19 December with somewhere in Texas the likely venue. Ramirez is No 1 with the WBC and No 4 with the WBA. It will be Ramirez’s first fight since April 2019 and he will be looking to challenger Artur Beterbiev for both the WBA and WBC titles early next year.
Two of South Africa’s stars could clash in the New Year. Both former WBO bantamweight champion Zolani Tete and IBO super fly champion Gideon Buthelezi have indicated interest in the fight if the money is right. Tete has not fought since being crushed by John Riel Casimero in November and Gideon since defending his IBO title in July last year.
Today's Closet Classic looks at a fantastic bout from the summer of 1991 as a local star in Nagoya clashed with an under-rated Mexican great, who's longevity was staggering given his style and the nature of his fights. At the time it was regarded as one of the best fights to take place in Asia during the 1990's and now, almost 30 years on, it's still a bout that shows just how brilliant the sport can be. This is thrilling, action packed, dramatic and a testament of the will from the two men involved in what is a truly sensational contest.
Kiyoshi Hatanaka (22-1-1, 15) Vs Daniel Zaragoza (41-5-1, 22)
Japan's Kiyoshi Hatanaka is best known by modern day fans as a promoter, promoting Kosei Tanaka and Hatanaka's own son Kento Hatanaka who are both amazingly good fighters to watch. In the 1980's and 1990's however he was a world class fighter himself. In 1988 he had challenged Gilberto Roman for the WBC Super Flyweight title before reassessing his career, moving up in weight and beginning a charge on the Super Bantamweight division. In 1991, aged 23, Hatanaka beat Pedro Decima to claim the WBC Super Bantamweight title and 4 months later he was defending the belt against Daniel Zaragoza. Hatanaka was a solid punching fighter, who was technically a bit crude, but tough, rugged, came to fight and had genuinely found himself becoming a better fight at Super Bantamweight than he had been at Super Flyweight. Sadly the Decima win aside there was little on his record to get too excited about, but he had a big following in Nagoya where he was a local hero.
Daniel Zaragoza was already a veteran by 1991 with close to 50 fights on his record. He had had been the WBC Bantamweight in 1985 before moving up to Super Bantamweight and winning the WBC title in 1988. He lost the belt in 1990, to Paul Banke, but then travelled to face Hatanaka in an attempt to reclaim the title. By this point Zaragoza was 33 years old but the Mexican southpaw really didn't look it in terms of his fighting style. He was a timeless wonder, who was beating father time and competing at the highest level in the sport, something he managed to do until he was close to 40. Although not the most powerful, the quickest, or the heaviest handed fighter Zaragoza was an exciting and crafty veteran. He knew how to fight and was quick enough and powerful enough to get the respect of his opponents, that was seen in Asia just a few years earlier when he had waged war with Seung Hoon Lee, in an exciting 12 round draw.
After a delayed start, for the referee to kick some things out of the ring, pausing everything for quite a while, we finally got going and immediately this picked up with Hatanaka on the offensive, setting a high work rate and taking the fight to the 33 year old Mexican. The game plan seemed clean, he was Hatanaka was going to try and either take Zaragoza out early, or set a work rate the Mexican couldn't match. Zaragoza wasn't new to the sport though and tried to use his tools and experience to neutralise the aggression of Hatanaka. It was a risky strategy, especially on Hatanaka's turf, but it was also a smart one, especially in the opening round.
Hatanaka remained on the front foot in round 2, but by now Zaragoza was starting to use his ring craft more effectively, creating space and punishing the Japanese local for coming forward. Zaragoza was laying traps, changing the dynamic of the fight, and although still the more negative of the two men was was being smart. He was starting to show what a solid amateur career and a good boxing brain could do.
No matter how smart and craft Zaragiza was he still struggled to totally thwart the aggressive pressure of Hatanaka, who continued to come forward, fighting like a man who had total belief that his youth and energy would be enough, and that he would, sooner or later, drag Zaragoza into a war. We saw glimpses of that round by round, but Zaragoza stuck with his game plan, and showed his composure.
As we moved into the second half of the fight however things were turning slightly, and the exchanges were becoming more frequent, the action slowly gearing up, shifting through he gears. Hatanaka was needing to fire off more, knowing he was in a hole, and by round 8 we were getting an all out war, with Zaragoza's legs slowing and the Mexican needing to fight hard off the ropes. The bout had began to change, develop and becoming a sensational battle.
What started slowly warmed wonderfully, becoming something super special. This isn't one of the more well remembered bouts of the 1990's, but it should be. This second half of this is amazing to watch, but the full fight tells a really complete story, with momentum shifts, action, intensity and desire. We see hunger, we see skills, we see violence, and we see something fantastic unfolding in front of our eyes. It might start slowly but keep with it, and you will be seriously rewarded as a viewer!
By Eric Armit
Devin Haney retains the WBC world lightweight title with wide unanimous decision over Yuriorkis Gamboa
-Junto Nakatani stops Giemel Magramo in eight rounds to win the vacant WBO flyweight title
-In heavyweight fights Luis Ortiz dismisses Alex Flores in 45 seconds, Frank Sanchez stops Brian Howard in four rounds, and Chinese hope Zhilei Zhang knocks out Devin Vargas in four and Fillip Hrgovic stops Rydell Booker in five rounds
-Unbeaten Russians Roman Andreev, Magomed Kurbanov, Evgeny Romanov and Evgeny Tischenko all win inside the distance in Ekaterinburg
World Title/Major Shows
Tokyo Japan: Fly: Junto Nakatani (21-0) W TKO 8 Giemel Magramo (24-2).
Nakatani wins the vacant WBO title with stoppage of a brave Magramo in a one-sided fight.
The scale of Magramo’s task was immediately apparent as Nakatani was taller with a long reach and was also a southpaw. With Nakatani’s long legs and wide stance the Japanese fighter was able to step beyond Magramo’s reach and counter the Filipino as he came forward. Nakatani was piercing Magramo’s guard with right jabs and then connected with a straight left that knocked Magramo back on his heels and to the ropes and then followed with a series of punches.
Score: 10-9 Nakatani
A confident Nakatani chose to stay inside and trade punches and a right to the head staggered Magramo. Nakatani alternated between fighting inside and outpunching Magramo and staying outside scoring with his jab. Magramo broke through with some sharp uppercuts late in the round but was again eating jabs.
Score: 10-9 Nakatani Nakatani 20-18
A more competitive round. Magramo was swarming forward applying pressure for the whole three minutes and was landing hooks inside. Nakatani was also scoring inside and put together a series of punches that forced Magramo back and did enough to win the round.
Score: 10-9 Nakatani Nakatani 30-27
Magramo continued to march forward but he was paying a price. As he came forward Nakatani was scoring with hooks, uppercuts and straight punches and then landing heavy left hooks to the body inside. Magramo had some success with hooks but not much.
Score: 10-9 Nakatani Nakatani 40-36
Official Scores: Judge Masahiro Nopda 40-36 Nakatani, Judge Biney Martin 40-36 Nakatani, Masakazu Murase 40-36 Nakatani.
Nakatani totally controlled this one. As Magramo advanced he was raking Magramo with punches and then outscoring Magramo on the inside. With the height disparity Magramo was having to take three or four steps to get inside and was being countered all the way.
Score: 10-9 Nakatani Nakatani 50-45
As in the third Magramo pressed for the whole three minutes. Again he was being caught with punches on the way in and had only limited success inside with Nakatani landing some solid body punches. Magramo was warned for coming in with his head down but Nakatani could also have been warned for pushing Magramo’s head down.
Score: 10-9 Nakatani Nakatani 60-54
A big round for Nakatani. He refused to let Magramo come inside dodging Magramo’s rushes and connecting with accurate punches at distance. Late in the round he scored with a series of punches that had Magramo floundering.
Score: 10-9 Nakatani Nakatani 70-63
Nakatani was loading up on his punches and Magramo was being forced to back out of the exchanges by some vicious body punches and lefts to the head. Nakatani connected with a succession of punches and Magramo slid face down on the canvas. He made it to his feet but the referee completed the eight count then waived the fight off.
At 5’7” Nakatani is tall for a flyweight and Magramo was never able to figure out a way to stay inside long enough to be effective. With 16 wins by KO/TKO Nakatani also has a respectable punch. He started out weighing 104lbs so is climbing through the weights and at 22 a move to super fly and beyond is possible. Magramo, 26, had won his last seven fights inside the distance but as hard as he tried here the physical handicaps against Nakatani were too much for him. He can regroup and look for another title shot.
Hollywood, FL, USA: Light: Devin Haney (25-0) W PTS 12 Yuriorkis Gamboa (30-4). Heavy: Zhilei Zhang (22-0) W KO 4 Devin Vargas (22-7). Heavy: Fillip Hrgovic (12-0) W TKO 5 Rydell Booker (26-4).
Haney vs. Gamboa
Haney retains the WBC title (that’s the real one not the ridiculous franchise one) with a comfortable points victory over Gamboa but doesn’t really make any kind of statement in his win.
Gamboa’s problems were quickly apparent. He was giving away too much height and reach, had slower hands. Not a lot of scoring in the round but Haney connected with jabs to the body and a pair of combinations.
Score: 10-9 Haney
Haney hardly needed to use his right. With his reach and hand speed he was able to stick Gamboa with jabs at distance and even his best punch was a left to the jaw. When Gamboa came forward he was having to lean in a long way and leaving himself open to counters.
Score: 10-9 Haney Haney 20-18
Gamboa opened the round by getting inside and scoring with some hooks. Haney then took over and put Gamboa on the back foot. He was still scoring well with the jab but certainly using his right in this one scoring with some blazing right crosses.
Score: 10-9 Haney Haney 30-27
Haney was working well with the jab and putting together some fast combinations when Gamboa stretched and left himself open. His speedy footwork allowed him to get forward into range to score then out before Gamboa could counter.
Score: 10-9 Haney Haney 40-36
It was jab time again from Haney as he worked his jab to head and body and connected with some straight rights. Gamboa managed to get close enough to connect with a couple of hooks but Haney’s movement had him swishing air.
Score: 10-9 Haney Haney 50-45
This was a close round. Gamboa stepped up his attacks getting inside to land some hooks and he held and smothered some of Haney’s work. Haney’s output dropped but he did enough scoring with his jab to just take the round. Haney
Score: 10-9 Haney Haney 60-54
Haney boxed his way through this one just controlling the fight with his jab. He was circling a static Gamboa spearing him with the jab and occasionally mixing in a combination. Gamboa has a sliver of success when he briefly pinned Haney to the ropes but was just too slow.
Score: 10-9 Haney Haney 70-63
There was bit more action in this one as they stood and traded punches for a while. Haney landed a sharp left hook that hurt Gamboa and did the same with a right later in the round. Haney continued to do the majority of the scoring and Gamboa was holding a lot trying to stay inside and smother Haney’s work.
Score: 10-9 Haney Haney 80-72
Another round for Haney. Gamboa had no answer to Haney’s jab and was being caught by right crosses. The Cuban did put together one nice sequence of punches but otherwise just had to eat jabs. Haney was winning but was not sustaining any of his attacks and the fight was too one-sided to be entertaining.
Score: 10-9 Haney Haney 90-81
Haney boxed rings around Gamboa and finally began to put his punches together a bit more. Gamboa could not match Haney’s speed in the centre of the ring and was too slow to cut the ring off so was having a frustrating night.
Score: 10-9 Haney Haney 100-90
Haney made a purposeful start to the round coming forward behind his jab and looking to land his right. Gamboa was diving inside and holding. He took that too far clinging to Haney and refusing to let go and finally the referee deducted a point from Gamboa*.
Score: 10-9* (10-8) Haney Haney 110-98
Haney showed some real fire in the last standing and trading punches and scoring with some fierce hooks and uppercuts. Gamboa was getting the worst of the exchanges and started holding again with Haney losing a bit of impetus but he managed to break free and was again unloading some heavy punches to the bell.
Score: 10-9 Haney Haney 120-109
Second title defence by Haney but he never really got out of second gear and didn’t really need to. He is hugely talented and still only 21 so will be a huge factor in the future of the division. The sort of question the stupid “franchise” title throws up is whether Luke Campbell and Ryan Garcia are fighting an eliminators to challenge for the world title or the franchise title? Haney twice beat Garcia in the amateurs but that was a long time ago. Javier Fortuna is No 1 with the WBNC but as Dillian Whyte found out being No 1 with the WBC carries no real significance as you are not automatically the mandatory challenger. Let’s hope things get clearer in 2021. Gamboa was a huge star in the amateurs and blazed a trail to world titles at featherweight. He then lost his way and has not been the same fighter since losing to Terrence Crawford in 2014. At 38 his career as a top line fighter is effectively over whether he fights on or not.
Zhang vs. Vargas
Zhang crushes Vargas in four rounds Zhang had huge physical advantages over Vargas and he made good use of them in the first. He tracked Vargas around the ring being surprisingly mobile and doing a good job of cutting off the ring and scoring heavily with body punches. Vargas was more competitive in the second. He stood and traded with Zhang finding gaps for quick punches but they just bounced off Zhang. The Chinese fighter scored heavily late in the round and Vargas fired back with a burst of punches. Zhang connected with thudding body shots in the third and although Vargas again found gaps he could not match Zhan’s power and looked very tired. Vargas was shaping to throw a right in the fourth when Zhang beat him to it and exploded a thumping right cross that had Vargas tumbling back and ending up face down on the canvas. He tried to rise but just slumped back to the canvas and was counted out. The 6’6”, 37-year-old Chinese southpaw has 15 wins by KO/TKO but is yet to really face a testing opponent. This was only his second fight in two years so he needs to be more active. He competed at the highest level as an amateur representing China at the 2003 and 2005 World Championships before winning a bronze medal in both the 2007 and 2009 Championships. He took a silver medal at the 2008 Olympics but lost to Anthony Joshua in London in 2012. When he signed him back in 2014 Dino Duva described as the next Klitschko but that prophecy remains unfulfilled. Vargas, 38, represented the USA at the 2004 Olympics but his pro career has been disappointing.
Hrgovic vs. Booker
Hrgovic feeds on an overmatched Booker. Hrgovic made a steady start in the first jabbing the tubby Booker who although a lot smaller was 6lbs heavier. Hrgovic began to put his punches together well and scored with straight rights. Booker just played the part of a punch bag in the second as Hrgovic unloaded some heavy hits until a series of punches dropped Vargas to his knees in the last few seconds of the round. He was able to get up and return to his corner. Just target practice for Hrgovic in the third and fourth. Booker threw an occasional leaping left hook but other than that he played the nail to Hrgovic’s hammer and survived some huge shots. Between rounds the referee warned Booker he would stop the fight unless Booker showed more and when a very short show of aggression from Booker died out and Hrgovic connect with some head punches the referee halted the one-sided spectacle. The 28-year-old Croatian “Stone Man” has ten wins by KO/TKO. He showed improvement particularly in firing combinations but he is still a bit slow. He needs some more testing opposition. Right now he is doing his bit in supporting senior citizens with 5 of his last 6 opponents ranging in age from 38 to 41. Booker, 39, lost on points to James Toney in 2004 and was then out of the ring and in jail for 14 years under some questionable circumstances. Since returning he is 4-3 with points losses against Jermaine Franklin and Kubrat Pulev so Hrgovic is the first guy to beat him inside the distance.
Los Angeles, CA, USA: Heavy: Frank Sanchez (16-0) W TKO 4 Brian Howard (15-4). Heavy: Luis Ortiz (32-2,2ND) W KO 1 Alex Flores (18-3-2). Heavy: Michael Polite Coffie (11-0) W TKO 2 Joey Abell (35-11,2ND). Heavy: Carlos Negron (22-3) W KO 2 Rafael Rios (11-3).
Sanchez vs. Howard
Sanchez overpowers Howard with some impressive punching. Howard scored with a good right early in the first but Sanchez responded with a quick burst of punches and then kept Howard on the back foot with some strong jabs. Sanchez spun Howard around with two punches in the second. Howard connected with a an uppercut inside but Sanchez was finding the target with his jab and some body punches. In the third Sanchez had done most of the scoring before staggering Howard with a right hook inside. He landed two more punches as Howard stumbled back across the ring and down. He was up at four and the bell went after the eight count was completed. Sanchez sent Howard to the canvas with a left hook at the start of the fourth. Again Howard was up quickly but Sanchez leapt on him and put him down with two heavy head punches. Howard got up and took the fight to Sanchez but when he went down again from two rights the referee stopped the fight. The 28-year-old Cuban makes it twelve inside the distance wins. He is rated WBO 10/WBA 14 and has solid power and is rapidly becoming a factor in the heavyweight division. He is a former Cuban champion at 91kg. It is claimed he was 214-6 as an amateur despite having suffered at least eleven losses but he beat Erislandy Savon which not too many have and he is certainly a danger man. Howard, 40, got the high profile fight on the back of a 66 second blow out of Carlos Negron in August 2019 but he was not in the same class as Sanchez.
Ortiz vs. Flores
Ortiz disposes of Flores with farcical ease. Ortiz was not looking to hang around. He quickly forced Flores to the ropes with a right jab and landed a couple of good punches. Flores moved away and Ortiz followed taking him to the ropes and landing a stiff right jab to the body. Ortiz looked surprised as Flores went down and although Flores just made it to his feet he stumbled and the fight was stopped after just 45 seconds. So easy for Ortiz as he gets win No 27 by KO/TKO. Ortiz is No 3 with both the WBC and WBA and with Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury both looking to face each other next year at 41 time is not on the Cuban side. Whenever Flores tries to move up he loses early with both Charles Martin and Joseph Parker having stopped him within four rounds.
Coffie vs. Abell
Coffie gets a win over Abell who injures his right bicep during a knockdown. Not much action in the first as Coffie was on the back foot just looking to counter but not throwing much. Abell was a bit more aggressive and got through with a couple of hooks. Abell forced Coffie to the ropes in the second but Coffie landed a brutal left hook to the body and a right to the head and Abell went down. He arose to one knee then stood up but indicated to the referee that he had injured his right bicep and was unable to continue. Eighth win inside the distance for the 6’5” 34-year-old Coffie. He was 267 ¾lbs (121kgs) for this fight and has been as high as 282lbs so a big guy. He spent eight years in the US Marines and did not turn pro until he was 31. Abell, 39, has been a pro for 15 years and is way past his best. Whenever he moves up he loses inside the distance having been stopped by both Kubrat Pulev and Tyson Fury but just occasionally he pulls off an unexpected win.
Negron vs. Rios
Not much of an advert for heavyweight boxing this was a scrappy confused bout with no skill on show from either boxer. After taking the first round Negron both landed and absorbed some meaty stuff as they just threw wild punches at each other. Negron finished one series of punches with a blow to the back to the head which put Rios down. It was an obvious foul and Rios was given a period of recovery time but did not look happy as the fight continued. Negron scored with some sweeping hooks and again landed a punch to the back of the head which saw Rios drop to his knees. He got up and the fight should have been stopped then but the referee did not do his job and let the fight continue with Negron landing more big head punches before the referee finally jumped in. Puerto Rican Negron makes it 18 wins by KO/TKO. He is 6’6” tall but he is also 63lbs heavier than when he first turned pro and that showed around his waist. Rios had won his last nine fights but against abysmal opposition.
Los Angeles, CA, USA: Welter: Eimantas Stanionis (11-0) W TKO 9 Justin DeLoach (19-5). Middle: Chordale Booker (15-0) W PTS 8 Sanny Duversonne (11-1-2).
Stanionis vs. DeLoach
Lithuanian hope Stanionis hunts down and stops DeLoach. DeLoach made good use of his 5” height advantage and longer reach to score in the early action, Stanionis was tracking DeLoach behind a high guard but DeLoach was finding gaps. DeLoach continued to outscore Stanionis but Stanionis was pressing harder and harder and DeLoach didn’t have the punch to keep Stanionis out. As DeLoach tired Stanionis was closing the distance and he staggered DeLoach with a heavy right late in the seventh with DeLoach badly shaken and hanging on to last to the bell. Stanionis was pressing hard in the eighth. De Loach was moving slower and punching less and Stanionis was starting to land some heavy punches. Stanionis caught up with DeLoach in the ninth and put him down with a left hook to the ribs. DeLoach was up at seven then Stanionis bombarded him with punches until he went down again. He arose and the referee made him walk around a bit before letting the fight continue and when two rights to the head had DeLoach stumbling the fight was stopped. The 26-year-old Stanionis gets his eighth win inside the scheduled distance. He was an Elite level amateur winning the Lithuanian title in 2013, 2014 and 2015, scored a victory over Jeff Horn, won a silver medal at the European Union Championships, a gold medal at the European Championships and competed at the Rio Olympics. DeLoach’s career continues in free fall as he has dropped from 17-1 to 2-4 with losses in important fights.
Booker vs. Duversonne
Southpaw Booker just edges past Duversonne on a split decision. This was a fast-paced competitive fight where both fighters had their moments of domination. Booker used his pressure tactics to take the first two rounds with Duversonne taking the next two by boxing at distance where his longer reach gave him the edge but there was plenty of close-quarters stuff in all four rounds. Duversonne’s jabs had Booker’s mouth dripping blood in the fifth as he again scored well with Booker fighting in bursts. Duversonne also had the better of the sixth as he rocked Booker with uppercuts. Duversonne looked close to stopping Booker in the seventh as he had him reeling around the ring under a storm of blows. At a crucial point Booker lost hi mouthguard and the time to replace it enabled him to hang on to the bell. Booker had more left and he out mauled Duversonne in the last. Scores 77-75 twice for Booker and 77-75 for Duversonne who looked worth at least a draw. Booker, a former US National champion, was having his first fight since beating Wale Omotoso in May 2019 whereas Duversonne, who suffered his second loss in a row, was having his second fight in less than four weeks.
Ekaterinburg, Russia: Light: Roman Andreev (24-0) W KO 2 Pavel Malikov (16-3-1). Super Welter: Magomed Kurbanov (21-0) W TKO 2 Dmitry Mikhaylenko (23-7). Heavy: Evgeny Romanov (15-0) W KO 2 Siarhei Liakhovich (27-9). Cruiser: Evgeny Tischenko (8-0) W KO 2 John McCallum (12-2).
Andreev vs. Malikov
This was the most anticipated fight of the night and it turned out to be short but entertaining. In the opening round Andreev was taking the fight to Malikov stabbing out jabs and then putting together some quick-fire combinations. There were plenty of fierce exchanges. Malikov was throwing less but he landed a couple of heavy punches and Andreev’s face was covered in blood from a nose bleed at the end of the round. They went back to war in the second. Andreev was working well with his jab but both were connecting with explosive punches to head and body. Andreev’s face was again covered in blood and a right from Malikov sent him staggering back. As they traded punches Andreev connected with a left hook to the head and then an overhand right that sent Malikov down on his back and he was counted out. Exciting and brutal whilst it lasted. Andreev has been a pro for twelve years and has scored 24 wins 17 inside the distance but does not seem to have progressed far and at 34 time is against him. He is No 14 (12) with the IBF which is a long way from a title fight. Malikov, also 34, suffers his second bad kayo loss in a row having been floored six times and knocked out in seven rounds by Zaur Abdullaev in August.
Kurbanov vs. Mikhaylenko
Kurbanov dismisses Mikhaylenko inside two rounds. Kurbanov bossed the first round tracking Mikhaylenko around the ropes and scoring with jabs and some clubbing rights to the head. When Mikhaylenko did come forward Kurbanov just brushed aside his attacks. Mikhaylenko was trying to weave his way inside in the second when a body punch had him turning away from the action and walking to a corner. The referee indicated the fight should continue and Kurbanov bombarded Mikhaylenko until Mikhaylenko managed to get out of the corner. Kurbanov attacked again and a wicked left to the body again saw Mikhaylenko retreat into a corner and although he stayed on his feet he was bent double and not able to continue. The 25-year-old Kurbanov “The Black Lion” is rated WBA 4/WBO 7/WBC 12 and has 12 wins by KO/TKO. He is a former World Junior champion. Right now it seems that 2021 might be a bit early but I can see him fighting for a world title in 2022. After winning his first 21 fights it has been a slippery slope for Mikhaylenko and he will probably continue to slide.
Romanov vs. Liakhovich
Romanov bullies and batters a shot Liakhovich inside two rounds. Liakhovich was trying to keep Romanov out with a weak jab in the first and Romanov was able to connect with rights over the top of Liakhovich’s jab. Just before the bell he pinned Liakhovich to the ropes and blasted him to head and body. Romanov continued to put pressure on Liakhovich in the second sending him to the ropes and bombarding him with punches. Liakhovich fought his way off the ropes a couple of times but when he was forced back there again Romanov unloaded with some solid thumps and Liakhovich slumped to his knees and made no attempt to beat the count. Eleventh inside the distance win for the 35 year-old Romanov. He was a top line amateur and included a third round kayo of Deontay Wilder back in 2008 in his victories. He was European and World Junior champion and won the Russian title in 2009. He dropped boxing in 2010 and did not fight again until he turned pro in 2016. At 6’0” and around 220lbs the new WBC weight category would be just right for him. Belarusian Liakhovich, 44, was WBO champion for a brief few months but is now 2-6 in his last eight fights and did not look good here.
Tischenko vs. McCallum
Tischenko wins the vacant WBO European title with inside the distance victory over McCallum. Since he was giving away so much in height and reach McCallum was forced to try and bundle his way inside to hustle Tischenko out of his stride. Tischenko was mainly on the back foot scoring with his jab and throwing long southpaw lefts to the body. Tischenko was dealing easily with the rushed attacks of McCallum in the second and used a series of jabs to drive McCallum into a corner before connecting with a rib-busting left to the body that saw McCallum drop to his knees. He managed to get up but not quite before the referee had counted ten. The 6’5” 29-year-old Russian gets his seventh win by KO/TKO. Formerly a policeman in ST Petersburg he had a stellar time as an amateur winning a gold medal at the Olympics in Rio, twice taking gold at the World championships, and getting gold medals at European Youth, Under-23 and Senior level. Impressive but he may have to try his luck in the USA to lift his profile. Englishman McCallum had won his last five fights but was out of his depth here just not being big enough to compete with Tischenko.
Bruschsal, Germany: Super Welter: Slawa Spomer (12-0) W PTS 10 Philipp Wiesenhofer (9-4-1). Spomer wins the vacant BDB German title with points victory over Wiesenhofer. Spomer towered over the feisty little Wiesenhofer and although he handed out serious punishment in every round he could not stop Wiesenhofer. Spomer staggered Wiesenhofer with a right late in the third and constantly landed brutal body punches and rights to the head. After taking the punishment Wiesenhofer would plough forward again almost running and pumping out wild punches. Spomer did some showboating in the late rounds but is not quite quick enough for that and was rattled with some head punches and bled from the nose. When he took things series he was much too good for the limited Wiesenhofer and won every round. Competent performance by Spomer but he will struggle as he moves up. Wiesenhofer had won 7 of his last 8 fights but 6 of his victims had only two wins between them and the other victim had lost twice as many as he had won.
Windhoek, Namibia; Super Feather: Jeremiah Nakathila (20-1) W TKO 2 Immanuel Andeleki (8-7). Welter: Mikka Shonena (17-0) W PTS 6 Ebenestus Kaangundue (6-5). Super Light: Harry Simon Jr (12-0) W PTS 4 Rafael Lita (2-3).
Nakathila vs. Andeleki
On the first boxing card in Namibia since the onset of COVID-19 and in all-Namibian bouts Nakathila wipes out Andeleki in two rounds. Nakathila could not pin down Andeleki in the first but an overhand right put Andeleki down in the second. He struggled to his feet but was unable to continue. The 30-year-old “Low Key” holds the WBO Global title and has 15 wins by KO/TKO. Andeleki loses inside the distance for the fourth time.
Shonena vs. Kaangundue
Shonena displayed a lack of punching power as he failed to stop overmatched Kaangundue. He scored heavily in every round but Kaangundue refused to fold. Scores 59-55 twice and 60-54 for Shonena. He is the WBO African champion. Fourth loss in a row for Kaangundue.
Simon vs. Lita
Simon gets a unanimous decision over novice Lita but in a poor and listless performance. Scores 39-37 twice and 40-36 for Simon the 23-year-old son of the former undefeated WBO middleweight champion. Third consecutive loss for Lita.
Tokyo, Japan: Middle: Takeshi Inoue (16-1-1) W Nath Nwachukwu (6-0-2). In a substitute main event former WBO title challenger Inoue wins a unanimous verdict over Nwachukwu. Inoue took charge early in the fight with fast accurate jabbing. The inexperienced Nwachukwu finally worked his way into the fight in the fourth and a clash of heads saw Inoue cut and marked on his forehead. Inoue seemed to lose his way a little after that clash but then his experienced and his better boxing skills steady him and he emerged a bloody but deserving winner. Scores 79-73, 78-74 and 78-75 for Inoue but a pyrrhic victory because of the cut. This is his fourth win since an unsuccessful challenge to Jaime Munguia for the WBO super welter title in January 2019. Nwachukwu was All Japan Rookie of the Year in 2018. This was his first eight round fight and his inexperience showed here
Irapuato, Mexico: Welter: Jose Luis Rodriguez (12-2-2) W Alejandro Chavez (12-4). This was Rodrigez’s fight all the way to the delight of his home town fans. With a more varied attack and a tighter defence he had Chavez on the back foot and under pressure with Chavez showing only occasional bursts of aggression before going on the retreat again. Rodriguez landed some hard head punches at the start of the fifth then switched to the body and dug in a left hook which sent Chavez down on his knees and he was counted out. Rodriguez, 22, wins the interim WBC Fecombox title and gets his sixth consecutive victory. Chavez had won his last three fights.
Bang Phun, Thailand: Feather: Amnat Ruenroeng (21-4) W PTS 8 Pungluang (54-9). Fly: Thananchai (11-1) W KO 4 Pigmy Kokietgym (61-14-2). Bantam: Nawaphon (50-1-1) W TKO 4 Yutthichai (10-11).
Ruenroeng vs. Pungluang
Both of these former world champions have seen better days but they put on an entertaining and competitive eight round fight. Ruenroeng boxed on the back foot raking the oncoming Pungluang with counters and then standing and exchange with both fighters landing heavy shots. This was no exhibition match and both fighters showed flashes of temper with the referee asking them to clean things up. Ruenroeng did all of the good work for the early rounds and then when he tired over the last three rounds tied Pungluang up inside and did enough to hold on to his lead. Scores 77-75 twice and 78-74 for Ruenroeng. He is a former IBF flyweight champion who learned to box whilst in jail and was released so he could follow a professional career. At 40 he is unlikely to fight for a title again but in August he gave Srisaket a hard time in losing a ten rounder. Pungluang, 31, a former WBNO bantamweight champion, is on the down slope and with this loss his recent record is 2-6.
Thananchat vs. Pigmy
Thananchat retains the WBC Asian title with victory over oldie Pigmy Kokietgym. Pigmy has a wealth of experience but that was no substitute for the 6” height difference and the youth of Thananchat. The younger man was able to score well at distance with Pigmy just too slow to get close enough to work inside. Thananchat showed good skills a fast jab and variety in his punches switching smoothly from head to body. Pigmy just kept rolling forward smiling through the counters he was eating. That ended in the fourth when a left hook to the body dropped him to his knees. He was up at eight but another left hook to the body sent him down again and he was counted out. Thananchat looked very useful. He is 20 and after an early defeat has won ten on the bounce eight by KO/TKO including a victory over formerly world rated Kompayak. Pigmy (Wicha Phulaikhao) had his best days as a minimumweight losing twice in challenges for the WBA title but at 5’1” and 39 his days of making 105lbs are behind him.
Nawaphon vs. Yuttichai
Easy win for Nawaphon as he stops Yuttichai in four. Nawaphon kept the fragile-looking Yuttichai under pressure before putting him on the floor with a right to the head in the third. He floored Yuttichai again later in the round with another right and when Yuttichai went down from a body punch in the fourth the fight was stopped. The 29-year-old Nawaphon was halted in three rounds by Juan Hernandez in a challenge for the WBC flyweight title in 2017 but has rebounded with 14 wins including a stoppage of Ruenroeng. He is No 2 with the WBC at bantam so is in line for a short at the winner of Nordine Ouabaali’s defence against Nonito Donaire. Tenth inside the distance loss for Yuttichai
Bonita Springs, FL, USA: Super Welter: Cornelius Bundrage (37-6,1ND) W RTD 4 Antoine Elerson (4-26-2)
Bundrage returns to action with a win as he forces a fourth round retirement on a seriously overmatched Elerson. Elerson was 7” taller than the 5’6” Bundrage but that is not much good to you if you can’t box. Bundrage had no problem getting inside and weakening Elerson with body punches and Elerson retired at the end of the fourth round. This was the first fight for over three years for the former IBF super welterweight champion as he gives it another try at the advanced age of 47. Now 20 losses by KO/TKO for poor Elerson.
Rock Hill, SC, USA: Super Light: Alberto Palmetta (15-1) W TKO 5 Saul Corral (31-15). Argentinian southpaw Palmetta breaks down and halts Corral in five rounds. Palmetto got off to a flying start flooring Corral in the first. Corral survived but took severe punishment over the next three rounds with the referee close to stopping the fight a couple of times. Corral stayed around until the fifth but was still taking a beating and the referee stepped in to save him.
Palmetta moves to nine consecutive wins inside the distance. He was a leading light for Argentina in the amateurs winning bronze medals at the South American Games and the Pan American Games. Corral has won just 3 of his last 9 fights,
Fight of the week (Significance): Devin Haney’s winning title defence keeps alive the hope for some interesting bouts at lightweight
Fight of the week (Entertainment): Too many fights were one-sided and even though it only lasted into the second round Roman Andreev vs. Pavel Malikov did provide some fireworks.
Fighter of the week: Devin Haney for his title defence
Punch of the week: Two punches on the show in Ekaterinburg were impressive with the right from Andreev that finished Malikov outstanding and Magomed Kurbanov’s body punch that ended his fight with Dmitry Mikhaylenko brutal but I will go for the powerhouse straight right from China’s Zhilei Zhang that flattened Devin Vargas
Upset of the week: None.
Prospect watch: Lithuanian welterweight Eimantas Stanionis (11-0) did an impressive job in stopping Justin DeLoach
Good to see boxing return to Namibia with more shows planned.
Not so good to see a gym in Japan closed due to COVID-19.
A heavyweight weekend with five heavyweight fights on the show in Los Angeles, two in Hollywood and another in Ekaterinburg and not one of them went the distance.
Fillip Hrgovic is in danger of losing his “Stone Man “nickname and getting tagged the “The Pensioner Puncher” if he keeps fighting “seasoned” opponents.
A (Evgeny) Romanov in Ekaterinburg-Lenin will rest uneasy in his grave.
Today we look at one of the greatest Flyweight bouts of the 1990's. A bout that was sensational through out and featured a true legend of the sport, in what would be his final bout. In the opposite corner to the the legendary man was a world champion looking to make his first defense in a second weight class. We would have expected something very good, given the men involved, but we got something that exceeded good. Something truly brilliant.
Muangchai Kittikasem (14-1, 10) vs Jung Koo Chang (38-3, 17)
In one corner was WBC Flyweight champion Muangchai Kittikasem a 22 year old Thai who had won the IBF Light Flyweight title in 1989, before moving up in weight and stopping fellow Thai Sot Chitalada in 1991 to become the first 2-weight world champion from Thailand. The Thai was a heavy handed and aggressive fighter. Although not a technical genius Kittikased was a strong, powerful fighter, who came forward had a very under-rated jab and was defensively a smarter fighter than he will ever be given credit for. As with many aggressive fighters Kittikasem's issues were that he could be caught coming forward and that was an issue that we had seen suffer his sole loss, to Michael Carbajal in another great bout.
In the other corner was the "Korean Hawk" Jung Koo Chang. A legend of the 1980's and one of the greatest ever Light Flyweight world champions. Chang had monopolised the WBC Light Flyweight title for a good chunk of the 1980's before retiring in 1988. He made a comeback in 1989 and lost 2 of his 4 comeback bouts coming into this, but they had been a loss to the great Humberto Gonzalez and a very close loss to Sit Chitalada, in their second bout. At his best Chang was a legendary swarmer. He set a high output, had under-rated power, fought with an almost unique rhythm and managed to somehow avoid a huge number of shots from his opponents. His ability to be aggressive yet elusive was something else, and he really was something very special. By 1991 however he was a faded force, even though he was only 28.
Given the styles of the two men we knew we could end up getting something very special. And we did!
The first minute or so was spent with the two men feeling their way into the bout. This, almost slow, start wouldn't have given any hint of what was to come, but was very smart and high level stuff, as both men spent about 90 seconds seeing what the other had. And then sparks began to fly as we started to see the two men letting their hands go. It wasn't an all out war, but there was several exciting exchanges in the first round that showed what we could get.
Round 2 started a lot quicker than the opening round and the exchanges and flash points from round 1 became more regularly in round 2 as we started to see a real fight unfurl in front of us. Round after round the pace began to heat up as we saw more and more glimpses of Chang's brilliance. He didn't look the fighter he once was, but he still looked like a world class fighter, and someone who still belonged at this level.
To begin round 5 Chang dropped Kittikasem, with a left hook. The Thai was up quickly, but would be dropped again before the round was over as the Korean great began to show that he could do it, that he could end up beating the Thai, who struggled to see out the round. Kittikasem wasn't going to just go away however, and after recovering his senses he began to fight fire with fire.
We'll leave the rest of the fight to your eyes, rather than ruining the drama, excitement, twists and turns of the final 6 rounds but this really had it all. This is a fight that could easily be from a movie with the action, intensity and volume of punches, along with the drama and momentum shifts.
This genuinely had everything fight fans could want, and it truly goes down as one of the best Flyweight bouts, one of the bout bouts of the 1990's, and a bout that if you've never seen, you need to!
By Eric Armit:
-Gervonta Davis becomes the holder of titles in two separate divisions simultaneously as he knocks Leo Santa Cruz out with a brutal uppercut
- Naoya Inoue crushes Jason Moloney in another monster power performance
-Oleksandr Usyk decisions Dereck Chisora to cement his spot as No 1 in the WBO heavyweight ratings and mandatory challenger to Anthony Joshua
-Jamie Munguia moves up to middleweight and beats Tureano Johnson when a gashed lip prevents Johnson from continuing
-Elwin Soto retains the WBO light flyweight title with unanimous verdict over Carlos Buitrago
-Mario Barrios keeps the secondary WBA super lightweight title with stoppage of Ryan Karl
-George Kambosos outpoints Lee Selby in IBF final eliminator to become mandatory challenger to Teo Lopez for the IBF lightweight title
-Murat Gassiev has his first fight as a heavyweight and demolishes Nuri Seferi inside a round
-Regis Prograis returns to action with early win over Juan Heraldez
-Tommy McCarthy wins the vacant European light heavyweight title with victory over Bilal Laggoune
World Title/Major Shows
Indio, CA, USA: Middle: Jaime Munguia (36-0) W RTD 6 Tureano Johnson (21-3-1). Light Fly: Edwin Soto (18-1) W PTS 12 Carlos Buitrago (32-6-1,1ND). Welter: Rashidi Ellis (23-0) W PTS 12 Alexis Rocha (19-2-1). Super Feather: Lamont Roach (20-1-1) W KO 3 Neil John Tabanao (17-8). Super Middle: Bektemir Melikuziev (6-0) W Alan Campa (17-6,1ND).
Munguia vs. Johnson
Munguia beats Johnson in a brutal close-quarters battle. Johnson made his tactics clear from the start. He took the fight inside going toe-to-toe with Munguia and denying him punching room. Munguia was unhappy under the pressure as they both landed with hooks and uppercuts. Munguia did better over the second and third as he used a strong jab to provide some punching room. Despite that for much of the time Johnson positioned himself on Munguia’s chest and was connecting to head and body. Both were taking punishment in a real war of attrition. Munguia’s harder punch and some good work with his jab became more of a factor over the fourth and fifth and although he could not keep Johnson out for long he was making Johnson pay a big price for every forward step. By the sixth Johnson was cut by his left eye and being caught regularly by fierce uppercuts from Munguia. One particularly vicious uppercut caused an ugly gash on the upper lip of Johnson. With about 30 seconds to go in the round the referee asked the doctor to examine the cuts to Johnson’s lip and around the left eye and the questionably doctor cleared Johnson to continue but the cuts were too serious and with his face covered in blood Johnson’s team pulled him out at the end of the round. Johnson certainly provided a tough entry to the middleweight division for the 24-year-old former undefeated WBO super welter champion from Tijuana. Munguia is No 1 with the WBO and No 2 with the WBC so a title fight in 2021 beckons. Bahamian Johnson has lost important fights against Curtis Stevens and Sergey Derevyanchenko but had scored a good win over unbeaten Jason Quigley in July last year. He was No 6 with both the WBA and WBC but at 36 he may never get a title shot.
Soto vs. Buitrago
If Johnson may never get a title fight Buitrago was having his sixth shot at winning a title but is now 0-5-1 in those attempts. Little Soto has a very low profile but is a talented fighter with a respectable punch. Soto went on the offensive in a close first with Buitrago forcing the fight harder in the second. Buitrago was going for quantity with the clever Soto throwing less but lending more and harder shots. The champion swept the third, fourth and fifth with Buitrago largely the one fighting a defensive fight. Buitrago had a better sixth but the seventh was Soto’s round as he found the target continually with his jab and had Buitrago under pressure on the ropes at the bell. The eighth and ninth were close with Buitrago boxing cleverly but hampered by a swelling by his right eye that was starting to close. Despite the urging from his corner Buitrago was finding it hard to keep Soto out and the champion was confident enough in the last to make a present of the round to Buitrago by just avoiding trouble. Wildly varying scores saw Soto the winner at 119-109, 117-111 and 115-113 so one judge saw it as nearly a clean sweep and another one round away from a draw. This was not a high profile fight so no social media storm over the widely differing scores. Soto, 23, was making the second defence of the WBO title he won with an upset last round stoppage of Angel Acosta in June last year. After an early career loss he has now scored 16 consecutive wins. He boxed for Mexico Guerreros in the WSB but failed to get through the Americas qualifications for Rio and turned pro. When Buitrago turned pro at 16 he was being compared to Alexis Arguello and Ramon Gonzalez by Nicaraguan sources. He won his first 27 fights before fighting to a draw against Merlito Sabillo for the WBO minimum title in 2013 and then suffered his first loss on a very controversial decision in a challenge to Knockout CP Freshmart for the interim WBA interim title. He has lost in four more title challenges since then. Don’t rule out title challenge No 7.
Ellis vs. Rocha
Ellis takes a unanimous decision over Rocha that nets him the WBC International Silver title. After an entertaining first round in which both fighters had their moments Ellis used his superior speed to outbox southpaw Rocha over the second and third connecting with snappy hooks and accurate counters. Rocha’s work was not as spectacular but he was landing heavily to the body and after a fourth that could have gone to either fighter Rocha ignored a warning for straying low in the fifth and captured the round by sticking to his body punching hoping to slow Ellis. The sixth was close but Ellis used his speed and skill to take the seventh and then outlanded Rocha in the eighth and controlled the ninth from the outside to establish a substantial lead. Rocha put in a big effort over the last three rounds storming forward and cutting into the lead Ellis had built but Ellis stayed cool and countered well and he made sure if the verdict with a strong last round. Scores 116-112 twice and 115-113 all for Ellis. He is rated WBA 5/IBF 10 and with this win has covered the bases having won minor IBF and WBA titles in his previous two fights. Rocha had scored a good win over Brad Solomon in February and at 23 this could just turn out to be a bump in the road.
Roach vs. Tabanao
Roach consigns Filipino Tabanao to retirement with a third round victory. Tabanao admitted his preparation for this fight had been far from ideal and a focused body attack from Roach quickly found him out. After landing with some good shots to the ribs in the first two rounds in the third Roach dug in a left hook to the body and Tabanao dropped to his knees and was counted out. After good victories over Alberto Mercado and Jonathan Oquendo Roach lost on points to Jamel Herring last November in a challenge for the WBO super feather title. Fourth loss on the bounce for Tabanao all in very tough matches against Angelo Leo, Tramaine Williams and Irving Turrubiartes who had combined records of 53 when he met them and Tabano indicated he would now retire
Melikuziev vs. Campa
Californian-based Uzbek Melikuziev blasts out Campa in three rounds. Melikuziev put Campa down twice in the second round and once in the third and the fight was over. Melikuziev, 24, is now the owner of the WBO Inter-Continental belt. He has to be considered a threat in the division having won gold medals at the Youth Olympic Games, Youth World Championships and the Asian Championships as well as a silver medal at the Rio Olympics and a bronze at the 2017 World Championships. Fourth loss in his last five fights for Campa-all of the defeats against unbeaten fighters,
San Antonio, TX, USA: Super Feather: Gervonta Davis (24-0) W KO 6 Leo Santa Cruz (37-2-1). Super Light: Mario Barrios (26-0) W TKO 6 Ryan Karl (18-3). Super Light: Regis Prograis (25-1) W TKO 3 Juan Heraldez (16-1-1).Light: Isaac Cruz Gonzalez (20-1-1) W TKO 1Diego Magdaleno (32-4). Light: Michel Rivera (19-0) W PTS 10 Ladarius Miller (21-214
Davis vs. Santa Cruz
Davis becomes a title holder in two divisions simultaneously as he knocks out Santa Cruz with a brutal uppercut.
Davis scored with two left hand counters but Santa Cruz fired back with a quick three-punch combination. He was using his longer reach to score on the back foot and Davis was short with his punches. Santa Cruz drove forward with a series of punches and in trying to avoid them Davis overbalanced and went down but it was rightly not counted as a knockdown and Santa Cruz ended the round by connecting with a couple of jabs and a right to the body.
Score: 10-9 Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz opened the round by scoring with two body punches. Davis was trying to lure Santa Cruz in so he could counter with his left but Santa Cruz was able to use his jab to score at distance. In a show of temper Davis threw Santa Cruz to the canvas in retaliation for a punch to the back of the head. Santa Cruz ended the round by forcing Davis to the ropes but Davis ducked and dived around the punches..
Score: 10-9 Santa Cruz Santa Cruz 20-18
The early part of this round was close because of what was not happening. Santa Cruz was off target and Davis defending with skill but was not throwing much. That changed later as Davis began to find the distance with his left and landed some solid shots.
Score: 10-9 Davis Santa Cruz 29-28
Santa Cruz went low a number of times without being warned and that fired up Davis who was again finding the target with his rights to the body. Santa Cruz was not using his jab and apart from a three-punch bunch his attacks were ragged.
Score: 10-9 Davis Tied 38-38
Official Scores: Judge Glenn Feldman 38-38 Tied, Judge Alejandro Rochin 38-38 Tied, Judge David Sutherland 38-38 Tied
Classy work from Davis in this one. He was quick enough to score with long lefts at distance and his defensive manoeuvres left Santa Anna swishing air. When Santa Cruz missed Davis made him pay with quick hooks inside .
Score: 10-9 Davis Davis 48-47
The fight changed. Now Davis was storming forward behind a high guard ignoring the punches Santa Cruz was landing and cutting loose with vicious hooks and uppercuts. A low punch saw the action halted whilst Santa Cruz was given recovery time then Davis attacked fiercely again and as Santa Cruz threw a right Davis ducked inside it and came up with a tremendous uppercut to the head that sent Santa Cruz down flat on the canvas out cold. It was perfection! Santa Cruz never saw it coming and it was quite a few minutes before he recovered.
Davis retains the WBA lightweight title and wins the WBA super featherweight title. The 25-year-old “Tank” has now won fifteen in a row by KO/TKO with names such as Jose Pedraza, Liam Walsh, Francisco Fonseca, and Jesus Cuellar, Yuriorkis Gamboa on the list and now Santa Cruz who had never before lost inside the distance in the list. I can’t see him keeping the super feather title as there are great fights there at lightweight against Teo Lopez and Vasyl Lomachenko if they can be made. For Santa Cruz a fight with Miguel Berchelt might be attractive once he recovers from the brutal knockout.
Barrios vs. Karl
Barrios retains the secondary WBA title with a stoppage of strong but limited Karl.
A lively opener with Karl busy, busy but Barrios cooler, more accurate and catching Karl with some sharp counters. Karl was roughing Barrios up inside and they both landed crisp shots late in the round.
Score: 10-9 Barrios
Karl came flying out of his corner wading in to Barrios pumping out punches. The sheer volume of punches was forcing Barrios on the defensive and Karl was able to land with hooks. Barrios was connecting with sharp counters but was outworked.
Score: 10-9 Karl TIED 19-19
Barrios outboxed Karl. He moved more, jabbed more and countered Karl’s rushing attacks with hooks to the body. Karl was looking crude as he swung wildly.
Score: 10-9 Barrios Barrios 29-28
Karl was piling forward again but some of the fire seemed to go out of his work as he was having trouble getting past the left jab of Barrios. A jab from Barrios knocked Karl back on his heels and he was hurt by a number of short hooks as Barrios began to come forward more.
Score: 10-9 Barrios Barrios 39-37
Official Scores: Judge Ruben Carrion 39-37 Barrios, Judge Wilfredo Esperon 39-37 Barrios, Judge Jose Roberto Torres 40-36 Barrios
Karl found the fire again. He was back to his swarming persona as he piled into Barrios. Much of his work was wasted but he was keeping Barrios too busy defending to attack and although caught with some counters late he had done enough to take the round.
Score: 10-9 Karl Barrios 48-47
Barrios connected with some body shots and as Karl came forward a right to the side of the head saw Karl drop to one knee. He bounced up immediately and went after Barrios actually scoring with two huge rights to the head. Barrios fired back and then a clash of heads opened a big gash on Karl’s forehead. The referee asked the doctor to examine him but Karl was also bleeding from the mouth. Despite the flowing blood the fight continued and with his face a mask of blood Karl just kept marching into punch after punch until he fell to the floor on his hands and knees and collapsed onto his back and the fight was stopped.
Barrios, 24, a native of San Antonio now has 17 wins by KO/TKO but as the holder of the WBA secondary title he is in no man’s land not even a mandatory challenger so he will have to wait and see what happens next year between Josh Taylor and Jose Carlos Ramirez. Fellow Texan “ Cowboy Karl “ too brave for his own good and with only one way of fighting. He was No 9 with the WBA having been shoveld into their ratings for beating someone rated No 554 by BoxRec!
Prograis vs. Heraldez
Prograis shed’s some rust before wiping out Heraldez. After studying Heraldez for two minutes Prograis went to work forcing Heraldez around the ring throwing hooks and uppercuts. None connected solidly but it was already apparent that Heraldez was out of his depth. There was very little action in the second with neither fighter committing themselves to attack. In the third a straight right from Prograis dumped Heraldez on the floor. He was on his feet quickly but after the count Prograis jumped on him with a barrage of punches until the referee stepped in and stopped the fight. First fight for Prograis since losing a majority verdict against Josh Taylor in October last year in the final of the WSSB tournament. A defeat that cost Prograis his WBA title. He is No 1 with the WBC so is mandatory challenger to Jose Carlos Ramirez for that version of the super light title. Californian Heraldez had stopped 17-2 Eddie Ramirez and drawn with former IBF super feather champion Argenis Mendez in his last two fights.
Cruz vs. Magdaleno
Cruz catches Magdaleno cold with a ferocious attack putting Magdaleno own twice and blowing him away in just 53 seconds. Cruz went to work immediately forcing Magdaleno back into his own corner and bombarding him with body punches until with less than 20 seconds gone in the round Magdaleno went down. He was up at four and after the eight count he tried to trade punches with Cruz but was overwhelmed by a succession of punches then two neck-snapping uppercuts and fell to the canvas on his back with his head resting on the bottom rope. The referee did not count but just waived for assistance for Magdaleno as the bout ended after just 53 seconds. Mexican “Pitbull” Cruz, 22, registers win No 15 by KO/TKO in his most impressive performance so far. He has beaten Jose Felix and Thomas Mattice and is No 6(4) with the IBF. At 34 it will be hard for Magdaleno to climb back after this.
Rivera vs. Miller
Not a great fight this one but a good win for Rivera which gets him the USBA belt. Rivera took most of the early rounds with Miller not really getting untracked until later in the fight. Miller tried to put Rivera under pressure in the second half of the fight but he could not make any inroads to Rivera’s lead and put in a very disappointing performance, Scores 97-93 for Rivera from all three judges. Dominican Rivera, 22, is rated No 11 by the WBA and was coming off a career best win in February when he stopped Fidel Maldonado in the tenth round. Miller had won his last twelve bouts with his victims including former WBA super feather champion Jezzrel Corrales in July last year.
Las Vegas, NV, USA: Bantam: Naoya Inoue (20-0) W TKO 7 Jason Moloney (21-2). Super Feather: Robson Conceicao (15-0) W PTS 10 Luis Coria (12-4). Super Light: Julian Rodriguez (21-0) W TKO 3 Jose Lopez (29-8-2).Heavy: Jared Anderson (7-0) W TKO 1 Luis Pena (6-2). Super Light: Andy Hiraoka (16-0) W TKO 4 Rickey Edwards (12-5).
Inoue vs. Moloney
Inoue blasts out Moloney in another display of “Monster” power Round 1
Inoue won the battle of the jabs in the first and connected with a couple of rights. Moloney drove Inoue to the ropes twice but was unable to land anything of note and Inoue connected with a right cross to the head which was the best punch of the round.
Score: 10-9 Inoue
This was a fast-paced open fight and Moloney did some good work with quick jabs over the first two minutes. Inoue was hunting him over the last minute scoring with jabs to head and body and a solid straight right to the head to take the round.
Score: 10-09 Inoue Inoue 20-18
Inoue really stepped up the pressure in this one. He was hounding Moloney around the ring scoring with hooks and uppercuts . Moloney was perpetually on the back foot countering when he could but getting caught with some hard shots.
Score: 10-9 Inoue Inoue 30-27
Another round of Inoue hunting down Moloney. Inoue was getting through with jabs and hooks to the body. Moloney was boxing well and connected with a couple sharp combinations to make it close but Inoue was blazing away with punches at the bell.
Score: 10-9 Inoue Inoue 40-36
Official Scores: Judge Patricia Morse Jarman40-36 Inoue, Judge Max DeLuca 39-37 Inoue, Judge Tim Cheatham 40-36 Inoue
A closer round as Moloney took the fight to Inoue driving him to the ropes and scoring with body punches. Moloney also slotted home some jabs. Inoue was loading up on his punches and late in the round a heavy right to the head shook Moloney and he had to hold on as he was hurt by another right.
Score: 10-9 Inoue Inoue 50-45
Inoue landed a heavy right at the start of the round and then put Moloney down with a short left hook. Moloney was up at four and when the action restarted he jabbed and moved constantly frustrating Inoue’s attempts to land another big punch and worked his way to the bell.
Score: 10-8 Inoue Inoue 60-53
Inoue was not throwing much just looking to land one big punch. Moloney worked constantly with his jab moving quickly in and out and it looked as though he would make it to the bell. With just ten seconds to go Inoue exploded a right over the top of Moloneys jab. It crashed onto the challengers chin and sent him down heavily on his back. He rolled over at six trying to rise but fell back to the floor and the referee waived the fight over with just one second left in the round.
Inoue was defending the IBF and WBA belts. He has kept his power as he has moved from light flyweight, super flyweight and bantamweight as his figures of 15 wins by KO/TKO in his last 17 fights against world class opposition shows. He is also 15-0 in world title fights. His power conceals what an excellent boxer he is with great defensive and offensive skills. A fight with WBO boss John Riel Casimero is the next logical step-but the super bantamweights are not that strong right now so Inoue could even like the thought of becoming a four-division champion! Moloney did his best. He was up against a special fighter but didn’t shirk his task and it is quite possible that he could be fighting for a world title again next year-just not against Inoue.
Conceicao vs. Coria
Conceicao takes a close decision over Coria that is anything but straight forward. After a competitive opening round a left from Coria in the second floored Conceicao and he only just made it out of the round. The Brazilian got back into the fight by outscoring Coria in the third only to lose a point for a low punch in the fourth. The action heated up over the fifth and sixth with both scoring well but Conceicao losing another point for going low. Coria landed the harder punches in the seventh leaving Conceicao with lots of work to do to save his unbeaten record. Conceicao outscored Coria in the eighth but the ninth was close before Conceicao staged the strong finish to win the last. Scores 95-92 twice and 94-93 for Conceicao. The 32-year-old Rio gold medal winner has struggled to impress but this was an entertaining scrap that can only be good for his profile. All four of Coria’s losses have been very close decisions and he is a better fighter than his record indicates.
Rodriguez vs. Lopez
Rodriguez stretches his winning run to 21 with inside the distance stoppage of Lopez. A crunching left hook to the body dropped Lopez in agony in the first and a right to the head floored the advancing Lopez in the second. Rodriguez brought down the curtain in the third. The end was obviously near when Lopez was sent to the floor in the third by a solid jab but it was another left hook to the body that caused the fourth knockdown and finished the fight. No names yet on the record of the 26-year-old from New Jersey but he outclassed Jerry Belmontes and destroyed experienced Hevinson Herrera in 59 seconds. Lopes was a very creditable opponent with victories against Shoki Sakai, Roberto Ortiz and Lupe Rosales.
Hiraoka vs. Edwards
Japanese prospect Hiraoka gets his second win in the USA as he floors Edwards twice before the fight is stopped in the fourth round. Promoted by Top Rank the 24-year-old southpaw’s father is Ghanaian. Hiraoka turned pro whilst still in High School in Yokohama and was East Japan Rookie of the Year in the lightweight division and won the inaugural Japanese Youth title in 2018. Edwards drops to 1-5 in his last six outings.
Anderson vs. Pena
Anderson blitzes Pena for another first round victory. Anderson was landing heavy punches from the first bell. He was driving Pena around with vicious body shots and clubbing rights to the head. He pinned Pena against the ropes and was again digging in rib bending body punches and rocked Pena with an uppercut. Pena managed to escape briefly but was soon being pounded. The referee was looking on carefully but Pena fired back enough to be allowed to continue for a short while but with more head punches landing the referee stopped it at 2:46 of the round. The 20-year-old "Big Baby" from Toledo gets his fifth first round win and his seven fights have lasted less than twelve rounds. The downside is he is not learning anything from these fights and might develop some bad habits from being able to steamroller the opposition so easily but at just 20 he is a towering prospect. Second inside the distance defeat for Pena.
London, England: Heavy: Oleksandr Usyk (18-0) W PTS 12 Dereck Chisora (32-10). Light: Geroge Kambosos (19-0) W PTS 12 Lee Selby (28-3). Cruiser: Tommy McCarthy (17-2) W PTS 12 Bilal Laggoune (25-2-2).
Usyk vs. Chisora
Usyk gets a close unanimous decision over Chisora to cement his No 1 ranking with the WBO putting him in a position to apply pressure on Anthony Joshua for a title fight. Chisora was determined to take the fight to Usyk and he did so in the first. He was either dodging or ignoring Usyk’s jab and landed some clubbing shots to head and body knocking Usyk into the ropes with a right to the shoulder. Chisora continued his march in the second. He was wild at times but was connecting with solid right hooks and Usyk was looking decidedly uncomfortable under the pressure. Chisora had taken the first two rounds but in the third Usyk moved more and scored with quick counters stopping Chisora from getting inside. He connected with two hooks to the body and a right to the head to show he was starting to find his rhythm. Chisora connected with a clubbing right to the head at the start of the fourth and then chased Usyk down hard. I had Chisora winning three of the first four rounds but that was as good as it got for the Londoner. He had expended a heap of energy in chasing down Usyk and that began to tell. Although his tactics had been working well Chisora chose to change to southpaw in the fifth. Usyk upped his pace in the fifth and sixth constantly moving and firing bursts of punches at the advancing Chisora and by the end of the sixth Chisora was already looking tired. The seven was a clincher round for Usyk. After outboxing Chisora for most of the round he landed a left hook and a right to the head that shook Chisora. A series of punches sent Chisora back into the ropes but the bell went before Usyk could finish the job. Usyk was in control in the eighth and ninth putting his punches together well and switching angles. Now it was mainly Usyk on the front foot but he indicated later he had injured his left hand in the ninth. Chisora was able to press hard in the tenth as Usyk used his left hand very little and it was Chisora’s round. Over the last two rounds Usyk was again moving too quickly for Chisora to be able to do any effective work and the Ukrainian swept to victory. Scores 115-113 twice and 117-112. I had wider at 116-114 but that is effectively only one point different to the score from two of the judges. The 33-year-old Usyk must now wait to see what happens in Joshua’s fight in December with Kubrat Pulev and if Joshua wins that then Joshua vs. Fury will dictate what happens with the heavyweights in 2021. If the WBO threaten to strip Joshua he will most likely relinquish the title as the Fury fight (s) are the beigest fights in the division and will trump all. Chisora had scored useful victories over Senad Gashi, Artur Szpilka and David Price last year but is unlikely to get a return with Usyk and with the heavyweight division just a two-man race in 2021 might find himself filling the role of gatekeeper and a fight against the winner of Joe Joyce vs. Daniel Dubois might be of interest.
Kambosos vs. Selby
Australian Kambosos gets split decision over Selby to put himself in line for a shot at either the IBF or WBO titles.
As expected Selby was in continuous movement in the first with Kambosos tracking him. Neither landed much but Selby was too tentative with his jab and Kambosos just did enough to edge the round. Selby was more positive with his work in the second and took that one. This was to be the pattern for the first nine rounds of the fight where first and then the other would take a round. Kambosos took the third round connecting with a hard right and pinning Selby to the ropes and firing punches as the round ended. The fourth also went to Kambosos as he landed well with his jab and scored with short hooks inside. All of these rounds were close and the fifth followed that pattern as Selby‘s good work with his jab and his quick movement frustrated the attacks of Kambosos. Strong hooking to the body saw Kambosos earn the sixth but despite some more work to the body from Kambosos in the seventh Selby ‘s quicker hand speed saw him do enough to take the round. Kambosos scored with some hurtful body punching in the eighth but Selby closed the gap again in the ninth which was the best round so far as both boxers had their moments with Selby’s hand speed giving him the openings he needed. At that stage it was anyone’s fight but from there it was Kambosos who kicked on. He upped his aggression doing a better job of cutting off the ring and landing the better punches as Selby’s pace dropped with the Australian sweeping the last three rounds. Scores 118-110 and 116-112 for Kambosos and 115-114 for Selby. This was an IBF final eliminator so a huge win for 27-year-old Kambosos who becomes the mandatory challenger to Teo Lopez and with Selby having been No 1 with the WBO he is in a strong position as he will also be No 1 with them. Since Lopez now holds three versions of the super light title (Devin Haney is WBC world champion) Kambosos should either get a shot at Lopez or if Lopez goes up to super light should get a shot at one of the vacant titles. Selby showed enough for him to still have a part to play but at 33 and being a fighter whose speed is his greatest asset he will need to rebound quickly
McCarthy vs. Laggoune
McCarthy outboxes Belgian Laggoune to win the vacant European title. Laggoune made a positive start taking the fight to McCarthy scoring with strong jabs and heavy rights. McCarthy had his jab working well in the second and put together some little burst of punches. Laggoune connected with a heavy right but was lunging in and missing. Laggoune was picking off McCarthy’s jabs in the third and coming inside with long rights and then connecting with hooks to the body to take the round. McCarthy began putting on the style from the fourth. He was quicker with the jab, using good upper body movement to dodge the Belgium’s punches holding his hands at hip level and whacking Laggoune’s ribs. He carried that over into the fifth. McCarthy was again outboxing Laggoune in the sixth when after a right from McCarthy landed Laggoune turned away from the action pawing at his right eye. The referee called a time out and the doctor examined the eye but there was no obvious sign of damage so the fight continued with McCarthy piling forward chasing Laggoune around the ring with Laggoune just trying to stay out of trouble for the remainder of the round. Laggoune still seemed to be trouble by the eye in the seventh and McCarthy was piercing his guard with jabs and connecting with hooks and uppercuts. Laggoune was still throwing occasional rights but his output had dropped. A big left hook shook Laggoune in the eighth and in the ninth he went staggering into the ropes being off balance and McCarthy followed up pouring on the punches. They were two tired fighters in the tenth and eleventh but Laggoune dredged up the energy to take the fight to McCarthy again and earned both rounds. McCarthy had more left in the twelfth. He was dancing away from Laggoune’s lunges popping him with jabs and catching him with counters as Laggoune came forward. A frustrated Laggoune kept gesturing for the McCarthy to stand and fight but McCarthy boxed to the bell. Scores 116-112 and 116-113 for McCarthy and a dissenting 114-114. Two good wins in a row for the 29-year-old McCarthy following his victory over unbeaten Fabio Turchi in October. He is talking about a world title fight but that is some way off yet. Laggoune had drawn with Dmytro Kucher for this title back in 2015 so it has been a five year wait for another chance. He lost here but could yet get a third chance with some wins under his belt.
Warwick, RI, USA: Super Feather: Toka Kahn Clary (28-2) W TKO 2 Jonathan Perez (38-26,1ND).
Comfortable return to action for Clary as he stops Perez in two rounds. Clary dominated the first with an overmatched Perez mainly on the defensive. In the second a southpaw left from Clary sent Perez into the ropes. The Colombian showed some fire by punching his way off the ropes but Clary had him backing up again and a left uppercut dumped Perez on the floor propped up against the ropes. Perez climbed to his feet but was bent double and when he just dropped to his knees again the referee stopped the fight. First outing for the Liberian-born former National Golden Gloves champion for exactly 14 months. He has won 9 of his last 10 fights but the loss was in a big fight against Kid Galahad in Boston where he was beaten on a unanimous decision. Colombian Perez, who started out as a flyweight, is 2-11 in his last 13 fights.
Buenos Aires, Argentina: Cruiser: Yamil Peralta (7-0) W PTS 10 Marcos Karalitzky (7-4-2). Feather: Federico Pedraza (12-0-1) W PTS 12 Alain Luques (27-10).
Peralta vs. Karalitzky
Boxing returns to Argentina behind closed doors as Peralta defends the South American title with comfortable decision over Argentinian No 8 Karalitzky. It took Peralta a couple of rounds to really hit his form but his better skills, longer reach and strength edges over Karalitzky, who is really just a fattened up light heavy, put him in control. Peralta bossed the action with his jab and connected constantly with straight rights. Karalitzky had some success with rights and put in a big effort over the closing rounds but was well beaten. Scores 118-110, 117-111 and 116 ½ -114 for Peralta. The 29-year-old local boxer, a former star of Argentinian amateur boxing, was making the first defence of the South American title. Karalitzky really an overmatched prelim fighter.
Pedraza vs. Luques Castillo
Southpaw Pedraza wins the South American title with verdict over Luques Castillo. The younger Pedraza took control from the start against Luques Castillo. His accurate jabbing saw him sweep the first three rounds before Luques Castillo warmed-up Luques Castillo outscored Pedraza in the fourth as Pedraza looked to be coasting. Pedraza was back on top over the middle rounds as he went from counter punching to a more aggressive approach. A clash of heads saw in the seventh saw Pedraza cut but the doctor ruled the fight could continue. Pedraza had only been past six rounds once and he looked be tiring in the ninth but he bounced back in the tenth and Luques Castillo struggled to make it to the end. Scores 118-110 twice and 118-112 for 24-year-old Pedraza who extends his winning run to ten contests. Luques Castillo was making the fifth defence of the South American title.
Guarulhos, Brazil: Super Welter: Diego Allan Ferreira Lablonski (7-0) W PTS 10 Morrana Dheisw de Araujo Santos (5-6). Super Middle: Claudiomar Pedra dos Santos (8-7-2) W KO 2 Joselito dos Santos (17-13).
Lablonski vs. Santos
Lablonski collects the vacant national title with points win over champion Santos. It look as though it might be a quick finish as Lablonski battered Santos to the floor in the first but Santos got up and lasted the distance. Lablonski also wins the UBO International title. Santos was making the fifth defence of his title and all of his losses have come inside the distance.
Claudiomar de Santos vs. Joselito dos Santos
Claudiomar wins a Brazilian title at the third attempt as he knocks out oldie Joselito in two rounds for the vacant super middle crown. Southpaw Claudiomar was quicker and more mobile than Joselito and pressed hard in the first round. Joselito tried switching guards in the second but a right to body and a left to the head put him down and he was counted whilst trying to get up. The 39-year-old Claudiomar also wins the vacant American Boxing Federation belt. Joselito, 47, now has twelve losses by KO/TKO after being 10-2 in his last 12 fights.
Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania: Super Middle: Twaha Rubaha (16-6-1) W RTD 7 Sirimongkhol Singwangcha (97-5). Heavy: Shaban Hamadi Jongo W KO 5 Alphonce Mchumiatumbo (14-8-1). Super Welter: Maono Ally (11-5-1) W KO 3 Joseph Sinkala (13-13-1).
Rubaha vs. Singwangcha
This really was a farce as a tubby Singwangcha lumbered around for six rounds still having enough boxing knowledge to outsmart Rubaha at times. Finally in the seventh Singwangcha was exhausted and stumbling and at the end of the round went back to his corner and sat on the canvas looking out into the crowd. Someone gave him a drink of water from a bottle and he then climbed up and went to two corners of the ring climbing on the ropes to thank the fans. The referee had no idea what was going on until Singwangcha walked to Rubaha’s corner to congratulate him at which point the referee lifted Rubaha’s hand. The fight was to have been for the WBC ABC title but recognition of that was withdrawn before the fight. At 43 and about 50lbs over his fighting weight when he was a two-division world champion Singwangcha should shun the glory of going for 100 professional wins and retire. Rubaha really just a club level fighter.
Jongo vs. Mchumiatumbo
Jongo uses his size and weight advantages to club more experienced Mchumiatumbo to defeat in a slow cumbersome fight. Jongo ended it in the fifth as he sent Mchumiatumbo flat on his back on the canvas with two huge rights. Worryingly the first landed flush on the back of Mchumiatumbo’s head which had him stumbling with his head down and the finisher landed on the jaw and pitched him to the canvas on his back out cold. Sixth win in a row for Jongo sixth loss by KO/TKO for Mchumiatumbo.
Ally vs. Sinkala
Ally took the first two rounds and then ended it in the third. A booming right to the head sent poor Sinkala flying across the ring into the ropes and down and he was counted out. Seventh win by KO/TKO for “The Monster of Bagamoyo”. Seventh inside the distance loss for the much smaller Sinkala.
Rangsit, Thailand: Super Feather: Wancha CP Freshmart (17-1) W KO 5 Omar El Ouers (0-2-1). Super Bantam: Kongfah CP Freshmart (34-1-1) W TKO 5 Emmanuele Corti (0-1).
Wancha vs. El Ouers
Wancha (Kittithat Ungsrivongs) wins in the end but El Ouers proves a tougher test than expected. The Thai pressed hard but El Ouers showed a solid guard and some hurtful counter punching and it even looked as though he had scored a knockdown but it was ruled a slip. El Ouers looked to be tiring in the fourth but at the end of the round the open scoring had them even on two cards at 38-38 with third reading 39-37 to Wancha. In the fifth a stunning right from Wancha put El Ouers down. The Moroccan tried to rise but slumped back to the floor and was counted out. Wancha, 21, wins the vacant WBC ABC title with his tenth inside the distance victory. His loss came against China’s Que Xu in 2018 and this is his seventh win as he rebuilds. El Ouers had drawn with 32-1 Kongfah in his last contest and showed here he can fight.
Kongfah vs. Corti
Just public sparring with pay for Kongfah (Jakkrawut Majoogoen) as he stops Thai-based Italian Corti in five rounds. Only in Thailand will you find a world rated fight such as Kongfah fighting a total novice. The 25-year-old Kongfah is 20-0-1 since his lone lost on a seventh round kayo against Daigo Higa in Japan in 2015. Corti may have had fights in Muay Thai or other MMA’s in Thailand but this is his first formal boxing match.
Krasnaya Polyana, Russia: Heavy: Murat Gassiev (27-1) W TKO 1 Nuri Seferi (41-10).
Gassiev eases his way into the heavyweight ranks with quick dismissal of veteran Seferi. After a slow start where they just prodded each other with jabs Gassiev landed a left hook to the body and a straight right to the head. That had Seferi backing up then a booming right the chin sent him crashing to the canvas. He was up a six but looked unsteady and after completing the eight count the referee stopped the fight. All done in 107 seconds. In his first fight since losing his IBF and WBA cruiserweight titles to Oleksandr Usyk in July 2018 Gassiev must have been hoping for a bit more ring time as Seferi had only lost inside the distance once but that big right from Gassiev was too much for him. Gassiev will be looking to get into action again as soon as possible . Seferi , 43, mentioned retirement after 21 years as a pro.
Hamburg, Germany: Heavy: Viktor Vykhryst (4-0) W RTD 4 Yakup Saglam (43-8). Heavy: Michael Wallisch W RTD 5 Kai Kurzawa (38-10).
Vykhryst vs. Saglam
Vykhryst stops Saglam in a slow-paced one-side contest. Vykhryst worked behind a solid jab occasionally mixing in a straight right with Saglam not really doing much at all. In the second Saglam just lay against the ropes in a corner letting Vykhryst pound on him but never looked in any trouble. In the third Saglam strode forward throwing punches and put Vykhryst under some pressure. Vykhryst was finally able to take control as he hammered Salam with punches until Saglam again went onto the back foot. There was a long delay before Saglam came out for the fourth and after eating punches throughput the round he retired. The 6’5” 28-year-old Ukrainian is still very much a learner in the pro ranks. He looks slow and his jab lacks authority but he is big and can dig and will improve over time. He was Ukrainian, European and European Games champion so he is carrying the burden of some very high expectations. Turkish-born Saglam is just too old at 43 to provide any kind of test for Vykhryst.
Wallisch vs. Kurzawa
Wallisch gets a much needed and very predictable win as he forces Kurzawa to retire after five rounds. Wallisch was just too big for the elderly Kurzawa and it was really no more than some useful sparring work. Kurzawa fired back enough punches to stay in the fight but it was one-sided. Wallisch floored Kurzawa in the third, fourth and fifth and Kurzawa sensibly retired for the night. Local fighter Wallisch, 35, was carefully guided to a 19-0 record but then ambition caused the wheels to come off as Efe Ajagba, Tony Yoka and Joe Joyce all beat him inside the distance. Kurzawa, 43, is a former challenger for the EBU light heavyweight title but his form of those days is lost in the sands of time or in the folds of fat he carries being 30lbs above his days of old.
Pont-Sainte-Maxence, France: Super Bantam: Hugo Legros (11-1-2) W PTS 10 Thomas Barbier (10-21-1).
Local fighter Legros wins the French title at the second attempt as he outpoints champion Barbier. Legors made an attacking start to get his nose in front. The bout was closer over the middle rounds as Barbier fought hard to hold on to his title. Barbier continued his pressure over the last two rounds but Legros was countering well and was stronger at the finish. Scores 98-92, 97-93 and 96-94 for Legros. The new champion has now won 10 of his last 11 fights. Barbier, 37, was making the first defence of the national title.
Berlin, Germany: Middle: Sven Elbir (17-1) W PTS 10 Rafael Sosa (61-15).
“Batman” Elbir wins the vacant WBA International title with decision over Uruguayan oldie Sosa. This marks the fifth win for Elbir since losing a very narrow decision to Patrick Wojcicki in 2018. Wojcicki is now to fight in an IBF final eliminator so with hindsight an expensive loss for Elbir. Sosa 40 is a 16 year pro who has travelled the world and rarely losses inside the distance.
Cancun, Mexico: Middle: Oziel Santoyo (12-1-1) W PTS 8 Manuel Gallegos (17-1). Super Bantam: Alexis Bastar (17-1-1) W TKO 7 Israel Gasparrillo (10-2).
Santoyo vs. Gallegos
Santoyo springs a surprise for the second time in a row as he snaps the 17-bout winning record of Gallegos with a unanimous decision and extends his own winning run to twelve.. Santoyo pressed hard all the fight and outworked Gallegos who was looking to end the fight with one punch to add to his 15 inside the victories. He was leaving himself open and was rocked a number of times as Santoyo emerged the clear winner. In his last fight in June 2019 Santoyo took a unanimous decision over favoured Omar Chavez. Gallegos had won 8 of his last 9 fights by KO/TKO but against a much lower level of opposition.
Bastar vs. Gasparrillo
Southpaw Bastar makes hard work of stopping less experienced Gasparrillo. Bastar handed out heavy punishment to Gasparrillo but Gasparrillo just kept coming in his crouching style and began to connect with more punches the longer the fight went. Bastar pulled the fight out of the fire in the seventh with a right hook that put Gasparrillo down and out. The Cancun southpaw extended his unbeaten run to 17 fights. Gasparrillo had won his last ten fights.
Valencia, Spain: Super Welter: Jorge Fortea (21-2-1) W RTD 5 Kelly Figueroa (12-15-4). A double winning night for Fortea. In front of his home fans he halts Figueroa and then proposes in the ring to his girl friend who accepts. Too late to duck and dive now Jorge. This was a more aggressive showing than usual from Fortea who broke down the tough but limited Venezuelan southpaw with Figueroa not coming out for the seventh round. Fortea had a seven-bout winning streak snapped in November when he lost on points to IBF No 1 Bakhram Murtazaliev. Figueroa is now 0-7-1 in his last 8 but surprisingly the draw was with 18-2-1 Ricardo Silva in December.
Fight of the week (Significance): The knockout of Leo Santa Cruz by Gervonta Davis could lead to some great fights at lightweight-if they can be made.
Fight of the week (Entertainment): Jaime Munguia vs. Tureano Johnson was a war until Johnson had to retire. Mario Barrios vs. Ryan Karl was a madcap slugfest whilst it lasted.
Fighter of the week: Gervonta Davis for his devastating kayo of future Hall of Famer Leo Santa Cruz with honourable mentions to Naoya Inoue and Oleksandr Usyk
Punch of the week: It has to be the uppercut that knocked Leo Santa Cruz out cold. It was a good week for candidates with the beautifully delivered right from Inoue that finished Moloney and the thunderous right from Murat Gassiev that laid out Nuri Seferi and the left hook to the body from Lamont Roach that nearly cut Neil Tabanao in half.
Upset of the week: none really although Isaac Cruz blowing away Diego Magdaleno inside a minute was unexpected.
Prospect watch: Above named 22-year-old Isaac Cruz who is 20-1-1
Good to see boxing back in Argentina but not so good to have a major fight in Japan fall a victim to the virus
Some fighters never get a sniff of a world title shot. Carlos Buitrago has had six and is still not a champion. Is that a record?
Momentary confusion as the fighter wearing the green red and white of Mexico on his shorts was Gervonta Davis and not Leo Santa Cruz. A fashion statement or provocation?
With both former cruiserweight champions Olek Usyk and Murat Gassiev in the heavyweights it is getting pretty crowded. Anyone fancy making a bit of room by moving down to the new division 224lbs division?
How about that Sirimongkhol Singwangcha! Still fighting at 43. He started out as a flyweight, won WBC titles at bantam and super feather and in 2018 won the Thai light heavyweight title, 26-years a pro, 101 fights and 97 wins.
We've looked at some controversial bouts from Thailand in recent weeks, but this week we look over to Japan for a bout that was massively controversial, and we again feature the Kameda brothers. And not for the final time. This bout was actually the first world title fight to feature one of the Kameda brothers and although less well known in the west than Daki Kameda's bout to Daisuke Naito was similarly controversial in Japan.
Koki Kameda (11-0, 10) Vs Juan Jose Landaeta (23-3-1, 18) I
In 2006 Roberto Vasquez vacated the WBA Light Flyweight title to begin campaigning at Flyweight. This left the title vacant with 19 year old Koki Kameda facing off with Juan Jose Landaeta for belt.
Despite having been a professional for less than 3 years Kameda was already seen as a big name in Japanese boxing. He was a charismatic, cocky and arrogant figure who appealed to the youth, wanting someone with attitude to rise to the top, whilst the older skool fans disliked him and regularly felt that he was picking and choosing an easy route to the top. In his first 11 bouts he had only faced one notable name, and that was the shot to pieces Saman Sorjaturong, who had won just 1 of his last 5 bouts. With TBS backing him hard it was clear Kameda was being sent to the stars, but would obviously have a lot of extra attention on him as he went into his first world title bout.
Landaeta on the other hand was a tough Venezuelan with solid pop in his shots. Up to this point he had mostly fought at Minimumweight, and had held the WBA "interim" Minimumweight title. Despite being a solid fighter he had failed to win outside of Latin America, with a draw in 2004 against Chana Porpaoin and a loss, later than same year, to Yutaka Niida. Although he was very competitive with Niida he had followed that up with 4 relatively disappointing bouts against mostly limited opponents.
It was expected that the youth, size, power and speed of Kameda would be too much for the more experienced Landaeta.
Early on the bout was hotly contested with Kameda showing he was better than some may have expected, given his competition, and Landaeta showing he wasn't there to just make up the numbers. The first round was genuinely fought at a very solid and entertaining tempo as both men looked to get their nose in front. That was until very late in the round when Landaeta put down Kameda in the dying seconds of the round. The Japanese youngster got to his feet, and the bell rang before Landaeta could jump on him, but it was a clear 10-8 round to Landaeta.
Kameda fought back well in round 2, but it was another close round, and not one where he could make a definitive case for deserving the round.
The other early rounds were legitimately entertaining giving us a brilliant back and forth. Some how one judge managed to pretty much give Kameda a clean sweep from round 2 to round 6, though that seemed very generous given that Landaeta was giving just as much as he was taking. The biggest question mark for that judge was round 4, which seemed like a pretty clear round for the visitor, and was scored to Landaeta by both of the other judges.
Prior to the bout Kameda had never been beyond had only been beyond 8 rounds once, an early career win against a tough but limited Thai. His lack of experience in the later stages showed, with Landaeta relying on his experience with the middle and later rounds round to out box a tiring, but gutsy, Kameda. Rounds 11 and 12 saw Kameda in all sorts of trouble, as Landaeta looked to take the result out of the judges hands. To his credit Kameda survived some hell in the final round, showing his toughness and bravery along the way.
After 12 rounds the scorecards came in with scores of 115-113, and 114-113 for Kameda and 112-115 for Landaeta, giving Kameda a very dubious, and much criticised split decision victory.
The out rage from those in Japan was almost instant, and not helped by pre-fight comments from Kameda. Prior to the bout Kameda had said he had wanted to give the belt to his father and coach, Shiro. This had lead the WBA to prepare a special belt for Shiro that they gave him after the bout. Given the controversial nature of the bout, and the pre-made belt it lead to calls of match fixing and rigged scorecards in Japan.
The decision saw fans in Japan incredibly angry about the result. Despite the fact their man had won. They wrote to the Venezuelan embassy to apologise to Landaeta, they complained to the Japan Boxing Commission and to TBS, who aired the bout. The fans also spewed their anger so much that the promoter of the event had to close their message board.
As well as the pressure and anger from the fans was also anger from the media, who suggested that the judge who gave Kameda round 12 was clearly wrong, and had been scored that way to try and get Kameda the win. Regarding that judge, had he scored the round the opposite way, as the other two judges did, his card would have been level at 114-114.
Their was also some backlash from fighters, both former and active, about the decision. Whilst most praised Kameda's performance, especially given the big step up in class and his age, many also spoke out about the decision with one going as far as to say "Japanese boxing died" with the result. Others however seemed to suggest they could see the result.
Due to the controversy the WBA left Landaeta as the #1 contender and ordered a rematch. That bout was originally pencilled in for fall 2006 but had to be pushed back when Kameda was injured in training. Eventually the bout took place in December 2006 with Kameda easily winning the rematch employing very different tactics to take the win, and try to put the controversy behind him.
Sadly the controversy and anger overshadowed what was genuinely a really good fight. A legitimately good fight. It was no fight of the year contender, but was an exciting, 12 round war, with Kameda showing real heart, drama, competitive action through out. It was a coming of age bout for Kameda, who proved he belonged at this level, but was so overshadowed by the judging and fall out that few remembered what a great fight they'd seen.
This coming Saturday our focus will be on Las Vegas, where we see a major Bantamweight clash between IBF and WBA "super" champion Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16) [井上 尚弥] and Australian challenger Jason Moloney (21-1, 18). Despite both countries being part of the OPBF, and often fighting at OPBF level and lower level, we don't actually see the two countries clash in world title bouts very often. In fact in total we can only find 12 prior occasions where the countries have clashed at the top level.
Interestingly, for those who have backed Moloney, history is on your side, rather overwhelmingly in fact with Australia leading the rivalry 9-3*! Not only that but some of the wins scored by Australian's over Japanese champions have included victories over the man many regard as Japan's finest fighter ever!
With that in mind we've decided to take a look at the rivalry between two countries.
Fighting Harada Vs Lionel Rose - February 27th 1968
The first world title clash between fighters from the two countries came in 1968 when Japanese legend Fighting Harada, the then WBC and WBA Bantamweight champion, faced Lionel Rose at the Nippon Budokan. At the time the 24 year old Harada sported a tremendous 50-3 (19) record, had gone unbeaten for more than 4 years and had reeled off 19 straight victories since an loss to Jose Medel in 1963. He was also a 2-weight world champion and had been the only man to beat legendary Brazilian Eder Jofre. Rose on the other hand was a 19 year old with a 27-2 (8) record, having won 17 in a row.
Despite everything, on paper, favouring Harada the Australian took a narrow decision win to claim the Bantamweight titles and write his name in the history books as the first aborigine world champion, and a thorn in side of Japanese boxing.
Rather notably all 3 officials, the two ringside judges and a scoring referee, were Japanese and all 3 scored the bout in favour of Rose
Takao Sakurai Vs Lionel Rose - July 2nd 1968
Less than 5 months after dethroning Fighting Harada fans saw Lionel Rose return to Japan to make his first defense of the WBA and WBC Bantamweight crowns. In the opposite corner was the then unbeaten 26 year old Takao Sakurai. At the time Sakurai was 22-0 (4) and had been moved quick following his debut in 1965. Prior to turning professional he had won an Olympic gold medal at the 1964 Olympics, becoming the first Japanese fighter to do that, and was super active in the professional ranks, racking up 22 wins in just over 3 years.
Sadly for Sakurai he couldn't avenge the loss of Harada, losing a razor thin decision in front of the fans at the Nippon Budokan in Tokyo. Scoring referee Nick Pope, from the US and Japanese judge Ko Toyama gave the bout to Rose, whilst Takeo Ugo had the bout even at 72-72.
Sadly for Sakurai this was to be his only world title fight, and he would later lose in a world title eliminator to the brilliant Ruben Olivares. Although he went on to win the OPBF Bantamweight title his career was, in the eyes of many Japanese fans, a disappointment.
Fighting Harada Vs Johnny Famechon I - July 28th 1969
After the loss to Rose Harada would move up the scale, and begin pursuing the Featherweight throne. He had hoped to become the first man to bridge the Flyweight to Featherweight gap. After winning 4 of 5 bouts, following the loss to Rose, Harada set his sights on French born Australian Johnny Famechon. At the time Famechon was the WBC champion and was seeking his first defense of the title. At the time he was 24 years old and boasted a very solid 51-4-6 (18) record, whilst the 26 year old Harada was 54-5 (21).
This bout, held in Sydney, was a war with Famechon hitting the canvas in rounds 2, 11 and 14, whilst Harada was down himself in round 5. It seemed, to most, that Harada had done it and had etched his name further in history. Sadly however he was denied by scoring referee Willie Pep, himself a boxing great. Pep, the only scoring official, had denied Harada by a point in a decision that is still, to this day, regarded as a travesty.
Had Harada got the decision her he would have been the first man to have moved, successfully, from Flyweight to Featherweight to become a 3-weight champion; it would have made him the 5th fighter to have been a 3-weight world champion; it would have made him the first Japanese 3-weight world champion and the second Japanese fighter to win a world title on foreign soil.
To put some of that into perspective we've still never seen actually seen a male fighter win world titles at 112, 118 and 126 and we had to wait until 2010 to see the first Japanese fighter to be crowned to be crowned a 3-weight champion.
Fighting Harada Vs Johnny Famechon II- January 6th 1970
With the controversial nature of their first bout hanging over them Harada and Famechon faced off again just a few months later. In the interim Harada had picked up a stay busy win and Famechon had fought a couple of bouts in the UK.
Sadly for Harada their was no controversy this time as the Japanese star was knocked out in front of his home fans at the Metropolitan Gym in Tokyo. The bout was a hotly contested one through 13 rounds but in the 14th Famechon caught Harada with a couple of left hooks. They shook the Japanese star who got a standing count before being sent out of the ring and being stopped.
This would turn out to be Harada's final career bout, and the final successful defense for Famechon who lost the title to the brilliant Vicente Saldivar just 4 months later, before retiring himself.
Video below thanks to Adam Auld
Yoshiaki Numata Vs Lionel Rose - May 30th 1971
After being a thorn in the side of Japanese boxing for a while Lionel Rose, with his wins over Harada and Sakurai in world title fights and Guts Ishimatsu in a none title fight, Yishiaki Numata was after revenge in 1971. By this point Rose had out grown the Bantamweight limit, had tested the water at Lightweight and then decided to challenge WBC Super Featherweight champion Numata. At this point in time Numata, enjoying his second reign as a world champion, was a 26 year old sporting a very impressive 43-6-3 (12) record. Amazingly Rose was still only 22 entering this bout, and was 40-6 (11).
Thankfully for Japanese fans Numata managed to end the run against Australians as he took a narrow, and debated, decision over Rose to retain his title. The bout, at the Prefectural Gymnasium in Hiroshima, saw the scoring referee and two scoring judges all favour Numata. It's worth noting, like in Roses' win over Harada, that all 3 were Japanese.
This would turn out to be a rather notable bout, as it would not only be Rose's final world title bout but it was also Numata's final successful defense and final victory. Numata would lose the title 5 months later, and retire following a loss in 1972 to Kenji Iwata.
Satoshi Shingaki Vs Jeff Fenech I - April 26th 1985
After more than a decade of the two countries peacefully co-existing and no world title bouts we had two in just 4 months, both of which were between the same two men. The first came in April 1985 and saw the then 21 year old Satoshi Shingaki, who had an 8-1-1 (6) record, lose the IBF Bantamweight title in 9 rounds to the 20 year old Jeff Fenech, who was then 6-0 (6).
Fenech really did a number on the gutsy Shingaki here. The Aussie couldn't miss at times and broke down Shingaki with huge right hands, brilliant combinations and intense pressure. All credit to Shingaki for his toughness, but he had the tar beat out of him by a rampant Fenech.
Incidentally Shingaki's reign is a really interesting one. He was the first Japanese fighter to win an IBF title, and did so with out the IBF being recognised by the Japan Boxing Commission. Doing so outside of their auspice, sadly though he was also the first Japanese fighter to lose an IBF title. It's also interesting that IBF Bantamweight title will also be on the line in this weekend's bout between Inoue and Moloney.
Satoshi Shingaki Vs Jeff Fenech II - August 23rd 1985
Less than 4 months after taking the IBF Bantamweight title Jeff Fenech gave Satoshi Shingaki a chance to reclaim the belt, in what was Fenech's first defense. Sadly for Shingaki this went even worse than their first bout. Shingaki was cut very early in the bout and never managed to get any real success, with the Marrickville Mauler really beating the former champion from pillar to post.
After 3 rounds Shingaki's team called a halt to the bout. The fighter himself wanted to go on, and tried to convince the referee he was fine, but in reality this was the right decision to stop the bout.
Interestingly Shingaki's career would go on, and he would go on to win his 3 following bouts, but they were all at a very low level, with the Japanese fighter retiring with an 11-3-1 (8) record. As for Fenech he would have a career somewhat similar to Fighting Harada, being denied a third weight world title in a bout many felt he deserved, drawing wwith Azuma Nelson, and then being stopped in a rematch with Nelson. He had, by then, stamped his mark as one of the all time greats. Amazingly Fenech's final bout with a third bout with Nelson in 2008.
Yoshinori Nishizawa Vs Anthony Mundine - January 19th 2004
After Jeff Fenech twice stopped Satoshi Shingaki it took a long time to see Australia and Japan battle at the top level again. In fact it was close to 20 years! Sadly when we did see the two countries collide it wasn't in the most mouth watering encounter. In one corner was the enigmatic, out spoken, brash and confident Anthony Mundine, the 28 year WBA Super Middleweight champion, who was 19-1 (14), and the new star of Aussie boxing. In the opposite corner was 38 year Japanese fighter Yoshinori Nishizawa, who was 24-13-5 (12) and one of the very, very few Japanese Super Middleweights to make any sort of mark on the boxing world.
This was regarded as joke defense for Mundine, who seemingly looked for the easiest opponent he could get away with for his first defense. From the off Nishizawa looked old, slow and limited. Surprisingly however Nishizawa managed put Mundine down in round 2, embarrassing "Choc". Sadly for Nishizawa Mundine pulled himself off the canvas and went on to stop him in the 5th round of the bout to retain the WBA Super Middleweight title in front of his fans at the Entertainment Centre in Wollongong.
Despite the loss here Nishizawa would get a second world title fight, losing to WBC champion Markus Beyer and fight right right through to 2011, when he was 45! Mundine on the other hand was last seen in the ring just over a year ago, losing to John Wayne Parr in what is likely to be Mundine's final bout. Now aged 45 Mundine sports a 48-10 (28) record.
One interesting aside here is that Nishizawa later went on to join the Ohashi Gym as a trainer, that's the same Ohashi gym that promotes Inoue!
Video thanks to Tamika Lovingood
Shinsuke Yamanaka Vs Vic Darchinyan - April 6th 2012
The last Bantamweight title bout between the two countries came in 2012 when Japan's Shinsuke Yamanaka, the then WBC champion, made his first defense and took on Australian based Armenian Vic Darchinyan. The then 29 year old Yamanaka had won the title in late 2011, stopping Christina Esquivel, and was then boasting an unbeaten record of 15-0-2 (11). He had the youth advantage over the then 36 year old Darchinyan, but Darchinyan had the clear edge in experience, with a 37-4-1 (27) record.
The bout, at the Tokyo International Forum, was a really intriguing one. It was one that Yamanaka struggled in early on, in what was a serious test for a first defense, but later into the bout Yamanaka dug deep and turned it around, using his younger, fresher legs to take home a decision. This was, however, a controversial bout with the tide turning after the 5th round, which was a round that saw Darchinyan cut from what looked to be an accidental elbow.
Following this win Yamanaka would go on to become one of the major faces of Japanese boxing. He would run together one of the longest reigns of any Japanese world champion and hold the title until losing to the controversial Luis Nery in 2017, then losing a rematch in 2018. As for Darchinyan he would continue his career through to 2017 with mixed results. His style and personality always allowed him to get bouts and opportunities, but losses after this to Nonito Donaire, Nicholas Walters, Jesus Marcelo Andres Cuellar and Sergio Frias all came by stoppage.
Takashi Miura Vs Billy Dib - May 1st 2015
In the middle of the 2010's Japan had two major forces at 130lbs. One was Takashi Uchiyama, the WBA king, and the other was Takashi Miura, the then WBC king. In 2015 Miura, then aged 30 and sporting a 28-2-2 (12) record, faced off with former IBF Featherweight champion Billy Dib, then 29 with a 39-3-0-1 (23) record, with the men clashing at the Ota-City Gymnasium.
On paper this was an interesting match up. It gave Dib a chance to become a 2-weight world champion and it gave Miura a chance to score a win against a notable name, following 4 straight victories against Mexican foes. It proved to be interesting in the ring, with Dib boxing and moving, using the ring well, and Miura looking to cut off the challenger. Midway through round 3 Miura got his way, and landed his patented left handed, shaking Dib who was on the canvas just moments later. That was all she wrote, with Dib not being able to continue and Miura living up to his "Bomber Left" moniker.
Sadly for Miura he would lose the WBC Super Featherweight title 6 months later, in Las Vegas, to Francisco Vargas in a 2015 FOTY contender, and would retire following a 2017 loss to Miguel Berchelt. As for Dib, he was last seen in the ring in December 2019, beating the previously unbeaten Van Thao Tran of Vietnam.
One interesting note about this fight is it was actually aired live in Australia but on tape delay in Japan, with TV Tokyo foolishly not showing it live, but showing it around 30 minutes after it had taken place.
Ryosuke Iwasa Vs TJ Doheny - August 16th 2018
The last bout to pit the two countries against each other on either man's soil came in 2018 when Australian based Irish born fighter TJ Doheny travelled to Japan to face off with the then IBF Super Bantamweight champion Ryosuke Iwasa at the legendary Korakuen Hall in Tokyo. At the time Iwasa was seeking his second defense of the IBF title which he had won in sensational fashion against Yukinori Oguni, whilst Doheny was the mandatory challenger. Entering the bout Iwasa was 28 and boasted a 25-2 (16) record, he was at home, he was the taller and longer man. Doheny on the other hand was 31 and had ran up a 19-0 (14) record.
We had expected fireworks here. Between them they had scored 30 wins by stoppage from a combined 44 wins wins, and the two losses for Iwasa had both come by stoppage. Doheny however had a different idea in mind, and instead of trying to bomb with the heavy handed Iwasa he boxed, he moved, he made Iwasa look slow and unsure of himself and ended up taking a unanimous decision to claim the the title. This was the first time an "Australian", in this case an adopted one, had taken a decision on Japanese soil against a Japanese champion since Rose dethroned Harada 50 years earlier!
Since this bout Iwasa has remained a contender and is currently the interim champion. Doheny on the other hand didn't get to enjoy a long reign, making just a single defense of the title.
Ryohei Takahashi vs TJ Doheny - January 18th 2019
Talking about Doehny's single defense that actually came in 2019 against a Japanese challenger, when he took on the little known Ryohei Takahashi at the iconic Madison Square Garden. This is the only time there has been a world title fight between a Japanese fighter and an "Australian" on US soil and sadly it was regarded as a mismatch before the men even stepped into the ring.
Doheny, then 20-0 (14), was expected to easily defeat the over-matched 28 year old Takahashi, who was 16-3-1 (6). Takahashi had no clear route to victory. He was made to order, in many ways, for Doheny. And that proved to be the case. Takahashi was tough, and few could fault his bravery, but Doheny used him as target practice, and forced Mike Ortega to step in and stop the bout in round 11, with Takahashi probably lucky to have taken a single round by that point.
Following this bout Takahashi faded back into obscurity on the Japanese domestic scene, picking up 3 wins including a somewhat controversial one earlier this month against Kiyohei Endo. As for Doheny he lost the IBF Super Bantamweight title a few months after this win, losing in a sensational 12 round war with Danny Roman, in a bout that unified the IBF and WBA titles. Since then Doheny has gone 1-1 including a shock loss in March this year to Ionut Baluta.
*For the sake of this we have included Vic Darchinyan and TJ Doheny as Australian's, who both flew the Australian flag along with the Armenian and Irish flags respectively. If we remove those results it's 7-2 to Australia and not 9-3. Either way these stats aren't in favour of Inoue this weekend, or Japanese boxing in general.
Other interesting details
Lionel Rose also scored notable wins in none-title fights against Japanese fighters Guts Ishimatsu, in 1970, and Bomber Uchida
Sam Soliman won the OPBF Middleweight title against Tokutaro Toyozumi and retained it against Satoru Suzuki, scoring both those wins in 2003
Prior to facing Takashi Miura we had seen Billy Dib in the ring with Kenichi Yamaguchi, in what was a short, dramatic, controversial and crazy one round bout that ended with Yamaguchi being stopped after being dropped. The result was later over-turned to a No Contest If you've never seen this one it is crazy.
Before winning the WBA Super Featherweight title Takashi Uchiyama beat Nedal Hussein for the OPBF Super Featherweight title.
In July 2016 Jack Brubaker retained the OPBF Welterweight title in Japan by beating Suyon Takayama, this, like many bouts between fighters from the two countries, was fantastic and is well worth hunting down!
Also in 2016 Dwight Ritchie beat Hikaru Nishida, in Japan, for the OPBF Middleweight title. His reign was short lived however, as he lost in his first defense just 5 months later, losing to Koki Tyson.
Jayde Mitchell also claimed an OPBF title in Japan, beating Shintaro Matsumoto for the OPBF Super Middleweight title at Korakuen Hall. Matsumoto would later go over to Australia to try and claim the OPBF Light Heavyweight title, but was stopped in 3 rounds by Aaron Lai.
Interestingly Kyotaro Fujimoto may well be the Japanese fighter with the best single man rivalry against Australian fighters. He debuted against Australian Michael O'Donnell, lost in an OPBF Heavyweight title fight to Solomon Haumono, and then went on to beat Nathan McKay, Adam Lovelock, Will Nasio - for the OPBF title, Herman Ene Purcell, Randall Rayment and Aaron Russell.
Rather notably, given this weekend's fight, Jason Moloney holds a win over former Japanese world champion Kohei Kono, with the Australian stopping Kono in 5 rounds in 2018. Incidentally he did so a round quicker than Inoue did it, just 18 months earlier.
By Eric Armit
The heavyweight bonanza planned for the next two months starts on Saturday night in London with Olek Usyk and Dereck Chisora clashing in London. It is effectively a WBO eliminator and there will be a push for whoever wins to get a fight with Anthony Joshua. The WBO could well throw a spanner in the planned schedule for the two Joshua vs. Tyson Fury fights by threatening to strip Joshua if he does not fight Usyk or Chisora.
Joshua puts his three titles on the line against Kubrat Pulev on 12 December and Tyson Fury fights someone on 5 December. Lots of names being thrown around but none seem too threatening as the last thing Eddie Hearn and Bob Arum need is a banana skin such as Andy Ruiz proved to be. There is then the skeleton of a plan for Joshua vs. Fury 1 around April/June next year with Joshua vs. Fury 2 in November/ December 2021.
Alexander Povetkin and Dillian Whyte have their return bout on 21 November for the interim WBC title but it looks as though it may be 2022 before they get a title shot
Joe Joyce and Daniel Dubois clash on 28 November for the Commonwealth, British and vacant European titles and the EBU have set a date of 17 November for purse offers for two unbeaten heavyweights Tony Yoka and Croatian Peter Milas to fight for the vacant EU title. Joseph Parker faces Junior Fa on 11 December, Luis Ortiz fights Alex Flores on 7 November, Filip Hrgovic fights Rydell Booker 7 November, Murat Gassiev has his first fight at heavyweight on Saturday against Nuri Seferi, Andy Ruiz is training hard(well relatively hard) and Deontay Wilder is training but he has no idea why. Let’s not forget the two boxers who have been cast into the wilderness for the sin of winning version of the WBA heavyweight title. The rules say a champion must defend his title within twelve months – less in some cases. Well poor Mahmoud (Manuel) Charr won the secondary title in November 2017 so just short of three years and Trevor Bryan won the interim title in August 2018 so over two years. Message to the WBA: Your rules and regulations are on your web site if you have lost your copy.
I still have serious reservation over the 10-8 scoring for a round in which a fighter is knocked down. This is cast in stone in the rules of the sanctioning bodies with no ifs or buts. It says plainly if there is a knockdown in a round then the round shall be scored 10-8 in favour of the boxer scoring the knockdown. That means that a fighter could hand out a beating to his opponent for 2:55 seconds and Compu-Box might show the boxer had outlanded his opponent by a huge margin in the round but if a punch to the shoulder causes him to lose his balance and his glove touches the floor then he will lose the round 10-8. I am amazed at the insult this is to boxing judges. The sanctioning body will tell you that they have the best judges in the world but don’t even trust them enough to let them judge a round over the whole three minutes and take into account the impact of a knockdown on the totality of the round. It is even worse when you consider that the 10-8 score has different impact depending on who is knocked down. If the fighter who is knocked down was losing the round then 9-10 becomes 8-10 so really just a one point penalty. If the fighter is winning the round then a 10-9 becomes an 8-10 so a three point penalty arising from what could be just a glove touching the canvas. To some judges the 10-8 is a great let-out. If a round is close then the knockdown makes life easy for you as you can dismiss any uncertainty from your mind over who you were going to give the round to as the rule book relieves you of any responsibility for your score in that round. It’s 10-8 a no brainer. It takes a very courageous judge to actually score the round 10-9 to the guy who was knocked down for if the other two judges are split then your 10-9 could be the score that decides a winner in a world title fight. The losers team would have a readymade protest and the loser’s fans would murder you on social media. Why have the best judges in the world and them tell them how to do their job?
Interested in money-who isn’t? Purses for the big show last weekend were: Roman Gonzalez $500,000 (the second biggest purse in the Nicaraguan’s career), Israel Gonzalez $75,000, Juan Francisco Estrada $300,000, Carlos Cuadras $50,000, Julio Cesar Martinez $100,000 and Moises Calleros $30,000. There seems an imbalance between what Roman Gonzalez was paid and the payment to Estrada but I guess everyone was happy with what they earned.
Showtime is preparing a documentary about Hector Camacho which will cover both his great achievements in the ring and his battles with addiction out of the ring. Camacho was killed in a still unsolved shooting incident in Bayamon in November 2012. The three division champion should make a fascinating study. In one run he beat four fighters with combined records of 92-1and scored wins over Rafael Limon, Jose Luis Ramirez Freddie Roach (yes that Freddie Roach), Edwin Rosario, Cornelius Boza-Edwards, Howard Davis, Ray Mancini, Vinny Pazienza, Greg Haugen, Roberto Duran and a badly faded Sugar Ray Leonard. I recall seeing Hector in Aruba dancing in a glittery spangled outfit wearing earrings and a pig tail smiling, gyrating and having a great time. A fond memory. A great fighter and a tragic end.
Boxing will return to Puerto Rico on 5 December. Miguel Cotto’s promotional outfit has received permission from the Department of Heath for the show. No fans allowed but it will be televised. It is planned that unbeaten prospects Danielito Zorrilla and Oscar Collazo will both fight on the card. The Department of Health has offered to help with the necessary medical exams.
The news is not so good from Germany where two planned shows have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 virus. The shows were to be in Berlin and Munich but for the venues the number of local virus cases measured on the COVID-19 incidence scale meant that the Berlin one had to be cancelled and the Munich show would be restricted to 50 people in attendance and would have to close doors by 9.00pm which made it impractical. There is a show scheduled for 21 November in Magdeburg and that seems likely to go ahead with former IBF cruiserweight champion Yoan Pablo Hernandez continuing his comeback despite a seventh round kayo loss against Kevin Johnson in August.
Puerto Rican Prichard Colon was hospitalised this week. Colon has been in the care of his mother since requiring emergency surgery after suffering a brain swelling in his fight against Terrel Williams in October 2015. This hospital surgery was required to reconnect a tube which supplies Prichard with food. It is hoped he will released from the hospital in a few days but life is still a struggle for Prichard and his mother.
There are already some fighters eager to compete at the new weight introduced by the WBC (and eventually the IBF, WBA and WBO who would not want to miss out on the sanctioning fees but as usual will all come up with their own name for the division). From Poland Mateusz Masternak, Krzys Wlodarczyk, Michal Cieslak and even WBO No 1 cruiser Krzys Glowacki have all said they will look at going up to the 224lbs division.
There will be an interesting fight on the undercard to Tyson Fury vs. TBA on 5 December as Michael Conlan clashes with former WBO super bantam champion Isaac Dogboe in a big fight for both boxers.
Artur Beterbiev’s defence of his IBF and WBC light heavyweight titles against Adam Deines has been rescheduled for the third time and will now take place in January in Russia with the expectation that it will be in front of a full house of fans.
The WBO have given the handlers of super welterweight champion Patrick Teixeira until 5 November to agree terms on Teixeira’s mandatory defence of the super welterweight title against Brian Castano or it will go to purse offers.
As WBO No 2 at super welter Tim Tszyu should move into the mandatory position after the above fight. Tszyu is not sitting waiting for that to happen and on 16 December will tackle New Zealander Bowyn Morgan in Sydney. Morgan is a good choice with a 21-1 record 13 wins in a row and a good depth of amateur experience.
BoxRec shows a fight scheduled for Friday in Dar es Salaam featuring a local boxer and Thai Sirimongkol Singwancha (Sirimongkhon Iamthuam). Singwancha has had a remarkable career. He turned pro in 1994 as a flyweight and won the World Boxing Union super flyweight and bantamweight titles in 1995. He won the interim WBC bantamweight title in 1996 and the full title in 1997 and lost it in the same year in his fourth defence in seven months. He then progressed up through the weights until he won the WBC super featherweight title in 2002 but lost it in 2003. He won a WBC lightweight eliminator in 2005 but did not get a shot at the title. Over 2007 and 2008 he won minor titles at super feather and super light and in 2012 won the WBC Asian title at welterweight. In 2014 he won the WBO Asia Pacific title at super welter and just before losing in a challenge for the WBC Asian middleweight title his record was 94-2. In 2018 he won the Thai light heavyweight title and for the fight in Tanzania will get down to super middle. He is now 43 and has had at least one fight in 25 of the 26 years he has been a pro. His record is 97-4 with 62 wins by KO/TKO so he might get to 100 career wins if he goes on for another year.
It saddens and ages you when you read of the death of a fighter whose career you followed from start to finish. That’s the case with Miguel Angel Castellini who died on Tuesday at the age of 73. I followed his progress though Simon Bronenberg’s KO Mundial and monthly results sheet from Julio Ernesto Vila-who I miss still. After an indifferent start to his career Castellini went on a run that saw him lose just one of his next thirty-eight fights and win the WBA super welter title. It took him eleven years and 76 fights to win a world title and he reigned for just five months. He retired in 1980 with a record of 74-8-12 with 51 wins by KO/TKO. RIP Miguel I enjoyed the ride we took together
Not every Closet Classic is an amazing 2-way war, sometimes they are showcases of how great the sport can be and others they are times where a fighter essentially put themselves on the map. Today we take a bout from that final option, even if the fighter in question was only really on the map for a few short, but exciting years.
Ji Hoon Kim (13-5, 10) Vs Koba Gogoladze (20-2, 8)
The 21 year old Ji Hoon Kim was an unknown to fans outside of Korea when he made his US debut in May 2008. On paper he looked little more than a crude puncher, having lost 5 of his 13 bouts up to this point. That however hides the fact that he gone 11-2 following an horrific 2-3 start to his professional career. He had genuinely learned on the job, having had no amateur career at all and had shown real potential in winning the Korean Featherweight title less than a year after his debut before later winning the PABA Featherweight title. He had impressed enough to catch the eye of Banner Promotions who matched him with the more experienced, and more proven Koba Gogoladze.
US based Georgian Koba Gogoladze had been an Olympian in 1996 and had been a well travelled professional, making a mark with wins against the likes of Carl Johanneson and Antonio Davis. He had lost to Almazbek Raiymkulov, AKA Kid Diamond, and Alex Arthur, in an interim world title fight, but was a solid fighter, still highly regarded and came into the bout needing a win to get his career back on track. Aged 35 at this point he very much needed a win to remain relevant, but had only been beaten by solid fighters up this point. Given his amateur background we knew he could box, but we had no idea what he had left to offer the sport.
From the off Kim started fast, instantly making an impression just seconds into the bout. Gogoladze looked counter against the wild and aggressive shots of Kim, and straight away this was fire. Kim then seemed to be rocked with the Georgian landing some huge head shots on the Korean, who some how took the punishment. The referee told Kim he needed to see something, and Kim did enough to convince the referee he was fine before firing back on the Georgian.
Give how short the bout we won't spoil it, but this was an intense battle with bombs from both, none stop excitement and real action.
This is only a short Closet Classic, but one that every fan should watch. It's short, but thrilling
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