By - George Delis (@Delisketo )
The WBO announced today (Ed's note - This was sent to us on June 24th) their June rankings and there are some significant changes for 2 Japanese fighters.
Ryuichi Funai (30-7), who recently knocked out Warlito Parrenas (26-7) to win the vacant WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight title, moved up from #12 to #8, finally breaking the top 10 of the division and being only one step behind from the former interim WBA World champion, Koki Eto (22-4). Currently on a 6 fight winning streak, claiming victories over Kenta Nakagawa (16-3), Takayuki Okumoto (20-8) and Shota Kawaguchi (21-10), if Funai can keep this pace up, he could be looking at a future World title shot in 2019.
Hiroki Okada (18-0) the WBO Asia Pacific Super Lightweight champion, climbed to #2 from #4. Okada’s path has been a dominant one. 18 wins, 13 of them coming via KO, with 0 losses, was the Japanese Super Lightweight champion from 2014 to 2016, accumulating an impressive number of 6 title defenses (4 stoppages). He won the vacant WBO Asia Pacific title, from former WBO international champion Jason Pagara (41-3) in 2017 and on May of 2018, he defended it against Featherweight World title contender Ciso Morales (19-7). With the WBSS Super Lightweight Tournament coming up later this year, this is an important development as Okada is also highly ranked by the WBC (#3-May rankings) so this definitely increases his chances of being included in the GP. His stellar record has proven that he is a formidable fighter with KO power and that he can hang with everyone in the division. Thus far, nothing has been officially announced, considering the participants, so there’s still hope that Japan will have one more representative in the WBSS (Naoya Inoue, being the other one, will participate in the WBSS Bantamweight Tournament).
By Eric Armit
Finally we have some clarity and some hope. The clarity is over the return between Gennady Golovkin and Saul Alvarez who will get it on again in Las Vegas on 15 September and the hope is that the negotiations between Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder, or more correctly between their promoters, looks to be getting close to an agreement. Both fights will be huge and a Joshua vs. “Wilder fight in the UK could match or even surpass the figures for Joshua vs. Wlad Klitschko.
Since Tyson Fury broke the log jam with his win over Klitschko the heavyweight division has returned to being the attraction it once was. I can remember the days when the heavyweights and the middleweight were the glamour divisions so it’s “Happy Days Are Here again……”
Still on heavyweights it remains to be seen how kind boxing history will be to David Haye now that he has retired. Injuries have blighted the late years of his career with only six fights in the last eight years of activity-or inactivity as you might say. He certainly ruled the roost for a while at cruiser being undefeated European and WBA/WBC champion and won the WBA heavyweight title but it is a moot point whether wins over Monte Barrett, Nikolay Valuev, John Ruiz, Audley Harrison and Derek Chisora, the only “name” heavyweights he beat, are enough to offset the toe injury loss to Wlad Klitschko. Good yes, great no.
The Dillian Whyte vs. Joseph Parker fight is a good match for both fighters. Perhaps a win would mean no more hoops to jump through for Whyte. He is the WBC No 1 but the possibility of a Wilder vs. Joshua fight is drowning out his claims for a fight with Wilder. For Parker a win would put him back into the picture after his loss to Joshua which has seen him drop out of the top 5 in all of the ratings. Since Alex Povetkin is No 1 with both the WBA and WBO he must he hoping a fairy godmother appears so that “Cinderella” Povetkin can go to the ball.
There must be quite a few top level welterweights waiting to see whether Manny Pacquiao can beat Lucas Matthysse on 15 July in Kuala Lumpur. It remains to be seen whether at 39 Pacquiao is still a force or whether the way he struggled against Jeff Horn marked the first signs of footsteps sliding down the hill. Most top fighters in the welterweight division will to be hoping for a Pacquiao win as Manny is still a big money fight for anyone. A win for Matthysse would lift the Argentinian’s profile but not to the level of Pacquiao and in my opinion Terence Crawford and Errol Spence would beat Pacquiao and Matthysse but we will know more after 15 July.
We also have clarity on where and when the cruiser section of the WBSS tournament will finally conclude with Olek Usyk and Murat Gassiev meeting in Moscow on 27 July. For the first time since I didn’t know when we will have one champion in the cruiser division with the IBF/WBA/WBC/WBO titles on the line. The matter should have been resolved six months ago and there was always a risk that injury or some other factor could derail the tournament but it has been worth the wait to get the right two contestants together. With all the signs saying that George Groves vs. Callum Smith will contest the super middle final once Groves is fit that will also be a much delayed but best outcome final it is just a pity that the impetus has been lost by the delays.
The good fights keep coming with Jermell Charlo and Jarrett Hurd being lined-up for a unifications match. Charlo will be putting up his WBC super welter title and Hurd his WBA and IBF titles. It will be an explosive encounter with bad feeling between the two fighters. Hurd is 22-0 with 15 wins by KO/TKO and Charlo is 31-0 with 15 wins by KO/TKO.
What a contrast in the performance of two relatively unknown Mexicans in title fights. Jaime Munguia 28-0 comes in as a late substitute and proves to be an animal blowing away Sadam Ali in four rounds when Ali had beaten Miguel Cotto in his last fight. At the weekend Carlos Ocampo 22-0 is blown away inside a round by Errol Spence and it is ridiculed as a mismatch and yet both Munguia and Diaz had met very similar opposition and neither was expected to win. Both of the sanctioning bodies involved played their little games. Munguia went from unrated by the WBO to No 6 when he had not had a fight and Ocampo went from 6 to 3 with the IBF for beating someone with a 14-3 record. It was impossible to predict that Munguia would destroy Ali and also that Ocampo would collapse but it is easy to be smart after the event. Munguia will defend his WBO super welter title against Liam Smith in Las Vegas on 21 July and it is justice for Smith as he lost the chance to fight Ali through injury. It will also give some clarity on whether Munguia is really as good as he looked against Ali or Ali just had a very bad night.
Puerto Rican “El Explosivo” Machado defends his secondary WBA super feather title against Ghanaian Rafael Mensah on the undercard to this Munguia vs. Smith fight. Machado is 19-0 with 16 wins by KO/TKO. Mensah is 31-0 with 23 wins by KO/TKO but his No 1 rating by the WBA is farcical. He has never fought outside Ghana, has never fought anyone remotely near being rated and it is 2014 since he last fought in a fight scheduled for more than eight rounds. Mensah may be a very good fighter but there is nothing in his record to justify being rated No 1 but then this is the WBA we are talking about. Also on the card is Demetrius Andrade vs. Yamaguchi Falcao.
The undercard to Golovkin vs. Alvarez will include Diego De La Hoya vs. Franklin Manzanilla with Gary O’Sullivan and Joseph Diaz also scheduled to feature. Manzanilla gets the match after his upset win over 32-2 Julio Ceja in May.
Regis Prograis will defend his WBC interim super light title on 14 July in New Orleans when he faces unbeaten Argentinian Juan Jose Velasco. The 29-year-old Prograis is based in Houston but was born in New Orleans. Velasco has benefited from the WBC ratings elevator going from No 34 in their ratings to 18 without fighting. Top 15 in the next ratings?
Rocky Fielding faces a tough task when he challenges Tyron Zeuge for the secondary WBA super middle title in Offenburg on 14 July. Zeuge has been improving steadily and being British Fielding will know how hard it can be to get a win in Germany.
Brit Dave Allen also has an overseas assignment as he will be in Paris Saturday night to provide the next test for French heavyweight idol Tony Yoka. The Rio gold medallist is already living the super star life with big names from French show business attending his fights and with lucrative out of the ring contracts. Yoka cannot afford to lose as he has an 8 million Euro deal with French TV for exclusive rights to his fights over the next four years. However there is still the possibility of his parade getting rained on. He has currently been given a suspended ban for missing three scheduled drugs tests. The final decision on what his sentence will be is expected around 4 July. He could get anything from a two year ban to a light slap on the wrist so to some extent not only Yoka but also the Anti-Drug Agency are both under close scrutiny.
Interesting match in Villa Carlos Paz, Argentina will see former world title challenger Matias Rueda 30-1 against 25-year-old 17-0 Cesar Antin. Rueda was stopped in two rounds by Oscar Valdez in a challenge for the WBO feather title in 2016.
Argentinian boxing could be in for a boost as it is expected that before the end of August all five of the boxers from their team at the 2016 Olympics will have turned pro. Alberto Melian, Fernando Martinez, Alberto Palmetta and Ignacio Perrin have already gone pro and Yamil Peralta is said to be crossing over in August. Peralta, who fought at 91kgs as an amateur, represented Argentina at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics and at the World Championships in 2011, 2013 and 2015. Peralta, Martinez and Melian are the best hopes as both Palmetta and Perrin have already stumbled in early paid fights.
Still on Argentina how dumb can you be? Marcos Maidana was photographed with two pistols which was bad enough but then he posted a picture of himself sitting in a car with an Uzi on his lap and one on the seat next to him. That stupidity brought a downpour of media criticism. Not exactly a good role model.
I really do wonder about the quality of some bodies overseeing boxing. Take the Bund Deutscher Berufsboxer (BDB) which is one of the bodies supposedly overseeing boxing in Germany. On 16 June in Berlin on a show under their banner Robert Maess halted Mihaita Cosma in two rounds. Obviously for the fight to have gone ahead the BDB must have approved it this despite Maess being 21-1 and Cosma 0-18. Maess had won 19 of his fights by KO/TKO and Cosma had lost every one of his 18 fights by KO/TKO and in those 18 losses he had only twice managed to get past the second round. If the BDB consider this an acceptable match it begs the question of what they consider unacceptable but then these are the same people who concealed from the EBU a positive test for Erkan Teper. When I see disgraceful matches like this I wonder just what justification could be offered if the fighter with the abysmal record suffered serious injury.
Courtesy of George Delis (@Delisketo)
The Japanese local scene will witness another interesting match up this Thursday on the June 14th between Hiroaki Teshigawara and Teiru Kinoshita for the WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight title.
Hiroaki Teshigawara (16-2-2, 9), the defending champion, has climbed the Bantamweight rankings quite fast, despite having to deal with a few injuries in the past. A dynamic and exciting boxer, Teshigawara won his first major championship on October of 2017 after he obliterated the much more experienced Jetro Pabustan (29-4-6*) giving the Filipino his only KO loss in the ring (video below). In just 4 months, the Japanese prodigy successfully defended his belt against another well versed opponent in Jason Canoy (27-7-2*), earning the unanimous decision after a hard fought battle.
Teiru Kinoshita (26-2-1, 9) is a former Japanese title holder and the #1 contender for Hiroaki’s WBO championship, has had his ups and downs in his 10 years as a pro. He went undefeated at 13-0-1 when he beat Go Onaga (17-1-2*) for the Japanese Super Flyweight strap. Teiru accumulated 5 successful title defenses over the like of Kenji Oba (22-1-2*) and Toyoto Shiraishi (23-6-1*) before he challenged Zolani Tete in 2012 (now WBO Bantamweight champion, for the IBF Super Flyweight title). After his loss, he gathered 6 more wins, although against much inferior opponents, and in 2017 tried to capture once more the IBF title but once again came up short.
This fight means a lot for both fighters. Teshigawara is currently ranked #7 by the WBO and is on a 4 fight winning streak. A win here has huge implications, considering the WBSS Bantamweight tournament that’s looming around the corner. For Kinoshita, this fight means redemption and a chance to prove himself worthy to the Japanese fans.
Predicition: Teshigawara has the edge here. He’s the younger fighter of the two, has the higher KO ratio and is continuously competing against top tier opponents. While he is moving up the ladder, Teiru is struggling to keep up with the rest of the guys. The champion’s hunger to secure a world title shot or a spot at the WBSS, will give him the focus that he needs to effectively dispose of his rival.
*The boxer’s record before the fight
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These articles are submitted by guest writers and sites. They aren't submitted by the usual folk behind Asian Boxing and don't fall in line with our editorial stance, giving a fresh view on various boxing issues from the Asian boxing scene.