Back in June 2019 we spoke about Katsuya Yasuda (then 3-0 (2), now 7-0 (4)) in our introducing series. Now, around 17 months later, we take another look at Yasuda as part of our "Revisiting" series, and how his career has moved on since we first spoke about him. In all honesty we've become more and more impressed with him, despite the fact his career hasn't moved quite as quickly as we'd have hoped.
We had been excited about Yasuda from the moment he turned professional, back in 2017. He had signed with the Ohashi Gym, and had turned professional following a very decent amateur career. In the unpaid ranks he had gone 64-12 (30), won a Japanese amateur title and had turned professional with some in Japan tipping him as something of a hidden gem.
Yasuda's debut had gone well, blowing out an over-matched Filipino, but he had struggled in his second professional bout, against Korean Ki Soo Lee. When he returned, after 8 months out, he blew away an over-matched Indonesian.
When we spoke about Yasuda last year he was preparing to face a big step up in class, with a bout against Filipino Jerry Castroverde on the docket. On paper that was expected to be a real test for Yasuda, who hadn't fought since September 2018. Sadly however that wasn't the test we had expected and Yasuda took a clear 6 round technical decision decision over Castroverde. Unfortunately the bout had to end before it could really get going, with Castroverde suffering a cut in round 5, that forced a halt right at the start of round 6.
On paper alone, that was a good win for Yasuda, with Castroverde being a decent opponent. In reality it was an underwhelming one, thanks, in part, to the frustrating ending. Despite the under-whelming nature of the win Yasuda was himself able to fight again around 10 weeks later, which saw him stopping Indonesian foe Jack Dolu in just 2 rounds. He then jumped back into the ring for a third fight in the space of just a few months as he took out another Indonesian opponent, Rengga Rengg, in 2 rounds.
Heading into 2020 it seemed Yasuda's career was starting to build momentum. He seemed to be busy, going in the right direction and moving forward, towards bigger and better things. The hope was that he would be moving towards something big through the year. He had had a few lengthy breaks in the early stages of his career, with 2 years separating his first 4 bouts, but that was behind him and he had managed 3 fights in just over 5 months in 2019.
Sadly 2020 happened and that momentum was essentially ended when boxing was paused to help deal with the on going global situation. The forward charge that seemed to be propelling Yasuda towards something of note hit a wall. He would again spend months out of the ring, and he turned 28 in April with a record of 6-0 (4). Thankfully he managed to finally get back in the ring in September, where he put on a very solid performance against Omrri Bolivar, to take an 8 round decision win.
In Yasuda's bout against Bolivar the Japanese hopeful was defensively smart, boxed fantastically well, and neutralised Bolivar. The performance wasn't the most exciting, and only highlights were shown on TV, but promoter Hideyuki Ohashi stated that Yasuda was the MVP on the show, which also featured Katsuki Mori and Kazuki Nakajima. High praise indeed from one of the best promoters in Japan.
Now boasting a 7-0 (4) record and with an excellent 8 round bout under his belt the future is still bright for Yasuda, though we do feel that he needs to make a move in 2021. Lightweight and Light Welterweight aren't the deepest divisions in Japan but at 28 years old it's now time to get on with things and move his career forward.
Yoshinio is at least 2 or 3 fights from a title bout, but we suspect that 2021 will see him rapidly rising through the domestic and regional rankings, and we wouldn't be surprised to see him go after a title when Shuichiro Yoshino focuses on getting himself a world title fight.
Can Yasuda go all the way to a world title? We suspect not, but we certainly suspect to see him in the regional and domestic title pictures before his career comes to an end.
One of the few Minimumweight fighters from recent years who stood out due to their name was Oleydong Sithsamerchai (69-2-1, 29), who's name in English sounds just a touch rude. A lot of fans in the late 00's will have seen his name in the boxing magazines of the time but probably never actually saw him.
Whilst Oleydong's name certainly got him some attention with Western fans so did his unbeaten record, and by September 2010 he was 34-0. He had one of the longest active unbeaten records in the sport at the time and was the WBC Minmumweight champion. He would later go on to lose the WBC title to the then 6-0 Kazuto Ioka, in Japan, and move through the weights, settling again at Super Flyweight where he fought until 2018.
With 72 bouts to his name Oleydong was certainly a highly experienced fighter, but what about the quality of his opponents? Well that's what we answer here as we look at the 5 most significant wins for... Oleydong Sithsamerchai
Omar Soto (April 6th 2007)
Having run his record out to 22-0 (8) Oleydong would get a WBC world title title eliminator in 2007, when he took on fellow unbeaten Omar Soto. Soto, then 11-0-1 (5), was a Puerto Rican fighter who had fought in the US and Puerto Rico and was now travelling to Thailand for the most important bout. The bout was a close one, and ended with Oleydong taking a narrow split decision for the win which secured him a world title fight down the line. It was his 23rd professional win but the first one that saw him being tested. He was lucky to get the win, with Franz Marti's 115-114 being vital to the win, but it was the one that put him in line for the WBC title.
Den Junlaphan (November 29th 2007)
Talking about the WBC title, Oleydong got his shot at the title 7 months after winning the eliminator, as he took on the then 18-1 Den Junlaphan. The talented Junlaphan was a Japanese based Thai who was enjoying his second reign as the WBC champion, and had only lost once, due to a shoulder injury. Junlaphan put up a great effort, despite the the out door heat and conditions of Bangkok, but in the end Oleydong did enough to take home the close decision and the WBC title. He didn't put in the most exciting performance here, but it was enough to take home the win, boxing on the back foot and using his speed and youth to over-come the champion.
Pornsawan Porpramook I (November 27th 2008)
After winning the title in late 2007 it would take a while until we saw Oleydong take on a notable opponent. In that time he would two stay busy bouts, both against John Cut Siregar, and a title defense against Junishi Ebisuoka. Things changed when he stepped up and defended his title against fellow Thai Pornsawan Porpramook in the first of two bouts between the two men. The talented champion showed his quality as he took a clear decision over Pornsawan, who had given Donnie Neites a tough bout just over a year earlier. This was a win that helped legitimatise Oleydong's reign and moved him to 29-0. Given that Pornsawan would later win the WBA title, less than 3 years later, this was a win that wasn't just big at the time, but also aged well.
Muhammad Rachman (May 29th 2009)
Oleydong's third world title defense saw him take on Indonesian fighter Muhammad Rachman. Rachman was a former IBF Minmumweight champion and although viewed as being past his best when Oleydong took a a very competitive decision over him till had more to offer. The bout between the two men saw Oleydong being narrowly in the lead when the bout was stopped in round 11, giving Oleydong the technical decision. The bout had been very hotly contested, but a nasty headclash in the 11th round saw us going quickly to the scorecards, which all favoured the Thai.
As with Oleydong's win over Pornsawan this one aged rather well, with Rachman later going on to win the WBA title, to become a 2-time champion.
Juan Palacios (November 27th 2009)
Although he had a lengthy reign with the WBC title Oleydong rarely seemed to clearly beat his toughest competition. That was shown again when he took on solid punching Nicaraguan Juan Palacios. "El Exterminator" had gone unbeaten since a controversial loss in Mexico to Jose Antonio Aguirre, in 2002, and had claimed the WBC "interim" title in 2008, when he had stopped Omar Soto. Coming in to this Palacios had stopped his previous 5 opponents and had real momentum of his own. The bout saw Palacious pressing and pressuring through out as Oleydong struggled to cope with the tough and rough style of the challenger. Palacios, the more physically imposing man, kept coming forward, round after round, with impressive stamina and will to win. At the end of 12 rounds it was Oleydong who had his arms raised thanks to a controversial majority decision.
The win saw Oleydong move to 33-0, claim one of his best wins and pretty much finished off Palacios as a top class fighter. The Nicaraguan would be out of the ring for almost a year and would later go 3-7-2, with his career fading away. He did actually fight earlier this year, but was very much a shell of the fighter he had been back in 2009.
Around 15 months after the win over Palacios we would see Oleydong's reign come to an end at the hands of Kazuto Ioka, who would go on to become a real boxing star. As for Oleydong his career held promise at Super Flyweight but he struggled in landing meaningful bouts at 115lbs and would never get a chance to become a 2-time world champion.
It's fair to say action picked up, notably, in October but that's nothing compared to what we are set to get through November, as boxing races towards the end of the year with a brilliant, packed and stacked month. The next few weeks are among the best we've had in a long time with lots of notable names and interesting bouts, and thankfully we don't need to wait long between some of these exciting match ups!
Aioi Hall, Kariya, Aichi, Japan
Masanori Rikiishi (8-1, 4) vs Soreike Taichi (7-3, 5)
The first bout of real note in November takes place on November 1st, with Japanese Lightweight hopeful Masanori Rikiishi looking to continue his strong run of form. The talented fighter from the Midori Gym is looking for his 7th straight win following a 2018 loss to Kosuke Saka, and a win here would likely take him to within touching distance of a Japanese title fight. Taichi on the other hand will be there looking to get his career back on track following a loss in February to Kazuma Sanpei. Sadly for Taichi he has been stopped in 2 of his 4 losses to naturally smaller men than Rikiishi, and we see him failing to complete the schedule here too.
Intex Osaka, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
Hiroto Kyoguchi (14-0, 9) vs Thanongsak Simsri (14-0, 12)
The first major bout of the month will see WBA Light Flyweight "Super" champion Hiroto Kyoguchi make his next defense as he takes on unbeaten Thai challenger Thanongsak Simsri. The talented Kyoguchi hasn't looked as good in recent bouts as he did when he won the title at the end of 2018, but will be regarded as the very clear favourite here as he takes on a relatively unknown contender. Although unknown outside of Asia Simsri has looked impressive and is a heavy handed youngster from the same region as Srisaket Sor Rungvisai. We do see Simsri as a future champion, but feel this may be too much too soon for him.
Jinki Maeda (5-0, 3) vs Kaito Okubo (5-1, 2)
Also on November 3rd is brilliant prospect Jinki Maeda, who won Rookie of the Year in 2020. The talented, sharp punching and fast rising Maeda isn't being matched easily here as he takes on the once beaten Kaito Okubo, who has notched up two wins since his sole defeat in 2019 and will tower over Maeda in the ring. We expect to see Maeda win, but we are expecting him to answer some questions on route to victory. The perfect type of match up for the unbeaten 24 year old
Korakuen Hall, Japan
Junto Nakatani (20-0, 15) Vs Giemel Magramo (24-1, 20)
After several delays it now seems we will finally see a new WBO Flyweight champion being crowned this month as we finally get the long awaited showdown between Junto Nakatani and Giemel Magramo. The title has been vacant since Kosei Tanaka vacated it earlier in the year, and we had hoped to see Nakatani and Magramo battle in the Spring, and then the summer. Despite the, repeated, delays this is still one of the most interesting Flyweight bouts on the docket and is a real 50/50 bout. Both men can box, both have solid power, and both are looking for a top tier divisional win. This is the sort of bout we, as fans, should all be behind.
Korakuen Hall, Japan (G+)
Kazuto Takesako (11-0-1, 11) Vs Riku Kunimoto (4-0, 2)
In a delayed Champion Carnival bout we'll see Japanese Middleweight champion Kazuto Takesako taking on mandatory challenger Riku Kunimoto. As with the Nakatani Vs Magramo bout this has been delayed numerous times, due to the on going situation and then training issues affecting Kunimoto. On paper this is a massive step up for Kunimoto, who has never faced anyone even close to Takesako's ability or power. Despite the step up this is not a foregone conclusion, and will instead be an interesting way for both men to answer a lot of questions about their ability.
Takeshi Inoue (16-1-1, 10) Vs Nath Nwachukwu (6-0-2, 3)
WBO Asia Pacific Light Middleweight champion Takeshi Inoue is in action here, but not a title defense, as he takes on Japanese ranked Middleweight Nath Nwachukwu. On paper this really does just look like a stay busy bout for Inoue, who's best known for 2019 fight with Jaime Munguia, but in fairness Nwachukwu will be coming to win, and won't be wanting to give up his unbeaten record. Inoue's the clear favourite, but we do expect him being forced to work for a win here.
Takuma Takahashi (5-0, 5) Vs Kodai Kiyota (9-6-2, 9)
The exciting, flawed, heavy handed, crude, Takuma Takahashi looks to put controversy behind him and build on his highly entertaining bout with Leonardo Doronio from back in January. In that bout Takahashi was in all sorts of trouble, and seemed lucky that Biney Martin let him get away with some very questionable tactics. Here he's up against domestic foe Kodai Kiyota in what should be a very easy win for the unbeaten man. A real confidence builder more than anything else.
RCC Boxing Academy, Ekaterinburg, Russia
Ravshanbek Umurzakov (10-1, 7) vs Zoravor Petrosian (9-0, 4)
Back on to the subject of delayed fights here as we finally see Uzbek fighter Ravshanbek Umurzakov take on Ukrainian youngster Zoravor Petrosian. This bout was originally scheduled to take place in mid-September but fell through at the 11th hour when Umurzakov was unable to get into Russia. Despite the bout falling through a few weeks ago Petrosian fought anyway, looked really good, and we're now set to see them get in the ring together. This could be the hidden for the weekend.
Workpoint Studio, Bang Phun, Thailand
Thananchai Charunphak (10-1, 8) Vs Pigmy Kokietgym (61-13-2, 25)
Once beaten Thai prospect Thananchai Charunphak is among the most promising fighters in Thailand, and this week we get to see him step up again for what is essentially his third bout against a notable foe. The once beaten 20 year old, who already holds wins over Samartlek Kokietgym and Kompayak Porpramook, is tipped very highly.In the opponent corner will be veteran Pigmy Kokietygym, a former world title challenger who has seen better days, but should still provide something of a test for the youngster.
Pungluang Sor Singyu (54-8, 36) Vs Amnat Ruenroeng (20-4, 6)
In a brilliant match up between veterans we'll see former WBO Bantamweight champion Pungluang Sor Singyu take on former IBF Flyweight champion Amnat Ruenroeng. At his best Pungluang was a strong, powerful aggressive fighter, who came forward and let his hands go. As he's aged he's slowed down, but is still having success and recently upset Campee Phayom. Amnat however has always been a tricky, awkward, fast, skilled, nightmare who knows the dark arts and how to get away with things. We're not expecting this to be the most action packed bout, but it is a genuinely intriguing one, and one of the most interesting non-title boutswe've seen in Thailand in years.
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Hollywood, Florida, USA
Zhilei Zhang (21-0, 16) vs Devin Vargas (22-6, 9)
Chinese Heavyweight contender Zhilei Zhang looks to continue his unbeaten record as he takes on Devin Vargas in Florida. The Chinese giant, who stands at 6'7", is a real talent, a quick handed, well schooled, southpaw with surprising speed and power. Sadly though he's 37, and any dreams of him getting a big fight before father time inflicts a loss on him are slim, even with Matchroom behind him. Vargas is a serviceable opponent for a prospect, but the 38 year old American is little more than that and shouldn't really ask questions of a contender, like Zhang. A really pointless match up that does little more than keep a 37 year old busy, rather than building his profile in what is the "now or never" part of his career.
The "Introducing" series has typically focused on top prospects who have aspirations of being a huge name in the sport. Typically they are of stand out amateurs, or Rookie of the Year winners, or people with some achievements behind them. Today however we are looking at someone without that type of background, but someone we still suggest fans should pay some real attention to. That is the big punching, exciting, and promising Mammoth Kazunori (6-2-1, 6).
Although Mammoth really isn't a big name in the sport the 21 year old has the tools to make a rather big mark on the domestic scene in the coming years. He might be in the talent laden Flyweight scene, but there are, very few fighters with the frighting ability to take people out in the same way Mammoth can.
Mammoth began his professional boxing journey under his real name of Kazunori Nakayama back in 2018, when he was just 17 years old. He did so under the guidance of former world champion Yasuei Yakushiji, in Nakayama's backyard of Aichi.
It was under Yakushiji that Mammoth made his debut in December 2016, stopping Taichi Ianaba in 75 seconds, fighting just above the Minimumweight limit. Just 3 months later he had picked up his second quick win, blasting out Kosuke Murakawa in 66 seconds to move to 2-0. It was immediately obvious that the teenager could bang, and fighting out of the southpaw stance he was a scare proposition for opponents. Heavy handed southpaws are no joy for opponents.
In his third professional bout Mammoth competed in the 2017 Central Japan Rookie of the Year Final, where he blasted out Nagara Mizutani in 2 rounds. Sadly for Mammoth his 2017 Rookie of the Year campaign would end at the next level, when he lost a competitive decision to Western Japan champion Tatsuro Nakajima in September 2017.
The loss could have been a major setback for Mammoth but instead he was back in the ring just 2 months later. When he returned he had moved up to Light Flyweight where he scored a 3rd round TKO win over fellow novice Alex Ota.
In 2018 Mammoth was again involved in the Central Japan Rookie of the Year, and began the tournament with an opening round win over Masato Togawa, in the Light Flyweight division. Sadly however Mammoth's dreams of winning the tournament ended in August 2018, in the final, when he was held to a draw by former foe Alex Ota, in what was brutal bout that saw both men take bombs in the opening round. Sadly Ota progressed due to the tie breaker rules in effect.
Mammoth would return to the ring 4 months after the Ota bout and take on Natsu Ohashi in a 6 round bout. The fight was fought close to the Flyweight limit and the 20 year old Mammoth, fighting under his real name for this bout for those interested, really had a nightmare of a performance. He was deducted a point for holding in round 2, was dropped in round 4 and ended up losing a clear decision to Ohashi.
After the loss to to Ohashi we saw Mammoth take a break from the ring, leave the Yakushiji gym, signing up with Chunichi Gym, and take more than a year out of action. Then he returned to the ring in spectacular fashion, scoring a late KO of the Year contender against tough Thai Lerdchai Chaiyawed in a Flyweight bout. The KO came part way through round 5 and saw the Japanese youngster land a dynamite counter left hand that almost headed poor his victim.
Sadly since win over Lerdchai we've not seen Mammoth in the ring, though thankfully we won't have to wait much longer to see him in action on November 1st in Aichi, as part of a Midori Promoted card. In the opposite corner to Mammoth will be Keisuke Iwasaki (4-2-1, 1). On paper this is a very evenly matched bout, and an interesting assignment for the 21 year old Mammoth. Win or lose he's going to be a fun guy to watch.
In the ring Mammoth is exciting, he's a big puncher, he's charismatic, and despite lacking a big backer or amateur experience we can't help but want to see more of him. Don't look at his record and write him off, but instead watch him, and enjoy a heavy handed boxer-puncher, who loves to land bombs, has naturally scary power, and will make for some great fights, and brilliant moments over the coming years.
This past week has been a rather odd one. For the most part it's been a quiet week, but what we've had in the ring has been great. The only real issues we've had with the sport have been out of the ring, and for that we need to thank the boxing gods for getting it right...for once!
With that said lets take a look at the good, the bad and the ugly!
1-"Super Fly 4"
On Saturday night we essentially got the spiritual successor to the "Super Fly" shows and boy did it ever deliver! Or at least didn't the two main bouts deliver! Sadly the card started badly, dragged on for a long time and wasn't helped by Julio Cesar Martinez making light work of Moises Calleros, but when it got to the two main bouts it was brilliant! Roman Gonzalez looked great in his win over Israel Gonzalez, who played his part in a very good fight and refused to wave the white flag. We then saw Juan Francisco Estrada and Carlos Cuadras give us something truly fantastic, with Estrada being aggressive and making the fight and Cuadras turning in a much better performance than we expected.
2-Gonzalez Vs Estrada II on the horizon?
Following their wins on Saturday it seemed very much like the plan was to now move on to a rematch between Roman Gonzalez and Juan Francisco Estrada, who clashed in 2012. It's the rematch that hardcore fans have been calling for for years, and if we get that on the back of this weekend then we'll be very, very happy!
3-Junto Nakatani Vs Giemel Magramo is on!
The on again, off again, on again, off again, saga regarding the WBO Flyweight title bout between Junto Nakatani and Giemel Magramo is finally sorted and it's going to be sooner than any of us likely expected! The bout was announced this week for November 6th and we are excited! It's been one that we've been waiting for most of the year and, on paper, it has the makings for something very special! The two guys have styles that should gel well, both are young, fresh and in their primes, and both men can fight. We genuinely think we might have something amazing here and credit to both guys for getting in on, when it would have been easier to walk away and go in their own directions for a bit.
4-Seki-chan hits 1000 subscribers!
Last week we mentioned the plan of Seki-chan, who runs the Japanese Boxing Directory, to try and buy rights to show fights, legally, on YouTube. To do that he needed 1000 subscribers on YouTube, to essentially open up the ability to do super chats. This past week that target was reached, meaning they will now look to secure the rights for Splendid Boxing on November 29th! To those who have began subscribing thank you, to those who haven't the channel is available here Boxing player directory and to Seki-chan we at Asian Boxing Info owe you a huge thank you!
1-Billy Joe Saunders Vs Martin Murray
There's bad fights and there's bad fights. Matchroom's big announcement for Billy Joe Saunder's next fight is, sadly, a bad fight and is the latest in a long line of poor fighters for Saunders. Given the talent Matchroom have at Middleweight and Super Middleweight there is no excuse to serve up this fight, and Demetrius Andrade Vs Dusty Harrison Hernandez. There was an obvious bout to be made here and some how the brain trust at Matchroom have ended up with two fights no one wants. Murray at his best, years ago, would have been a very interesting opponent for Saunders, but that was years ago and not in 2020. In 2020 this fight is legitimately trash and shouldn't be defended.
2-A Super Quiet Week
Other than fan dubbed "Super Fly 4" and the Showtime card on Saturday there was very, very, very little to really talk about. It's not there was nothing just, very, very little worthy of any real attention. This was particularly notable in Asia where the majority of the action was low level Chinese shows. We know there will be gaps in events, but it seemed like everywhere had a gap on the same week. The again given how the next few weeks are this was a wonderful time to catch out breath before the chaos ahead!
1-British Boxing Board of Control
Just over a week ago a number of poor scores were put in by judges on a Matchroom show. One of the judges, Terry O'Connor, had to appear in front of the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) to explain his score for the bout between Lewis Ritson and Miguel Vazquez. In the end the BBBofC accepted the explanation as to how the judge scored one of bout and have essentially cleared him of any wrong doing, accepting that was how he saw the bout. Sadly this really says it all about the BBBofC. If that is how one of their trained and experienced judges saw the bout the judge in, then it's simple. That judge not be involved in the sport. If the judge saying that's how he saw it is a valid excuse the BBBofC have shown that they need a clean out, from top to bottom, and have now opened the door to allow any judge to turn in any scores using that excuse. The board have long been accused of burying their head in the sand and not punishing officials when they need to and this was a prime example. They had a clear case to begin cleaning out the dregs and proving they had the balls to punish their own officials, but instead they decided to accept a poor explanation of something, that seemed to be an admission of ineptitude from the judge.
Filipino fighter Erbito Salavarria (40-11-3, 11) is one of the most forgotten world champions and is certainly a fighter who deserves a lot more attention than he gets. His career ran from 1963 to 1978 and during that he fought 54 times with 7 world title bouts and a string of high profile wins. He was also a man was famously stripped of a world title in some very, very peculiar and suspicious circumstances.
Salavarria was a genuine world class Flyweight in one of the division's most exciting periods. In the early 1970's he faced a genuine who's who and the only really big name fighter from the division he missed out from that sort of time was Masao Oba, who sadly passed away in 1973. His legacy took a hit with the way he lost the WBC Flyweight title in 1971, though he would later claim the WBA title in 1975. By then however he wasn't the fighter he had once and he would lose 3 of his final 4 career bouts.
Of course we're not here to talk about anyone's legacy here however and instead we're here to look at the 5 most significant wins for... Erbito Salavarria
Tsuyoshi Nakamura II (October 18th 1969)
In the 1960's Tsuyoshi Nakamura pretty much dominated the OPBF title scene. He won the title in 1963, beating Chartchai Chionoi, and made 10 defenses of the belt including wins against the likes of Ric Magramo, Al Diaz, Erbito Salavarria and Bernabe Villacampo. In 1969, in their second meeting, Salavarria got revenge, stopping the Nakamura in 12 rounds to claim the OPBF title, end Nakamura's long reign and essentially help push Nakamura into retirement. The bout was the only time Nakamura would be stopped during his 74 fight career and would net Salavarria his first international title, instantly putting him in the mix for a world title fight. It also saw him avenge one of his 5 losses at the time.
Whilst not a big win internationally this was a huge win for Salavarria at the time and got him well in the running for a world title fight.
Berkrerk Chartvanchai (July 25th 1970)
Just 9 months after claiming the OPBF title Salavarria faced off with the then WBA Flyweight world champion Berkrerk Chartvanchai, in a non-title bout. The talented Chartvanchai was unbeaten and had won the WBA title 3 months earlier, when he beat Bernabe Villacampo for the WBA title. Salavarria managed to bring the champion over to the Philippines for a bout above the Flyweight limit and took a clear decision over the Thai, in a 10 rounder. The bout really did push Salavarria to a bigger fight and proved he belong not just at Oriental level but world level.
Chartchai Chionoi (December 7th 1970)
Salavarria would get his first world title shot less than 5 months after beating Berkrerk Chartvanchai, as he travelled to Thailand and took on WBC Flyweight champion Chartchai Chionoi. On paper this was another step up for the talented Filipino, but he made it look easy as he destroyed Chionoi in 2 rounds, dropping him multiple times to rip the WBC title from the Thai. Chionoi had held the belt since March, when he had won a rubber match with Efren Torres and his reign ended in his first defense.
Susumu Hanagata I (April 30th 1971)
Unfortunately for Salavarria his reign was a short one, though it ended in highly dubious fashion. Prior to losing the belt however he had defeated Susumu Hanagata in a title defnense, less than 5 months after winning the title. The talented Salavarria left no doubt on the night, taking a very clear win over the Japanese fighter, who would play a major role in Salavarria's career. After 15 rounds here there was no debating the winner with Hanagata suffering his 10th career defeat, in his 49th professional bout.
In November 1971 Salavarria was stripped of the WBC title following a bout with Betulio Gonzalez. The bout seemed like a set up to deprive Salavarria and after the bout referee Mills Lane stated he was never going back to Venezuela. He was stripped for testing positive for amphetamines, a full month after the bout took place. From our research this appears to be the first time a world title had been stripped from a champion on the basis of a drug test
Susumu Hanagata II (April 1st 1975)
Almost 4 yeas after their first clash Salavarria and Hanagata would clash for the second time. This time Hanagata was the reigning WBA Flyweight champion and Salavarria was looking to become a 2-time champion. Unlike their first bout, which took place in the Philippines, this one was in Japan and Hanagata had the crowd behind him. Since their first bout the Japanese had gone 10-3, with a notable win in October 1974 over Chartchai Chionoi to claim the title. It seemed like the Japanese fighter had the advantages, but he couldn't over-come the Filipino who took a split decision over the local favourite.
These two would rematch again later in the year, with Salavarria winning again, but his reign ended in 1976 when he was stopped by Alfonso Lopez. He would then remain out of the ring for over 2 years before losing in an ill fated comeback against Netrnoi Sor Vorasingh in December 1978.
Another week is over, and we've had another strange week in the world of professional boxing. There has been some amazing moments in the ring, some brilliant stories outside of it, some hilarious bad decisions made in the governing of the sport, and some disgusting officiating.
1-Seki-Chan's attempt to buy boxing broadcasting rights
We love free boxing, it's essentially something that helps show case fighters, invites fans into the sport, and gives people a chance to enjoy a sport that, sadly, has become very expensive to follow. With that in mind we're so, so happy to hear that Seki-Chan is looking to buy broadcasting rights for shows in Japan and give away the events on youtube to viewers. This is a truly original idea, backed by someone's love for the sport, and it's something we hope more fans can get behind, especially as the first show planned to be streamed by Seki-chan is at the of November!
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Boy did we have some shocking results during the week as boxing really did show that's an unpredictable sport at times. Potentially the biggest of those upsets was in South Africa, where Prince Dlomo stopped former Devin Haney opponent Xolisani Ndongeni, though we had shocks in other places, such as Belarus, with Germaine Brown beating Dmitrii Chudinov, and the UK, where Kane Baker, Marc Leach and Rylan Charlton each picked up shock wins!
A moment ago we mentioned Prince Dlomo's KO, and it was a sensational one, but it was one of a host of great KO's this week. We also saw amazing KO's from Katsunori Endo, Aaron Aponte, Jan Marsalek and Daniel Robles among others. We're not sure what's in the water right now but we are getting a strong of brutal KO's in October, and long may they continue.
For anyone wanting to know about the best, unheralded KO's of the year, we suggest you give a look over Tim Boxeo's excellent list of knockouts, which can be seen here.
4-Teofimo Lopez is the man!
On Saturday we had the bout the boxing world was waiting for with Lightweight titles being unified as Vasyl Lomachneko faced off with Teofimo Lopez. Lomachneko was the betting favourite, and it was assumed that his experience would come into play against Lopez, who was stepping up massively. Whilst Lomachenko was genuinely disappointing, doing very, very little in the first 6 rounds, Lopez exceeded expectations, by some distance. He out boxed Lomachenko, he neutralised the Ukrainian, he shut him down, and even when Lomachenko tried to turn it on he was put back in his place. American boxing may well have the new star to carry it for the next decade!
1-British Scorecards...fucking stink!
And now we get to our usual complaints! What on earth was going on in the UK on Saturday night? We had two awful scorecards from Terry O'Connor, who had Lewis Ritson beating Miguel Vazquez 117-111 and Thomas Patrick Ward beating Thomas Essomba 88-84. We also had a stinking cards from Michael Alexander, who had Ritson beating Vazquez and Ward and Essomba fighting to a draw. The fact the same two judges, both turned in awful cards in the two most meaningful fights of the show needs to be looked into. The fact Terry O'Connor has had a long string of these poor scorecards really is taking the piss now.
Things haven't been helped by O'Connor seemingly glancing at his phone during round 8. Whether he did or didn't we'll leave to you to think about, but the scorecards he turned in are inexcusable regardless.
2-WBC's Super Cruiserweight Division
Fucking hell. So the WBC have decided to create a new weight class, more than 30 years after the Straight divisions was created in the late 1980's. To do this they are resetting the Cruiserweight limit to 190lbs, which it was until 2003, and putting a division above it, up to 224lbs. This leads to so many questions straight off the bat. For example, are they expecting all their current Cruiserweight champions, such as World, Youth, Intercontinental, International, etc, champions to lose 10lbs to keep their current titles? Are they expecting the other world title bodies to follow suit or are we going to, essentially, have two different limits at Cruiserweight?
Earlier we praised Teofimo Lopez's performance as Vasyl Lomachenko but in reality we also need to be honest and say that Lomachenko's tactics were bizarre. The talented Ukrainian gave away rounds by doing nothing early on. He didn't seem to throw a punch in some rounds and instead skirted around the ring, doing little to even make the bout seem competitive. Whilst he did make a good charge late on it came too late for him to win without putting Lopez down. It was truly bizarre. When he put his foot on the gas in round 7, he looked brilliant, but having given up 6 rounds the best he could have expected was a draw. Real questions need to be asked as to who thought giving away 6 rounds was a good idea. Yes Lopez did great in neutralising Lomachenko, but Lomachenko didn't seem to really try anything to unsettle Lopez until it was too late. Absolutely bizarre game plan from someone as highly regarded as Lomachenko.
4-Julie Lederman's scorecard
119-111? Did anyone see Lopez beat Lomachenko that widely? We think most agree that Lopez deserved the win, we also think everyone would have given the Ukrainian at least 3, and as many as 5. So what Julie Lederman was watching is nothing short of a mystery, As with Terry O'Connor this is not a one off bad card, but one in a growing string of bad scorecards that really should be investigated. Too many bad cards from too many judges, are making this sport look a lot, lot worse than it is.
1-Robert Smith of the British Boxing Board of Control
Well in for a penny in for a pound! The British Boxing Board of Control's Robert Smith spoke on Sunday morning, after the controversial Ritson Vs Vazquez fight, and essentially did his best impression of an Emu, by essentially burying his head in the sand. Rather than standing up, saying their are issues that need to be looked into, and being clear in what is being done about judges with consistently questionable cards.
We often sing the praises of the Japanese Boxing commission, and one thing they do really well is communicate with those who follow Japanese boxing. When officials need to be investigated they are, and if they need to be punished they are, and when they need more training they get it. And better yet the JBC make it clear what's happening. In the UK however things are done behind closed doors, and kept very secretive. It's no wonder discontent is growing among British boxing fans.
Instead of doing what is good for boxing Smith has arrogantly come across as if fans don't matter, as if controversies don't happen in the UK, and that British judges shouldn't be investigated. Fuck Robert Smith!
We enjoy boxing from around the world, but rarely does it seem any head of a national body is complicit in the issues that are causing it problem like the British board are. For years it was Germany, Italy, Thailand and Argentina that away fighters couldn't get decisions in. Now the UK seems to be among, if not the, very worst for questionable decisions.
On October 26th we get to see a talented prospect return to the ring after more than 2 years out of action. With that in mind we have decided to give the prospect in question the "Introducing..." treatment this week
The fighter in question is Ryuto Owan (5-1, 3), who seemed likely to go a long way when he burst on to the professional in 2017, but failed to live up to the early expectations on his shoulders. Despite that it's far, far too early to write off Owan, who has a lot still to give the sport, and could well "come good" with a new found hunger and training environment.
Owan began boxing as a child and made an impact on the amateurs at a young age, winning the Under 15's national Championship before later coming third in the National High School championships. He was regarded well as an amateur, but his full amateur record doesn't seem to be available anywhere, and it's hard to know just how many fights he had in the unpaid ranks.
In 2017 Owan turned professional, doing so under the watch of Yoko Gushiken at the Shirai Gushiken Sports Gym (SGS). At the time he was just a teenager, but he was joining a solid stable, including the always exciting Koki Eto and the then unbeaten Daigo Higa, a close friend of Owan's from Okinawa.
Owan would go on to debut in May 2017, on the same card that Higa won his WBC Flyweight title with a TKO win over Juan Hernandez. Although Owan's bout got little attention he looked impressive, stopping Samphan Choksukanan in 2 rounds. Just weeks later Owan was back in the ring, where he demolished Oatthaphon Kruaisawat in just 71 seconds at Korakuen Hall.
The youngster would continue to be busy and jut 2 months later Owan picked up his third win, dominating Filipino Alvin Medura over 6 rounds in a clear step up. Although Medura is no world beater he was very much a dangerous opponent so early in Owan's career, however the Japanese youngster dealt with him with ease, whilst taking a 6 round shut out.
Having raced to 3 we would then see Owan take another step up in class as he took on the hard hitting Jun Blazo in February 2018. At this point in Blazo's career he had earned a reputation as a limited, but tough and heavy handed fighter. He had dropped Koki Eto just a few fights earlier and had asked questions of Hayate Kaji. He was, however, no problem at all for Owan who took a clear 6 round decision over him. Owan then built on that win with a blow out win over domestic foe Takuma Matsushita in what was essentially a Japanese Youth Bantamweight title eliminator.
Following his win over Matsushita we saw Owan get a fight with Tetsu Araki for the vacant Japanese Youth Bantamweight title. That bout came in October 2018 and was a close and competitive bout through out, however Araki did enough to take the close decision and the title.
Sadly following the loss to Araki we haven't seen Owan in the ring.
In the two years since his loss to Araki we have however seen a lot happen outside of the ring. We won't go into everything however the gym he was fighting out, the Shirai Gushiken Gym, has closed, and he has followed Daigo Higa to the newly set up AMBITION Gym. It's with them that he will be making his ring return on October 26th against Tomoya Kishine in a bout that Owan is expected to win as he restarts his career at the age of 22.
Given how big this week felt for boxing, thanks to huge action in the US, it wasn't a great week for action in Asia, with only a handful of cards of any note. Despite the lack of action there was plenty go talk about as we look back on the week with out latest Weekly Awards.
Fighter of the Week
The Fighter of the Week category was quite a limited one this week, due to the lack of action and notable bouts. There was only, really, two contenders for the award, and it was a toss up between them as to who earned it. In the end we've gone with Japanese Featherweight Reiya Abe, for him intriguing, high level win over Ren Sasaki on Tuesday at Korakuen Hall. The talented Abe took a round or two to get going, then out boxed Sasaki with out many issues, showing what a skilled, intelligent boxer he is. There are still areas for him to work on, such as his output and finishing, but this was a very good win against a very good opponent.
Seigo Yuri Akui
Performance of the Week
We love Yoji Saito, despite the fact he's not yet really made much of a mark on the Japanese boxing scene. Saying that however his performance this week was one that should have made fans sit up and take note. He was against Masashi Wakita and set off like a house on fire. He set a high work rate from the opening bell, pressed, pressured and unloaded on Wakita and never let Wakita get a toe hold in the bout. This was a fantastic performance against a very capable fighter. If a fighter wants to make an impact they should look at what Saito did here. Tremendous performance, in a bout that he really needed to win.
Takuya Kogawa vs Hayato Yamaguchi
We love back and forth action, fun exchanges and a high tempo. If we can have exchanges up close than that's a bonus! And we didn't really have too many bouts like that take place in Asia this past week. As a result there was a bit of a run away winner and that was the 6 round battle between Takuya Kogawa vs Hayato Yamaguchi. This was just a great little hidden gem of a bout on Wednesdays. They skill level wasn't the highest but the bout had action and in a quiet week for Asian boxing that was enough to take this award.
Yoji Saito vs Masashi Wakita (Rd1)
Whilst the Kogawa Vs Yamaguchi fight was the best fight, and had a number of very good rounds, the best best single round came from the bout that followed it, and that was the first round from Yoji Saito's bout with Masashi Wakita. We've already mentioned Saito's performance, but Wakita played his part here, digging deep and trying to fight back against a man who personified a terminator mentality. This was a thrilling round, with none stop action, guts, bravery and a high tempo. If you missed this one, and have Boxing Raise, give it watch, a real good one!
Katsunori Endo TKO4 Ryuto Araya
Hidden away on Tuesday's card from Korakuen Hall was a brilliant, and somewhat unexpected, TKO win for Katsunori Edno. Endo seemed to lost the first 3 rounds, and was on the way to losing the fourth until he absolutely destroyed Ryuto Araya with a fantastic combination. The 3 punch burst from Endo turned off Araya's light and sent him crashing to the canvas face first in a visually sensational finish. Credit to Araya for not being out cold on the canvas, but seemed like he was out cold on his feet and seemed to wake up on his contact with the canvas. This was brutal, fantastic, and one that deserves to be featured on a highlight reel video from A-Sign boxing at the end of 2020.
Askat Zhantursynov (5-0, 4)
There wasn't too many prospects in action this past week from Asia, and we're certainly not counting Kai Ishizawa as a prospect as he's very much a proven domestic contender. As a result it's Askat Zhantursynov pretty much won this award by default. The big lad from Kazakhstan looked calm, accurate and surprisingly quick in his blow out over Ruslan Rodzivich. Yes his opponent wasn't up to much, but that's not Zhantursynov's fault and he looked good. Despite winning this by default we would certainly advice fans to make a note of his name as the 26 year old Cruiserweight appears to have something about him and really didn't look like a man who had been out of the ring for 18 months.
In the summer of 2019 we did an "Introducing..." on Japanese hopeful Shu Utsuki (then 4-0 (3), now 6-0, (5)). Since then he has has fought twice, as we'll go through in this week's "Revisiting".
Before we get on to what Utsuki's done recently it's worth noting what he had done previously. He had captained his University boxing Club and as an amateur had gone an excellent 81-27. As a professional he had shined in 2018 and within a year of his debut he had raced out to 4-0 (3), with decent low key wins against Da Xu and Jerry Castroverde. He had impressed but was still a rather obscure Japanese prospect, who was bouncing around the Super Featherweight and Lightweight divisions.
When we spoke about Utsuki last year he was just 9 days from his 5th professional bout, which was to be against Japanese based Venezuelan Omrri Bolivar. Going in to that bout he seemed to be stepping up in class and was arguably in the toughest match up of his professional career. At least that's how it looked.
Instead of being tested by Bolivar we saw the talented, and heavy handed, Utsuki blow out the Venezuelan in 3 rounds. This bout, which came on the under-card of Kazuto Ioka's bout with Aston Palicte, was a brutal KO by Utsuki at the start of round 3, showing his power was legit.
Utsuki would then build on that win a few months later when he defeated Thai foe Somphot Seesa in 2 rounds, finishing off Seesa with a third knockdown during the round.
Rather interestingly in early 2020 Japanese TV viewers got the chance to see Utsuki's 2019 bout with Castroverde, as it was, finally televised, almost a year after it took place. That performance was, by far, the most testing that Utsuki has had since entering the professional ranks. Although he managed to stop Castroverde in the 8th round he had been given a very, very serious test by the then Japanese based Filipino. That test was only passed after Utsuki landed some huge blows part way through the 8th round and forced the corner to throw in the towel and save Castroverde.
Like many of the recent Japanese prospects to turn from being solid amateurs to professional hopefuls Utsuki has a lot of things going for him. He has really solid balance, nice shot selection and imposing physical strength. Technically there is work for him to do, and he can be hit rather easily, which is disappointing for a man with over 100 amateur bouts to his name, but there is still a lot to get excited about.
Utsuki's power, strength and punching is all really impressive and we dare say that the hope, coming into 2020, was to have him knocking on the door of a domestic title fight before we got to 2021. Sadly 2020 has, for obvious reasons, not gone to plan for anyone but we will see Utsuki back in the ring before the year is over. In fact on October 30th we'll see Utsuki take on domestic foe Takayuki Sakai, in a decent looking 6 round Lightweight bout.
From when we first spoke about Utsuki his career has moved forward, but there is still a long, long way for him to go, and it's a shame that 2020 has slowed his momentum just as it seemed he was on the verge of something big. Fingers crossed 2021 does deliver something bigger for the talented fighter from the Watanabe Gym.
For those who haven't seen Utsuki before we have included his bout with Castroverde below.
This is just an opinion, maaaan! It's easy to share our opinions, and that's what you'll find here, some random opinion pieces