It's fair to say that February was a super quiet for Asian Boxing, and there was very, very, few shows. Thankfully what we did get was, generally, very fun to watch and we had some great fights from South Korea, Japan, the Philippines as well as some notable action in Thailand and in Kazakhstan. The month wasn't a big one, but, generally, what we got was really exciting and very much worth enjoying.
Fighter of the Month
One thing the month generally lacked was high profile bouts, with a lot of low key bouts taking place instead. Despite that the higher level bouts did give us some great action and some excellent performances, including that of Japanese Featherweight youngster Hinata Maruta, who shone in his Japanese Featherweight title bout against Ryo Sagawa. He didn't score the biggest win of the month, that was Rene Mark Cuarto who beat Pedro Taduan, but he scored the most impressive, stopping the world ranked Sagawa in spectacular fashion. This was a performance that, finally, showed Maruta is the talent that he was originally promoted as, and, fingers crossed, he can build on this excellent win later in the year.
Fight of the Month
Young Chae Song vs Joo Yeol Bang
It was the month of lower level fights, and that was shown in the Japanese Rookie of the Year show as well as on the only Korean card of the month. That Korean card featured a truly sensational 4 rounder between Young Chae Song and Joo Yeol Bang. This 4 round Welterweight bout was just an all out war, with Song doing just enough to claim the win. If you missed this one, which was held on an obscure KBC show, you need to hunt it down and enjoy it. It was brutal from round 1 to round 4 and looked like it was taken from a Hollywood movie, not a live boxing contest.
Prince Andrew Laurio vs Ranelio Quizo
Ryota Karimata vs Hyogo Kimura
KO of the Month
Abay Tolesh TKO5 Vasily Shtyk
We're not sure what Paul Tuzinde was doing on February 27th, but he seemed to have some kind of personal dislike of Vasily Shtyk who needed saving about 20 seconds before the end of his bout against Abay Tolesh. As a result of Tuzinde's inaction we ended up seeing Shtyk being brutally knocked out in round 5. Shtyk had been dropped heard earlier in the round, had been wobbly ever since getting to his feet and took a number of huge shots, including 3 clean headshots that sent him down. He wasn't out cold, thankfully, but it was clear he was done and it was clear the referee should have done more.
Hinata Maruta TKO7 Ryo Sagawa (also not a clean "KO" but a very nice finish by Maruta)
Prospect of the Month
During the month we had a host of notable prospects in action, and they were prospects from right through Asia, with exciting talent from Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Thailand, Philippines and Japan all in action. For us the standout performance by a prospect was that of Talgat Shayken, who genuinely impressed in his 4th professional bout. The Kazakh youngster was wobbled early on by Evgeny Pavko but battled back excellently and took a clear decision against an opponent who was there to win. Shayken had pretty much bullied his first 3 opponents before facing Pavko, but here he had to adapt, show his boxing skills and controlled the bout, outside of the first 30 seconds. His performance was really solid and showed there was a very good boxing brain in Shayken's head.
Upset of the Month
Rene Mark Cuarto Vs Pedro Taduran
With a lack of fights came a lack of upsets, and there really wasn't too many surprised at all during the month. The one exception was Rene Mark Cuarto upsetting defending IBF Minimumweight champion Pedro Taduran on February 27th. Cuarto had done little to earn a world title fight, he was pretty much unproven even close to world level and had lost, in 2019, to the man Taduran beat for the title. Despite that Cuarto put in a very solid performance, used smart counter punching and a good boxing brain to take an early lead against Taduran and ended up securing an excellent victory. This performance is likely to remain under the radar, but was Cuarto deserves real kudos for making the most of his shot and giving the performance of his career. He showed some great skills at times, and when the going got tough he remained composed and calm to pick his spots.
Jerry Forrest D10 Zhang Zhilei
Round of the Month
Ryota Karimata vs Hyogo Kimura (Rd 5)
We had so many great one of rounds this past month but if push came to shove and we had to select just one we'd have to go with the 5th and final round of the Light Flyweight All Japan Rookie of the Year final. The first 4 rounds had been brilliant, but the with bout still, potentially, on the line as we went into round 5 both both men went up a gear, and spend the full 3 minutes having a phone booth war. This was just brutal, thrilling, all action and the sort of round that every fan needs to watch. It non stop action between two men who left it all in the ring. Technically this wasn't the most polished, but that didn't matter, this was just all action and incredibly fun to watch.
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