Over the weekend we saw Jake Paul knockout Nate Robinson with a brutal KO, which has been meme'd left, right and center since the bout took place. Notably it's a bout that has been criticised by current fighters and the media, as well as fans, with some suggesting it was a joke, a farce, shameful and dangerous.
If I'm being honest however I don't really understand the outrage, at all, and put it down less to the danger aspect of the fight, and more the profile of the men competing and the amount of money they both got paid along with the profile of their bout on what turned out to be a very successful and hugely entertaining show. Genuinely the card probably wasn't worth the PPV money it cost to watch, but it was brilliantly entertaining and in 2020 that is, essentially what we all needed, especially after some of the boxing duds we've been served this year. We're looking at you DAZN!
Here comes the Money!
I'll start this by looking at how much the fighters got paid before we move on to the other issues, as this one is pretty simple and straight forward marketing issue that more seasoned professional have got to think about whilst complaining about what they get paid. It'll likely come across as harsh, though I dare say everyone will see some sense of truth in it.
The purses for the two men are rumoured to have been $600,000, though there is some discussion that they each got paid significantly more than that.
I fully get some fighters are very angry that they are paid so little in comparison to the Jake Paul's of the world. We all know, however, that boxing purses are not based on merit, talent, or skill. They are based on interest, fan intrigue, marketability, brand awareness, entertainment and ability to negotiate and what you bring to the event. Paul and Robinson ticked those boxes.
We all know that a fighter with no profile, or a lower weight fighter, or a fighter with no ability to sell themselves, or a foreign fighter in the US, will typically get lower purse than a marketable, big punching charismatic Heavyweight. Likewise an Olympic champion will generally get paid more than some newbie when they begin their career. General rules, sure, but they are generally pretty spot on and are based on a long line of simply how the sport has paid people.
A very obvious and well known example of this type of thing is in the UK where young fighters known for their ability to shift tickets get more opportunities than fighters with higher skill levels because they make the promoter money on a show by show basis, and essentially pay for their fight.
Whether we like it or not a fighter needs to generate money for the promoter to make money themselves. Paul, with over 30,000,000 followers on social media, and Robinson, with a name from his days as a professional NBA player have that. They also built their fight well, and likely did help the promotion with advertising and marketing, bringing in a younger generation of eyes to the product and getting people interested from outside of the walled garden of boxing fans. Boxing's lack of cross over stars is hurting it, and the injection of personalities like Paul and Robinson at least gets eyes on the product, some boxing desperately needs
Admittedly a lot of those eyes were likely illegally streaming the event, but there was eyes and attention on the product, that wouldn't have been there otherwise. If fighters want to bemoan the size of their purses in comparison, they need to look at what Paul has done and become a name in the media, become someone the media outside of boxing circles discusses, and generate the attention and buzz to bring over a cross over fanbase. Especially those younger fans who don't follow the sport, who aren't marketed to and haven't got an interest in boxing.
Yes that is easier said than done, but it is something that fighters wanting big pay days need to consider. Jake Paul on twitter telling his 3.7 million followers he's fighting on PPV is a huge boost to the promotion of the event. On the other hand a fighter with 56,000 followers on the same platform is going to interest a significantly smaller amount of people to buy into the event. Likewise a fighter with 32,000, which is less than 1% of Paul's followers, will struggle to move the needle. And most of their followers will be boxing fans to begin with anyway, not the cross over market needed to move the proverbial needle.
I've mentioned it before but the average age of boxing fans is increasing, and the sport needs new, younger, fans for it to continue to be relevant. That is the typical fan base for "YouTubers" and it is almost certain that they contributed to the event having the largest PPV sales in boxing this year, with a rreported figure of over 1 million buys. Yes Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr played a much bigger part, but we can't ignore the draw to younger eyes that Paul and Robinson had.
For fighters unhappy about the size of the purses that Paul and Robibson got I understand it might feel unfair, especially at someone coming into your field and getting more. The sad truth however, is that they bring more to event in term of crossover appeal, money, fans, and sponsorship than almost any current fighter.
We all know that a fighter doesn't get paid based on their skill and ability in the ring. If that was the case someone like Guillermo Rigondeaux, Vasyl Lomachenko and Terence Crawford would be paid far, far more than Heavyweight counterparts. Instead they get paid on what the promoters feels they are worth and what the promoter feels they add in value, be it sales, profile or whatever, to an event. This is why Ryan Garcia is on the verge of becoming a huge draw in boxing, and why Adrien Broner, love him or hate, was being paid well in excess of what his skills deserved.
Interestingly a few years ago a fighter got paid less than 1% of what Paul and Robinson reportedly made, in what was a world title bout. Since then they've seen their purses, profile and bouts rise astronomically. The fighter in question is Jerwin Ancajas, who got paid $3,700, before fees, for his IBF Super Flyweight title win over McJoe Arroyo. Since then he has seen his purses sky rocket to over $100,000. It's a tiny purse compared to some of the big names, but he took the gamble and made it pay off. Something a number fighters have shown themselves unwilling to do.
Making the Sport a Joke
The sport of boxing is, in many ways, a joke. It has been for a very, very long time, and there is little reason to pretend this has made it a joke, or that anything Paul is involved in has made it a joke. Boxing is one of the sports where the level of entry is incredibly low, and that's right across the sport. Boxers and media might tell you that you "don't play boxing" and whilst that's true, there is no real entry barrier to it other than being physically fit enough to pass a medical and being willing to get into the ring.
We need to take a step back and begin by admitting that "gimmick fights", which is essentially what Paul Vs Robinson was, aren't a new thing.
Back in the the 1950's and 1960's we had the legendary Archie Moore fight a number of professional wrestlers and the sport has carried on well since then. In the 1970's we had the infamous Muhammad Ali Vs Antonio Inoki farce, which was remarkably dull but still a massive attention grabbing event. In Australia we often see Rugby players get into the ring, and have some genuinely mixed success with some having genuine notable careers. In the UK Freddie Flintoff fought a bout and in the last few years Japan has seen a famous comedian and singer fight in the professional ranks, not against each other, and a Japanese model even went on to fight for a world title. We've also had Mickey Rourke restarting his boxing career at one point. We've had American Footballers and Basketball players try their hand at the sport, and even a top MMA fighter, Conor McGregor got involved.
Another notably, but often forgotten example, occurred in 2000 when David Matthews, a journalist, turn his hand at the sport, losing in a 6 round decision to a journeyman in the UK.
If it's Jake Paul and Nate Robinson that has made the sport a joke in your eyes you perhaps are looking less at the sport, and more the profile of the two men in the bout. This wasn't any worse than numerous other examples. Credit however goes to Paul, more than Robinson, for not just having the 1 and out bout, like Flintoff and many others but sticking with the sport.
The entry for boxing is also one of the best things about it. There are so few barriers for someone to pick up the gloves and take part. Many choose to only fight once, realise it's fucking hard and painful, and walk about from the sport. They get a new found respect for the sport, the fighters, their training and what a boxer needs to go through. Few people will come back for a second time when they end up with a broken nose, a cracked rib or a black eye. Lets be honest we won't be seeing Nate Robinson back in the ring after this weekend.
For those wanting to say having gimmick bouts makes boxing a joke, you'll find a lot of those involved get a very serious dose of reality and a new understanding of how hard the sport is. Further legitimising the sport in their eyes.
The fact anyone can compete in boxing, from the world class elite level fighters to the absolute nobody is a great asset of the sport, not a detriment of it. It's a sport that has a welcoming door, but a door that can kick you in the backside if you disrespect it. It's also a sport that allows those without amateur experience to learn it, and climb through it's many ladders to the top. We have certain countries that essentially have novice and rookie focused competitions, such as Battle Royal in Korea, Rookie of the Year in Japan and the C Class tournaments, also in Japan. The entry level to competition allows anyone to taste leather and be involved. We shouldn't be complaining about having a sport that is welcoming to participants.
Those entry level requirements of "passing medical and making weight" can also give us some truly amazing novice bouts, such as the Ieyasu Yashiro vs Ricardo Arredondo Jr bout we'll include at the bottom of this article.
The sport also allows these novices to face off against each other in a some what safe environment. This isn't a world champion beating up some hapless, defenseless fighter, but two limited fighters stepping in there against each other.
If we increased the entry level of the sport to only those who have had amateur success at National or International level the sport would be a million times worse than it is today. We wouldn't have had great success stories like Manny Pacquiao battling their way out of extreme poverty and there wouldn't be enough fighters in the sport to support it's self.
It was really dangerous!
We all understand that one of the biggest and most serious dangers in the sport is brain trauma.
The worst brain trauma, and even deaths in the sport, typically happen in the later stages of fights from repeated concussions. The shorter novice bouts can cause injury, sure, but the risk is significantly reduced to what what is it in 10 and 12 rounds, where accumulated damage begins to play a major factor.
Jake Paul Vs Nate Robinson being scheduled for 6 rounds really did limit that risk. It also helps when one of the fighters has no idea how to defend themselves, meaning that whilst they did get KO'd, quite brutally, they didn't take a prolonged beating. They got caught clean and got put to sleep. A quick knockout is typically better for the health.
One other thing in regards to the safety is that we genuinely don't imagine either Paul or Robinson actually having the heart to stay in there under intense fire. The best fighters have a fighter's heart and stick in their through thick and thin, easy and hard. They grit it out when tagged. When you take up the sport as a bit of fun, rather than with aspirations of being a champion, and don't need money from boxing it's a lot harder to dig to the depths of a true fighter. That alone makes this type of fight much less dangerous, at least if the referee is a capable one.
What is a lot more dangerous than this are the poor health protocols we see in some places, and the complete and utter mismatches we see on a regular basis. The mismatches we accept as just a typical part of the sport, and as part of the development process for top amateurs.
The day before Paul and Robinson battled we had an incident in Florida where Sahret Delgado was visible struggling for air after his bout was stopped against Mahammadrasul Majidov. There was no Oxygen brought to the ring to help Delgado, the medical assistance was left to Majidov and Delgado's corner when they really needed medical assistance in the ring.
Likewise it's only a few years since Magomed Abdusalamov had a life altering bout with Mike Perez, where he was essentially told he was fine and to get a taxi to hospital. He didn't need a taxi, he needed medical assistance, and an ambulance after an incredibly tough, punishing 10 round bout. He needed help and didn't get it. He was essentially let down by boxing.
It's also only a few years ago that Frida Wallberg essentially had her life saved by Lucia Rijker, the trainer of her opponent, who called for a doctor after Wallberg displayed worrying symptoms of a brain issue.
These are just cases from hundreds that the sport has had. Sadly the sport is dangerous. The sport is a life changing one. It takes the best part of some of it's competitors.
The sport is dangerous, and it's even more dangerous when basic health and safety protocols aren't in place for every fight. The sport will take lives, it's the sad and unavoidable reality of what happens when two people repeatedly hit each other in the head. The risks of deaths in the sport can, however, be reduced by general safety standards in the sport increase.
At one point deaths in Japan there was 5 deaths in a single year, and there were deaths pretty regularly in the sport. Since then health and safety in the country has improved massively in the country, fighters are given suspensions after being knocked out, and given longer and given lengthier suspensions when stopped 3 times in a row, and need to pass medical checks from the commission. There is a list of international fighters who aren't allowed to compete due to a lack of ability and it's not as easy to get a license as it is in some areas of the world.
Likewise the UK need ambulances on site for fights to take place, something we saw actually play a role recently when both on-site ambulances had to take fighters to hospital causing a hold up in an event. We have seen these things reduce deaths in the sport, and they need to be universally around the sport.
As well as medical standards needing to be improved in the sport corners also need to be more willing to say "no more". The sport is dangerous by it's self, but there is nothing more dangerous than a corner too brave to say "it's time to stop". The great Eddie Futch famously stopped Joe Frazier from going out against Muhammad Ali in one of the biggest bouts in history, and if Eddie Futch can stop Joe Frazier, any corner can do the same.
Likewise there needs to be better education of fighters. We've had tragedies where fighters have underlying issues they've hidden and concealed, which have resulted in tragedy. Fighters need to be aware of the full effects of the sport, what having constant headaches may mean, and actually reach out for help. They need understanding teams who know what to do, and we dare say brain scans need to be a lot, lot more regular than they are.
The brain is a wonderful thing, and boxing damages it. Having novices face off however, will be less dangerous than having top level professionals drain their body down for a weight limit, then going into the ring for a long, punishing, tough, battle with another top professional.
But Paul won't beat any "proper" professionals
I want to finish on this one, because this is the most amusing point I've heard, and one of the most confusing.
As mentioned the entry to professional boxing is low. It's not far off being an open door. What makes someone a "proper" professional is a weird argument. We would assume someone who fights regularly, right?
With Jake Paul being a Cruiserweight he's currently in a division with more than 1,200 professional fighters. These including people like Petr Pirko-Pulo (0-17), Rudolf Murko (3-95-2, 3), Ladislav Slezak (5-34-2), Noe Gonzalez Cervantes (0-21), Thitiwut Ungsuworapluk (0-7) and Alvaro Vazquez Guerrero (1-19). People who Paul would beat, and likely stop. Would that prove anything? No. But he would have beaten a "proper" professional.
In fact we've former 2-weight world champion Sirimongkol Singwancha (97-4, 62)* fight at Light Heavyweight in recent years and there's no reason he couldn't pack on a few extra pounds to face Paul, and we'd not be surprised if Paul stopped the 43 year old blown up former Bantamweight, who looked awful last time he was in the ring,
Another argument is that he wouldn't beat anyone in the top 100 or top 200, though I would admit there maybe some top 200 guys who could beat. We don't typically expect a 2-0 (2) guy to beat top 100 guys. There are some fighters who can, but your typical fighters is never expected to do that. They are expected to get some experience and be moved on to progressively better competition.
Top amateurs are expected to be moved quicker sure, but someone without a strong amateur background isn't and stating Paul wouldn't beat a top 100 fighter is like stating the grass is green. He and those around him will be aware of his limitations, his lack of experience, his poor technical ability, and the work he needs to do. They aren't stupid. They'll pick and choose their fights careful, as any team should. To expect a rank novice to be moved quickly is just bizarre.
Boxing has levels, we all know that. And the "YouTubers" who turn to boxing are shrewd business people. They, like most prospects, won't take bouts with opponents expected to test them. That is no different, at all, to what we see from prospects under major promoters like Matchroom, Top Rank, Golden Boy and Queensbury. To expect otherwise, just because of Paul's profile is just bizarre. He and his team will know there's a chance to cash in big money for easy fights, just off his profile, and you better believe they know they can do that without taking risks, letting him build his name, and leave the sport when he wants. He doesn't need boxing and he doesn't need to get punched in the face. He knows that, we know that. Lets not pretend he's in it to be a world champion, and lets instead accept he's a novice who is raising the profile of the sport.
As promised a brilliant all novice bout:
A new month is upon us and we get to return to our fun monthly look at some of the best, funniest, strangest and most unique names in Asian boxing history!
Dick Carlos III (13-13-2, 2)
Doing these articles we can feel a little but cruel and that's certainly the case with our inclusion of Dick Carlos III, the Filipino journeyman from the 1980's and 1990's. Carlos fought about 30 times with his most notable opponent being a then 5-0 Jon Penalosa. The real intriguing thing here however is his name, or rather the fact he was the third Dick Carlos. Dick, of course, means something particular in English speaking countries, but to be a third generation Dick is something rather unfortunate.
Jack La Motta (2-0, 1)
One strange thing about Indonesian boxing, or one of the many strange things, is the number of boxers who appear to have fake names, based on the names of real fighters. For example Jack La Motta, presumably the Indonesian cousin of Jake Lamotta. Jack was a Featherweight who appears to have fought from 2002 to 2003, though given his "debut" was an 8 round win over a guy with 10 wins we do wonder if there was maybe a few missing fights from his record.
Robert Duran (1-0)
Another Indonesian who appears to have adopted a new name is Robert Duran. Yeah you read that right, Robert Duran. Duran was an Indonesian who's only recorded bout seems to have occurred in the summer of 2005, when he took a decision over Rolly Suot. Like La Motta we wouldn't be surprised to find out he had more fights that were unrecorded, but the names seems high suspicious to us and it seems deliberately suspicious!
Arbon Pryor (1-2)
To complete a trifecta of "names suspiciously like that of more well known fighters" we bring you Arbon Pryor. Unlike La Motta and Duran, who retired unbeaten, Pryor actually lost, at least twice. His record shows his debut as coming in 2002, which he won, before losing in 2004 and 2007. With big gaps in his record it seems almost a given that he fought more than just the 3 bouts that Boxrec have got recorded for him. Once again we're fairly confident this isn't the fighters real name, making us curious why all 3 went by pseudonyms, rather than chase personal glory. We suspect they were fighters who have fought under different names, but with Indonesian record keeping being so poor it's hard to know for sure, and it's almost certain boxrec are missing bouts for all 3.
Slogger Ang (2-8-1, 1)
We end this months names with a Malaysian fighter who appears to have fought from 1939 to 1948, though of course records from this era are notoriously incomplete and inaccurate. The fighter in question is the wonderfully named "Slogger Ang", another likely pseudonym. Whilst we love the Indonesian scene for great names the middle of the 20th century Malaysian names are some of the best two, with Slogger being a great one. Slogger actually fought a string of fighters with other great names, like "Golden Boy", "Smiling Castillo", who he stopped in a round we suspect wasn't smiling afterwards, and "Young Tara", who we hope wasn't a young girl!
Although not an Asian fighter we have to shoe horn in one final fighter and that's the man we all want to have visit in a few weeks time. Santa!
That's right, Santa (2-0-1, 1), was an unbeaten French Welterweight from the 1930's who we hope sees all of you guys in the coming weeks!
On December 9th we'll see the professional debut of Shota Fukumori (0-0), a 28 year old Japanese Lightweight who begins his professional journey and kicks off a career that could, potentially, be a very fun one to follow. Given his age we expect him to be moved quickly, and there is signs that his team will be doing that as they match him with Ryosei Niguma on debut.
Ahead of Fukumori's first professional bout we though he was worthy of covering in this series as we introduce the promising Shota Fukumori. This is shorter than our usual introducing pieces, but we still hope this will help some get a feel for Fukumori and why he is worth following ahead of his first professional bout.
Hailing from Matsuyama City, in Ehime Prefecture, Fukumori was a solid amateur fighter who ran up an excellent 55-23 (26) record in the unpaid ranks. Sadly his amateur exploits didn't extend to major fights in international competition but he was regularly competing in major domestic competitions, such as the All Japan Championships and the prestigious university competitions, where he captained the Osaka University of Commerce team.
As an amateur Fukumori was getting attention way back in 2013, when he was fighting as a Welterweight in the amateurs. He was on the same team as a young Hiroto Kyoguchi, and we've all seen what a success Kyoguchi has been in the professional ranks.
Whilst his full amateur results aren't clear we have managed to see footage of Fukumori in the unpaid ranks and from that it's clear he's a talented fighter. He boxes out of the southpaw stance, has good footwork, goes to the body well and knows his way around the ring. Although he doesn't have the fastest hands out there he is a crisp, clean puncher, who mixes his shots up well, and has really good upper body movement. It's clear he is a well schooled fighter and when he needs to let shots go he can let them go with both hands.
From the footage out there Fukumori isn't the strongest or biggest puncher, but he still looked like a real natural talent, and given he will be fighting at a lower weight as a professional than he did in the amateurs we suspect he'll look stronger and more heavy handed in the paid ranks.
As a professional Fukumori will be fighting out of the Flash Akabane gym. The gym isn't a promotional power house, like Teiken, Ohashi, Watanabe or Kadoebi, but it has shown an ability to develop talented and managed to get both Sugurua Muranaka and Yuzo Kiyota world title fights in recent years. We suspect Fukumori won't manage to get that far, but we do expect Flash Akabane to move him very quickly, and hopefully we will see him in a domestic title fight before his career comes to an end.
According to Boxmob Fukumori has revealed that one of his favourite fighters was Edwin Valero and away from boxing he likes to be outdoors, particularly fishing.
What a weird, weird, week we've had in the world of boxing. We've seen a champion admit to crashing when he was drunk, we've had an Olympic champion essentially turn off an international audience, two 50 year olds put on a show, a YouTuber scoring a KO of the year contender, a 16 year old shining, and some other real oddities in a week that in many ways over delivered!
With that said lets take a look at the Good, the bad and the ugly from this past week!
1-Wanheng Vs Panya delivers a thriller!
It's really rare that a Minimumweight bout will get international attention and will have fans asking us where to watch, and how to stream it. This week was an exception as fans around the globe wanted to watch the WBC Minimumweight title bout between Wanheng Menayothin and Panya Pradabsri. With fans tuning in there was pressure on the bout to shine, and that's exactly what it did with a pulsating, action packed 12 round contest that swung back and forth. This was just brilliant stuff, and whether you agree with the decision or not it's hard not to come away feeling like this was a great showcase for the smallest men in the sport.
2-New date set for Takayama Vs Konishi!
Talking about small men it was fantastic to see a new date being set for the highly anticipated bout between Katsunari Takayama and Reiya Konishi, who had their bout cancelled on the day of the event after Konishi had a positive result from a PCR test. It appears that test was a false positive and we can now look forward to this potential thriller on December 27th. Fantastic to see both men quickly working to secure a new date and for giving us fight fans a post-Christmas cracker!
3-Phoobadin shines... again!
Thai 16 year old Phoobadin Yoohanngoh did it again this week with a career best win, stopping Atchariya Wirojanasunobol in 6 rounds. The teenage sensation showed fantastic ring IQ and maturity, he boxed brilliantly early on, took the sting out of Atchariya's shots with his movement, countered excellently, and then turned up the head to stop his man. This was brilliant and it was so easy to forget we were watching a 16 year old 9-0 fighter in action. We really can't help be get excited about Phoobadin, who may well be the best young prospect in Asia today. He might only be 16 but he's shining against fully grown men, and is rising the bar for what is expect of boxing prodigies.
4-Joyce Vs Dubois delivers
Another bout that delivered this past week was the British Heavyweight showdown between Joe Joyce and Daniel Dubois, who put on a thoroughly enjoyable battle on Saturday. This fight wasn't the most exciting, or the highest skilled, but it was truly entertaining, incredibly engaging, and a real battle of tactics. Dubois, the younger man, fought like his only chance was bombing out the iron chinned Joyce, and he did seem to stagger his man several times. It's unclear how Joyce took the shots but he did! Joyce on the other hand was fighting behind a slow, thudding, consistent jab, that burst up and broke down Dubois face. With Dubois' left eye a swollen, damaged mess, and his heart broken he made the wise decision to take a knee and take the 10 count. The only negative take away here was how the referee and corner essentially forced Dubois' hand. His corner really should have stepped in before he had to take the ultimate call to end the bout.
5-Seki-chan and Sakana stream event from Aichi!
On Sunday morning Japanese fight fan Seki-chan along with Japanese boxing video master Sakana ran a free YouTube stream of an event from Aichi and what a stream it was. It was in wonderful quality, with a solid camera position selected. It was basic, simple, but it really worked and gave an insight into the often over-looked Central Japanese boxing scene. Real credit goes to the two-some for organising the stream, and the subsequent video uploads. Fingers crossed this won't be a one off as it was a genuine success, and one of the true highlights of the week. We'll admit the bouts weren't big ones, but that hardly mattered, they were even match ups, exciting to watch, and in high quality. Thank you guys!
6-Tyson Vs RJJ ends up... being good!
Whether we like it or not boxing is a weird sport. On Saturday night/Sunday morning we saw how weird it was as we got the exhibition between 54 year old Mike Tyson and 51 year old Roy Jones Jr, and a bout featuring a YouTuber and Basketball player. What made it even weirder was the fact that Tyson looked fantastic, moved well, kept a great rate through 8 rounds and in terms of effort would have embarrassed some of the younger fighters, Jones, despite being younger and fighting much more recently, looked old and exhausted. It was also made even weirder when Jake Paul scored a genuinely brutal KO against Nate Robinson. We wouldn't say it was worth the PPV price but we dare say those who did pay walked away happy with what they got. It was weird, it was wacky, and it was genuinely enjoyable.
1-Jacobs and Rosado stink out the joint
Now we get into the bad and, thankfully, most of the bad was actually in the ring, with weak performance poor under-cards. Sadly the worst of those bouts was the sleep inducing 12 round bore-a-thon between Daniel Jacobs and Gabriel Rosado. Man was this poor. Jacobs put in an effort akin to an office worker sleeping at his desk, and whilst Rosado tried, he didn't really have the offensive skills needed to turn the bout into anything watchable. Absolutely dire bout, and probably the last we see of Jacobs on DAZN. It's fair to say pressure is on Matchroom US to begin delivering interesting bouts, as this was the second recent main event of theirs that has stunk the joint out.
2-Frank Warren under-card
Of course it's hard to talk about Matchroom and Eddie Hearn and not also criticise Frank Warren who's under-card for the Joe Joyce Vs Daniel Dubois bout was dreadful. The under-card dragged on, was full of mismatches and had very, very little drama. We understand the card not being packed with big bouts, but to not have a single competitive bout on the entire under-card was shameful. What made matters worse was that, for the most part, the fighters on the card never really came close to really shining. Hamzah Sheeraz cruised through rounds, Jack Catterall showed some nice touches, but lacked urgency, Jack Massey boxed to orders and David Adeleye was in with a horribly over-matched opponent. Such a poor undercard made the pacing feel awkward and the who show just felt like it dragged, massively. Thankfully the main event delivered, big time, but the under-card was torture to watch
3-French card ends up being a turn off
Over in France we also had a nightmare of a show to watch. This was just a mess. The touted Estelle Mossely looked incredibly poor against a very inexperienced opponent, the wrong winner was announced in the Welterweight bout between Aboubeker Bechelaghem and Volkan Gokcek, the bell was used for both the end of the round and as the 10 second clacker and then we had Tony Yoka. Given the hype, and the build up for Yoka, the Rio Olympic Super Heavyweight gold medal winner, his performance just flat out stand. He dropped to the floor like a soccer player every time Hammer was up close, he showed no urgency, his corner team seemed to tell him to take it easy and the entire bout became a chore to get through. With fans in the UK and US tuning in through Boxnation and ESPN+ this was Yoka's chance to capture an international audience but instead he crapped the bed.
It's a shame for boxing in France that this show was so amateurish, and that the Golden couple, Yoka and his wife Mossely, really looked flat and limited. This was a rare spotlight on French boxing and it was a spotlight that may not be back any time soon. A huge missed opportunity!
1-Kenshiro's drink driving
Only one ugly this week and it's the news that WBC Light Flyweight champion Kenshiro Teraji was involved in a drunken accident in the summer. Despite happening months ago the news only got broke this week, and his planned December world title fight is off. It's unclear what, if any, punishment he'll be given by the JBC, though he has issued an apology. We are massive fans of Kenshiro, but this is disappointing news to say the least and, hopefully, it's a one off mistake, and error in judgement and not a sign of something worse in his out of the ring activity. Thankfully it appears the only damage was to the vehicle of a victim, and no one was harmed, but still, this is not what we were expecting from the "Amazing Boy".
December, the best month of the year! The part of the year where we get Christmas, New Year's Eve, the birthday of some awesome people (hint hint!), and a great array of match ups right through the month. We really do have a bit of everything in December with world class fighters, domestic and regional title bouts, prospects, intriguing rematches and bouts that are just...interesting.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
Masataka Taniguchi (12-3, 7) vs Hizuki Saso (12-6-2, 4)
On December 3rd we'll see a new Japanese Minimumweight champion crowned as former world title challenger Masataka Taniguchi clashed with Hizuki Saso for the vacant title. The title has been vacant since January, when Norihito Tanaka gave it up, and it's great to see it getting a new champion here. On paper it's really hard to see anything but a win for Taniguchi, however we suspect Saso know his opportunities will be limited and he'll have put everything into preparing for this shot.
Ayaka Miyao (23-8-2, 6) vs Etsuko Tada (19-3-3, 6) II -
We'll also see a new owner of the WBO Female Minimumweight title on December 3rd when Ayaka Miyao and Etsuko Tada re-run their January bout. Earlier this year these two veterans fought to a draw, in what was a really, really good bout, and we're looking forward to this rematch. It seemed that Miyao was unlucky in the first bout between the two, and she'll be the favourite here, but Tada should never be written off and she has bounced back from multiple setbacks through her career. This promises to be competitive, exciting and high tempo, even if neither fighter has the power to really hurt the other.
Workpoint Studio, Bang Phun, Thailand
Apichet Petchmanee (7-0, 2) vs Musheg Adoian (7-2, 7) II
Another notable rematch comes from Thailand on December 5th when unbeaten Apichet Petchmanee takes on Thai based Russian fighter Musheg Adoian. This should be really interesting, especially given the controversial nature of their first bout earlier this year. When the men first fought Apichet seemed to get very lucky on the scorecards after being dropped twice, and it's clear that Adoian will be out to avenge what he and his team will feel was an unjust loss. As for Apichet it's a chance to prove he's the better man. Sadly though the close nature of a number of Apichet's wins do suggest that if this goes the distance he'll take the decision and Adoian may well need to stop his man to home a victory.
Phongsaphon Panyakum (10-1, 5) vs Kompayak Porpramook (60-10, 41)
In an interesting match up 20 year old Thai prospect Phongsaphon Panyakum will take on former world champion Kompayak Porpramook. Originally Phongsaphon was supposed to be facing Sarawut Thawornkham on this card, but the bout was changed in mid-November when Sarawut's health forced him into early retirement. As a result Kompayak has stepped in and should make for an interesting test for the youngster. On paper Phongsaphon should be favoured, but we expect he will be given a real acid test here in a very interesting match up.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
Mikito Nakano (4-0, 4) vs Ruito Saeki (7-3-1, 1)
Promising Japanese Featherweight Mikito Nakano returns to the ring in search of win #5 as he takes on Ruito Saeki. So far Nakano has looked like a star in the making, and it's a real shame his rise through the ranks has been slowed by 2020, or we'd likely be seeing him in title bouts in 2021. He's talented, quick, powerful and super sharp. In Ruito Saeki we have a capable domestic level fighter who came close to making the 2016 All Japan Rookie of the Year final, but has gone 0-2-1 in his last 3. Although struggling for form Saeki has shown that he's tough and is a clear step up for Nakano in a solid bit of match making.
RCC Boxing Academy, Ekaterinburg, Russia
Fazliddin Gaibnazarov (8-1, 5) vs Manuk Dilanyan (11-4-1, 4)
Rio Olympic gold medal winner Fazliddin Gaibnazarov will be look to continue rebuilding his career following a 2019 loss to Mykal Fox. The talented Uzbek is being matched relatively easily here against Manuk Dilanyan, who hasn't looked all that impressive during his career. Although, on paper, an easy fight for Gaibnazarov it is worth noting that the Uzbek will be giving away around 5" in height and could find Dilanyan to be a tricky customer here.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
Daishi Nagata (15-2-1, 6) vs Akihiro Kondo (32-9-1, 18)
Earlier this year this under-rated Daishi Nagata upset Koki Inoue to claim the JBC Light Welterweight title, which he'll defend for the first time on December 10th, when he takes on former world title contender Akihiro Kondo. On paper this looks like a really good first defense for Nagata, but digging a little deeper it's fair to say this is a calculated risk, with Kondo looking like a man who has seen better days. Given the styles of the two men this should be really fun, but the younger, fresher, champion should be strongly favoured against the tough veteran.
Rentaro Kimura (2-0, 2) Vs Thunder Teruya (7-7-1, 4)
Super prospect Rentaro Kimura has hardly put a foot wrong since turning professional earlier this year, and the man from Shizuoka will be looking to end the year 3-0 (3) as he takes on Thunder Teruya. This is expected to be a chance for Kimura to showcase his skills at Korakuen Hall in front of a paying audience, for the first time, and to get some more TV exposure, on Fuji TV, before bigger and tougher bouts in the new year. Teruya certainly shouldn't be a threat for Kimura but won't be there to roll over and Kimura will need to for his win.
Tsubasa Murachi (5-1, 3) Vs Isao Aoyama (12-7-1, 3)
Another prospect who'll have to work for a win will be Tsubasa Murachi, who looks to score his biggest win to date as he take on JBC ranked Super Flyweight Isao Aoyama from the Celes gym. Once touted as a future star Murachi bit off more than he could chew in 2019, when he was stopped by Froilan Saludar in a WBO Asia Pacific title fight, but is is looking to rebuild and looked solid last time out, against Ryotaro Kawabata. We expect another solid performance from him here. Aoyama is a veteran and a talented on, but has lost 4 of his last 4 and a win here would likely be his best to date.
EDION Arena, Osaka, Japan
Yumi Narita (4-4-3, 1) Vs Mont Blanc Miki (4-3-1, 1)
Japanese female Minimumweight champion Yumi Narita looks to make her first defense as she takes on Mont Blanc Miki in a bout that won't get much attention based on records though should be an appealing match up when the two women get in the ring. Neither of these are the most polished of fighters but as with many limited level fighters in Asia they both come to fight, and with the title on the line we expect both to dig in deep. The challenger will be the under-dog but is a very, very live challenger here.
EDION Arena, Osaka, Japan
Miyo Yoshida (14-1) v Tomoko Okuda (6-2-2, 1)
The once beaten Miyo Yoshida looks to record her second defense of the WBO female Super Flyweight title as she takes on gritty challenger Tomoko Okuda. Coming into this Yoshida will be strongly favoured, given she is riding a 10 fight unbeaten run, and has scored several very notable victories during that rung, including one against Tomomi Takano and another against Casey Morton, to win the title. Although the under-dog Okuda is now push over and she'll be hungry to make the most of her big opportunity, especially as she'll know there's a good chance she won't get a second shot at a world title, given she's 37.
It's Sunday, it's the end of the week, and we get the latest chance to recognise the fighters from the past week in our awards series. If we're being honest this is the first week, in a very long time, where we seemed to have a full week of action and a lot of fighters in the running for numerous awards, and it felt much more like the "pre-covid19" days, with world title fights, great action and some stellar performances. It may not have been the biggest week, but it was a very, very solid week of action.
With that in mind lets take a look at who deserves attention from this past 7 days.
Fighter of the Week
There was only going to be one winner for the Fighter of the Week award this week and that was the newly crownd WBC Minimumweight champion Panya Pradabsri. The once beaten Thai ended the 6 year reign of Wanheng Menayothin and became the 49th male world champion from Thailand. The unheralded Pradabsri, also known as Petchmanee CP Freshmart, was the big under-dog going up against the 54-0 Wanheng but put in a solid performance, landed some solid body shots, took the early lead and looked confident through out, even when he was under pressure. He had to dig deep at times, as Wanheng turned up the pressure, but he did enough in the eyes of the judges to score a career defining, generational changing win.
Whilst some may disagree with the result, we need to remember that the "Fighter of the Week" is typically the fighter who scored the biggest win, and there was no bigger win than Panya's this week!
Performance of the Week
We've often been critical of Kazakh hopeful Daniyar Yeleussinov, who looked like it took him a lot of time to adapt to the professional ranks, and he seemed to lack the 4th and 5th gears needed to be a star. It was clear he was always very talented talented, but was also very frustrating. This week however the penny seemed to drop and the talented Olympic gold medal winner put in a performance to remember. He dropped Julius Indongo in round 1, smelled blood and went for the finish. Credit to Indongo for surviving, but that survival mentality didn't last long and in round 2 he was down again, and then stopped. A fantastic performance worthy off the praise he's been getting. Finally it appears as if Yeleussinov is really showing what he can do, and it's really exciting.
Fight of the Week
Wanheng Menayothin Vs Panya Pradabsri
We're back to the WBC Minimumweight title bout between Wanheng Menayothin and Panya Pradabsri for our fight of the week, and what a fight it was! This was brilliant, truly brilliant. We had the younger, fresher champion taking the early initiative, and doing enough to get his nose in front, and then we have the experienced champion picking up the pace and coming on strong in the second half of the bout. As the pace picked up we got some thrilling exchanges, brilliant back and forth, and sensational 2-way action. We got high level pressure, fantastic counter punching and everything else we could hope for in a brilliant 12 round bout. This was close, competitive, compelling, and the perfect show case for the Minimumweight division, in a bout that had genuine international attention. Brilliant stuff!
Takahiro Hamazaki Vs Takuya Takahashi
Round of the Week
Wanheng Menayothin Vs Panya Pradabsri (Rd 6)
We had some amazing rounds this past week, and we could easily have selected from 3 or 4 rounds from the bout between Wanheng Menayothin and Panya Pradabsri. We've settled on round 6, which was probably the best round, but there was stiff competition through the bout. This came after a very good round for the challenger and saw Wanheng show that champions class as he put his foot to the peddle and tried to beat down the challenger, in an attempt to put him back in his place. This was absolute brilliant stuff but the entire fight was fantastic, and we really were very lucky this week in terms of quality action.
Takahiro Hamazaki Vs Takuya Takahashi (Rd 3)
Ken Koibuchi v Tetsuya Kondo (Rd 3)
KO of the Week
Jin Sasaki Vs Tatsuya Miyazaki
We don't recall seeing any clean knockouts in Asia this week, but the TKO scored by Jin Sasaki against Tatsuya Miyazaki is well worthy of a mention. This was brutal and Miyazaki was defensless, over the ropes when the final shots were landed. The killer instinct shown was fantastic and the awkward position of Miyazaki, trapped and in need of saving, made it look even more brutal.
Prospect of the Week
Aged just 16 we know that Phoobadin Yoohanngoh is a youngster, in a sport of youngsters, but boy, oh boy, is he a talent. He looked sensation on Saturday morning soaking up pressure from Atchariya Wirojanasunobol early on, landing counters and moving well against an aggressive and unbeaten foe. He then turned the bout on it's head late in round 5 before taking out Atchariya in round 6. This was a massive step up for Phoobadin but he shined in exceptional fashion. This young man is someone who can go a long, long way, and we suggest writing his name down as he really does look the goods. A genuine boxing prodigy and despite being just 16 he is already 10-0 (5). A sensational performance by a very special young fighter.
Back in July 2019 we featured a young Japanese Light Welterweight in our "Introducing" series. That was the then 13-0 (9) Andy Hiraoka, who has really impressed since then and now sits with a record of 16-0 (11), has a win over a former world title challenger and two wins on US soil. In fairness he is among the fighters who have done more than anyone else since we covered him in our "Introducing" series.
When we spoke about Hiraoka in 2019 he was preparing for a big step up in class against Akihiro Kondo. At that point in time the most notable win on Hiraoka's record with a 3rd TKO win over Ukyo Yoshigai, in what was his second bout against Yoshigai. That bout saw Hiraoka record his first, and only, defense of the Japanese Youth Light Welterweight title that he had won in November 2018 with a 5th round, come from behind, TKO win over Takahiko Kobayashi.
Despite stepping up massively to face Kondo we saw Hiraoka putting on an excellent performance to out speed, out box, and out think the veteran. Kondo's toughness was on show through out, but he was always a step or two behind Hiraoka who went 10 rounds for the first time and dominated the bout, taking a wide decision. The win really took Hiraoka from "Japanese youth Champion" to being in the conversation for a Japanese or regional title fight.
Despite the win over Kondo we didn't see Hiraoka race towards a title fight of any kind. Instead he signed with Top Rank promotions, who have promoted his last 2 fights along side Ohashi Gym.
In November 2019 Hiraoka made his Top Rank debut, doing so on US soil at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. The bout was a low key one, buried dee on an under-card of a show headlined by Patrick Teixeira Vs Carlos Adames. We suspect many watching that card won't even remember seeing Hiraoka on the show, but those who had signed him were watching carefully. And Hiraoka did exactly what he needed, in taking out the over-matched Rogelio Casarez in 2 rounds.
We all know Japanese fighters don't tend to travel well, and it had been quite some time since a Japanese fighter had scored a win in New York, but this was exactly what Hiraoka needed. A low profile, impressive win against an over-matched opponent to help him build his confidence and show Top Rank what they had signed. What they were working with, and how much of a work in progress Hiraoka was.
Although Hiraoka took the win over Casarez he proved to be very much a work in progress. He looked strong, powerful, athletic, but like a fighter lacking amateur experience. He looked like an athlete, turned boxer, fighting for the 15th time.
Sadly Hiraoka's return to the ring was slowed massively due to the on going global situation. Thankfully this past October he was back in the ring and was again in action in Las Vegas, where he stopped Rickey Edwards in 4 rounds, after dropping Edwards several times. On paper it didn't look the best win, and in reality Edwards looked like he offered nothing, but Edwards had taken unbeaten Americans Kent Cruz and Mykquan Williams the distance before Hiraoka battered him into submission.
Whilst Hiraoka's win over Edwards was an impressive one it was over-shadowed by fellow Top Rank-Ohashi co-promoted fighter Naoya Inoue, who retained his IBF, WBA "super" and Ring Magazine Bantamweight titles. Despite being over-shadowed Hiraoka did exactly what he needed to do, putting on a solid performance and moving his career forward with his second Las Vegas win.
At the moment it's unclear what's next for Hiraoka, though it would seem wise to get him in with a tough opponent in Japan, to get some rounds, before heading back off to the US for his next bout with Top Rank and then a potential title fight back in Japan. We would hope that Top Rank will continue to work with the youngster, and match him more competitively in the future, but for now he's still just a boxing baby. He needs rounds, and we hope Top Rank realise that. He also, still, needs polishing. He's a very strong, fit, fast and powerful youngster, but still a raw boxer who needs time, rounds, fights and tests.
Fingers crossed 2021 is a busy year for Hiraoka and that by the end of it he has fought for the Japanese, OPBF or WBO Asia Pacific title and taken the next big step forward with his career.
Talented Thai Chana Porpaoin (53-4-5, 19) is often over-looked when we talk about major players in the Minimumweight division. That's despite the fact he had a 62 fight career that spanned from 1988 to 2006 and saw him face a divisional who's who. Sure he had some mixed results but he really did face almost all the notable names in the division, other than Ricardo Lopez. He was a 2-time WBA Minimumweight champion and managed a host of notable wins.
Today we're going to look at the 5 most significant wins for... Chana Porpaoin, talking about why the 5 fights we select are the most significant and the results he had.
Before we talk about the specific fights this series is trying to shine a spotlight on wins of significance, not necessarily the best or biggest wins, but the ones of significance, so please join us as we all at the 5 most significance wins for Chana Porpaoin!
Manny Melchor (June 30th 1990)
By June 1990 Porpaoin was 15-0 (9) but hadn't scored a win over anyone of note. None of his previous opponents had done anything, and none of them would go on to do anything. That was until he met 21 year old Filipino Manny Melchor. Up to this point Melchor was 14-12-2 (4), a less than inspiring record, and when Porpaoin took a decision over him few would have expected the Filipino to do anything with his career. Surprisingly however Melchor managed to bounce back from this loss to defeat Eric Chavez, just 6 months later and take the IBF Minimumweight title in 1992. This was a win that didn't mean much when it happened, but grew in significance when Melchor claimed his own world title.
Surprisingly Melchor would actually beat Porpaoin to a world title, with the Thai not winning one until 1993...
Hideyuki Ohashi (February 10th 1993)
...that leads us perfectly on to this bout, Porpaoin's clash with Japanese fighter Hideyuki Ohashi. By this point The 26 year old Porpaoin was 26-0 (12) whilst Ohashi, the then WBA Minimumweight champion, was 19-4 (12) and was just 27 years old himself. Ohashi had claimed the title just 4 months earlier, when he defeated Hi Yong Choi to become a 2-time champion. The bout wasn't the most exciting, with the two men having styles that did more to neutralise the other man than to press the action. Despite not being exciting it was competitive and made for compelling viewing, with Porpaoin taking a close decision over Ohashi. With this win not only did Porpaoin become a world champion but he also sent Ohashi into retirement, with the Japanese fighter setting up the Ohashi Gym in his retirement.
Rather notably the win over Ohashi was also Porpaoin's international debut, with the bout being held in Japan.
Carlos Murillo I (May 9th 1993)
In his first defense Porpaoin took on the then unbeaten Carlos Murillo, who sported a 20-0 (17) record. Through 12 rounds Porpaoin did enough to take a clear win on the scorecards to retain his title and over-come the heavy handed man from Panama. Porpaoin did more than enough to win, but couldn't stop Murillo, who managed to get a rematch with the Thai just 10 months later. Like Porpaoin's win over Melchor this was another win that aged well, it was big at the time, given Murillo's record and reputation, but aged better when Murillo became the WBA Light Flyweight champion in 1996, when he beat Hi Yong Choi in Miami. There's an argument Murillo was pre-prime when Porpaoin beat him, but that shouldn't take away from the fact Porpaoin took his 0.
Rafael Torres (November 28th 1993)
Whilst both Melchor and Murillo would go on to have success after Porpaoin bet them Refael Torres was a little bit different. In 1989 he had won the WBO Minimumweight title, and had defended the belt once. His career then went off the track a bit but in 1993 he challenged Porpaoin, looking to become a 2-time world champion. The Thai was looking to record his 30th straight win and did just that, in stopping Torres in the 4th round. Torres never really looked like a major force after this bout but had done enough before hand to be regarded as a solid contender. Interestingly this was also the first defense that ended with Porpaoin scoring a stoppage, and was one of only 2 world title bouts he managed to win inside the distance.
Keitaro Hoshino (April 16th 2001)
After losing the WBA Minimumweight title in 1995, losing a split decision to Nicaraguan Rosendo Alvarez, who also went on to beat Chana's brother Songkram Porpaoin, we saw Porpaoin being frozen out of the title picture for over 5 years. In 2001 he finally got another shot at his old title, though had to return to Japan to get the shot as he took on Keitaro Hoshino. By now Porpaoin was 35 years old, ancient for a Minimumweight, and was 43-1-2 (17). Despite his age, and years of wear and tear in the ring the Thai would manage to upset the Japanese local and take a split decision of Hoshino to become a 2-time champion.
Sadly Porpaoin's second reign was a short one, losing the title 4 months later to Yutaka Niida. He would then remain a relevant figure in the division, having two super close nouts with Juan Jose Landatea, for the WBA interim title. He would retire following a draw with Katsuhito Iezumi in 2006, having failed to win any of his last 3 bouts, and going 2-2-3 in his final 7 bouts.
In recent months it feels like we've spent a lot of time getting to talk about Thai prospects and hopefuls, and it really does feel like boxing in Thailand has started to turn a corner. Out with the mismatches against Indonesian and Filipino fighters and in with the bouts between between local hopefuls and local veterans, and contenders. The change has made such a huge impact on how much we've enjoyed the Thai boxing scene this year, even with everything else going on in the world. We went from scarcely caring about a typical fight in Thailand to really enjoying almost every show.
For that we need to thank Nakorluang, TL Promotions and Tantelecom who have put together some really interesting match ups and cards, and have given their young prospects a chance to shine. We get another opportunity to see a youngster shine on December 5th, when Phongsaphon Panyakum (10-1, 5) takes on former world title challenger Sarawut Thawornkham, aka Dennapa Kiatniwat.
With that in mind we've decided to focus another "Introducing" on a Thai prospect, as we take a look at 20 year old prospect Phongsaphon Panyakum. He's probably not someone fans are too familiar with at the moment, even those that follow the Thai scene, but he's got a very bright future ahead of him, and he's someone we are really looking forward to seeing develop into a future contender, if not champion.
Interestingly it's hard to be sure when Phongsaphon actually made his debut. We suspect, and believe, it was when he was 17 and travelled over to Japan to face Kai Ishizawa, however it appears that he may have fought before than as on screen graphic listed him as being 7-2 (3). Of course that could be a mistake in it's self. Whatever his record going into that bout he didn't look against Ishizawa, and looked to be cowering after being caught in the opening seconds, after being caught by a solid right hand by the then debuting Ishizawa. He looked completely clueless at times, and Ishizawa didn't let him settle at all. This was an impressive beating by the destructive little Japanese fighter who stooped Phongsaphon in round 2.
For his performance in Japan Phongsaphon was put on the "invitation prohibited boxers list" due to "insufficient ability".
More than a year later Phongsaphon returned to the ring and picked up his first recorded win, taking a decision over domestic foe Phormsan Chanla in the opening round of a small tournament held by WP Boxing. Just 2 months after that win Phongsaphon took a genuinely notable win over the very talented Thananchai Charunphak, who we currently regard as one of the most promising prospects in Thailand, to progress to the tournament final. Against Thananchai we saw Phongsaphon pressure and press Thananchai, showing great energy, a real aggressive streak and narrowly defeat his fellow youngster in a genuinely fantastic 4 rounder.
Looking back over things this was really the win that made it clear that Phongsaphon was no longer the youngster who was caught in the headlights against Ishizawa. Instead he was a capable young fighter, and someone who was maturing and developing.
Following that win over Thananchai we saw Phongsaphon take on Thodsawat Srisawat in the tournament final in October 2018. This was where Phongsaphon scorred his first stoppage, taking out the aggressive Thodsawat in round 3 of a fun little shoot out.
Having won the WP Boxing tournament Phongsaphon then scored a low key win in March 2019, away from the Workpoint Studio, before returning to his boxing him in June 2019, picking up a 6 round decision over Frengky Rohi. That was then followed by a very notable decision win over former world title challenger Samartlek Kokietgym, in what was Phongsaphon's first genuinely notable win. Just 6 months later he added another noteworthy win as he beat Pigmy Kokietgym, also a former world title challenger.
Sadly Phongsaphon's momentum died at the start of 2020, and we don't think we need to explain why. As a result he didn't fight in 2020 until July, when he stopped Sophon Klachun in 4 rounds, then added a win over Arthit Kaewbantid in September, as he began to get the juices flowing again.
Phongsaphon's next bout, his final bout of 2020, will see him take on Sarawut Thawornkham, aka Dennapa Kiatniwat, and a win there would be his third over a former world title challenger in just 16 months.
In the ring Phongsaphon looks so much different to the guy who debuted in 2017. He no longer looks like a little, scrawny kid. He looks tough, he looks big, he looks strong and aggressive. He has taken that loss to heart and has developed his skills. He's still not the most polished fighter, but he knows how to protect himself, he's aggressive throws shots with bad intent, and comes forward. He makes for fun fights, and he looks like a genuinely strong and promising pressure fighter. Defensively he's still quite open, and easy to hit, but he takes a shot well, and makes fighters pay when they catch him.
He almost certainly isn't the next Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, but he has got the tools and desire to certainly be a contender. Also at just 20 years old he is nowhere near to the complete article, but someone who should be on your radar!
For those that haven't seen Phongsaphon Panyakum before we've included his most recent bout below.
We're on Monday again and once again we get our weekly look over the good, the bad and the ugly. This week has been mostly good, but it's not been perfect and we will have our typical whine about the sport. Thankfully it does feel like the sport is turning corner and heading in the right direction. At least in most places. It's just a shame that greed still exists in this sport, when really it needs to be curtailed during what is, very genuinely, a tough time for a lot of people.
1-Ring City USA leaves a good first impression
On Thursday night we got the first episode of Ring City USA, with the simple premise of making even bouts and putting them on TV with no promotional link to either promoter, a bit like some of the Dangan cards we get. Whilst the bouts on the show didn't really live up the idea of being even bouts they were all interesting contests, with a unique vibe and look and although there are changes that need making we really enjoyed the broadcast and hope it's a success. The idea of giving both fighters a chance to shine in a bout is great, and needs to be done more, the broadcast team were solid, and the venue, the parking lost outside the Wildcard Gym, was certainly an usual and unique one. Fingers crossed that this is a success!
TV Osaka and A-Sign both put on free shows earlier today and boy were they both great. The TV Osaka card, spread over two parts, gave us some thrilling action and well matched bouts with some very notable names. It wasn't an amazing show, by any stretch, but it was a really solid, well put together show that made sense, showcased some talent that rarely gets a chance to shine and was thoroughly engaging. The A-Sign card was less notable, but has a thrilling 6 round war, a show case for Jin Sasaki, and the announcement of Sasaki's next bout, a thriller with Aso Ishiwaki. For those who against PPV, or claim they want to support boxing, today was a great day and we got some real treats for free!
3-Conor Benn has really improved!
Over in the UK on Saturday we had the chance to see Conor Benn take on Sebastian Formella, in what was a legitimate step up for the second generation British fighter. This turned out to be a sensational performance by Benn, who looks a completely different fighter to the one who had struggled against Cedrick Peynaud back in 2017. Yes it's still very early in his career but this was a great performance by Benn who suddenly looks like he can go a long way in the sport. Fair enough he didn't look heavy handed and he did slow down, notably, by the later stages, but just 2 years ago we would never have assumed Benn would be anything like this. Well done to him, and fingers crossed these improvements continue!
4-Sanman Promotions "The Restart"
Althugh boxing has been back in Japan, Thailand, South Korea and China for months we've not really seen much boxing from the Philippines. Thankfully this weekend we got the second card from the Philippines since boxing returned to the country thanks to Sanman Promotions. The show, dubbed "The Restart", wasn't the best show we'll see this year but was a solid one with decent fighters, such as Joey Canoy, Aston Palicte, Marlon Tapales and Dave Apolinario. It's going to be exciting to see what happens with Filipino boxing when it gets back up to speed, but shows like this are a good start, and hopeful will continue to come through the coming weeks and months.
1-Fights falling through
At the moment we are seeing a lot of bouts fall through for one reason, or another, and sadly we had three very interesting bouts that were supposed to take place this week needing to be cancelled at short notice. One of those was the Japanese Youth Super Flyweight title bout, between Suzumi Takayama and Hiroto Yashiro, another was the step up for Ryosuke Nishida, against Shohei Omori and the third was the anticipated bout between Reiya Konishi and Katsunari Takayama. All 3 of of these bouts appears to be among the most interesting for the week and it really did suck that they were cancelled very late in the day.
2-Covid19 continues to be a stumbling block
We mentioned that Reiya Konishi and Katsunari Takayama had their bout cancelled, and that was due to Konishi testing positive for Covid19. Prior to that cases had been picking up, and a gym in Hyogo has been pretty much closed, whilst there's also been a case in Kanagawa recently. It's clear that cases around the globe are picking up, and we suspect more bouts will be cancelled in the near future as boxing is seemingly heading back to the ropes once again.
1-PPV bollocks from Hearn
We have, very openly, been anti-PPV and we will continue to be so, especially during a pandemic. So with that in mind we really need to call Eddie Hearn out on not only having a PPV less than 2 weeks before Christmas but just 10 days after England comes out of a 4 week lock down, during a recession. And at a higher price than usual. We can hear all the crap about this is the only way to make big fights, but the reality is that this was a mandatory, not some huge money mega fight. It could have gone to purse bids and he could have bid what he felt the fight was worth if he felt the fight was something so special, and we could have seen Pulev's team pony up the cash that they felt the bout was worth. The reality is that once again fans are being taken for a joyride in the UK. Not only is the bout PPV in the UK, at close to £25, but it's being shown worldwide on DAZN, for less than it's being shown to audience in the UK. As Hearn and co. know there will thousands of people illegally streaming it, but what else do they expect? Really.
2-More PPV bollocks
Mike Tyson Vs Roy Jones Jr is an exhibition, yet that is also covered by PPV bollocks in the UK, with a £20 price tag. This is just greed by two shadows of former greats. Yes Tyson and Jones are both legends, genuine legends. But that doesn't change the fact that both men are essentially retired, fighting in an exhibition and charging a premium during a pandemic. The under-card, although interesting, is certainly not worth subsidising an exhibition for and it's one we really can't get behind as a fight. Exhibitions can be great to watch, don't let anyone try to convince you otherwise. Julio Cesar Chavez and Jorge Arce put on some really fun exhibitions, and in the 1990's we had Khaosai Galaxy Vs Jiro Watanabe, and Jiro Watanabe Vs Katsuo Tokashiki, and they were entertaining, fun and unique. This feels more like a cash grab. Thankfully for those interested the bout will be on WOWOW, which is available on isakura, at a singificantly lower price than the PPV in the UK.
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