Recently we reported that a WBA Light Flyweight world title bout, set to take place in May had been cancelled. That bout was supposed to see "Super" champion Hiroto Kyoguchi defending his title against Indonesian challenger Andika "D'Golden Boy" Sabu (17-0, 8), a little known challenger who is regarded as one of the biggest hopes for Indonesian boxing.
Despite that bout being cancelled, at leats for now, it's worth talking about the unbeaten Indonesian, who was ranked #2 by the WBA when that bout had been put together. Despite having done very, very little to deserve his ranking.
"D'Golden Boy" was born Andika Fredikson Ha'e in October 1995. He was the 5th of 7 children and came from a modest family. He left he family home looking for work and followed his brother, going from Sabu to Waingapu for jobs. He did pretty much anything, from being a labourer to a bus conductor in the pursuit of the money needed to live.
Like many fighters from poor background Sabu found boxing and began his affair with the sport when attending the night market in Sumba. He had took part in the event, boxing for the first time, and saw the sport as a chance to change his life. He would catch the eye of a trainer who offered him the chance to practice the sport, something he accepted.
Despite having no reported amateur fights Sabu turned professional, joining up with the Mirah BC Bali, where he was trained by Yance Mandagie and Ahmad Mandar.
Sabu would make his professional debut in November 2014, and defeat the brilliantly named Don King Fortune in 2 rounds, himself a debutant. From there he was kept busy, with another fight in December and then 6 more in 2015 as he raced his record to 8-0 (3). Whilst some of his competition during this early stretch were fellow novices, others were more well known Indonesian domestic fighters, like Heri Amol, and guys like Ardi Tefa and Silem Serang, who had some international experience.
Given the lack of depth on the Indonesian scene Sabu would manage to continue climbing through the ranks with no issues, and continuing stringing together wins through 2016 and 2017. Sadly he was lacking a real test. It was hoped he'd step up but the wait was taking a while. Despite things being rather slow for Sabut he did manage to claim silverware in 2018, when he beat Faisol Akbar Jr for the KTPI Light Flyweight. That was his 15th straight win and saw him moving his record to 15-0 (8).
With a title around his waist Sabu, obviously, wanted more. He would get his second tittle fight just 7 months after claiming the KTPI title, beating Romshane Sarguilla for the WBA Asia Light Flyweight title, a title that lead to his WBA ranking. Sadly for Sabu the bout seemed to show up his flaws, with Sarguilla losing a razor thin technical decision, in Indonesian, to Sabu. Although not a big name Sarguilla is a really good test for prospects, and made the likes of Dave Apolinario and Pongsaklek Sithdabnij work hard to beat him.
The win over Sarguilla may have had some controversy, but it was a step in the right direction. Sabu would make another step when he returned to the ring, after an intensive training camp, and took on Richard Rosales. Rosales, a Filipino journeyman, had been in with a who's who and despite piling up losses was a solid test for fighters looking to move through the sport. Fighters like Jayr Raquinel and Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr had both been given good tests by Rosales.
Sadly the bout between Sabu and Rosales wasn't without incidents. In just the first round Rosales was cut from a headclash. The Filipino seemed in pain from it, but then seemed spurred on, trying to take Sabu out. Despite the aggression from the Filipino Sabu boxed smartly, looking like a genuine talent when he came forward with nice crisp punching and good speed. Sadly his defensive work seemed lacking and he was fortunate that Rosales was a wide puncher as several times Sabu seemed to be in trouble.
After 10 rounds Sabu would get the win, albeit a razor thin one, with scores of 96-95 and 97-96, twice, with all 3 judges being Indonesian judges. The step up seemed too much for Sabu, who showed nice touches, but seemingly had a lot of work still do, especially defensively.
The win over Rosales saw Sabu defending his WBA Asia title, but it showed he wasn't ready for a top opponent. It showed he needed time to develop. He was world ranked, but looked more like an emerging prospect than a fringe contender. His ranking opened up the opportunity to fight for a world title, which he would have done against Kyoguchi, but sadly for Sabu that would have looked like him being cashed our by promoter Daniel Martin.
We hope that Sabu does get a world title fight, but he needs more seasoning first. He struggled with Rosales and Sarguilla. Whilst there may have been issues in camp it's clear that he's still a work in progress and a world title bout needs too wait if he's to stand a chance of winning.
It's fair to say that March was a spotty month, with some real ups and downs, and little in terms on consistency. April however looks to be a month packed with great fights through the month, particularly in Japan where things really are a bit crazy!
April 6th-Naoya and Takuma. The champion is a true veteran, who won the Rookie of the Year more than a decade ago, and has battled through the Japanese scene the hard way. Inoue on the other hand was a touted amateur who has been avoided at times on the domestic stage, but will see this as a great chance to announce himself as a rising star. The styles of the men should make for a very special fight.
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