This past week has been a really odd one for Asian boxing, with the biggest take away being the announcement that we wouldn't be getting any boxing in Japan during the month of March. Thankfully Japan isn't the only country in Asia, and we have had other Asian fighters in action from through the continent.
1-Roman Gonzalez is back!
The reports of Roman Gonzalez's demise have been well and truly over-stated! We wouldn't suggest that Roman is near his prime, but this past weekend he rolled back the clock and broke down the previously unbeaten Kal Yafai in very, very impressive fashion. The Nicaraguan magician may not be a natural Super Flyweight but he is a natural wrecking ball and the way he broke down Yafai was a delight to watch! Even more impressively this was his second fight in just over 2 months, and hopefully the long break he had before resurfacing in Japan in December will do him the world of good.
2-Madrimov takes strides
We know Israil Madrimov should have been on everyone's radar after his impressive debut, but now it's impossible to ignore the exciting, charismatic and incredibly gifted Uzbek Light Middleweight. This weekend he scored his biggest win to date and moved to within touching distance of a WBA world title fight. Whilst Charlie Navarro offered little in terms of being a test, it was still marvellous to see Madrimov pick him apart, beat him up and force the stoppage. Madrimov might be "The Dream" but for the rest of the division he is a rising Uzbek monster.
3-Yunlong Shi impresses
In recent years Chinese Heavyweight debuts have been farces. Taishan Dong looked completely clueless in his 2014 debut whilst Zhang Zhilei saw his opponent happy to get out of there as soon as possible. Thankfully Yunlong Shi's debut this past Saturday was genuinely impressive. The talented professional novice, who made his debut in Poland, looked sharp, powerful and highly skilled, and maybe end up developing into a very serious contender. Certainly one to keep an eye on.
1-Coronavirus sees Japanese boxing put on hold
A pretty clear Bad one, but one that's completely understandable, is the JBC suspending boxing through out the country as a response to Coronavirus. The Japanese were slow to react in some ways but they have taken wise steps here in stopping boxing, and other sport. We suspect other countries will follow suit in the coming days, and we're genuinely shocked other countries haven't began taking steps to stop events where there will be large gatherings of people.
1-Deontay Wilder's excuses
Dude, you got beat, stopping looking for excuses, stopping looking for answers in the wrong place, and take a look inside. You've got the power, the charisma and the athletic ability to recapture a portion of the world title, but need to stop the excuses. The blaming of Mark Breland, the gloves, the ring walk outfit. ZZZZ Take the loss and learn. Don't try to cover over and make excuses, or the same will happen next time as well.
One again we've have a relatively quiet week for Asian fighters, despite some pretty notable fighters in action. It wasn't a week that will stand out as something special at the end of the year, or a highlight, but we certainly shouldn't write the week off as a fail, because it really wasn't. In fact it was a week of showcases for unbeaten prospects and rising hopefuls.
Fighter of the Week
Israil Madrimov (3-0, 3)
The Uzbek has done it again and stolen the week with another fantastic performance, as he became only the third man to stop Mexican veteran Norberto Gonzalez. And he did so in just his third bout. We tend to have a general rule that we don't regard world ranked fighters as prospects, and we do, admittedly, hold a fighter like Madrimov to a high level than we do with many others, but even at an elevated standard he is something special and deserves not only the plaudits he's getting, but a legitimately big fight next time out. He's something special and it's going to become a waste of time to have him face any more gatekeepers like Gonzalez.
Performance of the Week
Carl Jammes Martin (13-0, 12)
When we have a TV friendly fighter like Carl Jammes Martin we always want to watch more of him, and that was certainly the case this week when he put on a showcase to stop Yutthichai Wannawong inside a round. Whether Martin had scored an opening round stoppage or a UD we'd always want to see more of him, and for the 20 year old that's exactly what we need from him. If he keeps putting on performances like this he will remain a must watch fighter, though hopefully his competition will step up shortly.
Bakhtiyar Eyubov vs Brian Ceballo
Kezakh fighter Bakhtiyar Eyubov may not have been able to take the upset win over Brian Ceballo but the bout was a fun one, with a number of really good rounds early in the bout, as Ceballo seemed to look fight fire with fire. In fairness Ceballo realised he had the skills to take an easy win of the previously unbeaten Kazakh, but he did pick moments to stand and fight in what was really fun as a bout. A nice combination of power punching, fighting and skills. And Ceballo ended the bout looking like a surefire star of the future, he is well worth following.
Gennady Golovkin Vs Steve Rolls (round 3)
Former Middleweight king Gennady Golovkin was supposed to steam roll Steve Roll, and whilst he did stop him in round 4 that wasn't until we saw Rolls attempt to take the fight to Golovkin. The first round was quiet but Rolls grew into the fight and rounds 2 and 3 were both very fan friendly with the under-dog trying to shock the world. They weren't round of the year contenders or anything but was exciting and it was great to see Rolls standing up to the champion for the round, and having success of his own.
In Duck Seo KO1 Tysinn Best
Korean fighter In Duck Seo travelled over to Australia and was expected to be the man to move unbeaten Australian Tysin Best to 11-0. Instead Seo ripped up the script and sent Best crashing to the canvas, with one of the most brutal KO's of 2019. The Australian was dropped hard before being knocked out in spectacular fashion by the Korean who really announced himself as the type of fighter who cannot be over-looked at this level. Unfortunately for Best he looked the better boxer, but that was that a moot point given Seo's toughness and power, which decided the bout.
Dave Apolinario (11-0, 6)
It's beecoming harder and harder to ignore just how good Dave Apolinario is, and this week we saw him having his stiffest test so far. The unbeaten "Dobermann" was up against fellow Filipino southpaw Adrian Lerasan, and was genuinely tested, but came out on top and answered a lot of questions. Apolinario showed he could fight for 10 rounds, at a good pace, and against a southpaw. He also showed that even when he can't hurt his opponent he can easily out box them, has solid concentration for 10 rounds and very good stamina. Lerasan hadn't got in to the ring to lose, and as a result Apolinario was forced to work for his win, and he showed so much against a fighter trying to beat him. A fantastic step forward for the unbeaten youngster.
Artem Dalakian (18-0, 13) vs Dennapa Kiatniwat (20-1, 15)
This next week is another quiet looking one, but there is a world title fight, as unbeaten WBA Flyweight champion Artem Dalakian defends his belt against mandatory challenger Dennapa Kiatniwat, aka Sarawut Thawornkham. On paper this looks great and whilst the Ukrainian champion will be strongly favoured he could be surprised by the Thai, who has travelled over with a lot of confidence.
After a truly hectic May, which has had big fights littered through the month, we drop back to reality in June as the schedule almost tails off completely and we sort of struggle to get too excited about too much taking place over the coming weeks. Thankfully here there is still enough to talk about without feeling the month is threadbare, but it's less about big fights, and more about emerging fighters.
The month of March is over and whilst it hasn't been an amazing month it has had it's moments, and has had a very clear Fighter of the Month, Fight of the Month and Upset of the Month. It's a month that had some down time, and didn't seem to be as memorable as either January or February, but was still a pretty good month in terms of highlights.
Fighter of the Month
The "KO Dream Boy" managed to really shine in the middle of the month, retaining his WBO Flyweight title in style as he clearly out pointed former unified Light Flyweight champion Ryoichi Taguchi. The bout, like most Tanaka fights, was high tempo, exciting and saw the talented Hatanaka promoted fighter trying to put on a show. Tanaka, who at 13-0 is already a 3 weight world champion, is one of the real young stars of world boxing and his performance this month was sensational. He is clearly going looking to create history and it's now assumed that he only has a fight or two left at Flyweight before seeking a 4th divisional world title.
Fight of the Month
Kosei Tanaka Vs Ryoichi Taguchi
Whilst we could wax lyrical about Tanaka it does take two to tango and his bout with Ryoichi Taguchi was clearly the best bout of the month. It was relatively one sided, but was highly skilled, hugely entertaining and pitted the desire and hunger of Tanaka against the guts and heart of Taguchi. To his credit Taguchi refused to lie down and quit, and despite being clearly beaten his will to win cannot be questioned. A fantastic bout, and as good a 1-sided bout as we'll see this year.
KO of the Month
Israil Madrimov vs Frank Rojas
Uzbek fighter Israil Madrimov is no normal prospect. His first 2 professional bouts have both been title bouts, over 10 rounds, with fighters holding records with more wins than losses. He isn't just a fighter with ambitious match making but also real skill, confident, and as seen this month, dynamite punching. The way he took out Venezuelan Frank Rojas on March 9th was clinical and brutal with the final left hook being as brutal a shot as they come.
Canadian based Kazakh Sadriddin Akhmedov has long been a bit of a hidden secret with fight fans who don't follow the Asian scene or the Canadian scene in a hardcore fashion. This month Akhmedov fought in Kazakhstan for the first time and whilst it wasn't his best performance to date he did clearly beat Indonesian tough guy John Ruba over 10 rounds, and prove he had the stamina to go 10 rounds, with out any problem. It's just a shame he was later diagnosed as having suffered an injury in his bout.
Lito Dante TKO12 Tsubasa Koura
The biggest upset of the month, and in fact one of the biggest upsets of the year so far, saw unheralded Filipino tough guy Lito Dante break down the previously unbeaten Tsubasa Koura. Koura, who was ranked #3 by the WBC, seemed set to make one final defense of the OPBF title before moving on to a world title fight, but those planned have been destroyed by Dante. The Filipino had given Koura fits through out the bout before finally forcing the referee to save the Japanese fighter in the final round. A huge upset!
Kosei Tanaka Vs Ryoichi Taguchi - Round 2
We go back to the Kosei Tanaka Vs Ryoichi Taguchi for our round of the month, which gave us an amazing second round. The round was high skilled back and forth, and despite being one of the only really competitive rounds from the fight was a round that gave us everything. Skills, action, intensity, back and forth, guts and desire. This is what boxing is about and this is why we all love this sport.
For a second week running we didn't really see a lot happening, with a very rare week of no action in Japan and limited action from the rest of Asia. As a result this week's awards are very limited, with one man clearly being the talking point of the week thanks to a very impressive display and excellent KO. Thankfully we should be set for an increase in action in the very near future!
Fighter of the Week
Dmitry Bivol (16-0, 11)
Whilst Kyrgyzstan born Bivol failed to set the world alive he was clearly the Asian fighter of the Week, winning the most notable bout of the week, in regards to Asian boxing. His win over Joe Smith Jr was certainly not exciting, and will be quickly forgotten, but it was another successful defense for Bivol who continues his reign as the WBA Light Heavyweight champion, and continues to develop a reputation as a talented fighter. It's obvious he's not going to be an exciting fighter to watch at world level but there is no doubting his skills and ability.
Performance of the Week
Israil Madrimov (2-0, 2)
Uzbek fighter Israil Madrimov left us with more to talk about than the rest of the Asian fighters in action combined and his win over Venezuelan foe Frank Rojas was memorable, scary, exciting and impressive. We knew the Uzbek was special, given how he beat Vladimir Hernandez in November, but the way he knocked out Frank Rojas here was sensational and was the type of thing that will live long in the memory.
Israil Madrimov KO2 Frank Rojas
It's not likely we'll see many better combination's than the one Israil Madrimov threw to knockout Frank Rojas, who needed stretchering from the ring following the knockout. He was out cold from a combination of clean headshots, punctuated by a brutal left hook, and then went on to bang his head against the ring in what will go down as one of the most sensation KO's of 2019. Whilst some didn't know of Madrimov before this, the KO will have helped him increase his profile and will likely be rewatched over and over. A thing of beauty from one of the best prospects in world boxing.
Israil Madrimov (2-0, 2)
Needless to say it's that man again, Israil Madrimov blew us away and whilst some will argue with him being dubbed a "prospect" still, given he's already won and defended a WBA minor trinket, he will be regarded as one here. A very, very advanced prospect. Whilst it was clear Rojas wasn't fit to be in the ring with Madrimov, it's going to be very, very hard to get him a suitable opponent and we'd not be surprised to see him fighting in a world title eliminator next time out. He is a sensational talent.
Kosei Tanaka (12-0, 7) vs Ryoichi Taguchi (27-3-2, 12)
Whilst this past week was limited in terms of action things do pick up this coming week, and on March 16th we get the chance to see one of the best match ups of 2019, as Kosei Tanaka defends the WBO Flyweight title against former unified Light Flyweight champion Ryoichi Taguchi. This is an exceptional match up, and better yet we will feaure the live feed of the bout on our home page. Maybe we're biased but it's clear that this is going to be a very, very special bout.
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