The Filipino boxing scene is a rather perplexing one at times. It's big names are huge, and every fight fan has heard of the Manny Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire, Jerwin Ancajas and Johnriel Casimero. Sadly outside of the top, top Filipino fighters however there isn't too much fanfare or attention, and even top Filipino world title contenders don't get much attention, never mind the prospects.
One of the many prospects making their mark on the Filipino and looking to advance his career, later this year, is the talented and unbeaten Jayson Mama (15-0, 8). He's a 23 year old Flyweight who is dubbed the "Smasher" and is marching through the ranks, heading towards a regional title. His name might not be well known in the West, but he's one to keep an eye on going forward.
Mama was making a name for himself way back in 2014 when he was still an amateur, alongside twin brother Jerven Mama. Both of the brothers began training at the Sanman Gym and just a year later Jayson impressed at the 2015 Palarong Pambansa, winning a gold medal. He would impress at Mindanao qualifying leg of the Philippines National Games, but decided to turn professional instead of continuing on with his amateur career.
In early 2016 Mama made his professional debut and stopped fellow debutant Romel Padayhag in 2 rounds on a card that also featured Romero Duno, Reymart Gaballo and Robert Paradero. Just weeks later Mama beat Roland Jay Biendima, who recently gave Kento Hatanaka a good fight, by decision over 4 rounds. Mama would continue with a busy schedule through 2016 and by the end of the year he had gone 5-0 (2), with a good 6 round decision win over Joash Jordan in June.
Despite the busy first year to his professional career Mama was a lot less active in 2017, though he did tick off some other firsts. His first bout of the year saw him going 8 rounds for the first time, beating Jeffrey Alejandre over the distance. He also notched wins over some experienced opponents, in the form of Bimbo Nacionales and Rodel Tejares. Neither of those fighters are big names, or even good fighters, but they are experienced foes.
In 2018 we saw Mama continue taking strides in his career. He began the year stopping Michael Camelion in 9 rounds, the longest bout of his career up to this point, and claimed the WBO Oriental Youth title, the first title of his career. A rather low key in the middle of the year was then followed by Mama's international debut, as he went to Macau and beat Yinhuan Su with a 10 round decision, ticking off another achievement that a prospect should always look to do before a major fight.
The win over Su served another purpose, as well as being a 10 rounder. The bout was also a qualifying bout for one of the IBF Silk Road tournament finals, and lead to Mama booking a place on a 2019 show in China. On that 2019 Chinese show he took on former world title challenger Fahlan Sakkreerin, and Mama easily out outboxed Fahlan, taking a wide and clear decision, whilst boosting himself towards a world title fight.
A win over Fahlan, in Mama's 12th professional bout, was a reason to sit up and take note. That was then followed by another notable win just a few weeks later when he stopped former world champion Kwanthai Sithmorseng, in what looked like a bit of a quit job from the 36 year old Thai. Thankfully the win over Kwanthai was easily forgotten and Mama's next win came against decent domestic foe Dexter Alimento.
Aged just 21 as we entered 2020 Mama was starting to get some buzz among the hardcore fans, and momentum was building behind him. Sadly that momentum has been slowed, understandably, by the on going global situation in the world right now. It was also slowed before boxing was put on hold, due to a rather meaningless stay busy fight against Reymark Taday in February. A bout that served no purpose for Mama.
In the ring Mama is a fighter who looks natural as a fighter. He looks calm, composed, relaxed and despite having areas to work on he does have a lot to like. He has nice hand speed, a very solid boxing brain and looks like one of those fighters who picks shots well. There are areas to improve on, but with Sanman behind him he has a very good team, who will work on his flaws and and help prepare him for some big fights in the coming years.
Mama might not be a big name yet, but he is a fighter with the potential to be a big star in the future. Expect to see his developing well over the next few years and eventually working his way to a world title fight in a few years time. He has the potential to go a long way, and now just needs experience and the time to mature.
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.
After a few relatively disappointing weeks we've managed to have a really amazing 7 days of Asian boxing, where every category of our weekly awards could, very easily, have multiple contenders. This wasn't a typical week, of course it wasn't, we had a host of cards across the continent, but we didn't just have quantity but also real quality with proof, again, that 50-50 match making provides the best from boxing!
Fighter of the Week
Hironori Mishiro (7-0-1, 2)
OPBF Super Featherweight champion Hironori Mishiro may not have got a huge amount of attention this week but his win over Takuya Watanabe, to make his second defense of the Oriental title. The bout was competitive, at times, but Mishiro always seemed to be a step ahead and was well deserving of his win, arguably the best of his career so far. He showed how good he was as a boxer, as a brawler and as a general fighter that he it. This was the sort of win that proved what Mishiro has to offer, and that he is edging towards a world title fight, even at this very early stage in his career.
Performance of the Week
Lito Dante (16-10-4, 8)
In one of the final Asian bouts of the week Filipino Lito Dante proved that records are for DJ's as he travelled to Japan and ripped the OPBF Minimumweight title from the previously unbeaten Tsubasa Koura. Koura, who had been ranked #3 by the WBC, had looked the clear favourite against a man who was known as a tough but limited fighter. Dante however broke down the previously unbeaten Japanese fighter, scoring a shock 12th round TKO in what is, by far, the best win of his career and one of the biggest upsets of 2019 so far.
Wulan Tuolehazi vs Ryota Yamauchi
One of the best things this week has been the sheer number of amazing fights we've had, across all levels of the sport. For us the one that had everything was the WBA International Flyweight bout between Wulan Tuolehazi and Ryota Yamauchi from Shanghai. The bout saw both men going down, both men digging in deep, both landing hurtful shots and both adapting. The only real issue was two score-cards of 117-109, which didn't reflect the action in the ring, and again leaves question marks over judging. Rather than dwell on the negatives we'll just state that this is a must watch bout.
Juan Miguel Elorde vs Shohei Kawashima
Hironori Mishiro vs Takuya Watanabe
Fangyong Zhang vs Ryuto Maekawa
Fuga Komatsu vs Yota Sato
Fuga Komatsu vs Yota Sato (Round 1)
Given how many great fights we had, we also, obviously, had a lot of great rounds. For us the one that perhaps stood out the most was the opening round of the all-debutant bout between Fuga Komatsu and Yota Sato. The bout was a 4 round contest on a small card in Yokohama, but was fought at a frantic, exciting and exhilarating pace. Komatsu would drop his man in the opening seconds, with Sato managing to see out the storm. It wasn't the most evenly contested round of the week, but in terms of sheer excitement and heart it was amazing.
No fit contender - Despite all the great action, there wasn't any great KO's this week, that we deem worthy of attention, however if you feel there was please drop it in the comments!
Jayson Mama (12-0, 6)
Filipino youngster Jayson Mama may not be a big name, yet, but the 21 year old "Smasher" sure did impress this past week when he travelled to China and clearly out boxed Thai Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr. The Filipino, who had never really beaten anyone of note prior to this week, took a huge step up and totally dominated the Thai former world title challenger. This was the sort of win that will help put anyone on the map and should well help Mama move into the world rankings. For those unaware of Mama it's now time to make a mental note of the youngster.
Valentine Hosokawa (24-6-3, 11) vs Koki Inoue (12-0, 10)
We don't have any world level bouts coming up this week, be we do have a potentially amazing Japanese Light Welterweight title bout set for Saturday as veteran champion Valentine Hosokawa takes on mandatory challenger Koki Inoue. Given the styles of the two men, and what's on the line this has the potential to be something very, very special. One to be really excited about.
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