Earlier this month we brought back our weekly awards, but in the weeks that followed there simply wasn't enough action to talk about, with only a handful of bouts a week. Thankfully this past week we saw a pick tick up in action taking place around the world, and there was, thankfully, more than enough notable action to talk excitedly about. With that in mind we bring you the latest in our weekly awards series.
Fighter of the Week
John Riel Casimero
It's fair to say that we have all been affected in some way by the nightmare that has been 2020. For John Riel Casimero the year has been massively frustrating. He had been scheduled to face Naoya Inoue in April before that bout was cancelled due to the on going global situation. As a result he had to look elsewhere for a bout and ended up fighting this past weekend, defending his WBO Bantamweight title against Duke Micah. With a lot of built up frustration we saw Casimero do everything he could to shine, and shine he did. His win was easily the biggest of any Asian fighter this week, and boy did he ever make a statement.
Performance of the Week
John Riel Casimero
It's a double for Casimero! After years of being over-looked by the wider boxing public Casimero knew he had a chance to show the world what he was capable of, and he took that opportunity. From the opening bell he tried to destroy and dismantle the rugged Duke Micah. Micah, who had entered the bout 24-0, tried to fight fire with fire but there was no stopping Casimero here, as the Filipino battered, beat up and broke down the Ghanaian fighter in sensational fashion. Sadly few in America had ever seen Casimero before, but after this it's fair to say he has made some sit up and take note.
Also his post fight antics, calling out Inoue and doing one armed press ups, will also have endeared him to the American fight fans.
Casimero knew he had a chance to capture the attention of the boxing world, and oh boy did he take it here!
Fight of the Week
Tsubasa Narai Vs Tomohiro Igarashi
We're off to the land of the obscure here, but the East Japan Rookie of the Year bout between Tsubasa Narai and Tomohiro Igarashi, shown on Boxing Raise, needs to be seen! This was an amazing 4 round shoot out that saw both men hitting the canvas before Narai finished off Igarashi in round 4. If you're a Boxing Raise subscriber and you missed this you seriously need to make time to watch it. The action wasn't as high level as the Caismero Vs Micah bout, but the drama was more interesting, and seeing both men hit the canvas sees this one coming out on top for us.
Round of the Week
Ryo Yoshida Vs Ricky Hasegawa (Rd 1)
We're staying with the world of the obscure, and within the realm of Rookie of the Year, for the best round of the week. That was the opening round of Ryo Yoshida's win over Ricky Hasegawa. This was just a breathless round. From the opening bell Hasegawa tried to bulldozer Yoshida, setting a breath taking pace. Yoshida was downed during the round, and had to gut out a torrid 3 minutes, trying to fight back. Again this was low level stuff but it was so incredibly fun to watch. It was brilliant from start to end and is again available to watch on Boxing Raise.
Prospect of the Week
Rentaro Kimura (2-0, 2)
There really wasn't any competition here. The performance put on by Rentaro Kimura was really something else and saw the youngster show some breath taking offense, some sensational defense, and use movement in a similar fashion to Vasyl Lomachenko. We won't go as far as to suggest Kimura is the Japanese Lomachenko, but his performance here was one where he certainly showed touches of the Ukrainian sensation. This young man is one of the best prospects in world boxing, and on this performance he has the tools to be one of the next major stars of Japanese boxing.
In recent years the Flyweight division has been a weird division, with no one really making it their division. We've have fighters like Juan Francisco Estrada, Brian Viloria and Roman Gonzalez all fighting some top names there, but in reality we've not seen someone look to make the division their home since Pongsaklek Wonjongkam. Many of the top fighters in the division have merely passed through the division, with the likes of Kazuto Ioka, Donnie Neites and Kosei Tanaka all making relatively short stays there. As a result we've missed out on a lot of bout that could have taken place there. Today we look at one such missed opportunity for the division.
Johnriel Casimero Vs Zou Shiming
The bout we want to talk about today is a show down between Johnriel Casimero, another man whose stop in the division was a short one, and Chinese star Zou Shiming, who had the potential to face pretty much anyone he wanted. Not only was this a potential all-Asian match up but it was also one that would have pitted two very different styles against each other, could have acted as a unification bout and would almost certainly have helped bring one fighter to the public attention years before he really broke through to a wider audience.
In reality the window for this one is quite a short one. We would have pencilled in an early to mid 2017 date for it, though in reality there is a bit more flexibility to it than that. Casimero won the IBF Flyweight title in May 2016, doing so in China, and Shiming won the WBO Flyweight title 6 months later in the US. Sadly neither man managed a lengthy reign, with Casimero defending the title once before moving up in weight in 2017 whilst Shiming lost in his first defense, to Sho Kimura. Despite that there was a window for the bout and, had Casimero been offered a Shiming Showdown, we suspect he would have remained at the weight for longer than he did.
Filipino slugger Johnriel Casimero is one of the sports true road warriors and a multi-weight world champion. He won his first world title at Light Flyweight, surviving a post fight riot following a bout with Luis Alberto Lazarte, and would later go on to stop Amnat Ruenroeng and Zolani Tete to claim world titles at Flyweight and Bantamweight respectively. At his best he's a speedy, hard hitting, awkward and unorthodox puncher with true bang in his shots. At other times however he's a disinterested fighter who's very frustrating to watch and seems to be stuck in first gear.
Zou Shiming on the other hand is China's most accomplished amateur boxer who turned professional with Top Rank to much fanfare, though the good will of this Chinese hopeful didn't last long. Sadly for Shiming his amateur style was engrained and he turned professional far to late, and with too many nagging injuries, to ever become the star Top Rank had wanted. He was a quick, skilled fighter, but one who had little power, lacked the physicality and potentially even fought at the wrong weight, as he would likely have looked a lot better had he been able to move down to Light Flyweight.
Going back to when, and even explaining the where. With Casimero winning his IBF Flyweight title in China, and being a well known road warrior, and with Shiming being a Chinese fighter this bout would have made for a great event in late January 2017 as part of the Chinese new Year celebrations.
How would we see it playing out?
This is a bout where I we saw the best of both men we could be in for a very, very interesting match up between two talented fighters with very different styles. Shiming's speed and movement could be a problem for pretty much anyone, and his brain is a valuable asset at this level. Sadly though his lack of power will be a problem and he always struggled to keep fighters honest. Against a fighter like Casimero, who often lunges and throws unpredictable shots we see Shiming's boxing brain being neutralised quickly and Shiming needing to rely on his amateur fencing style.
If Casimero is not at his best we could be in for a bit of a stinker. He could sleep walk through much of the fight, letting Shiming run up an early lead and then we'd see Shiming in sruvival mode late on, cruising to a decision. It's a result we don't imagine would do the sport any good, but it's a very real real possibility with Casimero's inconsistencies.
On the other hand if Casimero was in the right mood he would stalk, cut the ring off, and press Shiming. We suspect an aggressive Casimero would take out Shiming in the middle to late rounds, with his power, speed and aggression being too much for the Chinese fighter.
One thing to note, is that for a bout like this, we would expect to see Casimero well and truly on form.
Would history of been changed?
Yes! History would look a lot different today had we got this bout. If Shiming won, and it's not the result we would expect, we would likely have seen Chinese boxing have a huge shot in the arm and we suspect we would have seen more sustained and continued investment in the countrie's boxing scene. It would however have only been a matter of time before things crashed down around Shiming, who was in his mid 30's and suffering from injuries.
Had Casimero won we would be looking at his career, and the Flyweight division, very differently. Had Casimero won he would likely have never faced Charlie Edwards, as his two titles would have drawn the attention of bigger names. He would have been a well known international name before his 2019 upset win over Zolani Tete. He would likely have never made his rather pointless foray into the Super Flyweight division, or if he had he would have gone straight into a big bout, not an eliminator with Jonas Sultan, which he of course lost.
More tellingly if Shiming had lost the WBO belt to Casimero we would almost have certainly not see Sho Kimura announce himself and become a world champion, with Kimura ending the reign of Shiming's to become the champion. If that bout failed to happen we would likely have gotten Casimero facing Toshiyuki Igarashi in a WBO mandatory, in a fight that would have truly stunk, and never ended up with the thrilling bout between Kimura and Kosei Tanaka. In fact we may never have seen Kosei Tanaka even win a Flyweight title.
Whilst we would have loved seeing Casimero make a name for himself in 2017 with a win over Shiming, which is what we would expect had this bout taken place, we can't complain too much about the reality we got. If anything, we got the better reality,, thanks to the Kimura Vs Tanaka fight!
One thing we haven't seen a lot of over the years are all-Filipino world title bouts, and that's a real shame. Whilst we understand, begrudgingly, champions from the same country not unifying titled what we never understand it why fighters form the same country seem to rarely face off. At least for some countries. And the Philippines is the worse country for this. With that in mind we had a think about some of the bouts we wish we'd had and came up with our latest "Fight we wish we had". Unlike some fights this one doesn't have FOTY written all over it, but would still be a very, very intriguing match up.
Donnie Nietes Vs Johnriel Casimero
As mentioned we don't see Filipino's fighting each other in world title bouts very often, unlike in the UK, US and Mexico, and more recently Japan. That's despite some bouts looking too obvious not to make, and this was one of those obvious ones. Not only was it an obvious match up between one of the most talented fighters and one of the most explosive, but it was also a match up but it was also one that could have taken place at any of 3 different weight classes. In one corner would have been Donnie Nietes, one of the most well schooled and technically brilliant Filipino fighters every, whilst the other corner would have had the wild, explosive and hard hitting Johnriel Casimero. It would have been a clash between a veteran and a hot young stud, and would have been a mouth watering clash, in terms of era and styles.
The window for when this fight could have taken place really is huge, and in theory is still technically open, but appears to on the verge of closing. In theory the bout could have taken place as early as 2009, when Nietes was considering a move up from Minimumweight to Light Flyweight and whilst Casimero was a regional Light Flyweight champion. In 2010 Casimero was WBO interim champion at 108lbs and Nietes was dipping his toes at the weight.
Had it been a little later they could have clashed at Flyweight. Nietes moved up to the weight in 2016 whilst Casimero had been there since 2014. Interestingly Casimero held the IBF Flyweight title in 2016, but vacated it in 2017 before Nietes won it. That would have been the perfect time, early 2017.
The window for the fight then actually continues into 2018 when the two could have clashed at Super Flyweight. If they were to clash now, in 2020, the bout could take place at Bantamweight, but if we're being hones the bout has lost a lot of it's potential appeal, with Nietes now the wrong side of 40 and almost 2 years removed from his last bout.
Donnie Nietes is arguable the most under-rated fighter from 2000 to 2020. He is one of the most skilled and well schooled fighters out there, and someone who proved that being a defensively responsible little guy to really prolong a career. He managed to become of the very few fighters to win world titles at Minimumweight, Light Flyweight, Flyweight and Super Flyweight and did so without having lightning speed or thunderous power. He did on his ring craft, boxing skills, and IQ.
Although there was a lot of potential opponents Nietes should have faced he did go in with a genuine who's who and took wins against Pornsawan Porpramook, Jesus Silvestre, Mario Rodriguez, Moises Fuentes, Francisco Rodriguez Jr, Edgar Sosa, Juan Carlos Revecco and Kazuto Ioka. Not only did he fight a who's who but he also showed a willingness to travel, picking up wins in Mexico, USA and Macau, though didn't really get the reputation of a road warrior. In terms of skills he is criminally under-rated and knew how to adapt when he needed to. A genuinely intelligent fighter.
Whilst Nietes is a 4 weight world champion Johnriel Casimero is a 3-weight world champion, having taken titles titles at Light Flyweight, Flyweight and Bantamweight. Watching him you see almost the opposite of Nietes. Casimero is a wild man at times, a freakish puncher who could box, but often found himself believing more in his power than his skills. His biggest issues wasn't his belief in his power but instead his inconsistencies and professionalism, which actually resulted in his being stripped of a title, looking poor in some bouts and even losing a bout he should have won.
At his best Casimero was a thunderous puncher who showed no fear. He was a road warrior who travelled right around the globe to face a who's who. He travelled to face the likes of Moruti Mthalane, Luis Alberto Lazarte, Pedro Guevara, Amnat Ruenroeng, Charlie Edwards and Zolani Tete. He's very much a throw back, but again inconsistency has been an issue, and in 2017 he lost to Jonas Sultan in a world title eliminator at Super Flyweight. When he was on point he was brilliant, but there was always the worry that we were going to see him have an off night, fail to prepare properly, as he had for his 2014 clash with Mauricio Fuentes, or just not show what he could do.
How would we see it playing out?
The reality here is that we see this being a bout depending on what Casimero turns up. At his very best Casimero is a very hard man to pick against. He was so heavy handed, so quick and so explosive that he had the power to pretty much taken out anyone, and was so unpredictable in his offense that he had a chance to catch anyone clean. On the other hand we know what we'd be getting from Nietes, he was Mr Consistent. He put on solid performance after solid performance, and even against the best Casimero his skills and defense could prove to be a difference maker.
We would expect Casimero trying to box Nietes early on, a poor tactical choice from the younger man but one that showed he wanted to be more than a puncher. We saw that from him numerous times, including his career defining win over Zolani Tete. As the bout went on however we'd see more aggression and more power shots from Casimero, as he changed from boxer to puncher. That would leave him open to Nietes' counter shots and we sispect that those would prove to be the difference as the bout went on, with Nietes slowly breaking down his countryman.
Although we do favour Nietes it should be noted that Casimero is almost a decade younger than Nietes and that age gap could be a tricky obstacle to over-come, even for Nietes. The speed and power edges of Casimero will mean he's always dangerous, he's always in the bout, and he'll only be one shot from turning things around, but Nietes is not an easy man to land that big shot on.
Would history of been changed?
Depending on when the bout took place history could have been very, very different. Had they faced off earlier in the window Nietes' experience and boxing skills would likely have slowed Casimero ascent drastically. He would almost certainly have done a similar job on Casimero that Moruti Mthalane did, and just mentally break Casimero. Had that happened Casimero may never have become the fighter he later became.
Had the bout been in 2016 we would likely have seen Nietes claim the Flyweight title a bit earlier, sending Casimero up in weight a bit earlier and maybe even avoided Casimero's stinking effort against Jonas Sultan. Had that happened there's a good chance that Casimero may have found himself fighting for a Super Flyweight title at some point, maybe even leading the two men to a rematch at 115lbs.
Had the bout been in 2017 or 2018 there's a chance that we would never have seen Casimero make an impact at Bantamweight, and we would almost certainly have not had his upset win over Zolani Tete, leading to a very different look at the Bantamweight scene.
Of course had Casimero managed to beat Nietes at any point his career would have been very different and we wouldn't be talking about Nietes as being so under-rated. Instead we'd be talking about Casimero, potentially, being a pound for pound fighter. Their careers would look very different on reflection.
Another week is over and we again get to look over the good, the bad and the ugly from the boxing world! We've had some great moments, some frustrating moments and of course a really ugly moment, that we suspect every fan has already seen on social media.
1-Inoue Vs Casimero is Official!
The worst kept secret in boxing was finally confirmed with Ohashi holding a press conference in Japan to announce Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16) would be facing WBO Bantamweight champion John Riel Casimero (29-4, 20) on April 25th bout with the WBO, IBF and WBA "super" titles all on the line. The bout was one we seemed to know about weeks ago, but it was still the highlight of the week to see it being announced and confirmed. Although April seems a long way away it's great to see this finally being confirmed and fans now able to get flights and hotels sorted for what promises to be a fantastic fight.
2-Raymond Guajardo vs Clay Collard
Man oh man, oh man! The first round to this PBC bout was something sensational! With 3 knockdowns, and an all out dramatic war this was special from the opening bell. Raymond Guajardo had come into the bout as a supposed prospect, having blown out all of his opponents early on. Clay Collard on the other hand was a tough guy with an under-rated record against stiff competition. This was a gut check for the youngster and one he failed to pass, but did come out with an enhanced reputation. The only problem was seeing people complain about the match making afterwards. Sorry to say chaps but bouts like this should be applauded, rather than letting Guajardo running up a 20-0 record it's better to see him checked out early and being asked questions. He now knows areas to improve, and fans now know his name!
3-Tevin Farmer's reign comes to an end
We're sorry if it sounds like we're being harsh but the IBF Super Featherweight title reign of Tevin Farmer will go down as a dreadful reign when we look back in the history books. The skilled southpaw won the title in August 2018, beating a wash Billy Dib, then made 4 defenses in less than a year. That sounds great until you look at the level of his competition during that reign, and note that he faced 0 fighters above the European-type level. For all the attention and the press Farmer got his reign was dreary so it's a good, in our eyes, that Jo Jo Diaz, a much more exciting and interesting in ring fighter, ended his reign. Whilst Farmer has a great out of the ring story the in ring action he has given us since winning the title has been awful.
4-Murodjon Akhmadaliev takes unified crown!
Whilst we'd been impressed by Murodjon Akhmadaliev's rise through the ranks we though he was getting his shot against Daniel Roman just a fight to soon. Well he sure as hell made us eat our words! What a fantastic performance by the young Uzbek who announced himself on the world stage in a brilliant way. This young man is a brilliant fighter and you could tell what the win meant to him in his interview. Also big respect to the post fight behaviour of both men, who had class and dignity through out. Big props to both "MJ" and Danny Roman for conducting themselves in the way they did pre fight, in the fight and post fight.
1- Juding in the God's Left Final
The God's Left Bantamweight final did not go the way we had expected. We were expecting a war, an all action tear up which wouldn't see the final bell. Instead we saw Seiya Tsutsumi using a lot of excellent movement and a fantastic gameplan to stop Nakajima from using his power shots. This was a great tactic to win the early rounds, though sadly the judges didn't seem to appreciate the raiding attacks of Tsutsumi, who was denied what seemed like a clear win. This was poor from the judges, and really was harsh on the Kadoebi gym fighter who deserved the victory and the tournament prize.
Celebrity fights are nothing new, and they certainly shouldn't be pushed out of the sport, despite what some might think. However Jake Paul's bout with Ali Eson Gib is one where the commission need to take a look at themselves. In fairness to Paul he seemed to have some idea of what he was doing, but also he also appeared a natural weight class, if not 2, bigger than Gib who didn't look like he'd ever had any real training. Gib just looked bizarre and like a man who had learned to box from a video game or something. As a spectacle it was acceptable, and neither were the worse fighters we saw this weekend, but trying to build an event around them, and then having the post fight fake beef stuff. These bouts could be used to attract attention to a good show, but in reality this just felt like one guy who knew how to fight picking on a smaller, clueless kid. Commissions, if they are to allow these types of bouts, need to make sure the fighters are both similarly sized and abled.
3-Inconclusive ending to Pedro Taduran vs Daniel Valladares
The IBF Minimumweight bout between Pedro Taduran and Daniel Valladares was great, don't get is wrong. It was our fight of the week. Sadly though the early headclash and early finish, resulting in a technical draw, was an inconclusive and disappointing end to what should have been a great fight. Fingers crossed we get a rematch between these two after the mini-war we got here.
1-Gervonta Davis - Public Display of Aggression
For a second week running WBA "regular" Lightweight champion Gervonta Davis makes it into our ugly, and again it's for something that a top level boxer shouldn't be doing. This time around he was effectively man handling a woman at a basketball game, and was caught on film. Whilst some will say he didn't actually hit her, this was still a worrying act of aggression towards a woman, who is reportedly the mother of his child. Thing is if he's willing to do this in public then what goes on behind closed doors? The talented fighter really isn't having a great 2020, and it may take someone close to him to make him sort out this reckless behaviour, before it's too late.
2-The judging for the Farmer Vs Diaz fight
We think it's fair to assume that most people had Jo Jo Diaz taking a near shut out against Tevin Farmer, who was out worked, out punched, out powered and out fought from the early stages. Some how two of the judges had the bout just a single round off a draw. Richard Green and Alex Levin really should be pulled aside by the commission and explain their 115-113 cards. Absolutely pathetic scorecards and ones that look like they were from two men who didn't want the action in the ring.
(Images courtesy of boxmob.jp)
As we head towards the new year we've had a big look at the current scene and come up with "20 fights we'd like to see in 2020", yeah another series ahead of the new decade!
As is always the case with what we do, these articles will have an Asian flavour, and every bout we mention in the series will have at least 1 fighter from Asia involved. So for those of you expecting us to talk about Deontay Wilder Vs Anthony Joshua, that won't be listed.
What we'll be looking at is well matched contests with either some form of back story, a great stylistic clash or bouts with some form of significant meaning. If they tick all the boxes then that is even better! Each fight will be given it's own article and each of these will come with an introduction to the fighters, and why the bout is being featured in the list.
Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16) Vs John Riel Casimero (29-4, 20)
to finish this mini series we look at a bout that has been rumoured for a while, and by the time you read this it may actually have been officially announced. Despite that it's a bout that seems an obvious one to make and is one we're very excited to see, pitting two hard hitting Bantamweights against each other to unify 3 of the 4 major titles. It's an all Asian bout and continues the long and stories Japan Vs Philippines rivalry.
One of the fights probably needs no introduction. Naoya Inoue, the Monster, the face of Japanese boxing, is one of the most notable fighters on the planet right now. He's cemented a legacy as one of the Japanese greats, despite being a professional for less than a decade. He only has 19 fights to his name but 14 have been at world level and he has gone 8-0 (6) against world champions, including established international names like Adrian Hernandez, Omar Andres Narvaez, Jamie McDonnell and Nonito Donaire. He's skilled, quick and freakishly destructive for a fighter of his size, with some of the most brutal body shots in the sport.
In the other corner we have Johnr Riel Casimer, a fighter who should be more well known than he is, but has long been under-the-radar despite notable success for over a decade, often on the road. The 30 year old Casimero has won world titles at Ligth Flyweight, Flyweight and Bantamweight whilst showing freakish power himself, an unorthodox offense and skills that are still developing this far into his career. Casimero has proven himself against the likes of Luis Alberto Lazarte, Amnat Ruenroeng, Charlie Edwards and Zolani Tete, all of whom felt the power of the Filipino. At his best Casimero is a threat for anyone at Bantamweight, and only needs a split second to turn a fight around. Sadly though he is inconsistent, and when he's off form he really is poor.
This is arguably the most interesting possible bout at Bantamweight. It pits two men with fight changing power against each other, it unifies titles, taking us a step closer to an undisputed champion, and it's a fantastic all Asian fight that looks set to headline a card in the US.
The bout is said to be pencilled in for April 25th in Las Vegas, and is likely to be announced any day soon. It will be a great test for two men each looking to make a statement. Inoue would clearly be the favourite but as we see time and time again, we can never write off Casimero, who loves to give the boxing world a shock every time fans see him as the under-dog.
The last 7 days have been relatively quiet in the world of Asian boxing, with little in terms of noteworthy shows, but with December looming there is a lot around the corner, a lot to be excited about, and potentially some late contenders for Fight of the Year.
1-John Riel Casimero
Although not always the most professional of fighters, or the most consistent, John Riel Casimero showed what he could do, again, as he travelled over to England and stopped Zolani Tete to become the new WBO Bantamweight champion. Casimero, now a 3-weight world champion, immediately called out Naoya Inoue and seems like the sort of fighter who genuinely wants to fight the best, rather than just talk about fighting the best. It was great to see Casimero win and even better to see him actively calling out Inoue.
2-Korea is live and kicking
It may have been obvious, given the low level of the fights, but there was a card in Korea in the past Saturday. More notable than that card was the announcement of a quadruple header in January, a title fight in late December and the full details of Hyun Mi Choi's unification bout with Maiva Hamadouche. Korean boxing is still not it was, and probably never will be, but this past week has proven their is still life left in the country's boxing scene and fingers crossed that will grow and grow in 2020.
3-Taiwan has Talent
Whilst Korean boxing seems to be growing again after years of inactivity we're just as excited about the activity we saw in Taiwan this past Saturday....or rather the activity of two Taiwanese fighters. Whilst the wins by Daisuke Sugita and Ryoichi Tamura are the two which got the attention of fans watching the show we loved the look of Yi Hung Chiang, who looks so excited, and Kai Ting Chuang, who looked so polished for a debutant. Taiwan might not be a country known for it's boxing scene but with these two emerging through the ranks we are excited to see what happens with Taiwanese boxing over the coming years.
1- Haasan Mwakinyo Vs Arnel Tinampay
Oh where do we start here? The bout had issues before the opening bell, with the fighters having their gloves changed before a punch was thrown, the online feed went down, the bell rang early a number of times and the judging all made this feel very amateurish. Given that the Tanzanian boxing market is relatively obscure it may well be a good idea for them to bring in officials from abroad to try and help them develop their know how. If they bring in some Japanese judges and for example, like Dubai has for their shows, things could be a lot smoother. If they can smooth off some of those rough edges there is real potential for Tanzania to become a notable scene. Sadly though images like the ones from Friday night are more likely to do harm than good.
2- JR Magboo
The Filipino fighter was far too happy to take his loss on Saturday against Yongqiang Yang for us to say anything positive. Had this been a his first loss that would have been one thing, but this is was his third stoppage loss in 4 fights, all in round 2. It very much feels like he will give it a go for a round, if that fails he will just accept a loss when he has an excuse to go down. Inb his last 5 fights he has either scored a win in the first round, or accepted a second round loss. In his 19 fights prior that 5 fight stretch he had never been stopped, and had been very competitive with the likes of Jhon Gemino and Jhunriel Ramonal.
3- The officiating of Tamura Vs Yor
Whilst we loved seeing the two Taiwanese youngsters show what they could do the officiating of the Ryouchi Tamura Vs Moensaku Yor fight, we believe by referee Yuji Fukuchi, left a lot to be desired. Tamura was never in any trouble, at all, but he should have been warned for hitting Yor when he was down. This wasn't a one off blow from Tamura but instead several shots when Yor was down. We understand the referee not disqualifying Tamura, but he could, or rather should, had admonished the Japanese fighter.
The balls on Andres Gutierrez must be massive! The Super Featherweight, or should that be Welterweight, missed weight to face Oscar Valdez, by 11lbs. He wasn't just above the divisional limit, but was above the limit 2 divisions higher! From what we understand Bob Arum kicked him out of the hotel and sent him packing back off home. The bout for Valdez was saved in the end by Adam Lopez, though in reality Valdez almost slipped up against a late replacement and no one won out of this whole situation.
Over the last few years British referees have become a huge joke. They've earned a reputation for early stoppage, when it favours the promoter, carrying fighters back to the corner, like we saw when Nathan Cleverly fought Sergey Kovalev, and allowing some fights to just continue for no reason, like Shannon Briggs being allowed to go 12 rounds with Vitali Klitschko. This weekend it was Steve Gray's chance to embarrass himself. He did everything he could do give Zolani Tete some help, holding Tete up, letting Tete go on when he should have been stopped, several times, and was so busy pushing Casimero to the neutral corner that he couldn't hide what he was doing. The reality is that, for Tete's health, this should have been stopped after the first knockdown. Allowing it to continue was serving the South Africa no favours. Very, very poor refereeing that could have ended up with much worse results.
(Images courtesy of boxingnews.jp and boxmob.jp)
This past week has certainly not been a banner week for Asian boxing, or boxing in general, but there was more than enough to talk about, and some stuff that was well hidden, hey we're looking at you Korea!
Fighter of the Week
John Riel Casimero (29-4, 20)
Filipino warrior John Riel Casimero has long been a road warrior, a true "had gloves, will travel, and fight anywhere" kind of fighter. Despite being one of the best road warriors in world boxing he has also been a fighter who blows hot and cold. When he's on fire he is excellent, but as we saw against Jonas Sultan in 2017 he can also turn up and not care about what happens in the ring. Thankfully he showed how hot he can be, at least for around a minute, as he claimed the WBO Bantamweight title and stopped Zolanu Tete to claim one of his biggest career wins.
Performance of the Week
John Riel Casimero (29-4, 20)
It's rare that a "Performance of the Week" will go to a man who really did nothing for 2 rounds but, lets be honest, what Casimero did in the third round made up for the nothingness of the first 2. He dropped Tete with a fantastic right hand just over a minute into the round and never let Tete back into things, in fact really the referee should have stopped things there and then. It was an awful showing by the referee but a brilliant round of destruction by Casimero.
Lei Wang vs Marlon Paniamogan
If we're being totally honest this past week was a weird one. There was little to really get excited about and looking for a fight that stood out, on a quiet week to begin with, was always going to be a struggle. Other than Casimero's bout with Tete nothing really got the juices flowing going into the week, and given how nothing happened for 2 rounds of that fight it massively under-delivered as an actual fight. Thankfully we did get some fun and games in China with Lei Wang and Marlon Paniamogan putting on a fun fight in Qingdao. Paniamogan brought the fight, walked through bombs and refused to go down, whilst Wang showed off some real skills. This wasn't a fight of the year contender, but it was the best of a weak bunch in a poor week of fights.
Hyun Je Baek vs Joo Hwan Suh (2)
With no major bout delivering a round to get excited about we had to turn out attention to a club level Korean show, and in fairness they do tend to deliver great action at the very lowest of levels. That was shown again this week when Hyun Je Baek and Joo Hwan Suh just stood their ground and lets shots fly. This was the sort of fight that trainers would hate their fighters for getting involved in, but for a week that was so lacking in action this was a highlight. Sadly the round involved a fight ending headclash that ended in a technical draw. Regardless what we got here was fun!
No suitable contender
It should be noted that whilst there was no suitable KO this week, the right hand that Casimero dropped Tete with was easily the punch of the week. A brute of a shot!
Yi Hung Chiang (4-0, 3)
The obvious choice for Prospect of the Week would have been Andy Hiraoka, who made his US debut with a quick win on the Top Rank show on Saturday night. We, however, have never been one for sticking with the obvious when someone else deserves a mention and the reality is that we were really impressed by two novice Taiwanese fighters. One of those was the debuting Kai Ting Chuang and the other was Yi Hung Chiang, who looked so exciting that it was hard to not be impressed. We don't imagine either fighter reaching the top of the sport, something Hiraoka could potentially do, but we do expect to be thoroughly entertained every time we see Chiang in action.
Joe Noynay (18-2-1, 7) vs Kenichi Ogawa (24-1, 18)
There may be bigger and better bouts out there next week, including a world title fight in Mexico and an interim world title fight in the US, but the one we are looking forward to the most is the WBO Asia Pacific title bout between Joe Noynay and Kenichi Ogawa. This year has been a huge one for Noynay, and another win here puts him well and truly in the world title mix, whilst Ogawa is still battling to redeem himself following his failed drug test in 2017. We expect explosive action here, and this should be a little bit of a gem in a very, very busy day of fights.
Maybe it's just me but it's beginning to feel rather chilly, and the weeks are starting to become more and more packed with fights! It must mean we're heading towards December, when this are really set to go a little bit crazy! This past week has been a stellar week for action, and although we've not had any massive names fighting we have seen several great fights, amazing rounds a big upset and a world champion retaining his belt. Sure this past week hasn't been the best, but it's been very, very solid.
Fighter of the Week
Can Xu (18-2, 3)
The fighter of the week was an easy one this week with China's Can Xu showing us what a fighter does. The light punching WBA Featherweight champion controlled the previously unbeaten Manny Robles III with output, and although Xu couldn't get the stoppage he hurt Robles a number of times late in the bout. Xu might not be the most amazing fighter in the sport but in 2019 he has quickly become one of the most must watch fighters on the planet, and he showed his all action style against Robles. Whether boxing on the front foot or the back foot Xu unloads so much leather that it's hard to take your eyes off him, and the way he challenged Josh Warrington straight after his win shows his desire to become the best in the division. A fantastic performance by one of Asian boxing's true gems.
Performance of the Week
Shingo Kusano (12-8-1, 5)
Being dropped twice in the opening round of a 6 round fight would mark the end for most, but for Shingo Kusano it seemed to do the opposite. Instead of wilting following a 10-7 round Kusano steadied himself, dug deep and went on to break down Qiang Ma in a thrilling bout at Korakuen Hall. Kusano isn't a world beater, in fact we suspect he loses next time our when he competes in a tournament semi-final bout, but that really doesn't change the fact that his performance this week was excellent and he really did deserve his victory after such a horror start.
Jae Woo Lee vs Tsuyoshi Tameda
Whilst the Kusano Vs Ma bout was a brave fight back through adversity from Kusano it wasn't even the best bout on the show. That honour fell to the intense and incredible war between Korean fighter Jae Woo Lee and Japanese slugger Tsuyoshi Tameda. Any other month of the year this would likely be nailed on for fight of the month honours. It was two guys who both came with the same gameplan, and that gameplan was to throw bombs on the inside, to fight with fire, and to try and break down the other man. This ended up having styles that gelled instantly and from the opening bell to the eventual ending this was a fire fight. If you like inside wars this is really a must watch fight, and saw hooks and uppercuts being thrown shot after shot, with little use, from either man, for a jab. Exceptional, yet short, war!
Jae Woo Lee vs Tsuyoshi Tameda (2)
Given the way the Lee Vs Tameda fight was fought either of the first 2 rounds could have been the round of the week, with both rounds being nothing short of breath taking, none stop action. This is what we watch boxing for! We favoured the second, over the first, as it seemed both ended the round having been damaged at some point. Lee had been rocked early in the round and Tameda ended the round bloodied. But both rounds should be considered among the very finest rounds of action we've had in 2019.
Jhon Gemino KO5 Arnold Alejandro
We didn't have a lot of clan KO's this week, despite how much action we had, but there was one or two, with one really standing out. That standout was Filipino fighter Jhon Gemino taking out the previously unbeaten Arnold Alejandro in the US in spectacular fashion. A huge right hand from Gemino landed as flush as could be on Alejandro, breaking his nose and cleaning his clock. This was a thunder bolt of a right hand. Whilst the result was an upset we can't say it was a huge shock as Gemino is building himself a reputation as a fighter who regularly scores upsets, and this was his third big away from home in less than 12 months! Still in terms of the wonder of the KO it will go down as one of his best.
Ryusei Kawaura (7-0, 4)
Despite there being a lot of action this past week there really wasn't a lot of fighters we'd describe as being prospects. The one man who did fulfil the description of a prospect was Ryusei Kawaura, who continued his careful be intelligent climb up the rankings as he over-came Joy Joy Formentera of the Philippines. This bout was a great test for the unbeaten Japanese fighter and he had to be on point through out an excellent 8 round chess match. He's not a well known prospect, in the grand scheme of things, but Kawaura is certainly one to keep an eye on in 2020.
Zolani Tete (28-3, 21) Vs John Riel Casimero (28-4, 19)
Next week is another without a massive name in Asian boxing in action, but it is a week that has a massive fight, as South African Zolani Tete takes on Filipino John Riel Casimero in a mouth watering WBO Bantamweight title clash. This is a huge fight and the winner instantly finds themselves in the Inoue sweepstakes. Tete hasn't looked great in recent bouts, and is coming back from an injury, and Casimero does blow hot and cold but we still expect this to be a very exciting and entertaining bout over in sunny England!
Although November has been a rather bitty month, with a great start and a weak middle, there is plenty to be excited about in the last couple of weeks of the month, with a very interesting mix of fights coming through in what's left of the month.
Eruka Hiromoto (5-0) vs Sana Hazuki (7-4-1, 2) - Yamaguchi, Japan
In Yamaguchi on the 17th we'll see OPBF female Minimumweight champion Eruka Hiromoto defending her title for the first time, as she takes on the aggressive Sana Hazuki in a very interesting match up. The teenage champion looked less than spectacular in her title win, but is a very clear talent with a lot of potential and ambition, and her team have spoken about her challenging for a world title in 2020. Hazuki isn't a big name but she's a handful at this type of level, win or lose, and she could be the sort of fighter who makes Hiromoto pay for her lack of power.
Riku Kano (15-4-1, 8) Vs Tetsuya Mimura (8-1, 1) - Kobe, Japan
Former world title challenger Riku Kano looks to continue his career rebuild as he takes on the once beaten Tetsuya Mimura, a 2018 Rookie of the Year finalist. This should be a really interesting fight between two talented youngsters, and although it's unlikely to end early it is a really meaningful fight, and the winner will almost certainly see themselves in the mix for some form of regional title in 2020.
Daud Yordan (39-4-0-1, 27) Vs Michael Mokoena (15-4, 10) - Batu, Indonesia
It's hard to deny that we all love Daud Yordan, the Indian veteran has been flying the flag almost solo for Indonesian boxing the last few years. Here we see him look to claim the WBO Oriental Light Welterweight title as he takes on Tanzania's Michael Mokoena. We suspect Yordan will have to much for Mokoena, but the Indonesian has taken a lot of punishment during his long career and he could end up feeling the effects of that long career at any point.
Ongen Saknosiwi (7-0, 7) vs Marco Demecillo (24-8-1, 19) - Batu, Indonesia
Whilst Yordan has flown the flag solo for Indonesian boxing several prospecta have come and gone, including the likes of Iwan Zoda, Defry Palulu and most recently Jon Jon Jet. The latest rising Indonesian looking to make their mark is Ongen Saknosiwi, who takes a massive leap up in class here as he faces Filipino veteran Marco Demecillo. A win here will give Saknosiwi's career a monster boost and put him on the fast track, whilst a loss will see him become the latest Indonesian prospect to have his career derailed before it really got going.
Can Xu (17-2, 3) vs Manny Robles III (18-0, 8) - California, USA
One of the biggest bouts from the second half of November will see China's Can Xu defending his WBA Featherweight title against the unbeaten Manny Robles III. On paper this looks brilliant, and in the ring we expect it to be even better. Xu, despite his lack of power, is a very strong fighter who walks through hell fire and brimstone if he needs to. Robles is a more technically capable fighter, but often finds himself fighting the wrong fight and if he gets into a war with Xu we could have a legitimate contender for Fight of the Year on our hands. Xu's pressure will be key as will Robles' concentration, and we are expecting a very, very fan friendly bout here.
Zolani Tete (28-3, 21) v John Riel Casimero (28-4, 19) - West Midlands, United Kingdom
Another world title towards the end of the month will see South African fighter Zolani Tete return to face Filipino John Riel Casimero. Tete, who has been out of the ring for more than a year, enters the bout as the WBO Bantamweight champion whilst Casimero is the interim champion and will be looking to pick up another big win on the road. Coming in to this both men will be looking at a potential showdown with WBA and IBF champion Naoya Inoue, and will need to win here to keep that potential bout alive.
Zhilei Zhang (20-0, 16) Vs Sergey Kuzmin (15-1, 11) - Monte Carlo, Monaco
There is, of course, something about the Heavyweight division that intrigues us all and we'll actually have a rare bout with an Asian interest in the division at the end of November when unbeaten Chinese hopeful Zhilei Zhang take on once beaten Russian Sergey Kuzmin. Both of these fighters were former amateur standouts, and although both are the wrong side of 30 this could still be a very significant bout, with the winner likely to find themselves in the world title mix. Sadly coming into this Zhang has been out of the ring for more than a year whilst Kuzmin was beaten last time out, with both of those facts taking some shine off what this contest could have been 6 months ago.
Andy Hiraoka (14-0, 9) v Rogelio Casarez (13-8, 5) - Nevada, USA
Unbeaten Ohashi gym prospect Andy Hiraoka makes his US debut at the end of the month as he takes on Rogelio Casarez in what looks like an easy introduction to the American boxing scene. Hiraoka, a Japanese-Ghanaian fighter, has trained over in the US in the past and is regarded highly in Japan, though this will be a very different test to anythign he's faced before. Casarez will be the under-dog but will come out looking to upset the unbeaten hopeful. A nice teast for Hiraoka's first bout on US soil.
The end of August really is a week where we go out with a bang, with 3 world title bouts and a number of top prospects all in action in the final 7 days of the month!
Kosei Tanaka (13-0, 7) v Jonathan Gonzalez (22-2-1, 13) - Aichi, Japan
Arguably the most interesting of the world title bouts will see WBO Flyweight champion Kosei Tanaka make his second defense as he takes on mandatory challenger Jonathan Gonzalez of Puerto Rico. After a few wars for Tanaka we're now expecting to see him put on a more sound boxing display. Gonzalez is a former amateur stand out, but he has shown vulnerability in his 2 losses and we suspect those vulnerabilities will show again here.
Kento Hatanaka (9-0, 9) v Jaysever Abcede (19-8, 12) - Aichi, Japan
In a really good supporting bout to Tanaka Vs Gonzalez we'll see fast rising Japanese youngster Kento Hatanaka takes on world ranked Filipino Jaysever Abcede. This is a big step up for Hatanaka, but the talented "Prince" is tipped for the top and a win here will help push him into the world rankings. On paper Abcede isn't someone who looks like a challenge for a top prospect but the Filipino has scored recent wins over Stamp Kiatniwat and Seigo Yuri Akui.
John Riel Casimero (27-4, 18) v Cesar Ramirez (18-3, 11) - Metro Manila, Philippines
Staying in Asia we'll see WBO interim Bantamweight champion John Riel Casimero make his first defense, taking on Mexican challenger Cesar Ramirez. The talented Filipino won the title back in April, when he stopped Ricardo Espinoza Franco in the 12th round, and will be further wanting to make his make on the talent packed 118lb division. Ramirez on the other hand is a very limited challenger who has done nothing to earn a shot at a title fight, and was nearly shut out the last time he faced a world class fighter.
Vic Saludar (19-3, 10) v Wilfredo Mendez (13-1, 5) - San Juan, Puerto Rico
In Puerto Rico we'll see former Tanaka opponent Vic Saludar making his second defense of the WBO Minimumweight title as he takes on mandatory challenger Wilfredo Mendez. The under-rated Saludar is a heavy handed boxer-puncher who has really shone in his last two, beating Ryuya Yamanaka and Masataka Taniguchi and despite being on the road, for the third fight in a row, he will again be favoured. Mendez is a talented fighter but is taking a massive step up in class here for what will be his toughest bout, by far.
Shakhram Giyasov (8-0, 6) Vs Darleys Perez (34-4-2, 22) Sonora, Mexico
Unbeaten Uzbek fighter Shakhram Giyasov takes on his most notable opponent to date as he returns to a Mexican ring, for the second time. The talented Giyasov, who didn't look great last time out against Emanuel Taylor, will be up against former world champion Darleys Perez. Giyasov is a talent, and an Olympic silver medal winner, but as a professional it's seemed very much like he either blows opponents away with raw power or struggles. Perez, at his best, was world class, but with a 2-3-3 record in his last 7, with all 3 losses by stoppage, it's hard to know what he has left at this point.
Haruki Ishikawa (7-1, 5) vs Atsushi Takada (6-1-3, 3) - Tokyo, Japan
The Japanese Youth title picture is a really interesting one and although none of the fighters in Yoyuth title bouts are big names they are often emerging talents. In a really good looking JBC Youth Bantamweight title Eliminator we'll see the once beaten Haruki Ishikawa take on Atsushi Takada. The talented Ishikawa suffered his only loss in the 2018 Rookie of the Year final, by majority decision, whilst Takada's only loss was to Tetsu Araki in a Youth title fight. This should be a very good fight.
Fumiya Fuse (8-0, 1) v Toshiya Ishii (1-0, 1) - Tokyo, Japan
Another JBC Youth Bantamweight title eliminator will will see Rookie of the Year winner Fumiya Fuse take on the recently turned professional Toshiya Ishii. The talented Fuse has been impressive since his Rookie of the Year win back in 2017 and has notched some solid wins since his rookie triumph. Ishii on the other hand only debuted back in April but looked excellent on his debut win over Adam Wijaya, though did have a solid amateur career. Despite looking like a mismatch this should be a compelling contest of skills.
The winner of the two eliminators will fight for the vacant title later in the year.
Yuki Nakajima (2-0, 2) vs Ryu Horikawa (1-0, 1) - Tokyo, Japan
On the same card as the two eliminators we'll also see a B Class Tournament bout that pits former amateur standouts against each other, with Yuki Nakajima and Ryu Horikawa facing off. Despite only 3 fights between them this should be a very hotly contest, high skilled battle between two youngsters who, win or lose, will still have a very bright future. The winner of this may "only" have beaten a novice, but will be on the fast track to some much bigger bouts in the very near future.
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