After a somewhat slow burn to begin September things step up in the second part of the month with a number of notable and big fights as the month ends on a high and sends us into October with a big boost of action! As well as meaningful bouts, at world level, we also get some big prospects in action, and a brilliant domestic bout in Thailand!
Mohegan Sun Casino, USA
Tugstsogt Nyambayar (11-1, 9) vs Cobia Breedy (15-0, 5)
We get a great fight to kick off this part of the month as recent world title challenger Tugstsogt Nyambayar takes on the unbeaten Cobia Breedy, who was a relatively late replacement for Eduardo Ramirez. The talented Nyambayar, from Mongolia, will be looking to secure a second world title fight, following a loss to Gary Russell Jr earlier this year. As for Breedy this is a huge step up, but he will enter with the confidence of an unbeaten man, and know there is no expectations on his shoulders.
Rangsit International Stadium, Rangsit, Thailand
Panya Pradabsri (33-1, 21) vs Wichet Sengprakhon (11-7, 6)
World ranked Thai Panya Pradabsri looks set to drop back down to Minimumweight as he takes on the limited Wichet Sengprakhon for a regional title. Panya is one of the most talented Thai's out there, but at 29 his career appears to be on a bit of a standstill, with too many bouts like this in recent years. There is no doubting his ability, but he really should be in the world title mix, not having his third tick over bout of the year.
Josh Taylor (16-0, 12) Vs Downua Ruawaiking (16-0, 13)
In one of the biggest bouts of the year so far we'll see Scotland's Josh Taylor look to defend his IBF and WBA Light Welterweight titles against Thai challenger Downua Ruawaiking. The bout is an IBF mandatory for Taylor and will see him look to build on some great wins in recent years, including his victory in the World Boxing Super Series last year. As for Downua, also known as Apinun Khongsong, the bout is a huge step up, though he did impress last time he stepped up and stopped Akihiro Kondo.
Kobe Central Gym, Japan
Mika Iwakawa (9-5-1, 3) Vs Nanae Suzuki (10-3-1, 1)
After holding the WBO Atomweigth title for more than 2 years we finally see Mika Iwakawa make her first defense, as she takes on former Japanese female champion Nanae Suzuki. It's hard to know what the champion still has to offer, given she's closing in on 40, but we suspect she will be the favourite against a hungry Suzuki. As with all Atomweight bouts expect this to be high tempo and have a lot of leather thrown, even if neither fighter has much pop on their shots.
Shun Kubo (13-2, 9) Vs Takashi Igarashi (13-4, 5)
Former world champion Shun Kubo returns to the ring for the first time since losing in 2019 to Can Xu. There was talk of Kubo retiring following that loss, but instead he's back here looking for a confidence building win as he takes on Takashi Igarashi. On paper this looks a competitive bout, but in reality it's hard to imagine Igarashi, who last fought in 2018, having much to offer. Still it's nice to see Kubo back in the ring, and he's always been a fun and gutsy fighter to watch.
Kohei Oba (36-3-1, 14) Vs Yoshiki Minato (8-3, 3)
Former Japanese Bantamweight champion champion Kohei Oba ends a 6 year break from the ring as he takes on 2018 Rookie of the Year winner Yoshiki Minato. Oba, dubbed the "Mayweather of Nagoya" was once regarded a legitimate prospect, and late a world title contender, but then Kohei Oba looks a loss to Randy Caballero in 2014 ended his world title hopes and eye issues after that sent him into retirement. As for Minato his Rookie of the Year triumph feels like a long time ago and he lost twice in 2019, and now needs a win.
Suamlum Night Bazaar, Ratchadaphisek, Bangkok, Thailand
Phoobadin Yoohanngoh (9-0, 4) Vs Atchariya Wirojanasunobol (12-0, 5)
In a really notable, yet rather odd, all-Thai match up we'll see teenage sensation Phoobadin Yoohanngoh take on Atchariya Wirojanasunobol. The 16 year old Phoobadin really impressed last time out, winning a WBA Asia regional title and going 10 rounds for the first time in a career best win. This is however a massive step up for the youngster who is taking on an opponent who looks very live, on paper. We say on paper as we really have no idea what the once touted Atchariya has left in the tank following a very long and hard battle out of the ring. Atchariya was arrested in 2018, at the airport on the way to face Andy Hiraoka in Japan, and spent more than a year awaiting trial for drug related crimes before beign cleared earlier this year. If the ordeal has taken Atchariya's fighting spirit this could end up being a farce, but if Atchariya has a burning anger and is looking to make a statement he might have too much for the youngster here.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Ayaka Miyao (23-8-2, 6) vs Thi Thu Nhi Nguyen (4-0, 1)
We'll see a new world champion being crowned in Vietnam as we see veteran Ayaka Miyao clash with unbeaten novice Thi Thi Nhi Nguyen in a bout for the WBO Female Minimumweight title. On paper Miyao, a former WBA Atomweight champion, should be strongly favoured, but the veteran is now 37 and has shown some slow down in recent years, and isn't a natural Minimuweight. Nguyen is the much younger fighter, at 23, she's a natural Minimumweight and holds home advantage, though this is a massive step up in class for her.
Fujisan Messe, Japan
Tsubasa Murachi (4-1, 3) Vs Ryotaro Kawabata (12-3-2, 6)
The talented Tsubasa Murachi looks to bounce back from a 2019 KO loss to Froilan Saludar as he takes on domestic foe Ryotaro Kawabata. This is a decent comeback, on paper, for the once touted Murachi who has questions to answer following such a brutal KO loss. Although Kawabata is no world beater he has scored some notable results, including a draw with Rene Dacquel, and a close loss to Mark John Yap, and should prove a decent test for talent youngster.
Rentaro Kimura (1-0, 1) Vs Takafumi Iwaya (4-3)
In a mismatch we'll see brilliant Japanese prospect Rentaro Kimura look to build on his impressive debut win, over Yuya Azuma, as he takes on Takafumi Iwaya. Thuis really isn't expected to be much of a test at all for Kimura, who is one of the best best prospects in Japan, but given he is certainly one to follow this is a bout that should be on the radar of every fan. The 32 year old Iwaya was stopped on his debut but has rebuilt from some early stumbles and come in to this on the back of 3 straight wins. Even with that sort of form a competitive performance against Kimura would be a massive shock.
Koichi Aso (23-9-1, 15) Vs Shogo Yamaguchi (12-5-3, 7)
Former Japanese Light Welterweight champion Koichi Aso was never the best fighter or the biggest puncher but he was someone who has always provided value for fans, and has been in some thrilling contests. Sadly his career seems to be coming to an end, and the 34 year old is likely to hang them up sooner, rather than later. In what may be one of his final professional bouts he takes on Shogo Yamaguchi, who comes into the bout on the back of a career best win over Shuhei Tsuchiya this past February. This isn't a big bout, but we do expect it to be a fun and action packed war for as ling as it lasts.
With the sport's return to some, albeit limited, normality we thought it was time to begin doing our Monthly Awards again. The sport is certainly not going at full speed yet, but there actually was quite a lot that happened in July, with a number of upsets, a frightening KO, some brilliant action and a movement towards boxing's big return. Yes there is a lot for the sport to do going forward, but, for the first time since February, we've had more than just an odd fight here and there.
Fighter of the Month
Kenichi Horikawa (41-16-1, 14)
Aged 40 and coming in as the under-dog for his fight with Daiki Tomita the veteran really showed what he had left in the tank by not just beating Tomita, but stopping him to claim the OPBF Light Flyweight title. A 40 year at 108lbs is supposed to be retired and enjoying a post boxing career but Horikawa is still having real success years beyond his supposed prime. This wasn't necessarily the best performance of the month, but this was the most impressive in terms of context and the sort of win that really puts Horikawa on the verge of something big.
Fight of the Month
Phoobadin Yoohanngoh Vs Kulabdam Sor Jor Piekuthai
Although not the most exciting fight as such the WBA Asia Light Welterweight bout between 16 year old prodigy Phoobadin Yoohanngoh and former Muay Thai standout Kulabdam Sor Jor Piekuthai was a bout that had everything we needed. It was, technically a compelling bout on paper, it was a great match up of styles and a really competitive contest. Whilst Phoobadin won, he had to answer questions and despite the loss Kulabdam will come again, having learned more in that one bout that he would in 10 other bouts. This was two youngsters putting things on the line in a good, solid, 10 rounder. It may not have been the most action packed or dramatic, but it was a bout that had other intriguing aspects to it, that more than made up for the lack of knockdowns and back and forth exchanges.
KO of the Month
Rentaro Kimura TKO2 Yuta Azuma
When there is a lot of hype around a prospect ahead of their debut they need to shine, and Rentaro Kimura did just that, giving us a KO of the year contender. The youngster looked good, although not flawless, in the first round, and was caught a few times in round 2. That however was quickly forgotten thanks to the brutal finish he put on against Yuya Azuma. We see lots of 1-punch KO's but from Kimura was got a brutal combination to take out Azuma who had never previously been stopped. This was brutal and brilliant
Prospect of the Month
Rentaro Kimura (1-0, 1)
It's a double for Rentaro Kimura. The talented Japanese debutant looked truly fantastic at times, and looks like someone who can be fast tracked over the coming years. He looked like there was areas to improve, of course he did, but he showed so much that it's hard not to get very excited about him. He's quick, sharp, powerful, skilled and has that pure killed instinct in the ring. He's going to be a must watch fighter, and his return to the ring in September is highly anticipated as he looks to be moved very quickly in the coming years.
Other prospects worth mentioning
Upset of the Month
Sandy Messaoud TD7 Nursultan Zhangabayev
There was an incredible number of upsets this past month in Asian boxing but the most surprising of them all was the technical decision win scored by French fighter Sandy Messaoud against previously unbeaten, and world ranked, Kazakh Nursultan Zhangabayev. The Kazakh was dropped early, had no answer for Messaoud's movement and accuracy in what was a massive shocker. The fact that not only Messaoud out boxed the talented Kazakh but also got the decision was a bit of a surprise, despite the awful scorecard of Jan Teleki.
As mentioned there was a number of other upsets these included:
Kenichi Horikawa Vs Daiki Tomita
Daishi Nagata Vs Koki Inoue
Round of the Month
Satoshi Shimizu Vs Kyohei Tonomoto (RD1)
When we see Satoshi Shimizu there some really obvious things that we always see. We always see a technically crude, easy to heat power puncher. Against the wrong opponent that will cost him, as we say last year against Joe Noynay, against the right opponent however it will give us something awesome. Against Kyohei Tonomoto we got something awesome in a number of rounds. Some will suggest round 7 was the pick of the bunch, and they'd have a damn good argument, but for us the opening round was the one. Tonomoto came out aggressive, forced Shimizu back and looked the better fighter and the more aggressive man, but yet found himself on the canvas twice in a round that had action, drama, excitement, wild fighting and heart.
Shimizu Vs Tonomoto (Rd 7)
We may be heading to Christmas but we've not had to wait to December 25th for boxing Santa to deliver some great stuff to us, with this past week being another that has a brimful of amazing action, fantastic moments, and a lot of surprises. So with that said lets have a look at the latest "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly".
1-All Japan Rookie of the Year
It's not like the All Japan Rookie of the Year being amazing was any kind of surprise but even that it exceeded expectations with 2 bouts being particularly deserving of extra attention. The Light Welterweight shoot out between Kodai Honda and Yasutaka Fujita is one of those those must watch bouts, which has everything. It has drama, action, intensity, huge shots and great heart. This really is a very, very special fight Wihilst Honda Vs Fujita was the fight of the day it was given a run for it's money by the Welterweight clash featuring Yuta Ashina and Homare Yasui. If you have the chance make sure you watch both of those incredible fights before the week ends.
Filipino prospect Mike Plania took a huge step towards a world title fight as he dominated Nicaraguan foe Giovanni Gutierrez. Plania is a talented Super Bantamweight and his win this past weekend was a huge statement for the 22 year old, who is likely to be a real break out star in 2020, if he can receive the financial backing he needs to kick on.
Aged 15, yes that's a 1 and a 5 and isn't a typo, Phoobadin Yoohanngoh won "The Fighter" this past weekend in Thailand taking a 6 round victory over 22 year old Thotsaphol Thongplew. For those unaware "The Fighter" was TL Promotions answer to Rookie of the Year and matched a bunch of novice in a quick fire knockout tournament, spread over just a few weeks. Phoobadin managed to notch wins on 4 consecutive Saturdays to win the tournament. Whatever we think about fighters this young it's hard not to be impressed by the young prodigy, who is already 8-0 and has been a professional since July 2018, when he was just 14!
4-PBC's card on Saturday Night
Whether it was intentional, fluke, or something in between Saturday night's PBC card headlined by the Harrison Vs Charlo rematch has to go down as one of the most entertaining cards of the year. It had everything ranging from huge upsets, to controversial refereeing calls, fantastic knockouts, amazing action and world class fighters. We wouldn't go as far as to call it the show of the year, but it's certainly in the running and was one of the most amazing cards top to bottom. If more shows ended up like this the sport would be much, much better and fans would care about the while show, not just the main event. Well done to all involved in putting on truly brilliant show.
Tommy Fury might be a bigger celebrity in his homeland due to his appearance in Love Island, rather than his boxing career, but his opponent for this past weekend was little more than a joke, and should never be allowed to box in the UK again given his hapless performance here. Przemyslaw Binienda, really was awfully and in deserves to go into the boxing bin for his performance which was an embarrassment to the sport and the show. Whoever decided to put this on in the chief support bout should also be given some tough questions to answer. We understand Fury is a "cross over star" but the arena failed to react to his comments and it was clear that even his "fans" were so nonchalant about the win that it likely did more harm than good for his career.
Whilst there have been rumours about Jhack Tepora not liking training or taking the sport seriously, as soon when he missed weight for a bout not too long ago, few would have expected him to lose his unbeaten record in the way he did. The touted and talented Filipino was blitzed inside a round by the out of form Oscar Escandon, and stopped in the opening round by a body shot. Whilst a loss isn't the end of the world there does seem to be a lot more going on behind the scenes for Tepora, and this all needs to be sorted out if he's to reach his potential. He can bounce back from a loss, but given the rumours it may not be just a simple case of just rebuilding and instead it sounds like he will need to make notable changes in terms of his lifestyle as well.
We've only got 2 ugly's this week but my my, they are repulsive. The first of those was referee Ray Corona, who should be forced to explain his actions during the Carlos Balderas v Rene Tellez Giron bout. The referee should have stopped the bout after the first knockdown, when Balderas clearly wasn't fit to resume after being dropped, hard in round 3. That was the first of several botched calls from the official who struggled to hide his favouritism through the contest. Allowing Balderas to continue in the state he was in could have left him taking shots that he was unable to defend against, and could have turned out horrific for his career, and longer term health. The fact that Corona stopped the bout the way he did in round 6, in a very similar situation, seemed to suggest Corona knew he had bottled the earlier call, but that didn't excuse what was a disgusting performance from the official.
2-Julio Cesar Chavez Jr
Oh man where do we start on Julio Cesar Chavez Jr and his week? He should have been banned, for refusing a drugs test, ahead of his bout with Danny Jacobs but an injunction saw the ban essentially being bypassed. The bout should have been called off when Chavez came in 5lbs over weight. It should have seen the promoter and Jacobs call out Chavez for his unprofessional actions and cancel the bout, taking Chavez to the cleaners for breaching his contractual obligations. But instead the bout went ahead and Chavez, who had shown no respect to the sport in the build up to the fight quit, citing a hand injury. The crowd finally turned on the Mexican, and his father's expression said it all. Really this should be it for Chavez's career. He doesn't need the sport, and the sport sure doesn't need him. Instead however it sounds like Chavez is already pencilling in his next bout, for March. Any promoter who uses him going forward is to blame for the shit show that he's involved in, and they are as much to blame for using someone they know they can't trust, as he is for his actions.
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