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.
Another week is over and it's another week where we've had good, we've had bad and we've again had some ugly. In fact we seem to have some recurring uglies, sadly.
1-Roman Gonzalez gets another chance
Roman "Chocolatito" is one of our favourite fighters, and we know we're not alone there, so to hear that he'll be getting another world title fight in February is great news. Better yet it's an a very winnable one for the little Nicaraguan master as he takes on the weak link of the Super Flyweight champions. Although Kal Yafai is unbeaten this is a step up for him, and a test to see what Gonzalez has left in the tank. An intriguing match up and something that we're looking forward to. Better yet this comes on a very good card, and it's a great sign that DAZN are eyeing up ways to keep hardcore fans onside.
2-The Champion Carnival Bouts
Although the Champion Carnival bouts didn't have any actual surprises it's great to see them all, barring the Minimumweight bout, now being known and it's even better that so many of the bouts have the dates set. We've a lot to look forward to in the first half of 2020 and the Champion Carnival plays a major part in that. Special mention needs to go to the April 9th edition of Diamond Glove, which features a brilliant Champion Carnival double header and already looks like a highlight to mark on the calender, even this far out.
1-Biney Martin's officiating in the Takahashi vs Doronio fight
We want to start this by stating that we rate Biney Martin highly as a referee. This week however he "done goofed", big time. The veteran referee, himself a former fighter, really should have done more after unbeaten Japanese fighter Takuma Takahashi landed a combination on Leonardo Doronio, after Doronio was dropped. The fact Takahashi did it twice was a disgrace and it's a shame that Martin didn't take points and give Doronio time to recover what what were flagrant fouls. Regardless of Martin's officiating, this bout was tremendous and well worth a watch for those who missed it live.
2-Pedro Villegas getting world title shot
Whilst it's great the WBO haven't gone the route of the WBA, with multiple "world" champions, or the WBC, with ceremonial titles left right and center, they don't really seem to value their own titles. This week we were informed that the 12-0 (4) Pedro Villegas would be getting a shot at WBO Minimumweight champion Wilfredo Vazquez in February. On paper that doesn't look like something to complain about, however the devil is in the detail of that 12-0 record. The unbeaten 21 year old Ecuadorian has scored just 5 wins over opponents with a win to their name, only 1 opponent with a winning record and has only been scheduled to do 8 or more rounds twice. The one fighter with a winning record he beat was 35-24-3 entering their bout, was 40 years old, 6 removed from a win and hadn't fought at all in over a year. According to the WBO rankings Villegas is unranked, so we do wonder if the plug will be pulled on this one, as it bloody should be!
1-Continued speculation of Alejandro Jimenez's gender
Can we just fucking stop this? It was bad enough when she won the title but it's actually got to the point where the WBC, yes those ass clowns, have been able to get the moral high ground on boxing fans. Thankfully this did begin to subside at the end of the week, but in the middle of the week this was still a subject that boxing fans were being absolute imbeciles about.
2-Antonio Brown Vs Logan Paul
We want to speak about boxers boxing. We want to talk about fighters fighting. This week however we've seen more talk about a former disgraced, but talented, NFL player fighting Logan Paul than we've seen talk about actual fights. DAZN and Eddie Hearn, have opened the floodgates to these freak fights on US soil and it's not a good thing. Japan had them in PRIDE and Australia have for Aussie rules players fighting quite often, but...yeah we shouldn't be encouraging this.
3-Wilder Vs Fury II Under(developed)card
What the fuck is going on here? A massive card, with the eyes of the world boxing should be used as an advert for the sport. The main event will grab the fan attention and the under-card is a chance to show either great match ups or promising prospects. With 5 weeks go until February 22nd this card is still pretty much an undeveloped mess. Promising and good looking bouts have been linked to the show, but it appears they aren't going to be taking place on the show and instead we're left with a void. Awful work from the promoters who look like they have completely and utterly missed the opportunity to make this show something to build off.
The month of Dacember really doesn't give room to think or catch our breath, and over the coming days we have prospects in action, Rookie of the Year action, world title action, a fighter heading off to the UK to face on one of the sports most promising youngsters, and so, so much more!
Akinori Watanabe (38-7-1, 32) vs Sitthidet Banti (12-5, 6) - Tokyo, Japan
The always entertaining Akinori Watanabe looks to make his first defense of the OPBF Light Middleweight title as he takes on limited Thai foe Sitthident Banti. On paper this should be little more than a home coming defense for Watanabe, who won the title in Korea. Although we're not fans of the fight it's hard to criticise Watanabe for having an easy fight given his competition over the last few years, and the punishment he has taken. Given Banti was stopped by a Japanese novice a few months ago this should be an easy win for the champion.
Mikio Sakai (1-0) vs Ran Tomomatsu (1-0) - Tokyo, Japan
A much more attractive bout in Tokyo will see former amateur standouts Mikio Sakai and Ran Tomomatsu clash in a brilliantly matched contest. Of the two Sakai is the one who has impressed us more, with his better all round boxing skills, but Tomomatsu looks like a very strong fighter with an edge in power. It can be hard to get excited about two 1-0 guys facing off, but we really are looking forward to this clash, and we are expecting something very impressive from two men who are very, very capable.
Daniyar Yeleussinov (8-0, 4) vs Alan Sanchez (20-4-1, 10) - Arizona, USA
Unbeaten Kazakh hopeful Daniyar Yeleussinov looks to continue his climb through the rankings as he takes on experienced foe Alan Sanchez. On paper this looks like a good test for the talented, yet often frustrating, Yeleussinov but in reality it's hard to get too excited about the contest. Sanchez has proven to be a banana skin, taking the unbeaten record of John Carlo Sosa and beaten Pabo Cesar Cano, but he's only had 3 wins in 4 years, has been out of action for more than a year, and was last teen being stopped by Alexander Besputin, in September 2018. A win for the Kazakh is expected, and it's a shame we won't be able to read much into it.
Kyotaro Fujimoto (21-1, 13) Vs Daniel Dubois (13-0, 12) - London, United Kingdom
Former Japanese Heavyweight champion Kyotaro Fujimoto makes his international debut as he takes on destructive Englishman Daniel Dubois. On paper this looks like a solid step up in class for Dubois, but in reality it seems very much like Fujimoto is being thrown to the wolves. Fujimoto has been treading water looking for a big bout, but this is likely to be far too much for Fujimoto. The small, speedy Japanese Heavyweight will lack the power to get Dubois respect, and will lack the chin needed to take the bombs from "DDD". A mismatch and oddity.
All Japan Rookie of the Year finals - Tokyo, Japan
One of the highlights of the boxing calendar! The All Japan Rookie of the Year is a culmination of the various regional tournaments and will be shown live on G+. Whilst this likely won't get much international attention the Japanese Rookie of the Year is, by far, the best annual tournament in boxing, and had often been a launchpad for Japanese fighters who on to big things. Whether you get to watch it or not this is worth making a mental note of.
Yuki Strong Kobayashi (15-8, 9) vs Ki Chang Go (8-3, 4) - Osaka, Japan
Japanese warrior Yuki Strong Kobayashi looks to make his first defense of the WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight title as he takes on Korean challenger Ki Chang Go, in what looks like a very safe match up. Kobayashi is a gutsy fighter, who has limitations but will always fight his heart out and has improved through his career to become a very solid fighter. Go on the other hand is just a few fights removed from losing to Kobayashi's then stable mate Masahiro Sakamoto, a man who is best known for losing a Flyweight world title fight. Kobayashi should be far too strong and big for the Korean here.
Hiroyuki Kudaka (26-18-2, 11) Vs Yuta Matsuo (15-4-1, 8) - Osaka, Japan
The final Japanese title eliminator of 2019 will be at Super Flyweight and see former world title challenger Hiroyuki Kudaka take on Yuta Matsuo for the right to fight the newly crowned Kenta Nakagawa. Although neither Kudaka or Matsuo are world beaters they do make for an interesting match up, and we think their limitations and styles should gel well for a very fun action bout. Don't expect a boxing bout here, but instead expect a fight! A real potential gem, among a month of great fights.
Ryota Murata (15-2, 12) Vs Steven Butler (28-1-1, 24) - Yokohama, Japan
Japanese mega star Ryota Murata looks to have a longer second reign with the WBA "regular" Middleweight title than his first, and faces off with hard hitting Canadian Steven Butler in his first defense. Murata really impressed when he avenged his loss to Rob Brant earlier this year, and another performance like that here should see him over-come Butler. The challenger is however dangerous and will be in Japan looking to score his biggest win to date. This could be very explosive.
Moruti Mthalane (38-2, 25) vs Akira Yaegashi (28-6, 16) - Yokohama, Japan
South African veteran Morruti Mthalane returns to Japan for this third defense of the IBF Flyweight title, and he takes on fellow veteran Akira Yaegashi. We don't just see this as being a bout for the title, but a bout for survival, and the loser really is going to struggle to have any sort of a future in the sport. Both have had great careers, but with both men now on the wrong side of 35 their future in the sport is limited, and fighting back up the ranks after a loss would be very difficult. Although the older man, and more experienced fighter, Mthalane has looked the fresher man, but 37 is ancient for a Flyweight and father will catch up to him sooner or later. Then again Yaegashi, at 36, is no spring chicken either. A very interesting and massively significant match up for the Flyweight division.
Kenshiro Teraji (16-0, 9) Vs Randy Petalcorin (31-3-1, 23) -Yokohama, Japan
Japanese fighter Kenshiro Teraji, who is mow fighting by his full name, was supposed to face IBF Lught Flyweight champion Felix Alvarado in a unification bout, until Alvarado fell ill. To replace Alvarado they've brought in Randy Petalcorin, who will challenger the unbeaten Japanese for the the WBC Light Flyweight title. The champion is looking for his 7th defense, and will be strongly favoured here but Petalcorin is a solid challenger and should give Kenshiro something of a test here.
Roman Gonzalez (47-2, 39) vs Diomel Diocos (14-5-3, 4) -Yokohama, Japan
Nicaraguan great Roman Gonzalez fights in his 50th professional bout as he takes on Filipino foe Diomel Diocos. The talented Gonzalez is clearly past his best, but looked great last time out, when he beat down Moises Fuentes and likely has more than enough in the tank to take a stoppage win here. Interestingly it's more than a year since Gonzalez last fought, and more than 5 years since he last stepped foot in a Japanese ring. Diocos has faced limited opponents, other than Daigo Higa who stopped him. We suspect Gonzalez does a number on Diocos like Higa did.
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