The past week has been an interesting one in Asian boxing. We had expected two world title fights but sadly Covid19 struck, removing one of those fights from the schedule the day before the bout was supposed to take place. Despite that we actually had a really good week. It was a week full of great stories, surprisingly good action, and a week that is worth look back over quite happily. It may not have been the biggest week we've had but it was a really good week!
Fighter of the Week
There really was only one man in the running for the Fighter of the Week and that was Junto Nakatani, who announced himself on the world stage with a TKO win over Giemel Magramo. The 22 year old from Japan shone as he outboxed, out fought, out punched, out though and generally out did Magramo in every which way to claim the WBO Flyweight title. After talking about Nakatani for years, following his Rookie of the Year success, we are so proud of seeing Nakatani getting plaudits from around the boxing world and it's well and truly due!
Performance of the Week
Not only did Nakatani get the biggest win of the week, which is generally what our Fighter of the Week award is for, but he also put in the performance of the week. He made a very dangerous, talented fighter look third rate. Magramo isn't a bad fighter but if that was the first time you'd seen him you were left with the impressed that he was completely inept. Nakatani didn't just beat Magramo at range, where he could have made life very, very easy, but beat him on the inside too, showing how effective he can be at either range. It wasn't quite a flawless performance, but it wasn't far off from the brilliant youngster. This was a complete performance and a star making one!
Fight of the Week
Amnat Ruenroeng Vs Pungluang Sor Singyu
We'll admit that we had high expectations and genuine excitement when we saw the announcement that Amnat Ruenroeng and Pungluang Sor Singyu would face off on a WP Boxing show. What we didn't expect was for the two men to put on something truly brilliant. This 8 round bout was marred with controversy before hand, with Amnat citing a hand injury, changing the weight of the bout and the length of the bout, but in the ring the two veterans put on a show and over-delivered. They was 8 rounds of fantastic action, with styles that gelled perfectly. Pungluang was the aggressor through out, pressing and pressuring whilst Amnat played the role of counter puncher, making for a sensational bout with brilliant back and forth. If you've a bad taste in your mouth after the DAZN and PBC cards give this one a watch, it'll remind you why you follow this sport!
Round of the Week
Junpei Tsujimoto vs Daiki Ogura (Rd2)
Whilst the Amnat Vs Pungluang bout was the best bout it didn't have the best round. That honour belonged to round 2 of the bout between Junpei Tsujimoto and Daiki Ogura. In fact this goes down as one of the best rounds of the year. The round started slowly but about 40 seconds in an Ogura left hook buckled Tsujimoto's knees and a follow up dropped him. To his credit Tsujimoto got to his feet and took a pounding whilst trying to survive. He was holding, spoiling, and doing anything to buy time to recover, whilst Ogura landed a number of big left hooks. It seemed almost certain that Tsujimoto would be heading down to the canvas again but he managed to shake the cobwebs and, 2 minutes after being dropped himself he knocked Ogura down and out with a huge right hand, turning the tables in a must see round. Fantastic stuff!
KO of the Week
Thananchai Charunphak KO4 Pigmy Kokietgym
We had some dramatic finishes this week, including the one between Tsujimoto and Ogura, but few were as painful looking and devastating as the brutal body shot KO scored by Thananchai Charunphak, who damn near gutted Pigmy Kokietgym. To his credit Kokietgym came to win, he just wasn't good enough to be competitive with the very highly skilled Thananchai who took control early on, and then started hammering Pigmy in round 3 and 4. In round 4 Pigmy was down twice, with the second knockdown being the finish. It came from a single, devastating, left hook tot he mid section that left Pigmy in pure agony on the canvas. This was what a body KO is supposed to look like and is a real treat for those who like to see bouts finished with gut busters and rib wreckers.
Prospect of the Week
When a promoter matches a novice with a former world title challenger that tends to mean one of two things. Either the novice is there to lose, and lose quickly, or he's seen the real deal. Thitisak Hoitong falls firmly in the category of "real deal". The 24 year old debuted on Sunday morning in Samur Prakan, Thailand, and boy did he leave an impression. He out boxed 2-time world title challenger Samartlek Kokietgym with ease and looked like a veteran. On his debut. Thitisak moved around the ring with ease, picked his punches perfectly, looked relaxed and calm throughout and showed all the touches of a future star. This may have been his first bout as a professional but we dare say his future is looking incredible and he really could be fighting for a world title in the next year or two. He looks like a very, very special fighter and if you missed his debut we really suggest hunting it down at some point this week. We suspect you'll be very impressed by the debutant, just like we were.
It's fair to say that November has started hot, despite the late cancellation of Kazuto Takesako Vs Riku Kunumoto, but it certainly doesn't end there and the rest of the month continues to be hectic. Here we're going to take a look at the middle portion of the month, and there really is a lot to get through here.
Blue Arena, Samut Prakan, Thailand
Nattapong Jankaew (6-0, 3) Vs Petchbarngborn Kokietgym (44-9, 20)
In an excellent Thai match up we'll see the talented Nattapong Jankaew take on former world title challenger Petchbarngborn Kokietgym, who fought Naoya Inoue a few years ago. We've been really impressed by Nattapong so far and expect him to go a long way, so with that in mind we're expecting him to win this, with ease, but to also show what he can do. Petchbarngborn is a live under-dog, but a very clear under-dog against a very talented professional novice.
Thitisak Hoitong (0-0) Vs Samartlek Kokietgym (34-14-1, 12)
We'll openly admit we know very, very little about Thitisak Hoitong but it's clear his team must have some serious belief in him to match him against former world title challenger Samartlek Kokietgym, on his debut! Whilst we can't talk too much about Thitisak it is worth noting that Samartlek has shared the ring with Naoya Inoue and Akira Yaegashi, and both men were taken long by Samartlek, with Inoue stopping him in 11 and Yaegashi in the 12th. We are expecting Thitisak to win, based on what we known of his amateur pedigree, but nobody has an easy time with Samartlek. Expect the novice to work hard here.
Production Park Studios, South Kirkby, Yorkshire, United Kingdom
Tursynbay Kulakhmet (1-0, 1) vs Macaulay McGowan (14-0-1, 3)
We continue with inexperienced professionals as we move onto a bout featuring the exceptionally talented Tursynbay Kulakhmet from Kazakhstan. The brilliant Kulakhmet will be going for his first title in just his second bout, as he takes on the unbeaten Macaulay McGowan. On paper this is a very real test for Kulakhmet though we suspect he makes it look easy and secures his place on the fast track to the top. He's an sensational talent, he showed that in his amateur days and on his professional debut, and we'd be very surprised if he doesn't stop McGowan here. The Kazakh is a special prospect that doesn't come around very often.
Sultan Zaurbek (9-0, 7) vs Jeff Ofori (10-3-1, 3)
Another Kazakh prospect in action here is Sultan Zaurbek, who appears to be getting his first legitimate test as a professional. The unbeaten 24 year old has barely lost a minute since his debut, just over 2 years ago, but here he goes up against the tricky, and under-rated Jeff Ofori. Ofori will be the under-dog, and rightfully so, but is a live one and proved his value recently in a very close decision loss to Archie Sharp. This is a credible step up for Zaurbek, at the right time, against a very good opponent, who is naturally bigger than himself, but alight puncher. A good bit of match making.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
Kimika Miyoshi (15-12-1, 6) vs Yoshie Wakasa (6-2, 2)
In a Japanese female Featherweight title bout we'll see veteran Kimika Miyoshi defending her title against Yoshie Wakasa. For the champion this will be her second defense and although her record might look poor, to say the least, she's a battle hardened veteran who knows her way around the ring, and will likely be aware than she's likely only one loss away from retirement. Aged 36 she can't afford a loss. For Wakasa this is a third title fight, she has lost her last two and will be hoping it's third time lucky. Wakasa will know that she may not get another opportunity any time soon, and it could be now or never for her.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
Rikki Naito (24-2, 7) Vs Yusuke Konno (16-4, 9)
OPBF Light Welterweight champion Rikki Naito will be looking to become a double champion as he clashes with fellow Japanese fighter Yusuke Konno for not just the OPBF title but also the vacant WBO Asia Pacific title. On paper Naito will be favoured, and technically he is the better fighter, as well as being the younger, quicker man. But his lack of power may well be an issue in getting Konno's respect, and Naito's questionable stamina will pushed to it's limits here by Konno. This is a genuinely fantastic match up, and the winner will be pretty much the de facto Asian champion at 140lbs.
Yoshimitsu Kimura (12-2, 7) Vs Shuma Nakazato (10-1-2, 7)
Former OPBF Super Featherweight title challenger Yoshimitsu Kimura clashes with Shuma Nakazato in a brilliant, 50-50 match up that really is mouth watering. Both men have similar records, both are talented youngsters with real potential and neither are taking on an easy foe to close out 2020. Kimura is slightly more proven, having fought over 12 rounds twice in very competitive losses, but Nakazato cannot be written off and will come into this knowing a win gets him into the title mix. A brilliant, potentially thrilling high speed technical war, between two criminally under-rated 24 year olds. This could, genuinely, be the hidden gem of the month.
Suzumi Takayama (3-0, 3) Vs Hiroto Yashiro (2-0, 2)
Unbeaten JBC Youth Super Flyweight champion Suzumi Takayama looks to make his first defense as he takes on the very talented Hiroto Yashiro. If we're being honest, this is exactly the type of bout we expected when Japan introduced the Japanese Youth titles, and we're glad to see these sorts of bouts. Both of these men are young, unbeaten, heavy handed, crisp, fluid aggressive fighters. As professionals Takayama is the more proven, and he answered a lot of questions last time out, stopping Tetsuro Ohashi in a tremendous bout 13 months ago. That win will make him the favourite, but Yashiro is a very, very live under-dog, taking a very credible step up. Don't look at the records her and ignore the fight, these two are very advanced professional novices, with solid amateur credentials and we are expecting something sensational here.
Ryoichi Tamura (13-5-1, 7) Vs Ryu Oba (5-4, 3)
Former Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Ryoichi Tamura Looks to score his second win since his brutal title loss to Yusaku Kuga last year. In reality we don't imagine him having any problems with Ryu Oba here, a lower level domestic fighter, but Tamura is known to make life difficult for himself, and to make every fight he's involved in worthy of watching. This will be brutal, rough, tough, exciting, and we can't ask for more than that!
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