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.
Wanheng Menayothin (54-0, 18) Vs Ginjiro Shigeoka (5-0, 4)
The Minimumweight division seemed to be on standstill for much of 2019 with the two longest reigning champions really....not doing much. The WBO title was fought for a few times but hardly set the world on fire and IBF title was vacated before Pedro Taduran claimed it in the summer, then sat on it and didn't do anything with it. We expect changes in 2020 and there are 3 very notable novices sniffing big chances in the new year. Here we look at one of those novices, and a bout against the longest reigning male world champion currently in the sport!
Wanheng Menayothin, the man who broke Floyd Mayweather's 50-0 record, may not be well known in the west but the Thai is a solid fighter. His 54-0 record might not be the strongest record out there, but he's managed to run up 12 defenses and is actually a very good fighter, even if his performances are inconsistent at times. During his reign he has beaten a mix of world class challengers, like Tatsuya Fukuhara, Simpiwe Konkco and Pedro Taduran, as well as lesser challengers, like Go Odaira and Jerry Tomogdan. A lack of unification bouts has hurt his career, but at 34 it's now likely too late for him to land the divisional super fights, and it may be best for his career to repeal the next generation of fighters. Score wins that will age well, if you will.
In Ginjiro Shigeoka Japanese boxing has a fast tracked sensation. The 20 year old boxer-puncher has been a sensation since turning professional in 2018 and has made it clear that he wants to fight for a world title as soon as possible. At the end of 2019 he became only the second man to stop Rey Loreto and a that win, although tough, would likely have helped solidify his belief that he's ready for a world title fight. Stylistically the champion that makes the most sense for him to fight would maybe not be Wanheng, but if he wishes to make the biggest splash, which he appears to want to do, then there probably isn't a better option for him than the unbeaten Thai.
The match up would pit a defensively sound, sharp combination punching Thai veteran, who turns 35 in October, against a young sharp prodigy who is lightning quick, bullish strong and full of confidence. It would, on paper, be either a passing of the torch fight for the Minimumweight division or an old lion repelling the challenge of a young cub, too eager to make his mark. Either way the bout would have real intrigue.
Whilst this bout likely wouldn't occur early in the year, there's no reason this couldn't be set up for later in 2020, potentially after both men have fit in a bout earlier in the year, moving to 55-0 and 5-0. Both men seem to want an international bout, so maybe even popping this on the lower end of a DAZN card Stateside wouldn't be impossible either, given that Wanheng has signed with Golden Boy Promotions.
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