Maybe it's just us but it really does seem like November was an incredibly long month, with so much going on and so many fights taking place. It seemed, during the entire month, that there was no time to sit and breathe as there was always a bout taking place or a bout being announced, or cancelled. It really does seem hard to believe that Naoya Inoue's win over Jason Moloney came just over a month ago, at the end of October, and since then so much has happened in the boxing world.
We're not here today for a history however, and instead we are here for the Monthly Award for November, and boy was there some hot competition for a number of these awards.
Fighter of the Month
Back on November 6th we saw Japanese youngster Junto Nakatani announce himself on the world stage with a clinical, brilliant, and educated win over Giemel Magramo, stopping the Filipino in 8 rounds to claim the WBO Flyweight title. This was just fantastic from Nakatani who controlled at range and dominated up close, which was supposed to be Magramo's wheel yard. The youngster has been the toast of Japan since and it's clear to see the youngster from Sagamihara City has all the tools needed to be a huge star in Japan over the coming years. This was the break out win he needed and the future is sensationally bright for him.
Honourable mention -
Fight of the Month
Yoshimitsu Kimura Vs Shuma Nakazato
We've been lucky in November to have a lot of fights worth talking about during the month, though for us the best was the stand out 8 rounder from Tokyo between Yoshimitsu Kimura and Shuma Nakazato. This was one of those rare bouts where we couldn't call it going in, and neither could fans. It was a true 50/50 match up on paper, and it was a 50/50 match up in the ring, from the first round, to the last. Both men boxed at a high level, both were dropped and both dug in deep when the tempo increased. This was worth the price of Boxing Raise for the entire month. A sensational fight that deserved a bigger crowd and a bigger stage.
Honourable mention -
Amnat Ruenroeng Vs Pungluang Sor Singyu
Wanheng Menayothin Vs Panya Pradabsri
KO of the Month
James Bacon KO2 Roque Agustin Junco
There was only going to be one winner here and that was always going to be Filipino slugger James Bacon and his jaw dropping, brutal and vicious KO of Roque Agustin Junco, which is one of the best KO's we've seen this year. Anywhere! Bacon caught his man with a vicious sweeping left hook, that he turned right into and landed bang on the chin. Junco was out cold before he hit the canvas and lay, on the ring, like an Angel for a few moments before coming to. This was absolutely sensational and is KO we advise everyone to go and watch. Just, a jaw dropping KO and we were all glad to see Junco responsive afterwards, and sitting on his stool.
Thitisak Hoitong (1-0)
We had a lot of excellent prospects in the ring during the month, though we'll admit the man who left the biggest impression on us was the debuting Thitisak Hoitong, who really impressed in a 6 rounder against multi-time world title challenger Wittawas Basapean. During the bout Wittawas was out boxed, out fought, out thought, out manoeuvred and pretty much beaten in every which way. Thitisak looked like a sensation here and like one of the most skilled novices we're ever seen. At one point it seemed like he had Wittawas ready to go, but then took his foot off the gas and got 6 good rounds of experience. Genuinely one to watch
Honourable mention - Phoobadin Yoohanngoh
Panya Pradabsri Vs Wanheng Menayothin
We only had one or two upsets of any note, though we did have a particularly big one towards the end of the month and that was the unanimous decision win by Panya Pradabsri against Wanheng Menayothin to claim the WBC Minimumweight title. The bout opened with Wanheng as a 1/12 favourite, close to unbackable in our eyes, with the bookies and whilst the odds did topple significantly by fight night Wanheng was still the clear favourite with his 54-0 record expected to have another win added to it. Instead we saw the 29 year old challenger take the victory and the WBC title in a career defining performance.
Honourable mention - Hyuma Fujioka UD6 Ryugo Ushijima
Junpei Tsujimoto vs Daiki Ogura (Rd2)
We legitimately had so many standout rounds in the month of November that we could probably put 12 together to make for an amazing full length fight, and still have rounds that are worth a watch missing out. For us the best round of the month was the second round of the bout between Junpei Tsujimoto and Daiki Ogura. This wasn't a world class round of high quality action, which we know some prefer, but this was drama, heart, determination, shock and surprise. For much of the round Tsujimoto looked a goner, he was rocked, hurt, dropped, and all over the place for much of the round until he turned it around later on with 1 huge right hand. There was no round as dramatic as this one. A truly tremendous round that deserves to be watched over and over.
Honourable mentions -
Ryoichi Tamura Vs Ryu Oba (RD1)
Takahiro Hamazaki Vs Takuya Takahashi (Rd 3)
Ken Koibuchi v Tetsuya Kondo (Rd 3)
Wanheng Menayothin Vs Panya Pradabsri (Rd 6)
Yoshimitsu Kimura Vs Shuma Nakazato (Rd7)
Wanheng Menayothin Vs Panya Pradabsri (Rd 11)
This past week promised plenty and whilst it may have slightly under-delivered there was certainly plenty of highlights in a week that seemed to suggest action was picking up, and that boxing was, slowly, continuing in the right direction. We did, sadly, lose two bouts that looked fantastic on paper, though we got more than enough to talk about in the week's weekly awards.
Fighter of the Week
Although there wasn't any monstrously big fights this week there was an OPBF title bout on Saturday that saw the talented Rikki Naito retain his 140lb belt with a TKO9 over Yusuke Konno. It wasn't a standout performance from Naito, in fact in round 6 it looked like he was in real trouble, but he gritted out some tough times and resumed dominance after Konno suffered a shoulder injury. Despite being the Fighter of the Week, we do still worry about Naito's long term success at 140lbs and we do wonder whether he has the physical power and strength to get the respect of fighters, something he really struggled with here. Despite that he showed some lovely boxing skills, movement, handspeed, timing and a brilliant jab to earn our weekly award.
Performance of the Week
After more than a year out of the ring, and with only 1 fight in 24 months, we didn't really know what to expect from US based Tajik Mekhrubon Sanginov. In the end he really just dominated and controlled American foe Cleotis Pendarvis in what was a controlled yet dominant performance that netted him his first win in over 2 years. We'll not pretend he blew us away, but it was certainly a solid performance, where he forced the action, used his size and controlled a more experienced opponent. This was a solid performance, without being spectacular and left us wanting to see more of Sanginov, who clearly has some tools to work with going forward. Sadly there was no one with a performance that really made us think "wow", but Sanginov getting a solid win in a controlled fashion almost nets this award by default.
Fight of the Week
Yoshimitsu Kimura Vs Shuma Nakazato
Going into the weekend we felt like the 8 round Super Featherweight bout between Yoshimitsu Kimura and Shuma Nakazato could deliver something very special, with both men being hungry youngsters looking to make a mark on the sport, and both able to fight or box. In the end it didn't quite reach the heights we expected of the bout, but it certainly was the standout contest from the week. We had boxing skills on show, we had both men hitting the canvas, flash points early and the a real crascendo late on as Kimura tried to stop Nakazato in the final round. If you missed this one it's on Boxing Raise and is well and truly worthy of a watch. A very good bout, even if it didn't quite become the special bout we had been hoping for.
Round of the Week
Ryoichi Tamura Vs Ryu Oba (RD1)
If you are ever feeling depressed by the state of boxing we seriously recommend just putting on a fight with Ryoichi Tamura, his mentality in the ring is that of someone who wants to let leather fly and at an incredible pace. That was on show this weekend when he took on Ryu Oba and spent the entire first round setting a pace that was simply insane. To his credit Oba fought back bravely, and saw out the storm, but it was Tamura who stole the limelight with some of the most intense offense we've seen in a long time, making this a thrill a second round. It wasn't competitive, or dramatic, but it was just what we needed and was the type of action that it is pure enjoyment as a fan of the sport.
KO of the Week
Jameson Bacon KO2 Roque Agustin Junco
By far, and away, the easiest award this week was the KO of the Week award, which was taken in spectacular fashion by Filipino slugger Jameson Bacon. The hard hitting Pinoy landed brutal left hand on Roque Agustin Junco, who was out cold before heading to the canvas. For fans of brutal 1-punch KO's this is among the best we've seen in 2020 and is well worth hunting down. Truly brutal.
Prospect of the Week
Sadly there was a surprising lack of prospects in action over the last week, due in part to fights featuring Ryosuke Nishida, Suzumi Takayama and Hiroto Yashiro being cancelled. As a result we were really left with very few possible for this award. Despite those issues we did like what we saw of Filipino youngster Dave Apolinario, who again impressed with his boxing brain, ring craft, shot selection and movement as he beat Bonjun Loperez. The youngster, who we have raved about in the past, looks like one of the most rounded Filipino prospects out there and fingers crossed that he does get a much deserved step up to fringe Oriental title level in 2021.
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