So, the year is about to end, and we’re all ready to kick in to 2021...well almost ready, we do still have one big show left before then. Before the year is out however we’ll be taking a look over the week we’ve just had with the final The Good, The Bad, The Ugly of the year, and it’s been a pretty decent week in fairness. We’ve not had much to complain about, and we’ve had a lot more good than bad, though is certainly still some issues in the sport that we want to vent about, as well as some we want to celebrate!
1-A-Sign Card attracts solid audience
On Boxing Day we had the latest A-Sign card streamed live over YouTube and it was a genuine success. Whilst we know we exist in an echo chamber of sorts, with fellow fight fans we were genuinely amazed by how many fans, particularly those based in the West, had a genuine interest in this show, and how the online discussion grew about the contest. It was great to see Japanese boxing connecting with an audience in the West, especially given that it was, for all intents, a pretty typical domestic Japanese TV level show. We hope fans enjoyed the event as much we did, and hopefully next time there’s an A-Sign card we’ll see a similarly excited and interested audience. We know Masayuki Ito is well known in the West, and drew a lot of the attention for his involvement on the show, and he acted as a chance for fans in the west to see the likes of Jin Sasaki and Hironori Mishiro. Well done to all involved and thank you to all the fans who tuned in!
2-Jin Sasaki is a star in the making!
We mentioned the A-Sign show, and whilst many were left talking about the decision in the main event, it wasn’t one of the main event fighters that left the lasting impression. Instead that was Jin Sasaki who put a beating on Aso Ishiwaki to claim the JBC Youth 140lb title. This was just a brutal beating by the 19 year old who again ticked all the boxes of a star. He looked exciting, heavy handed, went for the finish in round 1 and closed the show spectacularly in round 3. When watching Sasaki everything gives off the vibe of a star. His cocky confidence and aura, added to his aggression, power and style, the natural charisma that oozes off him are incredible. At just 19 he is quickly becoming one of the most compelling fighters in Japan, and someone who has the ability to go a long, long way, if handled properly.
3-Upsets in Osaka!
In Osaka on Sunday we had 3 upsets, and not only that but they came in back to back bouts as Green Tsuda put on one of the most surprising cards of the year. We saw Katsunari Takayama return from more than 4 years out to beat Reiya Konishi, in a minor surprise, Akio Furutani completely ripped up the script to defeat Takayuki Okumoto and then Yuichi Ideta scored his first win in almost a decade to overcome Ryota Yada, in a bout that was regarded as a foregone conclusion. If there is a more upset heavy card this year, we’ve not seen it!
1-Morrell misses weight for mismatch, PBC scrub history
For several weeks we were all led to believe that David Morrell’s bout with Mike Gavronski would be an interim world title defense for Morrell. That changed the day before the fight when Morrell missed weight, and suddenly the bout was changed to a 10 round non-title bout. Whilst the interim title might be a joke, the way this bout was shifted, essentially after the A-side messed up, is an even bigger joke. Come on PBC, we all know Morrell is a special talent, but a bout like this, which was an horrific mismatch, and the weight issues, will only make fans feel he’s being given some suspect treatment and turn them off the talented Cuban.
2-No US outlet for Ioka Vs Tanaka
We’ve tried to not bitch too much as we’re about to end the year, and we want to do so in high spirits, but sometimes things need calling out, and one such thing is the lack of a US Outlet for the New Year’s Eve show from Tokyo between Kazuto Ioka and Kosei Tanaka. This is one of those bouts that has had genuine international buzz, it has an English language TV deal with Boxnation and Premier Sports in the UK, and Ioka has worked with a US promoter in the past. It would give the outlet a chance to further introduce the fighters to a US market ahead of some potential clashes in 2021. Instead none of the US channels have announced a deal. We really need to say that DAZN and ESPN+ have missed an easy, and relatively cheap, win here. For ESPN plus the winner could be eyed as a possible opponent for Jerwin Ancajas or Andrew Moloney, whilst DAZN have working relationships with Juan Francisco Estrada, Roman Gonzalez, Srisaket Sor Rungvisai and Julio Cesar Martinez, who could move up for the winner.
One of the stupidest things about boxing is the inability to see the bigger picture from the promoters, and missing out on showcasing this fight, despite the prohibitive time of day for a live broadcast, is one of those cases. The winner would be an option for two main promoters, yet no one picked up the fight.
Thankfully US audiences can pick up the fight themselves, though either illicit means such as a Boxnation stream, or a legal one, through Japanese service Isakura for about $2.50 (more about that here https://www.asianboxing.info/isakura.html), but that doesn’t defend the failure of US broadcasters on this one.
1-James Kirkland’s continued career
At one point in time James Kirkland was the man you turned to if you needed a fun action fight to watch, known that he was going to be throwing bombs from the off and that either he, or his opponent, was going to be stopped. Sadly those days are long gone, and his incredible war with Alfredo Angulo is a long forgotten memory, overshadowed by Kirkland’s out of the ring issues, his relationship with Ann Wolfe and his 2011 bout with Nobuhiro Ishida. This past Saturday he was in action again , his third bout since a 2015 loss to Saul Alvarez, and he took a brutal, vicious battering at the hands of Juan Macias Montiel. We’ve seen some compare the bout to the Ishida one, but in reality this was a lot more brutal, with Kirkland taking a serious beating, being left with blood coming out of his mouth. At the age of 36 with his reflexes gone, his punch resistance gone and father time catching up with him, this has to be the end, before he ends up seriously hurt.
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