When you see a fighter with a record like 34-15-3 (16) you tend to write them off by default, especially in this day and age of padded records, protected fighters and selective match making. That however can prove to be a costly mistake and sometimes you just need to realise that a record doesn't actually tell us a lot about a fighter. Although we think they do show us something about a fighter a record is rarely the bee all and end all of a boxer's ability.
We had a great example of misleading records just a few weeks ago when Filipino Rey Loreto, who boasted a 17-13 record, upset Nkosinathi Joyi who was 24-2-0-1.
Loreto, like a number of Filipino fighters, has a record that is hugely misleading due to controversial losses, losses in hard fights early in his career and just generally being matched tougher than he should have been. Another Filipino in a similar position to Loreto is Vinvin Rufino (34-15-3, 16) who boasts the record used at the beginning of this preview.
Rufino, the OPBF #1 contender, has won less than 66% of all his fights. Of his 15 losses though at least 6 are highly questionable and 12 have come on foreign soil where results are rarely expected to go in favour of the visiting fighter. If you switch the highly questionable losses to victories Rufino's record would be a somewhat respectable 40-9-3.
On March 24th Rufino will be hoping to shock the boxing world like Loreto did as he takes on OPBF Featherweight champion Hisashi Amagasa (25-4-2, 16) in a bout that is a lot more interesting than the records of the men would indicate.
Amagasa goes in to the bout a clear favourite. That's just stating the obvious, he's at home, he's the defending champion, he's world ranked by the WBC #11, WBO #12 and IBF #13, he's a man in the form of his life with 10 straight victories and he's a tricky customer at the best of times. As we all know however upsets happen and Amagasa will need to be fully aware that he's not fighting an over-matched foe, he's fighting his #1 challenger.
Amagasa won the title last year by scoring a decision victory over former world champion Ryol Li Lee who had beaten Amagasa back in 2010. The victory over Lee saw Amagasa avenging his most recent loss and putting his name on the world rankings in the process. Despite the victory many questioned whether he was fighting the real Lee or a man who was had mentally retired from the sport. Lee, not quite looking himself, managed to keep the fight close and although Amagasa was the rightful winner one has to wonder what a determined Lee could have done that fight.
Interestingly Amagasa had to himself turn around a poor looking record. After just 12 fights he had a record of 7-3-2 (6) and the only decision he had won in that time had come against Yoshiharu Yajima who was 3-2 entering his bout with Amagasa. Of course since then Amagasa has improved though should be fully aware that a bad looking record doesn't tell you how good a fighter is, as he himself has proven by winning 18 of his subsequent 19 contests.
Unlike Amagasa, Rufino doesn't hold a really notable win. His best victories are over the likes of Adones Aguelo and Rene Bestudio. He does however deserve major credit for his losses to Aleksander Bajawa, Naoki Matsuda, in an absolute thriller, and Sipho Taliwe all on the road. A number of which could easily have gone in his favour.
It's fights with South African Taliwe that really show how competitive this bout is. Taliwe gave the popular Daud Yordan a very close fight last year and with Rufino arguably deserving of two victories we refuse to write him off.
Whilst we won't write off Rufino we do think he'll struggle with the both the power and reach of Amagasa. The Japanese fighter is almost 5" taller than the Filipino, much rangier and a very solid hitter. If he uses his strengths then Amagasa should box off the jab, fire in powerful straights and slowly break down Rufino.
Rufino, to his credit, will try and get inside the champion and rough him up with his under-rated power and strength. If Rufino gets his way this could turn into a genuine war and a FOTY contender though the question is whether or not he can get inside. If he can't there is only one winner and it's not the brave and under-rated challenger.
We'll be picking the obvious choice in Amagasa though we do not expect this to be easy for him and we'd expect a least a few hairy moments for the champion who will know he's been in a real fight at the end of it.
This fight is one of two title fights on the same card, the other is the very good looking Japanese Super Bantamweight title bout between Hidenori Otake and Takafumi Nakajima.
(Photo courtesy of Boxmob)
Having canned the old "Full Schedule" of Asianboxing we have instead decided to concentrate more on the major bouts. This section, the "Preview" section will look at major bouts involving OPBF and national titles. Hopefully leading to a more informative style for, you the reader.