Earlier today the WBC female Minimumweight champion Yuko Kuroki (17-4-1, 8) [黒木 優子] scored her 5th defense of the title as she defeated former champion Mari Ando (13-10, 6) [安藤 麻里] with a unanimous decision, just as she did when she won the title back in May 2014.
The exciting champion made made a perfect start winning the first round and then dropping Ando in round 2 to establish a clear lead. Ando however showed her fighting spriting and fought back hard to win round 3 and get a small foot hold in the fight. Sadly for Ando that success was short lived and she would be down for a second time in round 5 as Kuroki took a huge lead on the cards and left Ando with a lot to do.
Knowing she was well behidn Anod could have just folded, she didn't ever seem to have the power, strength or speed to worry Kuroki, instead however she bit down on her gum shield and refused to just give in. Instead she earned round 6 on all 3 cards, bouncing back well from the knockdown and did enough to claim a share of the later rounds as she gritted out a gutsy performance.
Despite the gutsy effort Ando was a clear loser with all 3 of the score cards reading 96-92 in favour of Kuroki.
After the bout Ando announced that she was retiring, and that she had given the bout her all, something that was clear to fans in the arena. With this being Ando's 5th defense attention may turn to the Japanese fighter facing more notable international names in the future with some tipping her to be one of the "faces" of female boxing over the coming years.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Late last night Mexican fans so local starlet Ibeth Zamora Silva (25-5, 10) successfully defend her WBC Light Flyweight title, as she became the first fighter to stop Japan's Mari Ando (12-9, 5) [安藤 麻里], who had sought a title in a third division.
From the early moments it seemed clear that Ando was up against it with the crowd firmly behind the champion. Not only was the crowd against Ando, but so to was the Mexican who used he jab early to establish control of the bout. That control allowed Zamora to see what Ando had, before upping the tempo herself.
As Zamora upped the tempo it became clear Ando had no answer, and the more Zamora went through the gears the more Ando struggled.
Although Ando tried to answer back when the Mexican let her hands go she really began to take a bit of a hammering in round 3 as Zamora's accuracy and work rate began to be too much for Ando, who was backed on to the ropes several times.
By round 5 Ando was starting to look like a beaten woman and her team seemed to realise it, throwing in the towel in round 6 as Zamora continued to dominate the brave, but completely outmatched challenger, who was unable to match the skills, or work rate of the very talented Zamora
(Image courtesy of Pepe Rodriguez)
Earlier today Japanese fans got the chance to see two female world title fights. The more anticipated of those was a WBC female Minimumweight title fight between the defending champion Mari Ando (11-7, 5) and first time world title challenger Yuko Kuroki (11-5-1, 6). Surprisingly it was the first time challenger who came out on top taking a very well fought decision over the hard nosed Ando.
Ando, as she always does, was coming forward through out the bout but it turned out that the talented Kuroki managed to neutralise the aggression of the champion and find the distance to unleash her brilliant southpaw straight left.
The bout, which was competitive through out, saw a few momentum shifts but in the end it was Kuroki's accuracy and more refined shot selection that helped her over-come the determined and aggressive Ando who again lost a close one.
Sadly this is another set back for Ando against a world class opponent. For many her record now looks like that of a journey woman but the former WBC Minimumweight and WBA Atomweight is a 2-weight world champion and a very high-risk low reward fighter who may now struggle to get opponents. It's a shame as she has the style, which she showed again here, that is fun to watch even if it is some what crude and cave-woman-like. At 26 years old however there is a chance Ando will be able to get another chance and she will be able to smooth off the rough edges in her style that do let her down, as we saw again here.
The win for Kuroki puts her in to the frame for a big unification bout with teenage sensation Mako Yamada, the current WBO champion. Though we actually think she'll be more likely to face Saemi Hanagata or Etsuko Tada who both currently hold wins over the newly crowned world champion.
As for the WBC Minimumweight title it's unfortunately becoming a case of a hot potato with it's third champion in just 19 months. Hopefully Kuroki will manage to keep it around her waist for a while, as Naoko Fujioka did from 2011 to when she vacated the belt in 2013.
(Image courtesy of Joe Koizumi and features Kuroki on the left and Ando on the right)
On a show headlined by a scrap for the WBC female Minimumweight title there were several female contests. Not only did fans get the chance to see Mari Ando (11-6, 5) claim the WBC Minimumweight title with a decision over Jasseth Noriega (16-3-1, 5) but they also got the chance to see 4 other female contests, which made the bulk of the 6 fight show.
The card opened with Emi Kitawaki (3-4-1, 1) taking a 4 round decision over Misaki Hirooka (2-3) in a very competitive and closely scored contest. This was later followed, after 2 male bouts, by the return to action of Nao Ikeyama (13-3-1, 4). The 44 year old Ikeyama, who had been inactive for more than 3 years, managed to take a 6 round majority decision over Mika Iwakawa (3-2-1, 1). Interestingly, given Ikeyama's break from action, this was Iwakawa's 3rd bout of the year.
The card also featured 2 bouts scheduled for 8 rounds. Of those one went the distance, as Tamao Ozawa (6-1, 2) defeated Thailand's win-less Tanyakorn Sor Thammajak (0-4) via a clear decision. The other 8 round bout lasted just 107 seconds as Kumiko Seeser Ikehara (4-1-1, 3) swiftly took out the debuting Supa Tor Narong (0-1).
Female fighters are often looked down up on in a number of Western countries due to their lack of action and competitiveness. This Saturday however fans in Japan got the chance to see some female boxing at it's absolute best as Mari Ando (11-6, 5) and Jasseth Noriega (16-2-1, 5) put on an absolute war over the WBC Minimumweight title.
The WBC title, which had been vacated earlier this year by Naoko Fujioka, may have previously had a dominant champion but this time around we had a competitive bout and one that fans, worldwide should try and get their hands on.
Noriega started incredibly fast and her intentions were clear. She was going to try and break down Ando or make sure that she was winning rounds so clearly that the judges were forced to give her them. Through the first 4 rounds it was was clear the Mexican wasn't traveling around the world to just lose.
By round 5 the pace was taking it's toll on Noriega and from then on Ando began to come back into the bout. Having shown her trademark toughness the Japanese fighter found the ability to go to the well once again as she began to let loose.
Although Ando was beginning to fight back it was an uphill battle for the former WBA Atomweight champion who clearly in a hole at the half way mark.
The tenacity of Ando seemed to have done enough to make it close. As we reached the final bell it was obvious neither fighter had managed to dominate the fight but both had made a genuine claim to the world title. Thankfully for Ando fighting at home seemed to sway the judges as she took a very narrow split decision with scores of 96-94, 95-94 in her favour, against a score of 96-92 in favour of Noriega. Had the fight been in Mexico we imagine Noriega would have got the decision proving that home advantage really can be the difference between a win and a loss.
For Ando this result sees her just her second win in 5 fights following losses to Ayaka Miyao and Su-Yun Hong. For Noriega however this was her 3rd successive loss.
Courtesy of http://www.koreaboxing.co.kr
Not every female title bout is memorable but this past weekend's WBO female Minimumweight title fight between unbeaten Korean Su-Yun Hong (9-0, 5) and Japanese challenger Mari Ando (10-6, 5) was one of the ones that really was special.
Hong, a talented boxer-puncher, got off to an excellent start racking up the early rounds with her sharp punching and fantastic movement. It appeared at times too easy for the Korean who just seemed to much more skilled than Ando.
The Japanese challenger, herself a former WBA Atomweight champion, seemed to know that she had to change something and through the middle rounds she began to fight back. Although she still seemed to be losing rounds she was beginning to make them competitive and starting to tag the champion her own solid shots, shots that would begin to mark up the face of the champion.
Although Hong had seemingly taken a clear lead in the early rounds Ando began to crawl her way back into the fight in the latter stages clearly winning 2 of the late rounds as she attempted to take Hong out and take the the title to Japan. Unfortunately for the Japanese fighter Hong had the ability to see out the distance and force the judges to make a decision.
Despite many, ourselves included, seeing the bout as a clear victory for Hong, made competitive by Ando's late charge, the judges were split. Korean Judge Kyung-Han Lee favoured the Korean fighter scoring the bout 99-91 Hong, Japanese judge Katsuhiko Nakamura scored the bout as a close contest though favoured Ando 96-94 whilst the deciding judge Bruce McTavish, of the Philippines though originally from New Zealand, favoured Hong by a score of 98-92 to help the Korean to her second title defense.
With both of her eyes swollen up Hong will know she was in a fight. The split decision, at least to us, was rather misleading and unrepresentative of the actual bout though we wouldn't imagine Hong would be in a rush to face Ando again.
For the Japanese fighter it's fair to say she will be a handful against anyone. She might win another world title fight but she will give fighters hell in each and every major fight she gets.