The annual "Strongest Korakuen", AKA the JBC title elimination fight, returned earlier today for the 2013 edition of the Japanese title elimination tournament. The finals, which took place over 4 weight divisions, were all eagerly anticipated in Japan and of course with the prize of a national title fight up for grabs each of the men involved put it all on the line.
The first of the bout from the show saw things saw the sort of competitive action that we'd expect in this sort of competition as we got a majority decision. This was from the Light Flyweight division where the experienced Kenichi Horikawa (25-12-1, 4) narrowly overcame Toshimasa Ouchi (16-7-3, 4) in a razor thin contest. This should see Horikawa getting a bout with Naoya Inoue, though we expect Inoue to vacate the title before then
The second contest on the card saw fans seeing the highly touted Yohei Tobe (7-1-1, 4), who finally seems to be getting his career back on track. Tobe, competing in the Super Flyweight divsion managed to stop Yoshihito Ishizaki (8-6-1, 4) at the end of the fifth round to book his Japanese title fight with the winner of the November 24th show down between Teiru Kinoshita and Ryuta Otsuka.
Following Tobe's victory in the Super Flyweight division we moved on to the Super Bantamweight division, which saw Takafumi Nakajima (22-6-1, 9) coming out on top. Nakajima managed to take out his opponent, the usually durable veteran, Mikihito Seto (34-11-2, 8) in the fourth round. Amazingly this was just the second time in 47 contests that Seto had been stopped and the first time since 2003, over a decade ago! This victory sees Nakajima putting himself in line for a fight with Hidenori Otake.
The final of Japanese bouts saw the unbeaten Rikki Naito (8-0, 4) over coming the more experienced Keiichi Izumi (13-6, 4) in a very tough contest and hard fought contest. Naito was pushed to the limit though he managed to take a majority decision despite being cut on the left eyelid. The victory sees Naito moved in line for a bout with with Japanese Super Featherweight champion Daiki Kaneko, a man who may be a little bit too experienced for Naito at this point.
Outside of Japan there was of course more action with a card in the Philippines and action featuring Asian's on international soil.
The Filipino card, held at the Ynares Plaza Gymnasium in Binangonan saw 10 bouts of action which were headlined by two title fights.
The card kicked off with 5 bouts involving novices, 4 of which included debutants. These saw Lorence Rosas (1-0) taking a split decision over Dino Bulahan (0-1) in an all debutant contest, Michael Bravo (1-0) defeating Joel Tamano (0-1) by unanimous decision, Niero Saldon (1-0) taking a split decision over Ernie Mino Jr (0-2), Valeriano Gabriel (2-3) taking a split decision over Rolando Sadsad (0-2-1) and Rodney Ramirez (0-0-1) taking a 94 second technical draw with Fidel Cuyno (0-2-1) after a very early clash of heads.
Following the novice bouts we had three fights scheduled for 6 rounds. Surprisingly 2 of these were incredibly close, much like the novice contests before them. The close bouts over 6 saw Marvin DelaCruz (9-12-2, 5) narrowly out pointing the experienced Elbert Guardario (8-23-1, 2) and Regan Delos Santos (2-1-1, 2) taking a draw with Menard Abila (3-1-2, 1) who has now recorded back to back draws.
In the remaining 6 round contest, and the first bout with a clear winner, Benjie Suganob (7-1-1, 3) stopped the fragile Marco Niones (3-10, 1), who has now suffered 8 stoppage losses in 13 fights.
The lesser of two title fights saw Boy Dondee Pumar (10-5-3, 4) claim the Philippines Boxing Federation (PBF) Bantamweight title as he stopped the limited Dino Lelis (10-11-2, 5) in the sixth of a scheduled 10. This was the third successive stoppage loss for Lelis who has now come short in back to back title fights having also been stopped in a Philippines Luzon Professional Boxing Association (LuzProBA) Super Bantamweight title fight back in March.
In the other title fight Lionel Legada (11-5-1, 5) took a split decision over Lionel Mark Duran (11-9-2, 4) to claim the WBC Asia Council Continental Flyweight title. This bout was incredibly close, with scores of 113-112 registered on all 3 cards, though on paper it appeared to be an easy assignment for Legada with Duran having taken 6 losses from his last 8 contests.
We also had title action in Russia where Arif Magomedov (7-0, 5) claimed the Russian Middleweight title. Magomedov needed just 83 seconds to defeat the more experienced Marat Khuzeev (20-7-1, 8). This was by far the most notable name that Magomedov has faced and the fact he took out Khuzeev faster than Saul "Canelo" Alvarez and Selcuk Aydin should be a real confidence booster for the Russian youngster.
As well as the Russian title fight the card also featured 5 other bouts. The most notable of those saw journeyman Ruslan Semenov (4-25-1, 2) upset the previously unbeaten Murad Dalkhaev (3-1, 2) via a majority decision. Thankfully it wasn't all bad news for prospects as Igor Ivanov (7-0, 2) took his second stoppage win, taking out Sherzod Isakjonov (0-1) in the second round.
The remaining 3 bouts in Russia all saw debutants in action, much like the Igor Ivanov bout. These saw Grigory Abramyan (1-0, 1) stopping Ivan Ivanov (0-1) in just 87 seconds, Oleg Korobko (1-0) taking a majority decision over Gor Arutyunyan (0-1) and Nadezhda Khaenok (1-0) shutting out Viktoriya Aleksandrova (0-1) in a female contest.
The best of the international bouts was in the US as the "Siberian Rocky" Ruslan Provodnikov (23-2, 16) successfully claimed the WBO Light Welterweight title with a stunning victory over America's very own Mike Alvarado (34-2, 23). The fight, which was one of the best fights of r the year, saw Provodnikov slowly breaking down Alvarado before forcing the American's corner to save their man, preventing him from coming out for round 11.
As well as Provodnikov's victory there was also success in Germany as Lebanon born "Diamond Boy" Manuel Charr (25-1, 15) defeated Russian Denis Bakhtov (36-9, 24). Bakhtov, who had been giving Charr a solid fight, unfortunately damaged his hand and was forced to pull out at the start of round 6 due to the injury. The bout saw Charr adding a fourth WBC regional title to his collection as he attempts to force other fighters in to the ring with him, unfortunately however we'd be shocked if he got a noteworthy opponent wanting his titles.
We try and give you the latest results on all the fights from Asia.