The first reign by a Vietnamese world champion was a short one, which ended last night as Thi Thu Nhi Nguyen (5-1, 1) lost the WBO female Minimumweight title in her first defense, coming up short in a unification bout against excellent Costa Rican fighter Yokasta Valle (26-2, 9), who added the WBO title to her own IBF belt.
Nguyen, who had been lucky to win the title with a questionable decision over Etsuko Tada, really never got into this one as Valle dominated almost every minute of the fighter. The Costa Rican local, fighting in front of her own fans in San Jose, Costa Rica, out fought, out boxed, outsped, out thought and out punched the Vietnamese visitor, who struggled to get anything going.
From pretty much the first round Valle fought like a fighter with a point to prove, finding a home for her quicker, sharper shots, especially her over hand right which landed time and time again. The success from Valle forced Nguyen to chase the bout at times, and that's never been something she's good at. As she chased and tried to turn things around the defense of Valle had a chance to shine, making Nguyen miss, or hit shoulders, before Valle began firing back combinations.
As the rounds went on there was little to celebrate for Nguyne, who looked second rate through out the bout. The only real moments of sustained success for her came in round 9, though even that wasn't enough to secure her a round and seemed more a care of Nguyen giving everything that was left and having more success than expected, rather than really doing enough to win the round. It was the only one someone could have given her, and it would have been something of a sympathy round at that.
After 10 rounds it was clear this wasn't close, and it was no surprise at all that the judges all turned in shut out scores in favour of the local champion who now has two titles around her waist, and takes another step towards a legacy defining rematch with Tina Rupprecht.
Earlier today we saw the WBO female Minimumweight title change hands as Japanese veteran Etsuko Tada (20-4-3, 7) [多田悦子] was dethroned, in somewhat controversial fashion, by mandatory challenger Thi Thu Nhi Nguyen (5-0, 1), from Vietnam.
In the opening round Tada was the one to establish herself in the middle of the ring whilst Nguyen got on the move, and used the ring more, getting a look at Tada, and using her speed and youth well.
From round 2 onwards Nguyen decided to hold her feet more, with the two fighters often exchanging shots in nice little moments of back and forth action. Those exchanges were really dominated by two things, Nguyen's left hand, which was landing in both jab and left hook forms, and Tada's straight left hand, which was less accurate but much more telling. Through much of the fight it was those two punches that really caught the eye and kept the action competitive looking.
Of course straight left hands, from a hard hitting southpaw, do mark than pitty patty jabs, and it seemed that whilst Nguyen was landing more shots, she wasn't doing much damage, or getting respect from Tada, who seemed to always have the bigger words in the exchanges. It was however not a clear and dominant start for Tada, given she was being out landed.
As the rounds went on the tempo slowly increased, with both women picking it up. The lead to Tada's heavy left hands hurting Nguyen several times in the final rounds of the bout, though Nguyen's toughness showed as she saw out the storm and fired back. She was clearly hurt in rounds 9 and 10, but gritted it out, and managed to see out the distance.
After the final bell all 3 judges all turned in identical scores of 96-94, in favour of Nguyen who got the decision.
It should be noted that the promoter of the event was Nguyen's promoter, and whilst she certainly had a strong start to the fight, from round 2 to 5, it did seem like she was very lucky to get the victory. Especially given how well Tada finished the bout.
Whilst it can be easy to feel sorry for Tada it should be noted that Nguyen actually created history, becoming the first Vietnamese world champion, male or female, in the sport. With that in mind we really hope she can help lay down the marker for the Vietnamese boxing scene, and help kick start a legitimate movement in the country.
The first world title fight in Japan this year came earlier today as former world champions Ayaka Miyao (23-8-2, 6) [宮尾 綾香] and Etsuko Tada (19-3-3, 6) [多田悦子] clashed for the vacant WBO female Minimumweight title.
On paper this looked like an excellent match up between two world class veterans. Whilst both were coming to the end of their careers both are still world class and we were expecting an ultra competitive bout between fighters who have been fighting at the top of the sport for years. When it came to the in ring action proved to be just as competitive than we expected.
Coming in we had anticipated the speed and volume of Miyao to be one of two major differences. The other with the power and strength of Tada. And this really proved to be the case with neither fighter ever doing enough to really dominate the action.
Early on Miyao used single shots, though lack of power, something that has been obvious through her career, meant they never bothered Tada. Whilst they were landing clean they did little whereas Tada's shots were having a clear visible impact, and kept Miyao at range. Whilst the volume seemed to be from Miyao the heavier blows were certainly from Tada.
As we went through the rounds Miyao's work rate grew and grew. The single shots were becoming less common and instead it was short raids and flurries from the Watanabe Gym fighter. She was coming in and letting 2 and 3 punch combinations go, firing off with both hands. This caused the action to get a touch messy, though both certainly had their moments in what were some hard to score rounds.
Tada started to look more and more like she was tiring in the later rounds of the fight whilst the quicker, sharper Miyao, really turned it on late, easily out landing Tada in the final rounds, as she tried to swing things her way. It was this late effort from Miyao that could made all the difference had it come just a few rounds earlier.
In the end the bout was a hard one to score. Both fighters had clearly taken a number of rounds each, but the others were debatable either way, and that showed on the score cards.
The first card favoured the 38 year old Tada, 96-94, the second card went with the 36 year old Miyao, 96-94, with the third being an even score of 95-95.
The result, a draw, leaves the title vacant.
A rematch would be interesting to see, though we do wonder what Tada has left in the tank. She looked old and slow in the later stages and a faster start by Miyao could have easily taken her the victory here. Though we wouldn't be surprised to see the two women go in different directions after was a gruelling, yet ultra competitive, contest.
The main event of Real Spirits Vol 60 saw Watanabe veteran Kayoko Ebata (12-8, 6) [江畑佳代子] attempt to record her second defense of the WBO female Minimumweight title, as she went up against former 2-time world champion Etsuko Tada (18-3-2, 5) [多田悦子].
The 37 year old Tada, who had had reigns as the WBA and IBF champion, was 5 years younger than Ebata, 42, and had home advantage with the bout being held in Osaka.
Those advantages for Tada proved to be useful early on, as she she was quicker and sharper than Ebata, who struggled to get off and close the distance. There were moments for Ebata, but they were fleeting moments, with Tada looking in control through much of the contest. It was Tada who dictated the overall tempo, it was Tada who decided the distance and how southpaw stance made life even more difficult for Ebata, who struggled to get around the lead hand of the challenger with any frequency.
As the two began to slow in the middle rounds both suffered cuts around their left eyes, with Tada being cut in round 6 and Ebata cut in round 7.
Going in to the final round it seemed clear that Tada was in a comfortable lead, and she stood and traded with Ebata in a thrilling final round, a round that Ebata took on two of the cards. By then however the result was in the bag for Tada, who took the decision with scores of 98-92, twice, and 97-93 .
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today Japanese fight fans at the Korakuen Hall saw WBO female Minimumweight champion Kayoko Ebata (12-7, 6) [江畑 佳代子] successfully record her first defense of the title, as she over-came Korean veteran Ji Hyun Park (22-3, 6), in a very close and competitive bout.
The Korean, who hadn't fought in well over 2 years, came to win and put the 42 year old champion under pressure almost immediately. To her credit Ebata used her feet really well as she looked to get in and out, but it was the pressure of the Korean challenger that caught the eye in the early going. The champion took the pressure from the challenger well and fought back whilst making Park look inaccurate at times. It was a good counter punching performance from Ebata, and one that seemed to impress the impress the judges, two of which gave her 3 of the first 4 rounds.
Park refused to be put on the back foot for long, and she seemed to impress the judges in the middle rounds and made things really close going into the final rounds. Ebata's experience, and relative lack of ring rust, proved to be the difference with Ebata managing to narrowly secure the win with her clean counters in the final rounds, taking a decision with scores of 95-95, 96-94 and 97-93, to take a majority decision.
Ebata admitted that after hearing the 95-95 score-card she expected to be on the losing end of the decision, but with the win she intends to return to the ring and continue her reign. As for Park, who looked very frustrated by the decision, she has called for a rematch and made no secret of the fact she feels she deserved the win.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
In the sport of boxing we have so many great stories, and even losers in the ring can give us stories that warm our hearts and make it feel like we're going to root for them in the future. One such fighter got their fairy tale ending yesterday with veteran Kayoko Ebata (11-7, 6) [江畑 佳代子] finally winning a world title bout, and becoming the new WBO female Minimumweight champion. The veteran, fighting in her 6th world title bout, was up against unbeaten newbie Erika Hanawa (7-1, 2) [塙 英理加], and had spoken about retirement at the age of 41.
Despite her age Ebata fought like a hungry youngster who was in the ring with a point to prove, and that showed as she quickly established control of the range and tempo of the bout, despite being the slower fighter. Her control of the contest saw her sweep rounds 2-4 with all the judges as she took a clear and commanding control of the bout before the mid way point.
Hanawa's unbeaten spirit showed in round 5, as she looked to turn the bout around, but it was a brief moment of success and as Ebata stedied the ship the following round to continue her dominance of the contest.
At the final bell there was no disputing the winner, with Ebata winning the decision on all 3 cards with scores of 97-93, twice and 98-92.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today fans at the Korakuen Hall had the chance WBO female Minimumweight champion Kumiko Seeser Ikehara (9-1-2, 3) [池原シーサー久美子] retain her title with a split decision win over veteran Kayoko Ebata (9-7, 5) [江畑 佳代子]. Whilst this was the second time Ikehara had over-come Ebata, following a split technical decision last year, the bout really was something special.
The fight started hot and both were happy to trade shots almost from the off. Their was head clashes, punches from both hands it was just a war with both regularly meeting in the centre of the ring. The pace and action was tremendous with both unloading, until the later stages when the 40 year old Ebata began to show her age.
With Ebata slowing Ikehara seemed to do enough in the later stages to take over those rounds, though the question was really how close the cards were going into the championship rounds.
Sadly for Ebata her slow down may well have cost her the bout with scorecards of 96-94 for Ikehara, twice, and a card the same way for Ebata, who has now come up short in 5 world title bouts, and likely gave this bout her all.
With 4 defenses to her name Ikehara has cemented her place as a genuine champion, but it's fair to say that other fighters will be targeting her title. For Ebata this probably will be the end of her career, a career that has seen her become the bridesmaid but never the bride.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
This past Wednesday saw two female world title bouts in Japan. One of those saw the popular Tomomi Takano being stopped in 4 rounds by Daniela Romina Bermudez at 115lbs, the other was an all Japanese title fight, between WBO female Minimumweight champion Kumiko Seeser Ikehara (8-1-2, 3) and Momoko Kanda (9-8-2, 3). Unlikle the Super Flyweight bout, this one, went the distance featured some competitive action, though did end up with a clear winner.
To begin with it was the champion who took control however Kanda managed to mount a spirited fight back and seemed to show her best in rounds 3, 7 and 10 as she managed to make Ikehara answer a number of questions.
Unfortunately for Kanda's effort she never quite found the consistency that she needed to really push Ikehara who was well worth the unanimous decision, with scores of 97-93, twice, and 98-92.
For Kanda this was a loss in her first world title bout whilst Ikehara now has 3 defenses of her title and is likely hoping to secure a bigger profile bout next time out.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)