With a lack of big bouts over the last week we were left with very few fighters to consider for this week's "Five For..." series. Despite the lack of fighters we did come to the conclusion that there was an obvious choice. That was Canadian based Kazakh Batyrzhan Jukembayev (18-0-0-2, 14), who didn't get the opponent he had been hoping for last weekend but made light work of the late replacement he ended up facing.
Given the easy nature of Jukembayev's win over Ricardo Lara, it now makes sense to suggest that Jukembayev should be back in the ring sooner rather later, so we'll now take a look at 5 possible match ups for the talented southpaw.
1- Daud Yordan (40-4-0-1, 28)
Whilst not the most likely bout out there for either Jukembayev or Indonesian fighter Daud Yordan it would serve as a perfect match up to see whether Jukembayev is ready for the big time or not, it will also serve a purpose for both men. The 32 year old Yordan is in the WBO world rankings, whilst Jukembayev is ranked by the WBC and IBF, meaning both men having something to gain. Yordan is a fantastic gatekeeper, and to see him with Jukembayev would see both men answering questions. We would find out if Jukembayev has got the potential to go all the way, and we would also find out if Yordan still has anything left at this level.
2-Jorge Linares (46-5, 28)
If Jukembayev and his team are looking to make a statement then a bout with Venezuelan star Jorge Linares would be a very interesting one. On his day Linares is a sensational fighter, and could well prove to be too much for Jukembayev, however Linares is, and always will be, vulnerable. A win over Linares might not mean as much as it once did but it still carries a lot of weight and if Jukembayev can stop the 34 year old "El Nino De Oro" he will have a much enhanced profile, and be moved much closer to a world title fight. Linares' inconsistent performances and vulnerable chin make this a very interesting potential match up.
3-Pablo Cesar Cano (33-7-1-1, 23)
Whilst a bout between Jukembayev and Linares makes a lot of sense, and would allow Jukembayev a chance to get a former world champion on his resume, it may be even better for him to face a man who stopped Linares. With that in mind a bout between Jukembayev and Pablo Cesar Cano would certainly be a good fight, a fan friendly one, and a test of what Jukembayev can do against the inconsistent, but dangerous, "El Demoledor". Cano is certainly no world beatet, but he's had 3 solid wins in a row and would enter this bout in good form, make for an exciting style match up with the Kazakh and would be a very compelling opponent for Jukembayev.
4-Raymundo Beltran (36-9-1-1, 22)
It's unclear what Mexican veteran Raymundo Beltran has left in the tank, however he is still, at the age of 38, a serviceable name in the sport. Just last year Beltran fought in a world title bout against Richard Commey, but was unable to make Lightweight and unable to win the title, and he's been in some real tough bouts recently. At his best he was a tough nosed, hard hitting, under-rated fighter. Now however he's very much a man who has slipped, and aged. For Jukembayev a win over Beltran would be a huge win, and get his name in the mix for bigger fights. Beltran could still be too much for Jukembayev, as he turned out to be too much for Hiroki Okada a year ago, but it would look like a very smart and calculated risk.
5-Cristian Rafael Coria (29-7-2, 13)
We've seen Jukembayev's team look towards Latin American fighters regularly, in fact his last opponent was supposed to be from Argentina before visa issues scuppered their plans. If they want their man to face an Argentinian then why not Cristian Rafael Coria. On paper Coria poses little threat but the 37 year old is a genuine gate keeper level fighter, who will come to win and has the ability to really test a fighter like Jukembayev. In 2017 he travelled to Canada and went 10 rounds with Custio Clayton, showing a willingness to travel up to Canada, and since then he has ran Hiroki Okada incredibly close and beaten Joel Diaz Jr.
Another month is over and we again get to look at the Best of Boxing Raise. Which has actually been a disappointing month in some ways, with only 2 "new" shows, but has also been an interesting one with some intriguing old content being made available on the service.
Whilst there has been a lack of great fights, there's been a mix of stuff that we would advise checking out if you have the service available to you.
As with our previous "Best of Boxing Raise" article all the fights featured here can be accessed by subscribers by logging into Boxing Raise and adding the "movie/####" to "https://boxingraise.com/".
Japanese Taison in action - Taison Morishita (1-0) Vs Yuma Omine (0-1) [movie/7282/]
This bout sort of caught our attention before it took place, as we'd been told Taison Morishita was one to watch, and here he proved that he was an exciting and aggressive fighter. Sadly his dance partner, Yuma Omine, seemed to be an unwilling participant at times though we're including this fight regardless as we suggest people begin to take note of Morishita. He might not be a future world champion in the making but he is certainly going to be someone very fun to follow, as far he goes.
The first KO Dynamite Final - Marvin Esquierdo (15-2-1, 9) Vs Ribo Takahata (16-8-1, 6) [/movie/7286/]
It's great to see an unheralded fighter really impress when given an opportunity, and that's exactly what Filipino Marvin Esquierdo did in the KO Dynamite tournament. In his first round he blitzed Koichi Ito before facing Ribo Takahata in the final. This final was an entertaining one, a nice clash of styles and a a good test of what Esquierdo was able to do with an awkward, tall, experienced veteran like Takahata. Not a war by any stretch, but one of the more entertaining bouts from the month.
The second KO Dynamite Final - Tuguldur Byambatsogt (1-0) Vs Vladimir Baez (26-5-2, 24) [/movie/7288/]
The other KO Dynamite final was even more interesting than the first, without being as exciting of a fighter. This, on paper, was a disgusting mismatch, a novice professional with just 5 rounds of experience against a 33 fight veteran with more first round knockouts, 6, than his opponents total rounds. Despite the gulf in experience Mongolian fighter Tuguldur Byambatsogt was looking to prove that skills could over-come the experience and power of Japanese based Dominican Vladimir Baez. This was genuinely compelling without being action packed. A very cerebral fighter against a very aggressive one.
Youth title fight - Kaiki Yuba (6-0-2, 4) vs Kanta Takenaka (7-4-1, 2) [/movie/7325/]
We didn't have too many truly impressive performances on Boxing Raise this month, but we were impressed by the second generation fighter Kaiki Yuba, who faced off with Kanta Takenaka in a Japanese Youth Lightweight title fight. This wasn't a particularly competitive bout, but it was a controlled and calm performance from a rising 21 year old who is certainly one to watch.
Female World Title fight! - Etsuko Tada (19-3-2, 6) vs Ayaka Miyao (23-8-1, 6) [/movie/7326/]
On paper the most significant bout on the service this month was the WBO female Minimumweight bout between Etusko Tada, a former 3-time world champion, and Ayaka Miyao, a former champion at Atomweight. This was compelling from the early stages, with Tada's power and more physical style going against Miyao's speed and combinations. This was hard to score, high level action and a genuinely brilliant contest where both fighters had their strengths, and flaws, shown.
Controversial God's Left Tournament Final - Kazuki Nakajima (8-0, 7) vs Seiya Tsutsumi (5-0, 4) [/movie/7327/]
The most controversial bout on Boxing Raise this month was also the one we had the highest hopes for, with it being the God's Left Bantamweight tournament final. The bout pitted Ohashi gym fighter Kazuki Nakajima against Kadoebi fight and on paper this looked very explosive. Surprisingly this ended up being a lot more of a compelling boxing contest, than a shoot out, with Tsutsumi coming up with a smart gameplan that really didn't allow Nakajima to use his size advantages. This ended in controversial fashion, started slowly and warmed up brilliantly. A real stand out for the month.
A classic war - Takuya Kogawa (23-4, 13) vs Hiroki Saito (9-4, 5) [/movie/7345/]
Although this bout didn't take place this month it was one of the classic bouts added to the Boxing Raise archive, and is a genuine must watch. This bout takes us all the way back to July 2015 and saw Takuya Kogawa take on Hiroki Saito for the then vacant Japanese Flyweight title. We always knew Kogawa could put on a show but boy did Saito play his part in delivering an instant under-ground classic. This was amazing, and it's great that Boxing Raise have added it to their library this month.
Hardcore fans will likely recognise the name Yoshinori Nishizawa, he's certainly not the most obscure we'll ever cover in this series of articles looking below the surface of Asian boxing. In fact Nishizawa fought in world title bouts all the way up at Super Middleweight during his 25 year career. He didn't challenge obscure champions either, his first world title was against Anthony Mundine, a huge name down under, and his second was against Markus Beyer, a big star in Germany and a 3-time world champion.
But who actually was Yoshinori Nishizawa? And why is he known as the "Middle Aged Star"?
To begin with we need to go back to very start. Nishizawa was born in 1966, he saw Muhammad Ali on TV as a child and was inspired to become physically stronger, before taking up baseball. One thing would lead to another and in the mid 1980's Nishizawa went into the legendary Yonekura Gym, as a 19 year old. He debuted the following year, in October 1986 and would score a 3rd round KO on his debut. He would have early success, going 5-0-1 (3) and claim the All Japan Rookie of the Year in 1988.
As things seemed to be on their way up for Nishizawa bad times struck, and he would go from 5-0-1 at the end of 1988 to 7-8-4 (4) by the start of 1995. On paper that would have been the point that many wrote him off. He was then 28 and his career had faltered.
Despite the faltering Nishizawa had twice fought for the Japanese Middleweight title, fighting to a draw with Takehito Saijo and losing a decision to Shinji Takehara, he had also fought with Korean Jun-Suk Hwang, who had already fought for a world and would do so again after beating Nishizawa.
Surprisingly this was the point where Nishizawa's career actually began to turn around. He picked up 3 wins in 1995, earning a third Japanese Middleweight title fight in 1996. He lost to Kevin Palmer in that title fight but bounced back and won the Japanese Middleweight title in his 4th shot at the belt, days after his 31st birthday. That was his 25th professional bout and saw Nishizawa more to 12-9-4 (8).
The age that most men would think about retirement was the age where Nishizawa began to have a growing amount of success, defending the Japanese title 3 times. His reign did however come to an end in 1998, when he not only lost the belt to Nobunao Otani but also lost in an OPBF title fight to former foe Kevin Palmer.
The set backs in 1998 were just that, setbacks. The following year Nishizawa moved up in weight and took the OPBF Super Middleweight title, at the age of 33. His reign was another short one, with just a single defense, but he didn't lose the title until he was 34, and came up short to Guy Waters.
Another move up in weight in 2000 saw Nishizawa challenge Hisashi Teraji, the then OPBF Light Heavyweight champion. Nishizawa was unable to defeat Teraji, the father of Kenshiro Teraji, but did recapture the Super Middleweight title in 2001, aged 35.
By the time Nishizawa had reclaimed the OPBF Super Middleweight title he was 18-13-5 (9), 35 years old, and edging towards the JBC's retirement age. He refused to leg go of his career though, and ran up a winning streak that ran from 2001 to 2004, and ended with him fighting Anthony Mundine for the WBA Super Middleweight title. At the age of 38 Nishizawa would get his first shot at a world title, and would surprisingly drop Mundine at the very end of round 2. Sadly it was brief success for Nishizawa, who would be stopped himself in round 5.
Nishizawa would bounce back from the loss to Mundine by reclaiming the OPBF Super Middleweight title, to become a 3-time champion.
Just 11 months after losing to Mundine, and just weeks short of his 39th birthday, Nishizawa would travel to Germany to face Markus Beyer. He gave Beyer a decent fight, dropping Beyer in round 2, before losing a clear decision to the German.
The loss to Beyer should probably been it if we're being honest. It was his 46th bout, his second world title fight, and he was turning 39 the following month. Nishizawa however continued on. In fact he fought on with his last bout coming on December 2nd 2011, when he was 45!
After the Beyer loss Nishizawa went 5-6-1 (5), though became the OPBF Light Heavyweight champion, in 2006, and claimed a number of minor titles afterwards, including a Korean Boxing Assocation title and the very lightly regarded World Professional Boxing Federation (WPBF) World Cruiserweight title.
Despite his final bout coming in 2011 Nishizawa didn't actually announce his retirement until August 2013, by which point he was 47.
Nishizawa's career saw the JBC needing to adapt it's rules. Originally the retirement age was 37, unless a fighter was an active champion. Nishizawa forced the rules to be changed for fighters who were world ranked, OPBF or JBC ranked, like he was at the age of 37. This rule has been changed since, allowing more freedom on the maximum age, but this was a big change at the time.
Following his, over-due, retirement Nishizawa did actually set up a gym however he is now often found at the Ohashi Gym, linking up with fellow former Yonekura gym fighter Hideyuki Ohashi, where he now works as a trainer.
Dubbed the "Middle Aged Star" due to his success in his mid to late 30's Nishizawa is an odd case in boxing, of a fighter who did have his best success beyond the age that many fighters peak at. His record of 31-21-6 (19) might not be anything incredible, but twice challenging for a world title and winning OPBF titles on 4 occasions, all after his 33rd birthday is certainly impressive.
Arguably the most famous rivalry in this sport was the one between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. The rivalry not only gave us 3 legendary fights but also gave us the most famous bout in Asian boxing history, the "Thrilla in Manila".
The bout was the third, and final, bout between the two men who first met in 1971 then against in 1974, was a tremendous war that we expect every single fight fan to have heard about, if not seen multiple times. It's one of the most iconic bouts the sport has given us and a testament to the punishment two men can take.
Today we look at some of the little known details of the "Thrilla in Manila" in our latest "Did you know" article.
-In the build up Ali introduced his then mistress, Veronica Porche, to President Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos as his wife. This wouldn't have been an issue had Ali's actual wife Khalilah Ali, not seen the introduction on TV. OOPS! Muhammad Ali and Khalilah Ali would divorce less than 2 years later and Ali would later marry Veronica Porche.
-Zach Clayton was unable to referee the bout as Philadelphia mayor Frank Rizzo refused to let Clayton out of his duties as a civil service employee. This was part of a smart game plan by Eddie Futch who managed to the get Carlos Padilla Jr the role of referee.
-Larry Holmes was on the under-card, beating Rodney Bobick in 6 rounds. Holmes would, of course, later beat Ali in one of Ali's final career bouts.
-Also on the under-card was another future world champion, Rolando Navarrete, who lost to Fernando Cabanela. The two would rematch in 1978 with Navarrete avenging his loss, before later claiming the WBC Super Featherweight world title in 1981.
-Although the bout took place in Metro Manila it didn't take place in Manila City. Instead it was the neighbouring city of Quezon.
-The bout took place on a Wednesday! In fact it took place on a Wednesday morning to accommodate a US closed circuit audience.
-Frazier would never win a bout after this. He suffered his second stoppage loss to George Foreman 8 months later before a comeback in 1981 that saw him fight to a draw with Floyd Cummings.
-Despite all 3 scorecards having Ali in a comfortable lead at the end of the 14th round the Associated Press had the bout even, 63-63.
We've all heard of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, and we've decided to put our spin on things with "Six degrees of separation" looking to connect Asian fighters you may never have assumed were connected! Today we connect third generation Filipino fighter Carlo Caesar Penalosa...and...Kanat Islam
1-Filipino fighter Carlo Caesar Penalosa has one of the most famous surnames in all of Filipino boxing. It might not quite be the royalty of "Elorde" but it's not far off and the third generation fighter is both blessed and cursed with his surname. Another fighter from the family is the legendary Gerry Penalosa, the uncle of Carlo Caesar Penalosa.
2-Although never a global mega star Gerry Penalosa really was a fantastic boxer, with one of the most technically sound styles and boxing brains out there. He wasn't blessed with freakish power, insane speed or massive size, but he was a perfectly rounded boxer who had the skill set that allowed him to fight for more than 20 years as a professional. On the same card as Penalosa's debut was a then 1-0 Andy Tabanas.
3-Almost forgotten now a days Andy Tabanas was actually a 4 time world title challenger during his career. The Filipino, who ran up a solid looking 40-5-2 (24) record was a very solid contender through much of the 1990's and actually saw almost a decade split his first world title fight and his final one. One of his world title losses came to Mexican legend Ricardo Lopez.
4-Regarded as one of the greatest fighters of all time Ricardo Lopez went unbeaten in his 52 fight career. Not only did he go unbeaten but he did saw whilst picking up 3 world title fights at Minimumweight and a Light Flyweight title. In fact by the time his career ended he had claimed a WBC, WBO, WBA and IBF title. He also ended up scoring 10 wins over fighters who, at some point, held a world title. Notably his first world title win came at Korakuen Hall on October 25th 1990, when he beat Hideyuki Ohashi with a 5th round TKO.
5-"TKO5" has been the result in 9 WBC Minimumweight title bouts. Lopez scored 3 of those, and became the first man to win the title with that result. Since then it has changed hands twice more by that method. The first man to do it after Lopez was Japan's Kazuto Ioka, incidentally Ioka's uncle was Hiroki Ioka who had long been seen as Hideyuki Ohashi's main rival despite the fact the two men never fought. This was Kazuto Ioka's first title, just like it had been Lopez's first title, in what is a rather odd extra coincidence.
6-Kazuto Ioka won a bronze medal at the 2008 King's Cup, losing in the semi final to Amnat Ruenroeng. Another medal winner at the same tournament was Hanati Silamu, who competed for China. Silamu is also known as Kanat Islam, who is currently a fringe contender at 154lbs.
Boxing history is one of those things that fans either care rabidly about, or doesn't care much at all for. Despite that there are names that most fans have heard of, even if just in passing. Fans might not be too aware of them, but will recognise their names. One such fighter is Royal Kobayashi. The Japanese puncher was a short term WBC Super Bantamweight champion in the mid 1970's and an Olympian in 1972, and although he's well remembered now a days he did fight a bit of a "who's who" of the time and was certain a fun to watch fighter, who deserves more attention than he gets.
With that in mind we bring you 10 facts you probably didn't know about... Royal Kobayashi!
1-Whilst we mentioned in the introduction that Kobayashi was a former Olympian that was only part of his amateur career. In the unpaid ranks he went 34-3 (28), winning 2 All Japan championships and reaching the final 8 of the '72 Olympics. In the unpaid ranks he was always considered a fighter with a professional style and a huge punch.
2-Kobayashi's, in 1973, debut was an 8 rounder! Whilst these aren't totally unheard of, they are incredibly rare in Japan and the most recent Japanese fighter to debut in such a bout was Naoya Inoue in 2012. Inoue's was the first since 1987, when Takeyuki Akagi debuted in such a bout.
3-Rather surprisingly Kobayashi's first title fight, of any kind, came against a legitimate all time great. Rather than coming through the ranks and claiming a national or regional title he faced off with the legendary Alexis Arguello for the WBA Featherweight title. Sadly for Kobayashi he was no match for the Explosive Thin Man, and was stopped in the 5th round by the Nicaraguan great.
4-On the mention of Arguello it's worth noting just how good Kobayashi's competition was and he faced 3 IBHOF fighters in the space of 36 months. The first of those was Arguello, in October 1975, then came Wilfredo Gomez in January 1978 before Eusebio Pedroza in January 1979!
5-In the introduction we mentioned that Kobayashi was "a short term WBC Super Bantamweight champion" and we really do mean that. He has one of the shortest reigns world title reigns in modern history, holding the belt for his 46 days, not including the day he lost it. He won the belt on October 9th 1976, when he stopped Rigoberto Riasco at the Kokugikan in Tokyo and lost it on November 24th 1976, to Korean Dong Kyun Yum.
6-Kobayashi was the first Japanese Olympian to win a world title.
7-Kobayashi's world title win came just a day before Yoko Gushiken won the WBA Light Flyweight title, with that win coming on October 10th 1976.
8-Kobayashi birth name was Kazuo Kobayashi, a name that is shared with a Japanese journalist born in 1940 and a former Japanese politician, born in 1935.
9-We've already mentioned that Kobayashi was the first Japanese world champion to have fought at the Olympics but he is also the first Japanese champion to have graduated university.
10-As a professional Kobayashi was managed by the International gym, which as run by former world title challenger Yoshinori Takahashi, who took on Eddie Perkins for the WBA and WBC Light Welterweights in 1964. Kobayashi was one of 3 champions from the gym, which also lead Leopard Tamakuma and Celes Kobayashi to world titles.
(Image courtesy of http://jpba.gr.jp/)
More than a month since we last looked at a major upset we return to our "What a Shock!" series and cover the final upset of 2013, which saw a former world champion lose to a then unheralded Thai youngster.
December 31st 2013
Bodymaker Colosseum, Osaka, Osaka, Japan
Ryo Miyazaki (20-0-3, 11) Vs Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr (24-2, 16)
Japan's Ryo Miyazaki will never be remembered as one the greats but at one point he was seen as a future multi-weight world champion and a key fighter for the Ioka gym, along side Kazuto Ioka. He had won the OPBF Light Flyweight title before dropping down in weight to win the WBA Minimumweight title. In 2013 Miyazaki made the decision to move back up in weight, allowing his body to fill out as he looked to begin his pursuit of a title at 108lbs. Coming into this bout he had scored 10 straight wins, with 6 coming by stoppage and was expected to fight for a second world title in Spring 2014. He just had to get past Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr first.
The 20 year old Thai was, at the time, an unknown outside of Thailand.At the time Fahlan had had 26 bouts, compiling a good looking record, but there was nothing of any note on it. All 26 of hos bouts, up to this point, were in Thailand, against a mix of limited Thai's and terrible foreign imports. Worryingly for him he had even lost to some of those, including a 2012 defeat to Yodpichai Sithsaithong. The one thing he seemed to have was his name, and his father had been a former world champion back in the early 1990's. Of course this was him in the ring and not his father, and he was expected to be little more than a tune up for Miyazaki. Despite his competition Fahlan was an attractive opponent for Miyazaki and was ranked #6 by the IBF, giving Miyazaki a clear reward for his expected win.
What few had anticipated, given that Miyazaki was moving up in weight, was that he would totally mess up on the scales. What was expected to be an easy move up in weight resulted with him essentially passing out on the scales, with fighter showing symptoms of dehydration. This should have seen the bout cancelled, and he really was unfit to fight.
From the first round it was clear that Miyazaki was a shell of the fighter who had been the WBA Minimumweight champion just months earlier. The intensity wasn't there, he looked unsure of himself, and was slow, sluggish and almost seemed gun shy. The Thai, who was stepping up massively, used his jab, focused on keeping distance and had an easy task through the first round.
Fahlan continued to make things look easy in round 2 as Miyazaki began to struggle even more. He wasn't being hurt, but he wasn't doing anything to make things competitive. It was only the fact Fahlan was being cautious that we weren't seeing Miyazaki put in any trouble. Thant changed in round 3.
Just after the midway point of round 3 Fahlan landed a left hook, then a combination that ended with a push to the back of the head. It sent Miyzaki to the canvas, and whilst correctly ruled a push it seemed to give Fahlan the instant confidence that his man was done. A follow up attack, not long after the bout resumed, sent Miyazaki down. He got to his feet, wobbling around and left the referee with no option but to step in.
Interestingly just 4 months after this win, the biggest of his career, Fahlan would face a then 1-0 Takuma Inoue, and lose. Fahlan's career would continue on until earlier this year, when he announced he was retiring, at the age of 26, due to the economic situation of the sport. When he hung them up he had a record of 39-7-1 (21) and had mixed with the likes of Katsunari Takayama, Milan Melindo and Felix Alvarado. Although he failed to win a title he certainly fought a who's who and got out with his health intact.
As for Miyzaki his career never really rebounded. He scored 4 wins over the following 2 years to get a second world title bout, losing to Ryoichi Taguchi in 2016, before retiring. What had been a promising career before this whimpered out afterwards.
This past weekend we saw Japanese 154lb fight Takeshi Inoue (16-1-1, 10) retain his WBO Asia Pacific title with an early win against the horribly over-matched Cheng Su. The bout was his third win since losing in a WBO world title bout in January 2019 to Jaime Munguia, and it seems clear that he wants to move back towards big bouts by the end of 2020.
With Inoue's recent win it seems an ideal time to look at 5 possible opponents for Inoue for later this year, as we do the latest in our "Five for..." series.
1-Hironobu Matsunaga (16-1, 10)
Our number 1 pick here is probably the most likely and the easiest fight to make, by far. Inoue has dominated the Japanese and Oriental scene at the weight, beating the likes of Akinori Watanabe, Koshinmaru Saito, Riku Nagahama and Yuki Nonaka. The only domestic fighter of note he's yet to face is current Japanese champion Hironobu Matsunaga, who will defend his national title in March then be available to face who he wants. Matsunaga, like Inoue, is an aggressive fighter and physically strong fighter at 154lbs who has the style to make for some excellent fights. Both of these men are lacking a bit of size at the weight but both are physical fighters and a fight between the two should be thrilling!
2-Tony Harrison (28-3, 21)
There's not many world class fighters that Inoue would be given much a chance against, however a man who has been stopped in 3 losses would give Inoue an outside chance. Former world champion Tony Harrison would be the perfect match up for Inoue to try and prove that he belongs on the world level. Harrison lost his world title in December, when he was stopped by Jermell Charlo, and facing off with him now would be a smart move if Inoue and his team can secure the bout. Inoue would clearly have to travel for the fight but his style would give Harrison, a boxer-mover, real problems. The aggression and pressure from Inoue against the skills and movement of Harrison, for 12 rounds would be great to see and a really interesting mix of styles.
3-Israil Madrimov (4-0, 4)
Unbeaten Uzbek Israil Madrimov is known to be struggling in terms of getting opponents, and getting rounds. His first 4 bouts have gone a total of 19 rounds and he could do with an opponent to test his stamina and his ability to fight over a longer distance. Inoue would answer those questions, and also ask question questions of Madrimov's in ring mentality against someone who is bull strong and physical. A clash between the two would see Madrimov enter as the big favourite, but it would still be an excellent test for the Uzbek, and the type of fight he needs to prove himself, before a world title fight. On paper this isn't a big name fight, but it would be a match up we would be very interested in seeing.
4-Julian Williams (27-2-1, 16)
Hours after Inoue defeated Cheng Su we saw Julian Williams being upset against Jeison Rosario, and losing the WBA "super" and IBF titles to the hard hitting Dominican fighter. Williams had made it clear that he will be making the most of a rematch clause in their contract, and that will likely be next for him, though we do like Inoue Vs Williams, and it's a bout with a back story. Originally the two were ordered to have an IBF eliminator in 2018, the saga went on and on and in the end the two men went in different directions. We can't help but feel this would be a great fight to watch and would love to see the two men facing off.
5-Carlos Adames (18-1, 14)
Dominican fighter had his flaws shown up last year, when he lost to Patrick Teixeira, but showed and aggressive and exciting style against the more skilled Brazilian. We can't help but feel that Adames' style and Inoue's style would gel for an excellent stylistic clash. Both men are physically strong, come to fight, let their hands go and don't know how to back up. Adames would be the favourite, and would be looking to bounce back from the loss to Teixeira in what was an instant classic, whilst Inoue has the momentum of his last 3 wins. This would be brutal, entertaining and something that both men could benefit from.
Former Japanese Middleweight Yuichiro Watanabe isn't a name we expect many readers to be familiar with. He was active as a fighter in the 1970's, and despite fighting the likes of Masashi Kudo, twice, and Jae Doo Yuh his career never really saw him achieve much of note. He ran up an 11-7 (6) record and in terms of boxing his real win of note was in February 1975, when he was crowned All Japan Middleweight Rookie of the year.
Whilst Watanabe's boxing career failed to reach the heady heights of Yuh and Kudo, who both won world titles he did become a major new story more than 30 years after his final professional bout. Sadly it wasn't a positive story. Instead it was a criminal one, and will result in Watanabe spending the rest of his life behind bars.
On November 11th 2008, more than 30 years after his final bout, Watanabe had entered a house and robbed an 84 year old man of around ¥124,000. Watanabe had beaten the man, injuring the gentleman's face and abdomen, and used the money to gamble.
Just 2 days later Watanabe forced his way into another home. This time it was of an elderly couple, the 82 year old Eichi Sawada and his 79 year old wife.
At the time Watanabe was unemployed, and had no fixed address, and he was there for one reason. To rob the Sawada's of money.The 56 year old former fighter, had targeted the house due to it being big, and presumably expecting to find significant amounts of cash there, as he had at the previous house.
The robbery went on, but not without the occupants being in property, leading to Watanabe again attacking the occupants, Eichi and his wife, before getting away with around ¥40,000. Not a huge sum by any stretch of the imagination.
Whilst the wife only suffered some minor facial injuries Eichi would die just 4 days on from the robbery from a brain injury suffered at the hands of Watanabe.
Watanabe was arrested on January 5th 2009 and charged with homicide and robbery. He went on to admit what he'd done, explained he needed money, why he'd targeted the Sawada's house...then explained he'd spent the money gambling, at a Pachinko parlour.
Watanabe would be tried for both robberies, as well as the injuries and death of Eichi Sawada in 2009. The case began on April 21st and there was little the defense could have done for Watanabe, who had contracted an infection and attended the court case in a wheel chair.
Although Watanabe accepted guilt for what he'd done the defense pushed for leniency on the sentencing. They request he only get 20 years, or less, and stated that the assault was only light. As opposed to a brutal beating by a former professional fighter. The court didn't buy it. Judge Kazunori Yamada summer it up as "a ruthless and cruel crime that involves relentless assault with the skills he acquired as a professional boxer. There is no room for excuses." [Translated] He then added that the motivation was "You have committed a crime for money to feed your desire to gamble" [Translated].
The judgement, on June 16th 2009, saw Judge Yamada sentence Watanabe to life imprisonment.
We continue our Did You Know... series by moving through the weights and looking at the OPBF Super Middleweight title. Given the the fact the title has been around for over 30 years we would expect some interesting facts, and there are some...some which genuinely shocked us.
-There have only been 42 OPBF Super Middleweight title bouts, including interim title bouts, since the title was inaugurated in 1988 with 18 reigns of the regular title, and 2 interim title reigns. Australian Rod Carr was in the first 4 bouts for the title, Yuzo Kiyota has been in 12 of those and Yoshinori Nishizawa has been in 9.
-Most of the title reigns have been by Australians. In fact 9 Australian's have held the title, for a combined 10 reigns of the belt.
-Only 1 OPBF Super Middleweight champion has won a world title, with that being Danny Green. Several have however fought for world titles
-Yoshiaki Tajima was the first Japanese fighter to challenge for a Super Middleweight world title title, losing in 7 rounds to In Chul Baek. He's the only Japanese world title challenger at the weight to have never won the OPBF Super Middleweight title, though he did win the OPBF Middleweight title. Both Yoshinori Nishizawa and Yuzo Kiyota have both won the OPBF title, multiple times, and challenged at world level. None of the three men managed to win their world title bouts though.
-The OPBF Super Middleweight title has been held by two Korean fighters. The first was Byung-In Kang, who won the title in 1993 and defended it twice before losing to Australian Darren Obah and retiring with a 12-1 (7) record. The second was Yong Suk Choi, who actually took the belt from Obah in 1996, in just his third bout and also retired with 1 loss, ending his career in 2009 with an 11-1 (5) record.
-Yoshinori Nishizawa is the only 3-time champion. Rod Carr and Yuzo Kiyota both had 2 reigns. Interestingly Carr and Kiyota ended their first reigns by vacating, and won the title they themselves had vacated before anyone else had won it. This gives Carr the first and second reigns and Kiyota the 15th and 16th reigns.
-At the time of writing, the last bout for the belt was way back in September 2018, as Jayde Mitchell made his second defense of the belt
-Although not related to the OPBF title directly Korean fighters are the only Asian fighters to win world titles at Super Middleweight, with Chong Pal Park and In Chul Baek both holding world titles. Park was the first, holding the IBF title from 1984 to 1987 and the the WBA title from 1987 to 1988, and then Baek followed holding the WBA title from 1989 to 1990.
Thinking Out East
With this site being pretty successful so far we've decided to open up about our own views and start what could be considered effectively an editorial style opinion column dubbed "Thinking Out East" (T.O.E).