During the long and storied history of professional boxing the sport has had it's share of scumbags, criminals, murderers, and total pieces of shit. The sport draws in the dregs off society. It is a sport forever associated with poverty, hunger, drive, gambling, alcohol and drugs. Rightfully, or wrongly, the sport is seen as sordid, dirty, and disgusting. With that in mind we will be talking about one of the sports more sordid figures here, though we won't be focusing on what he did out of the ring and instead just a single bout of his from 2005.
Whilst we will, one day, go into the career and life of Edwin Valero, the Japanese promoted Venezuelan who killed his wife, today isn't that day, and instead we're going to just look at one of his senational KO's and the reason we, as boxing fans, were so excited about him during his career.
Edwin Valero (15-0, 15) vs Hero Bando (14-7-6, 8)
After making his professional debut in 2002 Edwin Valero went on a sensational run to begin his career, scoring a string of first round T/KO's. Whilst some of his early competition was dreadful, legitimately dreadful, he had began stepping up his quality of opponents in 2005. Later that year he made his Japanese debut, beginning a long association with the country. By this point Valero was 15-0 (15). He had never seen the bell to end round 1, and had already picked up wins in Venezuela, USA, Argentina, and Panama.
For his Japanese debut Valero was up against Hero Bando. Whilst far from a world beater Bando was a decent and accomplished Japanese fighter who had fought against some decent domestic talent. He had been stopped a couple of times, once by the tremendously hard hitting Yuji Watanabe and once by Ryuta Miyagi, but he was certainly no push over. In fact later in his career he went 12 rounds with Takashi Uchiyama, in an OPBF title fight, and 9 rounds with Seiichi Okada, in a Japanese title fight.
Bando was expected to take Valero beyond a round. He was expected to be a test for the Venezuelan. And then we saw Valero do what Valero was doing to everyone else.
Valero came out swinging and after just 15 seconds he put Bando down. Bando got back to his feet but was quickly under pressure as Valero was proving himself to be legit. Bando fought back, out of desperation, but it didn't work and he was taking real punishment until a huge, looping, wide right hook connected clean and sent Band down face first. Prompting the doctor to wave off the contest immediately.
This was proof that Valero really was a dynamite puncher. Bando hadn't just been stopped but was still shaky when he hgt helped to his feet.
As mentioned after this fight Bando went on to have bouts for Japanese and OPBF titles. On the other hand Valero went on to become a 2-weight world champion, winning world titles at 130lbs and 135lbs before his death in 2010, with a record of 27-0 (27), makings him one of the very few world champions to end his career having never tasted defeat as a professional.
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 former Indonesian world champion Nico Thomas to former Japanese world champion Akinobu Hiranaka.
Just as ground rules, we're not doing the more basic "A beat B who beat C who beat D" type of thing, but instead we want to link fighters in different ways. As a result we will limit A fought B connections, and try to get more varied connections together, as you'll see here! We also know there are often shorter routes to connect fighters, but that's not always the most interesting way to connect them.
1-Former Indonesian world champion Nico Thomas was born on June 10th 1966, that same day fight fans in Australia saw legendary Aussie Johnny Famechon fight to a draw with Domenico Chiloiro, in what was their fourth and final bout.
2-In 1969 Johnny Famcechon faced off with Fighting Harada in the first of two bouts between the two men. This bout was famously scored a draw by former Featherweight great Willie Pep, who held the Featherweight title through much of the 1940's and into 1950.
3-Another bout that Willie Pep served as a referee in was the 1962 OPBF Lightweight title bout between Gabriel "Flash" Elorde and Somkiat Kiatmuangyom, which saw Elorde retain the title with a 3rd round TKO win over his Thai challenger.
4-Filipino legend Gabriel "Flash" Elorde was one of the true legends of boxing and one of the most successful Filipino fighters in the history of the sport. His career spanned 20 years, beginning in 1951 and ending in 1971 and among the many fighters he fought was Korean warrior Kang Il Suh, who he scored two close decision wins against.
5-Although an often forgotten fighter Kang Il Suh was one of the best Korean fighters to never win a world title. Among the many notable opponents faced were Elorde, Yoshiaki Numata, Rene Barrientos, Raul Rojas, Hiroshi Kobayashi and Mando Ramos. In fact Suh gave Ramos his first professional loss in 1967!
6-The memorable Mando Ramos began his career in November 1965 and fought through to 1975 during which time he was a 2-time Lightweight world champion. Sadly he passed away on July 6th 2008, the same day that Japan's Yuki Chinen made his professional debut in Okinawa on a show promoted by former world champion Akinobu Hiranaka.
When we talk about relatively forgotten recent fighters Japanese Light Flyweight Yuki Chinen (14-2, 7) rarely gets mentioned, despite being a genuine notable Japanese fighter between 2008 and 2014. With him being a bit of a forgotten fighter we felt he was the perfect fighter to shine a little bit of a light on. With that in mind let us bring you 5 mid weeks facts about Yuki Chinen.
1-Before turning to boxing Chinen worked for a used car company, which was run by his father. It was due to the free time he had at work that he actually walked into the Ryukyu Gym, where he began to box.
2-Chinen took up the sport to kill time and even when he was making a bit of a name for himself he wasn't looking to win titles. In fact when he achieved his crowing success, winning the All Japan Rookie of the Year in 2009, he still didn't have any desire to win titles, something that was regarded as unique by his then trainer. After winning Rookie of the Year Chinen was actually unsure if he even wanted to continue being a professional fighter, which was also rather peculiar.
3-Early in his career Chinen was dubbed "Gushiken II". In part that was due to Chinen fighting at Light Flyweight, the same division that Yoko Gushiken made his name at in his prime and partly due to the fact Chinen was fighting out of Okinawa.
4-On April 3rd 2013 Chinen clashed with Ryoichi Taguchi for the Japanese Light Flyweight title, at Dangan 69. Going into the fight the two men were both world ranked, with Taguchi ranked #6 and Chinen ranked #14. Going into that bout the winner knew they'd have to defend the belt against the winner of a bout between Naoya Inoue and Yuki Sano, who clashed less than 2 weeks later. Interestingly Chinen is also on of the very, very few fighters that Taguchi fought who was actually taller than him!
5-Chinen was 12-0 in bouts scheduled for fewer than 10 rounds, and went 2-2 in bouts for 10. Though in fairness his two losses did both come to future world champions. The first of those was the aforementioned Ryoichi Taguchi and the second was Yu Kimura. Incidentally they both came in Japanese title fighters, and it meant that Chinen never did manage to win a title belt during his career.
Boxing is a very ruthless sport. Only a few people can withstand the pressure and become successful. Even fewer can have a fantastic career and retire with a good score. Throughout history, we’ve witnessed numerous famous boxers who acted as role models to the kids – Muhammad Ali being the greatest, then we have the likes of Joe Frazier, Sugar Ray Leonard, Manny Pacquiao, and many more.
All of these boxers are known as being champions of the world and as sportsmen that have shown exceptional skills. Speaking of exceptional skills, we wanted to take a look at the top 3 boxers that have managed to become champions and retire without suffering any defeats.
2021 Has a Lot of Potential
Before we unveil our top three picks, it is worth noting that 2021 is set to be an amazing year for the boxing community. There are tons of great fights that are close to being finalized. Some honourable mentions are the long-awaited bout between Anthony Joshua vs Tyson Fury, Manny Pacquiao comeback, Canelo takeover, etc.
Boxing fans have already started wagering on these potential match-ups as online bookies have already opened odds. Not only that but betting sites provide the punters with numerous other advantages, which is why they are far more favoured than land-based facilities. IF you would like to register and wager on the boxing bouts, click over here. The process of registration is very fast and lasts just a minute. But remember, the idea is to entertain yourself, not take any unnecessary risks.
Now, let’s take a look at some of the best undefeated boxers.
Hate him or love him, you cannot deny the fact that when it comes to defensive skills and fight IQ, Floyd is one of the best to ever do it. He completely dominated the boxing world in his prime and to this day, he is the only boxer to have ever defeated the current No.1 P4P champion – Canelo. Mayweather’s last professional bout was against Conor McGregor, where he won via a 10th round TKO. After that, he retired and has been taking part in some exhibition bouts. He retired with a perfect record of 50-0.
Joe Calzaghe started boxing at the age of 9 and had an amateur record of 112-10. He turned pro in 1993 and became one of the best boxers to ever do it. The Pride of Wales won the WBO Super Middleweight title in 1997, and then, went on to win IBF, WBC and the WBA. He decided to hang up the gloves in 2008 and retired with a perfect record of 46-0. 32 of those wins came by knockout.
Lastly, we have arguably the most popular boxer to retired without suffering any losses. The legendary Rocky Marciano held the world heavyweight title from 1952 to 1956. To this date, he is the only heavyweight in the world to have retired undefeated. Thanks to his relentless fighting style and formidable punching power, he raked up a total of 49 wins and 0 losses. 43 of those wins came by knockout.
There are very few Mongolian fighters who have managed to connect with fans around the world. One of the few who has is the enigmatic Choi Tseveenpurev (36-7-1, 24), who fought between 1996 and 2014. During that time he managed to really connect with British fans and become a fan favourite among the hardcore fans in the UK.
Although he never won a world title Tseveenpurev managed to knock on the door a few times and shared the ring with some notable names, including Veeraphol Sahaprom, Lehlo Ledwaba, Derry Matthews and Daud Yordan. He also moved up in weight, beginning his career at Bantamweight and moving all the way up Lightweight at one point.
With that said, lets us bring you 10 facts you probably didn't know about... Choi Tseveenpurev
1-Choi's family was nomadic, and he was brought up in the Mongolian mountains.
2-As a child Choi trained in boxing for about 18 months, before giving up the sport to go to college, and didn't have time to train in the sport any more.
3-After college Choi worked in a fire station, doing so in the early 1990's. He left the job, and told his colleagues he had got a new job. In fact he hadn't got anything lined up and left to chase his dreams of becoming an athlete. He was jobless for around 2 years after this decision.
4-Among the many inspirations for Choi to become a boxer was watching a Mike Tyson fight on Russian TV, and felt that he could use boxing to become well known and to show his power.
5-Although Choi was in his 20's when he began to really take the sport seriously he did manage to have a pretty notable amateur career. In the unpaid ranks he took home a Gold medal from 1994 Tammer Tournament in Finland, and a Bronze medal at the Seoul Box Cup in 1995. He also competed at the 1995 Asian Championships in Tashkent
6-Choi was a sparring partner for Lakva Sim, the first Mongolian to win a world title.
7-Choi has explained that his favourite opponent was Abdul Tebazalwa, a man he fought in 2007. It seemed like Choi saw a lot of familiarity with himself, with both men moving from relatively poor countries, Mongolia in Choi's case and Uganda for Tebazalwa, to Europe, with Choi living for years in England and Tebazalwa being based in Sweden.
8-During his 44 fight professional career Choi only fought once in Mongolia. He also fought in South Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, China, the United Kingdom, Denmark and Singapore.
9-Rather interestingly Choi's only draw came in his very final bout, drawing with Hyun Sunwoo in South Korea. This bout was interesting for a few reasons. Not only was it his only draw but it also resulted in him having a 1-1-1 record in 6 round bouts that went to a decision and it took his career full circle, with his first and final bout coming in Korea. It was also his only scheduled 6 rounder not to take place in the UK, as the previous 8 hard!
10-Choi featured in a movie, called "Iron Monk".
It's not often I get personal whilst writing here (twitters the place for that right?), there's typically 2 or 3 of these, maximum, a year. But this is one of those rare cases. With that in mind please bare with me, and the occasional bit of raw language. I'm in a weird space (not bad, not good, just weird!), and I'm sure that will come out here... But please bear with me (as this is probably the best look at my brain you'll ever get and the confusing thoughts that go on in my noggin!)
For those expecting something straight forward here, sorry! (But there is a TL;DR at the bottom)
So... Over the last last few weeks regular readers may have noted a... lower output from us than usual, and whilst that is partially down to a lack of fights (which explained why a recent week had no "One to watch" article done and other small things have been absent), it has been mostly down to a bigger issue. A lack of motivation.
A REAL lack of motivation (genuinely JUST a lack of motivation).
This is something I've never had since this site started. It's not something I'm familiar with. Even when the pandemic started and there was no action I still had stuff to do! Stuff I wanted to do. Grand plans and all that jazz!
When this site started, back in 2013 I believe, it was supposed to be fun. Me and the two guys that helped set this up agreed when this stopped being enjoyable and fun that was the end. There wasn't going to be any anger, resentment or frustration at the end. It was going to end when it was no longer fun, because that's when it would have run it's course. It's when something that was enjoyable was no longer fun.
The idea of loving your work has always been a key focus in how I work. When things stop being fun I tend to... look for ways out. I don't really need to feel like I'm torturing my self any more than I do on a daily basis! And that's for everything not just this site. I've had relationships, I've left jobs and left studying when I stopped enjoying it. It has, genuinely, cost me a lot of opportunities, and should be out of my system by now. It's something I remember being used as a barb by an ex when the site started up, and stuck like a knife at the time.
Since mid February I've not been enjoying it. I've not been doing what I usually would, and I've not been uploading videos or sharing news quite as deep as I should have.
We've missed stories that would, maybe, have piqued some interest. For example Takuma Inoue's reported affair, or the recent case of a Japanese fan selling supposedly signed Naoya Inoue merchandise, which the Monster didn't sign.
I've been putting it down to a lack of shows and fights and a lack of opportunities to enjoy the main part of why this site was set up. To watch boxing, and to make boxing from Asia easier to access. During that time I've gone from enjoying this to... just doing it. Or rather doing, bits of it. For the first time it's gone from being "I can't wait to see what news has broken on the obscure Japanese websites and what's happening in Thailand this morning" to "I might check Yahoo.jp later on, if I can be bothered".
It's gone from being I want to do, to something I feel like I'm making an effort to do. And that has, fucking sucked. Genuinely it's sucked so much to think "I'm bored of this now".
Thankfully I can, to some extent, get away with that in some areas. A large number of articles for the next year are scheduled. I could turn off the computer to the end of the year and you'd still get somewhere in the region of 250 things between now and the end of the year (with some series done to 2022 already and others, such as "Closet Classic" and "Six Degrees of Separation" only missing a few examples). There is, pretty much, something done every day from now to the end of the year.
It's kinda nice to know I could drop dead and for the rest of the year something would be posted almost daily. To me that's a nice thought, as morbid as it might be!
So is this the end? Is this Scott's crazy way of saying "fuck this I'm going to play games and get drunk?"
No. It's more a confession. I was bored with all this. I had got to the point where I was going to bed at 6PM (for an insomniac to be going to bed that early, not sleeping, but not wanting to do anything...it fucking sucks), not knowing where things were going.
The reality is the site isn't going away. There will be regular news. As fights return we'll begin to pick up the work load once more. Since December there had been no month that has really excited me as a fan. There has no month that managed to get my heart racing. That is until this May. The 3 show event over May 22nd and 23rd is probably as excited that I've been about the sport since Christmas. The 7 title fights over 3 Dangan shows is something that really is the sort of weekend I've dreamed of. The weekend 2021 has needed.
It's funny to think that over 8 years ago this was set up and is still going. It's amazing to think of the connections and friends I've made doing this, the people who have followed the site, from either way back when, or from more recently. It's jaw dropping to see fighters actually get in touch and thank me for writing about them, and for others to request we share stuff of their's. It's amazing that people like Danji Suruga, Makoto Okaniwa, Masamichi Yabuki, Narumi Yukawa, Czar Amonsot and most recently Dennis Leuii have been in touch. It might only have been something little but it's the sort of thing that makes it feel like things have been meaningful over the years. The effort, time and research hasn't been for nought.
I also can't help but feel a little responsible for the fact Fuji TV have made their broadcasts available outside the Kanto area (seriously I'm taking some credit for that!)
I know some have seen a message on twitter, and potentially interpreted it in a certain way. Thank you for your concern, genuinely. I'm not in a bad place mentally, I was just... like I said, bored and unmotivated...and maybe a little bit addicted to Wreckfest... (seriously great game!)
So what's next?
Scott is a lazy bastard, who lacked motivation recently as there wasn't enough fights to care about, and under-reported news!
He is promising to be a good boy as a thank you to the boxing gods for May 22nd and 23rd!
Thank you for your concern and for the continued reading of the articles, news and such! Also we will try to inject more fun and cheekiness into things. Things have become a bit stale in some of the things I've been doing and it's been a case of "going through the motions" a bit too much.
Whilst there may have been little to report recently, things are set to pick up!
Also if you've got through all of this well done... the cheque's in the mail!
This past weekend we saw IBF Super Flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas (33-1-2, 22) record his 9th defense as he over-came mandatory challenger Jonathan Javier Rodriguez in a brilliantly competitive and exciting bout. The bout was, by far, the most entertaining world title defense for Ancajas, who has held the IBF title since September 2016 and failed to secure a genuine A tier defense, having ticked over with mandatories and B tier challengers.
After the win it seemed like he wanted some big bouts to establish himself as more than just a title holder, but as one of the legitimate best at 115lbs. Sadly a number of the top fighters in the division are engaged in a 4 man tournament for the WBC and WBA titles, but that does still leave a lot of good options out there for Ancajas.
With that in mind lets take a look at those options as we give Jerwin Ancajs the "Five for..." treatment.
1-Kazuto Ioka (26-2, 15)
The most obvious choice to Ancajas to target right now is WBO champion Kazuto Ioka, in what is the only legitimate unification bout out there right now for either man and seemingly the logical bout to make for both men. Ancajas has had a lengthy reign from lesser challengers, with those defenses frustrating fans who want to see more from him and find out how good he really is. A bout with Ioka would let us find out if Ancajas is really a top level fighter in the division. Likewise it would give Ioka another chance to fight on US soil, something he has spoken about wanting to do regularly since returning to the sport in 2018. Not only is this the biggest possible match up for both men, but it's also a truly interesting one from a style point of view, between two men who are technically very good, but very different. This is easily the best bout the division can give us outside of the aforementioned 4 man WBC and WBA mini tournament.
2-Kosei Tanaka (15-1, 9)
Ioka isn't the only Japanese fighter who would be sniffing around a fight with Ancajas. Another is former 3-weight world champion Kosei Tanaka, who lost to Ioka in a thrilling bout at the end of 2020 but seems like the type of fighter who would love a second shot at a Super Flyweight title sooner rather than later. Tanaka would, coming off the back of the loss to Ioka, probably be better off with an interim fight himself, but from Ancajas' point of view this bout has enough about it to make it an interesting one. It would be a bout against a world class fighter, with some name value, an exciting style, and someone who, if he beats quickly enough, will boost his value in a potential Ioka match up. For Ancajas it's a bout with value, despite Tanaka's recent loss, and for Tanaka it's a huge chance to fight outside of Japan, something he's spoken about wanting to do, as well as a second shot at becoming a 4 weight world champion.
3-Donnie Nietes (43-1-5, 23)
It's fair to say that Ancajas is a quality boxer, but one who lacks major names on his record. One thing he needs are recognisable opponents. With that in mind an all-Filipino bout with Donnie Nietes would certainly be one worthy of some attention. Nietes, who fought back on April 3rd, is certainly a major name in the lower weight classes and even at 38 has the tools and boxing IQ to be a top player in the division. Whilst Nietes wants a big name himself it's fair to say his options are as limited as Ancajas', given the 4 man WBC/WBA tournament, and the best options for Nietes himself are Ioka and Ancajas. For Ancajas a win over Nietes would be huge for his career and his standing in the sport, whilst a win for Nietes would see him having some more bargaining power for a potential future unification bout. Sadly though Nietes has previously spoken about not wanting to face fellow Filipino's, though things may have changed now given the lack of other options for the Filipino legend.
4-Francisco Rodriguez Jr (35-4-1, 24)
Although not a huge name, and certainly not the high level fight that we suspect Ancajas would want, we can't help but think a bout between the Filipino and Mexican Francisco Rodriguez Jr would be an interesting one, and certainly a fun one. Rodriguez is best known for his days down at 105lbs, where he unified the WBO and IBF titles and since then he has moved up through the weights. He was supposed to face WBC Flyweight champion Julio Cesar Martinez on the under-card of Saul "Canelo" Alvarez Vs Callum Smith, but that bout was cancelled when Martinez was ill. Sadly Rodriguez missed out there however we suspect he would jump at the chance to face Ancajas for a title, even up at Super Flyweight. For Ancajas, who will want to win fans over, this would be ideal as Rodriguez always comes to fight and would make for a very entertaining clash here.
5-Franklin Gonzalez (24-0, 24)
The current IBF rankings at Super Flyweight are weak, despite the division it's self being strong. Going through the rankings there really aren't many options that are that appealing. One exception to that, at least on paper, is 24 year old Venezuelan Franklin Gonzalez, who sports a perfect 24-0 (24) record. As with many Venezuelan fighter with impressive looking records it's hard to know how good he is, and there isn't any substance at all to his paper record, but given the rest of the IBF rankings he makes for a bout that would have "some" intrigue. An unbeaten puncher, with a perfect record tends to either be legitimate, or be swatted out super fast when they take on a highly skilled fighter, as we saw recently with Heber Rondon. If this turns out to be an easy one for Ancajas then he can have a quick turn around.
Sadly for Ancajas he's in an awkward position, as many top Super Flyweights are currently booked up and a move to Bantamweight, whilst tempting, doesn't bring too many interesting potential bouts for him in the immediate future. Sadly many of the top Bantamweights, such as Naoya Inoue, Nordine Oubaali, Nonito Donaire and John Riel Casimero are all pretty much off limits to him right now and and outside of Ioka, Tanaka and Nietes there isn't a legitimate, and obvious, big name available to him until very late in the year.
Last weekend fight fans at the EDION Arena Osaka saw Japanese prospect Toshiki Shimomachi (13-1-2, 9) score his latest win, as he stepped up from Super Bantamweight to Super Featherweight and stopped Thunder Teruya in 3 rounds, in one of the most impressive performances of his career. Following the win he and his team made it clear that his immediate future lay at 122lbs, and it's there that he will look to make a name for himself, despite the depth in Japan at the weight.
Following his latest win his promoter seemed to suggest they were chasing the Japanese national champion, Gakuya Furuhashi. If they can't land that fight however there are a lot of very, very interesting domestic options out there for him right now in a brilliantly packed Japanese scene. We'll discuss 4 of those options, as well as the title fight, as we take a look at "Five for... Toshiki Shimomachi"
1-Gakuya Furuhashi (27-8-1, 15)
After Shimomachi's win at the weekend Masaya Motoishi made it clear his man was targetting Gakuya Furushashi, the current Japanese Super Bantamweight champion, and it seems clear that Furuhashi is their primary target. The reality is that it's unlikely this bout will be next, but is certainly one that Shimomachi and Motoishi want, and one that makes for a very interesting match up. Furuhashi won the title earlier this year, winning a thrilling war with Yusaku Kuga, but at 33 years old his career is certainly coming to an end in the next year or two, especially given his style. Style wise Furuhashi's pressure and aggression against Shimomachi's smart footwork and defense would be an excellent clash. We suspect Furuhashi would prefer a less awkward first defense, however there's no reason that this bout can't take place in 2021.
2-Ryoichi Tamura (14-5-1, 7)
Whilst a bout with Furuhashi seems to be the one that Shimomachi wants it we expect it to be one that he has to wait for. With that in mind we'd like to see the slippery and under-rated Shimomachi take on someone with a similar style and someone who has previously held the Japanese title. One man who fits through criteria pretty damn well is Ryoichi Tamura, who is relentless with his pressure, never stops throwing and doesn't understand what it's like to take a backwards step. Shimomachi will need to deal with incessant pressure when he faces Furuhashi and we can't think of many better ways to prepare for that than facing Tamura. Interestingly Tamura and Furushashi clashed in 2019, with Furuhashi taking a close decision over Tamura, and this would serve as a good chance for Shimomachi to compare his own performance with that of the current champion.
3-Yusaku Kuga (19-5-1, 13)
An alternative option who fits the "similar style, and former champion" mould would be Yusaku Kuga, the man Furuhashi beat for the title. Kuga is less of a pure pressure fighter than Furuhashi and Tamura, and is more of a puncher-pressure fighter, but he style would do a decent enough job of replicating the incessant offense of Furuhashi. This bout would also help give Shimomachi a proper chin checking, something he's yet to have. Notably Kuga has been in a lot of recent wars, including two with Tamura and one with Furuhashi, and is seen as a man on the slide, due in part to the accumulated punishment of a very hard career, something that should help Shimomachi. At the time of writing Kuga is ranked #3 by the JBC and a win over him would shoot Shimomachi to the verge of a mandatory title fight.
4-Ryohei Takahashi (19-4-1 8)
At the moment there are a few things working against Shimomachi in regards to securing a title fight. One of those is his awkward and slippery style, which we don't think he should change for anyone. Another is the fact he's based in Osaka, which has a decent boxing scene but one that pales compared to the scene in Tokyo. A third is that he is, relatively speaking, an unknown compared to many of the more notable fighters in East Japan. One way to change that would be getting a bout on a Dynamic Glove card. One of the few notable Japanese fighters who he could face in a G+ televised bout would be former world title challenger Ryohei Takahashi, who is best known for losing to TJ Doheny. We suspect the styles of the two men would see Shimomachi make this one look really easy, but it would be more about the exposure, and fighting at Korakuen Hall, rather than testing Shimomachi.
Although this one is one we'd like to see we suspect that Shimomachi will be headlining a Green Tsuda card in Osaka next, rather than focusing on bolstering his appeal to fight fans in Tokyo. It's understandable that he wants strong home support, but we can't help feeling like it would be great to see him getting TV exposure through G+ sooner rather than later.
5-Yosuke Fujihara (18-7, 5)
Potentially the easiest of these bouts to make, but the least interesting, would see Shimomachi take on former 2-time Japanese title challenger Yosuke Fujihara, who is certainly coming to the end of his career. Fujihara is, as we write this, ranked higher than Shimomachi by the JBC, but would almost certainly be a big under-dog against the talented youngster, who seems to be on a roll in recent performances. Fujihara has the experience to ask some question of Shimomachi, but we don't see anything other than a win for the youngster, who is the much more skilled, slippery and intelligent. Fujihara, in many ways, is made to order for Shimomachi to look good, and the veteran would almost certainly travel to Osaka to fight, meaning he would be available for the scheduled date for the next Green Tsuda show. Of the options on this list he seems the most likely, at least if Shimomachi wants to be the "home" fighter.
The contract has finally been signed, and it’s official that Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury will do battle for the right to be called the unified heavyweight champion. It will be a historic occasion, as it will be the first unification bout in the heavyweight division for 20 years.
Lennox Lewis was the last unified champion, as he beat Evander Holyfield in November 1999. Some of the most iconic heavyweights in the history of the sport have held all the belts in the heavyweight division, including Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, and George Foreman.
However, either Anthony Joshua or Tyson Fury will be joining that elite group.
Joshua Looking To Continue Legacy
Before every Joshua fight, the Brit talks about the legacy that he is looking to make. This year, he will have the opportunity to rubberstamp his legacy, and remain a legendary name for years to come.
The Joshua story has been littered with many highs, but there have also been shattering lows. There were none lower than the shock defeat that he suffered against Andy Ruiz Jr in New York back in 2019. That fight came at a stage of Joshua’s career where he boasted a perfect 22-0 record, and many expected a routine victory on his American bow.
However, it didn’t work out that way, and there are still rumours circulating to this day surrounding what actually happened on that fateful night.
The most high-pressure fight he has been involved in came less than six months later, as he looked to regain the world titles that he had lost against Ruiz.
It was a nervy evening for all Joshua fans, but he did just about enough to get over the line, as he was regained his WBA (Super), WBO, IBF, and IBO world titles by unanimous decision.
There was pressure on Joshua once again leading up to the fight against Kubrat Pulev in December last year, as it was believed that this was the only fight standing in between himself and a shot at destiny against Fury.
It was a much-improved performance from Joshua on that evening, as he dictated the pace of the fight throughout, and was eventually able to get the knockout win in the ninth. However, a fight against Fury will be the biggest test of his career.
Fury The Heavy Favourite
Like Joshua, Fury is also a two-time world champion, but his route back to the top has been one that has gripped the entire world. Fury made it to the top of the mountain in November 2015, as he produced a thrilling performance to beat Wladimir Klitschko by unanimous decision.
Nevertheless, he decided to give up the WBA (Super), IBO, IBF, WBO, and The Ring titles due to health problems. Fury has been a huge advocate for mental health, and has shared his own experiences throughout the dark periods.
He finally returned to the ring in June 2018 as he beat Sefer Seferi. However, many believed that a bout against Deontay Wilder for the world titles would have been a step too far later in the same year.
However, on that night, Fury showed why he is regarded by many as the number one heavyweight, as he outboxed and showed heart against the reigning WBC holder.
Many believed that Fury actually won the fight, but it was ruled as a contentious draw. There was nothing contentious about the re-match over a year later, as Wilder produced one of the all-time best heavyweight displays to beat the unbeaten American via seventh-round stoppage.
The fight between Fury and Joshua is the one the world wants to see and fans are creating expectations like horse racing enthusiasts for the TwinSpires.com Kentucky Derby. It promises to be one of the best in recent history.
When it comes to Asian boxers there are few, if any, who can hold a candle to the fighter that is Manny Pacquiao.
Pacquiao is the Asian equivalent to boxing, what Yao Ming was to the edge.twinspires.com NBA odds for a long time. He is an icon in Philippines and in the whole continent.
We're not here to generally wax lyrical about his career though. Instead, we're going to pick out a few of the best fights of Manny Pacquiao's career.
Number 5. Vs Floyd Mayweather Jr.
It will surprise a lot of people that we've opted to include a fight that Pacquiao actually lost. It's pretty close to impossible to ignore a fight with a combined purse of over $300m that was bought by nearly five million fans to make it the biggest PPV fight ever.
In the fight itself, Mayweather showed he has one of the best defences of all time whilst countering effectively. Pacquiao lost to a unanimous points decision with punters left wondering what might have happened had the two giants of the sport gone at it a few years earlier.
Number 4. Vs Lehlohonolo Ledwaba
Ledwaba isn't a name that rolls of the tongue nowadays; rewind to 2001 though and the South African was widely considered one of the best in the business. For Pacquiao the fight was somewhat of a gamble.
Despite having some experience under his belt this fight was to be his first showing on US soil. It came with hardly any lead time too; the Pac Man had just two weeks to prepare. Still, with the IBF a title on the line, Pacquiao wasn't about to pass it up. Ledwaba fell to his defeat in round six courtesy of a TKO; it was a huge deal for Pacquiao and just a second career loss for Ledwaba.
Number 3. Vs Marco Antonio Barrera
Pacquiao and Barrera have clashed a couple of times over the years, here we look at their 2003 match up. It's not too dissimilar to the Ledwaba fight in that it was Pacquiao's opponent who came into the fight dubbed as one of the best pound for pound fighter around.
By round three, Barrera was put on the canvas and the attacks didn't stop there. The fight wouldn't end until the penultimate round when Barrera's team would fly the white flag but the entire fight had been an offensive masterclass by Pacquiao.
Number 2. Vs Antonio Margarito
This 2010 bout was a challenge for Pacquiao in more obvious ways than some of the others we've already touched on. Margarito, 5'11, stood much taller than the Pac Man who is some six inches shorter and weighed in some 17lbs heavier too.
Pacquiao proved himself to be the far superior boxer though. Margarito would ensure the fight went the distance but he never looked like winning as Pacquiao's smart footwork and quick combinations meant he was the dominant fighter throughout. It was a real lesson for Margarito; Pacquiao won by the most comfortable of unanimous decisions. His opponent was rushed to hospital with pretty much every expert claiming the fight should have been ended earlier - much earlier.
Number 1. Vs Oscar De La Hoya
The fight that tops our list of the best Manny Pacquiao fights of all time is his 2008 bout with De La Hoya. 'The Golden Boy' came into the fight as the heavy favourite having dropped down from middleweight to face a Pacquiao that what having to step to the 147lb catch weight.
It didn't affect Pacquiao one bit; the southpaw came out on the front foot and De La Hoya simply couldn't live with the persistent onslaught. After eight rounds, the American decided he'd had enough and refused to leave his corner for round nine. Pacquiao had fully arrived at the elite. De La Hoya never fought again.
There you have it, the best fights of Manny Pacquiao's career. Which one did we miss?
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).