With 2014 about to end we thought it was time to say a few things to you folk, the folk who have kindly given us your time over the last year or so, the people who have shared our articles, followed us on twitter, sent us information, read what we've done, asked us to contribute to your articles and websites and generally helped make us feel more included in the global boxing family.
When we started this site less than 2 years ago we never expected anything like the attention we've managed to receive. We were told that the site was so “niche” that nobody would care, we were given the impression that we didn't have a clear target audience and we were told that we would need to completely rethink what we were doing. With that said we need to admit we did think about canning this project, particularly when we getting single digit daily hits 4 months after the site was set up
Since then however things have changed massively. Hits have, obviously, improved, our twitter fan base has grown quicker than we had ever hoped, we know there is a core reader base who check us out daily (thank you!) and we know we've been strangely popular with other sites, and writers we consider to be important figures in the sport.
Of course our success is thanks to you wonderful people. With out you we would have walked.
As well as you, the readers, we've also got to thank the fighters. Not just the ones we've managed to talk to such as Charlie Ota and Ben Watanabe, but all of them. They are the ones this site is really about and they are the ones this site was set us to try and help give a new audience to. We'll not act like we were the first western site to mention Naoya Inoue or Shinsuke Yamanaka though we were amongst the first to mention Kosei Tanaka, Hikaru Marugame, Takuma Inoue, Ken Shiro and numerous other young fighters who are set to make their mark on the sport over the coming years.
With out the fighters there would be no boxing, there would be nothing to report, there would be nothing to do here. With that in mind we want to give a massive thank you to every man or woman who sets foot in that ring.
Whilst we have tried to make fight fans more aware of what goes on in the various parts of Asia we'll admit we have fallen short in some areas that we'd have liked to have made an impact. We haven't managed to get the western boxing media, or rather their biggest figures, to really give any time to the fighters we've covered.
This was seen recently when Dan Rafael failed to mention a single Asian prospect in his “Prospect of the Year”, likewise he failed to mention a single fight from Asia in his Fight of the Year, though he did include some fighters from the West where an Asian was involved, and he also failed to mention a Round of the Year contender that took place in Asia. He did however mention 2 KO of the Year contenders that were from Macau, including one of our favourites.
It wasn't however just Dan Rafael that we failed but several other significant figures also seemed to have missed out on what Asia is offering. For example the BWAA who made their nominations for their awards weeks before the end of the year, thus ruling out Naoya Inoue from the Fighter of the Year award ahead of his out standing win over Omar Andres Narvaez. The BWAA also missed out on Shingo Inoue in their Trainer of the Year nominations and Iwao Hakamada in their Bill Crawford Award nominations for over-coming adversity.
Whilst we've said thank you to a lot of people, we want to say sorry to Dan Rafael, the BWAA and all those who have missed out on some of the best fights and fighters in 2014. We hope you won't make the same over-sights in 2015.
If you've taken the time to read this, again, thank you. It really does mean a lot and the messages we received on twitter earlier were very humbling. To all of you have a great new year, we'll see you again in 2015!
Scott, Taka and the Asian boxing team.
A number of fighters have had frustrating 2013's. One of those was WBC Super Featherweight champion Takashi Miura (28-2-2, 21) who's only fight all year was a mandatory defense against the undeserving Edgar Puerta in November. Prior to that bout Miura had had his name linked to almost everyone in the Super Featherweight division yet no one seemed willing to step up and actually fight him.
Those who were mentioned as possible opponents included fellow champion Takashi Uchiyama, the Mexican pair of Abner Mares and Orlando Salido, British fighter Stephen Smith and Cuban sensation Yuriorkis Gamboa. Going into 2015 many of those names are already being linked to the Japanese puncher who will be hoping for a much busier 2015.
The most obvious bout is still the contest with Takashi Uchiyama. The bout would allow Miura a chance to avenge his stoppage defeat to Uchiyama and would make the winner a unified WBC-WBA champion. For both men it's something they have spoke about though, for various reasons, not managed to actually get sorted. It's still the bout fans are wanting and the fighters appear to want but if that can't be made there are other options.
One of the most exciting is a rumoured bout with Gamboa. The rumour for this one is that Miura would be fighting Gamboa in Mexico, possibly in a bull ring. The bout would see Miura returning to Mexico, the country where he beat Sergio Thompson in a 2013 FOTY candidate, for the first time since the Thompson bout and would also see him fighting someone known to American and European fans. It's a bout that would guarantee serious fireworks and has the potential to be over at any time. Although exciting it's not one we suspect either will be a rush to make.
Another option that would take Miura to Mexico would be a bout against unbeaten and heavy handed local Adrian Estrella. The 22 year old Estrella has had his name linked to Miura in recent weeks and his impressive record, which reads 20-0 (18), boats a 90% KO rate. This would be two of the hardest hitters in the division colliding in a bout very unlikely to go the distance. Not only is this interesting on paper but it's even more so when one considers that Estrella has beaten both Dante Jardon, a former Miura foe, and Celestino Caballero in recent bouts.
A third possible contest involving a Mexican is talk of Miura facing the exciting and unbeaten Francisco Vargas who has really shone this year. The bout is unlikely, at least in 2015, though has all the ingredients of a really exciting contest between aggressive and exciting fighters who can both be involved in some thrillers down the line. At the moment Vargas is highly ranked by the WBC and we all know that the WBC will be willing to help Vargas an opportunity however we suspect he knows it'd be too soon for him
Outside of Mexico we've seen the name of Stephen Smith again mentioned as a possible foe for Miura. Smith is the current “silver” champion and has had his name linked to Miura on British TV more than once. The most interesting thing relating to this bout is that Smith's promoter Eddie Hearn has shown a willingness to match his fighters with Japanese foes recently and we've seen Scott Quigg fight Daiki Kaneko whilst Jamie McDonnell is set to fight Tomoki Kameda. Although this certainly a possible contest we're doubtful that this one is likely to come to more than just talk as Miura is, stylistically, all wrong for Smith.
A really interesting option, and one that would certainly end up in Japan, would be a contest between Miura and the winner of the upcoming OPBF title bout between Daiki Kaneko and Jomthong Chuwatana. The winner of that will be a clear top 10 opponent with the WBC, will be happy to fight in Japan and will certainly not be written off as just another challenger. More importantly however the winner of that would stylistically be a fun to watch contest.
Whilst we'll admit we would love to see Miura Vs Uchiyama II the fact there are other options out there really does leave us looking forward to an exciting year for Takashi Miura, a man we want to see a lot of in 2015.
(Image courtesy of Teiken)
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).