The last couple of "What a Shock" articles both focused on Japanese fighters travelling to pick up the upsets, ripping up the scripts and shocking the local fans. This time around we get the chance to focus on a fighter from the Philippines, the country that we suspect gets more upsets by their fighters than any other country. For this fight we roll the clock back just a few years and relive one of the most surprising upsets of 2015.
May 16th 2015
Auditorio Miguel Barragan, San Luis Potosi, San Luis Potosí, Mexico
Eden Sonsona (33-6-2, 11) Vs Adrian Estrella (22-0, 20)
Filipino Southpaw Eden Sonsona is not someone we suspect many will be too familiar with, unless a Filipino reading this. The surname might be familiar, with Eden being the cousin of the enigmatic Marvin Sonsona, but Eden probably not so familiar, despite being a professional for well over a decade.
Sonsona turned professional in 2004 and had success on the domestic stage, winning the GAB Super Flyweight and Bantamweight titles. Outside of the Philippines however he struggled to make an impact, losing to the likes of Kohei Kono, Silence Mabuza, Pungluang Sor Singyu and Jonathan Oquendo. His form outside of the Philippines was poor, despite a couple of wins in the US. He wasn't a bad fighter, but he was also not a particularly good one either, and by 2015 he had moved from Flyweight up to Super Featherweight, a weight that didn't seem likely to be a good one for him.
In May 2015 Estrella travelled to San Luis Potosi to take on unbeaten Mexican Adrian "Diamante" Estrella. At this point Estrella was 22-0 (20), he was being matched towards a title fight and had beaten the likes of Dante Jardon and Celestino Caballero. He was holding a number of WBC regional titles and was expected to continue his charge towards a world title by winning the WBC International Silver title here against Sonsona.
Estrella was a good boxer puncher, a strong fighter who was creating buzz. He was unbeaten, at home, 24 years old and the natural Super Featherweight. At the time he was likely being viewed as another potential Mexican to take on the then WBC world champion Takashi Miura, who was getting a reputation as a Mexi-killer.
Given how stacked things were in favour of the naturally bigger, stronger, more powerful, younger, unbeaten local it seemed like this was going to be a foregone conclusion. Estrella was going to win. He was going to win early, make a statement, and move to within touching distance of a world title fight.
Well that was what we all thought.
Just seconds into the bout Estrella touched down, it was ruled a push, rightfully, but it was clear that Sonsona was feeling something and he through the first round throwing hayemakers. He caught Estrella once or twice with wild left hands but Estrella stood up to them. It was clear that Sonsona had come into the bout with the mindset "to win, I need to stop him". Despite landing some huge single shots Sonsona was out worked and Estrella had more than enough good moments himself to secure the round, even wobbling Sonsona at one point. This was a surprisingly great opening round, despite the somewhat wild offensive work of Sonsona.
Roudn 2 started much like round 1 had been, with both men looking to land something big. Sadly for Estrella he was caught, big time, by a counter right hook up top from Sonsona. Estrella tried to beat the count, and got to his feet before stumbling to the corner and forcing the referee to stop the bout. He was up but out of it was he sat in his corner.
With Sonsona celebrating the Mexican TV cameras kept zooming in on Jhonny Gonzalez, sat ringside, who looked in pure shock at the way his countryman had just been stopped.
The victory for Sonsona should have put him in line for a big fight. He had just beaten one of the rising Super Featherweight stars of Mexico. Instead he spent more than 18 months out of the ring and picked up just 2 wins before his career began to capitulate and he went on a losing run which included two decision losses to veteran Jamie Barcelona.
Whilst Sonsona failed to build on this Estrella never rebuilt his career. He scored 6 wins, the most notable of which was a close decision over a then 41 year old DeMarcus Corley before losing 4 of 5 bouts and essentially seeing his career fall apart. As we write this he is still an active fighter, but his career is certainly falling a long way short the expectations he had on his shoulders coming into this bout.
So, May has finally ended and we're now in June. What a perfect time to look back on the fights we've had over the past 31 days.
The action kicked off almost immediately with an intriguing Japanese show on May 1st. The headline bout saw Ryota Murata (7-0, 5) score an impressive TKO against Brazilian fighter Douglas Damiao Ataide (13-2-1, 6) and in fairness to Murata it was the sort of finish that he needed after going the distance in back-to-back fights. There is still a lot of questions regarding how far Murata will go but at times he looked world class, especially with the way he finished of Ataide, who had never previously been stopped.
Although Murata's bout was, technically, top of the bill there was also a world title fight on the card as Takashi Miura (29-2-2, 22) took care of Australian Billy Dib (39-4-0-1, 23) with a very destructive stoppage. This was Miura's 4th defence of the WBC Super Featherweight title and he's now looking to break out his passport and fight in the US or Mexico in the hope of building his international fan base.
The day wasn't all good for Japanese fighters however as Takahiro Ao (27-4-1, 12) got stopped in a WBO Lightweight title bout by Raymundo Beltran (30-7-1, 18). Beltran, who had failed to make weight for the bout, looked significantly bigger than Ao and made light work of the under-sized Japanese fighter. Interestingly a story has since broke that Beltran has failed a drugs test and if that story is confirmed this bout will be changed to a No Contest.
Just a day later we saw the richest fight in history as Manny Pacquiao (57-6-2, 38) and Floyd Mayweather Jr (48-0, 26) finally got it on. Sadly the bout failed to live up to the expectations of many and although the bout made an insane amount of money it really did little to advertise our great sport. Pacquiao, who lost the bout by unanimous decision, did himself no favours following the bout by citing an arm injury for his performance and numerous people have since filed court cases against the hugely popular Filipino.
On May 6th we had more title action with a Watanabe promoted triple header. The most impressive performance here saw WBA Super Featherweight “super” champion Takashi Uchiyama (23-0-1, 19) blast away Thai challenger Jomthong Chuwatana (9-1, 4) in just 2 rounds. Uchiyama looked sensational at times in one of his most impressive performances since winning the title more than 5 years ago. Although the Japanese fighter looked amazing he did later require surgery on his left elbow.
On the same show Uchiyama's stablemate Ryoichi Taguchi (22-2-1, 9) retained his WBA Light Flyweight title with an 8th round TKO of Thai veteran Kwanthai Sithmorseng (49-4-1, 26). Kwanthai brought the fight for the most part but was dropped numerous times by the champion who certainly his harder than his record indicates.
The third champion to defend their title on this show was WBO female Minimumweight champion Kumiko Seeser Ikehara (7-1-2, 3) who managed to take a very close technical decision over Kayoko Ebata (8-6, 4). Sadly for Ebata this was her 4th loss in world title bouts and it now seems unlikely for her to get another.
We saw more Japanese world title action on May 9th as WBC female Minimumweight champion Yuko Kuroki (13-4-1, 6) retained her title with a wide points win against Masae Akitaya (9-6-2, 3). For Kuroki this was the second defense of her title and it seems likely that the 24 year old is only going to get better and better. Sadly for Akitaya this was her 4th set back in world title bouts and the 37 year old, who actually fought on her birthday, is clearly coming to the end of her career.
Also in action on May 9th was the iconic Hozumi Hasegawa (34-5, 15) who put on a stellar performance to clearly defeat the heavy handed Mexican Horacio Garcia (29-1, 21). The bout was Hasegawa's first for more than a year and he looked like a fighter who had more fight in him than we had expected. On the other hand Garcia was disappointing and never looked like really testing the talented Japanese southpaw.
Sadly May 9th wasn't all good for Japanese fighters as it ended with Tomoki Kameda (31-1, 19) suffering his first professional defeat. Kameda, who vacated the WBO Bantamweight title, took on WBA “regular” champion Jamie McDonnell (26-2-1, 12) and despite dropping McDonnell in round 3 Kameda came up short on the cards. The Japanese fighter suffered his first loss though there has since been a lot of talk regarding a rematch later in the year.
On May 12th we saw the ring return of former world champion Kompayak Porpramook (51-5, 36). The Thai had been out of the ring for 21 months following his October 2013 loss to Koki Eto in a FOTY contender. His return was a very low key affair against the debuting Fahpratan Kwanjaisrikot (0-1) and it was no surprise when Kompayak stopped his foe in the 2nd round.
We had one of the biggest upsets of the year, so far, on May 16th when unheralded Filipino Eden Sonsona (34-6-2, 12) shocked previously unbeaten Mexican fighter Adrian Estrella (22-1, 20). Estrella had been touted as a future world title contender though was stopped in the 2nd round by Sonsona who may well find himself capable of getting a sizeable payday next time out.
On the same night we saw Kazakh puncher Gennady Golovkin (33-0, 30) continue his reign of terror in the Middleweight division. Golovkin, defending his WBC “interim” and WBA “super” titles saw off Willie Monroe Jr (19-2, 6) in the 6th round. Monroe had given a spirited effort, especially given that he was down twice in round 2, though it did often seem like Golovkin was toying with his American foe.
May 23rd saw our attention turning to South Korea where Hyun Mi Choi (10-0-1, 3) retained her WBA female Super Featherweight title with a wide decision win over Japanese veteran Chika Mizutani (14-5, 7). Choi was in control through out the bout and looked very talented whilst Mizutani generally looked out classed but brave.
On May 28th we saw Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (34-4-1, 31) score one of his best wins to date as he mowed down Mexican Jose Salgado (34-3-2, 27) in 4 rounds. This bout was for the WBC “silver” Super Flyweight title and with the win Srisaket is now the mandatory challenger for WBC world champion Carlos Cuadras, the man that actually took the title from Srisaket last year.
The final highlight of the month came on May 30th when Japanese teenager Kosei Tanaka (5-0, 2) claimed the WBO Minimumweight title in just his 5th professional bout. The youngster over-came Mexican Julian Yedras (24-2, 13) in a compelling 12 round affair which saw Tanaka show off everything he was capable off in the ring, including a few defensive issues that will hopefully be worked on when he gets back in to the ring. The youngster became the “quickest” Japanese world champion beating the previous record of Naoya Inoue by a single fight.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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).