A couple of weeks ago in this series we looked at a blow out win scored by a Japanese fighter on the road. This week we actually follow up with another upset by the same fighter who again went on the road, and again picked up a big stoppage win. Unlike the last "What a Shock" however this wasn't a blow out but was an even more brutal finish.
February 3rd 2018
Bolshoy Ice Dome, Adler, Russia
Hurricane Futa (23-7-1, 14) Vs Vage Sarukhanyan (17-1-1-1, 4)
Of course two weeks ago we looked at Hurricane Futa's win over Will Tomlinson. That was a massive upset of a fringe world level contender, and came in a "blink and you miss it" fight. The entire bout lasted just 40 seconds, and essentially ended when Futa landed the first shot of any value, sending Tomlinson down for the count. Sadly for Futa he was unable to build on that win originally, losing to Ernie Sanchez in 2017, with Futa on the wrong end of an upset there. Following his loss to Sanchez we saw Futa pick up an easy win before travelling off to Russia to face the then rising Vage Sarukhanyan.
Aged 30 at this point Futa had little on his record other than the win over Tomlinson. He had been stopped by Sanchez and was 5-4 in his last 9 and 6-5 in his previous 11. He was expected to just lose against the once beaten Sarukhanyan.
Whilst Sarukhanyan wasn't too well known he was a rising hopeful in Russia. He was a skilled fighter who's only set backs, a draw and a loss, had come against Igor Ivanov, with the draw being a technical draw on the basis of rainfall. Following those setbacks Sarukhanyan had reeled off 9 straight wins, including victories over Rey Laspinas, Jhertiz Chavez and Gamaliel Diaz. He seemed to be on his way to some bigger and better things and had already claimed a WBC regional title.
Although not a puncher Sarukhanyan was looking like a very talented boxer, with a lot of skill and promise. At this point he was 27 and coming into his prime. He had confidence, youth, good form and home advantage. He was expected to continue his form here.
From the opening round Futa seemed happy to come out swinging but was made to look crude by the light feet of Sarukhanyan who got on his toes and looked to create distance and try to neutralise Futa. To his credit however Futa was keeping the pressure on, chasing the local fighter around the ring and making Sarukhanyan work for every inch of space he could get. It was a clear sign that Futa wasn't there to be a willing loser, but was their to advance his own career, and that he was hungry to win. He did take some solid shots, eating several very good right hands from Sarukhanyan, but he never seemed to be too buzzed by them.
Round 2 Futa's pressure seemed less intense, with Sarukhanyan managing to create space more often get off his work with fewer issues. It seemed like the intensity of the opening round took more from Futa than it did from Sarukhanyan but in round 3 Futa managed to show his power as he dropped Sarukhanyan for the bouts first knockdown. The knockdown came from what originally looked like a solid left hook, but on replay seemed to come from a solid headclash. Sarukhanyan got to his feet, and didn't look badly shaken, but was under intense pressure for the remainder of the round.
Futa continued to take the fight to Sarukhanyan in round 4, but it was the Russian who seemed to be finding his range and landing the better shots and countering the pressure of Futa. Despite the success of Sarukhanyan he wasn't able to slow the pressure of Futa, even when he pushed him over later in the round. It seemed the plan for the Russian was to counter, move, and hope Futa would tire himself out with his own pressure.
Sadly for the local fans Futa's energy reserves weren't wearing thin and he kept the pressure up, forcing Sarukhanyan to remain on the backfoot. The work wasn't always pretty from Futa but he was always pressing and always forcing the Russian fighter to work harder than he would have wanted. That began to show big time in round 6, as Sarukhanyan threw little and began to get bullied around, with Futa showing no respect at all to the Russian fighter.
The lack of respect continued in round 7 as Futa began to lower his hands, trying to get Sarukhanyan to fight with fire. The tactic worked and he drew more aggression from the Russian. It was the type of fight Futa wanted and Sarukhanyan began to fight the wrong fight. That aggression saw Sarukhanyan trying to unload when Futa ended up on the ropes, at which point Futa landed a dynamite left hook, dropping Sarukhanyan, and forcing the referee to wave off the bout.
The shot to end this was every bit as good as Futa's shot to stop Tomlinson, and helped secure him a minor WBC title. It was a brilliant shot and gave Futa his second big win on international soil.
Since this bout Sarukhanyan has bounced back well, going 3-0-1. Sadly Futa fought only twice, beating Roy Tua Manihuruk before losing to Masayoshi Nakatani in December 2018, in an OPBF title fight. That loss to Nakatani appears to be the end for Futa who is now 33.
Note - The video for this wasn't the smoothest and it does, sadly, have some pauses of several seconds.
In the last few "What a Shock" articles we've looked at bouts that have gone the distance and seen the under-dog take a decision despite the odds being against them. Today we look at one of the other type of upsets, the blow outs. Whilst some blow outs are put down to fluke, or lucky punch, the reality is that a KO1 win is, in some ways, a lot more of a shock than a fighter winning a close decision against the odds. It's even more notable when the man scoring the win didn't really have a puncher's reputation, and the loser wasn't regarded as chinny.
What we have today is a quick blow out that came as a genuine surprise.
August 13th 2016
Function Centre, Melbourne Park, Victoria, Australia
Hurricane Futa (20-6-1, 11) Vs Will Tomlinson (25-2-1, 13)
For this fight we go back to 2016 for what was described as an "enormous" upset on Australian soil between a fringe world level contender and someone who was building a reputation as a gutsy loser. What ended up happening was a huge surprise, to say the least.
Coming in to the bout Australian Super Featherweight Will Tomlinson was regarded as a fringe world level guy. He had notched decent wins against the likes of Rey Labao, Malcolm Klassen, Alan Herrera and was once seen as one of the bright hopes of Australian boxing. Through his first 28 fights his only losses had come to the under-rated Jerry Belmontes and the world class Francisco Vargas, with Vargas taking him out in 8 rounds. Sadly for him he had looked poor in his two bouts following the Vargas fight, but still seen as someone who was likely to work his way back up to contention and at 30 years old was certainly not "old". He was very much seen as an exciting warrior, willing to take punishment to put on a show, and still a man with life in his career.
In the opposite corner toTomlinson was Japan's Hurricane Futa. Despite the brilliant name Futa wasn't regarded as a particularly dangerous fighter, scoring just 11 stoppages in 27 bouts but he was rugged and tough. Not only had he struggled to score stoppage wins but he had been in a real rough patch in his career as well. He had gone 2-3 in his previous 5, and 3-4 in his previous 7, including a loss to the then unknown Xu Can and a loss to domestic level Japanese fighter Ippo Nishiwaki. He was seen as tough, going 12 rounds with Jhonny Gonzalez, but that was about the only thing he had going for him coming in to the bout. He lacked form, he was the naturally smaller man, having fought much of his career at Super Bantamweight and he was on foreign soil.
On paper this was nothing more than another win for Tomlinson as he began to get his career back on track. Sadly for him no one told Futa he was there to lose.
The bout started quickly and within seconds the two men were letting shots go. After around 15 seconds the two men were wrestling, with Tomlinson finding himself on the canvas. Almost as soon as the bout restarted a left hook from Futa landed clean on the chin of Tomlinson, sending him down for the count.
After just 40 seconds Futa has scored an "enormous" upset, as the commentator put it.
The shot that put Tomlinson down was a beauty, it landed clean and was one of the best punches Futa ever landed. It was also a shot that scored him his biggest win and saw him completely destroy the script within a minute.
Interestingly this would turn out to be Tomlinson's final bout. He never returned to the ring after this loss, despite only being 30 at the time. Futa on the other hand would fight on, scoring another big upset against Vage Sarukhanyan in 2018, and fight for the OPBF Lightweight title later that year, losing to Masayoshi Nakatani. It seems likely that loss will be his final bout.
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).