In the couple of weeks we saw Filipino fighter Mike Plania (24-1, 12) put himself in the picture for a potential world title fight with an upset win against Joshua Greer Jr. The win saw Plania go from being a relative unknown to a name on the mind of those who follow the sport. Going in he was world ranked at Super Bantamweight, but the win over Greer was, by far, the biggest win of his career, and opened the door to other big fights for the 23 year old from General Santos City.
With his win there is talk of him getting a world title fight. The reality is that a shot at the top would be too soon for him, much like it would have been too soon for Greer, however that doesn't mean Plania doesn't deserve another big bout. In fact the opposite is true. He does deserve a big bout, a chance to move another step towards a world title fight and a chance to take on someone who will help prepare him for an eventual shot at the top. The win over Greer was big, but not flawless, and he needs opponents which will help him build on those issues.
With that all said, lets look at 5 potential match we would like for Mike Plania in "Five For...Mike Plania"
Juan Carlos Payano (21-3, 9) II
For us the bout the we would most like to see Plania in next would actually be a rematch with former Bantamweight champion Juan Carlos Payano. The two men clashed in 2018 with Payano taking a decision over Plania to give the Filipino his sole professional loss, despite being dropped in round 3. Since that bout Plania has won 9 in a row, including the win over Greer, and built well whilst Payanon has gone 1-2, though has only lost to world class fighters in Naoya Inoue and Luis Nery. Yes Payano looks like a fighter who has seen better days, but it would still be great to see Plania avenge that defeat on his record.
Carlos Castro (25-0, 10)
We mentioned that we felt it was too early for Plania to fight for a world title bout, as a result we'd like to see him getting some seasoning against hungry fighters, who make him dig deep. Something you're going to see with the remaining names on this list. With that in mind we would love to see him take on the unbeaten Carlos Castro, who is world ranked by the IBF, WBC and WBO. Castro is a very talented boxer, who has has shown real touches of skill, and easily out pointed Genesis Servania last year, but was run surprisingly close by Jesus Ruiz last time out. Castro lacks power, but does have a good engine and good work rate, with very good skills meaning he could make for an intriguing match up with Plania.
Gavin McDonnell (22-2-2, 6)
The McDonnell twins, Jamie and Gavin, were never sensational boxers but both were solid with Jamie being the better of the two and the one with success at world level. Despite that Gavin will likely know that he, potentially has one more run left in him. For McDonnell, who is a work horse with great stamina, great heart and under-rated skills, Plania could be seen as a beatable opponent and someone who could help him secure a second world title fight. Plania on the other hand would be favoured to beat McDonnell, a former world title challenger, and get some value experience against a fringe world class fighter. At the age of 34 McDonnell's best days are behind him, but a win over him would still carry some weight, and would be a notable victory on Plania's record.
Arnold Khegai (16-1-1, 10)
Of course McDonnell, and Payano, are both a bit long in the tooth and it might be more fun to see Plania with an aggressive opponent, rather than a boxer-mover like Castro. With that in mind a bout between Plania and Arnold Khegai, from Ukraine, would potentially be something a bit special. Khegai is no world beater. He's raw, he's clumsy, he's open and there to be hit. But he's also there with solid power, a lot of energy, an incredible will to win, a real desire to break down opponents and a fan friendly style. Khegai Vs Plania would be a really solid bout on any card, from a fans point of view, and the winner would see their standing boosted notably. A bit of a high risk option, of course, but a very interesting match up all the same and one we would love to see!
Isaac Dogboe (20-2, 14)
Whilst beating a contender would be great for Plania we day say taking a win over a former world champion would be better and a match up between the Filipino and former WBO Super Bantamweight champion Isaac Dogboe would make for an interesting match up. In terms high level experience Dogboe holds the clear advantage, with 5 bouts in and around world level. He does however have miles on the clock, following 2 painful losses to Emanuel Navarrete, and his confidence is going to be as low as it'll go. On the other hand Plania wouldn't be able to over-look Dogboe, who is a heavy handed fighter who throws with bad intent. This would be high risk, high reward, potentially thrilling and could become a bit of a shoot out. The loser would have time to bounce back whilst the winner would be right on the verge of a world title fight. A great match up.
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).