We keep the Take Away articles coming this week, as there really was so many damn fights worthy of extra attention. One of those was the intriguing 8 round bout between former world title challenger Ryohei Takahashi (19-4-1, 8) and Kiyohei Endo (3-4, 3). On paper this was a totally pointless match up, but in reality this was a really, really interesting, competitive, compelling and even bout. Not only was it well fought, but it was also dramatic and with a hint of controversy.
With that said lets take a look at our Five Take Aways from this bout which took place on Saturday at Korakuen Hall.
1-Endo is far, far better than his record suggests
as is common place with this series we start with an obvious one and that is that Kiyohei Endo's record is very, very misleading. The talented Endo was a solid amateur before turning professional and losing to what was a freak show on debut in 2017. His second loss, to the brilliant Toshiki Shimomachi, came to a fantastic fighter before he had found his groove. Now he's looking like a much, improved fighter and his record is so misleading. We'll accept he's never going to become a world beater, but we wouldn't be surprised that, in the coming years, he goes on a long stretch of wins and earns a Japanese of OPBF title fight. There may well be no better 3-4 fighter in the sport today and write him off at your peril.
2-Takahashi is a million miles from another title fight
We suspect those who recognise Ryohei Takahashi's name to know him best for his loss to TJ Doheny in 2019 in an IBF world title fight. Since then he has returned to Japan and racked up a few wins but looks a long, long way from getting another title fight. In fact if anything he looks like he's on the way to being shot. He's never been the most elusive, but he has, typically, been very tough. Here we saw him being hurt a number of times, and it's very, very clear that the 30 year old is paying for his hard, and painful career. Sadly however we suspect he's being lined up for something, so don't be surprised if he gets a Japanese or OPBF title fight in the near future.
3-Endo unlucky with knockdown
In round 3 Endo had a knockdown scored against him which seemed incredibly unlucky. It seemed like he was off balance and pushed down, with Takahashi pushing the back of his head to send him down. This was really, really unfortunate for Endo, who didn't complain despite having a legit reason to complain.
4-The judging didn't reflect the bout
One thing that was really notable was how wide the score-cards were. We had this as a razor thin bout, with Endo perhaps even doing enough to nick it. This view wasn't shared by any of the judged, who had it 77-74, twice, and a frankly terrible 78-73. Don't let those scorecards confuse you into thinking this was a one sided bout. It really wasn't. It was super close and Takahashi really had to work for the win. Add that to the knockdown call and we really see this as Endo being very unlucky and Takahashi being very fortunate.
5-We still have no idea what the referee did in round 6
So for those that haven't seen this one, Takahashi was dropped in round 6. A count was started, and taken up by the referee, who then seemed to decide, mid-count, that it wasn't a knockdown ,called a time out and called it a slip...we think. If anyone know quite what this was a bout we'd be grateful at an explanation as this was just odd, and seemed to buy a tiring Takahashi a few extra seconds of rest just as he needed them.
Asian Boxing Weekly News Review!
One of the many things we're wanting to try in 2019 is a weekly news review, looking at the most interesting news stories from the last 7 days. For the same of this news won't include things like weigh ins and results, but instead things like announcements of fights, comebacks, deaths and other more general news from the week that's been.
We won't go into any of the stories in depth, leaving a link to the relevant story, but will quickly give our take on the news.
So without further ado, let us bring the 1st Asian Boxing Weekly News Review!
Srisaket to DAZN not yet a done deal! Still set to return in February
After strong speculation that WBC Super Flyweight champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (47-4-1, 41) [ศรีสะเกษ นครหลวงโปรโมชั่น] had inked a deal with DAZN it was revealed he hadn't....yet! He is in deep negotiations with the streaming service but hasn't inked anything yet, with a decision expected to be made shortly. What was also confirmed is that he would be fighting in a tune up bout on February 8th, in Thailand, before facing mandatory challenger Juan Francisco Estrada in the Spring. At the moment the opponent for Srisaket's opponent hasn't been announced, but will be before the end of the month, suggesting it's a limited foe, potentially an experienced regional journeyman.
WBSS announcements to be made next week!
After weeks of fans asking when the WBSS semi-final bouts would be taking place we finally saw the Sauerlands react, and announce that an announcement would be made next week. It's unclear when in the week the announcement will be made but to have a time frame of "next week" is good enough to get us a little bit excited. The rumours were that early March had been targeted but it now seems like the shows have slipped to April or May, though we're genuinely glad that we'll see things being made public very shortly! We'll file this in the rarely used "Glad there was an announcement about an announcement", folder
Sirimongkol to return to the ring...as a Heavyweight!
The biggest "What the fuck?" story of the week came from Thailand, as multiple sources informed us that former WBC Bantamweight and Super Featherweight champion Sirimongkol Singwancha (96-4, 61) [ศิริมงคล สิงห์วังชา] would be back in the ring in the coming weeks, as a Heavyweight! The enigmatic Thai was a fantastic fighter in his prime, but he is more than a decade removed from his prime and more than 20 years removed from losing the WBC Bantamweight to Joichiro Tatsuyoshi in an amazing fight in 1997! Sirimongkol, now in his 40's, is only 5'6" and will look ridiculous fighting at over 200lbs, but we suspect he's going to be very softly matched.
Mishiro to defend OPBF title against Watanabe!
A pretty good, though possibly missed, announcement came out over the weekend from Dangan, who announced the OPBF Super Featherweight champion Hironori Mishiro (6-0-1, 2) [三代大訓] will defending his title on March 27th against OPBF "silver" champion Takuya Watanabe (35-8-1, 20) [渡邉卓也]. Whilst neither man is a huge name outside of Asia it's hard to not be excited here. Both are fun to watch, have plenty of skill and throw a lot of punches. Neither is world class, though Mishiro has certainly shown the potential to get their already in his short career, but they should make for a genuinely spectacular fight to headline Dangan 221.
Ryohei Takahashi will continue his career following loss to TJ Doheny!
Former IBF Super Bantamweight challenger Ryohei Takahashi (15-4-1, 6) [高橋竜平] revealed that his career will not end following his loss to world champion TJ Doheny earlier this month. Although it's not a huge surprise to hear that the 28 year old, soon to be 29 year old, would be continuing his career it's still good to hear and he will certainly be a good addition to the Japanese domestic scene. Bouts between Takahashi and the likes of Yusaku Kuga, Ryoichi Tamura and Hidenori Otake would be very enjoyable, whilst rematches with Kazuki Tanaka and Yuki Iriguchi would certainly be more than welcome.
Denver Cuello set to return in March!
Former world title challenger Denver Cuello (36-5-6, 24) was once touted as a future star of the smaller divisions. Sadly injuries hampered him, badly, and clearly harmed his chances against Xiong Zhao Zhong in 2013. Since then he has hardly fought, due to in part to his being banged up. This week however Ian Melodillar reported that Cuello would be back in the ring in March, as fights for the first time in years. It's hard to know what Cuello has left but if the 32 year is half the fighter he once was he could make for another interesting addition to the ranks in any of the lower weights. He's likely missed out on getting a world title, but adds some name value and more Filipino interest to the lower weights.
Ivan Dychko eyeing March 1st return!
Also looking at a March return is Kazakh Heavyweight Ivan Dychko (7-0, 7) [Дычко Иван]. Dychko's manager revealed that his charge would be looking to return in March 1st, likely in Florida. The bout will be Dychko's first since July 2018, and frustratingly his activity seems to have been with his promotional team as he's not been injured, and instead has been seeing bouts fall through due to reasons outside of his hands. It's been a very frustrating year for the fighter and his fans. Given his amateur credentials there is no reason for him to have been matched the way he has, and hopefully 2019 will see him being busy and taking on some serious tests, rather than continuing to waste time with mismatches and promotional frustrations.
Iwao Hakamada manga to be released
Former fighter Shigemi Mori along with Hideko Hakamada held a news conference this week to reveal a new Manga being released this year to try and raise the attention of Iwao Hakamada's, Hideko's brother, situation. Mr Hakamada, now 82, served 48 years for a quadruple murder in 1966 and spent much of that time in solitary confinement on death row. Although he was released in 2014, Hakamada is still awaiting a retrial, which could see his sentence being reinstated. The manga is set to be released in 8 page sections on a monthly basis from February 15th and will be translated for an international audience with the plan also being to put it on to youtube, to further international attention.
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).