For this week's remarkable round we're going to bring you a criminally forgotten round. We didn't get any knock downs, or a stoppage but what we saw was 3 minutes of high octane back and forth action. The round saw momentum shift one way and then the other and then back and back again. It was thrilling from start to end and yet is very rarely spoken about now, just 9 years on. In reality this is one that deserves a watch, and a rewatch.
Tomonobu Shimizu (18-3-1, 9) vs Hugo Fidel Cazares (35-6-2, 25)
In one corner was Japanese fighter Tomonobu Shimizu, a gutsy contender who had come up short in previous world title fights to Pongsaklek Wonjongkam and Daisuke Naito. Although a very talented fighter he had been stopped in both of his previous world title bouts and had also been stopped in his other loss, an early career defeat to Kaennakorn Klongpajol. Although very skilled the feeling was that he lacked the durability to be a world champion.
In the opposite corner to Shimizu was Mexican warrior Hugo Fidel Cazares. "El Increible" as he was known had been the WBA Super Flyweight champion since dethroning Nobuo Nashiro in 2010 and had made 4 defenses of the title, including on in Japan against Hiroyuki Kudaka around 8 months before this bout. At the time he was regarded, by many, as the top dog in the division, and although his competition since winning the title was limited he was strongly favoured to over-come Shimizu here.
Notably Cazares had only lost twice in the previous 11 years, with both of those losses coming to Ivan Calderon.
The first 7 rounds of the bout had been incredibly engaging, with Cazares looking the stronger man but having a slow start. Shimizu got off to a really good start, taking the lead in the early going, but Cazare's strength, power, pressure and work rate had reeled the challenger back in.
And then we got in to round 8, and boy what a round this was!
It took a few seconds to get going but when it began to move on it did so rapidly with Cazares taking control early and dominated the first 40 seconds, then Shimizu came back at the champion, giving the round it's first swing. Then Shimziu managed to hurt Cazares, sending the crowd and commentary into fits of excitement, but then Cazares gutted it out and fired back. With just over a minute to go the round was up for grabs, but Shimizu knew he had his man on the back foot. Cazares knew he couldn't let it slip away, after all he was the one with the momentum coming into the round.
If you've 3 minutes of time, give this one a watch, it's a real great round of back and forth action!
During the history of the Super Flyweight division we've seen some legends holding world titles, like Jiro Watanabe, Khaosai Galaxy, Gilberto Roman and more recently Naoya Inoue and Roman Gonzalez. It's also had some lesser known fighters holding world titles there, including Japan's Tomonobu Shimizu.
Given how little we see people talk about Shimizu now a days we though why not look at 10 facts you probably didn't know about... Tomonobu Shimizu!
1-Shimizu's blood type is AB, the rarest in Japan. In Japanese blood type theory this means he is "eccentric", and has character traits like being talented, cool, composed, rational, but impatient, charming and diplomatic, but vulnerable, shy and self centered.
2-Shimizu went 68-10 (25) in the amateurs and was the captain of the same university that also had Toshiyuki Igarashi and Kazuto Ioka
3- Shimizu's ring walk music was usually the theme from the Rocky movies.
4-Despite being such a good amateur Shimizu actually lost, inside a round, in his second pro bout. In that bout, that came 4 months after his debut, he was taken out by unknown Thai Kaennakorn Klongpajol. This was Kaennakorn 's only win outside of Thailand.
5-Shimizu's in ring nickname was "Speed Star"
6-During his 24 bout professional career Shimizu fought fighters from just 3 countries. His opponents were all from Japan, Thailand or Mexico. In fact 23 of his 24 bouts came against opponents from Japan or Thailand, with his penultimate opponent, Hugo Fidel Cazares, being the only fighter from outside of the two Asian countries.
7-In 2011 he became the first world champion from the Kaneko gym, and now, more than 9 years later, he is still the only champion from the gym.
8-Despite beating Hugo Fidel Cazares for the WBA Super Flyweight title in 2011 Shimizu would need time away from the ring to heal from a fractured orbital bone. By the time he returned to the ring, just 8 months later, the WBA had created an absolute mess with the title situation. During his recovery time, which again was just 8 months, they had made Shimizu the Champion in Recess, Tepparith Kokietgym had won the regular title and Liborio Solis was the "interim" champion. On his return he faced Tepparith in a bout that, had they drawn, would have seen the men recognised as co-champions. Yes, the WBA were making a mess of things way back in 2011!
9-In June 2009 Shimizu got married to his wife at a hotel in Tokyo. The two had met 9 years earlier and among those who attended the wedding were Koichi Wajima.
10-Away from boxing Shimizu is good friends with Japanese professional wrestler Men's Teioh
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).