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.
One of the often spoke about things when it comes to predicting fights are results against shared opponents. That often forgets that styles make fights and that boxing isn't as simple as A beats B, and B beats C so A beats C. There are, through history, hundreds examples of this in play, sometimes in huge fights, sometimes in less fights and sometimes in the fights that fall somewhere between the two. Today we get to look at an example of that in what was one of the biggest upsets of 2016, and sadly one of the most forgotten upsets from the year.
December 31st 2016
Shimazu Arena Kyoto, Kyoto, Japan
Yukinori Oguni (18-1-1, 7) vs Jonathan Guzman (22-0-0-1, 22)
IBF Super Bantamweight champion Jonathan "Salomon King" Guzman had won the previously vacant title in July 2016, when he battered Shingo Wake into an 11th round TKO loss. The victory, in Osaka, was a massive win and a huge statement for Guzman, who proved he could travel to Japan and beat arguably their number #1 fight at 122lbs. He hadn't just beaten Wake but had legitimately smashed his face in, leaving Wake needing surgery and being a bloodied, messy pulp at the end of the bout. He returned to Japan in December to take part in one of the now hugely significant end of year shows, where he was going up against the once beaten Yukinori Oguni.
Oguni was coming into his first world title bout. Prior to this he had held both the OPBF title and the Japanese title, both at Super Bantamweight. Although a skilled boxer, he lacked power, with just 7 stoppages in 20 bouts, and had suffered a notable stoppage himself to Shingo Wake. Yes, the same Shingo Wake that Guzman had battered for the IBF title just months earlier. It was assumed, doe to Oguni's lack of power, that Guzman would do the same to him as he had to Wake.
Not only had Guzman stopped Wake but all 22 of his wins had come by stoppage. The Dominican was a feared fighter, and the only blotch on his record was an early career No Contest against Luis Hinojosa in 2013. Since then he had racked up 10 wins, including the one over Wake and one over the very decent Daniel Rosas. Those wins massively over shadowed Oguni's best wins, over Yasutaka Ishimoto, Taiki Minamoto and Roli Gasca.
Going into the bout Oguni was priced as high as 10/1 with the UK bookmakers, whilst Guzman was 1/9 to win. This was seen as little more than a chance for Guzman to build his rpeutation and, on paper, score his 23rd stoppage win. This was supposed to be easy for the champion.
Of course Oguni didn't read the script. He wasn't there to lose, he was there to become a world champion and quickly established his jab, used his reach and speed and tried to keep Guzman at range. Despite Guzman pressing, and certainly having power, he struggled to have any success in the opening round. He simply couldn't get close to Oguni for any prolonged success due to the challengers very crisp jab, the occasional follow up right hand. It wasn't until the bell to end the round that Guzman appeared to even have something to get excited about.
Of course great fighters can often take the first round as a chance to scout their opponent, starting slowly, figuring their man out, and then put their foot on the gas. To his credit Guzman did step on the gas in round 2, but that didn't really help too much as once again Oguni, boxing and moving, continued to land the eye catching and consistent shots. He was tagging Guzman with consistent jabs, coming over the top with solid right hands and landing some very nice body shots. Defensively he was blocking a lot, but moving and making Guzman miss. The champion was trying to up the ante, but struggling to have success, and despite only being in round 2 looked like he was becoming a little bit desperate, but was having more success.
Oguni stuck to his jab in round 3, though was starting to take more and more time in the middle of the ring. It was a change he was punished for, with Guzman going to work on him, though one that strangely worked in the end. As Guzman started to press and let his shots go, likely seeing an opportunity, Oguni landed a fantastic left to the body, and repeated it moments later, sending Guzman down. In an instant Guzman's momentum was stopped, and he spent much of the round trying to recover whilst Oguni looked land another to the midsection of the champion. What had been a good 90 seconds for Guzman, was turned on it's head by the knockdown, despite him easily beating the count.
After just 3 rounds Oguni looked in control. He had, maybe, lost the second round, but with the good opening round and the knockdown in round 3, he had some breathing space. Guzman however wasn't there to lose and he came back well in round 4, to stop any possible momentum from Oguni. Despite that Oguni did land some solid body shots, trying to replicate the shot that had sent Guzman down the previous round, and landed a fantastic counter uppercut. Guzman took the shots in his stride however and tried to turn the bout into a fire fight.
Oguni managed to re-establish some control in rounds 5 and 6 as he backed up Guzman, who again struggled to lane much clean. Guzman kept trying, but was falling show, whiffing at the air, and being pushed back by the clean accurate jabs of Oguni. That was until the end of round 6, when Guzman came close to stealing the round as picked up the pace on the bell and sent Oguni stumbling into the ropes. That momentum from Guzman carried over into a very good opening 2 minutes of round 7 for the champion who managed to have Oguni in trouble at one point. It seemed, for a moment, like the wheels were coming off Oguni until he landed another great body shot and had Guzman on his toes, scootching away and recovering. It was a genuinely great round, one of the best of the fight, and showed that Oguni, despite not being a puncher, could get Guzman's respect with a single well placed shot.
In round 8 Oguni again went to the body of Guzman, and the champion didn't like it, backing up, going to the ropes, and looking for safety. Some how Oguni had gone from boxer using his jab, to a pressure fighter of sorts, imposing his will on a supposedly dangerous puncher. On the back foot Guzman looked really poor, and Oguni was starting to show just how Guzman hated to be bullied. Guzman, who was cut, was then inspected at the start of round 9. That was another round where Oguni's body shots really bothered Guzman, with one about a minute in landing in a way that would have dropped lesser men. Guzman has flashes in the round, but they were few and far between with Oguni taking the play away every time Guzman had some success.
With his title slipping away Guzman likely went into round 10 knowing he needed to turn it around. Sadly for him he was on the wrong end of more Oguni body shots, almost doubling over at one point from them. He battled through though and ended up having a very good bounce back round, despite the poor start to it. By now however it was clear that Guzman's power simply wasn't effective Oguni as it had with Wake, and he was seemingly too tired, too broken down from the body shots, to keep up any intensity.
In round 11 we again saw Guzman going to the canvas from body shots. The shot was ruled low by the referee, Eddie Claudio, though it was very clear on replay that the show was a clean one. Even disregarding what should have been a legitimate knockdown, Guzman looked a beaten man and was on the receiving end of one of the worst rounds of the fight. With the botched call from the referee Guzman was given recovery time, and he milked it, needing it. When the bout did continue Guzman was again on the back foot.
Between rounds 11 and 12 a replay of the "low blow" was shown in the venue, and it made very clear the referee had made the wrong call. Regardless Oguni wasn't letting his chance slip and once again he backed up Guzman, made the champion miss, made his fight the wrong fight, and made the supposedly dangerous Dominican look scared and worried of the , supposedly, light punching Japanese challenger.
After 12 rounds we went to the scorecards, and those backers of Oguni at 10/1 would have been delighted. He had put on a very surprisingly performance, out boxing, out punching, hurting and dropping the champion. Guzman wasn't embarrassed, but was clearly second best overall. That was shown on the cards which were 115-112 to Oguni from all 3 judges .
Sadly for Oguni his reign was an under-whelming one. He had put in the performance of a life time here, ripped up the script, shattered the odds, but lost the belt just 9 months later to Ryosuke Iwasa. As for Guzman he would vanish for almost 2 years following this loss before returning with a decision win over journeyman Roberto Castaneda.
When researching for these articles we can quite often forget just how many upsets take place. Whilst some are huge shocks, that we talk about years later, others are more reminders of the unpredictable nature of professional boxing. Today we look at one of those notable, but often forgotten, upsets. This one is from 2012 and took place in Japan between a reigning champion, who looked like he was finding his groove in the sport, and a 31 year old who had suffered 9 losses, with 5 of those coming by stoppage.
October 27th 2012
Tokyo International Forum, Tokyo, Japan
Takahiro Ao (23-2-1, 10) Vs Gamaliel Diaz (37-9-2, 17)
Highly regarded when he turned professional Takahiro Ao was one of the big hopes for the Teiken Gym in the 00's and early 10's. He had been moved relatively well and in 2009 he had claimed the WBC Featherweight title, before losing in his first defense against Elio Rojas. He then moved up in weight and in 2010 he had taken the WBC Super Featherweight title, dethroning Vitali Tajbert. As a champion Ao had defended the belt 3 times, over-coming some good fighters, like Devis Boschiero and Terdsak Kokietgym. He looked like he was finally living up to the early promise that had excited Japanese fans and he looked like he was going to be one of the major players in the division.
In his 4th defense Ao was up against Mexican veteran Gamaliel Diaz. Diaz had suffered 9 losses, he was 31, he had been stopped 5 times, including losses to Ao's friend and Teiken stablemate Jorge Linares as well as Humberto Soto, who had dominated Diaz in an interim title fight. Although a number of Diaz's losses had come early in his career, and he had scored 13 wins in a row, he had never notched a win of real note and relevance. In fact his run of 13 straight wins included 4 over fighters with double digit losses.
On paper this was supposed to be an easy defense for Ao against a voluntary who was fairly limited but highly ranked by the WBC. It was supposed to be another defense for the Japanese fighter who was supposedly in his prime at 28 and was looking for bigger fights down the line.
From the first round the cagey challenger was using his jab well, setting an odd rhythm and making Ao follow him around the ring. Diaz was using his vast experience smartly, making Ao work to close the distance and repeatedly forcing he champion to rest. Ao really had no success in the opening round until there was about 45 seconds left, and even that was minimal at best. Ao was missing, chasing, and working hard for no real success, whilst Diaz was picking his spots, landing clean and solid shots, something he continued to do in round 2.
In round 3 Ao actually got something of a break as referee Ian John Lewis got involved for the first time, and punished Diaz for an accidental headclash, taking a point from the challenger. Despite Diaz losing a point he still won the round, causing a 9-9 round, and left Ao with some swelling around one of his eyes.
With a good start behind him Diaz wasn't in a rush to let Ao back into the fight and rocked him with a straight right hand in round 4. It was a round that showed Diaz's confidence was building, it was as if it dawned on him that Ao had no answer for his skills, shots and movement.
In round 5 Diaz was again deducted a point, this time for low blows, as Ian John Lewis tried to do what he could to help out the local champion. It seemed that if Diaz was going to win, he had to be cleaner than clean for the rest of the fight. He had had 2 point deducted in 5 rounds and it was clear the referee wasn't there to do him any favours at all.
The fifth round also saw the open scoring being put into effect, with Diaz leading on two of the cards, 38-37 and 39-36, with the third card some how having Ao up 38-37.
Despite being down Ao actually had a solid round 6, putting his foot on the gas more and although he didn't amaze anyone, he did stem the tide that had been going against him. He seemed to find a new gear, connect more and straighten up his shots. It was a much improved round from the champion, who did need it after his rather poor start.
The good round 6 from the champion saw him trying to keep it up in round 7, which caused a response from Diaz, who tried to match him. During the round Ao was left with blood trickling from his left eye, which was starting to close. It seem just as Diaz was starting to get some momentum, he had had it stopped. Diaz also managed to show his ability to bully the champion dumping him on the seat of his pants with a push right at the end of the round.
In round 8 Ao's started well again, before his facial damage saw him being taken over to the doctor. The bout was allowed to continue, but it was clear that he had once again had some momentum stopped. He was also now fighting with a severe damage around the left side of his face. Notably this was, at least partly, due to a nasty clash of heads. A worse clash than the one Diaz had been deducted for in round 3, with Ian John Lewis showing pretty clear inconsistencies. Another head clash early in round 9 further worsened the damage on Ao's face. By the end of the round Diaz was himself cut, from what appeared to be a straight left hand as Ao finally managed to damage the veteran.
Once again we saw the open scoring in effect in round 9, with scored of 76-74 across the board, two of those cards favouring Diaz and one, some how, going with Ao. It was now all to play for, with 4 rounds left, and just 2 points separating the two men. Those cards, even with the deductions, seemed closer than the reality of the fight, and the card in favour of Ao seemed awful. It was hard to make a case for Ao having 2 rounds, never mind half of the completed 8.
Ao seemed to feel like his title was slipping away, something his team would have relayed after the 9th round, and he began to press more in round 10. He was however continually struggling with the jab of Diaz, who used it to set up his straight right hand, and Diaz also smothered up close. It wasn't pretty from the Mexican, but was a smart tactic from a veteran who was landing shots and neutralising the champion.
Ao's already swollen and bloodied face became an even bigger mess in round 11, as he looked to put his foot on the gas and the two men often came too close. Not only did the men clash up close, but Diaz also made Ao pay when they were getting close and when he was getting out. By now the bout was a mess and the coming together Ao's face was becoming more and more of a mess, requiring a second doctor inspection late in the round. Now he was forced to fight desperate, and fight through immense pain. Diaz seemingly feeling confident he had the rounds in the bag, made the final round an absolute mess, hitting and holding, wrestling, spoiling, leaning on, smothering and generally stopping Ao from having any success.
Although the final few rounds were a mess, they were rounds the judges seem to feel Diaz deserved. His tactics were certainly not fan friendly, but they were effective, and after 12 rounds the judges all agreed that he deserved the win, scoring the bout 114-112, twice, and 115-111. In fairness, despite the deductions, they were probably as close scores as we could have had.
Sadly for Diaz a return to Japan saw him being battered by Takashi Miura, who reclaimed the title for Japan, and began a downfall for the Mexican, who went 2-11-1 after this win. That included a loss in a rematch to Ao in 2018. Ao on the other hand went 5-0-0-1, including not only the rematch with Diaz but also a win over Juan Carlos Salgado.
For those interested in their rematch, we would advise avoiding it. By then both men were shot to pieces and it showed.
When we talk about the Heavyweight division we really do talk about one of the strangest divisions. The size disparity in some of the fights in the division is frankly ridiculously and the term "David Vs Goliath" can be used in the division in a way it can't be used in any other. It's pretty much the only division in the sport where we can see the height difference between two fighters being a foot, if not more. Sure some divisions have freaks, we're looking at you Sebastian Fundora, but they are one of off's, whilst the Heavyweight division has a lot of variation in size and shape.
Today we are looking are looking at one of the notable David Vs Goliath bouts. The fight may not have been the most exciting, but it sure was a notable event, and an upset.
April 14th 2007
Porsche-Arena, Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Ruslan Chagaev (22-0-1, 17) vs Nikolay Valuev (46-0, 34)
We don't tend to think of Asian fighters making a mark at Heavyweight but that's exactly what Ruslan Chagaev did, both in the professional ranks and the amateurs. Following a successful amateur career he committed to professional boxing, albeit not until he had gone back and forth between the two codes. By spring 2007 he was a rising contender in the professional ranks and had earned a place as the WBA's #1 ranked contender. At that point he was 28 years old and although a very talented southpaw, and an unbeaten one at that, he had struggled against Volodymyr Vyrchys and John Ruiz.
Stood at just 6'1" and with a 74" wingspan Chagaev was seen as being on the smaller side for a Heavyweight, but was still well regarded. Despite being small few, if any, fighters dwarfed him quite like 7'0" behemoth Nikolay Valuev, the then WBA champion and the man that Chagaev was needing to face.
At this point the 33 year old Valuev was looking like man that the money men were angling to break the 49-0 record of Rocky Marciano. He was 46-0 and had defended the belt 3 times, all by stoppage. Not only was Valuev a giant unbeaten man, but he also seemed to have key players behind him, that seemed like they were pulling strings to keep his unbeaten record intact. That had seen him take close wins over Larry Donald and John Ruiz, and it was assumed that if he was still standing he would get the decision against anyone. In terms of his boxing skills he was limited, slow, and fought at a low pace, but he was also a genuine behemoth in the land giants. He was over 300lbs, an awkward guy to get close to, with huge arms and when up close he could exhausted fighters by clinching them and leaning on them. Although very limited, he was so awkward that he managed to be a very, very hard man to beat.
Heading into the bout Valuev was the betting favourite. It was assumed that even if he "lost" he would get the decision. All he had to do was make it close enough to give the judges a nudge. Given his size advantages, and with the bout taking place in Germany that wasn't expected to be too much of an issue.
From very, very early on we knew this wasn't going to be very exciting.
From the off Chagaev, who looked like a child in comparison to Valuev, was trying to stay away, use his speed, and not allow Valuev to hold him. Valuev, who took the center of the ring, followed Chagaev, but lacked the mobility to really close the distance, and instead applied rather slow by deliberate pressure. Although not exciting it was an interesting first round that saw Chagaev trying to figure out the giant, and have some success late in the opening round. It was a close round but one where Chagaev's class in the final 45 seconds or so proved to be the difference.
The pattern of the first round set the style for a number of rounds. What Chagaev was doing, to neutralise, the giant was smart, toying with his lead hand, countering, drawing mistakes and relying on his amateur background. Despite that though Chagaev wasn't exactly wowing audience, instead he was taking a cautious approach to the action, creating additional space and making Valuev follow him and making Valuev miss, a lot.
To his credit the big man kept plodding forward, pressing and showed surprising energy for someone so big. He kept throwing out the jab, and kept the pressure on. Sadly for himself the jab, against a southpaw, wasn't an effective weapon, despite his reach. After 4 rounds he seemed to bow his head and looked a little dejected at the way the fight was going. Despite his effort he was having very limited success and eating some solid left hands from the challenger.
By the the end of round 6 it was clear that Chagaev wasn't going to hurt Valuev, who he had caught clean with some really solid left hands, but that he had also piled up the points with some very effective, if unexciting, boxing. He was fighting to a tailor made game plan and it was working marvellously against the clumsy but game Russian champion. It was however a game plan that was always going to be a tough one to keep to mentally, especially given the success he was having and the sheer amount of movement he had to do to control the bout on the back foot. In round 7, for the first time, we began to see cracks in Chagaev's game plan, as he got too close, letting Valuev clinch him a couple of times. Chagaev also ended up trapped in the corner once or twice as Valuev managed to have some genuine success.
The success of Valuev in round 7 may not have been quite enough to take him the round but he built on it and had a very good round 8, snapping Chagaev's head back with a jab early in the round and having success through out. It seemed like the giant champion was finally turning the tide and that maybe, just maybe, Chagaev was starting to feel the effects of Valuev's constant pressure.
Despite seemingly building some momentum Valuev's success was thwarted in round 9, with Valuev looking slower and less energetic than he had in the previous two rounds. The pressure was still there but there wasn't as effective, and instead it was Chagaev's clean left hands catching the eye.
As we went into the final 3 rounds it seemed clear that Valuev was going to have to step on it. At worst it seemed like Chagaev needed just 1 rounds to secure a decision, though from the first 9 it was quite possible to have already given him 7. Things then got worse for Valuev as Chagaev put on one of his tidiest rounds for a while and forced Valuev to back off at one point, essentially securing the round and the bout on the scorecards.
With more than enough rounds in the bank Chagaev then got super negative in round 11, making the action messy, spitting out his gum shield, and being as risk averse as possible. Although he was negative through out he was more so in round 11, trying to counter less. It was clear that was feeling the bout, his legs not as quick as they were earlier. He wasn't being dominated, not by any stretch, but he was certainly throwing fewer full blooded left hands than earlier in the bout and looking to "old man" Valuev, who finished the round very nicely. Despite some nice flashes in the final round, Chagaev again seemed happy to keep the tempo slower and tie up when he needed to, smartly doing it so late in the bout that there was no real chance for Valuev's bulk to tire him. It was a really messy round to finish the fight but it was the sort of round that worked fine for Chagaev and his early lead.
After 12 rounds Chagaev celebrated, knowing he was deserving of the win. Valuev on the other hand went back to his corner looking dejected and exhausted.
Despite Chagaev having done some great work, there was always the risk of him being robbed on the cards, especially given the relatively strong finish for Valuev. It was something that Chagaev and his corner didn't seem to consider. They seemed to have felt he dominated the bout and did so in a way that he couldn't be robbed.
Despite Chagaev seemingly winning the bout with ease the first card was read out as 114-114, drawing huge boos, the second score was 115-113, a card that felt all too close, then the third card came in 117-111. The bout was a majority decision...with Chagaev being announced as the new champion.
The win wasn't just a solid upset, without being a massive one, but was also a massive moment for Asian boxing, with Chagaev, from Uzbekistan, becoming the first Asian to win a Heavyweight title.
Sadly Chagaev's reign was a terrible one with two defenses in 2 years before a rematch with Valuev was cancelled and Chagaev would then lose to Wladimir Klitschko. Despite how poor his reign was this win, this fight, this moment was huge for Chagaev and for Uzbek boxing. It would take until 2019 for another Uzbek fighter to win a world title, when Murodjon Akhmadaliev took the WBA and IBF Super Bantamweight titles with a huge win over Daniel Roman.
One of the great things we've been able to do since we began this site was get an insight on a number of Asian fighters before they manage to have a chance to fight on a global scene. Whilst a good number of fighters we talk about won't fight in the US or the UK, a handful will, and have. That insight can lead us to getting excited about contests that others perhaps aren't as excited about as others. We covered one of those previously in a "What a Shock", when we looked at Rey Loreto's win over Nkosinathi Joyi, but that isn't a one off and today we get to cover another such upset.
March 18th 2017
Madison Square Garden, New York, New York, USA
Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (42-4-1, 39) Vs Roman Gonzalez (46-0, 38) I
In March 2017 little known Thai Srisaket Sor Rungvisai made his US debut taking on pound-for-pound king, and defending WBC Super Flyweight champion, Roman Gonzalez. Going into the bout few thought this was anything more than a mismatch.
The unbeaten Gonzalez was the face of the little men at the time, the Nicaraguan had become only the second fighter in history to win world titles at Minimumweight, Light Flyweight, Flyweight and Super Flyweight. He had not just accomplished that feat but had done so whilst compiling a 46-0 (38) record and beating a real who's who of modern day little men. These included Yutaka Niida, Katsunari Takayama, Juan Francisco Estrada, Francisco Rodriguez Jr, Akira Yaegashi, Edgar Sosa, Brian Viloria and Carlos Cuadras. A resume worthy of a Hall of Fame position.
Not only was Gonzalez beating top fighters but, for the most part, he was destroying fighters. He was an offensive machine, with sharp combinations, heavy shots, smart offensive movement, an ability to close distance at will and he was just fantastic. He was really highly skilled offensively minded fighter with power taking on the best. Everything a fight fan should appreciate.
Srisaket on the other hand was an unknown outside of the most hardcore of hardcore fans. Despite being a relative unknown we were lucky enough to have seen a number of his bouts prior to this and knew what to expect. He had proven to be an offensive tank. He had faced some very limited competition, and made light work of them whilst staying busy, but he had also showed what he could do against world class talent. In 2013 he had battered defending WBC world champion Yota Sato into submission, in a hugely impressive performance, he had been in the ascendancy when Jay Nady stopped his bout with Carlos Cuadras in 2014, giving Cuadras the technical decision, and had earned a second shot in 2015 when he had smashed Jose Salgado. Despite earning a shot following the win over Salgado the WBC weren't quick to enforce his mandatory fight, and Carlos Cuadras was in no rush to face him. As a result it took almost 2 years for Srisaket to get a shot at reclaiming the title.
In the ring Srisaket isn't, and wasn't at the time, the quickest, the smartest, or the smoothest, with some very questionable balance issues. That however ignores what he is, which is incredibly strong, huge at the weight, a powerful tough, heavy handed southpaw with impressive stamina. He's the sort of fighter that you look at and think he should be easy to beat, until you see him pressing and pressuring and landing his thudding, brutal heavy shots.
For most this was a formality for Gonzalez. Another win for Gonzalez, and one against a Thai with a padded record and no name value. For others, those who had followed Srisaket, this was a potential banana skin for the "Chocolatito". Gonzalez was the smaller man, by far, his style looked suited to Srisaket and this would be his first bout in years without Arnulfo Obando in his corner, following Obando's death in 2016.
The ingredients were in play for a shock and that's what we got.
The opening stages of the fight saw Srisaket show some respect to Gonzalez and see what the Nicaraguan legend had. As the round grew however Srisaket's confidence began to grow as well and he began to land some solid left hands whilst barely flinching at what he was being hit with. Within just 2 minutes was obvious that the natural size difference was going to be issue and soon afterwards Gonzalez was dropped, securing the Thai a huge 10-8 round to begin the bout.
Those over-looking the Thai were suddenly sitting up and taking note.
Srisket's good start continued to grow in round 2, as he began to force his will on Gonzalez. We were seeing a man doe to Gonzalez what we had seen Gonzalez do to so many others, and push him back, bully him, and win the inside war. We had saw Gonzalez show flashes of his genius but the round was another for the Thai.
Srisaket then came out firing left hands to begin round 3 as Gonzalez struggled with the unorthodox approach, size, freakish physicality and southpaw left of Srisaket. A headbutt, leaving Gonzalez cut over the right eye, didn't help things either. It was an accidental clash, from the southpaw-righty dynamic, but did seem to break Gonzalez's momentumn just was he was starting to build it. To his credit Gonzalez did managed to find his groove again before the round was over.
In round 4, for the first time, we seemed to see Gonzalez rock Srisaket, but the Thai refound his balance before the two men began to go to war on the inside. The skills of Gonzalez, as always, were a joy, landing the cleaner, more effective punches, but they were taken easily by Srisaket who's own shots seemed to much more powerful, and he would manage to get Gonzalez onto the ropes and cover up. It wasn't silky skills controlling from Srisaket but was his sheer presence giving Gonzalez problems, despite Gonzalez landing some huge bombs through the round.
From here on we got something special from both men. Gonzalez was fighting like a man on fast forward, easily out speeding, out punching and out moving the slower clumsier Thai. For Srisaket however when he was landing Gonzalez was feeling it, every shot landed by Srisaket seemed to lift Gonzalez or force him backwards. It made for an amazing action fight with awesome 2-way action.
In round 6 the headclashes, which were accidental and came due to both men wanting to be on the front foot and exacerbated by the stances, saw Srisaket being given a warning. That seemed to inspire a new gear from Gonzalez, who really picked up his pace. That was until late in the round when Srisaket was actually deducted a point for the headclashes, with the headclash leaving Gonzalez a bloodied mess. That, along with a strong round 5, helped Gonzalez battle his way back into the contest after his worrying start, and it seemed like Srisaket was maybe starting to fade just as Gonzalez was moving into top gear.
Despite seeming to lose the play Srisaket then began to find his second wind in round 7, backing up Gonzalez and putting his foot on the gas once again. He began to let his shots got when Gonzalez was up close, and managed to land his solid left hooks. The pressure from Gonzalez was being used against him as Srisaket picked his moments and fought more intelligently than we expected. Gonzalez still showed touches of brilliance but Srisaket could see blood and seemed to hurt Gonzalez late in the round. That lead to a string of strong rounds from Srisaket who seemed to realise that his very early success had been erased from round 3 to round 6 by the brilliance of Gonzalez.
Before we started round 9 both men were looked at in the corner by medical staff, before the bout resumed and we got more of these tiny titans unloading huge shots on each other. Once again we saw a smarter gameplan from Srisaket than we expected, with the Thai backing off at times and made Gonzalez come to get him, picking his spots, and then rocking Gonzalez on to his heels. For a man who had impressed us with his pressure against Sato this was footwork we weren't expecting from Srisaket, who choose when the men stood and traded and when there was going to be separation.
With blood pouring out of Gonzalez face, from the cut right eye, the Nicaraguan showed amateur heart to continue marching forward, taking the fight to Srisaket in an exciting round 10 and then again in round 11. Whilst each round was hard fought and competitive these two seemed like they were among the most competitive and may well have been the two rounds that, essentially, decided the fight. All 3 judges gave them to the Thai.
With the bout being ultra close we went into the final round and surprisingly it was the champion who got into top gear. The round started in fantastic fashion with toe-to-toe action, with big shots being thrown once again. The great start didn't last and when Gonzalez seemed to build some momentum we saw Srisaket get on the retreat. With around 90 seconds of the round remaining the Thai seemed confident that he had done enough, electing to spoil, hold and move before trying to steal the round late on. What maybe wasn't clear at the time, though was after the bell, was that Srisaket had also been busted open in the round, with blood dripping from his right eye, likely from other minor but regular headclashes.
After 12 rounds of incredibe Super Flyweight super action we went to the scorecards. Scores of 114-112, twice were read out along with a score of 113-113. Thankfully for the Thai, and for the sake of this article, the two 114-112 scores favoured Srisaket, who scored one of the most significant upsets in recent years.
The call of "New" sent Thai commentators into fits of joy, and the fans of the lower weights into shock.
Following the bout there was much discussion over the scoring, the headclashes, and the WBC's own accidental foul rule, which if applied properly would likely have resulted in Srisaket having an extra point deducted.
The controversy was, to some extent, put to bed when the two men rematched, with Srisaket stopping Gonzalez in 4 rounds to retain his title. He then added a major win over Juan Francisco Estrada, though lost a rematch to the Mexican. Amazingly Gonzalez bounced back from the two losses to the Thai to claim the WBA title with a stoppage win over Kal Yafai, to claim yet another world title and further enhance his legendary status as one of the finest smaller weight fighters of all time.
Sadly this bout did kill a mooted dream fight between Gonzalez and Naoya Inoue, with any hope of seeing Inoue against Srisaket dashed by the WBC playing mandatory catch up, due to the long wait Srisaket had had. Instead of seeing that bout we ended up with Srisaket being mandated to face Gonzalez, then Estrada, with Inoue announcing himself on the Bantamweight scene rather than sticking around at Super Flyweight.
For those interested we found some odds available for this bout:
Gonzalez 1/11 to win
Srisaket 13/1 to win
One of the things about upsets is that they can sometimes upset the commentary teams, and studio scores, who seem confounded at the way they have scored the bout. Today we look at one such bout, which saw the TV judges score the bout very much one way, whilst the judges themselves failed to agree with the commentators. In fact the judges had it shut out the other way!
August 11th 2007
Arco Arena, Sacramento, California, USA
Michael Domingo (30-16-3, 14) Vs Miguel Roman (22-0, 16)
Filipino fighter Michael Domingo had fought 39 times before making his US debut in 2007, at the age of 27. By this point Domingo was a tried and tested regional level journeyman who was known to be able to pick up wins, but had lost 16 of his previous 39 bouts and had been beaten in 2 of his previous 3 bouts. Outside of his native Philippines he had only ever picked up wins in South Korea and Indonesia, failing to win a single bout in Japan and Thailand, where he had frequently visited.
In the opposite corner to the Filipino veteran was unbeaten Mexican fighter Miguel Roman, a 21 year old prospect who was looking to score his 4th win of 2007 and his 23rd successive win. Although he was a talented Mexican he had started to make a name for himself in the US, where he had already picked up 4 wins. In the eyes of many he looked like he was going to be a future world champion and that Domingo, who had already been stopped 7 times, was just going to be the next speed bump on Roman's road to the top.
What was supposed to be another quick win for Roman ended up not going the way he had expected.
From the opening round Roman came forward whilst Domingo used his experience to block much of Roman's shots whilst looking to box behind his jab. The aggression was from Roman, but it was, for the most part, ineffective with Domingo regularly returning fire when Roman did have success. Despite the nature of the round the commentators we have here gave the round to Roman, favouring his aggression.
Round 2 saw the tempo of the bout pick up, with both men going to war more frequently. Roman was again the more aggressive man in their but was often countered, forced to chase, and had to cope with the smart work of Domingo, who create space, caught Roman coming in and then repeated things. Roman certainly seemed to be landing the harder single shots, but seemed to be struggling to land with consistency. It was a lot of effort with little success for the talented Mexican.
Roman began to change things in round 3, using his jab more early on and tried to box more. It was a bad idea and became an easier round for Domingo, who was the much more talented boxer. Although Roman boxed more he did, still, come forward at times, though he was looking frustrated and like he was getting annoyed by the Filipino who kept fighting back, unlike many of Roman's opponents. Although Roman had boxed early in the round both men went to the bell unloading in a great back and forth sequence to close out the round.
The TV analyst scoring the bout for Mexican TV had Roman leading 29-28 at the end of round 3, giving Domingo round 3 alone. The seemed to be scoring to the more aggressive man, despite the lack of substance at times. Roman certainly wasn't getting battered, but he was being made to look clumsy at times, and was struggling to land clean with consistency. That proved to be the case again in round 4, with Roman coming forward, and eating shots on the way in, regularly hitting air, and really struggling to make his pressure count. He landed some great shots, but they were few and far between with the youngster again struggling to make an impact on a man he was expected to stream roll.
In round 5 Roman's footwork was slowing, he was essentially walking forward. Although he was active up close he was still struggling to land clean and effective shots. What he landed looked powerful, but there was no consistency and his combinations were rarely landing with success, often only a single punch or two from any string of shots. Domingo was also starting to falter at times, but was much more consistent, making Roman miss and letting his own shots go, knocking out Roman's gumshield late on.
Going into the final round the commentators had Roman in a clear lead, as we ended up getting the round of the fight. The pace picked up again as both men let their hands go. It seemed a better round, at least at times, for Roman who managed to get Domingo to fight his fight, but Domingo still managed to create space, essentially old man Roman, and kill the momentum that Roman was building before the Mexican could come close to hurting him. Of all the rounds this seemed to be the one that Roman put his foot on the gas for, as if he realised he was in need of a big push to get over the line.
With commentary for Mexican TV scoring the bout clearly in favour scoring the bout 59-55 for Roman one would assume it was an easy win for Roman but the judges went the opposite way, scoring it a shut out for Domingo. A decision that drew a "WOW" from the Mexican commentary team.
Interestingly the entire show, despite being in the US, was a Philippines Vs Mexico card, with this bout having 3 American judges. The only Filipino on the show to lose was Rey Bautista, who was blown out in a round by Daniel Ponce De Leon.
Sadly for Domingo this win wasn't turned into a world title fight, and instead he went 11-2 before retiring after a 2012 win over Mudde Robinson Ntambi. As for Roman he's still active and became one of the sports must watch fighters, despite losing a dozen subsequent bouts after this one. Roman has gone on to face a genuine who's who with bouts against Jorge Solis, Miguel Beltran Jr, Jonathan Victor Barros, Javier Fortuna, Antonio DeMarco, Juan Carlos Salgado, Daniel Ponce De Leon, Takashi Miura, Orlando Salido, Miguel Berchelt and Tomas Rojas. For hardcore fans of the sport Roman has become a must watch fighter, with his toughness and will to win.
Sadly despite a huge win here Domingo is a bit of a forgotten name, but this is, without a doubt, his career defining result.
One of the many things we're guilty of here is focusing on professional boxing so much and ignoring amateur boxing. That's something we're going to try and change in the future and feature more amateur bouts in our various series. Today we're going to do that by bringing a major upset from the 2011 World Amateur Championships in Baku.
October 4th 2011
Laishram Devendro vs Carlos Quipo
Coming in to the tournament Ecuadorian fighter Carlos Quipo was regarded as one of the competition's favourites at Light Flyweight. He was one of the 8 seeds, who got a bye into the second round, and was regarded as being one of the fighters with real medal potential. He was 21 years old but had been competing at a high level in the amateur ranks for years. His amateur achievements coming into this competition included a Gold medal at the 2010 Pan Am Games, a Silver medal at the 2010 South American Games and in 2009 he had reached the last 16 at the World Amateur Championships, losing to eventual silver medal winner David Ayrapetyan.
Quipo's second opponent at the Championships was little known Indian Laishram Devendro. Singh was a relative unknown with his biggest achievement up to this point being a Silver medal at the Asian Youth Championships. He had done very, very little else on the international stage, often being beaten in his first or second bout. Whilst he had fought on the international stage a few times he had struggled badly, and was eliminated from the 2010 AIBA Youth World Championships by Naoya Inoue.
Looking at the draw this bout was supposed to be the logical step forward to a bout between Quipo and talented Korean Shin Jong Hun, who had taken a bronze medal at the 2009 World Amateur Championships. No one told Laishram he wasn't supposed to take this opportunity to shine.
From the off Laishram came forward, pressing and pressuring the more experienced, and technically more skilled man from Ecuador. Despite the skills of the Ecuadorian he was often on the back foot, throwing little and fighting a negative fight. It wasn't like either was letting their hands go a lot in the first round but the eye catching work was coming from the Indian fighter who had the lead at the end of the round.
Quipo responded well to being behind, picking up the pace early in round 2 but he failed to keep the pace up as Laishram's heavy hooks got him back into the into the bout. Laishram seemed to drop Quipo mid way through the round, though it was ruled as a slip. Despite that call from the referee the confidence of the Indian was growing and by the end of the round he was in a clear lead, leaving Quipo with a lot to do.
With the scores against him heading into round 3 Quipo knew he was in a hole. He knew he had to take it to Laishram and to his credit Quipo did do better in round 3 than he had in the first 2 rounds, taking advantage of a tiring Laishram. Although he did better it was no where near good enough from Quipo to over-come the clear deficit he was in going into the round.
Sadly for Laishram he was unable to build on this big win, losing in the following round to Shin Jong Hun. Thankfully however this wasn't the last we heard of him, and Laishram did go on to compete at the 2012 Olympics and went on to win a silver medal at the 2014 Commonwealth games.
One of the problems we have with this site is being so focused on what happens with traditional boxing countries, such as Japan, South Korea, Thailand and the Philippines, and often missing what goes involving fighters from Central and Western Asia. The reality is that until recently Central Asia was very much a region that dominated amateur boxing, something we don't really focus much on, and that Western Asia has really lacked notable boxers in number. Despite that there are some fighters from both that have stood out, and Central Asia is certainly set to become a massive player in the professional ranks.
Today we get the chance to look an upset caused by an Iranian fighter in the UK, in what is a bit of a rarity, but something that is worthy of attention.
July 7th 2001
Velodrome, Manchester, Lancashire, England
Mehrdud Takaloo (16-2, 12) vs Anthony Farnell (26-0, 17)
British born Iranian Mehrdud Takaloo is one of the very, very few Iranian fighters who has left a mark on the sport of professional boxing. Saying that however he did that by essentially becoming a force on the British scene from 1997 to 2011, becoming a major player on the British Light Middleweight scene. Early on however that never seemed likely and he lost 2 of his first 7 bouts. By 1999 he was 5-2 (3) but rebuilt well with 11 wins, albeit mostly against limited opponents, before taking on the hugely popular Anthony Farnell.
In the summer of 2001 Anthony Farnell, known as the "Warrior", was one of a number of fighters from the North West of England creating a lot of buzz. There was Farnell, and there was also Jamie Moore, Michael Gomez, Michael Jennings and a little ginger haired fellow called Ricky Hatton. It was expected that British boxing in, and around, Manchester was set to be huge over the following decade and that it would become one of the hubs of the British boxing scene thanks to all the talent that was coming through at the same time.
Although not all that talented managed to reach the top they generated a lot of buzz and huge fans in the Manchester Velodrome.
With a 26-0 record Anthony Farnell was seen as being on the verge of a big fight. First however he was going up against Takaloo for the lightly regarded, and vacant, WBU Light Middleweight title.
Coming into the fight Farnell, fighting at home in Manchester, was the betting favourite, priced at 2/5 to win. Takaloo was a live under-dog at 7/4 as they entered the bout, but still a clear under-dog.
From the off Takaloo came out firing to the body, Farnell tried to cover up but the first 30 seconds or so saw Takaloo really ripping to the mid-section and landing them clean. Farnell managed to have some success with his jab but every time he had a moment Takaloo seemed to take the play away from him in a good opening 90 seconds.
The good start got even better for Takaloo when he managed to land a gorgeous right uppercut on Farnell's chin, dropping the previously unbeaten man. To his credit Farnell got to his feet, but Takaloo had no intention of letting his opening go, and unloaded on Farnell with huge head shots.
At the bout's end the fans booed. whilst Ian Darke, doing commentary for Sky Sports stated "Nobody thought that could happen" and "The Kent based Iranian has scored the most astonishing victory."
Whilst not the biggest upset ever the result, and the nature of the win, was a genuine shock.
One of the great things about boxing is the fighters who can consistently surprise us, despite being regularly written off. It's strange how many of these fighters come from the Philippines, where many fighters seem to pick a lot of losses, but also pick up more than their share of upsets. Numerous Filipino fighters pick up losses early in their career, whilst developing their skills, and suffering other losses by taking fights on short notices and in weight classes that they aren't best suited for. When they are up for fights, well trained and fighting at their best weight they can be genuine banana skins and we see this regular, both in Asia and when they travel further afield. Today we look at one such upset.
May 18th 2018
Bangkok University, Thonburi Campus, Bangkok, Thailand
Stamp Kiatniwat (19-1, 7) Vs Jaysever Abcede (15-8, 10)
In one corner was Thai youngster Stamp Kiatniwat, a talented young fighter who many in Thailand had tipped as a future world champion. He had made his debut at the age of 15 and had won the WBA "interim" Flyweight title in 2015, when he took a decision win over Gregorio Lebron at the age of 17. He had defended that title once, in a rematch against Lebron, before losing in a bout for the full WBA title against Kazuto Ioka, in what was a surprisingly tough bout for the Japanese star. Although Stamp lost to Ioka he was expected to bounce back and remain a good world level contender and go on to become a world champion some where down the line.
After 4 wins, following his loss to Ioka, Stamp took on Filipino southpaw Jaysever Abcede. Coming in to the bout it was known that Abcede could upset fighters, as he did against Pigmy Kokietgym in 2015, but was also not the best out there. In fact in his previous 7 bouts before facing Stamp he had gone 3-4 with stoppage losses to Lito Dante and Tsubasa Koura, and decision losses against Wanheng Menayothin and Ivan Soriano. He was, essentially, seen a game but smaller fighter, who was getting beaten up by Minimumweights and should have been no real threat to a big, strong, young Flyweight like Stamp Kiatniwat.
What few considered coming into the bout was that Abcede was suffering losses against Minimumweights because he was a natural Flyweight boiling down in weight. Although some fans want to suggest that there's nothing between those lower weights the difference can be huge on a fighter. A fighter who is a natural Flyweight boiling down to 105lbs, or even 108lbs, can lose a lot. It appears that has long been part of issue with Abcede. No one knew that at the time.
The bout started slowly, with both men getting a feel of the other. Within a minute of the fight starting Abcede began to look more confident, coming forward, throwing straight shots and applying simple but effective pressure. There was nothing too amazing about his work, but he was out landing and out working the younger man. Stamp looked the quicker fighter, but also the much smaller man, and he was forced to take some solid straight left hands from Abcede. The success from the Filipino saw him look to make the round clear as he put on the jets late on and made it almost impossible for anyone to score it to Stamp.
In round 2 we saw Abcede build on his success, quickly taking what was left of Stamp's confidence as the local began to find himself being backed on to the ropes. Stamp then began to fight like a desperate fighter. The tactic from Stamp failed to get respect from Abcede, who pressed more, backing him on to the ropes again and let his shots go. The Filipino then dropped Stamp with a sneaky left hand to the body as the two squared up, and the Thai failed to beat the count as Abcede scored a career best win.
Since this bout Stamp has seen his career fade away and he is no longer regarded as a prospect. As for Abcede he is very much an upset minded fighter looking for scales. Just 5 months after this win he upset Seigo Yuri Akui in Japan and later went on to give Kento Hatanaka a close bout in 2019. In a space of just 16 months he had gone from very limited journeyman at Minimumweight to a sort of gate keeper at Flyweight. This put him on the map, helped him find his weight and establish him as a very dangerous man capable of testing those groomed for greatness.
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).