Boxing has it's upsets, it has it's real moments of magic and it also has it's moments that leave us empty. Tonight we had had an upset that shook the boxing world, as Srisaket Sor Rungvisai out battled and out fought Nicaraguan Roman Gonzalez to claim the WBC Super Flyweight title, in an upset of the year contender. Around 1 hour later we saw the Middleweight division leave us with a foul taste.
That taste has been left due to a poor decision by the judges that left the WBC, IBF, IBO and WBA “Super” titles all with Kazakh Gennady Golovkin (37-0, 33) who seemed to be out boxed, out though and out sped by American Daniel Jacobs (32-2, 29). In fact it seemed so clear that Jacobs won that that it really will be one of the bouts that ends up being discussed as the “robbery of the year” come December.
The fight started tentatively, with both men showing a lot of respect to the other man. Coming in both were vaunted punchers and both were considered real dangers to the other, meaning that the tentative nature was understandable.
The first 3 rounds were all close, they were too tentative to really call a clear winner, but if there was a man coming off better in them it was Jacobs, who seemed to out land and out skill a rather predictable and overcautious Golovkin. The Kazakh did land some solid jabs, but their American just seemed to land the more varied and more consistent leather.
The first really clear round was round 4, a round that saw Golovkin's power secure him the round with a knockdown. The knockdown wasn't a heavy one, and Jacobs looked like he was hungrier afterwards, but it was a knockdown that essentially put Golovkin back into the picture.
The success Golovkin had in round 4 seemed to inspire him in the following round, but Jacobs stood his ground more often and although he was tagged a fair bit he was firing back, using his better speed and lateral movement to more than hold his own.
Having realised he could take Golovkin's power Jacobs had a sensational 6th round, which saw him really take the fight to Golovkin and land some seriously big leather on to the Kazakh. Golovkin did well to never look hurt, but the bombs were landing from Jacobs who looked like he was building in confidence. That confidence continued to grow with Jacobs again having sustained success in round 7, despite taking some heavy shots late.
Golovkin seemed to sense the fight was slipping away and came out for round 8 faster than he had earlier on. It was a good start by the Kazakh but by the end of the round Jacobs seemed to have done enough with his combinations and to impress and to over-come the slow start to the round,
Jacobs was becoming over-confident at times and that was most obvious in round 9 when he was wobbled big time, following a big uppercutt and right hand from the Kazakh who looked close to dropping Jacobs for a second time. The American, to his credit, withstood the assault, hold and saw his way through the round. It seemed like it would be the start of a charge from Golovkin but in round 10 Jacobs was again the man shining with a number of big left hands and a lovely flowing variety from his shots. The American didn't looked phased in round 11 either when Golovkin tried to turn the screw and instead the was Jacobs who seemed to land the better shots, though Golovkin landed the single best shot which was a cracking uppercutt.
Going in to the final round it seemed like Golovkin would need a stoppage to retain his title, he however struggled to connect with much cleanly. It was a round he won but not one that saw him hurt Jacobs.
At the end it felt like a fight like Jacobs had won, despite the knockdown. He neutralised Golovkin, for the most part, he hand landed the eye catching flurries, he had boxed brilliantly through the fight and it looked like he felt he'd won whilst Golovkin looked like he felt he'd lost.
Despite the bout feeling like a close but clear win for Jacobs, the judges all disagreed, scoring it 114-113 and 115-112, twice, in favour of Golovkin. The Kazakh had seemingly gotten out of jail with 3 very cards, in a bout that he really didn't do enough to win. Interestingly the final round, which Golovkin won with ease, was essentially the thing that turned a split decision into a unanimous decision.
One thing we will admit is that bout does seem to have split fans, with plenty suggesting that Golovkin's jab was the key punch and earned him the win. Whilst we can see the argument that Golovkin's jab was the most significant punch during the fight, we can't help but feel that it wasn't ever enough to overcome the combinations of Jacob's on the whole.
We've long said that the Super Flyweight division is the best in the sport, and today we saw another great Super Flyweight bout, as Nicaraguan great Roman Gonzalez (46-1, 38) traded blows with Thai Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (42-4-1, 38) [ศรีสะเกษ นครหลวงโปรโมชั่น] in a bout for the WBC title.
The Thai entered the bout as a massive under-dog, though looked calm and relaxed as he entered, whilst Gonzalez looked like a worried man, despite being a massive favourite. From the opening round it was clear that Srisaket hadn't read the script and he took the fight Gonzalez and scored a knockdown in the opening round. It wasn't a massively hurtful knockdown but it was one that seemed to essentially say, “I'm not here to make up the numbers”.
The Thai showed his firepower again in the second round as he backed up Gonzalez and seemed to hurt the Nicaraguan sensation, who simply looked over-whelmed, over-sized and under-powered. Gonzalez had his moments towards the end of round 2, but they weren't enough to get the round.
Things went from bad to worse for Gonzalez who managed to move through the gears in round 3 but was left with a cut from an accidental headclash, one of many to occur during the fight. Although cut it was clear that Gonzalez was finding his groove, despite Srisaket smelling the blood of the Nicaraguan.
Gonzalez was backed up early in round 4 but really showed his class as he took the fight back to Srisaket and landed some shots that would have felled most fighters in the division. It was only Srisaket's incredible chin that seemed to keep him upright. Gonzalez, now having the bit between his teeth, had a great round 5 and round 6 as he took on Srisaket in a war, and seemed to badly hurt the Thai in round 6, the best round for Gonzalez. Not only was Srisaket hurt but he also had a point deduction after another clash of heads. Although the heads were clashing the deduction seemed a harsh one with neither man really to blame, and the heads coming together was more a stance thing than an actual malicious act.
Despite having lost the sixth round 10-8, and being hurt, Srisaket bounced back to win round 7, hurting Gonzalez late in a round that was one of the best of the year, with both fighters trading through out. The traded again in round 8, with Srisaket starting well and bullying Gonzalez at times before being rocked late in the round
Unfortunately for Gonzalez the bleeding from the cut and the size disadvantage was taking it's toll, and although he had hurt Srisaket a couple of times he could never force the Thai down, like he had been able to do with foes earlier in his career. Instead Srisaket just out muscled Gonzalez, ate his bombs and regularly spat them out before firing back, using his natural size advantage.
Going into the championship rounds it seemed that Srisaket may have just been in the lead, and both looked exhausted. Srisaket however relied on his size again to force Gonzalez back for most of round 11, taking the round despite a real spirit fight back by Gonzalez late on. It seemed, in his head, that Srisaket believed he had done enough and he essentially did nothing in round 12, a round that seemed like it could be important. It was a round that Gonzalez took, and took clearly with Srisaket holding and spoiling. It could have cost the Thai.
As we got to the score-cards the were announced 113-113, a draw, and 114-112, twice. It seemed close enough to have gone either way. Then it was announced that Srisaket had got the win, securing one of the biggest upsets of the year, and becoming a 2-time world champion.
Although size was clearly a factor, and the cut for Gonzalez, the reality is that the result essentially proves that Gonzalez's move to Super Flyweight wasn't the smartes. Srisaket is a huge Super Flyweight, but he was made to look even bigger due to the fact Gonzalez wasn't a natural at the weight, and that showed through out the fight. For Gonzalez the future is hard to call, a move to 112lbs, if his body can do that, would be best, a rematch would likely be damaging, and staying at 115lbs for a bout with Naoya Inoue has now lost it's shine, sadly. For Srisaket a bout with Inoue,a rematch with Cuadras or with Gonzalez are all going to be big money bouts, and great fights for fans.
An incredibly busy day for fight fans kicked off in Asia earlier today with shows in Japan and Thailand. The more notable of those shows was the Thai show which featured a bout for the vacant WBC Flyweight title, which had been vacated by Roman Gonzalez last year.
The bout in question saw the previously unbeaten Thai Nawaphon Por Chokchai (36-1, 28) [นวพล นครหลวงโปรโมชั่น] face off against excellent Mexican Mexican Juan Hernandez Navarrete (34-2, 25).
On paper the bout looked excellent two veterans up against each other to crown a champion. The reality however was that the bout pitted a world class fighter against a regional can crusher, and it was clear that the two fighters were in totally levels from the opening moments. Straight from the off Hernandez looked crisp, sharp and like a man who belonged at world level, something his recent run of results with wins over Jesus Silvestre, Omar Nino Romero and Ramon Garcia Hirales all suggested. Nawaphon on the other hand looked slow, sluggish, like a man walking through treacle in comparison to the Mexican.
The opening round was a clear one for the visitor, who was too accurate, too busy, too quick and too smart and it was clear that Nawaphon had to up the tempo, which he did in round 2. The second was a much better round for the Thai, who closed the distance with more success, and landed some decent blows of his own. It was a good comeback round, but seemed to show that Nawaphon had to work much harder for his moments than the relaxed Mexican, who never looked in any trouble even when the Thai was having his best moments.
In round 3 Nawaphon tried to amp up his pressure further but Hernandez was wise to it, and moved around the ring with real grace, tagging the Thai and getting away, whilst Nawaphon struggled to let his hands go when he managed to close the distance. A hard 1-2 from Hernandez stunned the Thai and a follow up sent him down. Nawaphon, to his credit, got to his feet but had no answer as Hernandez began to unload, looking for a finish. Nawaphon tried to cover up but shots got through and eventually the referee stepped in to save Nawaphon, just as Nawaphon seemed to begin firing back.
Although some may dispute the stoppage it did look like a decent one with Nawahpon having began to fall apart and prior to the stoppage he had looked lost with no answers to Hernandez's movement, speed or skills.
The result was a frustrating one for the Nakornluang stable who had paid big money to host the fight in Thailand and had also seen Pongsaklek Sithdabnij suffering a loss to another Mexican fighter on the under-card.
The new champion is said to be a target for Daigo Higa, with Higa's team expected to make an offer to lure the new champion to Japan later in the year. Although Higa is much less experienced than Nawaphon it's fair to say he's already a much more proven fighter and a much more worth while title contender than the Thai was here.
Today we had the second world title bout in as many days as long reigning WBC Bantamweight champion Shinsuke Yamanaka (27-0-2, 19) [山中慎介] notched his 12th defense and stopped Carlos Carlson (22-2, 13) in 7 rounds, with a dominant but flawed display.
The challenger had been regarded as a no hoper by fans but came to the ring exuding some real confidence and that showed as he looked to press Yamanaka with an aggressive pressure style. Unfortunately for the challenger it was a style that Yamanaka had seen before and gave him real openings for his vaunted left hands. Those left hands landed with regularity during the first 3 minutes, but they never seemed like full blooded shots and they never really seemed to hurt the challenger.
It was more of the same, for the most part, in round 2, though Carlson did seem to be visibly hurt for the first time by a left hand, an also suffered a cut from one of those left hands. Although looking worse for wear Carlson did seem to get inside a few times, and neutralised the left hand of the champion every so often, but paid the price when he wasn't quick enough.
Carlson began to be visibly broken down in round 3 as Yamanaka moved out of first gear and hurt the Mexican several times, landing some really hurtful body shots that seemed to take the wind out of Carlson. It was a slow but progressive beat down from the champion who looked several levels above the challenger. Despite being battered Carlson showed grit and came out for round 4 with his now standard aggressive march, and for once he had some real notable success landing a right hand. It was his best round, but one that he again failed to win having taken several big lefts himself.
In Japan the WBC open scoring is used and unsurprisingly Yamanaka was leading on all 3 cards, up 40-36 on two of them and surprisingly 39-36 on the other, leaving some to wonder which judge needed to see an optician.
Yamanaka seemed to take the fact that Carlson had been awarded a round personally and dominated round 5, dropping Carlson twice in close succession. It seemed like Carlson was there for the taking but instead of close the show Yamanaka backed off. Carlson then showed solid recuperative powers as he not only got his senses back but went on to buckle Yamanaka with right hands, twice. It seemed as if the wild desperate swings were a danger for the champion who shouldn't have taken his foot off the gas, and suffered a small graze around his left eye as a result.
It seemed even the champion realised he had to take this more seriously and dropped Carlson again in round 6, before Carlson came back at him and again landed a big right hand that seemed to show there was still danger in the Mexican if Yamanaka was going to carry him. Thankfully in round 7 the champion had had enough and went for the finish, dropping Carlson early in the round and this time he jumped on his man, seeking the finish. A 5th knockdown, just moments later, forced the referee to wave off the bout and saved the game but totally out matched challenger.
As a huge favourite Yamanaka did what he had to, and stopped Carlson to put the expected cherry on the result, but the performance it's self left some questions and would have left some wondering if he's fading as a fighter, or if he just didn't take Carlson seriously. The wild right hands he took in round 5 did seem to wobble him and against a world class puncher he may well have been decked. His lack of urgency when he had Carlson hurt in round 5 was disappointing, and the power in his left hand looked less destructive than it had in the past. Again they are minor flaws with his performance, a performance that saw him end a 22 fight winning streak from Carlson by dropping the Mexican 5 times, but they are flaws that may need correcting if defense #13 is set to be a big one as some suspect.
For Carlson it's likely he will return to the lower leagues, racking up wins in the US and Mexico against relative no hopes as he had previous to this bout.
Earlier today we saw Thailand's talented Knockout CP Freshmart (15-0, 7) [น็อคเอาท์ ซีพีเฟรชมาร์ท] record his second defence of the WBA Minimumweight title as he scored a 5th round KO win over over-matched Japanese challenger Go Odaira (13-5-3, 1) [大平 剛], who suffered his third stoppage loss at world level.
The bout saw Odaira begin by using his movement, using his speed to to try and neutralise the pressure of Knockout, who was pressing from the very early stages. It turned out not to be the best tactic with Knockout landing almost all the blows of note during the round. The lack of success from Odaira forced a tactical change from the challenger who decided to stand his ground more in round 2 and had some success, particularly from his straight left hand, though he left himself in Knockout's wheel yard and the Thai dominated much of the round.
Odaira tried to turn pure counter puncher in round 3 but was again unable to have the success of the Thai who found a way to hammer home heavy shots, particularly to the body and he seemed to hurt Odaira late in the round. It appeared as if Knockout knew he had hurt Odaira as he started the 4th round fast and despite a spirited fight back from the challenger it wasn't long until Odaira was down, suffering his first knockdown of the fight.
Knockout managed to see out the remaining time in round 4 but Knockout had his man worked out and sensed a stoppage was close. It was stoppage that would come not long into round 5 as Knockout went hunting and dropped Odaira with a beautiful 3 punch combination. This time Odaira would stay down.
With the win for Knockout we've now seen Japanese fighters go 0-22-1 in world title fights on Thai soil and it's almost certainly going to be the end of Odaira's world title dreams. The performance from Knockout was a solid one but with a number of rising fighters at 105lbs it may now be that he has to face some of the more testing contenders, rather than the likes of Odaira and Shin Ono, who he defended the title against late last year.
World Title Results
Whether you like them or not World Titles add prestige to any bout as a result we've included the results of world title bouts in this special section.