This past weekend we all turned out attention to the US for a fight between the #1 and #2 Light Welterweights. It was billed as a special fight, and although no one expected a war, everyone expected something memorable. What we got was a bout that resembled a sparring session with Terence Crawford simply being too good for Viktor Postol in every single way.
Today, just a few days later, we had a war as Pungluang Sor Singyu (52-4, 35) [ผึ้งหลวง ส.สิงห์อยู่] battled under-rated Filipino Marlon Tapales (29-2, 12), in what was a thrilling WBO Bantamweight title fight. The Thai champion was looking to make the second defense of his title, whilst the unheralded Filipino was looking to make the most of his opportunity.
The fight started relatively evenly, and through 4 rounds there was little to separate the fighters. A judge could have had it 40-36 one way, or the other and no complaints would have been had. The two men each had their moments, and each could have impressed the judges with their particular style. For Pungluang it was as the pressure fighter attacking the body whilst Tapales was showing the better pure boxing and seemed to be landing the flashier head shots.
In round 5 the bout took a major shift with Pungluang having a break through with his body attack, sending Tapales down twice, with Tapales taking much of the count to get up. It was guts and bravery in the extreme from the Filipino who ended the round being beaten up and was very lucky the referee didn't wave the bout off. He looked spent and with another referee that would have been it.
Amazingly Tapales came out for round 6 and ended up turning the bout around in his favour hurting the Thai with a left hand before dropping him with a right hook. Although Pungluang got up from the shot he seemed to be in survivor mode and didn't seem to recover as the bell went.
Notably Pungluang didn't ever seem to fully recover, either physically or mentally, and his pressure style, with the body shots,never returned after the knockdown with the Thai preferring to try and counter punch the Filipino who was growing in confidence after the knockdown. Round 7, 8 and 9, seemed to see a hungry looking Tapales back up Pungluang, who only had select moments of success whilst the Filipino had more sustained and more notable work. It was a strange twist but it seemed like the effort to finish Tapales off at the end of round 5, and the subsequent knockdown in round 6, had left Pungluang short on confidence,
In round 10 we saw more of the same, but by now the work of Tapales was taking a growing physical effect on the Thai who seemed to try everything he could to get the juices going again. Everything he tried however failed and although he had a little bit of success in the round it seemed that his time as champion was whittling away
With in seconds of the 11th round starting Tapales had his next break through, dropping Pungluang, who failed to beat the count. The crowd silent, whilst the realisation that Tapales had become the new champion saw the Filipino and his team celebrate.
For Pungluang this loss was a painful one. He had come incredibly close to winning in round 5, he could likely taste his celebration meal, but to see Tapales pull through the torrid round seemed to mentally break the Thai who never looked the same fighter. For Tapales the heart he showed and the aggression, as well as the way he had coped with being messed around in Thailand was incredible and his will to win will make him an incredibly hard fighter to dethrone.
Just moments ago Japanese fans saw popular Osakan Kazuto Ioka (20-1, 12) [井岡一翔] successfully defend his WBA Flyweight title with a confident display against the determined and fiery Keyvin Lara (18-1-1, 6), from Nicaragua.
Lara began the fight with a high energy pressure style that saw him immediately taking the fight to Ioka and forcing the Osakan star on to the backfoot, and against the ropes. Despite being backed up Ioka looked calm and confident as he blocked a huge number of Lara's punches whilst landing some sickening counter shots of his own. For the first 4 rounds it was the same pattern of the fight.
In round 5 we began to see Ioka coming forward a bit more, and backing Lara away at times. The offensive work of Ioka was still mostly counters to Lara's intense pressure but it proved that Ioka was in control and could choose when and how to come forward. There was little Lara could do to stop him, or to defend against the increasingly frequent left hooks to the body which were chipping away at Lara's resolve.
By the end of round 6 we had began to see Lara slow notably whilst Ioka was becoming more aggressive and at one point it seemed he had momentarily buckled Lara's legs before the Nicaraguan regrouped and began throwing back. It was a brave effort from Lara but it was clear that he was being broken down and in rounds 7, 8 and 9 we saw Ioka become more and more aggressive. What had once been single counter shots were now fully fledged 3, 4 and 5 punch combinations to the Nicaraguan.
In round 10 Ioka began to actively hunt the knock out and for the final minute he seemed to have Lara going with something, god only knows what, keeping Lara upright until late in the round. The Nicaraguan seemed ready to go after beating the count but the bell saved him. Well we say saved him, he was quickly finished in round 11 with Ioka starting the assault early and finishing the challenger after just 71 seconds of the round, with Lara being counted out as he began to rise at 10.
The win for Ioka could mean he faces WBA “super” champion Juan Francisco Estrada, with the WBA officially instructing the two to negotiate from tomorrow. That fight would be much tougher than this one, though it's possible that the two men will go in different directions. Either way we don't expect to see Ioka back in the ring until his tradition December 31st bout. If it's not with Estrada it could be with fellow Japanese fighters Daigo Higa or Takuya Kogawa or possibly against WBA interim champion Stamp Kiatniwat.
For Lara the bout was a painful loss but he was impressive with high toughness and energy and we wouldn't be shocked to see him invited back over to Japan to face some of the other Japanese Flyweights, in fact a bout with Higa would be a potential FOTY contender.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Every so often boxing has a show of pure courage, heart and guts and we all love it when we see it. The pure real life Rocky moments that sees a fighter pulling off the win through adversity. Sometimes however the story doesn't end that we and today we saw such a story as Japan's Shingo Wake (20-5-2, 12) [和氣 慎吾] gave his all whilst coming up short against Dominican monster Jonathan Guzman (22-0-0-1, 22) in an excellent bout.
The fight started quietly but it wasn't long until Guzman's much vaunted power started to show it's self with the Dominican scoring two knockdowns in round 2 leaving Wake's right eye a total mess with a monstrous cut under it. It seems like Wake wasn't going to last much longer and he was down again in round 3, albeit from a push that was scored as a knockdown, with many suspecting Wake's team would pull him out of the bout before he got injured worse.
Wake however was allowed to continue and gave a brave effort in round 4 before being dropped, hard, in round 5. He was then dropped again several seconds after the bell to end the round from a monstrously huge shot, in a move that really seemed fitting for a point deduction that never came.
Looking like a spent fighter at the start of round 6 it would have made sense again for Wake's team to have pulled their fighter from the bout. Instead they sent him out and he seemed to come out with a spring in his step and looking like a hungry fighter. He backed up Guzman and landed several hurtful looking left hands that made it look like he was coming on strong whilst Guzman's work rate began to drop noticeably. The momentum from round 7 continued in to rounds 8, 9 and 10 with Wake having more and more success, and in fairness he should have had at least one knock-down call in his favour, especially given that he had been pushed for one of the knockdowns earlier in the fight.
Unfortunately for Wake his momentum was stopped in round 11 when he exchanged with Guzman and was left with a nasty cut over the left eye that bled straight into the eye and forced the referee to instantly stop the bout, giving Guzman the stoppage win.
What happened between round 5 and 11 however was amazing. Wake had come from the brink of a very early defeat to give Guzman a genuine test, both men left with with an eye swollen shut, for Guzman it was the left for Wake the right, and both men will be out of the ring for a prolonged time whilst those injuries heal. Unfortunately for Wake it was the left eye being cut, and not the huge gash on his right cheek or the swelling around the right, that forced the referees hand, and it was a very nasty cut, in fact both were.
With the win Guzman won the IBF Super Bantamweight title and announced himself as a genuine world class fighter, For a badly swollen Wake the result is a bad one, however the courage he showed and the way he fought himself back into the fight will have won him fans around the world and will likely see him being given another shot in the near future. The performance from both was brilliant and if you missed the fight you really need to find it as it was an amazing contest of guts, power and heart. A tremendous contest.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Yesterday night in Mexico fans had the chance to see experienced Thai Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo (61-3, 41) [ชลธาร อ.พิริยะภิญโญ] take part in his third "world" title bout, as he tool on big punching WBO "Interim" Super Featherweight champion Miguel Berchelt (30-1, 27). Sadly for the Thai it wasn't to be third time lucky as he suffered a painful loss to the talented and exciting Mexican.
Chonlatarn started well in fairness to him and he made it clear that he came to fight as he came forward and tried to put Berchelt under pressure from the opening seconds. That pressure had some success late in the round, as he seemed to tag Berchelt clean, but was caught as the men exchanged punches just before the bell and seemed to struggle with the speed and movement of Berchelt which was allowing Berchelt to tag the Thai as he came in. The following round again saw Chonlatarn applying the pressure and like in the first round he struggled to corner the fleet footed Mexican who ended the round with several solid shots on the Thai.
The Thai tried to apply the pressure again in round 3 but by now the Mexican was totally at ease and and picked his spots to force Chonlatarn backwards with raids on the front foot as well as the smart boxing on the move. With about a minute of the round left Berchelt rocked Chonlatarn and a follow up saw the Thai being forced to take some incredibly hurtful shots as it looked like he as ready to go. To his credit Chonlatarn saw out the round but was left looking like a who was close to being finished.
That finish ultimately came in round 4 with Berchelt biding his time early in the round before exploding with spiteful shots, backing up Chonlatarn and then breaking Chonlatarn with power shots to head and body before a sweeping left hook dropped the Thai hard. Chonlatarn beat the count but was dropped again seconds later from a flurry punctuated with a nasty body shot, this time he stayed down, with an official time of 2:59 seconds of the round gone, though it did seem like a long round.
For the Thai the loss likely finishes his hopes of ever becoming a world champion whilst it sets up a potentially great fight between Berchelt and Vasyl Lomachenko, in what could potentially be a really good test for the highly skilled Ukrainian star.
This past Saturday night didn't, in fairness, have a great day of mouth watering action set to take place with the most interesting bout being a WBC Light Flyweight world title bout between hard hitting Filipino challenger Jonathan Taconing (22-3-1, 18) and defending champion Ganigan Lopez (27-6, 17). Sadly for Taconing the bout ended up being his second loss at world level, though one that would have helped keep his loyal supporters backing him to another potential shot.
The fight started well for the Lopez who used his movement and straight punching to neutralise the pressure and nasty hooks of Taconing, who looked half a second behind the champion in the opening stanza. Taconing did however find his range and managed to have notable success in round 2, one of his best rounds of the fight, as Lopez was forced to take some heavy leather and was back up.
Lopez bounced back from the bad second round and won the third and fourth round by again using his feet and landing the better shots, including a beautiful straight left hand in round 4. Despite landing some humdingers Lopez was never able to make Taconing take a step backwards, but was making him look like a straight brawler looking for the Haymakers whilst Lopez himself was boxing wonderfully and trading just when he needed to. It seemed clear after 4 rounds that if it went to the cards then Lopez was going to win, but Taconing wasn't travelling with the intent of seeing the final bell and continued to press the action.
In round 5 Taconing began a real surge easily winning the round with some very heavy shots that seemed to seriously shake up the champion who had a nightmare round and appeared on the verge of unravelling. Taconing smelled his chance and continued to force the action in round 6 as has clawed back some of the lost ground from the opening section of the fight and it seemed like the challenger was suddenly coming on strong whilst the champion was failing. The challengers momentum continued into round 7, another clear round for the challenger who again seemed to shake up the champion who was looking particularly ragged, despite landing some solid counters that just seemed to bounce off the iron chinned Filipino.
In the 8th round the Filipino continued to try and build on his success, but unfortunately a clash of heads saw him being deducted a point whilst Lopez suffered a cut. The cut seemed to kick Lopez into warrior mode and he seemed willing to go toe-to-toe with Taconing at times as he looked for some way of turning the fight back in his favour.
Sadly at the end of round 8 we had the opening scoring which made a farce of the 8 rounds we had had, with one judge giving Taconing just a single round and another giving him just 2 rounds in what had been a very competitive fight.
Knowing he had no chance on the scorecards Taconing tried to up the pressure in the later rounds, possibly doing enough to claim round 9, but not enough in the final 3 rounds as he seemed to tire and Lopez managed to have his second wind, especially in the final 2 rounds as Lopez managed to again control the bout.
Watching it the bout seemed close, but like Lopez had just done enough. Sadly the cards failed to reflect that nature with scores of 118-109 and 119-108 alongside a much more reasonable 115-112, which seemed to be a fair score.
Sadly for Taconing this must feel like another case of travelling and knowing everyone was against him. We've no complaint about the results but given the scorecards he really was never going to get a decision and that's got to make him wonder why he bothered even turning up. For Lopez the win legitimises him as a world champion, and the performance it's self shows his toughness and ability, but we'll likely have a target on his back going forward.
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.