Upsets regularly happen in this sport, but rarely do they shake a full continent. That however happened today when the WBO Flyweight world title was ripped from the hands of Chinese star Zou Shiming (9-2, 2) [邹市明] by little known Japanese fighter Sho Kimura (15-1-2, 8) [木村翔], who refused to read the script and upset a man priced as a 1/40 favourite!
Kimura rarely looked like a man taking a leap up in class as he pressured Shiming from the opening round, forcing the Chinese fighter to fight at a pace he never seemed comfortable with. That was despite Shiming using his boxing skills well, and avoiding a lot of the heavy leather Kimura threw his way.
As the bout progressed Kimura began to have growing success, landing notably to the body, and despite taking some solid counters he never seemed to be discouraged by what Shiming threw his way, including some really eye catching shots. Instead it seemed as if the Chinese fighter was beginning to question himself, moving more than fighting and needing to do so whilst Kimura continued to press.
That pressure came at a cost to Kimura, who was cut over the right eye from a head clash, but the blood seemed to drive the challenger on, further leaving Shiming in trouble.
Shiming's footwork began to falter in the later rounds, twice slipping in his own corner, and it seemed clear he was tiring from the incessant and often wasteful movement. As a result Kimura was getting more and more chances and he made the most of them in round 11 letting his hands go on a tiring Shiming who fell to the canvas as Kimura unloaded. The Chinese fighter, showing clear signs of exhaustion, got back to his feet but the referee knew he was unfit to continue waving off the bout and saving the Chinese hero from extra punishment.
With the loss Shiming likely looks at retirement, and will be kicking himself for having this fight after an overly long training camp that likely left him less than 100%. At 36 he's old, very old for a Flyweight, and it's hard to see him mounting any sort of a comeback. For Kimura however it's a career defining win, and one that will live on long with the Japanese fans, who will perhaps see this as a huge win over a major geopolitical rival.
Amazingly with the win Kimura becomes only the 9th Japanese fighter* to win a world title title outside of Japan, the first since Tomoki Kameda back in 2013, the first to do so on Chinese soil and helps secure Japan's graps on the Flyweight division, becoming their third reigning champion at the weight alongside WBA champion Kazuto Ioka and WBC kingpin Daigo Higa. Also, impressively, Japan now has 12 Japanese born world champions, and 13 world champions if we include Teiken promoted Jorge Linares, showing just how much of a high Japanese boxing is on right now!
*Koki Eto's WBA "interim" Flyweight title isn't included in this stat
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Japanese prospects rising through the ranks quickly seems to be the thing at the moment, and there has been a string of super talented Japanese youngsters racing through the rankings and claiming world titles after just a handful of fights. The latest Japanese fighter to do just that was Minimumweight Hiroto Kyoguchi (8-0, 6) [京口 紘人], who claimed the IBF Minimumweight title earlier today, dethroning Jose Argumedo (20-4-1, 12). The youngster may have had more fights than some of the other Japanese youngsters who have raced to titles, but he had been a professional for just 15 months leading into this bout.
The bout promised a lot. Both are aggressive fighters, both have power and both have been in some entertaining bouts so far. It seemed in the first round that we were set for something a bit special as the two men stayed close, and let their shots off, with both landing some pretty solid and eye catching shots. By the end of the round though it seemed like Argumedo, who had spoke about a war at the signing ceremony, had felt the power of Kyoguchi and didn't want to taste too much of it using a lot of movement to avoid a fire fight.
The movement of Argumedo's continued in round 2, with Kyoguchi struggling to pin his man down, though he did land some eye catching body shots. The movement seemed to frustrate Kyoguchi, but came at an expense in regards to the power Argumedo could land with himself. In round 3 Argumedo decided to change tactic again, looking to land bombs, that came with with the problem of missing and being countered. His solution to that was to smother Kyoguchi, which became a problem through much of the bout, with the action descending into a slop fest of holding, hugging, rabbit punches and leaning on each other.
Argumedo got back on the move in round 4, with Kyoguchi fighting conservatively. Although holding back the Japanese fighter landed a number of body shots, in an attempt to stop Argumedo from hitting and holding, and a huge right hand upstairs that that again showed the danger that he possess. Argumedo ended up trying to throw the kitchen sink at Kyoguchi, but the accuracy simply wasn't there.
Rounds 5 and 6 were nothing short of messy wrestling rounds, with the clean punches kept to a minimum. It was becoming hard to watch, and hard to score. Argumedo had success with his jab, and his right hand, occasionally, whilst Kyoguchi looked to land body shots. It seemed however that both were rushing their work, throwing out of range and generally boxing like idiots, rather than two world class fighters.
Despite the messy action it seemed like both did have the fire power to hurt the other, and that proved to be the case in round 7, when a head shot shoot up Argumedo, who was clearly hurt and lucky that the shot came so late in the round as he began to eat some very hard body shots, and finished the round with a cut on the nose. Frustratingly Kyoguchi failed to build on the previous round, and round 8 was another sloppy round, with Kyoguchi's frustrations boiling over as he pushed Argumedo over. The following round saw Kyoguchi finally have a break through, badly hurting Argumedo and then sending him down legitimately with a follow up to secure a big 10 round, and had the round been 30 seconds longer he may well have closed the show.
Having got his nose into the lead Kyoguchi seemed to let Argumedo off the hook, and round 10 saw both men swing wildly and miss repeatedly in a round that began to sum up just how poor the fight had been. Had either man connected we could have seen the fight turn into something brilliant, but it seemed like neither had the composure, that late on, to really set up their work.
In the final round the mess just got messier, with both being tired, losing their balance, and Kyoguchi going down 3 times, from a combination of tiredness, pushing and balance issues, in what was a very ugly finish to a fight that promised a lot but failed to deliver.
At the end of 12 rounds the scores cards were read out, 116-111, twice, and 115-112, all in favour of Kyoguchi who became the new champion.
The fight wasn't the best showing of Kyoguchi, or of Argumedo in fairness. They styles should have gelled, but they never did, and instead of a FOTY contender we ended up with a really forgettable mess that will be remembered for Kyoguchi claiming a world title, just 15 months after his debut. And very few will go back and watch this one a second time.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
We have long felt that WBA Light Flyweight champion Ryoichi Taguchi (26-2-2, 12) [田口良一] is one of the most inconsistent world champions in the sport. When he's bad, as he has been in a number of recent fights, he's really poor. At other times however he looks sensational, with a great work rate, under-rated power with the skills to out box opponents and the physicality to bully them. Today he was great as he put on one of his best performance and breezed past mandatory challenger Robert Barrera (18-2, 12), who looked out of his depth for the most part.
Barrera actually started well, and had some success early in the bout, but that success wasn't enough to net him the round as Taguchi turned it on in the final minute and stole the round with his aggressive fighting and combinations. From then there always seemed to be a pattern of Barrera having moments, but ones that were easily forgotten as Taguchi answered back with vicious combinations, pinning Barrera on the ropes and really unloading to head and body.
It was the body shots of Taguchi that really took their toll, and more than once it looked like Barrera was breaking down, just from a the shots to the body. The challenger showed his toughness to stay in the bout, and in rounds 3 and 5 he had really some really good moments, but there was several times where he was forced to hold on just to survive.
As we moved in to the second half of the fight it began to look like the fight had been beaten out of the challenger, with rounds 6, 7 and 8 being very one sided in favour of Taguchi, who pinned the Colombian to the ropes numerous times.
Late in round 8 it looked like enough was enough, and that Barrera was staying in their on pride alone. Sadly for him the fight had been knocked out of him, but his mind refused to quit. The following round even the referee had seen enough, and waved the bout off after just 24 seconds of round 9.
The win for Taguchi moves him one step closer to a showdown with WBO champion Kosei Tanaka, in what looks like a done deal, if Tanaka is successful in his next defense in September. For Barrera this was a humbling defeat. He looked second best throughout, and it seemed very kind of the judges to to have this 78-74 on all 3 cards when the bout was stopped. It could easily have been a shut out, and there was at least one round where we could have seen a 10-8 in Taguchi's favour.
Whilst the challenger was tough, his skills never looked close to matching those of Taguchi, who was due a good performance after taking a draw in a poor performance last time out.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
To end a great Saturday of boxing we saw Takashi Miura (31-4-2, 24) [三浦 隆司] face off with WBC Super Featherweight champion Miguel Berchelt (32-1, 28), in a mandatory title challenge. Sadly for Miura his age, and stylistic deficiencies, saw him come up short in a bout that promised a lot but fell way short of expectations.
From the opening moments it was clear that Berchelt respect Miura's much vaunted left hand, and instead of standing his ground and engaging he made the most of his natural advantages, notable his speed and movement, to control the range and land on Miura from range. Not only was Berchelt landing be he did so with eye catching shots, including a right-left combination which dropped Miura in the opening round.
From round 1 to round 6 the bout had a very defined pattern, with Miura chasing shadows, hitting air and being tagged by Berchelts shots on a regular basis. Every so often Miura would connect, but his success rate was low, and came in the form of single shots, with no follow ups, allowing Berchelt to get away without any issues at all.
In round 7 Miura began to have success, landing some solid straight lefts that left Berchelt bleeding from the mouth and begin to show signs of doubt. That doubt was slowly becoming clear, but he continued to fight to his game plan, moving and boxing, using his speed and movement to avoid a tear up. In round 8 Miura managed to really have success, with some big body shots, and despite his right eye swelling it seemed like he was starting to get to a tiring Berchelt. The Mexican was still landing the better combinations but the Japanese fighter seemed to be landing the heavier single blows, and the fight seemed to be turning in his favour, even if it was only slightly.
As we moved in to the the final few rounds Miura seemed to get progressively more successful, though Berchelt was never looking second best. In fact whilst Berchelt looked the better fighter, it was clear the fight was much harder than he was expecting, and much more draining than he'd trained for. That showed again when he had to fight incredibly hard in the final round, with Miura clearly looking to land a home run shot, knowing he needed a KO. Miura could never find the shot, but that was only because Berchelt stayed alert, and did all he could to avoid having a final round fire fight.
At the end of the bout it was clear Berchelt had won, though the score cards were rather spread, with one judge scoring it 120-109, another having it 119-108 and the the third having it a more competitive looking 116-111. We were close to the final card, though admit there may have been some bias. The fight was certainly no shut out, but the card of 120-109 suggests several even rounds, given the knockdown in round 1.
The future for Berchelt will likely feature big international fights. From Miura however the future likely consists of retirement, as he's not the high intensity, combination punching warrior he once was. He's still got a warrior mindset, but not longer the energy or intensity to make the most of it, sadly
It's fair to say today, July 15th 2017, is a busy day in world boxing with a number of notable shows taking place around the globe. The first of those was in Thailand where WBA Minimumweight champion Knockout CP Freshmart (16-0, 7) [น็อคเอาท์ ซีพีเฟรชมาร์ท] retained his title, and over-came mandatory challenger Rey Loreto (23-14, 15) in a hard fought decision.
The began with the Filipino looking strong. His trademark aggression and heavy hands were felt early on and he seemed to cause facial damage to Freshmart very early in the fight, with the Thai fighting through a swollen left eye from the early stages.
After 3 rounds it looked like Loreto was going to be playing the upsetter role once again, as he has a number of times before. Sadly though for him Knockout found a home for his straight right hand to the body, and he milked the shot, landing a number of gut busting blows. They seemed to slow Loreto in rounds 4 and 5 with the effects lasting through the contest, and taking the zip of the Filipino, who struggled to control range.
Loreto had moments, where he would charge in and land nice combinations, but missed too frequently and took too many hard and clean counters in the middle rounds to win them, even though he was often the man on the front foot.
Knockout wasn't just winning round,s but was essentially doing it through one eye, and had a stand out moment in round 9, when he dropped Loreto with a right hand. It was “only” a 10-8 round but essentially sealed him the contest, barring an unlikely KO from the Filipino. Rounds 10 and 11 were again rounds where Knockout landed the more telling single blows, even if he did look to stall at times, before almost giving away round 12, knowing the win was in the bag.
The decision, as expected, favoured the Thai with no real complaints, he had taken the bulk of the rounds and secured that 10-8 round as well. As a result the judges turned in cards of 117-110, twice, and 115-113, all in favour of the Thai world champion.
As a result of the decision Knockout has now scored 3 defenses of the WBA title, to add to 3 defenses of the interim title that he held previously. As for Loreto the bout sees his 7 fight winning run come to an end, and shows the problem with blowing opponents away, as he had only got 9 rounds in his last 4 fights, and 29 rounds in the last 4 years. Hopefully Loreto will bounce back from the defeat a better fighter, because he's fun to watch,. But today it was Knockout walking away with the spoils.
Boxing is full of great stories, and boxing is also full of fighters getting old. Sometimes those stories cross, and that was the case earlier today as we saw former teacher Jeff Horn (17-0-1, 11) score a huge upset over Filipino icon Manny Pacquiao (59-7-2, 38) and claim the WBO Welterweight title, and one of the biggest upsets of 2017.
Horn was supposed to be the next victim for Pacquiao and the start of a farewell retirement tour for the Filipino icon. Horn however fought like a man possessed and showed real energy, determination and confidence from the off, letting his hands go and forcing Pacquiao backwards immediately. The assault and energy from Horn really seemed to shock Pacquaio who struggled to much of note during the first 3 rounds. Though what the Filipino did land was damaging and left Horn with a nasty cut around the right eye.
Horn looked to try and keep the high energy work going in round 4, but seemed to slow a little giving Pacquiao some openings, with Pacquiao landing an eye catching right hook and a solid body shot. The Filipino seemed to begin finding some sort of a rhythm, but Horn was continuing to have his successes as well.
Although Pacquiao had successes in round 4 he didn't seem able to keep it up in round 5 as Horn bullied him and landed some solid shots. Again Pacquiao had his moments, and there was some argument for him winning the round but he failed to make it decisive as he really needed to given the amount of leather Horn was throwing.
Going in to round 6 Horn's eye was getting worse however he wasn't the only one ending the round bloodied as an accidental clash of heads left Pacquaio with a bad cut on the hairline, with blood instantly running down the side of his face. Following the headclash the rest of round 6 was messy, with little clean work of note until late when Horn landed several good right hands and actually seemed to wobble Pacquiao.
With blood running down his face Pacquiao came out for round 7 with bad intentions but struggled to have any major consistency against the Australian, who landed some solid right hands before another clash of heads left Pacquaio with a second hairline cut, this time on the other side of his head. A bloodied Pacquiao seemed like a wounded animal and Horn went hunting his prey, but was caught by a very eye catching uppercut in the final moments of the round.
Pacquiao managed to have a real charge in round 8 as Horn began to slow, and tire. There was a large chant for the local but a huge body shot by Pacquiao and a few eye catching punches late in the round were more than Horn could manae, with the local doing landing little more than asingle notable right hand. Pacquiao built on his success in round 9, a round that saw him batter Horn around the ring in the bouts most 1-sided round, that saw him do everything but drop the Australian. Horn seemed to be running on empty and it looked like a stoppage was on the cards for the Filipino.
Before round 10 the referee went over to Horn, who was sat on the stool following the terrible round 9, and said he needed to see something from the Australian or he was going to stop the bout. The words from the referee seemed to reignite the fire in Horn who struggled early in the round but began to put on a real fight back late in the round as a tired Pacquiao looked like a man who had worn himself out with the big effort in the previous round. It wasn't a clear round for Horn, but it was more than enough to convince the referee that he was fine, and that he wasn't as spent as he had looked in round 9.
The rejuvenating powers of Horn were proven again in round 11 as he seemed to take the fight to Pacquiao again and despite taking some solid shots from the Filipino he was the man pressing the action and forcing the fight. It was clear that Pacquiao was landing the better blows, but Horn seemed to out work him, even if the shots weren't as eye catching as those form the Filipino.
The final round saw Horn again on the front foot, and dragging Pacquiao into a fire fight with the round finishing in a brilliant and eye catching back and forth brawl that seemed to show Pacquiao hurt again. It was a great finish to what had been a unexpectedly great fight, and a great effort from both men.
With the bout going the distance the cards were read out, with scores of 117-111 and 115-113, twice, all of which favoured Horn giving him a career defining victory.
With the win Horn becomes the new champion and potentially lines up some major pay days, such as a rematch with Pacquiao or a bout with Terrence Crawford. For Pacquiao, who never looked even a shadow of his former self, the bout could be the end, and at 38 it may be the perfect time to bow out of the sport. He has nothing left to prove, and seemed to come up against a younger, hungrier and more determined fighter. If it had been the Pacquiao of old there is little doubt he'd have battered Horn, like he did to Miguel Cotto, but this wasn't the Pacquiao of 7 or 8 years ago. Instead it's the Pacquiao of 2017.
Although the decision has been decried by some as controversial, with Dan Rafael and Teddy Atlas both scoring the bout comfortably in favour of Pacquiao,it does seem like father time really has caught up with Pacquiao and that size played a major factor here. Horn seemed, at times, to be too big and too strong, and too hungry for the old, small and battle worn Pacquiao.
The boxing world focused on Australia on Sunday as Manny Pacquiao battled Jeff Horn in what was widely derided as a horrible mismatch. Whilst that wasn't a great main event the show it's self served as a vehicle to showcase IBF Super Flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas (27-1-1, 18). The talented Filipino, who is promoted by Pacquiao, took on Japanese challenger Teiru Kinoshita (25-2-1, 8) [位帝里 木下] and took his opportunity to shine, stopping Kinoshita in a 1-sided contest.
The bout started slowly, with neither man really taking any risks. Although it was quiet it was clear that Ancajas was doing more than the challenger.
Having felt his way into the bout Ancajas started to move through the gears, and hammered some sharp left hands into the right side of Kinoshita's face, causing clear visible damage to Kinoshita's right eye in round 2. The damage looked serious, with nasty cuts, but to his credit Kinoshita refused to let it bother him, despite two inspections by the doctors.
Knowing he was behind Kinoshita tried to step up his output in round 3, but was too slow and too clumsy for Ancajas who landed some really sharp shots, continuing to pick away at Kinoshita to both head and body. Having looked sharp as a tack in rounds 2 and 3 Ancajas started to slow down in round 4, giving Kinoshita some opportunities, but it was still the Filipino landing the better blows.
Ancajas showed that he wasn't flagging in round 5, as he landed some of his best stuff, including some hard left hands early on and a beautiful eye catching combination on the bell to seal the round. Those shows were taking their toll on Kinoshita, who was trying and was game, but was totally out classed and had no answer for the champion, even when Ancajas slowed down as he did again at times in round 6, a closer but clear round for the champion.
By the end of round 6 Kinoshita's right eye looked completely shut, and it was clear he was going to have to go all out sooner rather than later. That saw him come out for round 7 with aggressive intent, and he landed a nice flurry, but only moments later a combination from Ancajas, punctuated by a sickening body shot, dropped the Japanese fighter. Kinoshita showed his warrior mentality to regain his feet, but the referee had seen enough and stopped the swollen and beaten challenger.
For most fans in the West this was their first chance to see either man and whilst Kinoshita certainly didn't leave much of an impression it's fair to say that Ancajas will have gotten a lot of new fans from this performance and it's clear that the bout really was a show case for the talented Pinoy puncher.
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.