This past Saturday was an historic night for Filipino boxing as the sensational Donnie Nietes (37-1-4, 21) finally made his US debut and did so with a win as he over-came the very limited but very tough Juan Alejo (21-4, 13) and retained his WBO Light Flyweight title.
From the open bell to the final round Nietes looked world class, out boxing, out fighting and controlling hi Mexican foe who was cut early in the bout yet never once looked like caving in. Despite the desire from Alejo he was, at times, little more than a heavy bag for Nietes who had the chance to try what he wanted in a session that resembled target practice for the talented, though smaller Nietes.
Come the final bell there was no doubting the winner with the Filipino posting a near shut out. losing just a single round on two of the cards.
Sadly whilst Nietes was thoroughly impressive in terms of his performance he did lack the stoppage that he would likely have wanted, saying that though it would have taken something very special to stop Alejo who came out looking like a great test for fighters coming through the ranks, though is far from a world class fighter and probably shouldn't be given another shot at a world title. Saying that however we all know how boxing works and it'd be no shock to see him get another shot in the next few years, at least if he can string together a few wins of note.
Kazakh star Gennady Golovkin (34-0, 31) continued his dominance of the Middleweight division this past Saturday as he scored an 8th round TKO win over the brave but out matched David Lemieux (34-3, 31). The win, for Golovkin, saw him adding the IBF Middleweight title to his WBA “super” and WBC “interim” belts and take another step towards a total unification of the division.
The fight started tactically for Golovkin who fought behind his accurate and hurtful jab. For the first 4 rounds it was all about the jab which was wonderfully effective as an offensive weapon and seemed to slowly but surely destroy Lemieux's confidence. The Canadian, a vaunted puncher himself, was essentially boxed out of the first for the first 4 rounds as Golovkin showcased little more than just his boxing.
In round 5 we saw Golovkin's power as he dropped Lemieux. The knockdown, which came from a body shot, saw Lemieux drop to a knee and sadly the Kazakh showed a little bit of naughtiness as he landed a cheap shot on Lemieux. It was something he apologised for, and something we hadn't seen from him before, but it was perhaps his one dark moment of the fight.
Lemieux, who didn't play up the cheap shot, got back to his feet but was never in the bout as Golovkin continued to toy with him, landing his jab at will and mixing up his arsenal as and when he wanted to. The power and accuracy told with Golovkin messing up the nose of the Canadian, who's face looked to be getting broken up for sheer accumulation.
With Lemieux being slowly but surely broken down referee Steve Willis seemed to be looking for an opportunity to stop the bout which he found in round 8 when Lemieux was on the receiving end of more powerful blows form Golovkin.
With the win it seems likely we'll see Golovkin continue his pursuit for the WBC and WBO titles. For Lemieux however it ends his short reign as a world champion and will likely send him back to Canada, where he will remain a big draw but one with a tarnished legacy after this defeat.
Boxing's “pound for pound” list may be one of the sports most controversial yet pointless subjects but for us it's hard to view any fighter as being more complete than Roman Gonzalez (44-0, 38) we successfully retained his WBC Flyweight crown in New York with an excellent win against Filipino-America Brian Viloria (36-5-0-2, 22).
The fight started with Viloria setting the early pace and for the first 30 seconds it was Viloria coming forward, forcing Gonzalez backwards and landing several shots, including a notable body shot. It seemed as if Viloria knew his best shot was to jump on Gonzalez before the Nicaraguan got settled. By the end of the round however Gonzalez had taken the center ring and it was looking like he had began to settle.
Viloria's confidence was still fully there in round 2 as he more than held his own in a very competitive and close round. The challenger managed to land a number of solid shots and appeared to be targeting the body of Gonzalez however it did, again, seem that Gonzalez warmed to the task before the round was over and by the end of the round it seemed like Gonzalez was starting to force his fight.
Gonzalez's momentum grew in round 3 as he quickly dropped Viloria with a short right hand. Viloria recovered his feet but had a torrid time in the remainder of the round as Gonzalez reeled off some vicious combinations, landing some spiteful shots to both the head and body and showed the offensive prowess that has made him such a must watch fighter.
Viloria, much to his credit, saw out the third round and managed to have some success of his own but was on the receiving end of real punishment again in round 4 as we saw what high skilled offensive boxing is all about, from both men. Viloria, whilst not embarrassing himself, was being figured out by Gonzalez who was looking in control of the ring, despite big shots being landed from Viloria.
Round 5 was one of the worst rounds for Viloria who looked very much out of his depth for a round though showed his toughness to see out the storm and came back himself in rounds 6 and 7 as the action returned to being competitive, yet easy to score for Gonzalez. It seemed that whilst Viloria was having success, he was being forced to take some really solid combinations that over-shadowed his own success.
The pace was slowing down in round 8 yet both both men stayed in close quarters, landing shots up close. Sadly for Viloria he was being comfortably out landed by Gonzalez who was reeling off combinations as and when he wanted to turn up the pace. Viloria tried to stem the tide but he had little answer to Gonzalez's accuracy, timing and sensational output.
Before the start of round 9 the doctor had a word with Viloria, it wasn't a serious one and it never seemed like the doctor was going to stop the fight but it did delay the start of the round. Despite the delayed start the round started well for Gonzalez though a body shot part way through seemed to hurt the Nicaraguan who took about 20 seconds to recover himself. When he did recover he decided to punish Viloria with another devastating combination that rocked Viloria who was quickly saved by the referee. The stoppage may have been slightly early but it did appear to be a fair one, especially given the way that Viloria was helped to corner.
The win was another excellent one for Gonzalez. It wasn't punch perfect by any stretch of the imagination but it was another high quality win to add to his already impressive resume. For Viloria the bout may be his last at the top level however it was a great from the challenger.
Now attention for Gonzalez may well turn to the proposed super fight with Naoya Inoue, in 2016, or perhaps a bout with another of the champions, at either 112lbs or 115lbs. Bouts between Gonzalez and Juan Francisco Estrada, Amnat Ruenroeng, Kohei Kono or Carlos Cuadras would all have major appeal, especially with HBO backing Gonzalez like they are doing.
For the first time in history we got the chance to see an All Japanese world title fight take place in the US on Friday night, and we got a treat in a brutal, high paced, all action FOTY contender. And an Upset of the Year contender.
The fight in question saw the criminally under-rated Kohei Kono (31-8-1, 13) shock countryman Koki Kameda (33-2, 18) and retain the WBA Super Flyweight title, whilst potentially setting a big Macau show down.
The bout saw two men, who had been jibing each other for months, go straight to action with both men having a shout to claim an action packed opening round. Despite the great back-and-forth it was clear the referee wasn't going to take any infractions and in round 2 took a point from Kameda for low blows, in a horror round that has also seen him dropped. Another deduction from the challenger was made in round 3 as well and although Kameda was more than holding his own the deductions were certainly not doing him any favours at all.
In the middle the challenger started to set himself. The southpaw bad-boy seemed to manage to hurt the champion, sadly however it was the referee who was beginning to get more attention than the fighters with much being made of Celestino Ruiz's bizarre decisions, which included another deduction in round 9.
Kameda had put a lot into the middle rounds and had failed to make the most of his natural boxing and speed to engage in a war. The decision had been a bad one and in the later rounds his pace began to slow and Kono began to have the fight swing back his way as his energy reserves and toughness took over.
The desire of the champion was simply be too much for the challenger who had fought the wrong fight and had in fact fought his opponents fight. The tactics of Kameda may have made for a great fight, and the terrible officiating of the referee may have been almost inept, but the fight had been thrilling and the wait for the cards was equally so. Thankfully however the judges got it right giving the win to Kono by scores of 113-111, 115-109 an 116-108.
Now there are rumours of Kono looking towards a fight with Rex Tso, however a rematch with Kameda, a unification bout with Naoya Inoue or a clash with interim champion David Sanchez would certainly make interestingly alternatives. For Kameda this hits his dream of becoming a 4-weight world champion, however the performance will likely see fans showing him some respect. Sadly for Kameda however this could well be the sort of result that damages the reputation of the “Kameda Klan” who have now lost 4 fights this year between them, a really worrying figure.
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.