The Bantamweight division has been dominated over the last 12 months by the WBSS, and the destruction left by Naoya Inoue. Outside the WBSS however we've seen the WBC Bantamweight picture become a mess, with Takuma Inoue claiming the interim title, Luis Nery being in the mix and the crowning of Frenchman Nordine Oubaali (16-0, 12) as the champion.
Today Oubaali made his first defense of the the title, and did so in easy and dominant fashion, stopping over-matched Filipino challenger Arthur Villanueva (32-4-1, 18) in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan.
From the opening seconds Oubaali looked in a different class to Villanueva, who looked like a man who wasn't sure he deserved to be in the ring with the champion. The opening round was all Oubaali, even though he was only fighting in first gear he looked in a class of his own. From there on Oubaali chipped away at the Filipino, breaking him down with clean, accurate shots in rounds 2 and 3. There was very, very little coming back from Villanueva, who did enough to look like he was trying, but not enough to get Oubaali's respect.
By the end of round 3 Oubaali was starting to beat up Villanueva who realised he had to fight back. Sadly for Villanueva fighting back lead to him being tagged cleaner, and in round 4 the Filipino was rocked again.The following round the challenger began to look scared once again whilst Oubaali changed tactics. The champion had gone from landing combinations to looking for more hurtful single shots, trying to actually hurt the challenger with every shot. Those shots were doing damage and by the end of the right the challenge's right eye was nearly closed.
In round 6 the continued beating resumes, with Oubaali scoring a knockdown after a combination. It wasn't a combination of hard shots, but they were clean and the Filipino took a knee. Following that Oubaali went for the kill, with Villanueva managing to do just enough to convince the referee not to step in, but he was now a beaten man.
Knowing that he was out classed, out boxed, out punched and being dominated Villanueva took the decision to retire to retire between rounds 6 and 7, making a wise choice.
Whilst this was an unexpected opportunity for Villanueva it was also an undeserved one, and it's hard to see him getting any more opportunities at world level. As for Oubaali he has an interesting future. His next defense if expected to come against Takuma Inoue, though he will also have eyes on the winner of the WBSS, which will be either Naoya Inoue or Nonito Donaire, and will also have the controversial Luis Nery as possible future foe. This was an easy first defense, but hopefully we'll find out how good Oubaali really is in the near future.
On Saturday morning we saw the WBO Bantamweight champion Marlon Tapales (29-2, 12) being stripped of his title due to a failure to make weight ahead of his first defense, a bout against Shohei Omori (18-1, 13) [大森 将平] on Sunday.
Due to the stripping of Tapales, and the potential long term vacancy, the WBO seemingly upgraded the status of the bout between Zolani Tete (25-3, 20) and Arthur Villanueva (30-2, 16), which was originally a world title eliminator but later became an interim title fight.
Sadly for Filipino fighter Villanueva the change in status of the bout didn't do him any favours, in fact if anything it may have inspired an even better performance from the South African, with Tete putting on a dominant and one-sided performance.
Villanueva came to win, don't get us wrong, but from the opening seconds it was clear he was out matched with the Filipino being shut down offensively from very early on.
The slippery Tete managed to find a home for his jab early on and chose when to come forward and press the action, with the Filipino only have very rare moments of success, which were almost instwntly forgotten as Tete tagged him soon afterwards.
Villanueva's toughness served him well, but he was dropped in round 11, a flash knockdown, and never really looked capable of having a big final round to turn things around. Instead he seemed to settle for a 12 round decision loss, with cards of 119-108, twice, and 120-107.
If Omori wins tomorrow the signs are that his first defense will have to be against Tete whilst a loss for the Japanese fighter would see Tete being promoted to the status of full champion.
When highly regarded unbeaten fighters collide for a world title we expect something special. We know that sometimes bouts don't quite come alive, but we do expect something more than a complete stinker. Unfortunately later on Saturday night we got a complete crap-fest that wasn't helped by some terrible officiating by both the referee and the judges.
The bout in question saw Filipino fighter Arthur Villanueva (27-1, 14) suffer his first defeat as he came up short on the score-cards against McJoe Arroyo (17-0, 8), in a shortened IBF Super Flyweight title bout. The bout, which was taken to the score-cards in round 10, never seemed to get going, though it wasn't down to eventual loser who seemed to be in the ring with the intention of fighting.
Through the first 2 rounds there was nothing, at all, to separate the men. Villanueva was the more active but wasn't landing a significantly high number of shots than Arroyo, who seemed to perhaps land the better shots. Through 2 rounds any score was possible, from 20-18, either way, to an even 20-20.
The first genuinely clear round of the first was round 3 which seemed to be a Villanueva round with the Filipino easily out landing his Puerto Rican foe. The Filipino seemed to build on his success and appeared to just take round 4 as well, though few would complain had it gone the other way.
In round 5 we again saw the Filipino seemingly doing enough to take another close, and competitive, round. Although the action was close it wasn't pretty, it wasn't exciting and it saw both men missing significantly more than they were landing. It was, for all intents, boxing chess and very dull, disappointingly so for a Super Flyweight title fight.
Despite Villanueva having real success in rounds 3,4 and 5, his momentum was cut in round 6 as he was deducted a point for, apparently, a deliberate headclash. The call was a terrible one, and originally it seemed even the commission had thought it was a poor call, until a replay assured them that the referee was being serious. Sadly for Villanueva the deduction far from his only issue as he was cut, from a subsequent headbutt, caused by Arroyo, that went unpunished from the referee who seemed to show his bias for the fight.
Through round 7 Villanueva seemed to have blood running down down his face from the cut though, for the most part, out boxed his foe and out landed him in what was one of Villanueva's best rounds of the fight. Despite a good round for the Filipino he was taken to the doctor twice,once earlier on and then again in the rest period between the rounds, interfering with any plans his time were wanting to give him.
Although the bout had failed to come alive in the first 7 rounds it was hoped the blood may force the action to pick up. Instead it seemed to drive on the Filipino and completely kill any desire Arroyo had with the Puerto Rican essentially spoiling through out the 8th round whilst the Filipino did enough to seemingly win the round, with out needing to do much at all. The 9th was even more disappointing with Arroyo doing next to nothing other than clinching his foe and refusing to fight. It seemed as if Arroyo had mentally quit.
If Arroyo had intention of trying to win it was seen in round 10 with Villanueva starting the round well whilst Arroyo did nothing other than hold. It was a pathetic round from the Puerto Rican before the referee took Villanueva over to the corner. This time the doctor had decided enough was enough, and seemed happy to put the fans out of their collective misery.
Due to the cut coming from a headclash we went to to the score cards and, given that Arroyo had done nothing for the final 3 rounds, it seemed like we were set to get very close cards. Sadly however the judges showed that they hadn't been watching the action and turned in very disappointing cards of 97-92, 98-91 and 98-91 all in favour of Arroyo. The referee had left his mark on the bout early but the judges left an even worse taste in the mouths of those watching the bout.
We'll admit we had Villanueva in a comfortable lead though we could easily understand a 95-94 lead to Arroyo. Those cards however were a disgrace and further showed how bad officiating is in Texas, US. Sadly though the commission have refused to act in the past, and they will again ignore was was essentially a disgracefully officiated contest.
For Villanueva this would have been a disgusting way to lose his unbeaten record, we just hope it's not his last chance at having a shot at a world title. It shouldn't be, but you never know in this sport. For Arroyo, he needs to thank his lucky stars that the officials were inept and handed him the IBF Super Flyweight title.
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.