The “Superfly” shows are giving fighters from the lower weights a chance to shine on HBO and an international stage that typically they won't have been showcased on. One such fighter shining on “Superfly 2” was IBF Flyweight champion Donnie Nietes (41-1-4, 23), who scored his first defense of the IBF Flyweight title whilst stopping Argentinian veteran Juan Carlos Reveco (39-4, 19), who was making his US debut.
The fight started very competitively, with both men seemingly mirroring each other at times. They looked amazingly well matched and every bit of success one man had seemed to be matched by the other only seconds later. It was high tempo, thoughtful yet brilliant boxing from the off by two high level and respectful practitioner's. Although competitive it seemed like Nietes was slightly sharper, finding the holes a tiny bit more successfully than his foe.
Through the first 4 rounds there was little really to separate them. Nietes probably impressed the judges slightly more, but there fight was so closely contested that from one angle there is a good chance that Reveco was leading.
Despite being a brilliantly fought boxing bout the crowd were growing restless, booing the action and showing a bit of disappointment. It was as if they were expecting a war but were getting a boxing contest.
The boos grew louder in round 5, though it seemed like Nietes was beginning to figure out his man, and in round 6 he began to really up the pace. It was a sign of how good Nietes is as he increased his out put and movement, and began punching between the shots of Reveco, rather than waiting to return fire. It was a wonderful change and gained almost immediate results as he cut the eye of Reveco and badly staggered him right on the bell. The shot, which seemed to land behind the ear, sent Reveco stumbling as he tried to find his corner and the doctor took a look at him. Had the same shot landed just 15 seconds earlier there is a good chance that Reveco would have been stopped before the round was over.
Knowing he had hurt his man in round 6 Nietes went hunting in round 7 and really took it to the Argentinian. Within seconds of the round starting he was caught by a right hand and dropped hard. He got up at 5 but failed to listen to the referee's instructions and the referee, after a few seconds, waved the bout off.
For 5 rounds this was ultra-close and a great example of high quality boxing. From round 6 however Nietes upped the pace and Reveco simply couldn't stay with him. It was a statement win, though said a lot about where both men are. Reveco was once a top fighter, but this is his 3rd loss in 7 fights, and his second stoppage loss in 5. He's not the fighter he once was. Although older Nietes is still the fresher man, having mostly avoided wars, and will likely have another few fights at the top. The Filipino is a technical boxing wizard at times, though at the age of 35, in fact he turns 36 in May, he is old for a Flyweight and may not have that much longer left at the top himself.
Earlier this year Kazuto Ioka (19-1, 11) became the second Japanese fighter to become a 3-weight world champion as he claimed a narrow majority decision over Juan Carlos Reveco (36-3, 19). The bout, which was competitive, had been described as controversial with some stating it was a robbery and the WBA demanding that the two men do it again in a rematch.
Although a rematch was demanded the WBA did allow both fighters to take an interim bout, which both fighters won, by decisions.
Today that rematch took place and this time there was no controversy at all, in fact the bout was more a statement of intent by Ioka than a competitive fight with the champion retaining his title in very impressive fashion, the fashion that may well alert the rest of the division and prove that he is, finally, a fully fledged Flyweight.
The fight started with Ioka looking accurate, sharp, quick and confident, but very much like a man who was fighting conservatively. There was next to nothing wasted by the champion whilst the challenger tried to force a high tempo, though was in effective missing regularly with shots that either fell short or hit the guard. If Reveco was looking to set the pace his aim failed as Ioka calmly stepped out of range, walked around the ring, rest himself and slowly but surely began to break down the Argentinian.
The breaking down process was beautiful to watch with Ioka setting out his stall early. He wasn't busy but what he was determined, landing numerous solid body blows from very early on, shots that seemed to land with a thud time and time again. Reveco, for the most part, took them without showing any real discomfort but it seemed like the sheer force on them was going to take something away from the Argentinian, especially given his high work rate and the question marks about him struggling to make weight.
Through the first 4 rounds the bout was competitive but it always seemed like Ioka was the boss, he was the one choosing when to fight, the one landing the telling blows and the one who controlled the action, despite Reveco's high out put. That changed slightly in round 5 as Ioka stood his ground more and in round 6 it totally changed with the champion essentially taking the round off. If anything those two rounds gave Reveco hope, though it was hope that was demolished in round 7 as Ioka got back in to things and began to bully Reveco, winning the exchanges and backing up the challenger, who was looking gutsy but out matched.
Things went from bad to worse for Reveco who was starting to wear the damage of the fight around his left eye and was losing his footing frequently when he let his shots go. Unfortunately he was also eating shots to both the head and body through round 8 as Ioka began to smell the finish. The smell became stronger in round 9 when Reveco was left bleeding from his eye and took an absolute pasting, with volley's of shots to the head and body. It was the type of round that constitutes a 10-8 and the sort of round that can be the end of fighters chances.
Following the big 9th Ioka seemed to relax, ease off the gas and know that he had it in the bag. Reveco on the other hand put it all on the line and seemed to swing everything he had at Ioka, though only managed to tag the air, on a very regular basis. It was an embarrassing round for Reveco in terms of his accuracy, but he had shown his true grit by just trying to fight following the previous round.
For all his guts and determination Reveco was looking like a beaten and desperate fighter who had little to offer, other than his heart. Sadly form him even that failed, with a body shot in round 11 sending him down. He beat the count but was ruled unfit to continue, subjecting him to his first stoppage loss, possibly even his final bout at the world level, if not final bout all together.
In a number of countries we've seen a spate of weight jumping champions who have picked up straps at multiple weights. In Japan multi-weight champions are relatively rare with many really making their career in one division, possibly two. Amazingly 3-weight champions in Japan are scarce to say the least and at the start of this year only one Japanese born fighter had ever claimed divisional world titles in 3 division. That was the controversial Koki Kameda who had claimed titles at 108lbs, 112lbs and 118lbs. Today Kameda has been joined by the talented Kazuto Ioka (17-1, 10) who claimed the WBA Flyweight title and became the quickest fighter, in history, to become a 3-weight world champion and only the second Japanese born fighter to achieve the feat.
Ioka was fighting in his second Flyweight title bout and found himself up against talented Argentinian Juan Carlos Reveco (35-2, 19), a tough and determined boxer puncher from Mendoza, Argentina. Reveco was himself a 2-weight world champion and a man who had been in fine form winning his last 18 bout, including a victory in a previous visit to Japan against Masayuki Kuroda and a very impressive stoppage of the then interim champion Yodmongkol Vor Saengthep last December.
To us this was one of the most anticipated fights of the year and one that had been talked about for about a year. It was a clash of talented, exciting fighters with differing styles and a lot at stake. For all intents it was a must win for both and it was also a bout that had a sense of possible redemption for Ioka following his loss to amnat Ruenroeng last year in, an IBF Flyweight title bout, his first title bout at Flyweight.
Ioka's problem against Amnat was that he couldn't really get going and the Thai managed to find ways of shutting him down, time and time again. This time around Ioka got going from the off and found a home for his jab almost immediately and he kept Reveco at range during the opening rounds. Reveco tried to slip it but had little success in a very good opening round for the Japanese challenger. From then on though things became a bit tough with rounds 2,3 and 4 being incredibly close. Reveco was determined to get inside and unload flurries whilst Ioka was hoping to use his jab and keep the champion at range. Nether man could have things completely their own way and both managed to make a claim to any of those 3 rounds. We had given 2 of those 3 to Ioka though could easily have seen them go to Reveco.
In round 5 the challenger refound his groove, at least in the early portion of the round. Reveco seemed to wait, biding his time before turning it up late in the round to try and steal it, it was however too little too late for Reveco who, on our card, was 4-2 down.
Reveco seemed to sense that something had to change and he made those changes in round 6 as he put his foot on the gas and started to really take the fight to Ioka with several lovely crisp flurries. It was a really poor round from Ioka who struggled to land anything of note and it seemed that it was the champion who had found another gear. Round 7 was another one for the champion who had quickly close things up on our score card and shown that he had the will to win and the ability to put Ioka under fierce pressure. It was impressive from the champion who was fighting his fight and making Ioka look second best.
The champion tried to continue his success in round 8 but Ioka began to adjust, using his feet to act as the matador to Reveco's bullish assaults. It was the sort of change Ioka needed as the champion was coming on strong and building his momentum. The tactics weren't the prettiest from the Japanese fighter but worked enough for him to repeat them in the 9th round with Reveco failing for find the success he had had just a couple of rounds earlier.
Going into round 10 it was all to play for, we had it 6-3 to Ioka bout could easily have seen it going 6-3 to Reveco with a number of those early rounds being to close to call either way.
It seemed like it was the defending champion who felt the need to change things and in round 10 he really stepped up again in what was one of the fights best rounds with both men landing solid shots as they momentarily traded on the inside. It was a spectacular round though it was quickly forgotten as the 11th outshone it in every way with Reveco seemingly doing enough to take both rounds, though an argument could certainly be had in regard to the 11th. It seemed clear that neither man was sure they'd done enough and that they were going to have to dig deep with shots traded on the outside and the inside.
With rounds 10 and 11 both picking up the pace there was no doubting that round 12 had the potential be the best of the bunch and that's exactly what we got as the two men traded blows, and showed off what they were about. Reveco went all out trying to turn the fight around, as if he knew he had to do something more than the home town hero, Ioka managed to shift between holding his own in exchanges of blows and landing clean accurate counters. Watching Ioka here it was clear he was proving he could do everything he needed to, though at times it left us wondering why he seemed reluctant to trade earlier on. The round was so good that the TYC Sports commentator, Argentinian TV channel, expressed his admiration for the action with an exclamation of "Fantastico", a viewed shared by us and many others.
With the amount of close and highly competitive rounds there seemed to be no clear cut way to call the bout. TYC Sports had the Argentinian well ahead, 116-112, though they had seemed very pro-Reveco through the bout giving Reveco a lead of 78-74 after 8 rounds. We had had it 115-113 to Ioka though could certainly see the same score in favour of Reveco.
Slowly the cards were read out with scores of 114-114, 115-113 and 116-113, giving Ioka a majority decision that was received by tears from his team who know how valuable this win was to his legacy.
For some the result was controversial though in reality it was a bout that was close either way. The momentum shifted several times, the action was high quality from both, many rounds were very competitive and overall the fight was sensational. It was a highly skilled and action heavy fight that saw both men change their tactics throughout. Ioka's jab early saw him taking the lead, Reveco combinations and aggression saw him coming back into things, the Ioka was forced to use his feet before Reveco found a way to cut the distance.
A rematch between the two wouldn't be a bad choice though we expect that Ioka has other plans. The division is a stacked one with bug names, exciting contenders and a lot of good looking match ups. Showdowns with domestic rivals such as Suguru Muranaka and Koki Eto appear to be appealing, a fight with Brian Viloria would be mouth watering, a rematch with Felix Alvarado would also be an exciting proposition. If he's wanting an easier first defense a possible showdown with Noknoi Sitthiprasert may be interesting given Noknoi's run of form which has included more than 50 straight wins.
It really is an exciting time to follow Ioka, though it seems almost certain that we won't see him competing at Super Flyweight. He still seems a bit unsure of himself as a Flyweight and although he seems to have the size to fill into a very good Flyweight we don't seem him really looking comfortable against any of the division's top guys, such as Juan Francisco Estrada or Roman Gonzalez. Those wanting to see an all-Japanese super fight between Ioka and Naoya Inoue will almost certainly be left wanting and in fairness it would appear to be a huge mismatch in favour of Inoue, who is simply too big and too strong for Ioka. Thankfully though with so many exciting options our there Ioka could well be busy with some great fights and not need to look towards his fellow star for a major bout.
(Image, from a post fight press conference, courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
*Note Japanese licensed promoted fighters Roman Gonzalez and Jorge Linares, both of Teiken, have also become 3 weight world champions.
The Flyweight division is by far the best in boxing right now. The champions are pound-for-pound fighters, the contenders are recognised top class fighters and better yet the best are fighting the best. Time and time again this year the division has given us highlight after highlight. From Koki Eto's brawl with Ardin Diale to the amazing WBC title fight between Roman Gonzalez and Akira Yaegashi we really have been so lucky with the Flyweight division this year.
The final big Flyweight bout of the year came in Thailand this Friday as the WBA regular and interim titles were unified. Going into the bout Juan Carlos Reveco (35-1, 19) was the “regular” champion whilst Thailand's Yodmongkol Vor Saengthep (34-3, 20) was the interim champion. On paper it was a very good match up, stylistically you had a boxer against a pressure fighter and the bout was, unofficially, a bout to decide who was to defend the title against Kazuto Ioka next year.
The opening round showed a difference in speed with Reveco looking a step faster than the Thai. Yodmongkol tried to neutralise the speed with timing and came forward behind a hgh guard looking to land counter punches though all too often he was tagged and unable to respond before Reveco was out of range. All the major punches in the opening round were from the Argentinian.
In the second round we saw a surprise as a counter right hand from Yodmongkol dropped Reveco in the first minute. From then on things were pretty for the rest of the round leaving us with a clear 10-8 in favour of the Thai fighter. Sadly for Yodmongkol that would be his highlight of the fight and it effectively gave away his entire gameplan which appeared to be based on landing counter right hands whilst applying constant, but not intense, pressure.
In round 3 it seemed Reveco was still feeling the effects of the knockdown early though by the end of the round it seemed Reveco had neutralised Yoxmongkol's gameplan and realised that if he didn't over-commit he wasn't going to give Yodmongkol any chance. Sadly for Yodmongkol his gameplan had allowed Reveco to work his way back into the bout. That success of Reveco grew in round 4 as he began to pick up the pace and seemed to realise that Yodmongkol, whilst tough, was a bit limited and that the Thai's pressure could be used against himself. The 4th not only saw Reveco taking control but also proving he could land what he wanted.
In round 5 we saw Reveco taking away the knockdown of Yodmongkol as he scored his own. Unlike the earlier down however this one saw a man hurt and Yodmongkol never got the chance to recover. As soon as he was up Yodmongkol was up he walked over to Reveco who unloaded on him, backing him to the ropes and unloading, shot after shot after shot, the shots just kept coming until the referee eventually waved off the bout saving Yodmongkol who was standing but eating shots and unable to return fire.
For Reveco this should set him up for Ioka in Spring. For Yodmongkol this was disappointing and is likely to see him fade into obscurity, a shame considering how good he looked when he beat Koki Eto, however it is karmic in some ways considering he did rob Takuya Kogawa earlier this year.
(Image courtesy of Thairec.com)
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.