Earlier today Japanese fans had a treat as they had the chance to see two WBC world title fights live on WOWOW Prime, who have been doing a special event for the day. One of those titles fights saw the all-action Koki Eto (17-4-1, 13) challenge WBC Super Flyweight champion Carlos Cuadras (34-0-1, 26).
Sadly for Eto, and his fans, he was to come up short, though he did put up a brave effort against Cuadras, who seemed too quick, too sharp and too smart for the challenger.
Eto, a former WBA interim Flyweight champion, started slowly with Cuadras having too much skill and speed earlier on. The good start for Cuadras saw him run out to a 40-36 lead when the scores were first announced, after 4 rounds, and bloody the nose of Eto who applied pressure but was ineffective early on.
The middle portion of the fight was more competitive, with Eto having real success in round 6, though Cuadras seemed to be comfortable despite the fact Eto was having more success. The cards after 8 continued to show Cuadras's lead, with the cards reading with Eto having real success in round 6, though Cuadras never 79-73, twice, and 78-74.
Knowing he had to turn the fight around Eto gave his all looking to pull the win out of the fire. This saw him have a great round 9 but he couldn't ever do the damage needed to stop Cuadras who used his feet to secure a decision win, with cards that read 117-111, twice, and 116-112.
The win sees Cuadras retain the title and it now seems like he will be facing Thailand's Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, in a rematch of Cuadras's title winning effort from last year. If that bout ends up being made, as expected, then we could be in for a really explosive one with Srisaket likely to start faster than he did in their first meeting, where a slow start ultimately cost him a technical decision.
(Image courtesy of daily.co.jp)
Earlier this year Koki Eto (14-3-1, 10) impressed us all as he went to war with Thailand's Kompayak Porpramook and put on one of the most impressive performances of the year. Having traveled from Japan to Thailand for that fight Eto looked like the man who had been able to conquer the harsh Thai conditions.
In the process of his victory over Porpramook Eto had claimed the WBA interim Flyweight title and become the first Japanese born fighter to claim a world title in Thailand.
Earlier today however Eto got a real wake up call as returned to Thailand to make the first defense of his title and fought Yodmongkol CP Freshmart (33-2, 20).
The fight started well for the challenger who applied intelligent pressure and looked like a man with a statement to make. He was forced to take some shots in return, especially to the body, though never looked bothered by them as he kept coming forward and kept landing the cleaner better shots.
Despite the great opening round for Yodmongkol it seemed that the champion managed to find his way in to things in the second as his body attack become more notable. Unfortunate for Eto however it seemed that his shots simply couldn't discourage Yodmongkol who was landing heavy shots of his own.
The heavy artillery of Yodmongkol rocked Eto hard in round 3 as the Japanese fighter was surprisingly shaken. It didn't take long for him to recuperate but it was still a shock given the fact he took the best shots of Porpramook with out ever looking shaken. By now it was plainly obvious that Yodmongkol hit harder than his record indicated and that Eto wasn't the same fighter who had fought Porpramook.
Eto managed to finally have some success in round 5, his first round on my card, as his body shots began to connect on a regular basis. By the end of the round they appeared like they were taking their effect on Yodmongkol who slowed notably in the final minute or so of the round.
Just as soon as Eto's fightback began it was over as he was dropped very early in round 6. He didn't appear that hurt but it was a clear knockdown from a hard left hook as Eto left himself open. The Japanese fighter was now in a big hole and he knew it as he attempted to over-come the knockdown and moved up a gear. Unfortunately for Eto much of his work was now becoming sloppy and rushed, missing by a mile and further tiring him out as panic began to set in.
Amazingly round 7 saw Eto's work paying off as Yodmongkol did little more than cover up for large portions of the round. It suddenly looked like the Thai was tired and that Eto was about to turn it around. Unfortunately for Eto however his accuracy, or rather lack of, was destroying his own success as he missed time and time again.
Eto's failure to really make the most of his opening in round 7 was repeated the following round as Yodmongkol was again conservative. Despite Eto throwing many more shots he was unable to clearly out land the Thai who was picking his spots excellently and landing the crisper and cleaner punches time and time again. Whatever had forced Yodmongkol to cover up in the seventh was no longer an issue.
By the end of round 9 what ever mini-crisis Yodmongkol had been in was a distant memory as he took the best shots of Eto and landed his own in return. By now it was a case that Eto would need a knockout to retain but he had never managed to visibly hurt Yodmongkol who had managed to shake and drop Eto earlier in the fight.
Although it was Eto needing a stoppage it was Yodmongkol who was looking like the only man likely to score one, as shown in round 11 as he repeatedly shook Eto. By now the only thing keeping the fight going was Eto's heart and toughness. The competitiveness had completely gone from the action and it started to become a beat down by the Thai. Unfortunately for the long term career of Eto he refused to go down and tried to fight back keeping the referee from calling a halt to the proceedings.
The twelfth round saw Yodmongkol taking the decision out of the referees hands. The Japanese fighter was rocked again and this time when he tried to fire back he was caught by another shot scrambling his senses, one shot later Eto hard crashed to the canvas face first and out for the count.
Having lost both his title, the WBA interim Flyweight title, and his senses it may be a very long time before Eto really recovers from this loss which was painful and career shortner. Against Porpramook Eto had looked like a busy, talented, tough fighter who could take it as well as he could dish it out and like a man who could box when he wanted and brawl when he needed. Today however he looked like a man who has forgotten the basics about the sport, forgot about breaking up his brawling with his boxing and looked like a man feeling over-confident.
Whilst we could berate the accuracy and lack of boxing intelligence of Eto it seems much fairer to actually congratulate Yodmongkol. The 22 year old looks like he could b a very difficult man to take the title from. Like many top Thai's he looks very strong at the weight, very tough and has very under-rated technical skills. Sure he looks like he can be out boxed but he also looks like he can grind out many top fighters. This kid could well keep this title for a very longtime if he doesn't burn out.
Japanese fighters don't tend to fair well on foreign soil, especially on Thai soil where they have suffered awful luck in world title fights. Of course most recently was Yota Sato's destruction at the hands of Srisaket Sor Rungvisai.
Today however the Koki Eto (14-2-1, 10) helped to change that as he became the first ever Japanese fighter to claim a world title on Thai soil, as he defeated Thai warrior Kompayak Porpramook (50-5, 35) in a genuine Fight of the Year contender. The fight was so good in fact that it may well over-shadow the recent war between Nihito Arakawa and Omar Figueroa, a bout some had already crowned the best fight of the year despite it's somewhat one-sided nature.
Eto started off using his under-rated boxing ability and using his significant size advantage to fire off his jab and keep Porpramook eating a steady stream of shots as the Thai tried to work his way in. Late in the opening round however Eto turned up the screw and went on an all out offensive dropping Porpramook, although it was ruled a slip Porpramook was certainly down from the shots Eto was throwing rather than anything else.
That pace with which Eto had finished the opening round was brilliant and in the second Porpramook matched it as the two men traded shots with little to no regard for defense. Porpramook, who was naturally better suited to the inside war was of course having success but Eto was surprisingly efficient at the inside action himself despite his size, in fact it was Eto's uppercuts that were really the highly of the close action.
It was an amazing second round though the same pace and ridiculous action continued through the third and fourth rounds as both men took the best shots their opponent before firing back, almost taking it in terms to try and batter the other into submission. The hectic pace was simply amazing and neither man seemed willing to really take a backwards step.
Although the bout was an out and out war in the first half of the bout it was Eto who was showing more to his game than the experienced champion. Eto was able to not only hold his own in the trenches but also box and he tried to mix up the two styles when he wanted to slow the pace. This worked great for him as he got to tag Porpramook coming in, as he did relentlessly.
Through the middle rounds it was obvious that the pace was beginning to get to both men, and the body shots of Porpramook, who had really targeted the midsection of Eto, seemed to be slowing the bout. Although the bout was "slower" it was still high paced as both men tried to bomb the other out. It seemed that even the slower rounds were more action packed than the most action packed rounds of many other bouts.
The slower action seemed to favour Eto who getting the space he needed to box and use the jab a bit more. Porpramook was unwilling to just give the Japanese fighter space but the Thai was made to pay for his pressure with Eto again having success on the back foot as well as in the head to head exchanges.
Unfortunately due to Thai TV issues rounds 9 and 10 were almost completely absent from the TV broadcast. When the fight was back on Channel 7 there was little more than 2 rounds left.
Whilst Eto seemed to be in the lead from a neutral's point of view it was clear that he thought the fight was still up for grabs and in round 11 he took the bout by the scruff of the neck and dominated a clearly exhausted, but still teak tough, Porpramook. The Thai, who threw very little through the round had made no argument to try and claim it as the Japanese fighter showed unbelievable energy.
Although Eto had clearly won round 11 he again seemed unwilling to just rely on his work and instead set of for round 12 with the intention of stopping Porpramook. The Japanese fighter unloaded form the bell and staggered Eto around the ring with a serious onslaught that would have taken lesser men out. Porpramook somehow survived the attack and actually fired back himself before a second big attack from Eto managed to drop Porpramook in the corner. This time the referee did give a count, unlike in the first round, and it seemed at last that Eto had sealed it.
Amazingly the knockdown had quenched Eto's desire to take the title and instead he went on a seek and destroy mission rocking Porpramook around before the bell save the Thai.
With the fight being in Thailand there may have been some, including Eto, who expected Porpramook to retain his title. Instead the judges did the right thing and awarded the victory, and the title to Eto who had claimed a well deserved, and action packed, victory against a very game opponent.
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.