Earlier today we saw WBC Minimumweight champion Panya Pradabsri (39-1, 23), aka Petchmanee Kokietgym, successfully defend his title, as he over-came Japanese veteran Norihito Tanaka (20-9, 10). Sadly for Panya however he did not look like a top fighter here, and instead looked somewhat fortunate that he had some very favourable judging working in his favour.
From the off Tanaka fought like a man determined to end Japan's horrible record in world title fights in Thailand, a record that now stands at 0-26-1. He pressed forward, he pushed the action and he set a very, very high work rate, making Tanaka back off, and fight on the back foot, with the champion regularly backing on to the ropes. To be fair Panya landed the best single shots, and showed glimpses of brilliance, landing clean, hurtful shots in spurts, here and there, but on the whole he looked like a man expecting an easy win and over-looking Tanaka. Tanaka on the other hand looked like someone who was hungry to rip the WBC title from the champion.
After 4 rounds the open scoring wasn't really showing a reflection of Tanaka's hard work, with all 3 judges having the bout 39-37 in favour of Panya when the open scoring kicked in for the first time. The scoring of the judges didn't really change through the middle rounds, despite Panya looking tired in the middle portion of the bout, as the judges struggled to give anything to the busier, more active, Tanaka. After 8 round, when we got the second round of open scoring, the scores were 79-73, 78-74 and 77-75, with only the third of those scored really reflecting the competitive nature of the bout.
Panya managed to look really good in round 9 and 10, as he looked to blunt the charge of Tanaka, but in the final 2 rounds Tanaka really dominated, especially in round 12 as Panya looked exhausted and couldn't avoid the headshots of the challenger. In fact Panya looked hurt a number of times in the final round, but saw out the storm, and lasted the round. As a result we went to the score-cards for a foregone conclusion, with Panya winning courtesy of scores of 119-109, a truly awful scorecard, 118-110, a very wide and unreflective score, and 116-112, which was in the realms of defendable. Just about.
With the win Panya retains his title, but paints a giant bullseye on his back, and the likes of Ginjiro Shigeoka will be licking their lips thinking of getting a chance at Panya who looked really poor here. Tanaka was harsh on himself after the bout, but in reality he did a great job at making Panya looked very, very, very beatable, and it would be a huge surprise to see Panya beating any legitimate top 10 contender on the of this performance.
Earlier today fight fans saw what is likely to be the end of the round for a modern day legend, and saw an unbeaten champion secure the biggest win of their career, and potentially even take the proverbial touch from the man the beat.
The bout in question saw WBA Minimumweight "super" champion Knockout CP Freshmart (24-0, 9) retain his title with a clear, yet somewhat competitive, decision win against former long term WBC champion Wanheng Menayothin (55-3-0-1, 19), who now seems set to ride off into the sunset.
The two men, who know each other well and have partaken in exhibitions and public spars in the past, started slowly with both looking to establish their jabs. As the rounds went on however Knockout always seemed to have an extra gear and that little bit more energy than the 36 year old faded former champion. Wanheng never looked outclassed as such, but was out worked, and out hustled, and simply out-youthed essentially.
The younger, bigger, Knockout established himself in rounds 2 and 3, and whilst Wanheng would always fire back, and land some glorious counter shots, he could never keep up the intensity or work rate needed to really change the course of the bout, at leats not until it was too late.
After 6 rounds it was clear Knockout was winning, and although Wanheng did mount something of a comeback in the second half of the bout, it always seemed like Knockout had control over things, regularly smiling at his foe. It didn't seem so much like a taunting smile, but almost like Knockout was enjoying having a fight with someone who is very much a close friend and a legend of the lower weights. He seemed to be enjoying every moment of the fight, and having questions asked of his boxing ability, and answering them.
By the 12 round it really didn't feel like there had been much drama, though there was some very nice sequences of action from both in the second half of the bout. It did however feel like their was a clear winner, with Knockout comfortably winning, despite losing a few rounds here and there. The was no doubting this was one of, if not the, most complete performance of his career, and it almost seemed like being in their with someone he respected drew the best from him. It was, admittedly, a faded Wanheng, but still Wanheng, and still a man Knockout clearly regards in high esteem.
When we went to the scorecards, their no doubting who the rightful winner was, and with scores of 116-112, 117-111 and 119-109, Knockout retained his title. The 119-109 seemed very harsh against Wanheng, but the other two scores pretty much matched our, at 117-113.
Their is a feel that had this bout taken place 3 or 4 years ago, when Wanheng was still in the back end of his prime, he likely would have won. The 36 year old Wanheng we saw today however has slipped a long way, and simply lacked the fire, combinations and drive that had seen him have such a lengthy WBC title reign.
Late on Saturday night we saw a new IBF Minimumweight champion being crowned in Mexico as local fighter Daniel Valladares (26-3-1, 15) over-came Filipino fighter Mark Rene Cuarto (20-3-2, 11), and dethroned the Filipno who was looking to make his second defense of the title, in a fight that was something of a hard to watch, sloppy affair with an awful lot of incidental head clashes and wrestling.
Early on Valladares tried to box, using good footwork, defensive skills and technical boxing to land clean at range and control the tempo. The action picked up in round 2 after Cuarto had seen what he challenger had, and in round 3 Cuarto some of his best shots, as he found a home for right hands that bothered the challenger. They were good rounds from the champion, but he didn't really look as skilled or as heavy handed as ghe challenger.
From there the bout descended into a bit of a downward spiral with head clashes marring round 4, which saw Valladares get the worst of them. Head clashes continued to play a role through the middle portion of the bout, as Cuarto had some really good moments whilst Valladares was left bloodied, damaged, cut and forced to pass a doctors inspection in round 7. The action could, genuine, have been stopped not due to the severity of the cuts, but due to the fact it was clear more head clashes would be happening, and they did.
Despite being cut Valladares showed a lot of grit in round 8, though did seem to touch down and perhaps should have had a knockdown scored against him, before having another doctor's inspection at the start of the following round.
The cuts were playing an issue for Valladares, who seemed to be more hurt and annoyed by them than anything Cuarto actually threw in the later rounds, with Cuarto further angering people in round 10 when his tape repeatedly came undone forcing the referee to deduct a point, something he could have done for the head clashes.
Having worked hard through much of the middle portion of the bout, and been fighting through cuts, Valladares slowed down in round 11 with the bout becoming a messy clinch fest for the final final 2 rounds. Which made an already ugly and frustrating bout even more ugly and frustrating. By the end of the bout both men looked tired, both swollen and busted, and although it had been messy there were exciting moments.
As we went to the scorecards it seemed hard to have this as anything but a clear win for Valladares, despite the cuts, and the punishment he took from the head of Cuarto. Surprisingly however this was closer on the cards than expected with scores of 115-112 and 116-111 for Valladares and a bizarre 114-113 to Cuarto, to give Valladares the win, and see him become the new IBF Minimumweight champion.
Following the it bout, it was reported that Cuarto's manager Sean Gibbons would be seeking a rematch due to the point deduction and the botched knockdown call.
Earlier today fights had the chance to see WBO Minimumweight title champion Masataka Taniguchi (16-3, 11) [谷口将隆] successfully retain his title, as he stopped hard hitting challenger Kai Ishizawa (10-2, 9) [石澤開] in 11 rounds at Korakuen Hall, and put on a career best performance, showing just how good the often under-rater champion is.
Prior to the men getting in the ring there had been drama with Ishizawa missing weight, significantly, yesterday, when he came in above not just the Minimumweight limit but also the Light Flyweight division. As a result he was forced to weigh in again today, just hours before the fight, and managed to make the agreed weight today. Whilst he did make the agreed limit today, there was question marks as to how much making that weight world take out of him, and whether he actually did it on purpose, just to avenge his first defeat.
When they were in the ring it was clear the men were on different levels to each other. From the off Taniguchi relied on his boxing skills, his movement, straight punches and control of distance. He looked sharp, and determined and really was putting together a great start whilst also thwarting Ishizawa's attacks, tying him up when he needed to and using his foot work to keep Ishizawa from setting himself.
In round 3 we saw some success for Ishizawa, in what was easily his best round of the fight as he upped his tempo, and pressed with more success. It was however a temporary moment in the bout and in round 4 Taniguchi resumed control, using his footwork, his upper body movement and his sharp crisp punches to control the action without taking many risks.
In round 6 we saw Taniguchi begin to press more, throwing more combinations and do more damage to Ishizawa, who was being forced to show his toughness against what was becoming a bit of a sustained and gradual beating. The beating for Ishizawa seemed to fire him up a bit in round 9, but it wasn't enough the turn the tide, and was more a last hurrah from Ishizawa who took sustained damage in round 10, and then 11 before the referee saved the younger man from any further punishment,
After the bout Taniguchi spoke about his performance, stating he wanted to "fight cool", added that he though Ishizawa missing weight wasn't deliberate, and seemed to tell the youngster that there was no need to apologise, and added that he wanted to partake in a world title double header with Watanabe Gym stablemate Hiroto Kyoguchi, in Kansai, in the future.
Taniguchi's promoter, Hitoshi Watanabe, stated "I'm glad that the match was established first. I'd like him to have a chance to play a match overseas as well as a defense match in Japan."
As for Ishizawa, he seemed fully aware he was the second best man here and admitted the referee had no choice but to stop it. Fully aware he was taking a beating and had no answer to Taniguchi's skills, movement, accuracy and ring craft.
Earlier today we got the long awaited rematch between WBC Minimumweight champion Petchmanee CP Freshmart (38-1, 23), aka Panya Pradabsri, and former champion Wanheng Menayothin (55-2, 19) [วันเฮง มีนะโยธิน, with Panya seeking his second defense of the title and Wanheng looking to recapture the belt that he held from 2014 to 2020.
The two men, who first clashed in 2020, had been scheduled to fight in January before the bout got postponed and rescheduled to today. Despite the delay it was clear both men were hungry and, much like their first bout, they gave us something a little bit special.
In the first round the former champion forward with his footwork, though was lacking in terms of output whilst trying to close the range and force Panya to work hard to create space. It saw the defending champion take the round on work rate, but it was clear that Wanehng and his team had a game plan in mind. Although he lost the round, he did begin to come alive in the last 45 seconds of it, and worked the body smartly through out the round with single clean body jabs.
In round 2 Wanheng began to pick up the pace, have eased himself into the contest, and he began to close the distance more successfully, whilst having more of the action go his way. Panya still had plenty of moments himself, including a huge right hand part way through the round, but this was much better from Wanheng, who was making the fight his fight, and making Panya work hard. The close back and forth action of round 2 continued through the rest of the early going, and after 4 rounds the open scoring had the bout even at 38-38. It wasn't just even on the cards, but also in terms of action, with neither man managing to event dictate the tempo and action for long. Both had their moments, in every round and both managed to land some very eye catching shots in some thrilling exchanges.
As we went through the middle rounds of the bout the action continued to be hotly contested, with Panya's size, speed and youth playing a factor, just as much as Wanheng's experience, ring craft and known how. Sadly for Wanheng however it seemed that through the middles the judges weren't as impressed by his work as they were by Panya, who seemed to create space with more ease than he had earlier and also backed up Wanheng several times. Sadly for Wanehng it was during those middle rounds that he began to fall behind on the scorecards, with Panya leading 78-74, twice, and 77-75, after 8 rounds, when the open scoring kicked in for the second time.
Knowing he was down Wanhen tried to put his foot on the gas in the final third of the bout. He was more aggressive, worked really well on the inside and seemed to outwork Panya, who was regularly forced to give ground under the pressure of Wanheng. It was a great late surge by the veteran, who was showing in his mid 30's that he still has a great engine, and still fight hard in rounds 11 and 12.
Sadly though the great late surge from Wanheng was seemingly ignored by the judges, with all 3 judges scoring the bout 117-111 for Panya, a score that really didn't reflect the late charge by the veteran, or the very, very close and competitive nature of the bout.
Whilst Panya is now 2-0 against Wanheng, this rivalry still feels unfinished, with both of the wins for Panya being incredibly close, and the feeling was that Wanheng could easily have gotten the decision, in either bout. Whilst Panya might be the WBC champion for the next few years, it feels very much like he's not going to have the lengthy and impressive reign that Wanheng head. As for Wanheng, we'd love to see him get another world title fight before he hangs them up. On the back of this performance it's the least he deserves.
Earlier today in Digos City fight fans had the chance to see IBF Minimumweight champion Rene Mark Cuarto (20-2-2, 11) make his first defense of his title as he defeated the man he beat for the title last year, Pedro Taduran (14-4-1, 11). This bout, much like their first bout, was a controversial one, and one with a lot to talk about. In fact this one was much more controversial than their first, which was marred by Cuarto holding to survive for much of the later rounds.
The fight started with Taduran looking to be the aggressor, but it wasn't long until Cuarto found his range and used the ring well to counter Taduran's aggression and press . It was as if the fight had started in round 12 of their rivalry, and neither seemed to feel too much of a need to ease their way into the bout. This made a fun start to the action, but also one that had more than it's share of holding, and wrestling as the stances, as Cuarto tried to thwart Taduran up close.
In round 2 we had the first moment of drama, as Taduran touched down following a scrappy series of shots from Cuarto, ended with a left hand that sent Taduran off balance. The knockdown wasn't a painful one for Taduran but did secure Cuarto a 10-8 round.
We had more drama the following round when Cuarto was punished for an intentional headbutt, losing 2 points for the infraction. The headbutt wasn't the first time Cuarto's head had been involved in the fight, but was a pretty blatant one which left the referee with little option but to remove points from the champion and give him a very stern warning before looking through Tarudan's hair for a cut. Although it didn't appear there was much, if any blood, this wouldn't be the only time heads would collide in the bout.
The flash point in round 3 seemed to serve as a wake up to both men to sort stuff out and the fight clean up afterwards, with Taduran again becoming the aggressor and Cuarto the boxer. The aggression of power of Taduran certainly caught the eye, though so did the boxing, moving and counter punching skills of Cuarto who moved well and picked his spots very well, despite being under intense pressure late in the round. Round 5 was much like round 4, with Taduran applying pressure, and the bout being a very hard one to call as both were incredibly competitive in some great back and forth.
As we looked to be heading towards a really good fight we then ended up with more drama in round 6 as we got the second knockdown, which was an odd one as Taduran seemed to get pushed down and have a count put against him. The drama for the round however wasn't over and a headclash, just moments later, lead to Taduran being cut on the hair line. This time blood was pouring from his head and the doctor was forced to have an inspection. Taduran passed the inspection but by the end of the round his face was a crimson mask. The two men began round 7 but it wasn't long until the cut was a mess again, and this time the doctor said enough was enough, and halted the bout.
The stoppage from the doctor lead to the bout being stopped and us going to the scorecards early in round 7. The cards were, understandably, odd looking but close, with scores of 65-64 to Cuarto, 65-65 even and 66-64 to Cuarto who retained his title with a majority technical decision.
If we're being honest we feel that Cuarto is a very lucky boy here. Both knockdown calls were some what questionable and the repeated headclashes could have seen him DQ'd, especially after the early deductions. If Ginjiro Shigeoka and his team are sniffing around for a world title it wouldn't be a huge shock to see them target Cuarto after this bout.
This past Tuesdays in the Dominican Republic fight fans had the chance to see a WBA "regular" Minimumweight title bout, as Filipino fighter Vic Saludar (21-5, 11) travelled to Santa Domingo and faced talented 21 year old Erick Rosa (5-0, 1). Sadly for Saludar it wouldn't be his night, at least not in the eyes of the judges.
From the off Rosa looked the quicker, smarter fighter, using the ring well, whilst Saludar looked to press from center ring. It didn't make for the most exciting of opening rounds, but both men certainly had moments, and it was clear where both fighters felt their strengths were and it was clear that Saludar was, by far, the heavier handed and the naturally stronger.
The pace slowly moved up a gear in round 2 as both got out of first gear and started to let their hands go more. It was again clear that Rosa wanted to be the boxer, creating space, luring Saludar into a mistake to counter. Saludar however maintained his concentration and brought a lot of intelligent, and patient, pressure. He refuses to give Rosa the openings the challenger wanted, and when he did land it heavy single shots from Saludar that caught the eye.
In round 3 one of Rosa's counter shots, an excellent left hand, sent Saludar to the canvas. He wasn't hurt, but he touched down, and it was a very clear knockdown in favour of the challenger.
Knowing he was down Saludar looked to turn things around, intensifying his pressure in round 4, and looked to make his physical traits count. This was where we really saw some of the smarted work from Sosa, who was forced to fight Saludar's fight but and had success. Despite the success of Rosa it was Saludar who caught the eye with his heavier blows. Sadly whilst Saludar's pressure through the middle of the rounds was solid, he remained the slower man and judges who liked the movement and speed of Rosa could easily have been scoring rounds for him, despite the better blows coming from the Filipino. There was, perhaps, a case to suggest that Saludar was following his man at times, rather than cutting the ring off, though he was still having plenty of success.
Sadly for Saludar he was ruled to have been knockdown a second time in round 9, although it certainly appeared more of a judo throw than a knockdown coming from a punch. Credit to Rosa however for the throw, which would have served him well had he competed as a Judoka in Tokyo this past summer. With a second 10-8 round against him, Saludar was in a hole, and he knew it, putting his foot on the gas again. This time Saludar had a break through, dropping Rosa in round 10 as his power showed it's self. Prior to the knockdown Rosa had been tagged a number of times, and it was clear that he didn't like tasting the power of Saludar, and after the knockdown he really got on his bike for the rest of the round.
Saludar looked to build on the knockdown in the final 2 rounds, but was unable to drop his man a second time, something he likely needed given the controversy in round 9. Sadly had it not been for that knockdown he would have retained his title with a split draw as the judges turned in scores of 113-112 and 116-109 to Rosa and 113-112 to Saludar.
Sadly for Saludar this is the second time he has lost a major fight in the America's, having also lost the WBO Minimumweight title to Wilfredo Mendez back in 2019. As for Rosa it was a good, albeit controversial, win, though it showed he is not ready for the top dogs in the division. Had this not been at home, and had the ridiculousness of Oscar Perez Carbonell scoring the bout, he would likely have come up short here. He isn't ready for the likes of WBA "super" champion Knockout CP Freshmart, though is clearly a promising young fighter, who has a lot of time to develop, mature and improve.
Earlier today much of the hardcore boxing fan base, as well as the Japanese fan base, was focused on a show at the Kokugikan in Tokyo awaiting the return to a Japanese ring of the Monster Naoya Inoue. Prior to Inoue however there was another world title bout.
The world title bout saw Japanese local Masataka Taniguchi (15-3, 10) [谷口将隆] score a career best win and become the new WBO Minimumweight champion as he stopped Wilfredo Mendez (16-2, 6) in 11 rounds to dethrone the skilled Puerto Rican.
Coming in to the bout both men had serious questions to answer. For Taniguchi the question was whether or not he could win the big one. He had come up short in his three most notable bouts prior to this and was a worry among some fans in Japan that he just couldn't get over the line in his big fights. By the same token there was plenty of worries regarding Mendez's inactivity, given he hadn't fought in almost 2 years and had never fought in Asia before.
For those worrying about Taniguchi, their mind was to put ease early on as he controlled the distance for much of the first round, neutralising one of the big strengths of Mendez, who has long been a master at creating space, and using his jab. Mendez had moments through the first round, but he was certainly not controlling things like we'd seen from him in previous bouts. Taniguchi would then get another boost to his confidence as he dropped Mendez in round 2, from a hard straight left hand, showing his power was legitimate at world level.
To his credit Mendez got back to his feet, shook off the knockdown and looked composed when the bout resumed. Sadly for him however he was under pressure from round 4, as Taniguchi began to show his physical side. That was always something he had in his locked than Mendez didn't and it showed as he looked to impose his will on Mendez, making the defending champion work really hard to create space, burning energy and sapping his legs in the process. The pressure from Taniguchi wasn't always hugely effective, but it did it's job in taking the wind out of Mendez's legs, and gave him some counter opportunities at the same time. It also resulted in Mendez being deducted a point for holding in round 6 as he struggled to contain the pressure and determination of Taniguchi.
Being well behind Mendez knew he needed a big finish, and to his credit he tried. He had a fantastic round 8, using his crisp punches well to get Taniguchi's respect and he gritted his teeth to have strong rounds in the 9th and 10, but it came at a cost and he put a lot into those rounds, whilst being a very, very long way down.
In round 11 Taniguchi managed to hurt his man, who tried to get away and make space to clear his senses. Taniguchi however refused to let Mendez have the chance he needed, jumping on him and unloading on him, until the referee was forced to step in and save Mendez, 78 seconds into round 11.
At the time of the stoppage Mendez was the one needing a KO. He was done 97-91 on two cards and 95-93 on the other.
Earlier today fight fans in Thailand saw WBA Minimumweight "Super" champion Knockout CP Freshmart (23-0, 9) [น็อคเอาท์ ซีพีเฟรชมาร์ท] score his third defense of the "super" title as he stopped Filipino challenger Robert Paradero (18-2, 12) in 5 rounds in Thailand.
The bout started relatively slowly with Knockout looking to see what Paradero was bringing to the ring. To his credit Paradero did seem to bring real ambition and hunger, and he landed some really eye catching shots, using his reach and speed really well in the opening round, and backing up Knockout several times. It seemed, through the first round, as if the champion could be having his unbeaten record put under some serious threat. To his credit however Knockout showed great composure, and was able to cover up against the big shots of Paradero.
The challenger fought round 2 much like he had fought the opening round, but Knockout was starting to settle himself, landing some good jabs and nice counter right hands. He was slowly starting to get Paradero's respect, but the Filipino had some of the best moments of the round, and continued to back up Knockout, who would have known he was in a fight by the end of the round.
Sadly for Paradero as the rounds went on his speed slowed, his shots got wider, his defense more open and his aggression less effective. He had put a lot into the first few rounds, and whilst he had caught the eye, he had never really buzzed or hurt Knockout, who, who began to make things rougher and tougher for the challenger in round 4. In fact part way through round 4 it seemed almost as if Paradero had started to run out of ideas and energy, and he was bundled down, several times, late in the round. It was as if all the fight had started to leave him, before his wild desperation swings seemed to drop Knockout, who seemed to take another one when he was down.
In round 5 a tired looking Paradero was backing up as Knockout landed some solid looking body shots, further sapping the challenger who went down from a very odd looking shot up close. Paradero tried to beat the count but was stumbling and tumbled down for a second time, looking as if he had no idea where he was or what had happened.
Even on replay we're not totally sure the final shot was, but whatever it was it really messed Paradero up as he was stumbling around like he was wasted.
Earlier today in Thailand WBC Minimumweight champion Panya Pradabsri (37-1, 23) recorded his first defense of the title, as he over-came the gutsy and unheralded Danai Ngiabphukhiaw (9-3, 5) in Nakhon Sawan.
Panya, who famously upset Wanheng Menayothin a year ago, took the center of the ring very early on, whilst the challenger looked negative, worried and negative. Danai took a big body shot in the opening minute, and it was clear the champion had a gameplan in mind revolving around breaking down Danai with shots to the mid-section. To his credit Danai managed to show some fight as the round went on and had moments of offense, making the most of his speed, but his moments were few and far between.
As the rounds went on the challenger had a growing amount of success, not just with his offense but also in neutralising the pressure of Panya, who looked flat footed and slow at times. Sadly for Danai his shots didn't seem to do much to get Panya's attention, but he was landing some really nice looking work, even if he was typically getting out landed.
After 4 rounds it was clear the challenger was putting up a better effort than anyone would have expected, but he still seemed to be down, with his inexperience and lack of physical maturity being his major problems. It was like a boy fighting a man at times, and the champion simply wasn't phased by the challenger's shots. Surprisingly however Danai began to have growing success in the middle rounds, and the pressure of Panya, despite still being eye catching, wasn't having as much success as the champion would have wanted.
On the subject of the middle rounds, it's worth noting just how exciting round 7 was, with Danai rolling the dice more than he had in the earlier rounds, giving us a show case of his skills, his counter punching, and shot selection as he had, arguably, his best round of the fight and seemed to be turning the tide at one point. Sadly for him Panya responded late in the round, but it was a genuinely brilliant 3 minutes of back and forth action with both having sustained success.
Sadly in the later Danai's lack of experience over the longer distance showed, and whilst he continued to have moments he was regularly on the receiving end of the bigger, more meaningful shots. To his absolute credit however he continued to make a fight of things, whilst many, our selves included, expected him to have been stopped in the early rounds.
Sadly for Danai his great effort wasn't enough, and lost a clear decision, by scores of 118-110 and 117-111, twice, but he genuinely impressed. He stepped up in a big way, and showed he belonged in, and around this level. As for Panya this was an underwhelming performance by the champion in his first defense, and we expect to see better from him in the future.
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.