Every fighter who goes on to major success has their coming of age bout, and today we saw Shun Kubo (12-0, 9) [久保隼] come of age as he claimed the WBA Super Bantamweight "regular" title and forced the retirement of Veneuelan veteran Nehomar Cermeno (26-6-1-1, 15), in what was a brilliant tactical bout between two highly skilled fighters at different stages of their careers.
In their ring walks Kubo looked like a nervous child, a man taking a massive step into the unknown and moving into world class for the first time. Cermeno on the other hand looked calm, calculated and relaxed. Like a man who had been here and done this before. Despite their ring walks it was Kubo who got off to a good start, boxing at his tempo and cautiously picking Cermeno apart with accurate left hands to the head and body of the defending champion. Cermeno looked old and slow during the round, but refused to just hand over his title, and in round 2 the visitor had some genuine moments.
The challenger reasserted himself with a very good round 3, as he out sped, out boxed and out landed the champion, who took some meaty body shots from the patient and cautious challenger. It was the perfect round from Kubo but one that may have left him with a false sense of security with Cermeno upping his pressure in round 4 and giving Kubo a scare or two, despite the fact that Cermeno suffered a notable cut on his right cheek, a result of the straight left hands Kubo was landing. The round was a close one,and one that showed Cermeno was dangerous, despite being behind on the cards.
Kubo took back total control in round 5, as he used his speed and size to land at range on Cermeno, who looked like an old man in there. Although Kubo was the boss Cermeno landed a right hand late in the round to remind Kubo that he was still there. Kubo'sclean accurate punching was again on show in round 6, as he landed some devastating body shots, seemingly hurting Cermeno at one point. Although Kubo landed the better shots through the round Cermeno managed to end the round with some success as he began to force a brawl on Kubo.
Although well behind on the cards there was a sense that Cermeno was a dangerous fighter. That proved to be the case in round 7 when he gave everyone a serious scare. Part way through the round he seriously shook up Kubo with a right hand. The challenger tried to hold and spoil but was eventually dropped as Cermeno went for the challenger. Kubo got to his feet but was hurt again in the final seconds of the round and it suddenly seemed like Kubo's great work was going to come un-done.
Thankfully for the challenger he managed to hear the bell to end the round, though he did come out for round 8 looking unsure of himself and it took much of the round before he managed to reassert himself on the fight. When he did finally refind his feet however Kubo looked just as confident as he had earlier in the fight,and was bouyed further by a loud "Kubo" chant. The chant helped Kubo re-energise but Cermeno still seemed to feel he had a chance and had s respectable round 9.
Cermeno, surely aware that he was behind on the cards, came out for round 10 in an aggressive fashion and seemed to be sent out with a mission. It was a good round for the veteran, and one where he again seemed to hurt the challenger, but Kubo showed his mettle and came through the slight scare to have some success late in the round, possibly stealing the round.
Going into the championship rounds it seemed like we still had a finely balanced fight. Kubo was surely well up on the score cards, but Cermeno had hurt him more than once and looked to be a veteran with the ability to turn it on late. Surprisingly however Cermeno stayed in his corner after the bell to start round 11, technically retiring 5 seconds into the round to hand Kubo the title!
For Cermeno the retirement likely spells the end of his long career. For Kubo it puts him in the mix for major bouts down the line as the champion, and also sees him adding his name to the top Japanese fighters in a division packed with fighters from the Land of the Rising sun. A match up against IBF champion Yukinori Oguni may well be considered, but bouts against the likes of Ryosuke Iwasa, Tomoki Kameda, Shingo Wake and Yusaku Kuga will all be plausible all-Japanese bouts. Likewise a show down with the winner of the upcoming Guillermo Rigondeaux vs Moises Flores bout could also be an interesting assignment for Kubo. The win also sees Kubo moving one step further to becoming he Shinsei gym replacement for Hozumi Hasegawa, who retired late last year.
Earlier this year we saw Chinese hopeful Qiu Xiao Jun (21-4, 10) come up short in his first world title fight, suffering a 12th round TKO loss to veteran Nehomar Cermeno (26-5-1-1, 15) in a bout for the then vacant WBA Super Bantamweight title. Yesterday the two men met in a rematch, with Jun looking to claim the title at his second attempt and the talented, but often under-rated, Cermeno.
From the off we saw an improved Jun, as if the local star has been working hard in training to correct some of the defensive errors that had cost him in the first bout with Cermeno. Despite those improvements he was struggling to cope with Cermeno's clean and quicker blows, with the champion often landing the better shots and the cleaner counters.
Although Jun was applying pressure through much of the fight he never seemed to hurt Cermeno with any regularity, as he would if he was going to be able to defeat the Venezuelan. Jun refused to back down from the fight, and tried to come on strong in the later rounds but hadn't done enough to over-come the more naturally skilled and capable Cermeno.
Although Jun had put up a good effort, and did have home advantage, and left Cermeno with a cash on his right cheek, he seemed to know he hadn't done enough to earn the win. That was shown on the score cards that favoured Cermeno with scores of 118-110 and 117-111, twice.
For Cermeno the win ends a brilliant year which has seen him return with 3 wins in China after having had his career written off and although Jun was beaten again here the Chinese fighter showed enough improvement to suggest that he has a bright future ahead of him and will be able to bounce back, possibly winning a world title in the future.
Just moments ago Chinese fans had the chance to see a WBA Super Bantamweight title fight, that ended with a 3rd round KO win for defending champion Nehomar Cermeno (25-5-1-1, 15) as he stopped previously unbeaten Thai Nop Kratingdaenggym (17-1, 5) [ณพ ฐิติพงศกร] and continued his career run in China, where he is now 2-0 (2).
Cermeno had won the title earlier this year in China, when he stopped Qiu Xiao Jun in the 12th round, to put his career back on the map after a period in the proverbial boxing wilderness. Although the bout had been a bit of an upset, especially given that Cermeno had been inactive and was much older than Jun, he was favoured to retain his title here against Nop who was stepping up massively in class. That step up was unfortunately too much for the Thai.
Nop started the fight fine and actually seemed to be giving Cermeno some, albeit limited, problems with his speed and energy. The first round was relatively even and so to was the second with Nop giving a solid account of himself in the early stages. Although Nop wasn't looking out classed it did seem like he was putting more into things than Cermeno who looked like he was happy to cruise in first gear and see what the Thai had in his arsenal.
In round 3 Cermeno began to up the ante and when he did that Nop seemed unable to cope, almost freezing after being tagged. A combination from the Venezuelan veteran dropped the Thai who failed to recover and looked in agony in his corner some facial swelling.
With the win Cermeno opens up doors to either continue in Asia, possibly fighting in China again next year, or could potentially look to get big fights in the west, maybe even finishing a trilogy with Anselmo Moreno, who has stated he is moving to 122lbs. There are options out there for Cermeno, but his low reward status may make him a champion that some would rather avoid.
For Nop he took an opportunity to fight for a world title and came up short, the suggestion is that he wouldn't ever win a world title and he'd have been stupid turn this opportunity down. Sadly though it's hard to imagine him developing enough to ever be able to compete properly at this level and he will likely drop back down to PABA level and notch up a long winning run before getting another shot by a champion looking for an easy defense.
Over the last decade or so Chinese boxing has been growing, markedly, with a number of Chinese fighters getting attention in the West including the gigantic Taishan Dong, the heavy handed Zhang Junlong and former amateur star Zou Shiming. We have also seen a number of Chinese fighters fight for world titles including the aforementioned Shiming and Ik Yang.
Today we saw another Chinese fighter fighting for a world title, Super Bantamweight Qiu Xiao Jun (20-3, 9), who was regarded by those in China as potentially their best hope for a world title in the coming years. Jun was hoping to become the second Chinese man to become a world champion as he took on Panamanian based Venezuelan veteran Nehomar Cermeno (24-5-1, 14) for the vacant WBA Super Bantamweight title.
On paper Jun had most the advantages. He was fighting at home in China, he was 11 years younger than Cermeno and the rising star of Chinese boxing. Sadly for Jun the advantages didn't really help him as the Chinese slugger was made to look rudimentary through out, with Cermeno, the more polished fighter, picking him off with counters through out.
The bout started slowly but by round 2 it was clear that Cermeno was the much more skilled man and the man who looked in control, scoring a flash knockdown in the second. From then on Jun seemed to really struggle to get into a rhythm or find his range with shots regularly falling wide or going over Cermeno's head whilst Cermeno, the more conservative fighter, was landing counters at will.
In the middle rounds Jun tried to turn the bout around by picking up the pace and forcing Cermeno to work more,that plan however made life easier for Cermeno who found more openings and landed more and more frequently whilst Jun struggled to have any notable success.
Despite the bout being one sided for the most part it did seem like we were on route to a decision, that was until round 12 when Cermeno seemed to stagger a tired looking Jun who failed to respond. A follow up forced the referee to stop the Chinese warrior, who was looking completely spent, despite not going down.
The skill level between the two was huge and although Jun did give it a go he was never really in the fight. Sadly for Chinese boxing this loss comes on the back of other high profile losses for Chinese fighters, including Zou Shiming's loss to Amnat Ruenroeng, Ik Yang's loss to Cesar Rene Cuenca and Xiong Zhao Zhong's recent loss to Jose Antonio Jimenez.
The bad run for Chinese boxing will continue here, but it does seem like the country is on the verge of a boxing revolution. Whether that takes 10, 15 or 20 years it will happen given the growth in the sport. Sadly for Jun it's back to the drawing board.
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.