Earlier this year we saw Ken Shiro (11-0, 5) over-come Ganigan Lopez to become the WBC Light Flyweight champion, taking the title with a razor thin decision. Today the unbeaten Japanese youngster returned to the rign to make his first defense of the title, in a match up against former champion Pedro Guevara (30-3-1, 17).
The bout, which wasn't televised, saw Guevara make a really good start and he was making the most of hs experience early on, to take a lead after 4 rounds, leading 40-36 and 39-37, twice, when the scores were publically announced. Ken Shiro had had moments during those early rounds, but it was clear that Guevara had the much better success.
Knowing he was behind Ken Shiro attempted to change the tempo of the bout, and pressed the action more, attacking the body and cutting the eye of Guevara as he looked to turn the fight around. The cut to Guevara seemed to change the fight and left the Mexican with a bloodied face.
By the time the scores were announced for a secpnd time the judging had changed notably. Rather than the judges allbeing in favour of Guevara they were now split, with one judge having the bout 78-74 to Guevara, one having Ken Shiro in the lead 77-75 and the third having it 76-76, meaning it was all to play for in the final 4 rounds.
The final 4 rounds saw both men really going for it, Ken Shiro to edge them, using a great body attack and making the most of his size and energy, but he got tagged several times by the swollen challenger. The action of Ken Shiro had been cheered loudly and was likely helping the Japanese fighter convince the judges he was doing so much more than the challenger. The cheers for the Japanese warrior seemed to spur him on, and he did enough to claim to claim a majority decision, with scores of 115-113, 116-112 and 114-114.
After the bout it was revealed that Ken Shiro's next defense will see him fight in a rematch against Lopez, giving the former champion an opportunity to reclaim the title that Ken Shiro took from him this past May.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Every so often a fighter steps up in class and puts on a performance that few could have expected. That was the case earlier today when little Japanese fighter Yu Kimura (18-2-1, 3) shocked the boxing world with a split decision win over Pedro Guevara (26-2-1, 17) to claim the WBC Light Flyweight title. The result, which really was a shock, so Kimura claiming his biggest win just days after turning 32 in what was his first bout scheduled for 12 rounds.
To begin with Kimura didn't look like a champion in waiting. For the first couple of rounds it seemed that Guevara was going to make the 3rd defense of his title with relative ease. He had out boxed Kimura and was establishing his jab and his style on the fight. Kimura, to his credit, fought back well in round 3 but was on the receiving end in round 4.
The WBC open scoring, which is in effect for WBC, JBC and OPBF title fights in Japan, had Guevara in a clear lead after 4 rounds with 2 of the judges scoring it a shut out whilst the other had given Kimura a single round to leave the third card as 39-37.
Kimura's gallant fight back in round 3 was easily forgotten when he was hurt in round 5 and it looked as if Guevara was going to move up a gear and hunt a stoppage against the local fighter. Instead however the fifth seemed to light a fight in Kimura who came back strong and aggressive in round 6 as he began to suddenly turn the fight on it's head, attacking more and grinding the body of the champion. The fight back was unexpected but needed and by round 8 it seemed as if the challenger was feeling in his groove and that the champion was being forced to think of another plan.
The fight back from Kimuda had seen the cards shift drastically with the judges cards reading 79-73, Guevara, 77-75, Guevara and 76-76. It was still Guevara's to lose, but Kimura was certainly not lying down for the champion.
Kimura continued his determined fight back in round 9 as he again took the fight to the champion who tried to retaliate but struggled to keep pace with the Japanese fighter who seemed to be like a little ball of energy. The energy of the challenger had seemingly got the fight to a draw on the cards with 3 rounds left.
The 10th was another where Kimura refused to back down, forced the issue and neutralised the reach advantage of the champion, who was struggling to land his jab effectively. Instead of Guevara's jab it was the aggression of Kimura that was capturing the attention of the judges and it seemed Guevara knew it as he tried to trade through round 11 in a brilliant and close round. The competitive 11th was followed by another close one in round 12 as the bout ended with real suspense.
The Mexican had started well but had slowed down before fighting hard late. Kimura had started badly before coming on, but had he done enough to turn over the scorecards? Had Guevara just done enough to retain the title.
The cards were close with Kimura just doing enough to claim a split decision with scores of 115-113, twice, against a card of 117-111 to Guevara, a card that really was the odd one out of a bout that could have been 115-113 either way.
The win for Kimura, which really a career defining victory for the former Japanese national champion, will see him linked with some intriguing match ups. Including a bout with Filipino slugger Jonathan Taconing, a bout with Ryo Miyazaki or a rematch, and unification, with Ryoichi Taguchi. It could also lead to a potential show down with the fast rising Ken Shiro.
For Guevara however the future is less bright, though we have heard rumours that he may be heading to Flyweight in the near future, which could help solve any issues with stamina that he may have
(Image courtesy of http://www.sponichi.co.jphttp://www.sponichi.co.jp)
We'll admit we like Guevara, a lot, and he may well be the best Light Flyweight on the planet right now. Sadly however we don't like mismatches and this seemed like a mismatch from the day it was announced. When it was set Claveras wasn't ranked by the WBC, who put him in just before the fight, and as a result several better fighters were over-looked.
With his first defence out of the way it now seems likely Guevara will have to face more testing foes. Hopefully they'll come soon. The division is a really exciting one, with the likes of Jonathan Taconing and Paipharob Kokietgym waiting in the wings. Hopefully someone of that ilk gets a shot before another untested, though promising and heavy handed, fighter like Claveras. As for the Filipino we hope to see him rebuilding, developing his skills and coming again somewhere down the line. This however was far too early and his team need to ask themselves why they felt he was capable of upsetting a brilliant young Mexican.
The second of 8 world title fights over the new year period ended in a combination of heart break and disappointment as the insanely popular Akira Yaegashi (20-5, 10) suffered his second successive stoppage defeat, and failed in his attempt to become a 3-weight world champion.
The popular Japanese fighter, a fan favourite with the hardcore and the Japanese, was hoping to capture the WBC Light Flyweight title as he dropped from Flyweight, following a stoppage loss to Roman Gonzalez back in September. Unfortunately however he was fighting a younger, bigger and fresher fighter in the shape of the talented Pedro Guevara (24-1-1, 15). Guevara, a very talented Mexican, had come into the bout as the under-dog though had only lost once, to the fantastic Filipino John Riel Casimero in what was a notable step up in class for the Mexican at the time.
We suspected this one could be a thriller though it started really slowly with a lot of scrappy action in the first two rounds. It seemed the styles clashed as opposed to gelled and although there were moments of action they were few and far between. Thankfully things began to hear up at the end of round 3 and from then on each round became progressively better as the two managed to get a read each other, find their rhythm and get back to what they were good at.
Although the early action was scrappy it was very competitive with neither getting much of an upper hand. That resulted in 4 very hard to score rounds, though rounds that the judges tend to feel Guevara deserved scoring the bout 39-37, twice, and 38-38 when the opening scoring was announced.
The opening score, something that much maligned in the west, seemed to do it's job here and it spurred on Yaegashi who had a tremendous 5th round as he brought the action to Guevara and the two began to trade shots. This was what we had expected from the off, action, excitement and a lot of punches. It seemed that Yaegashi was mounting his charge though his face was beginning to show the trademark damage that he seems to pick every fight.
Yaegashi's drive continued in round 6 as he continued to bring the action in what was the fights best round and a round that again seemed to go Yaegashi's way and saw Guevara bleeding from the right eye. On our unofficial card it had levelled off the fight at 57-57 and it seemed that the fight was swinging Yaegashi's way.
Sadly the momentum shift was short lived and in round 7 it seemed Guevara managed to refind his groove and Yaegashi sudden began looking older and slower. It was as if Yaegashi had put a lot into the previous 2 rounds and, although he was still fighting, he seemed a little bit tired all of a sudden. His desire was there and continued trying though unfortunately received a devastating body which sent him down and kept him down in agony.
It was a shame to see Yaegashi go out like he did, and one would suspect this could be the end for him. Hopefully it's not, but the wars have added up and Yaegashi certainly needs to give his body a long break.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
World Title Results
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