It might take a long time for WBC Light Flyweight champion Kenshiro Teraji (17-0, 1o) [拳四朗] to become a true star, but he's already got a growing cult following, and today he recorded his 7th defense of his world title, as he stopped Filipino challenger Randy Petalcorin (31-4-1, 23) in 4 rounds.
The first round saw little happen. The little that did happen was almost all from Kenshiro's jab as the two men took their time to figure each other out. The second saw the pace step up, with Petalcorin beginning to take risks, but he really had a couple of flash points of success, whilst Kenshiro found the round to land his jab quite regularly. It wasn't as clear cut as the opening round, but felt like the fight was finally starting.
Sadly for Petalcorin the success he had in round 2 didn't carry on into round 3, despite Petalcorin landing the right hook and neutralising Kenshiro's jab. That just meant Kenshiro had to bring another weapon out of his arsenal, and began to rely on his body shots. They were killer and he dropped Petalcorin 3 times in round 3 from body shots. Petalcorin's heart couldn't be questioned, but he clearly couldn't handle the blows to the mid section, and they do stay with a fighter.
Despite suffering a 10-6 round in round 3 Petalcorin came out for round 4 with ambition. It was as if he knew it was now or never. Petalcorin's aggression saw him forcing Kenshiro to back off at the start of the round. It wasn't long however until Kenshiro re-established distance, composed himself and went back to banging the drum. Another knockdown, again from body shots. This time Petalcorin didn't beat the count.
It's unclear what is next for the "Amazing boy" though it would seem likely that he would again pursue a world title unification bout, something that was supposed to happen today until a bout IBF champion Felix Alvarado fell through due to illness. As for Petalcorin it seems clear that he simply doesn't have it at world level, and after today's loss every opponent will target his mid-section.
The Light Flyweight delivered another action packed bout earlier today as Filipino Randy Petalcorin (29-3-1, 22) battled against heavy handed Nicaraguan Felix Alvarado (34-2, 30) in a bout for the vacant IBF Light Flyweight title, which had been given up by Hekkie Budler earlier this year. On paper the bout matched one of the best pure boxers in the division against one of the most destructive in a bout that really looked fantastic on paper.
For fans of Alvarado they would have known exactly what to expect from the Nicaraguan, and he fought true to form, bringing his trademark intense pressure. In the opening moments Petalcorin coped with it well, moving around the ring and fighting smart with sharp counter shots, but couldn't force Alvarado backwards or really get his respect.
The second round saw Alvarado pick up the pace, and really take the fight to the Filipino who failed to ever create space in a round that instead saw him being pinned against the ropes. It was a huge show of confidence from the Nicaraguan who looked like a monster. Petalcorin managed to have a better round 3, as he created some space, but was again on the back foot and forced to take some big shots from the Nicaraguan. To his credit Petalcorin landed some tasty counters, creating a welt under the right eye of Alvarado, but he was never able to get Alvarado's respect.
Round 4 saw more pressure from Alvarado as he continued to hunt his man, though his success was limited at times as he began to look sluggish, with the intensity dropping. The lower intensity allowed Petalcorin to have some moments in round 5, especially early on, but he was on the receiving end at the end of the round as Alvarado's pressure began to ramp up. That pressure continued to get more intense from Alvarado in round 6 as he began to really dig heavy body shots into the local favourite. Petalcorin rode a lot of shots well, and even landed some of his own clean counters, but it was clear that the damage was accumulating on the Filipino, who was being forced to take some massive body shots.
In round 7 Alvarado's pressure finally broke through as he dropped Petalcorin in the corner. The Filipino gritted it out and got back to his feet but was dropped again not long afterwards. He looked spent but got to his feet again and fought fire with fire, trading blows with Alvarado. In the trading sequences Petalcorin landed a huge head shot, but was taken apart by body shots, and was dropped again. This time the bout was stopped.
After coming up short to Kazuto Ioka and Juan Carlos Reveco this was third time lucky for Alvarado, who looks like he will be very hard to dethrone, though would make for brilliant fights with Angel Acosta or Hiroto Kyoguchi. For Petalcorin he's young enough to bounce back, but his performance here saw him really struggle with the pressure, and he will have to pick a smart route to a title if he's to go all the way.
For Chinese boxing to really take off it needs a hero that's not just a big name, like Zou Shiming, but also successful. Today we found out that Ma Yi Ming (12-6, 7) was certainly not going to be that hero as he was obliterated inside a round by exciting Filipino Randy Petalcorin (23-1-1, 18), who made the first defense of his WBA interim Light Flyweight title.
For many this was a mismatch when it was signed, for others it was merely a disappointment. In the ring however it proved to be both.
From the opening bell it was clear that the two men were on different levels. Ming tried to march forward behind a high guard but the razor like Petalcorin split the guard and found a home for his lighting quick strikes. Ming had no immediate response, almost amazed that his guard was being breached as easily as it was. Within a minute the challenger was down. Ming showed his grittiness to get back up but it did him little good with Petalcorin continuing to abuse him until the referee gave another count against the Chinese fighter.
From then on Ming finally realised he had to fight back. He did so flailing his arms widely in the hope of landing something, anything. Sadly for him his wild shots just gave even bigger openings to Petalcorin who hurt him against and forced referee Raul Caiz Jr to call an end to the very 1-sided contest.
Whilst Ming was truly awful Petalcorin looked really impressive. He was sharp from the off, showed amazing speed and every punch looked crisp. It was as good a showcase performance that he could have hoped for and now deserves to be followed up by a genuinely meaningful bout. Although the Light Flyweight division isn't the most stacked it does have some interesting contender type fighters floating around, such as Yu Kimura, Ryo Miyazaki, Rey Loreto, Jonathan Taconing, Paipharaob Kokietgym and even Palangpol CP Freshmart. If we could see Petalcorin in with a fighter of that level next time out then we'll find out how good he really is. If he fights someone at this level again however questions do need to be asked about what his team are doing and whether they lack the belief in him to really over-come fellow world class fighters.
Although there are a number of interesting contender types out there for Petalcorin we would most like to see him face WBA "regular" champion Ryoichi Taguchi in would would be a really good bout later this year. We may however need to wait for that one with Taguchi likely to defend his title against Ryo Miyazaki in the Autumn.
The journey of Randy Petalcorin (22-1-1, 17) has been a long one. He turned professional way back in March 2009 and was pencilled in as a potential world champion way back then. Now, almost 5 and a half years later, he has managed to take a big step towards being a recognised world champion as he is now the proud owner of the WBA interim Light Flyweight title.
Petalcorin won the title earlier today as he travelled to Shanghai and over-came Panama's Walter Tello (20-8, 8), in turn taking his first big chance and grasping it with both hands.
From the off Petalcorin looked the better fighter whilst Tello looked like a man who knew his chances would be limited. Rather than fight fire with fire Tello tried to make the fight frustrating for Petalcorin and catch him with counters whilst fighting with a defensive and cautious mindset.
By the end of round 4 the fight was becoming a lost cause for Tello who was losing round after round courtesy of Petalcorin's sharp jab. It was then that the Filipino amped up the work rate, moved up a gear and started to have ever growing success. This caused Tello to become even more defensive. The smart defensive work and counters from earlier in the bout were vanishing with Tello beginning to do little more than surviving.
At the end of round 6 it seemed likely that we were going to head towards a shut out though Petalcorin wanted more than to just win the title. He wanted to impress. And that's exactly what he did in round 7 as he scored the bouts only knockdown with beautiful combination of razor sharp shots. The Panamanian got to his feet before the count though referee Raul Caiz Sr had seen enough and waved off the bout.
The performance was a great one from Petalcorin who was in control of the bout from the opening round with his south paw jab and counter uppercuts. He was, however still made to work for the victory which was certainly not given to him from Tello. At the end however Tello was out classed and although the stoppage was questionable few would argue with Tello have had a shut out through 6.
From what we understand the new "interim" champion is likely to be lined up for a world title fight against "regular" Alberto Rossel early next year.
(Image courtesy of the13thround)
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.