Earlier this year Thailand's Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (43-4-1, 39) [ศรีสะเกษ นครหลวงโปรโมชั่น] scored one of the biggest upsets of the year as he out-pointed Nicaraguan great Roman Gonzalez (46-2, 38) and claimed the WBC Super Flyweight title for the second time. Going in to the bout Gonzalez was seen as one of the top fighters on the planet and the decision was heavily disputed, with many claiming the judges had done the previously unbeaten Gonzalez a disservice. That controversy of their first bout lead to a rematch, with Srisaket again entering as the clear under-dog.
In the opening round we didn't get a feeling out round. Instead we got round 13 of the rivalry between the two men with Srisaket trying to take out Gonzalez early on. The Thai didn't get the knockdown that he did in the opening round of fight #1 but showed that he was there to make a statement, and that he wasn't going to have the public saying he was lucky this time around. There were a couple of minor headclashes in the round, but unlike the first fight they weren't major and neither man was cut from them.
The second round saw the pace from Gonzalez pick up, as both men traded blows in a round that was much more of a back-and-forth round. Gonzalez had moments but there was several massive body shots from Srisaket that seemed to have Gonzalez feeling pain, even though he made sure to fight back through it. It was clear that Gonzalez's leg didn't have the same bounce that they had had in the past and it almost caused him to fight Srisaket's fight. That was the case even more in round 3 as the two men traded blows incessantly on the inside giving us a potential round of the year. It was however a round that Gonzalez put a lot into, and did little to dent the Thai.
In round 4 Gonzalez tried to keep up the pace but sadly for him he eat a monstrous southpaw right hook that sent him down hard. Gonzalez was hurt big time by the shot, but gritted his teeth, showed his fighting heart made it back to his feet. That however left him a bit of a sitting duck with Srisaket on him in an instant. Gonzalez tried to fight back, but an even better left hook sent him down, and almost immediately the bout was stopped, giving Srisaket his biggest stoppage win to date.
With the stoppage under his belt Srisaket has some major options. He could hunt unification bouts with Naoya Inoue, Jerwin Ancajas or Kal Yafai or he could face mandatory challenger Juan Francisco Estrada, eithr way those are going to be big paydays and fights that he will feel he should win.
For Gonzalez this is likely the end to his fantastic career. It's a shame for it to end in this way, but given how much punishment he has received since he moved to Super Flyweight it did seem like it was only a matter of time before it all caught up with him, as he did here. Sadly some fans will have only seen the final few bouts of Gonalez's great career, and those fans really have missed out on one of the sports best fights of the last decade. For those who followed Gonalez over the years however they'll know exactly how good he was in his pomp.
We've long said that the Super Flyweight division is the best in the sport, and today we saw another great Super Flyweight bout, as Nicaraguan great Roman Gonzalez (46-1, 38) traded blows with Thai Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (42-4-1, 38) [ศรีสะเกษ นครหลวงโปรโมชั่น] in a bout for the WBC title.
The Thai entered the bout as a massive under-dog, though looked calm and relaxed as he entered, whilst Gonzalez looked like a worried man, despite being a massive favourite. From the opening round it was clear that Srisaket hadn't read the script and he took the fight Gonzalez and scored a knockdown in the opening round. It wasn't a massively hurtful knockdown but it was one that seemed to essentially say, “I'm not here to make up the numbers”.
The Thai showed his firepower again in the second round as he backed up Gonzalez and seemed to hurt the Nicaraguan sensation, who simply looked over-whelmed, over-sized and under-powered. Gonzalez had his moments towards the end of round 2, but they weren't enough to get the round.
Things went from bad to worse for Gonzalez who managed to move through the gears in round 3 but was left with a cut from an accidental headclash, one of many to occur during the fight. Although cut it was clear that Gonzalez was finding his groove, despite Srisaket smelling the blood of the Nicaraguan.
Gonzalez was backed up early in round 4 but really showed his class as he took the fight back to Srisaket and landed some shots that would have felled most fighters in the division. It was only Srisaket's incredible chin that seemed to keep him upright. Gonzalez, now having the bit between his teeth, had a great round 5 and round 6 as he took on Srisaket in a war, and seemed to badly hurt the Thai in round 6, the best round for Gonzalez. Not only was Srisaket hurt but he also had a point deduction after another clash of heads. Although the heads were clashing the deduction seemed a harsh one with neither man really to blame, and the heads coming together was more a stance thing than an actual malicious act.
Despite having lost the sixth round 10-8, and being hurt, Srisaket bounced back to win round 7, hurting Gonzalez late in a round that was one of the best of the year, with both fighters trading through out. The traded again in round 8, with Srisaket starting well and bullying Gonzalez at times before being rocked late in the round
Unfortunately for Gonzalez the bleeding from the cut and the size disadvantage was taking it's toll, and although he had hurt Srisaket a couple of times he could never force the Thai down, like he had been able to do with foes earlier in his career. Instead Srisaket just out muscled Gonzalez, ate his bombs and regularly spat them out before firing back, using his natural size advantage.
Going into the championship rounds it seemed that Srisaket may have just been in the lead, and both looked exhausted. Srisaket however relied on his size again to force Gonzalez back for most of round 11, taking the round despite a real spirit fight back by Gonzalez late on. It seemed, in his head, that Srisaket believed he had done enough and he essentially did nothing in round 12, a round that seemed like it could be important. It was a round that Gonzalez took, and took clearly with Srisaket holding and spoiling. It could have cost the Thai.
As we got to the score-cards the were announced 113-113, a draw, and 114-112, twice. It seemed close enough to have gone either way. Then it was announced that Srisaket had got the win, securing one of the biggest upsets of the year, and becoming a 2-time world champion.
Although size was clearly a factor, and the cut for Gonzalez, the reality is that the result essentially proves that Gonzalez's move to Super Flyweight wasn't the smartes. Srisaket is a huge Super Flyweight, but he was made to look even bigger due to the fact Gonzalez wasn't a natural at the weight, and that showed through out the fight. For Gonzalez the future is hard to call, a move to 112lbs, if his body can do that, would be best, a rematch would likely be damaging, and staying at 115lbs for a bout with Naoya Inoue has now lost it's shine, sadly. For Srisaket a bout with Inoue,a rematch with Cuadras or with Gonzalez are all going to be big money bouts, and great fights for fans.
Boxing's “pound for pound” list may be one of the sports most controversial yet pointless subjects but for us it's hard to view any fighter as being more complete than Roman Gonzalez (44-0, 38) we successfully retained his WBC Flyweight crown in New York with an excellent win against Filipino-America Brian Viloria (36-5-0-2, 22).
The fight started with Viloria setting the early pace and for the first 30 seconds it was Viloria coming forward, forcing Gonzalez backwards and landing several shots, including a notable body shot. It seemed as if Viloria knew his best shot was to jump on Gonzalez before the Nicaraguan got settled. By the end of the round however Gonzalez had taken the center ring and it was looking like he had began to settle.
Viloria's confidence was still fully there in round 2 as he more than held his own in a very competitive and close round. The challenger managed to land a number of solid shots and appeared to be targeting the body of Gonzalez however it did, again, seem that Gonzalez warmed to the task before the round was over and by the end of the round it seemed like Gonzalez was starting to force his fight.
Gonzalez's momentum grew in round 3 as he quickly dropped Viloria with a short right hand. Viloria recovered his feet but had a torrid time in the remainder of the round as Gonzalez reeled off some vicious combinations, landing some spiteful shots to both the head and body and showed the offensive prowess that has made him such a must watch fighter.
Viloria, much to his credit, saw out the third round and managed to have some success of his own but was on the receiving end of real punishment again in round 4 as we saw what high skilled offensive boxing is all about, from both men. Viloria, whilst not embarrassing himself, was being figured out by Gonzalez who was looking in control of the ring, despite big shots being landed from Viloria.
Round 5 was one of the worst rounds for Viloria who looked very much out of his depth for a round though showed his toughness to see out the storm and came back himself in rounds 6 and 7 as the action returned to being competitive, yet easy to score for Gonzalez. It seemed that whilst Viloria was having success, he was being forced to take some really solid combinations that over-shadowed his own success.
The pace was slowing down in round 8 yet both both men stayed in close quarters, landing shots up close. Sadly for Viloria he was being comfortably out landed by Gonzalez who was reeling off combinations as and when he wanted to turn up the pace. Viloria tried to stem the tide but he had little answer to Gonzalez's accuracy, timing and sensational output.
Before the start of round 9 the doctor had a word with Viloria, it wasn't a serious one and it never seemed like the doctor was going to stop the fight but it did delay the start of the round. Despite the delayed start the round started well for Gonzalez though a body shot part way through seemed to hurt the Nicaraguan who took about 20 seconds to recover himself. When he did recover he decided to punish Viloria with another devastating combination that rocked Viloria who was quickly saved by the referee. The stoppage may have been slightly early but it did appear to be a fair one, especially given the way that Viloria was helped to corner.
The win was another excellent one for Gonzalez. It wasn't punch perfect by any stretch of the imagination but it was another high quality win to add to his already impressive resume. For Viloria the bout may be his last at the top level however it was a great from the challenger.
Now attention for Gonzalez may well turn to the proposed super fight with Naoya Inoue, in 2016, or perhaps a bout with another of the champions, at either 112lbs or 115lbs. Bouts between Gonzalez and Juan Francisco Estrada, Amnat Ruenroeng, Kohei Kono or Carlos Cuadras would all have major appeal, especially with HBO backing Gonzalez like they are doing.
We have all heard it time and time again over the last few years, it's said as a fact, it's said with little doubt and it's accepted as the truth. Floyd Mayweather is the #1 pound-for-pound fighter on the planet. We hear it almost every time we watch a boxing broadcast, it's like a mantra coming from the well oiled machine of the western boxing media and it's heard by millions of fans around the world who accept is as gospel and something that simply cannot be questioned.
What everyone seems to be forgetting is that Mayweather's #1 status isn't clear cut, in fact if anything his recent struggles with the somewhat average Marcos Maidana and his failure to secure a fighter with his major rival leave him very prone to be questioned by the boxing fans out there who aren't drones and who are free thinking individuals who refuse to be brainwashed by the hype of the American boxing media.
For those fans another man stands out, a little Nicaraguan who is controlling an empire in the lower weights and smashing opponents up for fun. That is WBC and Linear Flyweight champion Roman Gonzalez (41-0, 35) who again showed off his destructive side with a vicious and controlling destruction of Filipino challenger Rocky Fuentes (35-8-2, 20).
Fuentes had entered the bout having lost just 3 bouts in his previous 25, with all 3 losses being close ones, he had traveled to Japan and Thailand and had been the Oriental champion for almost 3 years and to many he was an uncrowned champion ducked by those at the top due to his high risk-low reward status. Fuentes was the man people didn't want to fight and when they did fight him they generally didn't want to get too close to him as he was tough and heavy handed having developed amazingly well from his early boxing years where fights were based on him gaining experience as opposed to creating a pretty and undefeated record.
Through the first 4 rounds Gonzalez threw caution to the wind some what and like a genuine ruler went to war. He didn't feel the need to back off and show impenetrable defense, instead he set off with the intention of proving he had the better army and the better weapons. He went out to expand his empire by dominating his foe. This did see him catching a few solid shots though, as we've seen through his career, they had little effect on the Nicaraguan who appeared to show genuine contempt of Fuentes's power. It was, as if Fuentes was a peasant trying to fight back over the dictator and, like a real dictator, Gonzalez wasn't bothered by the one brave sole willing to stand up against him.
The open scoring had the bout 39-37 through 4 rounds though by the end of round 4 it appeared that Fuentes was beginning to struggle. His spirited effort was his unwinding and his defenses were breaking down. The Roman Empire was set to expand and it seemed that it was merely a matter of waiting, wondering how long Fuentes could survive.
Unfortunately for Fuentes it seemed Gonzalez could smell blood and began to crank things up, just as he had done when he had claimed this title back in September with a stoppage victory against Akira Yaegashi. As soon as that happened Fuentes began to look lost. Gonzalez continued to attack, attack and attack some more with Fuentes being chipped away at until he was dropped in round 6. The Filipino managed to recover to his feet though a follow up left him needing to be saved by the referee who knew that Fuentes was set to take a pounding.
Gonzalez's win his does see him recording his first win as the Flyweight champion. Unfortunately however very few fans got to actually watch the bout with it only being aired in Nicaragua and in Japan. This is where the Roman Empire struggles in comparison to Floyd Mayweather. Gonzalez is, at just 27, a 3 weight world champion with wins over a who's who including Fuentes, Yaegashi, Juan Francisco Estrada, Francisco Rodriguez Jr, Katsunari Takayama and Yutaka Niida, his form has been incredible and his performances have been destructive to say the least. Yet he unfortunately lacks the big mouth piece of US media that has helped perpetuate the myth that Mayweather is in a league of his own. Gonzalez, like Guillermo Rigondeaux, appears unable to capture the attention of the US and Europen TV outlets who are ignoring the best fighter on the planet. It's a shame though it appears to be a point echoed on twitter with many suggesting that channels now need to give some attention to Gonzalez as he is a very special fighter who brings everything fans want to see.
With or without US TV it seems the Roman Empire is set to expand and after his win over Fuentes he called out the likes of Estrada and Naoya Inoue, bouts that again would enhance the reputation of a man who wants to prove he is the best fighter in the sport. Gonzalez doesn't want to say he's the best, he appears more old school than that, instead he wants to show that he's the best and will continue chasing the best fighters in his division in an attempt to prove how good he really is.
Boxing's lowest weights might be ignored by many fans for whatever reason but time and time again they deliver the best fights, the most action packed contests and some of the most enjoyable rounds that exist in boxing. Today we saw another war in the lower weights as Akira Yaegashi (20-4, 10) attempted to defend his WBC Flyweight title against Nicaraguan sensation Roman Gonzalez (40-0, 36). Unfortunately for Yaegashi he was up against a man who was just a bit too good and too powerful.
The fight started like many, with a relatively quiet round as both men tried to figure the other out. It wasn't as quiet as many opening rounds but was certainly not an action packed round with both men having too much respect to throw caution to the wind too early. From then on however the bout got better and better, heating up from the second round and getting better as it went on.
In round 3 we saw the crazy side of Yaegashi as he tried to take the fight to Gonzalez and seemed to be on course to winning the round before being dropped late. Despite the knock down being a big one Yaegashi got up at 6 and went back to taking the action to Gonzalez who obliged him for the remaining 20 seconds or so. From then on the bout took a pattern that was some what repetitive but thoroughly entertaining. It saw both men standing in front of each other and taking it turns to unload on the other. For Yaegashi it was a case of using his fast hands to land relatively light but sharp combinations up top whilst Gonzalez stood his ground and mixed up heavy shots to the bead and body with the uppercuts punctuating the combinations.
The flurry and action from both was beautiful to watch with neither man backing down and neither man refusing to throw back through rounds 4,5,6 and 7. Even when one man was back up it wasn't long before he turned the tables and fired back in rounds that were close, competitive and action packed. It wasn't a brawl, but it was calculated aggression from both who combined skills with their assault.
Sadly for Yaegashi he began to look exhausted in round 7 and although he refused to back down his assaults were becoming less and less telling. He was beginning to break down and his face, which is always susceptible to swelling, was beginning to show signs of the battle he was in. Gonzalez was slowing himself though was becoming more dominant due to Yaegashi's problems.
Although the Japanese fighter had looked tired in round 7 he ended round 8 looking completely exhausted and Gonzalez seemed to be able to smell blood. The toe-to-toe action was becoming less frequent with Gonzalez gradually beating up Yaegashi who was forced on to the retreat just to stay up right. Gonzalez, like a hunter, knew his pray was wounded though couldn't see off Yaegashi who relied on his toughness and heart to see the bell. Although Gonzalez hadn't managed to take Yaegashi down the referee went down towards the end of the round, just as it seemed that Yaegashi was canvas bound. It was a clear slip from the referee though still mildly amusing.
In round 9 Yaegashi came out like a man possessed and unloaded a long series of shots on Gonzalez. It was as if the Japanese fighter knew it was now or never and that he wasn't going to last much longer. It was his last charge towards victory though he hit a brick wall and Gonzalez fired back. The men exchanged combinations though Yaegashi quickly became ragged and his work coming undone quickly. This time Yaegashi had run out of steam too early in the round and Gonzalez knew it as he turned it on and a vicious combination sent down Yaegashi. The Japanese fighter seemed to think about getting up though the referee knew better and stopped the bout. It was as if both men knew there was only going to be one result if Yaegashi did get up, and that was that he was going to go back down.
Sadly for Yaegashi this brings his reign as WBC Flyweight champion to an end after 3 successful defences. It did however come to an end at one of the sports truly elite fighters and a man who seemed to show all the traits of a great. Not only is Gonzalez a fine fighter, he's also a fine young man, a credit to boxing and the human race and as shown in the post fight celebration, a truly respectful fighter. A fighter who encompasses the lost mentality of being a good sport as well as a great sportsman.
The fight wasn't our favourite bout of the year though it certainly deserves to be put on a short list for FOTY alongside the recent contest between Katsunari Takayama and Francisco Rodriguez Jr, both of whom have been Gonzalez victims in the past, and the OPBF Flyweight war between Koki Eto and Ardin Diale. In fairness however both of those fights did lack the skill level shown in here even if they were slightly more action packed.
(Image courtesy of http://boxingnews.jp)
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.