Being in the UK I'm used to staying up for fights to cover here, and being up until 4AM or later is pretty much normal. Thankfully usually fights are worth watch, and are between two men wanting to win a fight. Tonight however we got a fight that really had nothing positive to sya about it, with one fighter looking to play a game of run away, against a fighter who was much slower than himself. What we ended up getting was one of, if not the, worst bout of 2021. And it came on a show that also had 16 second No Contest!
The bout in question saw WBO Bantamweight champion John Riel Casimero (31-4, 21) retain his title with a split decision over Cuban Guillermo Rigondeaux (20-2-0-1, 13). And it was a bout that no one should have have to sit through. In fact the highlight of the bout was the crowd, who let the fighters know that what they were getting was total bull shit. The crowd let both men have it with through out the contest.
The fight actually started in exciting fashion with Casimero being aggressive, trying to take the fight to Rigondeaux. He seemed to hurt the Cuban, who bent at the waist and got clobbered for it, something we don't typically see from Rigondeaux opponents, with the Cuban hitting the canvas and taking several shots when he was down. It seemed like the fight was going to be exciting. That was until round 2, when Rigondeaux began to do what Rigondeaux does, and moved. A lot. He moved to the point where he was killing the fight, and whilst he did land a couple of good left hands in round 2 those became less and less and less frequent as the rounds went on.
Instead countering Rigondeaux just moved, and he moved quicker than Casimero, who chased, but failed to cut off the ring. This lead to round, after round, of boos, frustration from everyone. The punch output from both dropped off complete, and the most in ring drama was a late punch from Rigondeaux at the end of round 6. In fact it was the only time he showed any real fire. After that we got pose off, with Casimero trying to mimic Rigondeaux, we got got running, we got chasing, and we got something really would have made the officials of the Olympic Kumite Karate competition very happy.
By round 7 it was hard to care about who was winning and losing. The reality is that we, as fans, were losing. The only saving grace is that we live in 2021, and world title fights are only 12 round affairs.
After 12 rounds the reality is that scorecards could legitimately have said anything. There was very few clear rounds either way, less than 90 combined connects, according to compubox, and the judges really could pick what they want. Casimero's attempt to make a fight, or Rigondeaux's ring general ship, and ability to avoid a fight. The judges, or at least two of them, preferred the work from Casimero, scoring it 117-111 and 116-112 in his favour, against a score of 115-113 to Rigondeaux from a dissenting judge. In reality it's hard to care about the scores, we're just hoping this is the last time Rigondeaux can stink out a televised card. As for Casimero, he'll need a fight next time out where he can re-establish himself as an exciting fighter, and get the taste of this bout out of fans minds.
It's fair to say that 2020 has been a frustrating year for WBO Bantamweight champion John Riel Casimero (30-4, 21), who had been hoping to face Naoya Inoue in April, before that bout was cancelled. That frustration seemed to give him some real hunger to shine when he stepped into the ring earlier today and took on the previously unbeaten Duke Micah (24-1, 19).
From the opening round we saw Casimero set off to make a statement. There was no feeling out round, instead it was bombs away, and the aggression of Casimero forced Micah to respond, giving us an incredible opening round. Both men were throwing bombs, and both were landing bombs in what was a shoot out.
Straight from the bell we saw both landing bit shots to the body, as they both tried to snap the other in half. In regards to head shots Casimero wasn't throwing too many in the opening round, and was actually caught by the best head shot of the round, but it seemed to bounce off him.
The bombs continued to fly in round 2. Quite early in the round however the power of Casimero turned the fight, with a short, compact left hook wobbling Micah, who stumbled and dropped to the canvas. The knockdown wasn't fight ending by it's self, but did seem like the start of the end, with Casimero all over Micah for the rest of the round. Some how Micah survived the onslaught, and fought back valiantly with some solid shots of his own. Although Micah was showing his toughness he was taking a lot of punishment, as Casimero began to have fun, taunting and loading up on uppercuts.
To his credit Micah survived the round though was given a look over by the doctor just seconds into round 3. It was clear the doctor and the referee was aware he had taken a lot of punishment, and the referee made it clear he had to show something.
Sadly for Micah he was in with someone who wasn't wanting to mess around and Casimero continued to press for a stoppage. Micah continued to show his bravery, landing a big body shot himself, but couldn't stop himself being overwhelmed by Casimero. This forced the referee, Steve Willis, to step in and call a halt to the contest.
The win was real a statement from Casimero, who seemed to realise this was his chance to make a name for himself in front of a US TV audience. He realised he had a chance to become a star, and he took that chance with both hands. This was explosive, exciting, and the type of bout that leaves an impression on fans who, perhaps, weren't too aware of Casimero.
As for Micah he was game, he tried to compete with Casimero, but he was very much out of his depth, and that was clear pretty early on. Despite his loss we suspect he will come again and even in defeat he would have made fans for his heart, toughness, and desire.
The UK might be one of the hotbeds for boxing right now but it's not often we'll see a Filipino take on a South African in the country. Today however we saw one such bout, as the WBO Bantamweight got a new champion!
The match up in question saw South African fighter Zolani Tete (28-4, 21) return to the ring after more than a year our to take on "interim" champion John Riel Casimero (29-4, 20) from the Philippines.
On paper this looked like a fantastic match up between two world class fighters. Two multi-weight world champions, in fact. It looked not only like it was going to be competitive, but also a very interesting clash of styles with Tete being a freakish physical specimen and Casimero being a wild, but heavy handed slugger.
Sadly the interest in the bout going in didn't deliver. The first 2 rounds saw almost nothing happen. The size difference and skills of both men saw almost nothing land, as both men showed a lot of respect to the other. The only meaningful thing that happened was a clash of heads in round 2. That was essentially the only meaningful connect either man made with the other in the first 6 minutes.
In round 3 things changed as Casimero seemingly grew in confidence and landed a brutal right hand up top on Tete. The shot was something else and not only did it drop Tete, but it left him scrambled. Tete beat the count but didn't look like he knew where he was. He looked like his legs were gone and his head was gone. Knowing it was his chance to strike Casimero kept up the intensity and essentially bundled the wobbly Tete down again. The South African's heart got him to his feet again, but a follow left the referee with no decision other than to stop the bout.
With Casimero celebrating another huge win on the road to become a 3 weight world champion attention turned to Tete who took quite a few minutes to recover, though thankfully did look fine in the end.
Following the win Casimero called for a fight with Naoya Inoue, in a bout that would unify the WBA, IBF and WBO titles, and it's clear that that is a bout that makes a lot of sense to see getting made in 2020.
In late 2015 Filipino slugger Marlon Tapales (30-2, 13) travelled to Japan and blitzed the fast rising Shohei Omori (18-2, 13) [大森 将平] in two thoroughly one sided rounds. Following that win Tapales went on to win the WBO Bantamweight title in a thriller with Pungluang Sor Singyu in Thailand.
A return bout between Tapales and Omori was made as Tapales' first defense of the title, though unfortunately the Filipino was unable to make weight, forcing the title to become vacant, though the bout went ahead as planned early today. A win for Omori would have seen him become the new champion, with any other result leaving the title vacant.
Having been blasted out in 2 rounds last time, and dropped 3 times in the opening round, it was clear that Omori would be more catious this time and that showed as he looked to establish his jab and keep himself away from Tapales' power. Despite the intelligent game plan it didn't prevent Tapales from applying pressure, which he did excellently in rounds 2 and 3.
Given Tapales struggled to make weight it was clear that Omori was trying to see off the early storm without taking much in terms of damaging shots. In round 4, with Tapales slowing, Omori began to up his own output and upped it again in round 5 as he clearly hurt the Filipino with a series of body shots, clearly aware that body shots had twice dropped Tapales against Pungluang. The Filipino however saw off the storm and came back in round 6, with Omori backing up through the round.
Omori tried to take control in round 7, launching a huge assault at the start of the round. He had Tapales in all sorts of trouble but the tough Filipino rode out the storm and ended the round the better fighter, with both men looking like they had taken a huge amount out of each other.
In round 8 and 9 both men looked physically exhausted and neither had more the flashes of success, with both visibly worn out from the war that they'd had. From then on it seemed like a case that we were either going to the judges, or the fight would change on a single moment. That moment came late in round 10, when Tapales landed a thunderbolt of an uppercut that dropped Omori. The Japanese fighter recovered to his feet but looked gone, with the referee seemingly buying him a few extra seconds to recover. Those few extra seconds helped Omori get through the round, just, but didn't give him nearly enough time to get his wits.
At the start of round 11 Tapales rushed out to a still shaken Omori and unloaded, forcing the referee to end the bout just 16 seconds into the round.
For now the the title is technically vacant, however Zolani Tete won the interim title yesterday, beating Filipino Arthur Villanueva, an dis likely to be upgraded as the whole WBO Bantamweight title scene gets a weekend of huge shake ups. The champion lost his belt, the #1 and #6 ranked fighters both lost and the previously #2 ranked Tete becomes the champion. In theory it opens the door for #3 ranked Omar Narvaez to get a shot, and potentially for Naoya Inoue to move up later in the year for a shot at becoming a 3-weight champion.
This past weekend we all turned out attention to the US for a fight between the #1 and #2 Light Welterweights. It was billed as a special fight, and although no one expected a war, everyone expected something memorable. What we got was a bout that resembled a sparring session with Terence Crawford simply being too good for Viktor Postol in every single way.
Today, just a few days later, we had a war as Pungluang Sor Singyu (52-4, 35) [ผึ้งหลวง ส.สิงห์อยู่] battled under-rated Filipino Marlon Tapales (29-2, 12), in what was a thrilling WBO Bantamweight title fight. The Thai champion was looking to make the second defense of his title, whilst the unheralded Filipino was looking to make the most of his opportunity.
The fight started relatively evenly, and through 4 rounds there was little to separate the fighters. A judge could have had it 40-36 one way, or the other and no complaints would have been had. The two men each had their moments, and each could have impressed the judges with their particular style. For Pungluang it was as the pressure fighter attacking the body whilst Tapales was showing the better pure boxing and seemed to be landing the flashier head shots.
In round 5 the bout took a major shift with Pungluang having a break through with his body attack, sending Tapales down twice, with Tapales taking much of the count to get up. It was guts and bravery in the extreme from the Filipino who ended the round being beaten up and was very lucky the referee didn't wave the bout off. He looked spent and with another referee that would have been it.
Amazingly Tapales came out for round 6 and ended up turning the bout around in his favour hurting the Thai with a left hand before dropping him with a right hook. Although Pungluang got up from the shot he seemed to be in survivor mode and didn't seem to recover as the bell went.
Notably Pungluang didn't ever seem to fully recover, either physically or mentally, and his pressure style, with the body shots,never returned after the knockdown with the Thai preferring to try and counter punch the Filipino who was growing in confidence after the knockdown. Round 7, 8 and 9, seemed to see a hungry looking Tapales back up Pungluang, who only had select moments of success whilst the Filipino had more sustained and more notable work. It was a strange twist but it seemed like the effort to finish Tapales off at the end of round 5, and the subsequent knockdown in round 6, had left Pungluang short on confidence,
In round 10 we saw more of the same, but by now the work of Tapales was taking a growing physical effect on the Thai who seemed to try everything he could to get the juices going again. Everything he tried however failed and although he had a little bit of success in the round it seemed that his time as champion was whittling away
With in seconds of the 11th round starting Tapales had his next break through, dropping Pungluang, who failed to beat the count. The crowd silent, whilst the realisation that Tapales had become the new champion saw the Filipino and his team celebrate.
For Pungluang this loss was a painful one. He had come incredibly close to winning in round 5, he could likely taste his celebration meal, but to see Tapales pull through the torrid round seemed to mentally break the Thai who never looked the same fighter. For Tapales the heart he showed and the aggression, as well as the way he had coped with being messed around in Thailand was incredible and his will to win will make him an incredibly hard fighter to dethrone.
When an orthodox fighter faces a southpaw we do often get headclashes, though not fights have them as regularly as the WBO Bantamweight title fight that we had earlier today between defending champion Pungluang Sor Singyu (52-3, 35) and Filipino challenger Jetro Pabustan (26-3-6, 7). The two men seemed to fight like their were magnets in each other's heads and clashes became a recurrent theme.
In the opening round there were several headclashes, they weren't major ones but they foretold the story that was to come through the following rounds. Unfortunately they were a by product of both men wanting to fight on the inside and both looking to land big shots whilst there. Although both were wanting to fight a similar fight the actual style suited the stronger and more powerful Pungluang, who was getting the better of the action. Pabustan seemed the better outside fighter but all too often gave away his reach to fight up close.
The inside action continued through the fight with round 2 seeing more headclashes, this time they did result in damage with Pabustan being cut from a clash and being bullied when the fight was being fought up close. The cut was inspected in the early stages of round 3 but the doctor ruled that the challenger was fine to continue. Although ruled fine Pabustan did seem to be uncomfortable and did begin to hold and make the action more desperate as Pungluang found a home for some massive right hands as Pabustan stood in the pocket too long.
Pabustan's discomfort was made even worse in round 4 as Pungluang turned up the heat and gave him a bit of a pounding with shots that landing with a sickening thud. Pabustan was beginning to look tired and defeated whilst Pungluang was looking like a man enjoying himself as he seemed to begin breaking down his over-matched challenger.
Amazingly Pabustan had his best round of the fight in round 5, as he mixed up the distance more, used his speed and reach and seemed to make a solid claim to win the round. He did put a lot of effort in to the round but seemed like a worth while tactic given that he needed some momentum after a very painful round 4.
The headclashes returned in style at the beginning of round 6 and saw Pungluang actually back up in agony. The headclash gave the two a few seconds before the action resumed and a seemingly angry Pungluang went after Pabustan with a renewed tenacity landing a number of hurtful right hands as he looked to punish the Filipino. The round was a clear Pungluang round and saw the Thai's smile return.
Sadly the headclashes simply seemed to never end and early in round 7 the doctor too Pabustan to the doctor again, this time to look at a cut around the side of his head. The doctor against allowed the fight to go on, but that did little to help Pabustan who was again on the end of some nasty right hands from the Thai who had got the venue rocking with the crowd well behind him. It seemed as if Pungluang was really breaking up the Filipino and on his way to a stoppage, however a headclash on the bell left Pabustan looking a bloodied mess.
Between rounds 7 and 8 the doctor took another look at Pabustan and called a halt, taking the bout to the scorecards which all favoured the champion by a score of 70-63.
For Pabustan a technical decision shouldn't be anything new, it's his 12th overall and his 4th in the last 7 bouts. His wild style leads to headclashes and has marred up more than just a couple of fights. For Pungluang this win sets up a mandatory title bout with another Filipino challenger, Marlon Tapales. That bout will take place later this and should be a much cleaner bout than this one, however, like Pabustan, Tapales is a southpaw.
(Image courtesy of thairec.com)
In boxing there are some great rivalries. One of the best in Asia is the Japan Vs Thailand rivalry which has provided numerous great fights over the years, including the recent Daigo Higa Vs Kongfah CP Freshmart fight for a WBC Youth title.
Despite the rivalry being a great one it has seen Thailand use home advantage to great effect, and that was seen again today as Pungluang Sor Singyu (51-3, 35) scored a surprise stoppage of Ryo Akaho (26-2-2, 18) and left Japanese still looking for their first world title victory in the land of smiles.
Prior to the bout the Thais played games, as they often do. The two men were in the ring for more than 20 minutes for the first punch was thrown. Whilst they were in the ring introductions were given to every one, from the judges and referees to the sponsors. Those introductions were then followed by national anthems as the Thai's stalled, and tried to break the concentration of the visitor before a punch was even thrown. It wasn't unexpected but it did look like it worked with Akaho looking frustrated as the camera zoomed in on him waiting for the fight to start.
As soon as the fight started it was clear that the build up had frustrated Akaho who began by throwing some ridiculous shots. Pungluang wasn't looking great himself but seemed to know that if he kept getting into Akaho's head this was going to be easy. As part of getting to Akaho the Thai held, hit behind the head and bent the rules, without breaking them. He took a warning from referee Robert Byrd inside the opening stanza but it was clear that Akaho wasn't enjoy it as he complained several times to the referee. Other than the dirty action the opening round was close, intense and it looked like both were going to go for an early finish.
In round 2 Pungluang seemed to jump start the round, immediately taking the fight to the visitor who was caught in his own corner. Akaho escapes the situation and manages to have some success of his own before being turned in a neutral corner by Pungluang. The movement of Pungluang, and the frustration of Akaho, saw the Japanese fighter sending himself into the turnbuckle head first. Instantly Pungluang smelled blood and unload with Akaho unable to respond, or defend himself. The assault was vicious and quickly sent Akaho down, where he remain until the bout was stopped.
Whilst Pungluang did appear to land a shot to the back of Akaho's head, it did look like an innocuous blow with the other shots in the sequence being the ones that ended the bout. Those were landed whilst Akaho seemed to be trying to grab the ropes to steady himself, and as a result he left himself open to some clean bombs which landed hard.
For Akaho this is a second disappointment at the world level after a previous loss, at Super Flyweight, to Yota Sato. Amazingly the loss has seen Japanese fighters fall to 0-3 in Bantamweight title bouts outside of Japan this year, with losses also coming for Tomoki Kameda and Ryosuke Iwasa. As for Pungluang it's a career defining victory and sees him becoming a 2-time world champion. The interesting question now is what Pungluang does in his first defense as he will now become a marked man for fighters like Ryo Matsumoto, Zhanat Zhakiyanov and Shohei Omori, all of whom may have the backing to get the Thai outside of his homeland.
Earlier this year many Western fans got their first chance to see Tomoki Kameda (31-0, 19), the youngest of the trio of Kameda brothers, as he stopped Thailand's Pungluang Sor Singyu in the US. That was despite the fact Kameda had actually fought much of his career in Mexico where he scored several notable wins, including a decision over Stephane Jamoye. This weekend he returned to the US to seek his third defense of the WBO Bantamweight title. In the opposite corner to Kameda was experienced Mexican Alejandro Hernandez (28-11-2, 15), the mandatory challenger for Kameda and the WBO interim champion.
Sadly the impressive performance of Kameda against Pungluang wasn't replicated here, despite the fact he easily out pointed and dominated Hernandez who often looked like a man happier to survive than to take a risk in an attempt to win the fight.
In the opening round Kameda struck first and used his speed, both with his feet and hands, to back up Hernandez in what was a relatively easy round for the champion who was facing a man who looked timid and unsure of himself. Kameda's success from the opening round grew and grew through the first half as the champion proved he fight Hernandez's fight and win it as he began forcing Hernandez back at will, landing flurries and getting out of distance before Hernandez tried to retaliate. It seemed that the challenger was either in survival mode or biding his time in the hope that Kameda would wear himself out.
It wasn't until round 6 that Hernandez even seemed to look like he was interested in trying to win a round and despite trying to win it he was clearly out landed and out worked by the classy Kameda who looked like he was in cruise control racking up the rounds whilst taking little damage damage in return.
Hernandez tried again in round 7 as we had one of the bouts few debatable rounds. This was perhaps the first swing round though was followed one of Kameda's rounds as the Japanese boxer got on his toes and just boxed the socks off Hernandez who appeared frustrated in the later part of the round.
Strangely Kameda's domination came to an end in round 9 as Hernandez finally put his foot on the gas and won a round as he cut Kameda and worked away on the Japanese fighter who quickly looked bothered by the damage that was beginning to form around his left eye. It wasn't threatening the end of the fight but it was swelling shut and marking up notably from the success of the challenger who seemed to smell blood through the round.
Hernandez's short lived fight back came to an end the following round with Kameda winning rounds 10 and 11 in a similar fashion to the way he won the earlier rounds, simply out working a lazy looking Hernandez who let the momentum instantly slip away.
Hernandez claimed his second clear round in round 12 as he seemed to hurt Kameda and went on the offensive through the round. It left us wondering where this mentality had been in the earlier rounds when he had been happy to back off behind his guard rather than unload and come forward. It showed that Hernandez can fight but for large swathes of this bout he just chose not to in a very disappointing effort.
After 12 rounds it seemed we had a clear winner. Tomoki had won the bout in the first 7 or 8 rounds on our card. Strangely, though predictably now, the judges had things scored a bit differently to us as they turned in scores cards that gave us a split decision with all three cards reading 115-113, two to Kameda and one to Hernandez, to give the Japanese fighter a split decision win.
We're unsure what the judges were watching but it wasn't the fight in the ring we're afraid, that wasn't competitive, even if Tomoki didn't impress as he did against Punluang earlier this year.
From what we understand Tomoki will now be fighting against Britain's Jamie McDonnell in WBO/WBA unification bout in 2015, we'll hope for Kameda's sake that these judges aren't involved there.
It's not often that we get all Asian world title fights in the US but that's exactly what we had on Saturday night/Sunday morning as Japan's Tomoki Kameda (30-0, 19) successfully defended the WBO Bantamweight title against former champion Pungluang Sor Singyu (46-3, 21) of Thailand. The fight, a mandatory defence for Kameda, saw both men making their US debut and both doing things to impress the US audience though it was clear that it was Tomoki that left the lasting impression.
Kameda genuine impressed from the opening round, a round that saw him boxing and moving, picking his spots and making the most of his exceptional hand speed. It was his handspeed combined with his jab that kept Pungluang at bay for the round. A round that really was one sided, as shown by the punch stats, despite Pungluang never being in trouble.
The second round was another where Kameda's speed seemed to be what won him the round. It was clear her wasn't sitting on his shots but he was easily landing more notable shots and the high number of shots with Pungluang often walking into punches as if to suggest they effective punches, for Pungluang however his own offence was lacking.
The Thai managed to finally get some notable success in round 3 as he started to land numerous body shots on to the Japanese fighter who appeared to be slowing for much of the round, in fact in the first 90 seconds it was hard to see many shots of note from the champion, though he did fire back well late in the round. Despite the late rally by the champion it was a Pungluang round with little to no argument. Likewise the 4th was also a Pungluang round after he wobbled Tomoki in the opening seconds with a huge right that saw Tomoki forced on to the retreat.
The small wobble for Kameda in round 4 seemed to waken him up and in round 5 he he got back to doing what he did so well early on, picking his spots and fighting at range, using his speed and making sure Pungluang couldn't have much in terms of sustained success. The action was slower though it was controlled, completely, by Tomoki who used the final minute to secure the round with numerous flashy combinations that were eye catching but likely not that effective.
In round 6 we had round that saw both men having some notable success. For Pungluang it was the body shots, which he had seemed committed to through out the bout, for Tomoki it was the flash combinations that all came from his sharp jab. It was clear that when Tomoki wanted to look sensational he did but it also seemed like Pungluang was having success with his grinding body shots that were likely to pay dividends later in the fight.
Surprisingly in round 7 we saw the tables turn as Tomoki held his feet and the two went to work up close. It was great back and forth early in the round with both men landing their own eye catching combination, this time however Tomoki's was effective cutting Pungluang around the eye. According to the Showtime commentary this was the first time Pungluang had been cut in 49 fights, we admit we find that hard to believe but he did look bothered by the blood in the seconds that followed. The cut was just the first of two major issues for Pungluang and the second was even more serious as Tomoki, now being cheered on by the fans, went to the body of Pungluang and connected with a perfect body shot that sent the Thai down in agony.
From the second Pungluang went down it was clear this fight was over, he was not getting up. Thankfully the referee realised that quickly and waved the bout off as Tomoki scored one of the best body shot KO's anyone will see this year.
Currently unable to fight in Japan we'd be shocked if Tomoki doesn't return to the US for his next defence, likely against interim champion Alejandro Hernandez. Hopefully that will help him spread the Kameda name stateside and open up opportunities for both Koki and Daiki to fight on either US shows, like the one Tomoki fought on, or on shows in places like Macau and Singapore under the Top Rank banner. For now however the future will be put on the back burner because this win is a moment to savour for the infamous Kameda family.
(Image courtesy of OneSongchai, the promoted of Pungluang)
The youngest of the 3 Kameda brothers, Tomoki Kameda (29-0, 18) successfully made the first defense of his WBO Bantamweight title earlier today as he over-came a second successive Namibian opponent.
Last timeout Tomoki defeated the then champion Paulus Ambunda, this time it was the turn of "The Prince" Immanuel Naidjala (17-1-1, 11) to suffer defeat at the hands of Tomoki.
Despite the challenger showing a good jab in the first round it was Tomoki got off to the better start as he came forward, forced Naidjala back and looked from the off to be a stronger, faster and better fighter. The power of Tomoki, which is often under-rated, showed up in round 2 as he seemed to rock Naidjala and at that point it seemed to be a case of just how long would the challenger last.
The domination of Tomoki became more and more evident in rounds 4 and 5 as he began landing left hands to the body at will, walking through Naidjala's shots and generally doing as he pleased. It looked almost certain that Naidjala wasn't going to see out the distance due to the quality of body shots he was forced to take.
With the fight "in the bag" in terms of the scorecards after 8 rounds, Tomoki seemed to realise that Naidjala was genuinely a "teak tough African" and not the sort of fighter who was going to be stopped with out a real war. The rounds had been clearly Tomoki's up to this point but, other than a the moment in round 2 he had never really hurt the challenger. With that in mind the champion seemed to hit cruise control.
In the final 4 rounds Naidjala began to come on strong. This was partly due to Tomoki himself slowing down and partly due to the urgency that must have struck Naidjala. This saw Naidjala, who really needed a knockout to win, taking a share of rounds 9, 10, 11 and 12. It was however far too little far too late and some of the judges didn't even feel he deserved more than 1 of those rounds.
For Tomoki this is the first defense out of the way though at times, especially late in the fight, he looked a little out of sorts. It was probably the fact he switched off after taking a clear lead though it still a worry of sorts that he'd do that against an unbeaten challenger. The fact he couldn't, or at least didn't, turn up the heat in the championship rounds was a disappointment, though we do think he was cruising due to his early and mid-round domination.
The domination of Tomoki was reflected on the score-cards with Tomoki winning by scores of 119-109, 118-110 and 117-111. Of those cards we'd agree with 117-111 which was exactly what we had.
Sorry to say this but Adalaide Byrd, who turned in the 119-109, turned in yet another questionable card just weeks after her very odd score in the Carlos Molina/Ishe Smith fight in the US. She has also had a poor scores in the Carl Froch/Mikkel Kessler II fight and the Donnie Nietes/Moises Fuentes bouts also this year. She's starting to get a reputation for bad scorecards and if I was a fighter, fighting on away turf I'd certainly question her suitability for any fight right now.
Saying that however the right man won and that's really all that matters in the sport.
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.