In boxing the winner is usually the fighter who takes the plaudits, and rewards, however every so often a loser can be a winner, and that was seen last night when Filipino Genesis Servania (29-1, 12) came up short in when he challenged WBO Featherweight champion Oscar Valdez (23-0, 19), but enhanced his reputation in such a way that he went from relative unknown to a man who pushed one of the top young champions in sport, all the way.
The Filipino started slowly, pressing behind a tight guard and trying to counter Valdez. At the early stages it wasn't a great tactic for Servania, but it was a foundation for his performance as he managed to settle into the fight well. Although reserved early on Servania had moments when he threw to get Valdez's respect, and showed that he could take the much vaunted power of the Mexican.
In round 4the fight came alive as Servania surprisingly dropped Valdez, who was up quickly but had clearly found a new respect for the challenger. Valdez was then hurt again before the round was over, with Servania showing his power and his ability to hurt Valdez. Unfortunately for Servania he was dropped himself the following round, and was shakey as Valdez looked to finish the bout. The recovery of the Filipino was impressive and he ended the round throwing bombs back, despite clearly losing the round.
Rounds 6 and 7 saw Valdez fight well for the most part, but late charges by Servania in both rounds made things very interesting as it was the challenger who left the last memory, despite the more prolonged success from Valdez.
With the action heating up and both having scored knockdowns it fight like the fight still had a drama in it, and Valdez was the one seeking the finish, letting loose with significantly more shots in the middle rounds than the challenger, who pressured and pressed and countered well, but seemed to hold back just a touch. That all changed in the championship rounds as the two men traded bombs, unloading some great shots during a fantastic back and forth, especially in the final round.
By the final bell it seemed clear that Valdez had retained his title, and all the judges had it in favour of the Mexican, but given the performance of the challenger it's almost certain that he will get another shot at a title in the future. His stock rose dramatically with his loss, and in all honesty that can help a career out massively.
Despite being a real unknown in boxing circles prior to this weekend Japanese fighter Hiroshige Osawa (30-4-4, 19) [大沢 宏晋] managed to fight for the WBO Featherweight title on Saturday night as he took on unbeaten Mexican champion Oscar Valdez (21-0, 19).
Unfortunately for Osawa he was unable to shock the world with a performance to remember, though he did, in some ways, impress with his toughness as he took a steady and one-sided beating from Valdez, lasting much longer than many would have expected.
From the opening seconds it was clear that their was a gulf of difference between the two men and Valdez out boxed and out slugged Osawa who was only landing single shots when he had any success, whilst Valdez landed combinations at will, to both the head and body of Valdez.
It wasn't until round 4 that Valdez's much vaunted power really had Osawa in trouble, with the Japanese fighter being dropped, though he gritted his teeth and bounced up to continue the contest, which continued to remain one sided.
With Osawa trying to fight back, and never being in major trouble, the fight became a bit or a procession with Valdez even switching to southpaw to get some rounds in in the alternative stance, and even as a southpaw the Mexican landed at will.
In round 7 Osawa's toughness was too much, with the Japanese fighter taking bombs on the ropes from Valdez until the referee finally, mercifully, saved him.
For Osawa he got to fight for a world title at long last, something he likely didn't expect just a few years ago when the JBC suspended his license. Whilst he came up short no one can fault his bravery or courage. Sadly if anything some will question Valdez, and his struggle to put away Osawa, though he never was in trouble there were flaws exposed that will need to be sorted out before the Mexican takes on an elite level talent.
At the moment professional boxing seems to be going through a genuine transition and it appears that we are at the start of generation where fighters don't mess about padding records but instead the best are going to race to the top and stay there. We've already seen Naoya Inoue get to the top of the Light Flyweight division and we suspect he'll manage to become the #1 guy at Super Flyweight in the next 12 months. We've also seen Kosei Tanaka move to within a fight of a world title. Another man who deserves to be mentioned alongside those two is Ukrainian sensation Vasyl Lomachenko (3-1, 1).
Unlike the two Japanese fighters Lomachenko was regarded as one of the greatest amateur fighters of all time. He was pushed quickly by an American promoter and given huge attention by the boxing press in Europe and US. That attention helped him to tie the long standing record of Saensak Muangsurin in winning a world title in just his third professional bout.
In his fourth bout Lomachenko made the first defense of his title, the WBO Featherweight title, as he bamboozled, out boxed, out fought, out moved and just did as he wished with Thai veteran Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo (52-2, 33).
In the opening round it was clear the men were in completely different levels with Lomachenko doing as he wished against Chonlatarn who fought a very timid round. It was a start that suggested that Chonlatarn was afraid of Lomachenko's great amateur credentials and as a result it was a poor round to watch.
Thankfully, for those watching, Chonlatarn did up the work rate round after round and tried to make a fight of things. Sadly for the Thai however the more he opened up the more opportunities he gave to Lomachenko who danced around the ring, landed at will and did as he pleased whilst also getting some valuable ring time.
The ability of Lomachenko was really on show in round 4 as he put on an exhibition for the first 2 minutes of the round before dropping the teak tough Thai very late in round. The Thai, to his credit, recovered and saw out what was left of the round though it appeared that he was only in the fight for as long as Lomachenko wanted to carry him.
Having been dropped in round 4 it was great to see Chonlatarn on the front foot through rounds 5 and 6 though he failed to have much success in either round despite coming forward and pressuring the ultra-skilled Ukrainian fighter who showed his class with a sensational burst of punches late in the round 6.
With the bout under total control Lomachenko spent much of round 7 taunting and teasing Chonlatarn. It was an exhibition in show boating even if it did come at the expense of his offensive which went frustratingly quiet for a round. It seemed that Lomachenko had injured his left hand but he was still managing to put on a masterful display of pure boxing against an experienced and world class opponent.
Although Lomachenko was effectively down to one hand he was still managing to completely dominate the Thai and round 9 was a masterclass with Chonlatarn looking confused by what was coming at him. The same again applied in round 10 as Lomahcneko seemed to step on the gas slightly and back up the Thai who looked like he was completely frustrated by what was happening in the ring.
Whilst it would have been nice for the Ukrainian to have closed the show in the final two rounds what we got instead was just more supreme boxing from Lomachenko who did what he had been doing for several rounds and just dominated with the right hand whilst Chonlatarn did little more than hit air and look lost.
Sadly for those fans hoping to see the stoppage it was never likely when Lomachneko hurt his hand, which we think happened in round 6 or 7. What we got instead however was a masterclass in 1-handed boxing which both amazed and frustrated us. We were amazed by Lomachenko's ability to dominate a fight one handed whilst we were frustrated by knowing that with 2-hands he could have done so much more
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.