Despite the fact we’ve not had any huge fights in Asia this past week we have seen a lot of action at domestic and regional level, ranging from show cases for prospects to a stay busy fight for a world champion.
The week got off to a good start with Ohashi gym promoting a card on Monday.
The main event of the card saw world ranked hopeful Ryo Matsumoto (19-1, 17) make the move up to Super Bantamweight and give domestic foe Hideo Sakamoto (17-4-3, 5) a really quick beating. In fact Matsumoto dominated Sakamoto from the opening seconds with his speed and power, stopping Sakamoto after two knockdowns in the opening round. Whilst a known talent this was Matsumoto’s first opening round win since he beat Zun Rindam almost 3 years ago, however I don’t think I’ve ever seen him look as good as he looked here.
Another prospect scoring a stoppage was Koki Inoue (7-0, 6), the cousin of Naoya and Takuma. The heavy handed Inoue was given a good test by Japanese ranked Mitsuyoshi Fujita (10-3, 3) but in the end Inoue’s brutal uppercutts and aggression were too much and the referee saved Fujita, who was too brave for his own good. Inoue did get tagged a fair bit, as any fighter as aggressive as he is will do, but didn’t look in any trouble as he did a real number of Fujita.
Also picking up a win against a domestic foe was former world title challenger Ryuji Hara (22-2, 13), who saw off Akiyoshi Kanazawa (14-7-4, 7) in 6 rounds. On paper this was an expected win for the skilled and quick Hara but stopping the usually durable Kanazawa was impressive and it was just the second time he’d been stopped in 25 career bouts.
The action continued in Tokyo on Tuesday as we got the latest in the Dangan cards, in association with Shirai Gushiken Gym.
The main event of the card saw former WBA “interim” Flyweight champion Koki Eto (20-4-1, 15) score a straight forward win over over-matched Thai Sittichai Bensalaeh (0-1). The win was never in any doubt for Eto, who was made to look rather poor in his last two bouts. Despite the poor quality of the Thai, who lasted in to the second round, the bout was clearly a tool sharpener for Eto is seems to now have his eye on a world title fight later in the year.
The more interesting result from this show was the opening round win by the debuting Hironori Mishiro (1-0, 1), who easily disposed of Natthaphon Numnak (0-2). for the first 9 seconds Mishiro looked apprehensive before he began to open up and quickly saw off the over-matched Thai. Mishiro is said to be another outstanding former amateur and whose who are close to the Watanabe gym have said he’s one to watch for the future.
In China on Wednesday fans saw Heavyweight hopeful Zhang Junlong (16-0, 16) easily dispose of veteran Saul Farah (64-22-3, 56). The heavy handed Chinese fighter dropped Farah twice with body shots with the Bolovian staying down after the second knockdown in what was a farcical display from the visitor.
Friday, interestingly saw two former foes of Hinata Maruta in action, with Maruta’s reputation being enhanced by both of the men
In Thailand we saw the exciting Singsayan CP Freshmart (8-0, 3) over-come former Maruta victim Joe Tejones (7-3, 3) with a 10 round decision to retain the WBC Youth Super Flyweight title. Although Singsayan is an exciting fighter he was unable to break down the Filipino visitor, who Maruta stopped in 7 rounds for the WBC Youth Bantamweight title. The Thai was given a really good test here, but is one to watch, and Tejones is proving himself very good at this level.
On the same card WBC Minimumweigth champion Wanheng Menayothin (46-0, 17) took a stay busy contest against Jaysever Abcede (13-6, 8), and won a 6 round decision. For Menayothin the bout was a return to the ring after a very narrow win over Melvin Jerusalem earlier this year, but sees him take another step towards being 50-0. Although the Filipino is racking up losses he’s not a bad fighter and could easily make a mark at regional level in the future.
Back in Tokyo former Japanese Bantamweight title challenger Tatsuya Takahashi (26-6-5, 18) abused Rungpetch Saithonggym (0-3) en route to a 3rd round TKO. The Thai was down numerous times before being stopped, as Takahashi, AKA “The Zombie”, did as he pleased in a very one-sided affair.
On the same Japanese card Spicy Matsushita (17-9-1, 2) scored a very surprising upset of the touted Yuichiro Kasuya (9-1-1, 1). Coming in Kasuya was seen as one to watch, and has signed up to the Japanese Youth tournament later in the year, but Matsushita used his experience and figured out the youngster on route to an 8 round split decision win.
The other former Maruta foe in action was Filipino tough guy Jason Canoy (26-7-2, 19), who travelled in the Philippines and was controversially beaten by the unbeaten Mzuvukile Magwaca (18-0-2, 10). The bout, for the WBF Bantamweight title, saw Canoy win on one card, 115-114, whilst having the other two cards read 117-112 and 117-110 suggesting that the judges have some questions to answer, especially given all three were South African like Magwaca. Notably a debuting Maruta beat Canoy, showing just how good the Japanese teenage is.
On Saturday Teiken held their latest show, and whilst the main event was the most significant bout on paper it was prospects that really shone.
The main event saw former WBC Flyweight champion Toshiyuki Igarashi (23-2-3, 12) fight to a technical draw with American Miguel Cartagena (15-3-1, 6). The fight started excitingly, and had a genuinely fun opening round, but head clashes began to occur in round 2 and then forced the bout to be stopped in round 3. Igarashi is ranked highly by the WBO, and could potentially get a world title fight later in the year, but with 4 technical decision in his last 7 it’s hard to get excited about that possibility. For Cartagena his record of having never been beaten at Flyweight continues, but he may find it hard to get a good bout after this mess.
The real star of the show was Shuya Masaki (7-0, 3), who dominated veteran Shingo Eto (17-6-1, 9), dropping Eto once and coming close to doing so again a number of times. Although Eto had entered the bout on the back of two losses he was expected to be a game foe for Masaki, but instead got pretty much shut out by the unbeaten man and it now sounds like Eto will call it quits and retire. It was a third straight loss for Eto but by far the most disappointing, as he never looked at the races.
Another unbeaten prospect who impressed was Hayate Kaji (7-0, 6), who took out Thai Suriya Puttaruksa (0-1) inside a round. Some Thai’s that make their debut in Japan are frankly dire, and travel for the loss. Suriya though put Kaji under pressure early and looked like a decent fighter, but Kaji was simply too much and broke down the Thai when he let his hands go. Despite the loss I’d like to see the Thai again, and Kaji is genuinely one of my favourite prospects in the sport today, so I want to see him too!
Having mentioned poor Thai’s it’s only fair to speak about Aekkachai Saengtapthing (0-1), who probably put in the worst performance I’ve seen this year. The Thai was up against Haruaki Kamiya (6-0, 2), and stopped inside a round, but not until he’d shown the boxing ability of a 5 year old child. It was horrific to see the Thai in the ring and he probably needs to wonder why anyone would put him in a genuine fight. He was lost from the opening seconds and had no idea what he was doing. Thankfully he probably won’t be seen in a Japanese ring again given their willingness to ban fighters for skills, which he certainly lacked here.
To end Saturday attention turned to the US where Filipino former world title challenger Mercito Gesta (30-1-2, 16) ended an 18 month break from action to over-come Gilberto Gonzalez (26-4, 22). The Filipino proved to be too busy, too good and too accurate for the taller and more powerful Mexican, who lacked the skills to really make the most of his size advantages.
The busy week continued with a host of action on Sunday as well.
The first of the shows took place in Osaka, and was headlined by a bout between Rene Dacquel (19-6-1, 6) and Shota Kawaguchi (20-8-1, 8). The bout saw Dacquel narrowly keep his OPBF Super Flyweight title with a split decision win over the Japanese local, but it was clear that Dacquel was pushed all the way by Kawaguchi, who gave the bout everything he had.
A second show in Osaka saw former world title challenger Silvester Lopez (28-12-2, 19) resurrect his career with an upset win over the once touted Ryuto Kyoguchi (14-2-1, 10). The bout, a real slugfest between two left hook happy fighters, saw Kyoguchi being dropped on route to suffering a split decision loss.
On the same Osakan show Kazuki Tanaka (7-0, 5) took a majority decision over IBF world ranked Thai Sukkasem Kietyongyuth (16-7, 11). The Thai was dropped during the bout, but still held his own for the most part, with Tanaka just doing enough to squeak out the win and continue his 100% winning record.
(Scott Graveson covers the Asian boxing scene for www.asianboxing.info)