This past week wasn’t the busiest for Asian fighters, but there was a nice range of fights, from novices to new champions and veterans retiring.
On Thursday the Asian interest was in a trio of Kazakh fighters fighting in North America.
The most exciting of the trio was Batyrzhan Jukembayev (9-0-0-2, 8), who became the latest man to defeat veteran Cosme Rivera (41-24-3, 29). The unbeaten Kazakh stopped Rivera in the 7th round of their bout to claim the IBO International Light Welterweight title, and will likely have learned a fair bit from this bout, despite Rivera being very much a spent force now.
Staying in Canada there was also a win for Ablaikhan Khussainov (6-0, 5), who scored a 2nd round KO over highly experienced southpaw Cristian Arrazola (23-14-2, 16). Although Arrazola is no star this was still a tough out for a fighter in just his 6th bout and Khussainov certainly appears to be worth following going forward.
The other Kazakh was Ruslan Madiev (9-0, 4), who was fighting in California. He scored a 2nd round KO against the usually durable Evincii Dixon (7-18-2, 2). The win wasn’t massively impressive but matches up to Josh Taylor, who also took 2 rounds to stop Dixon last year.
There wasn’t a huge amount of Asian action on Saturday but there was a string of Filipinos fightin in Australia. Sadly though they all came up short.
The most out-matched was veteran Mark Sales (22-41-4, 8), who had no right being in the ring with OPBF Welterweight champion Jack Brubaker (13-1-1, 7). Sales was stopped in 2 rounds by the champion, and questions need to be asked as to why the OPBF allowed the bout and why the fans in New South Wales were treat to such a poor title match up. I won’t pretend the OPBF title at 147lbs has a host of top contenders, but Sales shouldn’t have been permitted to challenge for the title.
On the same card as Sales’ loss were defeats for Joel Dela Cruz (20-26-3, 8), who was stopped in 5 rounds by the talented Ben Savva (6-1, 2), and Sonny Katiandagho (11-2, 6), who was stopped in 6 rounds by Darragh Foley (11-2, 8) in a bout for the WBA Oceania Light Welterweight title.
In Western Australia fans saw Randy Braga (20-3-1, 5) suffer a decision loss to the once beaten Nathaniel May (17-1, 9), in a bout for the IBF Pan Pacific Featherweight title. Two of the judges has this bout very wide, whilst the third judge had it very close. Sadly for Braga this was a second loss in 3 bouts, following a loss in October to Ryo Takenaka for the OPBF title.
Sadly their was also a defeat for Junjesie Ibgos (11-2, 9), who was out pointed by Brandon Ogilvie (18-2-1, 9) in a bout for the IBF Australasian Lightweight title, on the same Western Australia card.
The biggest day of Asian action was Sunday when Osaka hosted a number of shows, and a number of notable bouts.
The most significant of those bouts saw Shun Kubo (12-0, 9) become the new WBA Super Bantamweight champion as he over-came veteran Nehomar Cermeno (26-6-1-1, 15). Kubo looked good early one, but slowed part way through the fight, and was dropped in round 7. He managed to see out Cermeno’s storm however and the Venezuelan was retired in his corner at the start of round 11.
Kubo wasn’t the only new champion being crowned as stablemate Reiya Konishi (13-0, 5) claimed the Japanese Minimumweight title, claiming a razor thin majority decision over Masataka Taniguchi (6-1, 4). The bout was razor thin and could have gone either way, with Konishi likely getting the win, at least in part, due to his promoter being in charge of the show.
A third title out n this card saw Masayoshi Nakatani (14-0, 8) retain his OPBF Lightweight title, for the 7th time. The unbeaten Japanese fighter took a clear decision over Thai Kaewfah Tor Buamas (23-2, 16). Despite the win Nakatani did fail to shine and had problems getting through the Thai’s defense in what was a flat performance from the champion.
Staying in Osaka, albeit on a separate card, there was also a win for another OPBF champion, as Bantamweight king Mark John Yap (26-12, 12) took out a Thai foe in 2 one-sided rounds. The bout, a non-title fight, saw Yap do as he pleased before calling out WBC Bantamweight champion Shinsuke Yamanaka. On the same card there was also a win for veteran Takayuku Hosokawa (29-11-5, 9) who had made it clear that the bout would be his final contest. Hosokawa won the decision before being joined by friends and family in the ring to celebrate his retirement from the sport.
(Scott Graveson covers the Asian boxing scene for www.asianboxing.info)