Englishman Rendall Munroe is making the grandest journey of his life when he flies over to Tokyo, Japan to do battle against WBC superbanty champion Toshiaki Nishioka. Now, try repeating that name in fast sequence without becoming tongue tied.
Munroe is a solid, very physically strong fighter and the younger man at age 30, but he might have better luck at tongue twisties than trying to dethrone a vastly more experienced Nishioka who is additionally backed by genuine 10 count, one shot power, the likes of which Munroe has never tasted in his career.
Munroe has never been knocked out though, so the hope is that his strength, youth, and pressuring, busy style will win the day over the older champ. He’s been quite successful at the regional level against mixed British and Europeans, 21-1, 9KO, but this is a new game for him entirely, opened up when he knocked out Victor Terrazas in a WBC title eliminator this year.
Munroe is an engaging, popular little guy, holding down a full time job as a binman, but has taken time off from his work to train properly for his biggest challenge yet. I recall reading an interview of his promoter, Frank Maloney, where they relocated to Spain to run the mountains to prepare for the thin air of Tokyo. Thing is, Tokyo is not much higher than sea level, so unless they will be fighting on Mount Fuji at 12,000’ or one of the smaller mountains, one has to wonder what the Munroe team game plan really is and is it sensible?
Nishioka doesn’t sport the most impressive record at 36-4-3, 23 KO, but 2 of those losses came as a teenager coming up in a tough Japanese system, and the other 2 losses came in 4 fights against Thai legend, Veeraphol Sahaprom. Nishioka is a graduate of the school of hard knocks for sure and unbeaten in 13 fights since. That 5 of his last 6 fights were early stoppages tells me that he’s at the apex of his career.
Nishioka is also a very engaging, happy type of guy who hardly looks the role of a championship fighter unlike the hardman that “The Battling Binman” Munroe projects in the ring, but deceptive looks serve only to mask his killer left hand, so Munroe is fixin’ to get the chin check of his young life in this one.
The undercard looks exciting with the undefeated former WBA strawweight champ, Roman Gonzalez, challenging for the WBA junior flyweight title against Francisco Rosas. Also, former two division champ, Jorge Linares is trying to line up a title shot in his 3rd division by taking on the always game, former lightweight champ, Jesus Chavez who’s also looking for another title shot.
Beware though, this card takes place on a Sunday, Japanese time, so don’t let it slip by if you truly value some quality action fights.
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