Asian scene: Madrimov on the move

Marcus Bellinger
03/07/2019 8:53pm

Photos: Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Uzbek sensation Israil Madrimov secured another win in a busy month of action across Asia and for Asian boxers. Marcus Bellinger is back with his regular round-up...

Israil Madrimov continues to dazzle in the pro ranks as the Uzbek stopped veteran Norberto Gonzalez in six rounds at Madison Square Garden on 8 June on the Golovkin vs Rolls undercard. Madrimov took his time early on, chipping away at the Mexican with solid combinations. By the end of round five Gonzalez was taking a hiding and for just the third time in his career he was stopped by Madrimov in the sixth. World titles are surely not at all far away for the 24-year-old light middleweight.

To kick off June, rising flyweight Junto Nakatani destroyed Philip Luis Cuerdo inside a round at the Korakuen Hall on the first day of the month. Originally the plan was for the 21-year-old to defend his Japanese title against Wolf Nakano but unfortunately the challenger pulled out through injury, resulting in the Filipino coming in as a late replacement.

Nakatani quickly established his southpaw jab before a peach of a shot dropped the visitor who was in no position to continue giving the man from Japan an early nights work.

You can watch Nakatani vs Cuerdo here

On the same show the relentless unbeaten strawweight Kai Ishizawa scored his sixth straight stoppage, taking out Silem Serang in four rounds. The Indonesian was dropped twice in round two, again in round three and bravely kept getting back to his feet. A fourth knockdown at the end of the next round forced the referee to wave off the contest. Ishizawa’s career should be a fun one to follow.

Over in California a few hours later, Marlon Tapales stopped Roberto Castaneda in three rounds and Jhack Tepora took a 10-round unanimous decision victory versus Jose Luis Gallegos with all three judges turning in cards of 99-91.

You’ll do well to find a more exciting young fighter to watch at the moment than Carl Jammes Martin and the 20-year-old swatted aside Yutthichai Wannawong as he headlined the latest ESPN5 show in the Philippines on 9 June. Martin quickly backed his man up and the visitor was visibly uncomfortable. A sweeping right hand floored the Thai who failed to beat the 10 count just before the end of the opening stanza.

Unbeaten flyweight Jason Mama easily overcame Kwanthai Sithmorseng in three rounds although not in the way he would have wanted to. It was honestly a feeble effort from Kwanthai who seemingly wanted to be anywhere else apart from in the ring with Mama. The Filipino applied pressure with the Thai unwilling to engage and a small cut on Kwanthai in the third gave him a way out, which he duly took to give Mama a rather facile victory.

Talented prospect Dave Apolinario continues to progress nicely as he claimed a unanimous 10-round points win over Adrian Lerasan. Apolinario was tested throughout but remained composed, landing with solid shots regularly. Lerasan never had any real impact with his combinations but his determination kept Apolinario honest. At the final bell the cards were announced with Apolinario declared the victor by totals of 99-91 (twice) and 98-92. The 20-year-old showed excellent stamina which will only enhance his development.

Randy Petalcorin got a straightforward bounce-back win after coming up short against Felix Alvarado for the IBF light flyweight title. Petalcorin was up against Worawatchai Boonjan and the Thai was dropped in round two, again in round three and stopped soon afterwards. There will undoubtedly be bigger tests ahead for Petalcorin.

Norihito Tanaka retained his Japanese strawweight title, recording a unanimous decision over Naoya Haruguchi on 13 June with cards of 97-92 twice and 96-93. However, the bigger story concerns rumours of him facing WBC king Wanheng Menayothin in October. Speculation emerged last year about the unbeaten Thai travelling to Japan for a defence but nothing came of it, so it will be interesting to see if it actually comes to fruition this time.

Hours later in California we saw the pro debut of yet another elite Uzbek amateur as Bektemir Melikuziev blasted out Martin Fidel Rios inside a round. A left hand to the body put the Argentinian out for the count giving Melikuziev the perfect start to his professional career.

An Olympic silver medalist, Asian champion and world bronze medalist, his amateur achievements speak for themselves. For the last part of his amateur career he fought up at light heavyweight, giving away a significant size advantage. Given the lack of depth and quality at super middleweight expect Melikuziev to be moved extremely quickly through the pro ranks.

Artem Dalakian easily retained his world flyweight bauble with a 10th round stoppage over Dennapa Kiatniwat in Ukraine on 15 June. The home man dominated throughout, doing as he pleased with the Thai proving tough, but not much more than that. Being rocked in round eight and bloodied, Dennapa was finally saved in round 10 and let’s hope Dalakian looks to unify with any of the other three champions.

Four days later at the Masuhari Messe in Chiba, Kazuto Ioka became a super flyweight champion at the second time of asking as he stopped Aston Palicte in the 10th round to capture the vacant WBO crown. The Filipino had a significant size advantage and took the opening stanza but the edge in speed for Ioka proved crucial with the Osakan sweeping the rest of the first half of the contest with quality body shots and some classy combinations.

Going into the second half of the contest, Palicte needed to turn things around and the visitor really went for it at the beginning of the seventh but Ioka took back control and hurt his man at the end of the round. That really was Palicte’s last stand and Ioka’s skill set was simply too much. After a right hand buzzed him in round 10 the home man went for the finish and got it and now rematches with Donnie Nietes and Akira Yaegashi, a long awaited showdown with Roman Gonzalez and clashes with Kosei Tanaka and Juan Francisco Estrada are all mouth-watering possibilities.

You can catch up with Ioka vs Palicte here

Light flyweight titlist Hiroto Kyoguchi successfully overcame Satanmuanglek CP Freshmart via 12 round unanimous decision with cards of 117-112 and 117-111 twice. The first two rounds were action packed, with Kyoguchi forcing Satanmuanglek backwards and applying pressure. Coming in the Thai was undefeated but unproven, however he proved to be a more than competent foe showing he knew his way around the ring.

As the bout progressed the champion wasn’t his usual dynamic self with the challenger being defensively savvy without having the fire power to really cause any major issues. Kyoguchi managed to sustain a big attack in round 10 but Satanmuanglek survived the storm and saw the final bell.

You can view Kyoguchi vs Satanmuanglek here

Finally, Sadriddin Akhmedov continued his unbeaten run, dispatching Daniel Vega Cota inside a round on 29 June in Canada.

Azinga Fuzile is a man tipped for great things and the South African youngster has a chance to move a step closer to a world title shot when he squares off against Kenichi Ogawa. Ogawa was pretty average in his only fight since his year ban for failing a drugs test and a loss to Fuzile would put him right to the back of the queue for any world title aspirations. Due to Fuzile being unable to obtain a visa, the fight was pushed back to 7 September after originlly being schedule for the Korakuen Hall on 6 July

On 6 July in Kazakhstan, Nordine Oubaali makes the first defence of his WBC bantamweight belt against Filipino Arthur Villanueva. After losses to McJoe Arroyo, Zolani Tete and Luis Nery, it pretty much is the last chance saloon for Villanueva and he faces a tough task against the talented Frenchman who impressed in outpointing Rau’shee Warren earlier this year for the vacant belt.

Boxing tournaments can come with their ups and downs but are also often a nice distraction from the norm, namely the frustrating politics and fractured nature of the sport. Japan is getting in on the act as a venture between Dangan, a well-known commodity that promotes shows in the country, and long-time bantamweight king Shinsuke Yamanaka is set to begin on 23 July.

The bantamweight tournament’s seven participants offer a mix of youth and experience, with three highly touted prospects entering the field. The man with a bye into the semi-finals is the hard-hitting, ferocious and undefeated Seiya Tsutsumi,who trains out of the same Watanabe Gym as Hiroto Kyoguchi.

The quarter-final draw is as follows:
Gaku Aikawa vs Kenya Yamashita with the winner to face Tsutsumi. Aikawa is moving down from super bantamweight for this opportunity but is a big outsider. Yamashita is an all-out aggressive come forward fighter who can be out boxed at a higher level as was proved by John Riel Casimero.

Kazuki Nakajima vs Kenichi Watanabe. Nakajima is undefeated and out of the same Ohashi stable as Naoya Inoue and this will be his chance to prove his quality. Watanabe has shared the ring with Koki Eto and Hiroaki Teshigawara, losing to both men and is the tournament's other major underdog.

Jin Minamide vs Tetsu Araki. Minamide has looked sensational in stopping all three of his opponents so far and is one of the favourites to prevail. Araki is the Japanese Youth champion. He took the unbeaten record of Ryuta Owan and will be no pushover for Minamide in what is by far the best last-eight clash.

The quarter-final bouts take place on 23 July with the semis set for 31 October and the final to take place in January 2020 with a hefty cash prize at stake.

Hironori Mishiro makes the third defence of his OPBF super featherweight belt against Ryo Takenaka on 27 July. Takenaka is a former OPBF featherweight champion but really needs a win to keep his career at title level alive, whilst another win for Mishiro against a solid regional level fighter in just his ninth bout will be an impressive achievement.

On the same show Ginjiro Shigeoka takes on Clyde Azarcon for the vacant WBO Asia Pacific minimumweight belt. This will be just Shigeoka’s fourth professional bout but there is much expectation surrounding the teenager, who is expected to be yet another supreme talent from Japan and is another member of the thriving Watanabe Gym.

Koki Eto and Jeyvier Cintron will rematch in Florida on 2 August after their first encounter ended in a no contest.

A quite brilliant OPBF super bantamweight tussleis set for 8 August when Hiroaki Teshigawara squares off against Shohei Omori. Both men have power and given the winner would move closer to a world title shot this should be a real thriller. Teshigawara captured the OPBF trinket last October defeating Glenn Suminguit and made his first defence in February, stopping Yuki Iriguchi, and he is in a great run of form, stopping six of his last seven opponents. Omori has rebuilt after his two stoppage losses to Marlon Tapales and recently took out former OPBF bantamweight champion Takahiro Yamamoto.

Rikki Naito heads to South Korea to make the third defense of his OPBF light welterweight bauble on 15 August.

Kosei Tanaka makes a mandatory WBO flyweight defence at the Takeda Teva Ocean Arena in Nagoya on 24 August against Jonathan Gonzalez. Tanaka is coming off two impressive victories over countrymen Sho Kimura and Ryoichi Taguchi and can’t afford any slip-ups if he’s to move onto either a unification or a possible move up to 115lbs. The challenger does have a win over former Tanaka opponent Julian Yedras but was stopped in both his defeats by Jobert Alvarez and Giovani Segura and this will be the Puerto Rican southpaw’s first contest in Asia.

On the same day over in Puerto Rico, Vic Saludar makes a mandatory defence of his WBO 105lbs title against Wilfredo Mendez. Saludar last appeared in the ring in February, outpointing Masataka Taniguchi and will have no fears about travelling. This is a pretty big step up for Mendez with Janiel Rivera being the bet win on his record but securing home advantage gives him an advantage.

Taiki Minamoto has vacated his Japanese featherweight belt to move up in weight and at the Korakuen Hall on 13 September the vacancy will be filled when Reiya Abe squares off against Ryo Sagawa. Abe is a smart southpaw counter puncher who uses excellent lateral movement and Sagawa presses the action so this should produce a very entertaining contest.

Finally, in Sakai City on 16 September Daiki Tomita and Hayato Yamaguchi clash for the vacant WBO Asia Pacific light flyweight title.