Asian Boxing Scene: Classy Casimero too much for Edwards

Marcus Bellinger
30/09/2016 2:09pm

Marcus Bellinger rounds up the latest news from the vibrant Asian boxing scene including victories for John Riel Casimero, Yoshihiro Kamegai and Shinsuke Yamanaka but a defeat for Keita Obara ...

Eduard Troyanovsky made the second defence of his IBF light welterweight title with a destructive second round stoppage of mandatory challenger Keita Obara in Moscow on 9 September.

In an intriguing opening round both men landed hard single right hands gaining each other's respect in the process. Round two was a different story with the champion going through the gears and sending Obara out of the ring with a big attack. Thinking the bout was over, Troyanovsky did a back-flip in celebration but with the extra time allowance allotted the contest continued. However, Troyanovsky didn’t let the challenger off the hook and ended proceedings soon after and put the rest of the 140lb divisions elite on notice.

Obara is in a tricky position, having proved himself to be well above the Oriental level but not quite up to the world-class ranks, as for the Russian champion if geographical obstacles can be overcome it would be fascinating to see him test his mettle against the rest of the title holders in his division.

As expected the jump from domestic to world title level proved to be a bridge way too far for Charlie Edwards, who was stopped in 10 rounds by IBF flyweight champion John Riel Casimero at the O2 in London on 10 September.

For some unfathomable reason the bookies had this as near enough a 50-50 fight but it really was man against boy between the ropes. Casimero found the straight right hand to be a profitable punch early on and once the Filipino warmed to his work he mixed in some hurtful body shots.

The 26-year-old loaded up at times and was a bit wild giving Edwards some fleeting moments of success but by the end of round eight the writing was on the wall for the Englishman. The contest eventually came to a close two rounds later with a booming left hand flooring the challenger and a follow-up barrage forcing the referee to bring the bout to a halt.

Given the ever evolving state at flyweight Casimero won’t be stuck for options and solid pay days. As for Edwards some proper and sensible matchmaking is required if he wants to reach world title level and be sufficiently prepared to compete.

A few hours later at the Forum in California Yoshihiro Kamegai left no doubt in his rematch with Jesus Soto Karass, forcing the grizzled Mexican to be pulled out at the end of the eighth round. The pair picked up where they left off in their exciting first contest with Kamegai seeming to hurt Soto Karass with a body shot near the end of round one.

The action was back and forth from there on in, but the man from Japan was in control with his shots having a far bigger effect on Karass who by the end of round seven was being ground down. Smelling blood, Kamegai went looking for Karass in round eight and floored him, forcing the Mexican’s corner to rightly pull him out at the end of the round.

Due to Japanese Boxing Commission rules which do not permit fighters from the same promotional outfit to face each other, the all-Teiken encounter between Carlos Cuadras and Roman Gonzalez which headlined the card at the Forum had extra significance.

Gonzalez was also going for his fourth world title in a fourth weight class and reigning WBC super flyweight champion Cuadras was aiming to elevate himself to the big time. In front of a sizeable crowd who created a supreme atmosphere the pair put on an epic, pulsating phenomenal twelve-round bout, with Gonzalez prevailing on points with scores of 115-113, 116-112 and 117-111.

Early on Cuadras used his jab effectively to keep his opponent on the outside but Gonzalez's incessant pressure quickly began to tell and at times in the first half of the fight the champion was struggling to cope. The Mexican rallied cutting the Nicaraguan over both eyes in the second half but Gonzalez was for the most part still out-working Cuadras. Both men poured it all out in a quite outstanding last stanza that was a fitting conclusion to what had been a contest to savour.

Cuadras felt aggrieved at the end of the bout but he had proved he was more than just a belt holder and had pushed the best fighter on the planet all the way. As for the man known as ‘Chocolatito’ there is much talk of a salivating unification clash with WBO titlist Naoya Inoue, who was ringside in California, but first Gonzalez must take care of a tough mandatory defence against the relentless hard hitting Srisaket Sor Rungvisai.

In front of a capacity crowd at the EDION Arena in Osaka, Teiken’s 16 September world title doubleheader produced fireworks in abundance and a significant upset in the process.

The headline bout was a rematch pitting the two top men at 118 lb against each other as Shinsuke Yamanaka defended his WBC strap against Anselmo Moreno. The champion took a disputed split decision in the first encounter and going in to the second bout both men had something to prove.

From the off it was clear that both fighters were determined to leave no doubt and score a definitive victory. Moreno landed some hard left hands but was dropped near the end of the opening round. The next two rounds were close, with Yamanaka utilising his jab to far greater effect than in the first contest but Moreno was scoring with plenty of his own.

The challenger scored his own knockdown in round four and dominated the fifth, rocking the Japanese southpaw and seemingly gaining control. That control was short lived as Yamanaka floored Moreno early on in round six with a thunderous left hand that would have left most other fighters out for the count. The Panamanian did well to survive the round but the writing was on the wall and Yamanaka decked Moreno twice more in round seven to bring to an end a sensational shootout.

Yamanaka thus cemented his spot as the number 1 bantamweight on the planet and is eyeing a January return with the intention of fully unifying the division. As for the man known as ‘Chemito’ a move up to 122lb is next and if he fights with the same intensity and ferocity as he did against Yamanaka he will be a match for any of the belt holders. If you missed it or would like to watch it again then the full fight can be seen by clicking below:

Another fascinating September contest saw Hozumi Hasegawa shock many, including this writer, by turning back the clock to snatch the WBC super bantamweight title from Hugo Ruiz, who failed to come out for the tenth round. The challenger looked sharp early on but was deducted a point due to an accidental head clash, which is a rule of the WBC.

With the bout in the balance after four rounds Hasegawa upped the tempo, walking in to the fire of the Mexican who struggled to get off his own shots. Ruiz landed a huge hook at the start of the ninth but the man from Japan responded brilliantly and landed a thudding body shot which seem to hurt the champion and the pair exchanged in a furious frenetic round which ultimately proved to be the last of the fight.

With the win Hasegawa finally becomes a three-weight world champion and only adds to his place as a Japanese boxing legend. It’s unclear whether he’ll defend his crown though, with the 35-year-old stating after the bout that he now wanted to rest. As for Ruiz the result was a huge disappointment and some rebuilding will now be required. The full fight between Ruiz and Hasegawa can be viewed by clicking below:

Jorge Linares completed a superb month for the Teiken Gym with a comprehensive boxing display to out-point Anthony Crolla in their 24 September lightweight clash in Manchester. Whilst the scores of 115-114 and 115-113 were far too close, the third card of 117-111 was a much more realistic reflection of the bout's proceedings as the Venezuelan landed the harder and cleaner shots throughout the vast majority of the contest.

Later on that evening, Donnie Nietes scored a 12 round shut out over Edgar Sosa in the headliner bout of ALA’s latest card from the Stubhub Center in California. Nietes wobbled Sosa on a couple of occasions but was content to cruise through the 12 rounds. With both Roman Gonzalez and Juan Francisco Estrada having moved up the super flyweight it will be interesting to see where the Filipino goes next although, unfortunately, he may have missed the boat for the big high-profile fights that he so craves.

On the same bill exciting young featherweight Mark Magsayo overcame late replacement Ramiro Robles, winning a wide points decision. Magsayo was too sharp for his Mexican foe who was dropped in rounds two and seven but proved to be game enough to survive the full twelve rounds with the score totals reading 120-106, 119-107 and 118-108, giving Magsayo more valuable rounds and much needed experience.

Arthur Villanueva left no doubt in his rematch with Juan Jimenez drilling the Mexican in two rounds. Jimenez had failed to make weight so as a punishment was forced to wear bigger gloves.

With Roman Gonzalez stating his intentions to remain at 115lbs the WBC flyweight strap will become vacant and it should be Nawaphon Por Chokchai and Juan Hernandez who contest for the vacant belt although reports have surfaced that Japan's Toshiyuki Igarashi could be stepping in to take on the Thai.

In more news that will shake things up at 112lbs, Juan Francisco Estrada has relinquished both his titles in a move that signals an attempt to gain a rematch with Roman Gonzalez for some time next year. The Mexican returns on 8 October in Sonora against Raymond Tabugon from the Philippines.

Kazuto Ioka, who was Estrada’s mandatory, is now searching for a new opponent for New Year’s Eve but with the Osakan’s team possessing more financial clout had there have been a purse bid, this scenario can’t have been too much of a surprise.

Top Rank’s November 5 card from the Thomas & Mack Center in Los Vegas has a strong Asian feel, with Manny Pacquiao challenging Jessie Vargas for his WBO welterweight crown. Nonito Donaire also makes a mandatory defence of his WBO super bantamweight belt against undefeated Jessie Magdaleno in an intriguing bout.

The vacant WBO strap at flyweight will also be fought for on the show with Zou Shiming vying for the title in a rematch versus Kwanpichit Onesongchaigym.

Finally Oscar Valdez makes the first defence of his newly acquired WBO featherweight trinket versus Japan's Hiroshige Osawa. Osawa has had an interesting career, having been suspended along with his gym by the JBC for a year due to submitting false contracts for a supposed non-title bout in Korea which turned out to be for a minor WBO belt which wasn’t recognised at the time in Japan.

Since moving down to 126lbs, he has proved a sturdy customer and has chalked up victories over solid domestic opponents Kosuke Saka and Shota Yamaguchi. The former OPBF champion will almost certainly realise that this could be his only crack at a world title so should provide stubborn resistance for the highly talented Valdez. For those who haven’t seen Osawa his last ring appearance versus Indonesia’s Yon Armed can be viewed by clicking below:

Earlier on the same day, flyweight beast Daigo Higa returns to defend his OPBF strap for the first time against Filipino southpaw Felipe Cagubcob. The challenger has a stoppage win over Donny Mabao and has mixed in decent company but facing someone of Higa’s ferocity and power is an altogether different proposition. There is a strong possibility that Higa could relinquish his regional belt after the contest with Cagubcob in pursuit of world honours.

In a brilliant supporting bout, touted prospect Shuya Masaki takes on Shingo Eto. Masaki is highly thought of in the Teiken Gym but has yet to really live up to those expectations. However, a win over former national and OPBF title challenger Eto will definitely push him forward towards some sort of title shot.

Ryosuke Iwasa squares off against Luis Rosa in an IBF super bantamweight eliminator in New York on 19 November. Iwasa has rebounded with three straight wins since his knockout loss to Lee Haskins and the unbeaten Rosa is relatively untested with a points victory over Luis Orlando de Valle being his most notable win to date.

Lastly, talented teenager Hinata Maruta returns to the ring on 23 November in Osaka to make the first defence of his WBC Youth bauble, with no opponent confirmed at the time of writing.