Asian scene: Yeleussinov scores shutout while Pagara rebuilds
Marcus Bellinger with his latest Asian round-up, including wins for Daniyar Yeleussinov, Albert Pagara and much more besides...
Daniyar Yeleussinov scored his second win in the professional ranks at the York Hall on 6 June, taking a shutout over six rounds versus Zoltan Szabo. Yeleussinov landed some classy left hands at times but the Kazakh honestly never got out of first gear.
The rebuilding job of Albert Pagara continued on 9 June at the Maasin City Sports Complex as the 24-year-old dispatched Laryea Gabriel Odoi in three rounds. Pagara looked confident from the off and a series of shots saw Odoi go down in round two. A left hook to the body in round 3 left the visitor in no position to continue giving Pagara his fourth straight victory since his defeat at the hands of Cesar Juarez.
The rest of the results from the latest 'Pinoy Pride' series saw Jeo Santisima stop Likit Chane in three, Arthur Villanueva beat Renren Tesorio in seven and Melvin Jerusalem overcome Philip Luis Cuerdo in eight.
Shuichiro Yoshino took out Genki Maeda in nine rounds at the Korakuen Hall on 14 June to retain his Japanese lightweight crown. Maeda was competitive in the first couple of rounds before the champion upped the ante and dropped the challenger right at the end of the third.
The next couple of rounds saw Yoshino assume full command and hammer away at Maeda, who was clearly behind at the halfway stage. Maeda enjoyed some success in round six but that was to be his last stand as Yoshino broke him down from then on and the second knockdown in the ninth brought proceedings to a halt. The 27-year-old now looks ready to move on and challenge for regional honours.
Ryuichi Funai claimed the WBO Asia Pacific super flyweight title recording an eighth-round stoppage over Warlito Parrenas. Parrenas made a fast start forcing Funai onto the back foot but Funai soaked up the early pressure and despite suffering a cut from a clash of heads he took over in the middle rounds and a weary Parrenas was eventually stopped in round eight.
The third part of the title tripleheader from the Korakuen Hall saw Hiroaki Teshigawara overpower Teiru Kinoshita in five for the WBO Asia Pacific bantamweight belt. Kinoshita proved to be too small and didn’t possess the necessary artillery to trouble Teshigawara, who was able to walk through the best shots of his opponent. Kinoshita was down in round three and Teshigawara finished the job two rounds later as he continues his good run of form.
Kevin Jake Cataraja easily disposed of Frengky Rohi in three rounds in Cebu City on 16 June and the talented Filipino is more than ready for bigger tests.
Later on that day Sadriddin Akhmedov saw off experienced Gustavo Garibay in five rounds in Quebec to clinch his third professional victory.
It wasn’t to be for Yodmongkol Vor Saengthep who was soundly beaten by flyweight champion Artem Dalakian on 17 June in Kiev. The champion was happy to box and move for the first couple of rounds and whilst Yodmongkol had the occasional success the speed differential between the pair was evident.
Dalakian became more aggressive as the fight progressed and the challenger was dropped early in round five and just about made it through the round. The Thai was dropped again at the end of round seven and after going down for a third time in round eight the referee eventually stopped the contest. Given the openness at 112lbs it will be interesting to see where Dalakian goes next; as for Yodmongkol, another world title shot looks highly unlikely given how convincingly he was dealt with.
The gamble by the Watanabe Gym to put Hironori Mishiro in with Carlo Magali for the OPBF super featherweight title in just his sixth bout paid off as he took a 12-round split decision on 20 June. There was nothing to separate the two men after four rounds, with Mishiro looking to use his substantial height and reach advantages whilst Magali attempted to fight up close.
The champion had a huge fifth round with the challenger in real trouble, but the Filipino was unable to find the finish. Mishiro recovered well and established control over the next few rounds. Despite Magali’s best efforts at the final bell we had a new champion with scores of 115-113 twice and 113-115.
The undercard saw the always exciting Katsunori Nagamine prevail via seventh-round stoppage over the gutsy Yujie Zeng. The Japanese bantamweight title seems to be cursed at the minute with the scheduled 22 June bout between Suguru Muranaka and Yuta Saito being called off after Muranaka was taken to hospital suffering with weight issues. This is the third time this year that a fight for the Japanese 118lbs strap has been cancelled for various reasons and it’s now been confirmed that Saito and Eita Kikuchi will vie for the vacant belt at the Korakuen Hall on 1 September.
As expected rising flyweight prospect Junto Nakatani proved too big and strong for Dexter Alimento at the Korakuen Hall on 7 July. After a quiet opening three minutes Nakatani upped the pace, using his extra size to his advantage in round two. A delayed reaction saw Alimento go down for the full ten count in the next round and the 20-year-old Japanese youngster is now targeting domestic or regional honours.
We have a new WBO strawweight champion as Vic Saludar unseated Ryuya Yamanaka via unanimous decision at the Central Gym in Kobe on 13 July. The champion made a very cautious start and was respectful of the challenger’s power. Yamanaka then used his speed to good effect and, somewhat surprisingly, enjoyed great success on the inside, landing with some crisp body shots in round three.
Saludar managed to find space in rounds four and five, scoring with some quality counters before the pair engaged in a back and forth sixth to leave things delicately poised at the halfway stage.
A cracking right hand, which landed on the button, floored Yamanaka in round seven but the Filipino was unable to find the finish. Yamanaka spent round eight clearing his head before responding well in round nine. The Japanese fighter then got back to the body work on the inside which had worked for him so well. Going into the last round there was still plenty to play for.
Saludar boxed intelligently and the challenger was declared the victor via totals of 117-110, 116-111 and 115-112 with the first card being far too wide. Full credit should go to Saludar who was knocked out by Kosei Tanaka in Japan for the same belt on the last day of 2015.
The Kobe co-main event saw Reiya Konishi claim the WBO Asia Pacific light flyweight strap, eventually snuffing out the stubborn resistance of Orlie Silvestre. Silvestre fought on the back foot early on and Konishi was really struggling to cut off the ring. A fairly bad cut due to a clash of heads didn’t help the home man and it wasn’t until round four that Konishi really got going.
Konishi sank in numerous body shots that made Silvestre uncomfortable but he struggled to sustain the pressure and going into the 12th round the fight was still up for grabs. A beauty of a right hand then dropped Silvestre who was in no position to continue. With this blow, Konishi keeps himself in the frame for a world title tilt whilst the Filipino should earn himself more opportunities in Japan against domestic, regional or up and coming youngsters.
14 July saw Fazliddin Gaibnazarov win an eight-round unanimous decision over Kevin Johnson in New Orleans with all three cards reading 78-74 and over in California Murodjon Akhmadaliev eased to a six-round decision over Luis Fernando Molina and Shakhram Giyasov saw off Daniel Echeverria inside a round.
Whilst Manny Pacquiao managed to turn back the clock and stop Lucas Matthysse in seven rounds at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur on 15 July, three Asian fighters were aiming to shine on the undercard with varying degrees of success.
Jhack Tepora made a statement by stopping Edivaldo Ortega in nine rounds to announce himself to the wider public as a featherweight to keep an eye on. The first couple of rounds were action packed with both men happy to let their hands go and trade. Ortega’s solid boxing skills forced Tepora to really think about what he was doing which was a valuable learning experience for the exciting Filipino.
The pace slowed dramatically with Tepora having success with the uppercut and doing just about enough to take the rounds. Thankfully round nine saw the tempo pick up once again and a right uppercut floored Ortega and a follow up attack saw Tepora get the inside the distance victory he was after. The 25-year-old will now hopefully move on to bigger things.
Elsewhere on this card, it wasn’t to be for Lu Bin who was outgunned by Carlos Canizales. As is customary, the Venezuelan flew out of the traps throwing nonstop punches from the opening bell. Bin actually managed to keep up with the work rate from Canizales in the early stages and also displayed an excellent chin however, the man from China simply couldn’t put a dent in Canizales despite scoring well to the body. Canizales frequently landed with jabs and right hands and it was looking an uphill task for Bin after six rounds.
Bin used excellent movement to nullify Canizales in rounds seven and eight but that was to be his last stand as the incessant pressure of Canizales wore him down. After being dropped in round 11 the bout came to a halt just 1 second before the final bell with Bin leaving the ring on a stretcher. Thankfully at the time of writing Bin seems to be OK but it proved to be too soon for the 23-year-old who will need a prolonged rest before resuming his career.
Moruti Mthalane became a two-time IBF flyweight champion as he staved off the challenge of Pakistan’s Muhammad Waseem in a cracking 12 rounder for the vacant belt. Mthalane simply outworked Waseem during the first three rounds. The fourth could have gone either way, with Waseem using angles and movement to make it more difficult for Mthalane.
Waseem certainly took the next two stanzas, mixing up his attacks nicely and showing nice punch variation. But Mthalane adapted well and whilst the next few rounds were competitive, it was the South African’s consistency that was proving to be the difference.
A booming left hand from Waseem floored Mthalane in the penultimate round in a potentially fight changing occurrence. Showing a true champion's heart, Mthalane roared back as the pair went to war in a pulsating last three minutes to end what had been a fabulous affair. It was Mthalane who got the verdict via cards of 114-113 (twice) and 116-110. Hopefully the 35-year-old can cash in on his victory after seeing his prime go to waste due to out the ring issues.
Among the upcoming action across Asia, Masayuki Ito finally gets his world title tilt on 28 July when he faces undefeated Christopher Diaz at the Kissimmee Civic Center in Florida as the pair tussle for the vacant WBO super-featherweight strap. Since losing a razor-thin decision to Rikki Naito for the Japanese title in February 2015 the 27-year-old hasn’t looked back and has picked up the OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific belts in the process. He will be confident of adding a world title to his collection. Diaz has shown visible signs of improvement in recent bouts and has somewhat stepped out of the shadow of Felix Verdejo but the 23-year-old Puerto Rican is still untested.
There’s a rematch of one of the most remarkable fights of 2018 when Alvin Lagumbay and Keita Obara tangle for the WBO Asia Pacific welterweight strap on 9 August at the Korakuen Hall. Lagumbay caused a huge upset by stopping Obara in two rounds in their April meeting where there was a simultaneous knockdown in round two, with the Filipino coming off the better.
Ryosuke Iwasa makes the second defense of his IBF super-bantamweight bauble against mandatory challenger TJ Doheny at the Korakuen Hall on 16 August. The Japanese southpaw will be hoping for a more memorable performance than his last ring appearance which saw him unanimously outpoint Ernesto Saulong in a dull encounter in March. The challenger earned his crack at Iwasa last December when he took a split decision against Mike Tawachai in Thailand. The 31-year-old has also fought in the US so travelling isn’t something new for him.
A day later at the same venue Satoshi Shimizu defends his OPBF featherweight crown for the third time against Shingo Kawamura. Shimizu will be aiming to move a step closer to a world title shot and also preserve his 100 per cent KO streak. The 27-year-old challenger has won four straight since a points loss to Mike Tawachai in January 2016 and defeated Tae Il Atsumi last December.
Adored Japanese warrior Akira Yaegashi aims to keep his dreams of a fourth world title in a fourth weight class alive when he faces Hirofumi Mukai. Given the amount of wars he’s had, it’s hard to know how much the 35-year-old has left having only had one comeback fight after losing the IBF light flyweight belt to Milan Melindo last May. Mukai represents a good gauge having shared the ring with the likes of Rex Tso, Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, Pongsaklek Wonjomkam and Mark John Yap. Also on this Ohashi show Tsuyoshi Tameda squares off against Tae Il Atsumi in what should be a very exciting featherweight contest.
On 11 September at the Korakuen Hall, Takuma Inoue and Mark John Yap clash in a final WBC bantamweight eliminator. It’s been a remarkable turnaround for the Japanese based Filipino who hasn’t lost in nearly four years and the 29-year-old has won ten consecutive fights, claiming the OPBF title and making three defences in the process. Inoue has been matched tough from his debut when he faced Tatsuya Fukuhara and the 22-year-old has scored wins over Rene Dacquel, Froilan Saludar, Fahlan Sakreerin Jr and Kentaro Masuda in his short career.
From a slow trickle to now a steady flow, the influx of top Uzbek and Kazakh talent to the professional ranks continues to rise with the latest to make the move being flyweight Olympic gold medallist from Rio - Shakhobidin Zoirov. Apart from his Olympic success, Zoirov was national champion in flyweight in 2014 and at bantamweight in 2017, silver medallist at the 2013 and 2015 Asian championships and 2014 Asian Games and had an unbeaten record of 4-0 in the WSB with wins over Joel Finol and outstanding Cuban Robeisy Ramirez.
The Uzbek possesses genuine speed and lightning fast hands and feet and it will be interesting to see how he adapts to the pro game with lack of power possibly being an issue. Zoirov, along with countrymen Hurshid Tojibaev and Kazakh pair Sultan Zaurbek and Azhbenov Nurtas, has signed with the ever expanding MTK Global, as the company look to extend their reach into Asia where the depth of boxing talent is colossal.
It’s all change for undefeated Filipino Mark Magsayo who is under new management and a new promotional outfit. The 22-year-old featherweight contender has signed with Malaysian-based manager Vikram Sivapragasam and Los Vegas based Now Promotions. However, it should be stated that ALA disputes that Magsayo is a promotional free agent and there is no news of Magsayo’s next fight at the time of writing.