Asian scene: Srisaket and Inoue win as Sueyoshi and Mishiro go to war
Wins for Srisaket Sor Rungvisai and Naoya Inoue and a terrific contest between Masaru Sueyoshi and Hironori Mishiro headline the latest edition of Marcus Bellinger's indispensable Asian round-up...
Exciting prospect Ryota Yamauchi took his record to 4-0 with a win over Rio Nainggolan on 1 October. Yamauchi dropped the visitor with a right hand to the body in round one and floored his man again in round three. The Indonesian then failed to come out for the fourth round.
We had a completely unexpected cracker at the Korakuen Hall on 6 October as Masaru Sueyoshi and Hironori Mishiro fought to a 12-round split draw with both the Japanese and OPBF 130lbs belts on the line. Sueyoshi started the better, proving too quick in the first few rounds.
However Mishiro, who usually prefers to fight at range changed his tactics and began to land with solid hooks as he pressed Sueyoshi. Going into the last four rounds it was too close to call - Mishiro continued to close the distance and score with the jab and hooks and we were treated to some fabulous exchanges as Sueyoshi was drawn into a firefight.
The cards read 114-114 as well as a card of 115-113 to each man. Hopefully we will get a rematch in early 2019.
You can watch Sueyoshi vs Mishiro here
Junto Nakatani confirmed his shot at the Japanese flyweight title with a dominant eight-round decision over Shun Kosaka via scores of 80-71 twice and 79-72. Nakatani was happy to have a look in round one while Kosaka showed limited ambition. Nakatani began to find his groove in rounds four and five and Kosaka was showing signs of battle, becoming more and more marked up. Nakatani scored a knockdown in round seven but failed to put his man away so had to be content with a points victory.
A couple of hours later, in front of a packed Impact Arena creating a sensational atmosphere, Srisaket Sor Rungvisai retained his WBC super-flyweight title for the third time but was taken the distance by Iran Diaz. With chants of "Srisaket, Srisaket!" reverberating around the arena, the champion quickly got to work, hammering away at the body of Diaz and a short fight seemed a distinct possibility.
The challenger, however, proved to be a gutsy customer as he soaked up punishment from the Thai round after round whilst having some success of his own. Diaz was unfortunate not to be awarded knockdowns in rounds eight and nine with Srisaket taking his eye off the ball somewhat. Srisaket targeted the head to try and get the stoppage in the last three rounds but despite being wobbled on a few occasions, the Mexican showed immense bravery to see it out until the final bell. There was no doubt of the winner with Srisaket victories via cards of 120-108 and 119-109 (twice). It will be interesting to see what comes next for the powerful southpaw.
You can watch Srisaket vs Diaz here
Naoya Inoue made extremely short work of his World Boxing Super Series quarter-final, blasting out Juan Carlos Payano in just 70 seconds at the Yokohama Arena on 7 October. A blinding jab followed by a pulverising right hand saw Inoue score his second opening-round knockout of 2018. His latest performance sent a shuddering message to the other bantamweights in the tournament. Inoue will face Emmanuel Rodriguez of Puerto Rico in the semi-finals after the Puerto Rican overcame Aussie Jason Maloney via a split decision after a terrific scrap in Florida on 20 October.
Also on this huge Yokohama bill, Ken Shiro showed that he is getting better and better after he stopped former IBF world champion Milan Melindo in the fourth defence of the WBC light-flyweight crown. The first couple of rounds saw the champion use the jab effectively whilst the challenger had some joy with the looping right hand.
Shiro fully asserted himself in the next two rounds and his extra speed caused real bother for Melindo. Shiro was now going through his full repertoire and a cut only added to the mounting problems for the Filipino. Mercifully the bout was brought to a halt in the seventh due to the cut as Melindo was taking a bit of a beating. The future looks extremely bright for Shiro, who yet again made his case for being the number one light flyweight on the planet.
You can watch Shiro vs Melindo here
The bill from Yokohama drew extremely well in the Kanto region on Fuji TV with a peak audience of around 5.5 million.
Rikki Naito once again narrowly held on to his OPBF light welterweight strap with a 12-round split decision over Daishi Nagata on 11 October at the Korakuen Hall. The bout was closely fought throughout, with Nagata scoring a knockdown in round ten but the champion retained his title via scores of 114-113 (twice) and 114-113 to Nagata.
We have a new OPBF champion crowned at super bantamweight though after Hiroaki Teshigawara overpowered Glenn Suminguit in five rounds. The Filipino was floored from a right hand in the first and down again in round three. An uppercut finished the job for Teshigawara in the fifth and the exciting Japanese slugger is now in line for some really exciting fights having moved up from bantamweight.
The third title clash on this show saw Tetsu Araki claim the Japanese Youth bantamweight title with an eight-round unanimous decision victory over Ryuto Owan with the judges' totals reading 77-75, 78-75 and 78-74.
Koki Inoue, cousin of Naoya and Takuma, booked his shot at the Japanese light-welterweight title as he eased to an eight-round unanimous verdict versus Marcus Smith at the Korakuen Hall on 12 October. It was revealed afterwards by Inoue that he was carrying right elbow and left foot injuries into the contest and that he was just glad to get the win. The bout had the potential to produce fireworks but that never materialised with a left hand which dropped Smith in the sixth round being the major highlight. The scores at the end of proceedings were 78-73, 77-74 and 77-75.
On 13 October over in Los Vegas the classy Meiirim Nursultanov cruised his way passed Jamar Freeman to take his record to 9-0 (7KOs). The Kazakh prospect put the American down in round two and was close to stopping him with a follow-up attack. Freeman had brief bits of success but having felt the power of Nursultanov he was probably wary of opening up too much. There was no doubt of the winner after eight rounds with Nursultanov prevailing via tallies of 80-71 across the board.
On the same day over in Canada now 4-0 Kazakh KO machine Sadriddin Akhmedov swatted aside Jesus Javier Mendoza in just under a minute and a 24 November return is now in the offing for one of the best prospects in world boxing
Meanwhile, Elnur Abduraimov scored his second win in just a few weeks, destroying Giovannie Gonzalez in two rounds in California on 18 October.
In a pretty sizable upset Rob Brant unanimously outpointed Japan's Ryota Murata at the Park Theater in Los Vegas on 20 October. Murata seemed to be stuck in quicksand as Brant peppered him with jabs and flurries in the first two rounds, causing a bloody nose and facial bruising in the process.
After four rounds Murata was well behind and needed to change something and in round five he managed to drag Brant into a battle at close quarters and the fight looked like it might be changing. However, the momentum of Murata never lasted and Brant continued to use clever movement and work over the man from Japan, who was made to look clumsy and predictable.
Murata repeatedly tried to land the right hand but never did anything to set up the shot. Brant rocked Murata in round eight and the American never relented and deservedly took the unanimous verdict with scores of 119-109 (twice) and 118-110.
Talk of a clash with Gennady Golovkin is now firmly out of the window for Murata and at nearly 33, it’s unclear what’s next after a poor performance. On the same show Fazliddin Gaibnazarov stopped Wilberth Lopez in two rounds.
Over in Boston, also on 20 October, Daniyar Yeleussinov stopped Matt Dougherty in the opening round. The Kazakh looked razor sharp from the off, throwing shots with real intent and he overwhelmed the American with some nasty body shots to set up his next contest which will take place in Monaco on 24 November.
Finally, we had a new IBF light-flyweight champion crowned on 29 October at the Midas Hotel and Casino in Pasay City, Philippines as Felix Alvarado proved too hot to handle for Randy Petalcorin. As is his trademark, Alvarado came out with real intent from the opening bell, looking to exert constant pressure on Petalcorin who countered pretty well.
Alvarado upped the ante in round two, giving Petalcorin no space to breathe and a long night's work ahead for the Filipino looked to be in store. The next three rounds saw Petalcorin have more than his fair share of success but at no time could he gain the respect of the marauding Nicaraguan.
Alvarado was now bludgeoning away at the body of Petalcorin and early on in round seven Petalcorin was floored. He was down again soon afterwards but managed to get to his feet. However, despite the home crowd trying to rally him, Alvarado put his man down for a third time and the fight was rightly waved off. For the hard-hitting Nicaraguan there really are some outstanding looking match-ups available - now that he has a world title one of the best and most avoided boxers in the sport hopefully won’t struggle for fights.
There were also impressive knockout wins on the card for Giemel Magrano, Dave Apolinario and Jade Bornea.
Looking ahead to the nex couple of months, undefeated Shawn Oda goes for his first title at the Korakuen Hall on 10 November when he takes on Seiryu Toshikawa for the Japanese Youth lightweight strap. In a terrific match up of undefeated fighters, Yuga Inoue and Kai Ishizawa square off for the Japanese Youth strawweight crown and at lightweight Shuya Masaki takes on Izuki Tomioka. Ryuichi Funai also appears on the bill in an IBF super-flyweight eliminator against Victor Emanuel Olivo.
On the same day over at the Minglanilla Sports Complex, Philippines a battle of former world title challengers takes place as Melvin Jerusalem and Toto Landero face off in what should be an excellent minimumweight tussle.
Two days later at the Korakuen Hall, Tomoki Kameda and Abigail Mendina square off for the interim WBC super-bantamweight bauble. The bout was ordered at the recently concluded WBC convention due to a long-term injury to full champion Ray Vargas. After a sticky start to his career Medina captured the European title with a points win over Jeremy Parody and has also scored stoppages over Martin Ward and Anthony Settoul. His last defeat was nearly five years ago on points to Jamie McDonnell but Kameda presents another step up in class.
The next in the 'Pinoy Pride' series takes place at the IEC Convention Center on 24 November. Albert Pagara defends his WBO Intercontinental super-bantamweight strap against George Krampah, Jeo Santisima faces Victor Uriel Lopez for the WBO Oriental 122lbs belt and unbeaten super flyweight KJ Cataraja faces his biggest test when he goes up against Victor Hugo Reyes for the WBO Youth trinket.
Satoshi Shimizu makes the fourth defence of his OPBF featherweight belt against Takuya Uehara at the Korakuen Hall on 3 December. The challenger is unbeaten in 16 fights and has captured the WBC and Japanese Youth baubles but going up against the hard-hitting southpaw will be a different kettle of fish altogether.
Finally, Shuichiro Yoshino defends his Japanese lightweight crown on 13 December at the Korakuen Hall with Kazumasa Kobayashi in the opposite corner.