Asian scene: another Knockout win
A controversial victory for minimumweight Knockout CP Freshmart headlines Marcus Bellinger's round-up of all the latest action from across Asia...
Knockout CP Freshmart made his latest minimumweight title defence but in rather fortunate circumstances against unbeaten but untested ArAr Andales in Thailand on 2 August.
The champion's last few contests have been poor spectacles but thankfully we had far more action in this one. Andales wasn’t at all daunted by his surroundings or his opponent as he took it to Knockout from the opening bell.
Knockout responded in kind as we were treated to some enjoyable back and forth action. As the fight progressed Knockout reverted to holding and spoiling, tactics which have become annoyingly synonymous with the Thai.
In round seven the pair clashed heads before a cut opened up on Knockout’s right eye and another cut opened up on his other eye in the following stanza which saw the contest halted. It seemed like the cut which resulted in the doctor stopping the fight had come from a punch but we went to the cards and the home man was declared the winner via totals of 77-75, 78-74 and an embarrassing card of 79-73. Andales proved his mettle and can come again whilst Knockout is a champion seemingly there for the taking. although he will be difficult to defeat in his homeland.
Later that evening in Florida it wasn’t to be for Koki Eto, who was out-boxed over ten rounds by Jeyvier Cintron in a rematch to determine the mandatory challenger for Kazuto Ioka. Eto was made to miss repeatedly and was dropped in round two, although it wasn’t a heavy knockdown. The man from Japan had limited success as Cintron moved throughout the large majority of the fight and took a unanimous decision with all three cards reading 99-90 although the Puerto Rican's negative tactics didn’t endear him to the crowd.
In his first bout since exceeding all expectations against WBO light middleweight champion Jaime Munguia, Takeshi Inoue returned to reclaim the WBO Asia Pacific 154lbs belt with a second-round KO of Patomsuk Pathompothong on 3 August. A left hook to the body brought proceedings to a close and Inoue is now intent on trying to secure a second world title shot.
The much anticipated OPBF super-bantamweight battle between Hiroaki Teshigawara and Shohei Omori didn’t quite produce the all-out fireworks that some may have expected but the 8 August clash at the Korakuen Hall was no less a compelling spectacle. The first couple of rounds saw Teshigawara moving effectively to offset Omori who struggled to land with anything significant. Omori had better success in round three but Teshigawara re-established control in the fourth.
Omori was cut in the fifth before the pace really picked up in the sixth as Omori landed with some solid left hands, but Teshigawara turned the tide in the second half of the round to wrestle back control. The challenger made a real surge over the next few rounds and by the end of round ten things were getting really interesting. Unfortunately for the Kyoto born southpaw his efforts had left him with not much in the tank, whilst the champion had taken Omori’s best and was still firing. Knowing his man was there for the taking, Teshigawara poured on the pressure and got the stoppage with just 24 seconds left in the contest. This win should propel him onto a real big fight if not a world title tilt.
You can watch Teshigawara vs Omori here
The undercard saw the highly impressive Masahiro Suzuki score a second-round knockout of Kosuke Arioka to take his record to 3-0 (2 KOs). Suzuki dropped his man with a counter right hand in round one before Arioka responded to land some artillery of his own in the second. However a Suzuki body shot left him down and out and with Arioka domestically ranked at lightweight expect Suzuki to be knocking on the door for titles in the very near future.
August 17 saw Albert Pagara and Jeo Santisima pick up opening round blowouts versus Lucky Tor Buamas and Alvius Maufani respectively whilst over in LA Janibek Alimkhanuly stopped Stuart McLellan in five.
After a loss in China, Ryota Yamauchi returned to winning ways as he took a hard-fought eight-round majority decision versus Alphoe Dagayloan on 23 August via scores of 78-74, 77-75 and 76-76.
August 24 was a hectic day for Asian fighters. Beginning at the Takeda Teva Ocean Arena in Nagoya as Kosei Tanaka eventually saw off mandatory challenger Jonathan Gonzalez to retain his WBO flyweight title. Coming in, rumours had surfaced that Tanaka had struggled making weight and he looked rather sluggish over the first couple of rounds. A body shot dropped Gonzalez in the third and the writing looked to be on the wall for the Puerto Rican. The challenger scored his own knockdown in the next stanza and whilst it was more of a balance issue the champion was looking really out of sorts.
Gonzalez continued to pepper away at Tanaka until round seven when the home man turned up the heat and really let his hands go, dropping Gonzalez with another body shot. Sensing this was his chance, Tanaka went for the kill - flooring his man twice more, bringing proceedings to a close. It will be interesting to see whether Tanaka moves up to super flyweight as he has talked about an all-Japanese super fight with Kazuto Ioka.
Kento Hatanaka was given a severe examination by Jaysever Abcede but eventually prevailed in a terrific ten-rounder which was the co-main to the Tanaka Gonzalez contest. Hatanaka showed respect to Abcede over the first two rounds before dropping him in round three and landing some lovely combinations at the end of the round. The Filipino turned the tables in the next stanza, eventually putting Hatanaka down and this was by far the trickiest time in the Japanese youngster’s career so far.
Hatanaka managed to regroup in the fifth and then the pace dramatically slowed in the next couple of rounds. Both were now showing signs of fatigue but a thrilling exchange in the final minute of the tenth brought to a close a highly enjoyable contest. The home man took the verdict via totals of 96-92, 96-93 and 95-93 and this will be a valuable experience for him going forward.
It was then on to the Philippines as John Riel Casimero took care of Cesar Ramirez to book his shot at WBO bantamweight champion Zolani Tete. Ramirez came out with real intent but Casimero came with plenty of aggression himself and the Filipino was awarded a knockdown in round three although it seemed like a push. The Mexican continued to press but again had a knockdown awarded against him in round five from what looked like a push.
Ramirez showed great heart but was nearly sent out of the ring in the seventh, with Casimero hunting for the knockout victory. By now the Filipino had neglected the jab and was simply throwing power shots but took the occasional shot in reply from the visitor. A body shot then a right hand put Ramirez on the canvas again in the tenth and this time the fight was over and now Casimero can look forward to his crack at the South African.
The undercard saw gifted young former amateur Criztian Pitt Laurente take out Christian Gabayeron in a round and fast rising Charlie Suarez dismissed Virgil Puton also inside a round.
Over in Russia, Meiirim Nursultanov scored a fifth-round knockdown on his way to a ten-round unanimous win versus Artur Osipov with all three cards reading 98-91.
Unfortunately there was less good news for Filipino boxing fans as Vic Saludar was relieved of his WBO minimumweight title on the road in Puerto Rico by Wilfredo Mendez. Despite putting Mendez down in round five, Saludar struggled for any sustained success and the fleet-footed challenger prevailed via unanimous verdict with tallies of 117-110, 116-111 and 115-112.
Finally over in Mexico, Shakhram Giyasov wasted no time as he got rid of Darleys Perez inside a minute to extend his unbeaten record to 9-0.
In just his second professional bout Bektemir Melikuziev destroyed Adrian Luna Flores inside a round on 30 August in the US. Body shots proved to be the key for the Uzbek and after a first knockdown from a shot to the midsection the Mexican was left writhing in agony from another shot to the torso and it’s abundantly clear that Melikuziev is a fighter who can be moved extremely rapidly.
Lastly, on the final day of August Mark Magsayo picked up a 12-round unanimous decision victory over Pungluang Sor Singyu in Bohol with scores of 120-108 twice and 118-110 and Reymart Gaballo stopped Yeison Vargas in three rounds.
On 17 September rising Ohashi prospect Taku Kuwahara faces world-ranked Jonathan Refugio at the Korakuen Hall. Kuwahara has been dubbed 'Ioka 2' in Japan and hasn’t put a foot wrong so far and a victory over the Filipino visitor who has mixed with the likes of Wanheng Menayothin, Knockout CP Freshmart and Hiroto Kyoguchi will be an excellent step in the right direction.
Yusaku Kuga makes the first defence of the Japanese super-bantamweight title versus Yosuke Fujihara on 21 September on the same bill as the national 105lbs title eliminator between Kai Ishizawa and Masataka Taniguchi. Also on this card 4-0 (3 KOs) super-flyweight prospect Tsubasa Murachi takes a risky clash versus Froilan Saludar for the WBO Asia Pacific 115lbs bauble.
Light-flyweight titlist Hiroto Kyoguchi makes his return at the EDION Arena on 1 October in an all-Japanese tussle with Tetsuya Hisada. Kyoguchi will aim to build on his unanimous points win over Satamuamlek cp Freshmart in June whilst preserving a much talked about clash with Kenshiro. Hisada, who is nearing 35, made five defences of the national crown and this will almost certainly be his only shot at a world title.
Promising undefeated lightweight Shuichiro Yoshino takes on Harmonito Dela Torre on 10 October in what will now be for the full OPBF crown given that champion Masayoshi Nakatani has vacated with the WBO Asia Pacific crown also on the line. Yoshino has been sparring with Jorge Linares in recent times and a win over Dela Torre will be another step up the ladder.
There is a significant card on 26 October containing 5 Japanese title eliminators with the highlights being at flyweight as Ryota Yamauchi faces Seiya Fujikita and at featherweight with talented Hinata Maruta squaring off against Takenori Ohashi.
The WBSS bantamweight final between Naoya Inoue and Nonito Donaire will take place at the Super Arena in Saitama, Japan on 7 November. Tickets are already selling like hot cakes and this is set to be a major event in the land of the rising sun with Inoue - the face of the lower weights - taking on Donaire, who has been one of the most recognisable names in the lighter weights over the last decade.
Naoya’s younger brother Takuma joins him on the card as he finally gets a crack at WBC champion Nordine Oubaali. This battle of the speedsters should be an intriguing affair with home advantage possibly proving crucial.
The next move for Kenichi Ogawa has been a strange saga with an IBF 130lbs eliminator versus Azinga Fuzile eventually falling through and now the Teiken super featherweight will face Joe Noynay for the WBO Asia Pacific title on 7 December. The Filipino will be looking for a hat-trick of victories in Japan after stopping Kosuke Saka and Satoshi Shimizu whilst a victory for Ogawa is essential to keep his dreams of another world title tilt alive.