It’s rare that action in Asia gets much international attention but this past week has been one such week with a trio of world title fights in the region and other notable contests.
The action kicked off on Tuesday in Tokyo, where we had two title fights.
One of those was an “Interim” Japanese Flyweight title fight which saw Masayuki Kuroda (26-7-3, 15) win an exciting 10 round decision against Yuta Matsuo (12-3-1, 6). Both men gave their all and the styles of the two gelled perfectly, though Kuroda always seemed to have that little bit extra skill and class for Matsuo. For fans who get the chance to watch this one, I will just say it hard one of the best rounds of the week, with round 10 being a brilliant 3 minutes of action.
The other title fight saw the fast rising Hiroto Kyoguchi (6-0, 6) score a 3rd round KO win against Armando de la Cruz (25-15-3, 11) to claim the OPBF Minimumweight title. Kyoguchi looked overly-anxious to begin with, rushing his work and making mistakes. Those mistakes saw him take a big shot in round 3, but that shot just seemed to piss him off and he really went after the Filipino following the show, stopping him about 30 seconds later.
On the under-card the exciting Reiya Abe (14-2, 7) took a narrow win against Joe Noynay (12-2-1, 4), in what was a really enjoyable technical bout. Noynay may have lost but he impressed and will bounce back, whilst Abe now looks set for an OPBF title fight. The under-card also had the debut of Kaiki Yuba (1-0, 1), who impressed with a 3rd round win over Thai Petchmahalert Eminent Air (0-5), who was down 4 times during the bout.
In Thailand the unbeaten Sadudee Tor Buamas (8-0, 6) defended the PABA Light Welterweight title with a 12 round decision over Indonesian visitor Yosmar Kefi (4-8, 4). Despite the win some were expecting a more impressive outing from Sadudee who’s power looks to have been over-rated coming in to this bout.
The first of three world title bouts came on Wednesday and saw WBA Minimumweight champion Knockout CP Freshmart (15-0, 7) stop over-matched Japanese challenger Go Odaira (13-6-3, 1) in 3 rounds. This was Odaira’s third world title fight, and his third stoppage loss at world level. I now suspect that he’ll be considering retirement.
Staying with Thjai action from Wednesday we saw wins for Noknoi Sitthiprasert (62-4, 28), Oleydong Sithsamerchai (64-1-1, 25) and Yodmongkol Vor Saengthep (45-3, 30). Although all 3 were in mismatches the plans for the trio do look to be huge with Noknoi said to have agreed a world title fight with Kazuto Ioka and Oleydong being in the running for a fight with Naoya Inoue.
The following day WBC Bantamweight champion Shinsuke Yamanaka (27-0-2, 19) made the 12th defense of his title with a 7th round TKO win against Mexican Carlos Carlson (22-2, 13). The bout was a mismatch with the champion seemingly over-looking Carlson at times, and being tagged by some wild right hands as a result, but closed the show in style early in round 7.
On the under-card of Yamanaka’s win fans saw Japanese Super Featherweight champion Kenichi Ogawa (21-1, 16) struggle with mandatory challenger Satoru Sugita (12-4-1, 7). Sugita seemed to out box the bigger puncher, but was unfortunately on the wrong end of a majority decision here.
Further down the card were a decision win for Filipino Brian Viloria (37-5-0-2, 22), who shook off some ring rust with an 8 round decision win against Ruben Montoya (14-5-1, 9), and a 3rd round win for Ryosuke Iwasa (23-2, 14), who dominated Filipino visitor Glenn Medura (8-2-1, 5).
On Saturday the action continued with another world title bout that saw Mexican Juan Hernandez Navarrete (34-2, 25) defeat Nawaphon Por Chokchai (36-1, 28) in 3 rounds for the WBC Flyweight title. Nawaphon looked totally out of his depth whilst the Mexican proved his world class ability before securing a 3rd round TKO.
On the under-card Yudel Reyes (8-0) out boxed the in-form Pongsaklek Sithdabnij (11-4-1, 9) whilst Suriyan Sor Rungvisai (49-7-1, 25) who easily stopped Tommy Seran (28-14, 16). Rather peculiarly Suriyan had recently failed a drug test but seems any punishment is being delayed, if anything will actually be done anyway.
World title action continued in Mexico, where Naoko Shibata (16-4-1, 5) lost the IBF female Light Flyweight title to Alondra Garcia (17-3-1, 1). The bout was an exciting and high tempo back and forth, though Garcia was helped by the crowd and it was possibly the difference maker in a very fun contest.
Back in Japan on Saturday we had the chance to see Kazuhiro Nishitani (17-4-1, 9) score a career defining win over Shuhei Tsuchiya (22-5, 18) to claim the Japanese Lightweight title. Nishitani, the mandatory challenger, was dropped early in the bout but out lasted Tsuchiya who was stopped in round 8 following some vicious body shots.
Former Japanese champion Hiroki Okada (15-0, 11) had a scare as he took on Filipino Rodel Wenceslao (11-14-1, 4). The Filipino came out swinging and had some real success against Okada, before being broken down by body shots in round 7. Okada now has eyes on the OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific titles, but will need to put in a better performance than this to win either of those belts.
(Scott Graveson covers the Asian boxing scene for www.asianboxing.info)