This past week hasn’t been massively busy but there has been a good amount of action featuring Asian fighters in some brilliant bouts, some upsets and some great KO’s.
The first bout of note took place on Wednesday in the Philippines and ended up with Jhaleel Payao (15-1, 8) being crowned the new Philippines Boxing Federation (PBF) Bantamweight champion courtesy of a unanimous decision win over Jason Tinampay (8-4-1, 7). The bout saw Payao, a regular sparring partner for top Japanese fighters, claiming his second PBF title amd his third belt over-all. Although Payao was beaten back in 2015, by the very talented Michael Dasmarinas, he’s not allowed that defeat to rock his confidence and he’s now picked up 4 wins on the spin.
On Friday when we the only Japanese card of note for the week, but what a card it was with two former world title challengers and a former world champion all in interesting bouts on a pay card from the people at A-sign Boxing.
The first of three notable bouts saw former world title challenger Hisashi Amagasa (32-6-2, 20), best known for dropping Guillermo Rigondeaux twice, take a majority decision win over veteran Kinshiro Usui (27-5, 11). On paper we suspect many international fans would have seen this as a mismatch, especially given that Usui is 37 years old, instead however the bout ended up being a thriller essentially decided by a 5th round flash knockdown scored by Amagasa. Sadly it was another performance from the lanky Amagasa that seemed to suggest his best days were behind him.
The other world title challenger was 2-time world title challenger Ryo Akaho (30-2-2, 19), who headlined the show in a Japanese Bantamweight title clash with Yushi Tanaka (19-2-3, 13). Although exposed twice at world level Akaho had far too much for Tanaka who was game for the most part but widely out pointed by Akaho, who claims his first national title. Although Akaho won, 98-92 on all 3 cards, he certainly didn’t shine and will have left a bullseye on his back for the likes of talented youngster Hinata Maruta.
The biggest name on the card was former world champion Tomoki Kameda (33-2, 20), who featured in the chief support bout as he took on Thailand’s Mike Tawatchai (42-10-1, 25). The bout, Tomoki’s Japanese ring return after 3 years on the road, was almost a punch perfect performance from the only active Kameda from his famed family. Tawatchai showed his toughness throughout but was widely out boxed and dropped in round 6 as Kameda did everything but score a stoppage.
One man who did manage to score a stopped was Filipino Romero Duno (13-1, 12), who upset the previously unbeaten Christian Gonzalez (16-1, 14) on Friday night in the US. The touted Gonzalez had bossed much of the first round with his aggression, but was tagged frequently by the heavy handed Duno, It wasn’t until close to the end of the round that either man really dented the other though, with a Duno right hand sending down Gonzalez hard in the final seconds. Gonzalez got to his feet and saw out the end of the opening round but was dropped in round 2 forcing the referee to stop the bout with Gonzalez on his feet, just moments before Gonzalez fell hard to the canvas again.
The biggest Asian card of the week came on Saturday in Hong Kong where we had a number of notable Asian fighters in action.
In the briefest of outings Filipino puncher Rey Megrino (24-20-4, 21) made his power known as he stopped Japan’s Yuki Strong Kobayashi (10-7, 5) in less than 25 seconds. It only took one solid right hand to send Kobayashi crashing to the canvas the referee had no option but to wave off the bout.
In an 8 rounder fans saw Takuya Watanabe (31-7-1, 16) defeat Thai veteran Khunkiri Wor Wisaruth (24-19-2, 16). The bout was a near shut out for Watanabe, who was bouncign back from a loss on December 31st to Masayuki Ito. Although not a world class talent Watanabe will hover in, and around, the fringes of Oriental level and will always make for good fights with aggressive foes, as he did against both Jaesung Lee and Satoshi Hosono, and will remain as one to watch over the years that come.
The chief support bout on the show saw fringe world title contender Mark Anthony Geraldo (34-7-3, 15) take a 10 round decision win over countryman Kenny Demecillo (12-4-2, 7) to become the WBO Oriental Bantamweight champion. Geraldo came in to this bout needing a win and that’s what he got as he used his skills and experience to out box and out-battle Demecillo, and resurrect his career in the process.
The main event of the card was possibly the bout of the week and saw Rex Tso (21-0, 13) over-come former world title challenger Hirofumi Mukai (13-5-3, 3) in a pier 6 brawl. Tso started fast and swarmed over Mukai from the off, with Mukai forced to cover up and look for counters. Unfortunately for Mukai his lack of power was telling and in round 2 he was dropped, then again in round 6 before being finished with a gut busting straight right hand in round 8. Despite be down 3 times Mukai gave his all in a thriller that could end up being one of the Asian fights of the year.
(Scott Graveson covers the Asian boxing scene for www.asianboxing.info)