This past week has seen action return to Asia in a big way, with fights almost every day of the week. Those bouts ranged from seeing a touted debutant to a current world champion, in what was a genuinely great week of action.
The week began with an Ohashi show at the Korakuen Hall which featured a former world title challenger, a world ranked prospect and a fast rising prospect from a brilliant fighting family.
The world ranked prospect was Ryo Matsumoto (19-1, 17), who made a a real statement in dismantling Hideo Sakamoto (17-4-3, 5) inside a round. The talented Matsumoto really looked like a man hungry for a world title fight and took Sakamoto apart like he was journeyman, not a highly regarded domestic foe.
The former world title challenger was Ryuji Hara (22-2, 13), who stopped Akiyoshi Kanazawa (14-7-4, 7) in 6 rounds. A win for Hara was expected but he looked really sharp as he became just the second fighter to stop Kanazawa and now looks to be set for a second world title fight, and there are some interesting options out there for him.
It’s fair to say the Inoue family is one that is making waves, not just in Japan but globally. The lesser known member of the boxing clan, Koki Inoue (7-0, 6), continued his rise as he battered Japanese ranked Mitsuyoshi Fujita (10-3, 3) until the referee saved Fujita in round 5. By the time of the stoppage Fujita had began to have his face used for target practice from Inoue, who was landing uppercutts at will.
For those unaware Koki is the cousin of Naoya and Takuma and is trained by their father Shingo.
On Tuesday the action continued at the Korakuen Hall with the latest Dangan card.
The headline act on that card was former WBA “interim” Flyweight champion Koki Eto (20-4-1, 15) who stopped over-matched Thai visitor Sittichai Bensalaeh (0-1) in what was little more than a stay busy fight. Eto has stated that he is targeting a world title fight, and whilst I’m a huge fan of Eto he’s done little since losing to Carlos Cuadras to deserve another shot at the top.
As mentioned above there was a touted debutant in action this week, that was Hironori Mishiro (1-0, 1). The debutant managed to make an impression as he stopped Thai visitor Natthaphon Numnak (0-2) inside a round and it’s clear that Watanabe gym have big hopes for him.
On Wednesday attention turned to China as Heavyweight hopeful Zhang Junlong (16-0, 16) took on veteran Saul Farah (64-22-3, 56). The heavy handed Chinese fighter needed less than a round to see off Farah, who was dropped twice from body shots, staying down for the count after the second knockdown.
On Friday the action was dispersed with Asian’s fighting in Thailand, Japan and South Africa.
In the main event in Thailand was the exciting Singsayan CP Freshmart (8-0, 3), who over-come former Filipino Joe Tejones (7-3, 3) to retain the WBC Youth Super Flyweight title. Singsayan was forced to work for his win, but it’s a good victory for the unbeaten youngster, who does look like a genuinely exciting talent.
The same Thai card also featured current WBC Minimumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin (46-0, 17), who scored a 6 round decision over Filipino visitor Jaysever Abcede (13-6, 8). The Thai, fighting in a non-title bout here, is looking for another defense of his title soon but kept busy and kept the ring rust off here.
Back at the Korakuen Hall fans saw Tatsuya Takahashi (26-6-5, 18) toy with Rungpetch Saithonggym (0-3) until scoring a 3rd round stoppage. Takahashi is an exciting but flawed fighter who is chasing a second Japanese title fight.
On the under-card of Takashi’s win was a victory for Spicy Matsushita (17-9-1, 2) who took an upset against Yuichiro Kasuya (9-1-1, 1) with a split decision. The touted Kasuya showed a lack of experience here against Matsushita who simply knew the tricks he needed to pick up the win.
In South Africa fight fans saw Filipino tough guy Jason Canoy (26-7-2, 19) suffer a very debatable split decision loss to Mzuvukile Magwaca (18-0-2, 10) in a bout for the WBF Bantamweight title. The judges score cards were a bit all over the place here, but the general view is that Canoy was hard done by and should have had the victory.
On Saturday fans in Tokyo against saw action at the Korakuen Hall on a show promoted by Teiken.
The main event of the card saw former Flyweight champion Toshiyuki Igarashi (23-2-3, 12) suffer a 3rd round technical draw with American Miguel Cartagena (15-3-1, 6). The fight was marred by headclashes before being stopped in round 3 with Igarashi’s left eye looking a mess. Since the bout it’s been reported that the former champion may have suffered an orbital floor fracture, and could be out of action for some time.
Although the main event ended up being a disappointment no one can say that Shuya Masaki (7-0, 3) failed to shine. The unbeaten man dominated veteran Shingo Eto (17-6-1, 9) en route to a wide 8 round decision, and essentially showed that he was ready for a Japanese, or OPBF, title fight at 130lbs. For Eto retirement looms given this was a third straight loss and he now looks like a shell of the fighter he once was.
Masaki was the only unbeaten prospect to shine, as Super Flyweight hopeful Hayate Kaji (7-0, 6), scored an opening round win over Thailand’s Suriya Puttaruksa (0-1). The Thai came out looking good but failed to handle the speed and power of Kaji.
Another Thai suffering an opening round loss was the hopeless Aekkachai Saengtapthing (0-1). The Thai looked confused, lost and hapless before being stopped inside a round by Haruaki Kamiya (6-0, 2). The Thai really looked like he had never put gloves on before this fight and shouldn’t be allowed in the ring again any time soon.
To end Saturday we saw Filipino Mercito Gesta (30-1-2, 16) end a length break from action to defeat the heavy handed Gilberto Gonzalez (26-4, 22) in the US. Gesta was simply too good for Gonzalez and was a clear winner at the end of the 10 rounder.
The busy week came to an end on Sunday with a lot of action in Osaka, where they was several shows.
The first of those shows was headline Rene Dacquel (19-6-1, 6) retaining his OPBF Super Flyweight title with a razor thin split decision win over Shota Kawaguchi (20-8-1, 8). The bout was very competitive through out, and swung back and forth, with Dacquel doing just enough to retain.
A second show in Osaka had a lot more quality on it. Among that was former world title challenger Silvester Lopez (28-12-2, 19) who dropped Ryuto Kyoguchi (14-2-1, 10) on route to an upset 8 round split decision win to kick start his career. Lopez has struggled in recent years but a win like this shows that, on his day, he can be a nightmare.
On the same show fans saw the touted Kazuki Tanaka (7-0, 5) take a majority decision over IBF world ranked Thai Sukkasem Kietyongyuth (16-7, 11). The touted Japanese fighter was pushed all the way in their 8 round bout, with only a knockdown securing him the win on the score cards.
(Scott Graveson covers the Asian boxing scene for www.asianboxing.info)