Saturday, 1 September 2012

Mario Rodriguez v Nkosinathi Joyi

Have we just had the upset of the year by Super Mario?
Unheralded Mexican tough man Mario Rodriguez (15-6-4, 11) may not have the best of records on paper but he has arguably just scored the upset of the year as he became the first man to stop the very talented Nkosinathi Joyi (22-1-0-1, 15) and claimed the IBF Minimumweight title.

Whilst only the hardcore boxing fans had heard of Nkosinathi Joyi they respected the South African. Not only was he unbeaten but he appeared to have it all, he was a great puncher, very fluid, great movement, technically sound and with superb stamina. He had beaten a relative who's who in his previous 23 bouts including the likes of Katsunari Takayama, Raul Garcia, Sammy Gutierrez and Florante Condes. His travels to Mexico to face Rodriguez wasn't meant to see usurped, it was instead supposed to be a chance to show case his skills outside of his homeland.

In the early rounds things went well for Joyi who was using his boxing ability to keep the tough Rodriguez at range. Whilst Rodriguez was pressuring and landing punches himself it was clear that Joyi was winning the rounds with his better movement, better shots and superior power. As the rounds went on however Rodriguez was gradually getting closer, cutting the distance and having more success. Every round it seemed that Rodriguez was doing better whilst Joyi was starting to wilt.

Things started to swing Rodriguez's way in round 5 as he started to connect with more success. Joyi wasn't being particularly bothered by any single shot, and was still possibly doing enough to claim the round but it was much closer than the previous ones. Round 6 continued the swing with Rodriguez now starting to grind down the champion. Whilst Joyi was still landing the better shots he was starting to get hit more himself by a challenger who refused to be swayed from his game plan.

At the start of the 7th round Joyi's shorts had really lost their sharp, crisp snap and he was starting to look tired. The pressure from Rodriguez was starting to pay off. Then, almost out of nowhere, Rodriguez seemed to wobble Joyi, the challenger went in for the kill and Joyi dropped to his knees where he remained until the referee was done with his count.

As the new IBF champion Rodriguez has a number of options. He could offer a rematch to Joyi, he could attempt to lure the winner of the upcoming WBO title bout between Ivan Calderon and Moises Fuentes into a unification or he could look to moving up.

For Joyi however the future is perhaps more limited. He has suffered long bouts of inactivity, his first trip abroad has been unsuccessful and he currently has little to no bargaining power so he will almost certainly need to travel for a fight of note (unless he wishes to face fellow South African Hekkie Budler for the IBO title). I'd expect however that Joyi, at 5'6" will have been struggling with to make the 105lb weight limit so perhaps the most likely outcome is that Joyi moves to either Light Flyweight or even Flyweight to allow his body the freedom to grow.

Whilst most boxing fans will not be aware of just how big of an upset this, it's genuinely huge and on par (at worst) with Sonny Boy Jaro's victory over Pongsaklek Wonjongkam.

No comments:

Post a Comment