Saturday, 31 August 2013

Adrian Hernandez v Atsushi Kakutani

Mexican Adrian Hernandez (28-2-1, 17) did as he was expected on Saturday night as he defeated, and stopped, Japanese fighter Atsushi Kakutani (13-4-1, 6) in a defence of the WBC Light Flyweight title.

Hernandez, who was defending the belt for the third time this year was in unexpected trouble in the opening round when he was dropped though he showed the Mexican fighting spiriting by getting back to his feet and battling back hard in what turned out to be a very entertaining contest.

The fight had some highlight real exchanges in rounds 2 and 3 and it was obvious that one man or the other was going to be stopped sooner or later.

The beginning of the end occurred early in round 4 as Kakutani was sent to the canvas. The Japanese warrior managed to recover to his feet but his legs never looked like they were with him and he was sent down again and then again before the referee was forced to intervene calling a half to the bout just 72 seconds in to round 4.

With Kakutani managing to drop Hernandez it could well be that the champion is all but done at the 108lb limit, a limit that his body just seems too big for. If Ohashi can drag Hernandez over to Japan there is every chance that Noaya Inoue could well face him in what would be Inoue's 5th pro bout and on this performance I wouldn't bet against Inoue

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Omar Andres Narvaez v Hiroyuki Hisataka

Argentinian great Omar Andres Narvez (40-1-2, 21) successfully defended his WBO Super Flyweight title in very impressive fashion stopping Japanese challenger Hiroyuki Hisataka (20-11-1, 10).

It was obvious from the first round that Narvaez was the more skilled fighter and although Hisataka looked capable and showed some impressive elusiveness he was struggling to land his own shots on the trick South American southpaw. Unfortunately for Hisataka the longer the bout went on the less elusive he got as Narvaez went through the gears.

For the first 4 rounds Hisataka was having some success, though it appeared that his success were becoming more and more scarce as Narvaez moved from one gear to another allowing Hisataka to feel confident before landing a follow of shots upstairs and downstairs. It really was looking like a boxing masterclass at times by the diminutive veteran.

By round 5 it seems Narvaez had had enough of playing with his prey and he moved up yet again as he finished the round with a giant assault.

If the attack at the end of round signified anything it was that Narvaez was wanting a stoppage and in round 6 he really went for it dominating Hisataka with shots that sent the Japanese fighter back tracking from one side of the ring to another as he searched for some space. Unfortunately for the Japanese fighter Narvaez could smell blood and he kept hammering away with shots probably dominating in a clear enough fashion to have taken the round 10-8.

Hisataka, knowing he had to show something, came out fast for round 7 with a long attack. Unfortunately for Hisataka his shots were predictable and mostly blocked by Narvaez who came back hard with his own onslaught which continued viciously into the following round as Narvaez really went for the stoppage.

Although Hisataka managed to see out rounds 8 and 9 it was obvious that the shots were taking an effect and in round 10 Narvaez connected with several hard, clean body shots that appeared to take away what little fight Hisataka had left. With Hisataka clearly hurt from the shots to the midsection Narvaez launched one final attack with the referee this time stepping in to stop the bout before Hisataka took any more, unnecessary, shots.

Abner Mares v Jhonny Gonzalez

Mexican youngster Abner Mares (26-1-1, 14) started Saturday as a genuine contender for the pound for pound lists, he was expected by many, including myself, to continue his rise to super stardom he took on the hard hitting Jhonny Gonzalez (55-8, 47) in a defense of the WBC Featherweight title. Unfortunately not everything goes the way people expect, especially not when you face a dynamite puncher like Gonzalez.

The bout started tentatively with both men looking to use their jab and box the other. Neither man could really muster much success in the first 2 minutes of action though Gonzalez finally manged to connect in the final minute or so of the round sending Mares down hard with a hard single left.

Mares, showing the champions heart managed to recover to his feet his feet but was still feeling the ill effects of the shots when he was allowed to continue by the referee. Gonzalez sensed the fact Mares hadn't had time to recover his feet and jumped on him with a with a powerful combination of shots that dropped Mares for a second time. This time the referee didn't allow the bout to continue and instead, rightfully, protected Mares from himself.

After the fight Mares congratulated Gonzalez, who he described as a friend and said that he'll be back again. Gonzalez, seemed vindicated by the result and will be looking for a long and fruitful reign this time, his third as champion

Victor Terrazas v Leo Santa Cruz

Fast rising Mexican Leo Santa Cruz (25-1, 15) successfully moved to Super Bantamweight as he dominated fellow Mexican Victor Terrazas (37-3-1, 21) and claimed the WBC Super Bantamweight title in very impressive fashion.

The opening round was incredibly fun as both men went to war from the off and although Terrazas was having success  he was taking more than he, himself was landing, and infact the shots he was getting hit with all looked heavier than anything he himself was landing.

If the first round was close the second really wasn't. Again Terrazas  tried to be competitive but he simply couldn't stop the onslaught and by the end of the round his right eye was swelling shut from the damage he was being forced to take for all the head shots. Unfortunately for Terrazas he couldn't solely attempt to defend his eye as he was also being cracked to the body by Santa Cruz who was determined to make a big impression.

With Terrazas's eye swelling up he had a massive bullseye, excuse the pun, on his face, a target that Santa Cruz was happy to attack as he again went on the offensive. This time however Santa Cruz was happier to box at mid range using his jab to target the eye.

With hard shots coming in Terrazas went down, looking like a beaten man. Although Terrazas did get to his feet he barely landed another punch before he was down again. Though Terrazas got to his feet for a second time the referee, seeing an almost resigned look on Terrazas face decided to wave the bout off, declaring Santa Cruz the winner via 3rd round TKO.

Santa Cruz did say he'd stick at 122 for a few fights and defend the title though a move to 126 seems almost certain within the next year or two as he hunts down legacy defining fights.

Stanyslav Kashtanov v Jaime Barboza

Little known "interim" WBA Super Middleweight champion  Stanyslav Kashtanov (31-1, 17) successfully retained his title today as he stopped the usually durable Costa Rican Jaime Barboza (18-8, 8) in the 10th round.

The fight, in Ukraine saw Kashtanov defending his title for the first time and it was obvious his confidence had grown since winning the title last time out. He took the centre of the ring and Barboza really struggled to get in close to the champion.

Although the champion is far from a puncher he is an intelligent fighter and seemed intent to just chip away at Barboza round after round as he slowly broke down the challenger. Although Barboza, who came in to the bout with a 2-4 record in his last 6 bouts, was never a real threat it was a case of staying professional until Barboza was there to put away.

In round 10 Kashtanov finally got he chance he was looking for as he dropped Barboza for the count becoming just the second man to stop the Costa Rican who's title hope must surely be over now.

The victory was never in doubt for Kashtanov though hopefully next time out he will be facing a better opponent than Barboza, how about someone like DeGale?

Friday, 23 August 2013

Argenis Mendez v Arash Usmanee

In a genuinely thrilling contest for the IBF Super Featherweight title champion Argenis Mendez (21-2-1, 11) managed just retain his title courtesy of majority decision draw against determined challenger Arash Usmanee (20-1-1, 10).

The Afghan born-Canadian Usmanee set off at an amazing pace forcing Mendez on to to the ropes from the off. Although Mendez was comfortable on the ropes with his counter punching skills it was pretty obvious that he lost the opening round with Usmanee seriously out working him. It was clear from the off that Usmanee wasn't there to just make up the numbers and immediately made an impact with his aggression an workate.

Usmanee's relentless aggression continued through out the fight though Mendez managed to put his foot on the gas with his counters in round 2 as he managed to get through with some clean shots of his own. The success of Mendez grew and in round 3 he made a solid case for the round with his counters which had become more and more regular as the opening few rounds went on.

Although Mendez continue to have success with his counters in rounds 4, 5, 6 and 7 it was becoming harder and harder work for the champion to back up the challenger. Mendez's own bombing counters, although looking like monster shots seemed to just bounce off Usmanee who came straight back at him with flurries of shots of his own as he tried to out work and grind down the champion.

Despite Mendez's success through a series of the middle rounds Usmanee would fight back hard in round 8 and 9 as the two men were dragged in to a war. By now Mendez seemed to realise that Usmanee wasn't going to just tire and realised that he was going to have to show some offense of his own. The champion tried to bomb the challenger with fearsome hooks but the challenger, showing his toughness refused to back down as the rounds finished with both men having major success.

The championship rounds saw it all to play for and both men knew it as Mendez began to hold his ground more often and the two men traded in centre ring in a very eye catching back and forth. It was almost impossible to split them as they went at each other with bad intentions, ufortunately the lack of power both men had saw them being able to take the hardest shots with out going down but it looked thoroughly dramatic through out.

It appeared that both men knew the fight was in the balance in the final round and both men fought as if they needed it, giving us one of the genuine round of the year contenders, it, like much of the fight was tough to score. Did you prefer the relentless if somewhat ineffective aggression of Usmanee or the crisp classy work of Mendez?

The judges decided that they liked the styles equally as well as each other and scored the bout a draw, a fitting result given the effort of both men in a bout that I'd certainly like to see again!

Claudio Marrero v Jesus Marcelo Andres Cuellar

In a battle for the interim WBA Featherweight title Jesus Marcelo Andres Cuellar  (23-1, 18) upset the hotly tipped Claudio Marrero (14-0, 11)

The fight started on a very even keel with both men looking to establish their jabs in the opening round. Although Cuellar seemed to do just enough to claim it it was very even and certainly not a round many would deny could have gone either way. Marrero seemed to claim the second round, though again it was close. In fact many of the early rounds were close with 38-38 seeming the likely outcome but scores of 39-37 or even 40-36 could have been argued either way.

Through the first 4 rounds it was obvious that we had two fighters were not only evenly matched but also had contrasting styles. Cuellar was the busier man easily throwing and landing more than Marrero however Marrero was the man looking more skillful and using his defensive techniques well.

Cuellar's pressure was starting to take it's toll in the fifth round, a round that he appeared to clearly win before opening up some space on the scorecards by dropping Marrero in round 6 to take a 10-8 round. Although the first 4 rounds had been razor thin it now appeared that Cuellar was taking over the bout against his previously unbeaten opponent.

Although Marrero fought back hard in the following round it was obvious that Cuellar was getting to him and the pressure and relentlessness of the Argentinian was really making Marrero work harder and harder than he'd have wanted.

The fact Marrero had a good round 7 was nothing other than a blip as Cuellar re-established control of the bout with his work rate backing up Marrero almost at will. Marrero continued to show good hand speed and movement but by now his lack of power and work effectively allowed Cuellar to do as he wished as he walked in time and time again swinging volley's of shots in Marrero's direction. In fact for many of the later rounds Marrero's best defense was his ability to tie Cuellar who rocked him hard in the final seconds of the bout to confirm his victory.

For Marrero this was disappointing, many had been hyping him, myself included, due to his performances in the past, for Cuellar however it's put him near to the "Big Boys Table" and may well have opened the door to a fight with Vasyl Lomachenko early next year.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Takashi Miura v Sergio Thompson

In a barnstormer in Cancun WBC Super Featherweight champion Takashi Miura (26-2-2, 19) managed to successfully defend his title over-coming hard hitting Mexican Sergio Thompson (27-3, 25).

The fight started with a typical feeling out round before the two men really got down two work in round two with both trading monstrous bombs. Unfortunately for the Mexican challenger it appeared the Japanese champion was the bigger puncher and he managed to drop Thompson in the second. A follow up attack from Miura seemed almost certain to see of the challenger who was wobbly legged but miraculously he managed to be saved by the bell.

Miura built on his success in round 2 by really taking the action to Thompson in rounds 3 and 4 though he couldn't again drop the tough Mexican before the opening scoring was read out for the first time. The scoring after 4 favoured Miura, much to the chagrin of the pro-Thompson crowd who loudly booed the announcement.

Thompson had his first notable success in round 5 a round he boxed well in and seemed to clearly win by ditching the brawling tactics and instead boxing and moving, a strategy that he had ignored in the first rounds as he chose to fight a fighter.

Despite the success of his boxing in the fifth Thompson seemed intent on proving he was the better fighter and he was dropped in round 6 as a result of fighting with Miura, despite actually hurting Miura prior to being dropped.

In round 7 it appeared the Mexican had learned hi lesson and got back to his boxing avoiding a tear up and again winning a round by using his actually skills and not trying to out tough a better brawler. It was possibly only the second round Thompson had won but showed that he did have the skills needed to make Miura look bad.

After losing round 7 Miura went on the attack in round 8 and was himself dropped by Thompson who appeared to have began a comeback of his own turning a 3 point swing in the space of just 2 rounds.

Unfortunately for Thompson however his comeback was short lived and despite a good round 9 he was really out fought in round 10 as Miura hammered him around the ring looking for a knockout. Although the KO didn't come for Miura it was obvious that Thompson didn't have much left in the tank and Miura went for the KO again in round 11.

Despite being hammered around the ring for 2 rounds Thompson had a good final round though it wasn't enough to turn around a big points deficit that he had found himself in and rightfully Miura took a decision to retain his title

Daniel Geale v Darren Barker

In a second successive upset at the Revel Resort, Atlantic City Darren Barker (26-1, 16) claimed a close split decision to take the IBF Middleweight title from Australian Daniel Geale (29-2, 15) in an enthralling and very difficult to score 12 round contest.

The fight started at an amazing pace with both men standing close and trading attacks, Geale, known for his work rate appeared to be his usual busy self but Barker seemed to be just as confident in his stamina and matched Geale almost punch for punch in a great round. The round really could have gone either way and it was one of a number of swing rounds the fight saw as the men refused to let the other really take any advantage, however Barker did land a low one on the bell to end round 2.

The first clear round was the third a round won by Barker thanks to his excellent crisp shots that seemed to rattle Geale at several points. The Aussie tried to fight back but for the first time he was unable to really answer the firepower of the Englishman.

Although Barker had claimed the third Geale appeared to bounce back excellently and took the fourth round as he stepped up his work rate and tried to show Barker that HE was the champion and he wouldn't give up his title with out a fight. It was by the end of this round that both guys were showing signs of having been in a fight with their left eyes reddening from the shots they had each landed. The eyes only got worse through round 5 as they again fought a very tight round that saw Geale landing a low blow that appeared to be a revenge shot for the one Barker hand landed on him

If round 3 was the first clear round then round 6  was the clearest round as Geale dropped Barker hard from a body shot that he only just managed to get up from. The shot, an absolute beauty, would have finished off most men but Barker found a way to will himself to his feet and despite taking a shellacking for a good portion of the round he managed to turn things around late to prove there was still plenty of fight in him.

Following the body shot in the sixth Geale appeared to target the mid section again in round 7 though it was Barker who landed the notable shots and by the end of it Geale's trademark work rate appeared to have deserted with Barker actually having the much better round of the two fighters

The work rate of Geale did return in roudn 8 though only in the first minute or so before Barker came back and possibly stole the round in another of the fights many swing rounds. Unfortunately for Barker it seemed like round 9 was a solid Gale round although Barker did himself land some solid shots it was hard to award him the round as he looked sluggish and tired for the first time.

Barker seemed to bounce back well in round 10 as Geale began to look tired and although neither man appeared able to really hurt the other neither man seemed to be able to really great a gap in the scoring due to close nature of the rounds and the fact that every time one guy won one cleanly the other seemed to take the next.

Going in to the championship rounds it was really anyone's fight due to the close nature of so many rounds. Unfortunately for Geale however he was looking worse for wear not just facially with his lip being swollen but also physically with his work rate dropping dramatically. Geale tried to force himself to battle hard against Barker in the later rounds but amazing Barker fought back even hard and appeared to take round 11.

Having lost the 11 Geale managed to fight back harder in the 12 and probably just took that to even out the score from the previous round.

With so many tight rounds any result was fair and whilst I had the bout a victory to the champion (115-112) the judges felt that Barker had done enough to deserve a split decision with scores of 114-113 each way and an oddly wide card of 116-111 to Barker. I understand there were plenty of swing rounds but 116-111 either way seems unfair to the loser of a great fight.

If anything has come from this, one of the best fights of the year, it's that a rematch should take place as it would be a bit hit with the fans and the fighters as well as HBO

Jhonatan Romero v Kiko Martinez

It's not often a fighter lives up to his name but Spaniard Kiko Martinez (29-4, 21) really was "La SensaciĆ³n" in taking the IBF Super Bantamweight title from talented Colombian Jhonathan Romero (23-1, 12) via a stunning 6th round TKO.

Martinez set off at an electric pace and forced Romero on to the ropes where he unloaded. It was shocking that Romero, a genuinely talented boxer, was just being pushed around and bullied by Martinez who Romero within seconds of the bell going. The opening round really did set the tone for Martinez who was relentless and could well have been 10-8 up after just 3 minutes.

Romero fought back in the following 2 rounds as he began to use the ring and box with Martinez, something he really needed to do from the off.

Unfortunately for the Colombian his success didn't last long and Martinez was right back on top of him in the 4th round, another round where Romero was rocked around the ring. It seemed like the Colombian was ready to go down several times though showed great heart to remain on his feet despite taking such a hammering that his eye was badly cut.

Having seen blood, literally, Martinez went straight on the attack in round 5 and although his shots weren't crisp and smooth they were thudding to the head, the body, the arms and every part of Romero that he could land on. It was obvious that he was just going to break him down or die trying.

It was in round 6 that Romero finally ran out of steam and became a human punch bag for Martinez who threw, threw, threw and threw some more and he again sent Romero in to the ropes and unloaded. This time however Romero was unable to get away and his desire to win was wearing down.

The Colombian did land 3 huge shots off the ropes and connected on Martinez with all 3 but the Spaniard shook them off and continued on his attack before finally getting Romero in the corner and forcing the referees hand.

The victory for Martinez was a huge shock. Many, myself included, didn't feel as though Martinez deserved the shot having lost to Carl Frampton last time out, in fact I half expect Frampton to be slashing his wrists right now knowing the man he beat just a title fight whilst he didn't.

It's unlikely Martinez will be a champion for long though it's fair to say that he has just had his moment in the boxing sun.

Nathan Clevery v Sergey Kovalev

It's not often that a world champion making his 6th defense is seen as a fighter "stepping up" but that's exactly what many thought when Nathan Cleverly (26-1, 12), the then WBO Light Heavyweight champion, signed to face Russian puncher Sergey Kovalev (22-0-1, 20).

Kovalev entered the bout with a fearsome reputation as a thunderous puncher and came into the fight with recent stoppages over Gabriel Campillo and Cornelius White, two highly regarded contenders in their own right. Cleverly however had entered the bout with recent wins over C grade opponents like Tommy Karpency, Shawn Hawk and Robin Krasniqi, a genuine who's who of who cares.

The competition that Cleverly had faced had left many split opinions, was he as good as his record or merely fighting selective opponents so that he could retain his world title. Unfortunately for this bout it certainly seems that Cleverly had been protected.

The Welshman started positively trying to getting his excellent engine going though unfortunately for him the Russian was picking his jab and countering with it whilst landing thudding hooks to the arms and shoulders of Cleverly. It appeared obvious that Kovalev was going to try and break Cleverly one way or another and if he had to break his arms to get through his defense so be it.

In the second round Kovalev moved up a gear and began to have more success. Even the shots that Cleverly himself was landing were doing little more than bouncing off Kovalev who appeared to know that he could take anything Cleverly could throw at him.

Kovalev's power seemed to put Cleverly into his shell at the start of round 3 and when a fighter is in his shell Kovalev merely does as he wishes, as we've seen several times in his career so far. The shell of Cleverly unfortunately was weak and Kovalev managed to shake him, then drop him, effectively destroying the myth of Cleverly having an impenetrable chin.

Cleverly got up from the knockdown but was still shaken when Kovalev went back on the attack and dropped him again soon afterwards. This time Cleverly appeared to rush to his feet and Kovalev, with just seconds left in round 3 went for the early finish, a finish he appeared to get before the bell went and referee Terry O'Connor literally carried Cleverly to his stool.

Remarkably, despite Cleverly looking completely done the referee had literally saved him. The Welshman's corner, who really should have taken a hint from their charge looking physically destroyed should have saved their charge but instead sent out Cleverly for the fourth. It was a foolish decision and Kovalev soon forced the hand of O'Connor who seemed to have little option but stopping Cleverly before he took an absolute beating.

With his reputation and confidence in tatters it'll be a very long way back for Cleverly. He failed to make the most of his title reign and may again struggle to regain any type of a major world title.

For Kovalev this was little more than a coming out party. He's now announced himself on the world stage and we're hoping he'll get the big fights that his talent and explosive style deserves.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Shinsuke Yamanaka v Jose Nieves

WBC Bantamweight champion Shinsuke Yamanaka (19-0-2, 14) was in a destructive mood earlier today as he made a statement.

Matched against the Puerto Rican Jose Nieves (22-3-3, 11), Yamanaka seemed to know he was in easy and went straight on to the offensive hurting Nieves pretty much the first time he landed. Rather than easing off on his over-matched opponent Yamanaka looked for a chance to land his explosive left hand and it wasn't long until he found that opportunity.

After throwing a feint to the body Yamanaka saw the opportunity for a left up top and connected with Nieves crumbling soon afterwards.

It looks unlikely that Yamanaka will ever have an easier title defense than this though unfortunately he probably made too much of a statement and has certainly made both Koki and Tomoki Kameda think twice about agreeing to a fight with him.

Akira Yaegashi v Oscar Blanquet

If I was to say one of my favourite fights is Akira Yaegashi (18-3, 9) then that it's fair to assume that I was really looking forward to the first defense of his WBC Flyweight title. Unfortunately however the Japanese action man's fight with Oscar Blanquet (32-6-1, 23) really failed to live up to expectation as they styles completely failed to gel.

The first few rounds were by far the most competitive with the scores through 4 showing a genuinely close contest with the open scoring showing 39-37 once to each man a 38-38 score card leaving us effectively with a split draw through the first 4 rounds.

After the competitive nature of the opening few rounds Yaegashi started to turn up the screw and built on his crisp jab by landing lovely sweeping counter left hooks. Unfortunately the more Yaegashi the more and more negative Blanquet became with the Mexican beginning to hold, spoil and turn to the referee after every hurtful body shots. It was obvious from about round 6 onwards that that Blanquet felt he was unable to win and was instead going to make things difficult for Yaegashi.

Despite being held constantly Yaegashi would continue to land the bouts only notable shots which included a low blow and a knockdown both in round 8 which saw the round scored 9-8 in favour of Yaegashi who by now had established a notable lead on all 3 cards.

With the open scoring having Yaegashi well out in the lead he made sure he won round 9 and then almost cruised the final 3 rounds picking his spots and effectively telling Blanquet that he was no longer going to force a fight and be thwarted by a man who wasn't there to fight. As we all know Yaegashi is an action fighter but it was obvious through the later rounds that he was a frustrated fighter and refused to let Blanquet further frustrate him.

Unfortunately this may well go down as Yaegashi's least entertaining televised fight, though on the whole it was due to the negativity of Blanquet as opposed to anything Yaegashi did or could have done. Hopefully next time out he'll face a more willing dance partner.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Anselmo Moreno v William Urina

The slippery Anselmo Moreno (34-2-1, 12), the man at Bantamweight, returned to the ring for the first time since losing to Abner Mares last year, at Super Bantamweight, and successfully defended his WBA "super" title with a clear decision over Colombian challenger William Urina (24-3, 20).

Moreno, known as "Chemito", was forced into an unfamiliar in the opening round, that of the attack as Urina tried to play counter puncher against one of the best in the sport. Unfortunately for Urina he was simply unable to counter the beautiful jab of Moreno which was connecting time and time again.

After 2 rounds of trying to counter Urina had to turn to plan and let his shots go first. He already 2 rounds in the hole and he had kept trying to fight as the counter puncher he'd have been shut out 120-108 without really putting up much of a fight. Unfortunately for Urina Plan B was no more effective than Plan A and almost every time he let his hands go he was forced to take 2 or 3 sharp counters in return.

The more Urina fell behind on the score cards the harder he tried to push the action and the more he was countered by Moreno who during several of the middle rounds was having a field day with a fighter who almost looked made to order. In fact for several rounds this looked like little more than a sparring session for Moreno who was so much better than Urina that he was hardly breaking a sweat to thoroughly out box a game but limited challenger.

By the end of round 7 Urina's head had started to drop. He, like many other Moreno opponents, was beginning to ask himself how he could land a clean blow on Moreno. It was like watching a man try to fight his shadow with the shadow punching back in beautiful clusters.

By round 10 it was clear Moreno was having fun, he was starting to almost neglect his excellent jab instead choosing to flurry to the body of Urina, his hands were dropping and whilst not being out-and-out disrespectful it was obvious he was doing whatever he wanted. It was hard to believe that this was a fighter who had been out of the ring since last November yet he was just looking so crisp and so smooth every round.

In the championship rounds it was clear that Urina would need a miracle. He was going to have to stop Moreno if he was going to win though of course it's rather hard to stop someone you can hardly catch clean and it proved to be beyond Urina's capabilities. Although  he tried his hardest in the final round, possibly the only one he won, he was unable to ever come close to hurting Moreno never mind stopping him.

Nehomar Cermeno v Oscar Escandon

The first of two world titles fights on "Las Vegas II" card in Panama saw an incredibly close and thoroughly competitive bout as Nehomar Cermeno (22-5-1, 13) narrowly claimed the interim WBA Super Bantamweight title thanks to a split decision over the previously unbeaten Oscar Escandon (22-1, 15) of Colombia

The opening round was a great one for Escandon who applied constant pressure and made Cermeno look uncomfortable from the off. The intention seemed clear from the Colombian, he was going to come forward, blast the body and try to wear down Cermeno both mentally and physically.

In the second round Cermeno started to utilise his hand speed and foot work much more effectively as he slid along the ropes and landed his jabs before Escandon managed to get his punches off. It was obvious when Cermeno was letting his crisp jab go that he could neutralise the pressure of Escandon but appeared to be using up a lot of energy to try and stay from the determined Colombian.

The speed and skill of Cermeno saw him taking round 3 though Escandon managed to fight back and take round 4 thanks to a great finish to the round in which he seemed to stun Cermeno for a few seconds. Unfortunately for Escandon the shot that stunned Cermeno came too close to the bell for him to really capitalise and he was never again able to land a similar shot.

Having been stunned in round 4 Cermeno stepped up a gear and appeared to sweep many of the middle rounds as he threw more, moved more and generally made Escandon look like a slow trudging fighter. Escandon of course isn't that slow though he was unable to cut the ring off and it allowed Cermeno to look quicker than he really was.

With Cermeno taking a string of rounds it was obvious the pressure going into the final few rounds was on Escandon who appeared to take round 9 as Cermeno slowed. It seemed as if the pressure and body work of Escandon was taking it's effect on Cermeno and after a competitive round 10, one of the bouts few swing rounds, it seemed like it was all to play for in the championship rounds.

It appeared that neither man thought he'd secured the bout and they both stood their ground in the final two rounds trying to make sure they won the exchanges and the favour of the judges. It appeared that there was very little to really split them again in round 11, although Cermeno did manage to back up Escandon for one of the very few times.

With everything seemingly still in the balance going into the final round both men put it on the line though it appeared that the championship experience helped Cermeno just do enough to claim the round as he kept Escandon busy with his flick-like jab.

The close nature of the bout was reflected in the score cards with Escandon winning 116-113 on one card, though that judge was over-ruled by cards of 115-113 and 117-111 in favour of Cermeno.

I had it it 116-113 Cermeno and although  117-111 was unreflective of the bout I can genuinely see how the judge got that score.

With the victory Cermeno resurrects his career which looked all but over and although Escandon lost his unbeaten record he will have taken a lot from this bout and will almost certainly come back a better fighter.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Paulus Ambunda v Tomoki Kameda

In a memorable day for Japanese boxing fans Tomoki Kameda (28-0, 17) became the countries first ever WBO world champion.

Kameda, facing fellow unbeaten Paulus Ambunda (now 20-1, 10) of Namibia knew the pressure was on him to join brothers Daiki and Koki as a world champion and that's exactly what he did in a very professional fashion.

Ambuda, fighting outside of Namibia for the first time in his career, started the fight well applying constant pressure on the young Japanese fighter. Although forced on to the back foot from the off Kameda boxed well and took the first 2 or 3 rounds to figure out what Ambunda had in the locker.

Rather disappointingly Ambunda didn't seem to have much in the locker, especially in terms of plan B and as soon as Kameda figured out what Ambunda had to offer the bout started to go from competitive to relatively one sided as Kameda used his exceptional foot work to out outmaneuver Ambunda. With Ambunda following Kameda around the  ring it was giving the Japanese fighter a lot of chances to counter and that's what he did at will with his sharp left hook and accurate jab that appeared unable to miss.

Although Ambunda had been able to do enough the first half of the bout to make things interesting he was thoroughly out classed in the second half of the bout as Kameda went through the gears and started landing more and more counters. By the 9th round Kameda had totally taken over the bout and was starting to turn on the style as he took full advantage of Ambunda not having a plan B.

With the challenger growing round after round he clearly took the 10th as Ambunda went from looking 1 dimensional to looking somewhat lost against a quicker, more skilled fighter fighter. It was clear by the end of the round that Kameda had taken an unassailable lead and Ambunda was going to have to force a stoppage if he was to retain his title.

Unfortunately for the Namibian he was unable to force an assault that ever troubled Kameda who cruised the final round and took a clear decision over the former champion.

This victory saw Tomoki Kameda joining brother Koki Kameda and Shinsuke Yamanaka as Japan take 3 of the 4 major alphabet belts in the 118lb division, the first time in history that this has happened.

Kompayak Porpramook v Koki Eto

After last Saturday's war between Omar Figueroa and Nihito Arakwa it may have been fair to say that it'd take a long time until we saw a better fight, surprisingly however it took less than a week as Kompayak Porpramook (50-5, 35) and Koki Eto (14-2-1, 10) put on a fight for the ages.

The opening round saw Eto boxing well behind his jab and using his reach for almost 2 minutes before exploding in to an all-out assault on the Thai who appeared to suffer a knockdown only moments from the bell. Instead of ruling a knockdown the referee gave Porpramook the benefit of the doubt and ruled it a slip.

The opening round had been a bit one sided though was fought and excellent pace, what few could have expected however was what was to come around the following 4 rounds were fought at an electric pace with both men just landing bombs on each other with little regard of what was coming their way. The action looked less like boxing and more like a video game as bombs were traded time and time again with neither man taking a backwards step.

Through the first 5 rounds the action was close with neither man really able to establish themselves as the dominant force. Surprisingly in round Eto seemed to get back on his toes and try boxing more than he had in the previous few rounds. Although the Japanese fighter tried to create the distance he would have liked he was dragged back in to a war by Porpramook who refused to allow this battle to turn into a boxing contests.

Unfortunately for Porpramook he appeared to start tiring as we entered the second half of the bout and although he held his own in round 7 he really struggled to in the later rounds as Eto called on unfathomable energy reserves to claim round 8.

Rather oddly the television broadcast cut away between rounds 8 and 9 and didn't return until round 10 meaning that I have no idea what happened in round 9, though from what I saw of round 10 Porpramook was starting to really struggle with the pace of the action.

In round 11 the Thai tank was looking completely void of gas and Eto, whilst clearly tiring himself easily out worked the Thai champion who was unable to keep up the pace with with Eto who's youth was doing him major favours in out working the champion.

Despite looking tired in round 11 Eto charged out in round 12 seemingly under the belief he needed a KO to take the title. His assault was something special straight from the bell and he had Porpramook reeling all over the place from the off. Unfortunately the first assault was eventually seen off by Porpramook who did all he could to remain upright.

Amazingly Eto would mount 1 more explosive attack, this time sending Porpramook down to the canvas for the only official knockdown of the fight.

I'm not sure whether the knockdown was needed or not but Eto had done enough to take the decision and become the first Japanese born fighter in history to claim a world title on Thai soil thanks to this amazing performance.

If you were unable to catch the fight on Thai Channel 7 make sure you find it online and watch it, you will not be disappointed!