By: Ste Rowen
In his third defence of the WBO junior-middleweight world title, Jaime Munguia survived through some rough spots to ultimately earn a unanimous decision over the previously unbeaten and all action, Takeshi Inoue.
Photo Credit: DAZN Boxing Twitter Account
It turned into a brawl of a main event at Houston’s, Toyota Center as Mexico and Japan went to war with Munguia coming out on top for Mexico, although the final scorecards of 120-108 (x2), 119-109 were extremely harsh on the challenger, Inoue.
The winner, now 32-0 (26KOs), spoke, via translator, post-fight,
‘‘I think it was a great fight, he (Takeshi) was a great warrior. It was a great battle for me…I was surprised by him, he did great, but I also received a lot of punches on the back of my head but, I retained the title and that’s what matters.
There was no problem (making weight) but I would do anything for 154lbs…After a few fights I wanna go to 160.’’
And on the prospect of fighting WBO middleweight champion, Demetrius Andrade, Munguia replied,
‘‘Of course, I will set the challenge.’’
Inoue came out swinging from the first bell but struggled to land anything other than rabbit punches and at one-point tripping over his own feet; just about staying upright. Munguia, the noticeably taller man, was taking a more measured approach, fighting off a single jab, seeing what the challenger to his WBO strap had to offer. Takeshi had an almost sadistic smile while sat in his corner in between rounds, clearly raring to continue firing those untidy, overhand rights.
The Mexican seemed happy to opt for quality over quantity, bouncing on his toes and backing up to draw Inoue in. Although the Japanese boxer was willing to oblige, he was tough, perhaps tougher than Jaime thought. In round three, the champion landed three straight, single left-hook body shots, but Takeshi shook his head and continued forward.
Into the middle rounds, while Jaime fired off the more accurate, point-scoring shots to both body and head, the Tokyo native kept up his rush in, head-first tactics. Now however, it was beginning to work. The Mexican’s accuracy kept him ahead, but he was having a rough time of it in there. In the 9th and 10th Takeshi was landing with authority; if not enough to knock Munguia down, he was hurting the champion more than in the early rounds. The Japanese’s now more accurate overhand right was the key to victory but when he seemed to be getting on top, 22-year-old Jaime ended the round in a brutal flurry. Inoue was arguably saved by the bell and survived into the 11th.
The final two rounds played out in similar fashion. ‘All in or nothing’ and both these guys were in, right to the end. A credit to both themselves, their countries and the sport. Such a shame about the lopsided scorecards that insult a tremendous fight.
Jesus Rojas vs. Xu Can
In a fire-fight of a match-up, Xu Can sprung the upset and scored a wide unanimous decision over Jesus Rojas to inflict the Puerto Rican’s second straight defeat and become the new WBA ‘Regular’ featherweight belt.
Throughout the full twelve rounds the two men went hell for leather and only in brief spots did they take their foot off the accelerator. The final scorecards came back as, 118-110, 117-111, 116-112 all for the ‘Monster’.
The winner, now 16-2 (2KOs), spoke post-fight,
‘‘I knew it was a very hard fight, but I did much work for this. I respect my opponent, he is very hard.
I just punched, defend, punched defend…I’m not scared of anyone. I am Xu Can. I can!’’
Xu made a swift start to the fight firing off quick shots in bunches but Puerto Rican, Rojas marched forward throughout, seemingly unfazed by the power of the ‘Monster’ from China. By the middle rounds the two fighters were taking turns to throw combinations keeping it close as it entered round six of twelve. The WBA ‘Regular’ holder, Rojas appeared to only go on the backfoot to avoid tiring himself out but hurried forward again when Xu Can was getting a little too on top.
The second half of the bout proceeded in a similar path and continued to be difficult to call, but Xu was clearly upping the pace, forcing Jesus back and slowing down the ‘regular’ champion’s punch output. The audible contingent of Chinese support for the challenger were getting louder as the fight drew into the final stages. Rojas resorted back to his earlier high punch output and it was tit-for-tat again through rounds 11 and 12, right up until the bell.
Also on a prospect packed undercard…
Vergil Ortiz Jr’s impressive start to his professional career continued with a 12th straight stoppage, but tonight’s win was down to a cut above the left eye of his opponent, Jesus Barrayan. Before the ring-doctor called a premature end to the bout, super-lightweight, Ortiz was well on top and as a result improves his record to 12-0 (12KOs).
Alex Rincon’s KO-streak came to an end with a unanimous decision victory over 10-5, Jeremy Ramos. The junior middleweight’s record is now, 6-0 (5KOs)
Argentine, Alberto Melian became the first man to drop and subsequently stop Edgar Ortega in the 10th and final round, improving the super-bantamweight’s record to 4-0 (3KOs) and crowning him the NABA champion.
Super-lightweight, George Rincon moved to 6-0 (3KOs) with a 1st round blowout of now 5-7, Emmanuel Valadez.