Boxing Action in Asia: Ito, Inoue, and Nietes Win
By: Michael Kane
Floyd Mayweather wasn’t the only ‘Boxing’ bout that took place in Japan this weekend. Sunday 30th would see a first title defence of Masayuki Ito’s WBO Junior Lightweight title at the Ota City General Gymnasium in Tokyo.
Ito faced his mandatory challenger, Evgeny Chuprakov (20-1, 10 Kos), however the 28 year old Russian proved to be no match for Ito, who won via a 7th round knockout in a fairly one sided bout.
Despite suffering a second round cut, from an accidental clash of heads, Ito dominated the fight, landing at will against a reckless Chuprakov. The Russian stood in front of Ito, trying to land wild shots and was an easy target for Ito.
The fight culminated in the 7th, when Ito landed several hard shots which knocked out the Russians gumshield, as the ref called a timeout to replace it Chuprakov’s corner threw the towel in.
The 27 year old Ito (27-1-1. 13 KOs) is tipped to return to the United States next year, having claimed the vacant belt when he defeated Christopher Diaz in July.
Also on the card was Takuma Inoue who won the vacant WBC interim Bantamweight World Title when he defeated Petch CP Freshmart by unanimous decision, all three judges scored it 117-111.
25 year old Freshmart (48-1,33 KOs) was fighting outside of Thailand for the first time and came up short against 23 year old Inoue (13-0, 3 KOs) who was a step up in class to Freshmart.
Inoue now becomes the mandatory challenger for the winner of the vacant title between Rau’shee Warren and Nordine Oubaali, who meet on January 19th on the undercard of the Pacquiao and Broner fight.
The third world title on the card would see Ken Shiro (15-0, 8 Kos) successfully defend his WBC junior Flyweight title against Mexican Saul ‘Baby’ Juarez (24-9-2, 13 KOs). This was another one sided bout for the Japanese crowd to enjoy, Shiro was quicker throughout and scores of 120-108, 119-109 and 119-109 reflect his dominance.
Moving across the sea to Macau and another triple header of world title bouts that took place today, Monday 31st.
First up was Filipino Donnie Nietes (42-1-5, 23 KOs) joining compatriots Nonito Donaire and Manny Pacquiao as a four weight world champion after winning against Kazuto Ioka (23-2, 13 KOs). This was a split decision win for the 36 year old Nietes, who becomes a world champion again ten years after his first title win. The general consensus is that Ioka was robbed as most viewers had him winning, myself included. The judges however scored it 116-112 for Ioka, 116-112 and 118-110 for Nietes. Nietes won the WBO World Super Flyweight title.
Hiroto Kyoguchi (12-0, 9 KOs) can now add a second weight class to his resume as a champion, the former minimum weight champion, won the WBA Super Light Flyweight title forcing the champion Hekkie Budler’s (32-4, 10 KOs) corner to stop the fight in the 10th round. Kyoguchi worked the body throughout which eventually took its toll on the South African.
The final world title bout saw an easy defence for IBF Flyweight champion Moruti Mthalane (37-2, 25 KOs) who was too experienced and too strong for his Japanese opponent Mashiro Sakamoto (13-2, 9 KOs). The fight ended after Sakamoto suffered a swollen eye after the 10th round.
Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Results: Ito Entertains in Defeat of Diaz
By: Sean Crose
Christopher Diaz, 23-0, battled Masayuki Ito, 23-1-1 for the vacant WBO World Super Featherweight title in Kissimmee, Florida on Saturday evening. The first round saw Ito employing an effective jab while Diaz worked to establish himself. By the end of the second, Ito was landing against Puerto Rico’s Diaz effectively. By the end of the third, it was becoming clear that if Ito had more power, he might be able to truly damage his opponent. As it was, the Tokyo based fighter continued to land effectively.
Diaz landed effectively himself early in the fourth. Yet a blistering Ito combination brought Diaz to the mat seconds later. Diaz got up, but Ito continued to pummel his opponent with menacing straight punches.
Much to his credit, Diaz was able to come back and fight effectively in the fifth. Perhaps Ito was merely conserving energy, but there was no questioning Diaz’ heart. Diaz continued to fight gamely in the sixth. The seventh saw Diaz landing at points, but the accuracy of Ito’s shots – which were punctuated by by telling uppercuts, were telling the tale. By the eighth, the pattern was familiar – Diaz showed an ability to hook effectively while Ito jabbed and fired at will. Yet, as impressive as Ito was, Diaz’ heart, along with some very solid hooks, started to make a mark. By the later rounds, it was clear this was an exciting affair.
His face a mess, particularly after a head butt, Diaz slugged his way through the eleventh, making the end of the bout appear in question. The twelfth was a slugfest. Diaz landed very well. Ito landed even better. After the final bell, the two combatants, banged up and bruised, embraced in mutual respect. Ito ended up with a unanimous decision win…and a title belt. It might not have been fight of the year, but it was certainly one of the better brawls of 2018. The WBO strap had belonged to Vasyl Lomachenko, but the Ukrainian star had moved up earlier in the year to capture a lightweight title off of Jorge Linares, thus leaving the super featherweight title vacant.
Earlier in the night, Gabriel Bracero, 24-3-1, wiped out Artemio Reyes, 25-2-0, via fifth round TKO in a welterweight bout. Bracero had reportedly taken the fight on just over a week’s notice. The card was aired live on ESPNs streaming service, ESPN+, and was promoted by Bob Arum’s Top Rank Promotions.