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Update on Boxers from the 2012 Olympics


By: Oliver McManus

Whilst flicking through an array of Wikipedia pages in my boredom last week I found myself repeatedly coming back to the Boxing at the 2012 Summer Olympics article with disbelief at the sheer plethora of talent across the weight divisions. It’s one thing to be a world class amateur but it’s another to be a cracking professional fighter so, with that in mind, let’s take a look at the star fighter from each weight category from London 2012;

Light Flyweight – Zou Shiming

The gold medalist from 2012 in the light fly division, Zou Shiming turned professional shortly after at the ripe old age of 32 but with the backing of, top dog, Bob Arum he always looked destined to crack the big time.
And so he did as the 5ft 4in won his first title, the WBO International flyweight, in his fifth bout with thanks to a wide points decision over Luis de la Rosa before a name-making clash with Prasitsak Phaprom secured the Chinese sensation a world title shot against Amnat Ruenrong.

In this fight, and in his fight with Sho Kimura (for the WBO World title last July), his power at the weight class was clear to show and Ruenrong was dropped early in the second to prove this factor; whilst not in possession of knockout punch power, his combination of awkward foot movement and repetitive jabs ensures he’s a nightmare for all he comes across.

Unfortunately his susceptible chin has also shone through as he lost a unanimous decision to Ruenrong, before going on a three fight winning streak, and was knocked out by Kimura when leading on the scorecards.
Shiming will go down in memory due to fears he lost his eyesight in that fight with Kimura but, despite that, he’ll still have a place in the record books as world champion – in thanks to a 2nd win over Phaprom in 2016 for the WBO belt – so that’s, very much, mission accomplished.

Flyweight – Michael Conlan

2012’s flyweight champion Robeisy Ramirez, from Cuba, rather inevitably never turned professional but the silver medallist, Nyambayaryn Togstsogt, and two bronze medallists, Misha Aloyan and Michael Conlan, have all made unbeaten starts to their pro career.

By way of Aloyan having a failed drugs test on his record and being unimpressive in his last two bouts as well as Togstsogt only have two fights last year, we arrive with Michael Conlan as our stand-out professional.
Conlan, himself, went on to win a gold medal at the World Championships in 2015 and was famously eliminated via a controversial loss to Vladimir Nikitin, in which he accused the officials of amateur boxing of corruption, in Rio 2016. Following that he turned professional with Top Rank and Bob Arum, making his professional debut on the 17th March 2017 – St Patricks Day!

Since then he’s fought five times – never against an opponent with a losing record – and immediately impressed with three consecutive third round knockouts, including on the undercard of Pacquiao-Horn in Australia.

Fighting in the featherweight division, Conlan has recently changed trainers to link-up with Adam Booth, in the United Kingdom but will still be fighting on US soil and admits he’s ready to make a big splash in 2018 with his fast handwork and evasive footwork looking likely to earn him a title shot of some variety before the year is out.

Bantamweight – Luke Campbell

The lightest British fighter to win gold at their home games of 2012, Luke Campbell looked most impressive during the semi-finals when he outpointed, skilful Japanese, Satoshi Shimizu before comfortably winning the gold medal against John Joe Nevin from Ireland.

As is the case for most fighters, what with amateur and professional weight classes being quite vastly different, Campbell competes in the lightweight division and, since turning pro in the middle of 2013, has notched up 17 wins and 2 losses.

First making a statement in his home town of Hull, Campbell clinically stopped local rival Tommy Coyle within 10 rounds back in 2015 to secure the WBC International title and did so by way of 4 knockdowns that showcased his all-round ability as a fighter but, particularly, the punishing left-hand hook to the body that he’s utilized with great effect throughout his career.

Since then he dropped a surprise split-decision loss to Yvan Mendy but has rebuilt his reputation with thanks to wins against Argenis Mendez, Derry Matthews, Jairo Lopez and Darleys Perez to earn himself a number one ranking.
And thanks to that he found himself in the ring with, future Hall of Famer, Jorge Linares at the back end of September last year in a fight which many ruled him out of. For the WBA Lightweight title, Campbell was dropped in the 2nd round before showing heart and guts galore to provide Linares with his toughest challenge of his career but ultimately came up just short with the Venezuelan winning 115-112, 114-113, 115-113 on the scorecards.

Nonetheless with talks swirling around a fight with Vasyl Lomachenko in the future, the future is looking more than bright for the British super-star.

Lightweight – Vasyl Lomachenko

And talking of Vasyl Lomachenko let’s turn our attentions to the Ukrainian. Hmm, I wonder what happened to him following the Olympics in London?

Congratulations if you detected the sarcasm because the amateur stand-out, can we stress STAND OUT, has only gone and already staked his claim as one of the greatest pound-for-pound boxers of ALL time with a mere 11 fights under his belt.

Already a two-weight world champion, Lomachenko signed with Top Rank in 2013 and went straight into the big time with a world title fight in only his second bout. Against Orlando Salido, Loma would make history if he won the title in only his second pro fight, his Mexican opponent weighed in 2lbs over weight and rehydrated to 21lbs over the limit come fight night.

Uncharacteristically from Lomachenko he tended to shy away from engaging with Salido for much of the fight and despite the fact the bout was marred by an incredible amount of low blows, he failed to make history by way of a, shockingly controversial, split decision.

Following that, though, there’s been no looking back as he comfortably nullified Gary Russell Jr to claim the WBO Featherweight title, defending it twice, before jumping up to Super Feather where he’s consistently made world class fighters look ordinary – Roman Martinez, Nicholas Walters, Jason Sosa, Miguel Marriaga and Guillermo Rigondeaux all succumbing to his incredible timing and shot-placement.

Still only 30 and already a two-weight world champion, the sport is firmly in the hand of Vasyl Lomachenko and, to be frank, it’s up to him how great he wants to be.

Light Welterweight – SPLIT DECISION

Now this is where things get very tricky because of the four medallists at London 2012 – Roniel Igelsias, Denys Berinchyk, Vincenzo Mangiacapre and Uranchimegiin Monkh-Erdene – all can lay claim to being sensational within their amateur careers but only Berinchyk turned pro and has looked fairly lacklustre in moving to 6-0 since.

Looking deeper down the fighters then there’s a range of fighters that have turned pro and had relative success within in the paid ranks but I feel it’s wrong to pick any of them given that they didn’t particularly impress over the course of the Olympics.

As a result we’ll just rattle through some of those that have since turned pro;

Daniyar Yeleussinov – won gold at Rio 2016 and beat Josh Kelly on the way, recently signed a professional contract with Eddie Hearn.

Jeff Horn – fell at the Quarter-Finals of 2012 but has since caused an international furore thanks to his unanimous decision against Pacquiao last July.

Anthony Yigit – the European super-lightweight champion turned professional in 2013 and has since gone 22 fights unbeaten. Will be looking to challenge for a world title this year.

Welterweight – Majority Draw; Taras Shelestyuk and Custio Clayton

Truth be told the welterweight division threw up the same issue with Taras Shelestyuk the only medallist to cause much of a stir in the professional game.

Trained by the legendary Freddie Roach, the Ukrainian first took a step up after 13 fights when he displayed his plethora of impressive footwork skills to outmanoeuvre and out-point, 26-1, Aslanbek Kozaev to win international versions of the WBA and WBO welterweight titles.

Since then he’s been infrequent in the ring with only 3 fights over the following 27 months but has continued to look impressive whenever we’ve seen him fight.

As a result of that lack of regularity I’ve decided to include Custio Clayton, six-time Canadian amateur champion, because for me he’s been the best of all the welterweight fighters to turn professional in moving to 13 and 0 since turning pro in 2014.

His last fight against Cristian Coria came on the undercard of Saunders-Lemieux and was broadcast on both HBO and BT Sport, Clayton demolished Coria winning on all three card by margins of 100-88, 100-88, 100-88 with the Canadian making Coria pay thanks to sublime footwork and punch-perfect combinations.

Middleweight – Ryota Murata

Yet another Top Rank amateur-turn-professional, Ryota Murta claimed Japan’s first ever boxing medal outside of the bantam and flyweight division by claiming gold at 2012.

Murata was embroiled in controversy with the Japanese Boxing federation at the beginning of his career but that failed to put him off his natural game with his key strength being pushing the opponent back onto the ropes before unloading with successive right-left hand jabs to the body and head.

In May of last year he faced Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam for the WBA ‘Regular’ Middleweight title and despite many thinking Murata comfortably won the bout he was victim to a surprise split-decision in which he won 117-110 on one card but lost by 5 and 3 rounds, respectively, on the others.

Since then he has had the rematch with N’Jikam where he managed to comfortably prove his superiority in forcing the Frenchman to retire after the 7th round after being unable to answer Murata’s barrage of high-pace combination shots.

Next up for Murata is a clash with Emanuele Felice Blandamura but it’s hard to imagine he’ll be taken seriously as a world champion until he takes on either the winner of GGG/Canelo (who’ll have the WBA Super belt) or Billy Joe Saunders (the WBO champion).

Light Heavyweight – Oleksandr Gvozdyk

Into the light heavyweight division we go where we find Oleksandr Gvozdyk, a 6ft 2in Ukrainian with an imposing 76inch reach, who won the bronze medal at 2012.

Gvozdyk turned pro in 2014 – yet another Olympian who signed for Top Rank – and made his debut on the undercard of Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley 2. Since then The Nail has moved up the rankings rapidly with crushing knockout after crushing knockout.

In 2016 he took on, former world title challenger, Isaac Chilemba as he defended his NABF Light Heavyweight title. In what was an obvious step up for the, then, 29 year old, Gvozdyk made good use of left jab to keep the Malawian challenger at bay and displayed obvious athletic prowess in navigating the full range of the ring.

Flowing combinations at the ropes followed by swinging over hand punches showed what he’s all about and really enhanced his standing on the world stage. One of the most under-rated light heavy’s in the business, Gvozdyk is by rights in the Top 10 worldwide but has seemingly gone under the radar with very little hype surrounding the behemoth of a man.

14 wins, 12 knockouts is enough to send shivers down even the bravest of spines (if a spine can, indeed, be brave) but when he faces Medhi Amar for the interim WBC World Light Heavyweight title on the 17th March he’ll be looking to make a chilling statement.

Heavyweight – Oleksandr Usyk

We move from one Ukrainian to another, from one Oleksandr to another! Usyk this time was yet another empirical amateur, winning gold at London 2012 as well as the 2011 World Championships and 2008 European Championships.

On his way to the 2012 Gold Usyk beat, current light-heavyweight world champion, Artur Beterbiev, Tervel Pulev (Kubrat Pulev’s younger brother) and amateur legend Clemente Russo.

Such was the stir he caused that K2 Promotions, the Klitschko brother’s promotional arm, snapped him up and set about moving him swiftly up the ranks with Usky going from his debut in November 2013 to WBO Inter-Continental champion by October the following year.

Retaining that title on four further occasions, Usyk gained a world title shot against Krzysztof Glowacki in September 2016, Usyk’s first fight in nearly 12 months, and Glowacki was widely expected to get the better of the still, relatively, unknown Ukrainian.

Expectation is often different to reality and so it proved as he shattered the pre-fight predictions with a convincing points victory that really launched his name into stardom.

Two defences against Thabiso Mchunu and Michael Hunter, both in America, helped build his name and profile across the pond before the World Boxing Super Series came along in a bid to crown one unified cruiserweight champion.

Against Marco Huck, the former cruiserweight kingpin who defended his title on 16 occasions, Usyk blasted Huck into a shell of his former being before going toe-to-toe in an incredible unification clash with Mairis Briedis which did show chinks in the armour of the formidable Ukrainian but also showed just how tough and resolute a fighter he was.
The final awaits, the world awaits, 11th May in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, could be the crowning of his career as he seeks to become undisputed cruiserweight champion against Murat Gassiev for all the belts.

Super Heavyweight – Anthony Joshua

Great Britain’s poster boy of boxing Anthony Joshua was, arguably, fortunate to edge the decision during his gold medal match against Roberto Cammarelle but looked more than impressive when beating Zhilei Zhang and Erislandy Savon so it was no surprise to see him immediately signed by Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing.

All eyes of the boxing world were immediately on him with everyone wanting to know whether he’d be the next Lennox Lewis or the next Audley Harrison and, as we’ve now come to know, he was no Harrison!

Fighting an unknown but unbeaten Italian, Emanuele Leo, for his pro debut, Joshua lit up The O2 Arena with bouncing footwork and an imposing jab that already put the world on notice. Unloading with that trademark reaching right hand he finished off Leo in the first round to set up a run of 20 wins and 20 knockouts.

Against Kevin Johnson he made a statement by becoming the first boxer to stop the well-respected American and defend his WBC International title first won against Denis Bakhtov. Since then he was involved in a tempestuous grudge match with Dillian Whyte before being called out by “The King” Charles Martin who was promptly dispatched with in a humiliating two rounds.

With that victory came the IBF Heavyweight world title and Joshua’s mind has been on nothing but unification since – he’s had to be patient with wins against Dominic Brezeale and Eric Molina preceding a clash with Wladimir Klitschko for the IBF, WBA and IBO titles.

In a real changing of the guard fight Joshua hit the canvas for the first time in his career and was trailing on points but showed the true fighting spirit of a champion to stop Klitschko in the 11th round. Takam followed, stopped in the 10th and now AJ has the opportunity to cement his legacy by adding the WBO strap to his burgeoning collection when he faces Joseph Parker on the 31st March.

Women’s flyweight – Nicola Adams

Nicola Adams made history as the first ever women’s boxing champion when she won flyweight gold in front of her home crowd and defended her title at Rio 2016 to complete an unprecedented Olympic, World, Commonwealth and European quadruple.

With interest abound from pretty much every promoter both in the UK and America, Adams signed with Frank Warren at the beginning of 2017 and has impressed thus far in her three professional bouts. She kicks of 2018 in Leeds on May 19th and will be looking to win a world title this year.

Women’s lightweight – Katie Taylor

A star studded amateur who won five consecutive world championship golds, six European golds, five European Union goals as well as Olympic glory in 2012, Katie Taylor is widely regarded as one of the greatest Irish sports start of her generation.

Signing as a professional with Eddie Hearn in 2016, the high tempo Irish sensation made her debut at Wembley stadium and won her first professional world title on the undercard of Anthony Joshua-Carlos Takam after comfortably beating Anahi Sanchez.

Following that she topped the bill at York Hall in defending her title against Jessica McCaskill and will look to make her name in the US when she seeks to unify her WBA title with the IBF version of, Argentine, Victoria Bustos.

Middleweight – Claressa Shields

If winning a gold medal aged 17 wasn’t enough then how about defending that title four years later AND winning every major championship in between? Sounds pretty good but that doesn’t even scratch the surface for Claressa Shields.

Since turning pro in 2016 she’s become the first women’s headliner on a US premium network card, appearing on Showtime and has won both the WBC and IBF Super middleweight title in only her 4th professional fight before defending against, US legend, Tori Nelson.

So it’s been a fast journey to the top, it’s fair to say – she’s a double world champion in the professional ranks, double Olympic & World champion in the amateurs, she’s headlining shows on major networks and she’s still only 22!
This is the future of women’s boxing, right here. I’ll go even further, Claressa Shields is THE future of boxing. Period.

And that, therefore, concludes, our look back at the class of 2012 and I think it’s fair to see, we weren’t half blessed with some talent, were we?

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Top Rank PPV Undercard Results: Shiming and Valdez Victorious, Magdaleno Defeats Donaire


Top Rank PPV Undercard Results: Shiming and Valdez Victorious, Magdaleno Defeats Donaire
By: William Holmes

Top Rank Promotions televised three world title fights on their self-distributed pay per view live from the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Three Asian boxers competed on the undercard, and two time Olympic Gold Medalist Zou Shiming (8-1) opened up tonight’s card in WBO World Flyweight Title fight against Prasitsak Phaprom (39-1-2).
This match was rematch from November 23, 2014 when Shiming defeated Phaprom. Phaprom has since won twelve fights in a row.

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Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Shiming was active with his jab in the first round and looked like he was sitting on his punches more than earlier fights. Phaprom’s right eye was swollen by the end of the round.
Phaprom dominated the second round with quick combinations and connected with a short right hook to the chin that sent Phaprom down. Shiming’s timing was on pont in the third round and was picking Phaprom apart with jabs in the fourth round.

Shiming’s accurate pop shotting continued in the fifth and sixth rounds. Phaprom’s frustration was showing in the sixth round as he pointed to his chin to egg him on, and Shiming responded in kind by cracking Phaprom in the chin.
Shiming controlled the pace and distance in the seventh and eighth rounds and his punches were noticeably moving the head of Phaprom. Phaprom was rocked in the eighth round by Shiming and slipped to the mat after missing wildly.

Shiming displayed good footwork in the ninth round, but slipped twice to the mat. Phaprom looked close to going to the mat in the tenth round, but he was able to stay on his feet. Phaprom had a cut near his right eye at the end of the eleventh round and looked like he had no chance at wining the bout.

Phaprom needed a knockout in the last round, but never came close to knocking him down.

The final scores were 120-107, 120-107, and 119-108 for Zou Shiming.

The next bout of the night was between the Filipino Flash, Nonito Donaire (37-3) and Jessie Magdaleno (23-0) for the WBO World Junior Featherweight Title.

The first round was a feeling out a round and didn’t feature much action, but the fight picked up in the second round as Magdaleno and Donaire started to freely exchange, but Magdaleno was the more accurate puncher and was the first to throw his combinations.

Donaire’s came back strong in the third round and was the aggressor. Donaire’s check left hook was finding it’s target. Magdaleno suffered a cut in the fourth round but it was ruled from a head butt, and it was noticeably affecting the vision of Magdaleno.

Donaire looked good in the fifth round and was more aggressive and landed solid combinations, but Magdaleno switched to a southpaw stance in the sixth round and was effective with his lead right hooks.

Donaire focused more to the body in the seventh round and re-established control, but Magdaleno retook control of the fight in the eighth round with crisp counter right hands and lead straight left hands to the head of Donaire. Donaire’s left eye was starting to show signs of swelling.

Magdaleno had Donaire hurt badly in the ninth round after he cracked Donaire with a check right hook with his back to the ropes. He had Donaire fighting defensively in the final minute of the ninth round and looked like Donaire was close to getting stopped.

Donaire opened up the tenth round with a hard left hand that had Magdaleno hurt and backing up in the opening minute. Both boxers connected with hard check hooks, but Donaire’s right hand was finding it’s target.

The fight was too close to call for either boxer in the final round, but Donaire landed the best punch of the round with a hard straight right hand that got the crowd’s reaction and he may have busted Magdaleno’s nose in the final round.

The final scores were 116-112, 116-112, and 118-110 for Jessie Magdaleno.

Oscar Valdez (20-0) and Hiroshiga Osawa (30-3-4) for the final fight on the undercard for the WBO World Featherweight Title.

Both boxers fought out of an orthodox stance, and Osawa was a little wild early on. Valdez sat on his body punches on the opening round and established himself as the more powerful boxer early on.

Valdez was sharp with his jabs in the second round and had Osawa rocked with hard left hooks in the second round. Osawa looked like he was close to going down in the final minute of the round.

Valdez landed some bombs in the third round with both his left and right hands, but Osawa was taking the shots well.

Valdez landed a crisp left hook to Osawa’s chin in the fourth round and sent him to the mat suddenly. Valdez landed several hard right hands when Osawa got back to his feet, but Osawa somehow survived the round.
Valdez obliterated Osawa in the fifth and sixth rounds and barely got hit with any punches.

Valdez wobbled Osawa in the eighth round with a hard left hook and jumped on him with combinations by the corner. Osawa didn’t return any punches and the referee jumped in and stopped the fight.

Oscar Valdez wins by TKO at 1:50 of the seventh round.

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Top Rank PPV Preview: Pacquiao vs. Vargas, Shiming vs. Phaprom, Donaire vs. Magdaleno, Valdez vs. Osawa


Top Rank PPV Preview: Pacquiao vs. Vargas, Shiming vs. Phaprom, Donaire vs. Magdaleno, Valdez vs. Osawa
By: William Holmes

On Saturday night Philippine Senator and boxing legend Manny Pacquiao will return to the ring and chase another world title as he faces Jessie Vargas for Vargas’ WBO Welterweight Title.

Pacquiao has long been a mainstay with HBO Boxing and nearly all of his pay per views were distributed by them. However, HBO has chosen to go forward with the Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev PPV bout in the month of November and is letting Bob Arum’s Top Rank Boxing distribute Pacquiao’s PPV on their own.

Top Rank has wisely decided to stack their card with four world title fights in what should be an entertaining night of fights. The card will be held at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

The following is a preview of all four world title bouts.

Zou Shiming (8-1) vs. Prasitsak Phaprom (39-1-2); WBO World Flyweight Title

This is a rematch of a bout that happened on November 23rd, 2014 in which Shiming defeated Phaprom by decision.

Zou Shiming was supposed to be Top Rank’s vehicle to grow the sport of boxing in China and establish a strong foothold there. He was successful in helping Top Rank break into the Chinese market, but he has lost some of his luster since losing to Amnat Ruenroeng in an IBF Flyweight Title fight in March of 2017.

Shiming is a two time Olympic Gold Medalist and won the Bronze in 2004. He’s the most decorated amateur boxer to ever come out of China and is currently trained by Freddie Roach. Phaprom does not have the amateur accolades that Shiming possesses.

Both boxers are thirty five years old and neither can be considered to be in the midst of the physical prime. Shiming will have a two and a half inch height advantage as well as a two and a half inch reach advantage.

Shiming is not known for his power and many pundits question whether his amateur abilities can translate to the profressional stage He only has two stoppage victories on his resume while Phaprom has stopped twenty four of his opponents.

Phaprom has been very active and has fought five times in 2016. However, Phaprom has fought almost exclusively in Thailand and has only fought outside of it once, when he first faced and lost to Shiming. He also doesn’t have any big name victories on his resume, but has fought thirteen more times since losing to Shiming.

This will be Shiming’s third fight in 2016, and he has defeated the likes of Phaprom, Jozsef Ajtai, Natan Coutinho, and Luis de la Rosa. His lone loss was to Amnat Ruenroeng.

This rematch should play out in a similar fashion to their first bout, with Shiming ending the fight as the winner.

Nonito Donaire (37-3) vs. Jessie Magdaleno (23-0); WBO World Junior Featherweight Title

Nonito Donaire is the second most Filipino boxer in the world today, but this will be the first time he has ever fought on the same card as Manny Pacquiao.

Donaire’s best days might be behind him. He’s thirty three years old and will be nine year older than Magdaleno come fight night. However, he will be about one inch taller than Magdaleno and will have about a two inch reach advantage.

Both boxers have had successful amateur careers. Donaire was a National Junior Olympics Flyweight Champion, a National Light Flyweight Champions, and a Silver Gloves Champion. Magdaleno was a US National Champion in the bantamweight division and a National Golden Gloves Champion in the bantamweight division.

Both boxers come from a family of boxers and have brothers who compete or have competed professionally. However, Donaire is a former title holder in the flyweight, bantamweight, super bantamweight, and featherweight divisions while Magdaleno is still chasing his first world title.

Donaire has been in the ring with some of the best the sport has to offer. He has defeated the likes of Zsolt Bedak, Cesar Juarez, Vic Darchinyan, Jorge Arce, Toshiaki Nishioka, Jeffrey Mathebula, Wilfredo Vazquez Jr., Omar Narvaez, and Fernando Montiel. His losses were to Guillermo Rigondeaux, Nicholas Walters, and Rosendo Sanchez in the second fight of his career.

This will be a big step up for Magdaleno, and he has never fought someone as a professional on the level of Donaire. He has defeated the likes of Rey Perez, Erik Ruiz, and Roberto Castandeda.

This might be the last swan song for Donaire. There’s been a noticeable drop in his speed and power since he lost to Rigondeaux and he was stopped, quite brutally, by Walters. He’s still a good boxer and is experienced enough to give Magdaleno a tough time inside the ring, but Magdaleno is just entering his prime and should be able to defeat the older Donaire.

Oscar Valdez (20-0) vs. Hiroshiga Osawa (30-3-4); WBO World Featherweight Title

Oscar Valdez is one of the most promising young champions on the roster of Top Rank Promotions. He’s also featured in one of the biggest mismatches of the night.

The one, and perhaps only, advantage Osawa will have on Saturday night is that he is about an inch and half taller and four inches longer than Valdez. However, Valdez is the better technical boxer, the more powerful puncher, the quicker fighter, and will be about six years younger than Osawa.

Valdez has an impressive eighteen knockouts and has stopped four of his past five opponents. Osawa stopped nineteen of his opponents but is currently riding an eight fight stoppage victory streak.

Valdez has a deep amateur background and represented Mexico in the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics. Osawa has no such amateur background.

Both boxers have been fairly active in the past two years. Valdez fought four times in 2015 and fought twice in 2016. Osawa fought three times in 2015 and once in 2016.

Osawa has fought exclusively in Asia and his resume does not include any big name victories. He has losses to unheralded boxers such as Mitsuya Omura, JR Sollano, and Daiki Koide. Valdez only recently won WBO Featherweight title, and has impressive victories over Evgeny Gradovich, Matias Rueda, Chris Avalos, Ruben Tamayo, and Jose Ramirez.

Valdez is the most likely boxer to score a stoppage victory on Saturday night.

Manny Pacquiao (58-6-2) vs. Jessie Vargas (27-1); WBO World Welterweight Title

Manny Pacquiao, despite being a Senator for the Philippines, is still considered a top talent in the welterweight division and one of the sport’s biggest draws.

He’s publically stated his desire to face Floyd Mayweather Jr. in a rematch, but he first has to get past a tough, young, opponent in Jessie Vargas.

Pacquiao, at the age of thirty seven, is ten years older than his opponent and considered by many to be past his physical prime. Pacquiao will also be giving up four and a half inches in height as well as four inches in reach to his younger opponent.

The one thing that Vargas does not have is power. He’s only stopped ten of his opponents, but he did stop Sadam Ali in his last bout. Pacquiao has stopped thirty eight of his opponents, but his last stoppage victory was in 2009, twelve fights ago, against Miguel Cotto.

Vargas has an impressive amateur background. He’s a two time Mexican National Champion and a two time US Junior National Champion. Pacquiao turned professional as a teenager and does not have the amateur accolades that Vargas has.

Vargas has a good professional resume but it still pales in comparison to Pacquiao. He has defeated the likes of Sadam Ali, Antonio DeMarco, Anton Novikov, Khabib Allakhverdiev, Ray Narh, Aaron Martinez, Steve Forbes, and Josesito Lopez. His lone loss was a close bout to Timothy Bradley.

Pacquiao, clearly, has a hall of fame resume. His notable victories include Juan Manuel Marquez, Miguel Cotto, Antonio Margarito, Erik Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera, Ricky Hatton, Oscar De La Hoya, Brandon Rios, Chris Algieri, Shane Mosley, and Lehlo Ledwaba. His losses were to Juan Manuel Marquez, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Timothy Bradley, and three losses early on in his career to Singsurat, Torrecampo, and Erik Morales.

Pacquiao had erased any concerns about his demise in his last bout with Timothy Bradley Jr., which he won fairly convincingly. Vargas’ age and reach may give Pacquiao some problems early on, but it’s not something that Pacquiao hasn’t handled before.

Pacquiao should walk away with another decision victory, but it will be a tougher than expected fight.

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