July 29, 2013

Bantamweights & Below - Boxing's Other Five Weight Divisions Vol. 7

Shiming-mania is running wild
By Derek "DBO" Bonnett ~ The boxing world wants to discuss Zou Shiming. This is actually great news. It's not that often that a 112-pound fighter commands the attention of an entire nation, a premiere boxing network like HBO, and drones of American boxing fans. However, this rollercoaster ride, which is just beginning, is sullied for me because it's just that: a carnival act. It's a pretty lucrative one as well and it's undercutting far more deserving fighters at Bantamweight and Below. While Shiming is pocketing reported purses in excess of half a million dollars and headlining high profile boxing cards, legitimate world class professionals at these weight classes are toiling in obscurity.

These are fighters who have beaten top contenders, fought for world titles, defended championships, and amassed records of far greater experience than Shiming will likely ever have. Yet, in their entire careers, they have not earned the sums of money Shiming has in ten rounds of work. Most likely, they never will. Yes, right now, Shiming's cards have created opportunities for exceptional fighters like Juan Francisco Estrada, Brian Viloria, Milan Melindo, and others not even on the boxing radar. Shiming's cards will continue to do so, but what happens when the show ends?

Shiming goes to 2-0 on HBO2
In two bouts, Shiming has only shown he is still an amateur caliber fighter with an invisible tank top. Once his inevitable demise comes in his fifth, tenth, or fifteenth professional bout -- whenever he is granted a title shot or legitimate contender -- what happens to those fighters who actually deserved to be on center stage? Right now, Shiming is being groomed to hold the weight of the lightest divisions on his back, but Shiming is no Michael Carbajal or Ricardo Lopez; he doesn't have the substance to be charged with such a responsibility. Once this happens, Shiming's life will not be uprooted; he will be a man wealthy beyond the flyweight norm and even the exception. Additionally, all those new fans and the boxing networks will consider his run a failed experiment and leave real lighter weight elites back in the dark waiting for a legitimate savior.

World Class Boxing Results at Bantamweight & Below:

On Friday, June 28, at Casino Hipodrome Agua Caliente, Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico, Moises Fuentes defeated late sub Gerardo Verde in a ten-round light flyweight bout. Fuentes prevailed with three counts of 99-91, raising his dossier to 17-1-1 (8). Verde fell to 18-6-1 (14). Fuentes retained his number six ranking among my premiere junior flyweights, but fell to seventh later in the month as further divisional developments unfolded. Fuentes recently was held to an unpopular draw with Donnie Nietes after vacating his WBO 105-pound title to move up in weight. He was unable to bring the belt home in enemy territory, but a rematch looms for this rising star of the lightest divisions.

Also on June 28, at World Trade Centre, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Xiong Zhao Zhong won a majority Denver Cuello in a twelve round WBC minimumweight title bout. Cuello was hindered by a shoulder injury after the first round and was reduced to a left-handed fighter. Zhong defended his title for the first time with scores of 113-113, 115-112, and 113-110. The champion raised his ledger to 21-4-1 (11) with the career biggest win. Cuello fell to 33-5-6 (21).

Cuello left the excitement home against Zhao Zhong
Zhong jumped from eight to fourth in my minimumweight ratings. Cuello crashed from first to sixth. Cuello has undergone surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff and has been recommended to sit out for the next twelve months to allow for a full recovery. His future is in serious doubt and it's likely this injury robbed him of his shining moment in a career plagued with bad luck.

On Saturday, July 13, at Solaire Hotel Resort & Casino, Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines, Merlito Sabillo stopped Jorle Estrada in nine rounds of a WBO minimumweight title bout. Sabillo dropped Estrada with a body shot. The end came at the 1:09 mark. Sabillo made his first defense of the title and raised his record to 23-0 (12). Estrada fell to 17-7 (6). Sabillo held onto his number ten ranking among my top strawweights, but was elevated to ninth after some recent development in the division. Sabillo's ability may be underrated due to his quality of opposition and he may be a fighter soon on the rise.

On Friday, July 19, at King Ramesuan Provincial Stadium, Lop Buri Thailand, Srisaket Sor Rungvisai won by second round KO over Joan Imperial at the 2:15 mark in a non-title bout. Srisaket fought for the first time since claiming the WBC super flyweight belt from Yota Sato. He raised his ledger to 20-3-1 (19). Imperial fell to 9-3-5 (4). Srisaket remained ranked number three among my top 115-pounders. Also on the card, Suriyan Sor Rungvisai won by first round KO over Chandech Sor Ratidech in 1:57. Rungvisai won for the fifth time in 2013 and raised his record to 28-5-1 (11). Ratidech lost his professional debut. Rungvisai remained my number sixth ranked bantamweight. While his activity is admirable, the Thai-boxer's quality of opposition has been woeful since losing to Yota Sato in 2012. His place will be re-evaluated at the end of the year if he has not stepped up in opposition.

On Saturday, July 20, at Domo de la Colosio, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico, Pedro Guevara won a wide unanimous twelve round decision over Mario Rodriguez in a junior flyweight rematch. The judges scored the bout 120-108, 119-110, and 118-110. Guevara raised his dossier to 20-1-1 (13). Rodriguez fell to 15-8-4 (11). Guevara climbed from seventh to sixth in my junior flyweight rankings. Moises Fuentes was pushed from sixth to seventh. Rodriguez was dropped from my strawweight rankings where he was ranked second due to the rise in weight. His progress will be watched if he returns to 105. 

Carlos Buitrago weighs in for a big win against Julian Yedras
Also on July 20, at Centro de Convenciones Siglo XXI, Merida, Yucatan, Mexico, Carlos Buitrago won a unanimous twelve round decision over Julian Yedras. The judges scoring saw the bout 118-110, 118-111, and 116-113. Buitrago raised his record to 27-0 (16). Yedras fell to 21-1 (13). Buitrago climbed from eighth to seventh in my strawweight rankings with the win and the exit of Rodriguez.

On Wednesday, July 24, at Central Stadium, Phitsanulok, Thailand, Oleydong Sithsamerchai defeated Hyobu Nakagama by sixth round disqualification in a super flyweight bout. Sithsamerchai won for the fourth time in 2013 and raised his record to 49-1-1 (17). Nakagama fell to 16-11-3 (11). Sithsamerchai remains frozen at numbers seven in my rankings until he takes a greater step up in opposition at 115. 

On Thursday, July 25, at Tokyo Big Site, Tokyo, Japan, Koki Kameda defeated John Mark Apolinario in a twelve round WBA bantamweight title bout. Kameda's reign extended to seven defenses as he dropped his challenger in the tenth and twelfth rounds. The lopsided scores favored the champion 119-107, 118-108, and 117-109. Kameda moved his ledger to 31-1 (17). Apolinario fell to 17-3-3 (4). Kameda kept his number three standing among my throng of top 118 pounders. His career was in great need of a definitive win after a couple close calls back to back.

Estrada pounds Melindo in a 2013 Fight of the Year candidate
On Saturday, July 27, at Venetian Casino and Resort, Macao, China, Juan Francisco Estrada defeated Milan Melindo in a twelve round WBA/WBO flyweight title bout worthy of Fight of the Year consideration. Estrada dropped Melindo late in the eleventh round. The official scores favored the champion 118-109 twice and 117-109, but these scores did not accurately reflect Melindo's strong showing.

Estrada raised his record to 25-2 (18). Melindo fell to 29-1 (12). Estrada affirmed his #1 ranking among the world's best flyweights. Melindo held onto his number six in my rankings with his competitive performance. Estrada has positioned himself for high profile rematches against Roman Gonzalez and Juan Carlos Sanchez Jr., the only two men to defeat him as a professional.

Also in action, Zou Shiming won unanimous decision over Jesus Ortega in a six round flyweight bout. All three judges scored the bout 59-55. Shiming moved to 2-0 (0). Ortega fell to 3-2 (2). Shiming remains unranked and showed no indication that he is ready to be mentioned along the world class flyweights he is presently out-earning.

Bantamweight & Below Featured Rankings: Best of Thailand

Srisaket is #1 in Thailand at Bantamweight and Below
1. Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (115) 20-3-1 (19) ~ WBC Super Flyweight Champion ~ Best Wins: TKO8 Yota Sato, KO2 Alvin Bais ~ Notable Fact: Rungvisai started his career 0-2-1.

2. Suriyan Sor Rungvisai (118) 28-5-1 (11) ~ Former WBC Super Flyweight Champion ~ Best Wins: UD12 Tomas Rojas, UD12 Nobou Nashiro ~ Notable Fact: A one point deduction cost him a draw with a primed Pongsaklek Wonjongkam in 2010.

3. Tepparith Kokietgym (Singwancha) (115) 23-3 (13) ~ Former WBA Super Flyweight Champion ~ Best Wins: UD12 Drian Francisco, UD12 Daiki Kameda ~ Notable Fact: Kokietgym lost to Suriyan Sor Rungvisai in his fifth professional bout.

4. Oleydong Sithsamerchai (115) 49-1-1 (17) ~ Former WBC Minimumweight Champion ~ Best Wins: UD12 Eagle Den Junlaphan, Tech. Dec. 11 Muhammad Rachman ~ Notable Fact: Sithsamerchai fought six times in 2012. He fought for the fourth time in 2013 this week.

5. Wanheng Menayothin (105) 29-0 (10) ~ #1 WBC 105 Contender ~ Best Win: UD12 Florante Condes ~ Notable Fact: Menayothin won the WBC Youth title in just his third professional bout.

6. Kompayak Porpramook (112) 50-4 (35) ~ Former WBC Light Flyweight Champion ~ Best Wins: KO10 Adrian Hernandez, Tech. Dec. 5 Jonathon Taconing ~ Notable Fact: Porpramook has defeated eighteen boxers making their professional debuts.

7. Denkaosan Kaovichit (115) 61-3-1 (26) ~ Former WBA Flyweight Champion ~ Best Wins: KO2 Takefumi Sakata, MD12 Daiki Kameda ~ Notable Fact: Kaovichit started his career fighting twelve round fights.

8. Paiphrob Kokietgym (105) 21-0 (16) ~ #4 WBO 105 Contender ~ Best Wins: UD12 Jesus Silvestre, KO4 Rey Migreno ~ Notable Fact: Kokietgym has never fought outside of his native Thailand.

9. Pungluang Sor Singyu (118) 44-2 (29) ~ Former WBO Bantamweight Champion ~ Best Wins: TKO9 AJ Banal, UD10 Eden Sonsona ~ Notable Fact: Singyu is only 5' 1" in a division with champions 5'6", 5'7", and 5'8".

10. Pongsaklek Wonjongkam (112) 89-5-2 (47) ~ Former Two-Time WBC Flyweight champion ~ Best Wins: UD12 Edgar Sosa, TKO1 Malcolm Tunacao, MD12 Koki Kameda ~ Notable Fact: Wonjongkam defended his first WBC title seventeen times.

Bantamweight & Below: Give That Man a Title Shot!

"Jibran" wants to trade WBC Silver for WBC Gold
Pedro Guevara, 20-1-1 (13), has been making a statement in the junior flyweight division since his controversial split decision loss to IBF champion John Riel Casimero in August 2012. Guevara rose from a first round knockdown to give the champ all he could handle. The knockdown proved the deciding factor on one judge's scorecard.

Guevara has had a big 2013 in his first two starts. In March, he fought tooth and nail against two-time world champion Raul Garcia and prevailed by an equally narrow split decision. The Mexican contender, known as "Jibran", followed up that victory by comprehensive outpointing recently dethroned champion Mario "Dragoncito" Rodriguez on Fox Deportes. The win avenged a 2011 draw, which is the only other blemish on Guevara's record. Guevara has also defeated recent world title challengers Jorle Estrada and Karluis Diaz in quicker fashion than current title holders Merlito Sabillo and Alberto Rossel respectively.

"I just have to say [I was] very well prepared to meet this challenge and that first time we [fought] Mario, I did not have the maturity I have now," Guevara stated for KO Digest readers. "In the fight against Casimero, I [left the ring] a little sad and frustrated because I wanted to get the world championship, but couldn't. It was one of the fights that taught me a lot and that influenced my performance to be better. I hope that now that I can defend my title again [to earn] the opportunity to fight for the world championship. This is something I really want and I feel that I can achieve."

Prior to the Rodriguez rematch, Guevara was ranked as high as number three by the WBC. On the merit of these accomplishments, it seems only fit that one of the boxing organization Give That Man a Title Shot! With one defense of the WBC's 108-pound Silver title under Guevara's belt, good things could be expedited.

Bantamweights & Below — On the Horizon:

On Thursday, August 1, at Cebu City Waterfront Hotel & Casino, Barangay Lahug, Cebu City, Cebu, Philippines, Paulus Ambunda versus Tomoki Kameda in a twelve round WBO bantamweight title bout: The newly crowned champion looks to make his first title defense against the youngest, and perhaps most talented, of the Kameda boxing family. Also on August 1, in Bangkok, Thailand, Kompayak Porpramook versus Koki Eto in a twelve round interim WBA flyweight title bout: The former WBC 108-pound champion looks to defend his new interim belt at 112.

On Saturday, August 3, at Arena Roberto Duran, Panama City, Panama, Luis Concepcion versus Nestor Daniel Narvaes in a twelve round flyweight bout: Concepcion, one of boxing's most exciting former champions, looks to extend his win-streak to six against this recent world title challenger.

Chemito back in action after the loss to Mares
On Saturday, August 10, at Megapolis Convention Center, Panama City, Panama, Anselmo Moreno versus William Urina in a twelve round WBA bantamweight title bout.

On Monday, August 12, at Ota-City General Gymnasium, Tokyo, Japan, Shinsuke Yamanaka versus Jose Nieves in a twelve round WBC bantamweight title bout; Akira Yaegashi versus Oscar Blanquet in a twelve round WBC flyweight title bout: Two of Japan's top performers look to extend their reigns against softer opposition than they are used to.

On Friday, August 23, in Bangkok, Thailand, Denkaosan Kaovichit versus Nobuo Nashiro in a twelve round interim WBA super flyweight title bout: Two popular former world champions collide to stay relevant in their division.

On Saturday, August 24, in Chubut, Argentina, Omar Andres Narvaez versus Hiroyuki Hisataka in a twelve round WBO super flyweight title bout: One of boxing's defensive masters takes on a tough perennial contender. Also on August 24, at Coliseo Miguel Grau, Callao, Peru, Alberto Rossel versus Jose Alfredo Zuniga in a twelve round interim WBA title bout: Peru's only world champion takes on a proven spoiler.

On Saturday, August 31, in Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico, Adrian Hernandez versus Atsushi Kakutani in a twelve round WBC light flyweight title bout: The Mexican titlist continues to pad his reign while waiting for a more significant bout.

Written by Derek "DBO" Bonnett - exclusively for KO Digest

You can find more of Derek's writings/ratings on www.SecondsOut.com 

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