April 29, 2014

Bantamweights & Below - Boxing's Other Five Weight Divisions Vol. 15

The Inoue Brothers celebrate Naoya's WBC title win
By Derek "DBO" Bonnett -- The annals of boxing history are rich with fighting siblings on the world class and championship caliber level. Presently, the boxing scene includes the Alvarez posse, the Chavez duo, the Kameda clan, the Brothers Klitschko, and the Marquez dynasty, just to name a few. One family name which I expect to be garnering a lot of attention at Bantamweight and Below in the coming years is far less known to the boxing masses, but that, it seems, is about to change. Japan, home of the fighting Kamedas, boxing's only trio of simultaneous world champions, now boasts the Inoue brothers: Naoya and Takuma. At twenty, Naoya became WBC light flyweight champion this month with an emphatic sixth round stoppage of two-time champion Adrian Hernandez. Inoue accomplished this feat with just about eighteen months of pro experience and a 6-0 (5) record.

Already, Naoya Inoue appears to be the man to beat at 108 pounds. If his road to the WBC championship wasn't brief enough, take a look at his younger brother Takuma. Takuma, just eighteen years old, has a professional record of 2-0 (0). In roughly five months as a professional fighter, this Inoue has already soundly defeated a top five contender at junior flyweight. The win has catapulted the title-less sibling into the top ten of the organizational rankings and likely in position to attempt to reach his brother's level of success even sooner. Say what we might about developing young talent properly, but when you've got it, you got it, and the Inoue Brothers seem to have boxing talent in surplus.

World Class Boxing Results at Bantamweight and Below:

On Wednesday, March 26, at Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan, Denkaosan Kaovichit was stopped by Kohei Kono in eight rounds for the vacant WBA super flyweight title. The end came at the :50 mark. Kaovichit was dropped in the fourth and eighth rounds. Kono elevated his record to 30-8 (13) in reclaiming the title. Kaovichit fell to 62-4-1- (26). Kono affirmed his number three ranking among my top 115-pounders. Kaovichit fell from ninth out of the top ten. Juan Carlos Sanchez Jr. returned to the ten spot. Kono placed himself in a good position for an even bigger fight with one of his high-ranking peers. Given his lack of unification history, long reigning WBO titlist Omar Andres Narvaez is an unlikely future opponent, but the winner of the Srisaket Rungvisai-Carlos Cuadras clash certainly becomes a viable choice.

On Friday, March 28, at Chokchai 4 Market, Bangkok, Thailand, Oleydong Sithsamerchai stopped Kompetch Twins Gym (0-3) in two rounds. Sithsamerchai won for the second time this year in preparation for an April 28 bout. He raised his record to 53-1-1 (19). Sithsamerchai remained my number four ranked 115-pounder. Sithsamerchai's activity continues to impress, but his quality of opposition needs to improve if he is going to command world title shot attention. It does seem as though the former world champion is waiting for attrition to do some of the heavy lifting. 

Hall and Ward fight to a disappointing draw
On Saturday, March 29, at Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle, Tyne and Wear, United Kingdom, Stuart Hall fought Martin Ward to a second round technical draw in an IBF bantamweight title bout. Before the action could even get started, Ward suffered a cut over his right eye from an accidental clash of heads. Since four rounds were not complete, the contest was ruled a technical draw. Hall retained the title as his record changed to 16-2-2 (7). Ward's resume moved to 18-2-1 (4). Hall kept his number eight ranking among my top bantamweights in the world. At the time of this publication, Hall had already signed to meet Paul Butler on June 6 also in Newcastle in defense of his IBF bantamweight title.

Also on this date, at Texas Station Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, Brian Viloria defeated Juan Herrera by unanimous decision in a ten round flyweight bout. Viloria received scores of 98-92 twice and 97-93 in his first appearance since losing his titles to Juan Francisco Estrada last April. Viloria enhanced his record to 33-4 (19). Herrera fell to 9-8 (4). Viloria, previously removed from my flyweight rankings to pursue a super flyweight title, may be sticking around after all. Viloria has been re-instated as my number four fighter at flyweight. The previously ranked four through nine contenders each dropped one ranking. Luis Concepcion dipped out of the top ten for the time being.

Segura finishes off Salguerno in the 10th
At Hipodrome Caliente, Arena Tecate, Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico, Giovani Segura stopped Felipe Salguero in the tenth and final round of their flyweight bout. The bout ended at the 1:55 mark with a battered Salguera falling to the canvas. Salguero was also down in round four. Segura improved to 32-3-1 (28). Salguero crashed to 19-6-1 (14). Segura climbed from seventh to sixth in my flyweight rankings. Kazuto Ioka fell from sixth to seventh.

On Sunday, April 6, At Ota-City General Gymnasium, Tokyo, Japan, Akira Yaegashi scored a ninth round KO of Odilon Zaleta in a WBC flyweight bout. The end came at the 2:14 mark. Yaegashi made the third defense of his title and raised his resume to 20-3 (10). Zaleta plummeted to 15-4 (8). Yaegashi remained my third ranked flyweight in one of boxing's deepest divisions.

Also on the card, Adrian Hernandez lost his title to Naoya Inoue in a WBC light flyweight title bout. Inoue scored a sixth round TKO of Hernandez after the champion failed to make weight on the first attempt. Inoue won his first world title and improved his record to 6-0 (5). Hernandez fell to 29-3-1 (18). Inoue jumped from number nine to first in my light flyweight rankings. Hernandez fell from second to sixth. Johnreil Casimero fell from first to second.

Gonzalez stays undefeated at 39-0
Also on the card, Roman Gonzalez scored a third round TKO of Juan Purisima in a flyweight bout. Gonzalez' body attack ended matters at the 1:20 mark. Gonzalez raised his dossier to 39-0 (33). Purisima fell to 11-5-1 (4).Gonzalez remained my top-rated flyweight in a division with ever-growing talent. It looks as though Yaegashi and Gonzalez are on a collision course with one another in what would truly be a Flyweight Super Fight for the ages.

At Oasis Hotel Complex, Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico, Jesus Silvestre was upset by Eduardo Martinez in an eight round minimumweight bout. Martinez earned the victory by split scores of  77-75 twice and 75-77. Martinez improved to 10-2-1 (2) with the career best win. Silvestre tumbled to 28-5 (20). Martinez crashed my minimumweight rankings at number nine. Silvestre fell out of the rankings from number six. Silvestre is just one of many 105-pound elites to suffer a major upset to relatively unheralded opponents in the last few months.

On Wednesday, April 23, at Castle Hall, Osaka, Osaka, Japan, Shinsuke Yamanaka stopped Stephane Jamoye in the ninth round of a WBC bantamweight title bout. The TKO stoppage came at the :11 mark of the round. Jamoye hit the canvas in the second, twice in the eighth, and again in the ninth. Yamanaka earned his sixth title defense and raised his record to 21-0-2 (16). Jamoye fell to 25-5 (15). Yamanaka maintained his number one ranking among my top ten bantamweights in the world today. Hopefully, with the top two bantamweights active within a one month span, real talk can begin regarding a unification bout between Yamanaka and Anselmo Moreno.

Another win for Menayothin in the waiting game
On Friday, April 25, at Central Stadium, Phitsanulok, Thailand, Wanheng Menayothin scored a fourth round TKO of Domi Nenokeba in a minimumweight bout. Menayothin raised his numbers to 34-0 (11). Nenokeba fell to 11-17-1 (8). Menayothin held on to his number three ranking among my 105-pounders. However, having fought just a matter of weeks before, Menayothin's immediate plans appear to keep him in the waiting game for a title fight without assuming much risk in the interim.

On Saturday, April 26, At Centro Convenciones, Puerto Penasco, Sonora, Mexico, Juan Francisco Estrada forced Richie Mepranum into ninth round retirement in WBO/WBA flyweight title bout. Mepranum failed to come out for the tenth round. Estrada marked the second defense of his titles and raised his record to 26-2 (19). Mepranum fell to 27-4-1 (6). Estrada remained my number two man at flyweight. Also on the card, Hernan Marquez defeated John Mark Apolinario by unanimous decision in a ten round super flyweight bout. The judges' cards read 100-90, 98-92, and 97-93.

Marquez improved his record to 37-4 (26). Apolinario fell to 17-4-3 (4).

Bantamweight and Below Featured Rankings - 
All-Time Best Retired Super Flyweights (115):

Sung-Kil Moon is #1 all time at 115
1.) Sung-Kil Moon (118, 115) 20-2-0 (15) ~ Former WBA Bantamweight and WBC Super Flyweight Champion ~ Best Wins at Super Flyweight: RTD8 Gilbert Roman, TKO4 Nana Konadu, MD12 Greg Richardson

2.) Masamori Takayama (115) 32-3-1 (8) ~ Former Two-Time WBC Super Flyweight Champion ~ Best Wins at Super Flyweight: KO5 In-Joo Choo II,
W12 In-Joo Choo I, W12 Katsushige Kawashima III

3.) Johnny Tapia (115, 118, 126) 59-5-2 (30) ~ Former WBO/IBF Super Flyweight, WBA and WBO Bantamweight, and IBF Featherweight Champion ~ Best Wins at Super Flyweight: W12 Danny Romero, W12 Henry Martinez,
RTD9 Willy Salazar

4.) Gilberto Roman (115) 54-6-1 (35) ~ Former Two-Time WBC Super Flyweight Champion ~ Best Wins at Super Flyweight: W12 Jiro Watanabe, W12 Baby Sugar Rojas II, W12 Santos Benigno Laciar

5.) Khaosai Galaxy (115) 47-1-0 (41) ~ Former WBA Super Flyweight Champion ~ Best Wins at Super Flyweight: KO5 Israel Contreras, TKO5 David Griman, KO6 Yong-Kang Kim

6.) Hiroshi Kawashima (115) 20-3-1 (14) ~ Former WBC Super Flyweight Champion ~ Best Wins at Super Flyweight: W12 Jose Luis Bueno II, W12 Jose Luis Bueno I, W12 Carlos Gabriel Salazar

RIP Honorary Mention for the Texan Pikin
7.) Jiro Watanabe (115) 41-5-1 (32) ~ Former WBA and WBC Super Flyweight Champion ~ Best Wins at Super Flyweight: TKO9 Gustavo Ballas, UD 15 Rafael Pedroza, TKO12 Shoji Oguma

8.) Julio Cesar Borboa (115) 24-6-0 (2) ~ Former IBF Super Flyweight Champion ~ Best Wins at Super Flyweight: TKO 12 Robert Quiroga, TKO5 Rolando Pascua, W12 Joel Luna Zarate

9.) Satoshi Iida (112) 25-2-1 (11) ~ Former WBA Super Flyweight Champion ~ Best Wins at Super Flyweight: W12 Yokthai Sithoar, MD12 Hiroki Ioka,
W12 Julio Gamboa

10.) Martin Castillo (115) 35-4-0 (18) ~ Former WBA Super Flyweight Champion ~ Best Wins at Super Flyweight: W12 Eric Morel, W12 Alexander Munoz I, SD12 Alexander Munoz II

Honorable Mentions: Active: Cristian Mijares, Jorge Arce, and Nobou Nashiro. Retired: Robert Quiroga, In-Joo Choo, and Nana Konadu

Bantamweight and Below: Give That Man a Title Shot!

Give that man Inoue a title shot at just 2-0?
Why wait? Vasyl Lomachenko is receiving his second world title shot in as many fights with a 1-1 record. Well, Takuma Inoue, younger brother of recently crowned WBC light flyweight champion, Naoya Inoue, is already 2-0. Like Lomachenko, this Inoue has already defeated a top ten contender. In fact, the eighteen year old Japanese fighter recently decisioned Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr., ranked number four by the WBA and five by the WBC, WBO, and IBF. Sakkreerin was coming off a career best win over Ryo Miyazaki, who was crushed in three rounds. Inoue, now ranked tenth by the WBA and The Ring looks on the fast track like his older brother, who at just twenty years old is 6-0 (5) and a world champion. Presently, the WBA world title is vacant with Alberto Rossel holding the interim belt with four defenses.

Even with his greater experience, the thirty-six year old almost titlist from Peru would be an underdog to defeat the rising prospect from Japan. Although hasty title shots are not my cup of tea, Inoue has beaten a valid top five contender and got by on boxing skills not big power, which can often be deceptive. It's time to give that man a title shot!

Bantamweight and Below—On the Horizon:

Casimero looks to defend his title
On Saturday, May 3, at Waterfront Hotel and Casino, Cebu City, Cebu, Philippines, John Riel Casimero versus Mauricio Fuentes in a twelve round IBF light flyweight title bout. The Filipino world champion seeks his fourth world title defense against a protected Mexican challenger.

On Wednesday, May 7, at Bodymaker Colosseum, Osaka, Osaka, Japan, Amnat Ruenroeng versus Kazuto Ioka in a twelve round IBF flyweight title bout. The Japanese challenger seeks his third world title in as many divisions in just his fifteenth professional bout. Also on the card, Katsunari Takayama versus Shin Ono in a twelve round IBF minimumweight title bout. Takayama seeks to avoid the minimumweight curse and retain his world championship.

On Saturday, May 10, at SM Mall of Asia Arena, Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines, Donnie Nietes versus Moises Fuentes II in a twelve round WBO light flyweight title bout. Fuentes seeks to gain revenge for the unjust draw in their first meeting. Also on the card, Milan Melindo versus Martin Tecuapetla in a twelve round flyweight bout. The former world title challenger seeks his second win since suffering his first defeat.

On Friday, May 16, at Gimnasio Alexis Arguello, Managua, Nicaragua, Carlos Buitrago versus Alcides Martinez in a ten round light flyweight bout. Buitrago returns for the first time since his disputed draw last November in the Philippines against Merlito Sabillo for the WBO minimumweight title.

Expect another victory for Narvaez in Argentina
On Saturday, May 17, in Argentina, Omar Andres Narvaez versus TBA in a twelve round WBO super flyweight title bout. Narvaez prepares for his twenty-ninth world title bout victory.

On Saturday, May 31, at Wembley Stadium, Wembley, London, United Kingdom, Jamie McDonnell versus Tabtimdaeng Na Rachawat in a twelve round vacant WBA bantamweight title bout. The rightful IBF champion seeks his second world title against a little know Thai boxer with an inflated resume.

On Saturday, May 31, in Distrito Federal, Mexico City, Mexico, Srisaket Sor Rungvisai versus Carlos Cuadras in a twelve round WBC super flyweight title bout. Two of the world's hardest punchers square off with bad intentions.

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

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