Tag Archives: japan

WoW–Hozumi Hasegawa vs Jhonny Gonzales.

Two technically well schooled, exciting boxer/punchers toe it up when  IBO champ, Jhonny Gonzalez challenges WBC featherweight champion Hozumi Hasegawa in the World Memorial Hall in Kobe, Hyogo, Japan, Friday, April 8th. 

It’s beautiful to see the Japanese right themselves after a horrific all time earthquake and tsunami knocked their island nation down for a terrible count, so greatest respect to the fighters, their teams, promoters, and fans for finding a way to carry on.

Japan and Mexico have an underrated historical rivalry in boxing, and this bout ranks up there in the pantheon, so thanks guys.

These are top shelf professionals, so I can’t say there would be a clear favorite in this matchup though Hasegawa should be favored slightly due to his more credentialed title reign. Both fairly easily handled top P4Per Fernando Montiel on the technical side, but the tight at the weight Hasegawa got caught in a highlight knockout flurry for the ages and had to jump up 2 divisions for redemption.

Hozumi Hasegawa

Hozumi Hasegawa

Hasegawa was the long time WBC banty champ at the tail end of an impressive streak of defenses, and Gonzalez was the two time WBO banty champ also tight at the weight and having to move up, so here we are in the middle of arguably the most talent laden division currently in boxing, the featherweights, with undefeateds Juan Manuel Lopez, Yuriorkus Gamboa, and Chris John ruling the division.

Both Hasegawa and Gonzalez came up the hard way, in Japan and Mexico respectively, so in their fashion they are almost independently derived carbon copies of each other which what makes this fight tough to call since they may well be boxing their own shadows.

Call him KD Jhonny

Call him KD Jhonny

Gonzalez would seem to have an edge in the excitement factor as his style tends to highlight his long looping punch style puntuated by dramatic knockdowns. Make no mistake however, both Gonzalez and Hasegawa are excellent boxers with excellent power and know their way around the ring. This could be tightly fought bout that could feature all the elements of boxing coming into play.

Finding a viewing link may be problematic as well as being up and alert enough to watch in the wee early morning hours on a Friday work day for those of us in the Western nations, but it should be worth it if you can.

East Meets West in War – Nishioka vs Munroe

Englishman Rendall Munroe is making the grandest journey of his life when he flies over to Tokyo, Japan  to do battle against WBC superbanty champion Toshiaki Nishioka. Now, try repeating that name in fast sequence without becoming tongue tied.

Rendall Munroe

Rendall Munroe

Munroe is a solid, very physically strong fighter and the younger man at age 30, but he might have better luck at tongue twisties than trying to dethrone a vastly more experienced Nishioka who is additionally backed by genuine 10 count, one shot power, the likes of which Munroe has never tasted in his career. 

Munroe has never been knocked out though, so the hope is that his strength, youth, and pressuring, busy style will win the day over the older champ. He’s been quite successful at the regional level against mixed British and Europeans, 21-1, 9KO, but this is a new game for him entirely, opened up when he knocked out Victor Terrazas in a WBC title eliminator this year.

Munroe is an engaging, popular little guy, holding down a full time job as a binman, but has taken time off from his work to train properly for his biggest challenge yet. I recall reading an interview of his promoter, Frank Maloney, where they relocated to Spain to run the mountains to prepare for the thin air of Tokyo. Thing is, Tokyo is not much higher than sea level, so unless they will be fighting on Mount Fuji at 12,000’ or one of the smaller mountains, one has to wonder what the Munroe team game plan really is and is it sensible?

The 34 yr old Nishioka doesn’t sport the most impressive record at 36-4-3, 23 KO, but 2 of those losses came as a teenager coming up in a tough Japanese system, and the other 2 losses came in 4 fights against Thai legend, Veeraphol Sahaprom. Nishioka is a graduate of the school of hard knocks for sure and unbeaten in 13 fights since. That 5 of his last 6 fights were early stoppages tells me that he’s at the apex of his career.

Toshiaki Nishioka

Toshiaki Nishioka

Nishioka is also a very engaging, happy go lucky type of guy who hardly looks the role of a championship fighter unlike the hardman that “The Battling Binman” Munroe projects in the ring, but deceptive looks out of his lefty stance only serve to mask his killer left hand, so Munroe is fixin’ to get the chin check of his young life in this one.

The undercard looks exciting with the undefeated former WBA strawweight champ, Roman Gonzalez, challenging for the WBA junior flyweight title against Francisco Rosas. Also, former two division champ, Jorge Linares is trying to line up a title shot in his 3rd division by taking on the always game, former lightweight champ, Jesus Chavez who’s also looking for another title shot.

Beware though, this card takes place on a Sunday, Japanese time, so don’t let it slip by if you truly value some quality action fights.

Here's a Poke in the Bin

Here's a Poke in the Bin

World’s #1 Superbanty, Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym

Born Prakorb Udomna, Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym is a Thai bred in the Thai tradition of renaming boxers after the hard as nails boxing gyms they came up in.

Ring #1

Ring #1

From the western perspective, Thai fighters can be maddeningly frustrating to rate or talk about since they represent the exotic, largely unseen Asian boxing world with incomprehensible foreign names primarily fighting unknown Asian journeymen in tiny weight classes unfamiliar to most of the world.

Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym is one of the best of those Asian practioners, owning a 41-1, 29 KO record as the #1 ranked superbanty in both the Ring and Boxrec ratings.

Toshiaki Nishioka of Japan might quarrel with that being being  #2 in both rankings, but alas, we have to wait for for the Ring championship match where the winner of #1 vs #2 is awarded  the prestigious Ring Belt as it should be.

So the few hardcore aficionados will have to make do with with PK defending his WBA title against one Ryol Li Lee of Japan, a prime career featherweight who is moving down 4 lbs for his first title challenge. This will be PK’s 4th fight outside of Thailand, the others being in Hamburg, Germany, Dublin, Ireland, and Tokyo, Japan where he returns Saturday.

Been There, Dunne That!

Been There, Dunne That!

This should be pretty much a gimmee defense for PK since Lee has nowhere near the experience of class. I’ve learned though that you can never dismiss Japanese fighters so easily as they have a proud boxing tradition to call upon and this is a high profile Japanese fight. I expect Lee to give it his all and more, maybe much, much more.

Ring #2

Ring #2

Toshiaki Nishioka has a much more difficult task ahead of him on paper. He will be defending his WBC title against a prime, extremely strong up and comer, the British hope, Rendall Munroe on the 24th of October. If he makes it past Munroe and PK is successful, it seems natural that the Ring Championship should be next in the Tokyo queue early next year.

This is boxing however, and sometimes the best bouts simply don’t get made because of a myriad of politics and nationalism.

We can always dream and hope for the best however, so if you can catch the Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym title defense in Japanese time or catch the replay, it might be well worth it to see a top Thai fighter in action.

PK Applecart Upended by RLi Lee!

PK Applecart Upended by RLi Lee!

FYI: The Hasegowa vs Montiel Friday Firefight.

By Bobby Mac

Two of today’s most fearsome banties will be battling in Tokyo, Japan this Friday in as compelling a fight as can be made today.

Fernando Montiel is becoming something of a Mexican legend with a title record of 16-2, 12 KO in 3 WBO sanctioned divisions which is outstanding when you throw in his career record of 40-2-2, 30 KO, yet only just turned 31.

This little fella can crack, let me tell you, and he can box, never having been beaten cleanly. His only two losses came by majority decision and split decision in title fights. Unfortunately, the fly and banty divisions get little notice or airtime in America where I live, so I’ve only been able to follow his career fitfully against overmatched journeymen on Telefutura back when, but I was quite fortunate to catch his 4 rd demolition of a very good Martin Castillo a couple years back.

Montiel’s last defense against Ciso Morales was against a young unproven fringe contender that did nothing to prepare him for his first ever title fight outside the WBO organization when he goes against a 29 yr old aspiring Japanese legend, Hozumi Hasegawa.

Hasegowa can now be said to be a star in Japan, rising rapidly through the tough Japanse ranks. At 28-2, 12 KO, his record looks sparse upon first glance compared to Montiel, but in this case, looks are very deceiving as regards to him which I suspect is a large reason for his success in the ring.

Hozumi Hasegawa

Hozumi Hasegawa

His only two losses were against undefeated prospects in 4 rounders ages ago. He had 4 title OPBF title wins before winning his WBC banty title 5 yrs ago against a superior Veeraphol Sahaprom before reeling off 10 straight WBC title defenses with 6 K0. Five of those knockouts came in his last 5 defenses. Only one was able to make it past the 2nd round, but he was gone by the 4th round.

That is some seriously harsh treatment of some very fine contenders by a physically very imposing fighter at this weight class. He’s listed at 5-6 to Montiel’s 5-4, but is ripped to shreds and gives the impression of being several divisions above banty. Indeed, he wants to move up but decided to set a Japanese record for consecutive title defenses at one weight, which if patchy memory serves, he only needs 2 more successful defenses.

With Montiel fighting primarily in Mexico and Hasegowa in Japan, it would’ve been real easy for these little bombers to avoid each other, but they didn’t. Further, Montiel will be the guest fighter in Hasegowa’s home base, Hozumi having never fought outside of Japan, so Fernando deserves super props for going on the road. Think about it though, he’s doing exactly what we expect a Mexican legend to be doing.

Legend!

This is not a hostile environment though. The Japanese boxing fans are as savvy and appreciative as any of the history of the fight game and love great fighters, so Montiel should be well received by a public panting in anticipation of a classic international doozy. How lucky they are and how I wish I could be ringside taking it all in. Oh to be Joe Koizumi for the day, the IBHOF quality Japanese matchmaker, manager, and journalist who will have unfettered access to the fight and fighters.

Alas, me being me, I have to do primarily with his reports and the record of Hasegawa, though I have seen a couple of his last fights that are poor examples of what Fernando Montiel brings to this fight.

Perhaps Veeraphol Sahaprom has the closest attributes of Montiel in size and quality. Hasegawa won a unanimous decision and a KO in those matches early in his title run, and he’s clearly a better fighter, seemingly improving every year since he turned pro.

Montiel dropped a split decision to a very good version of Jhonny Gonzales a few years back. Johnny was a tallish boxer/puncher champ at banty like Hasegawa.

There is an additional factor at play. Hasegawa is a lefty, and lefties with power are generally considered the most dangerous of boxing.

From what I see, both are patient boxers who know each can bang, so this should start cautiously. I’d pick a bob and weave and jab inside for Montiel and then throw short rights, short hooks, and uppercuts like Mike Tyson used to do against tall opponents. Take away Hasegawa’s reach advantage and seize control of the fight.

Hasegawa doesn’t appear to be one to fluster, however, part of the reason he’s likely to be the favorite in this bout. I’m predicting he will carefully pick his shots and outwork the game Montiel from a distance. There will be some firefight type of exchanges, and a KO is possible, but probably only for the intimidating Hasegowa, but bet at your own risk at this level of quality. Neither of these fighters’ chances can be dismissed out of hand regardless of selection.

May have to search around to find the feed before or after the fight, but I’m confident it will be worth it.

Hozumi Hasegawa vs Fernando Montiel

Hozumi Hasegawa vs Fernando Montiel