Thursday, January 3, 2019

Boxing Challenge:Nietes nips Ioka, 2018 Challenge ends

The final Boxing Challenge took place in Japan and China with fighters retaining titles, one vacant title filled and another saw a new claimant in a mild surprise.

The second of the two cards, this from Macau China was fought in an environment that appeared to have all the excitement and atmosphere of the business section of a Holiday Inn Express,

That was too bad as the main event was not only a pretty good scrap, it decided a title and kept both the winner and loser in the picture of the currently strong junior bantamweight division at 115 pounds.
Donnie Nietes deserved the decision in his previous attempt at the vacant WBO junior bantamweight title against Aston Palicte and received a draw instead.
That was paid back in spades as Nietes received a split decision over Kazuto Ioka that I didn't think he deserved.
Granted, my score was reasonably close for Ioka 115-113 (7-5), which was closer than boxing twitter and the official judges that gave both Nietes and Ioka a 116-112 card and a ridiculous 118-110 for Nietes, but in hindsight, I think that my score was the proverbial "every close round" to Nietes and Ioka should have gotten the duke.
I would love to see a rematch between the pair.

On the Macau undercard, there were two challenge bouts that I haven't been able to watch as of this writing as Japan's Hiroko Kyoguchi won the WBA light flyweight title from South Africa's Hekkie Budler when Budler's corner stopped the fight in the corner after round ten and IBF flyweight champion Moruti Mthalane of South Africa retained his title when Japan's Masahiro Sakamoto was unable to answer the bell for the eleventh round.

ESPN + showed one of the two challenge bouts from Tokyo as Masahiro Ito kept his WBO junior lightweight championship with a seventh-round stoppage of Russia's Evgeny Chuprakov.
I thought Ito had won each of the first six rounds and the stoppage saved Chuprakov from an extended beating.
In the other untelevised challenge event that I have not seen Japan's Ken Shiro kept his WBC light flyweight title via unanimous decision over Saul Juarez of Mexico.

In the other televised fight, Takuma Inoue (brother of WBA bantamweight champ Naoya "The Monster") won a unanimous decision to win a minor title over undefeated former minimumweight champion CP Freshmart of Thailand.
Freshmart, a long time favorite of Vince Samano, used his "real name" which with Thai fighters can cause confusion or this fight would have been a challenge fight.

In the final challenge fights of the year, Ramon Malpica and I each scored four points to finish the season in my favor 218-201.
If anyone is reading this and wants to take up the challenge with us, I might add one person if there is interest in doing it.

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