Friday, April 23, 2021

Boxing Challenge

   The boxing challenge is limited with two fights from ESPN and Top Rank with another championship fight from the land of the rising sun for the weekend.

Emanuel Navarrete defends his WBO featherweight title for the first time in Kissimmee, Florida against Christopher Diaz.

Navarrete defended the WBO junior featherweight title five times in less than a year before moving up to featherweight to win a unanimous decision over slick Ruben Villa to win the title vacated by Shakur Stevenson.

I thought Navarrete didn't look quite as sharp at 126 pounds, but Villa is an opponent that can be difficult to look good against, so I'm willing to look at that win as one that Navarrete will take a move forward from.

Christopher Diaz won his first twenty-three fights and had many watchers believing that he was certain to become an eventual world champion at junior lightweight, but he lost as the heavy favorite against Masayuki Ito in a fight for the vacant WBO junior lightweight title in 2018 and less than a year later after dropping to featherweight, Diaz was dominated by Shakur Stevenson.

Diaz has won his two most recent fights since losing to Stevenson, including a unanimous decision win over former world title challenger Jason Sanchez and he should be motivated as this could be his last title opportunity.

The co-feature is attracting a lot of attention as undefeated super middleweight Edgar Berlanga attempts to move his first-round knockout streak against veteran Demond Nicholson.

Berlanga has stopped all sixteen of his foes in the first round and will be fighting his best opponent yet in Nicholson, who has a draw with fringe contender Immanuel Aleem on his record but has been stopped in two of his three losses including a seventh-round stoppage loss to Jesse Hart.

Should Berlanga get Nicholson out in a round, he may be at a level where Top Rank may have to toss him into the deep waters of top twenty-level contenders.

The other fight is from Japan and not televised in the U.S. as the exciting Kenshiro Teraji (known as Ken Shiro) defends his WBC junior flyweight title against countryman Tetsuya Hisada.

"Shiro" hasn't fought since December 2019 due to Covid-19 and a few problems outside the ring, but is heavily favored against the veteran Hisada.

Still, Hisada should be a benchmark as in his last fight, Hisada took WBA light flyweight champion  Hiroto Kyoguchi all twelve rounds and a Shiro-Kyoguchi unification fight would be a massive fight in Japan.

In the boxing challenge, I lead Ramon Malpica 50-46.

WBO Featherweight Title. 12 Rds
Emanuel Navarrete vs Christopher Diaz
Both: Navarrete Unanimous Decision

Super Middleweights. 8 Rds
Edgar Berlanga vs Demond Nicholson
R.L: Berlanga KO 1
TRS: Berlanga KO 2

WBC Light Flyweight Title. 12 Rds
Kenshiro Teraji vs Tetsuya Hisada
Both: Teraji Unanimous Decision 

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