1.) The only fight of any significance this week was WBC flyweight champion Daisuke Naito's title defense against Shingo Yamaguchi. Last week I suggested that Naito was probably the prohibitive favorite due to the comparative records and strength of prior opponents, and that turned out to be the case -- Naito won the fight via an 11th round stoppage and doesn't seem to have ever been in any trouble.
2.) Fight News reports that Evander Holyfield is contesting the result of his December 20 fight against Nikolai Valuev. I would guess he has virtually no chance of suceeding. I don't know the rules that are in play for a sanctioning body to review a ring-side ruling, but I would guess the judges would have had to be horribly off to be reversed. I know that a few people, like ESPN's Dan Rafael, believe that Holyfield should have won the fight -- but I've read plenty of reports from other people that say the fight was either a draw or a Valuev win. My point is that this doesn't seem to have been a case where Holyfield won the fight without any doubt, and I think that's what it would take for the judges at ringside to be overruled.
3.) There are three title fights in Japan this week, and as with last week's fight I don't know much of anything about the fighters. First up is the WBA flyweight defense of champion Takefumi Sakata (33-4-2; 15 KO) against Denkaosan Kaovichit (45-1-1; 19 KO). Sakata has had the belt since 2007, and hasn't knocked anyone out in a title defense. With his record, that would seem to suggest that Kaovichit has a good shot of knocking Sakata off, but that record is built mostly against bad fighters and it's unclear just how good he is. These two fighters have met before, going the distance in a draw in November 2007. That suggests the fight is indeed closely matched. I'm going to predict a title change.
4.) Next up, Toshiaki Nishioka (32-4-3; 19 KO) defends his WBC interim junior featherweight title against Genaro Garcia (36-6-0; 20 KO). It will be Nishioka's first defense after winning the title September 2008. Garcia hasn't fought since December 2007, and has lost two of his last three fights. Nihioka, on the other hand, has been on a decent run recently. I would be somewhat surprised if Nishioka didn't retain.
5.) The WBA has a strange policy (designed to get more sanctioning fees out of fighters) that allows it to have multiple champions in a weight class. If the WBA champion in a class wins another major belt, he's declared the "WBA Super Champion," and a new "WBA Regular Champion" will be crowned. WBA "regular" lightweight champion Yusuke Kobori (23-2-1; 12 KO) will defend that so-called "title" against undefeated Paulus Moses (23-0-0; 17 KO) in the final interesting fight of the week. Moses has a couple of solid wins, but I wouldn't look at the undefeated record and get all starry-eyed -- he has a lot of cheap wins in the record as well. Kobori seems to have faced stiffer opposition in his career, and I think he'll emerge from this fight with the win.
Labels: Boxing Banter