Junior Bantamweight World Championship Fights & Title Claims

Full junior bantamweight fight details from 1980 to September 2016 (plus mini fly, junior fly, fly and bantam) are available in this definitive companion book:

  • For United States click HERE

  • For United Kingdom click HERE

  • For Germany click HERE

  • For Japan click HERE

Full Fight Details from 2000 Onwards

6 October 2018. Srisaket Sor Rungvisai w pts 12 Iran Diaz.

Venue: Impact Arena, Pak Kret, Thailand. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Jay Nady.

Scorecards: 120-108, 119-109, 119-109.

28 September 2018. Jerwin Ancajas drew 12 Alejandro Santiago Barrios.

Venue: Oracle Arena, Oakland, California, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Lou Moret.

Scorecards: 116-112, 111-118, 114-114.

8 September 2018. Donnie Nietes drew 12 Aston Palicte.

Venue: Inglewood Forum, Los Angeles, California, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Jack Reiss.

Scorecards: 118-110, 112-116, 114-114.

26 May 2018. Jerwin Ancajas w pts 12 Jonas Sultan.

Venue: Save Mart Arena, Fresno, California, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Wayne Hedgpeth.

Scorecards: 119-109, 119-109, 117-111.

 

24 February 2018. Srisaket Sor Rungvisai w pts 12 Juan Francisco Estrada.

Venue: Inglewood Forum, Los Angeles, California, USA. Recognition: WBC/The Ring. Referee: Jack Reiss.

Scorecards: 115-113, 117-111, 114-114.

 

3 February 2018. Jerwin Ancajas w rsc 10 Israel Gonzalez.

Venue: Bank of America Centre, Corpus Christi, Texas, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Rafael Ramos.

30 December 2017. Naoya Inoue w rsc 3 Yoann Boyeaux.

Venue: Cultural Bunka Gym, Yokohama, Japan. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Raul Caiz Jnr.

Inoue relinquished the WBO title on 6 March 2018, having made a fight for the WBA ‘second tier’ bantamweight crown.

18 November 2017. Jerwin Ancajas w rsc 6 Jamie Conlan.

Venue: SSE Arena, Belfast, Northern Ireland. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Steve Gray.

28 October 2017. Khalid Yafai w pts 12 Sho Ishida.

Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff, Wales. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Howard Foster.

Scorecards: 118-110, 116-112, 116-112.

Due to defend his WBA title against David Carmona (118½) at the Save Mart Arena, Fresno, California, USA on 26 May 2018, Yafai (114½) went ahead with the contest despite the former being unable to make the weight. For the record, Carmona retired at the end of the seventh round.

 

9 September 2017. Naoya Inoue w rtd 6 Antonio Nieves.

Venue: StubHub Centre, Carson, California, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Lou Moret.

 

9 September 2017. Srisaket Sor Rungvisai w co 4 Roman Gonzalez.

Venue: Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Tom Taylor.

 

2 July 2017. Jerwin Ancajas w rsc 7 Teiru Kinoshita.

Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, Australia. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Ignatius Missailidis.

21 May 2017. Naoya Inoue w co 3 Ricardo Rodriguez.

Venue: Ariake Coliseum, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Ramon Pena.

13 May 2017. Khalid Yafai w pts 12 Suguru Muranaka.

Venue: Barclaycard Arena, Birmingham, England. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Steve Gray.

Scorecards: 118-108, 119-107, 119-107.

18 March 2017. Srisaket Sor Rungvisai w pts 12 Roman Gonzalez.

Venue: Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Steve Willis.

Scorecards: 114-112, 114-112, 113-113.

29 January 2017. Jerwin Ancajas w rtd 7 Jose Alfredo Rodriguez.

Venue: Cotai Arena, Venetian Resort, Macao, China. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Roberto Ramirez.

30 December 2016. Naoya Inoue w rsc 6 Kohei Kono.

Venue: Ariake Coliseum, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Robert Byrd.

10 September 2016. Roman Gonzalez w pts 12 Carlos Cuadras.

Venue: Fabulous Forum, Inglewood, Los Angeles, California, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Tom Taylor.

Scorecards: 117-111, 115-113, 116-112.

Fight Summary: Coming to the ring as the current WBC flyweight champion, and a former undefeated WBA champion at mini flyweight and junior flyweight, Gonzalez (114½) picked up his fourth world title at different weights after taking the unanimous decision at the end of an excellent contest with Cuadras (114¾). It was never going to be easy against a class champion such as Cuadras, but Gonzalez, who got away the faster before being pegged back in the middle rounds, came again to make sure of the win. The recognised stats from CompuBox made it 323 punches landed by Gonzalez to Cuadras' 258. With his ability to close Cuadras down, Gonzalez, who finished with swellings around both eyes, showed himself to be top-drawer when landing classy shots up and down from both hands. Cut over the right eye in the ninth, Cuadras gave it everything he had only to come up short. After deciding to stay put at junior bantam, Gonzalez relinquished his WBC flyweight title on 29 September.

4 September 2016. Naoya Inoue w co 10 Karoon Jarupianlerd.

Venue: Sky Arena, Zama, Japan. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Mark Nelson.

Fight Summary: Back in action sooner than anticipated, the champion was quickly off the mark, switching stances to befuddle Jarupianlerd (115), while generally making life difficult for the Thai. It was almost total domination by the sixth as Inoue (115) continually found the head of Jarupianlerd, and in the tenth he finished matters with a straight right to the jaw after slamming the latter with solid shots from both hands. The count out, which came right at the end of the session, was timed at 3.03.

3 September 2016. Jerwin Ancajas w pts 12 McJoe Arroyo.

Venue: Jurado Hall, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City, Philippines. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Gene Del Bianco.

Scorecards: 118-109, 115-112, 117-110.

Fight Summary: In a match-up of southpaws the bout started cagily as both men looked for weaknesses, but that all changed in the sixth as Ancajas (115) landed some heavy shots before dropping the champion in the eighth with a right to the head following a heavy left hook to the body. Although Arroyo (114) was floored again in the ninth it was deemed to be a slip. Fighting hard to retain his title Arroyo gave it everything in the last three sessions, but it was not enough as he was unable to find the finisher.

31 August 2016. Luis Concepcion w pts 12 Kohei Kono.

Venue: Ota-City General Gym, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Luis Pabon.

Scorecards: 116-112, 116-112, 115-113.

Fight Summary: As a former WBA flyweight title holder, the 30-year-old Concepcion (114¾) became a two-weight champion when outscoring Kono (115) on the latter's home territory. Taking the opening three sessions, Concepcion set out his marker before Kono got back into the fight in the latter rounds as he fought hard to retain his title. Taken out of his stride by Concepcion's early aggression and giving himself too much to do Kono tried to make his power pay off but, despite cutting the Panamanian over the left eye in the 11th he failed to find a finishing blow. There were no knockdowns.

 

Concepcion (117½) forfeited his WBA title when coming in over the weight for a defence against Khalid Yafai (114½) at The Arena, Manchester, England on 10 December. The fight went ahead with Yafai becoming the new champion when winning on points.

8 May 2016. Naoya Inoue w pts 12 David Carmona.

Venue: Ariake Coliseum, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Eddie Claudio.

Scorecards: 118-109, 118-109, 116-111.

Fight Summary: Winning most rounds other than the fourth, eighth and 11th, when taking a breather, Inoue (114¾) held on to his title on points against Carmona (113½). More competitive early on even though Carmona was forced to take some heavy shots in the process, and once the champion injured his right somewhere in the middle rounds he was forced to rely upon his left and his skill to get him through. Having said that, in the final session, Inoue let the punches go regardless of his injury and Carmona was dropped following the cumulative effect of blows to head and body. On picking up the unanimous decision, there were fears that Inoue was facing yet another period out of the ring to allow the injured hand time to repair.

27 April 2016. Kohei Kono w pts 12 Inthanon Sithchamuang.

Venue: Ota-City Gym, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Uriel Aguilera.

Scorecards: 119-106, 119-106, 119-106.

Fight Summary: Putting his title on the line against the southpaw Thai, Kono (115) outpunched his hardy rival for round after round to take a wide points decision. It was Kono's right hand that Sithchamuang (114½) had no defence against, and in the fourth, fifth and seventh he was forced to take counts after being blasted by heavy head shots. While Kono showed how dominant he was, Sithchamuang proved to be a real iron man when coming back from such a battering.

23 April 2016. Carlos Cuadras w rtd 8 Richie Mepranum.

Venue: Multipurpose Centre, Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Tom Taylor.

Fight Summary: Right from the opening bell the challenger began driving in blows from his southpaw stance in a bid for an early kayo, but Cuadras (113¼) easily repelled the attacks before hitting back hard and often. Making his sixth defence Cuadras was soon banging in solid blows from head to body, with Mepranum (112¾) being forced to take them. In the fourth it had become very one-sided as Mepranum was hit with everything but the kitchen sink, although the Filipino was still able to hit back at times. With the pace subsiding it allowed Cuadras to really get his punches off, and at the end of the eighth Mepranum was retired after taking a rare battering in that session.

29 December 2015. Naoya Inoue w rsc 2 Warlito Parrenas.

Venue: Ariake Coliseum, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Mike Ortega.

Fight Summary: Respectful of Parrenas' record of 19 quick wins in his last 24 fights, Inoue (115), who was returning to the ring after a year's absence caused by a dislocated right hand, spent the opening session taking a good look at his challenger. Out of the blocks quickly in the second, Inoue walked into Parrenas (114) with solid combinations to the head before dropping him with a cracking right to the temple. Although Parrenas made it to his feet and was allowed to carry on, the referee called the fight off at 1.20 of the session after Parrenas had been floored again by a left following a barrage of heavy blows.

28 November 2015. Carlos Cuadras w pts 12 Koki Eto.

Venue: Xebio Arena, Sendai, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Hector Afu.

Scorecards: 117-111, 117-111, 116-112.

Fight Summary: Working off the back foot against the taller challenger, Cuadras (114½) was happy to circle around before jumping in with solid left hooks and uppercuts and moving away again. Although Eto (114½) stalked Cuadras he was unable to make full use of his extra reach when dropping the first five rounds on the cards. Having felt Eto's power in the sixth when taking an overarm right to the head, Cuadras dropped back into his hit-and-run tactics in an attempt to avoid further heavy blows. By the ninth, with Cuadras tiring, the stalking Eto stepped it up with body shots as he looked to take the fight by the scruff of the neck. However, unable to catch Cuadras cleanly as he held and moved, Eto was unable to build on his extra power.

16 October 2015. Kohei Kono w pts 12 Koki Kameda.

Venue: UIC Pavilion, Chicago, Illinois, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Celestino Ruiz.

Scorecards: 115-109, 113-111, 116-108.

Fight Summary: With both men fighting outside their own country, it was the champion who retained his title when outscoring Kameda (115) after a rip-roaring contest in which both men went for it. Trading blows from the start, Kameda was knocked down in the second by a right cross before being docked two points in the third when going low. Although Kameda came back strongly in the fourth and fifth with southpaw rights and lefts, Kono (114¾) began to pull away from thereon in when banging in hard rights at every opportunity. It made no difference to the result when Kono lost a point in the ninth for pushing Kameda's head down. Whilst there were many fierce exchanges between the pair it was normally Kono who had the last word, and following the fight the latter claimed that had Kameda used his movement instead of going toe-to-toe the result could have been different.

 

On 17 December, Luis Concepcion retained his WBA 'interim' title when outpointing Hernan Marquez over 12 rounds at the Roberto Duran Arena, Panama City, Panama.

15 August 2015. Carlos Cuadras w rsc 5 Dixon Flores.

Venue: Alberto Vega Flores Baseball Stadium, Guamuchil, Mexico. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Frank Garza.

Fight Summary: Although the challenger started well when taking the opening round, from the second onwards it was all Cuadras (114¾), going up and down with solid shots and throwing fast combinations. Hurt in the third and fourth, after Flores came out for the fifth within moments he was on the floor from a left hook before being allowed to continue. With Cuadras now in full flow, slamming in punches from both hands, Flores was under real pressure, and at 1.11 of the session the fight was all over when the referee rescued the latter after he had been dumped again.

18 July 2015. McJoe Arroyo w tdec 10 Arthur Villanueva.

Venue: Don Haskins Convention Centre, El Paso, Texas, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Rafael Ramos.

Scorecards: 98-91, 98-91, 97-92.

Fight Summary: Contested for the title vacated by Zolani Tete, it was Arroyo (114¾) who became the new champion when winning the technical decision. Arroyo, a southpaw, started the better before Villanueva (114¾) got himself going when throwing jabs and hooks, his work-rate making life difficult for the Puerto Rican. With heads coming together on a regular basis it was soon apparent that there would be problems, and in the sixth Villanueva was deducted a point for a head butt that left him with a cut over the right eye. With Arroyo banging in combinations from head to body, and a concentrated right jab to the badly swollen face of Villanueva, the fight ended and went to the cards at 2.05 of the tenth after the ringside doctor advised the referee that the latter's cut was too bad for him to continue.

4 April 2015. Carlos Cuadras w pts 12 Luis Concepcion.

Venue: Martin Alarcon Sports Complex, Metepec, Mexico. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Laurence Cole.

Scorecards: 117-111, 117-111, 118-110.

Fight Summary: Making his third defence, Cuadras (114½) negated much of the challenger's aggression when using good movement to make him miss, coupled with a solid left jab. Concepcion (114) came back in the fourth and sixth with several blows that did get through, but by the seventh Cuadras was picking it up again. By the ninth, although both of Concepcion's eyes were swollen he was still coming forward throwing punches from both hands, and even though his success rate was not high he continued in that vein right up until the final bell. Cuadras, who could never relax, won nine of the 12 rounds.

6 March 2015. Zolani Tete w rsc 8 Paul Butler.

Venue: Echo Arena, Liverpool, England. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Phil Edwards.

Fight Summary: Beginning the contest with a long southpaw jab and showing good speed, the champion set out his stall as Butler (115) tried to get inside his guard. When he did find a way through Tete (114) either countered well or moved away. Landing from head to body Tete was gradually wearing Butler down, and from the fifth onwards the latter was right up against it when being caught by heavy combinations again and again. Having won all completed seven rounds, Tete really opened up in the eighth, blasting in heavy blows from both hands before a cracking left uppercut to the chin decked Butler. Although on his feet at the count of 'ten' the referee decided that Butler was in no fit state to continue, calling the fight off at 1.34 of the session.

 

Tete relinquished the IBF title on 4 June due to receiving low purse bids for a prospective defence against McJoe Arroyo.

31 December 2014. Kohei Kono drew 12 Norberto Jimenez.

Venue: Ota-City General Gym, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Rafael Ramos.

Scorecards: 116-111, 114-114, 112-115.

Fight Summary: The champion barely held on to his title and would have lost it had Jimenez (115) not had a point deducted for going low in the sixth in a very tight contest. Both men were warned about keeping their punches up, and both were told off regarding other transgressions. Although Kono (114½) forced the bout for much of the time, Jimenez was happy to box on the back foot, scoring well with combinations to the body earlier on. With Jimenez tiring Kono came on strongly in the remaining two sessions, but despite going for it he was unable to find a finishing blow.

 

David Sanchez made a successful defence of the WBA 'interim' title when stopping Juan Alberto Rosas in ten rounds at the ExpoGan Arena, Hermosillo, Mexico on 14 February 2015. On 19 September 2015, Luis Concepcion won the WBA 'interim' title when he forced Sanchez to retire inside ten rounds at the Multiple Uses Centre, Hermosillo, Mexico.

30 December 2014. Naoya Inoue w co 2 Omar Narvaez.

Venue: Metropolitan Gym, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Lou Moret.

Fight Summary: In his 12th defence, the little southpaw came up against a tartar in Inoue (115), who took over at the opening bell and never gave him a chance to settle. A hard puncher with both hands, Inoue had Narvaez (114¼) down twice in the first, a right to the head and then a left hook doing the damage. In the second it was more of the same as Inoue went for the kill, and having been dropped by a left hook to the jaw Narvaez was counted out on the 3.01 mark after a wicked left hook to the body took all the wind out of his sails. Thus Inoue became a two-weight world champion in his eighth fight, having previously been the undefeated WBC junior flyweight title holder.

 

In a battle for the vacant WBO 'interim' title, David Carmona and Warlito Parrenas drew over 12 rounds at the Multipurpose Centre, Hermosillo, Mexico on 4 July 2015.

13 November 2014. Carlos Cuadras w rsc 6 Marvin Mabait.

Venue: The Hilton, Washington DC, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Eddie Claudio.

Fight Summary: Coming in at two weeks’ notice when Sonny Boy Jaro had visa problems, not surprisingly Mabait (113¾) failed to make a dent in Cuadras (114½) before going down to defeat. Despite the referee not counting over the southpaw challenger in the fourth when he fell to the floor, stating that the fighters' feet were tangled, he was given a count in the fifth when the ropes held him up after some heavy blows had landed. Having been floored by a right to the head before going down again in the sixth, the referee rescued Mabait with 36 seconds of the session on the clock.

20 September 2014. Carlos Cuadras tdraw 4 Jose Salgado.

Venue: Baseball Stadium, Guamuchil, Sinaloa, Mexico. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Jay Nady.

Fight Summary: Much the taller man, Salgado (114¾) failed to make it pay before heads came together and left him with a bad cut on the left eye. The contest was then halted by the referee at 2.28 of the fourth following an inspection by the ringside doctor, who considered it too bad for him to continue. A round earlier an accidental head butt had fractured Salgado's nose. Even though the scorecards showed that Cuadras (114¾) had won all three completed rounds, because the contest finished prior to the end of the fourth it was automatically recognised as a technical draw under WBC rules.

19 September 2014. Omar Narvaez w pts 12 Felipe Orucuta.

Venue: Villa Maria Municipal Amphitheatre, Cordoba, Argentina. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Celestino Ruiz.

Scorecards: 116-112, 116-112, 114-114.

Fight Summary: Having given the champion a tough time of it in a previous challenge, the lanky Orucuta (114¾) was expecting to go one better this time before recognising that Narvaez (115) had him sussed. Finding Narvaez a difficult target, the rangy Orucuta's jab was not nearly as effective as in their first encounter, and although he caught up with his man in the fifth and sixth he was unable to do much damage other than win the sessions. From the eighth onwards Narvaez cemented his earlier good work, his southpaw blows doing some damage on the inside and staggering Orucuta in the 12th. Regardless that one of the judges had it as a draw, most saw it as a clear win for the 39-year-old Narvaez.

18 July 2014. Zolani Tete w pts 12 Teiru Kinoshita.

Venue: Portopia Hotel, Kobe, Japan. Recognition: IBF. Referee: David Fields.

Scorecards: 118-110, 118-110, 119-109.

Fight Summary: An all-southpaw contest for the title vacated by Daiki Kameda saw Tete (115) outjab Kinoshita (115) for round after round without the latter ever finding the antidote. All this had followed an explosive opening session when the hard-punching Tete opened up with right hands. Finally Kinoshita opened up in the 11th, but by then it was too late and too little.

31 May 2014. Carlos Cuadras w tdec 8 Srisaket Sor Rungvisai.

Venue: Agustin Melgar Arms Hall, Magdalena Mixhiuca Sports City, Iztacalco, Mexico City, Mexico. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Jay Nady.

Scorecards: 78-73, 77-74, 77-75.

Fight Summary: Boxing off the back foot, his fast left jab unsettling the southpaw champion early in the fight, Cuadras (115), who had a reputation as a warrior, changed tactics for this one. When they did come together the action was fierce, but Cuadras had a game plan and stuck to it. Having been docked a point in the fifth due to an accidental head butt that cut Cuadras on the left eye, Sor Rungvisai (115) chased the challenger with no great success. Unfortunately for him, the fight was halted by the referee after 13 seconds of the eighth had elapsed on the advice of the ringside doctor when Cuadras' injury was deemed too bad for him to continue. Upon going to the cards early, the technical decision favoured Cuadras.

26 March 2014. Kohei Kono w co 8 Denkaosan Kaovichit.

Venue: Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Raul Caiz.

Fight Summary: In a contest for the vacant title after Liborio Solis had been stripped, Kaovichit (113¾) forfeited his WBA 'interim' honours on being knocked out by Kono (115) in the eighth round. Although Kaovichit attacked from the opening bell, throwing solid blows from both hands, it was soon noticeable that Kono's right hand would be problematic for him, and in the fourth a countering right to the head had the Thai over. Still fighting strongly, Kaovichit took two of the next three sessions on work-rate alone. However, despite stalking Kono in the eighth and landing several solid shots, the aggressive Kaovichit walked straight onto a cracking right hand to the button that dropped him for the full count 50 seconds into the session.

 

David Sanchez outpointed Breilor Teran over 12 rounds at the Municipal Auditorium, Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico on 24 May to win the vacant WBA 'interim' title.

21 December 2013. Omar Narvaez w rsc 7 David Carmona.

Venue: Villa La Nata Sporting Club, Benavidez, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Mario Gonzalez.

Fight Summary: Even at 38 years of age Narvaez (114¾) had no difficulty in turning back a challenger 16 years his junior. And starting quickly he had Carmona (114¾) over in the opening session, only for the referee to call it a slip. Having negated his opponent's left jab it was Narvaez's bodywork that weakened Carmona, and after a southpaw straight left to the body had him down in the sixth it was clear that the fight would soon be over. Hammered all over for the remainder of the sixth, although Carmona came out for the seventh he was soon under pressure following a couple of left crosses before the referee rescued him on the 2.37 mark further to the towel being thrown in.

 

On 17 May 2014, at the Villa Maria Municipal Amphitheatre, Cordoba, Argentina, Narvaez knocked out Antonio Garcia inside four rounds of a billed title defence that was voided when the latter came in over the weight.

15 November 2013. Srisaket Sor Rungvisai w rsc 9 Hirofumi Mukai.

Venue: Provincial Stadium, Rakhon Ratchasima, Thailand. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Malcolm Bulner.

Fight Summary: Dominating virtually throughout, the champion started aggressively, throwing solid southpaw blows up and down, and although Mukai (115) tried to match him he lacked the power to do too much damage. Knocked down in the second by a right-left to the head, Mukai was under pressure from thereon in as Sor Rungvisai (115) banged in shots, especially to the body, that weakened his man. Having continued his forward march into the ninth, Sor Rungvisai was sending in so many blows that the referee called the fight off at 1.40 of the session after Mukai's corner threw the towel in.

3 September 2013. Daiki Kameda w pts 12 Rodrigo Guerrero.

Venue: Sun Messe Convention Centre, Takamatsu, Kagawa, Japan. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Gerard White.

Scorecards: 117-109, 114-112, 116-110.

Fight Summary: Contested for the belt that Juan Carlos Sanchez forfeited, it was Kameda (115) who became the new champion after taking a clear decision over Guerrero (115). It would have even clearer had not the former undefeated WBA flyweight title holder been docked two points for going low in the fifth and 11th. Although Kameda was the faster of the two, the Mexican southpaw made him work, especially in the ninth and tenth when he kept punching with both hands. Becoming one of three brothers holding a version of a world title at the same time, Kameda was too fast and too accurate for Guerrero.

 

As already reported, Kameda failed to win another title when losing on points to an over-the-weight Liborio Solis, the WBA champion, at the Bodymaker Coliseum, Osaka, Japan on 3 December. With the fight going ahead at catchweights, Kameda held on to his IBF title.

 

Eventually, Kameda handed in his IBF Championship Belt on 19 March 2014 after conceding that it was too difficult to make the weight for future defences.

24 August 2013. Omar Narvaez w rsc 10 Hiroyuki Hisataka.

Venue: No 1 Municipal Gym, Trelew, Chubut, Argentina. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Julio Cesar Alvarado.

Fight Summary: Back to his best, the champion controlled proceedings from the beginning, landing accurate and hurtful southpaw blows that had Hisataka (115) backed-up for much of the time. Although Hisataka fired off the occasional volley of blows he was soon suppressed as Narvaez (114¾) got back his authority. With Hisataka being battered along the ropes in the tenth by rights and lefts the referee made a timely intervention when it was clear that the challenger had taken enough. The finish was timed at 1.26.

25 May 2013. Omar Narvaez w pts 12 Felipe Orucuta.

Venue: Luna Park Stadium, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Samuel Viruet.

Scorecards: 115-113, 115-113, 110-118.

Fight Summary: Having difficulty with the challenger's extra reach, Narvaez (114¾) took quite a while to get going, catching some heavy shots in the process. Orucuta (114½) was certainly a surprise package, giving and taking in equal measure, and many of the bystanders believed that he had won the fight. One of the judges actually gave him ten of the 12 rounds. In the final session it was all Orucuta, going from head to body as the little Argentine southpaw got his running shoes on.

6 May 2013. Liborio Solis w pts 12 Kohei Kono.

Venue: Ota-City General Gym, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Luis Pabon.

Scorecards: 114-112, 115-111, 113-113.

Fight Summary: There was never that much between the WBA champion, Kono (115), and Solis, who held the WBA 'interim' title, the latter ultimately taking the majority decision. Both men had a knockdown to their credit, Kono in the second with a straight right and Solis in the eighth following a cracker of a left hook. Solis, the harder puncher of the two, stated afterwards that he had tried to knock Kono out but found him to be too strong. In the tenth Kono was deducted a point for going low.

 

Denkaosan Kaovichit became the WBA ‘interim’ champion when he outpointed Nobuo Nashiro over 12 rounds at the Suranaree University, Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand on 3 September.

 

Solis forfeited the WBA title on 3 December when weighing in at 117½ lbs for a defence against Daiki Kameda, the IBF champion, at the Bodymaker Coliseum, Osaka, Japan, in a contest that was supposed to unify two titles. Although the fight went ahead, Kameda (115) was unable to capture the WBA title when losing on points over 12 rounds.

3 May 2013. Srisaket Sor Rungvisai w rsc 8 Yota Sato.

Venue: Khonmuangsri Stadium, Si Sa Ket, Thailand. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Guido Cavalleri.

Fight Summary: Taking the fight to the champion right from the opening bell, Sor Rungvisai (115) proved much too strong for a man making his third defence. Concentrating on the body, Sor Rungvisai moved in on Sato (115) at every opportunity, and in the fourth and seventh rounds he almost had the latter out of it when heavy southpaw shots found their target. In the eighth, Sor Rungvisai, recognising that Sato had nothing left to offer, pushed him into a corner and belted away with both hands until the referee stopped the contest on the 1.23 mark. It was a timely intervention as Sato was not fighting back despite still standing.

31 December 2012. Yota Sato w pts 12 Ryo Akaho.

Venue: Ota-City General Gym, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Yuji Fukuchi.

Scorecards: 118-110, 117-112, 117-111.

Fight Summary: Winning the opening six rounds when connecting with long left jabs and overarm rights that Akaho (115) had difficulty in avoiding the champion came under pressure for the first time in the seventh when pinned on the ropes and caught by solid left hooks. However, it was back to business as normal for Sato (115) in the eighth and ninth before coming under attack in the tenth as the hard-punching Akaho sent in wild blows from both hands. Following that, Sato stuck to his boxing to win handily on points against a man who had been expected to give him a real test.

31 December 2012. Kohei Kono w rsc 4 Tepparith Kokietgym.

Venue: Ota-City General Gym, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Stan Christodoulou.

Fight Summary: Although showing his intent when landing overarm rights to Kokietgym's head in the opening round, the second and third saw Kono (115) under some pressure as the champion hit back with left-right counters. In the fourth it all changed after Kono smashed Kokietgym (114¼) to the floor with a cracking left hook to the jaw. Badly hurt, Kokietgym just about made it to his feet, only to be dropped again by three solid rights to the head, and when he was put down again the referee called it off under the WBA's three-knockdowns-in-a-round ruling. The finish was timed at 2.08.

15 December 2012. Omar Narvaez w pts 12 David Quijano.

Venue: Hilton Hotel & Casino, San Miguel, Tucuman, Argentina. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Jose Hiram Rivera.

Scorecards: 120-106, 119-109, 120-108.

Fight Summary: The southpaw champion hardly raised a sweat in this one, outboxing and outpunching the tough Quijano (115) for round after round. Despite being outclassed, Quijano, who had never met anyone with the ability of Narvaez (115), took all that came at him without ever going down and would have learned a great deal from the experience.

20 October 2012. Omar Narvaez w rsc 11 Johnny Garcia.

Venue: Luna Park Stadium, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Roberto Ramirez Jnr.

Fight Summary: In control most of the way, Narvaez (114¾) was happy to stay close, utilising his quick reflexes to bang in southpaw rights and lefts while avoiding the challenger's swinging blows. Garcia (113¾) had his best session in the fifth when getting home with body shots from both hands, but having successfully dealt with that Narvaez stepped it up in the seventh to drop his man with a left cross that followed several right-lefts. In the eighth Garcia had a point deducted for an accidental head butt that left Narvaez with a swelling under the left eye. By that stage Garcia had also slipped over on several occasions. The contest was halted by the referee at 2.55 of the 11th after Garcia had been floored three times and was simply worn out.

22 September 2012. Juan Carlos Sanchez w co 9 Rodel Mayol.

Venue: Multi-Purpose Gym, Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Allan Huggins.

Fight Summary: It was Mayol (114) who made the better start when outsmarting and outpunching the champion for the opening five rounds, switching from side to side while getting in and out with straight rights. However, the fifth round saw a sea change as the taller Sanchez (115) finally got his act together, smashing in southpaw rights and lefts that had Mayol going, only to be dropped by a solid right-hand counter himself as the bell to end the round rang. From the sixth onwards it was all Sanchez as Mayol tired and in the ninth a right-left to the head saw the latter fall out of the ring to be counted out at 2.45 of the session. Cut over the left eye and his face swollen at the finish, Mayol said afterwards that cramps in his legs had stopped him from pushing on.

 

Sanchez (115¼) forfeited the IBF title when coming in over the weight for a defence against Roberto Domingo Sosa at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA on 8 June 2013. Although the fight went ahead, Sosa failed to become the new champion when outpointed over 12 rounds.

1 September 2012. Tepparith Kokietgym w pts 12 Nobuo Nashiro.

Venue: Sumiyoshi Sports Centre, Osaka, Japan. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Silvestre Abainza.

Scorecards: 115-113, 115-114, 114-114.

Fight Summary: This was a very tight, hard-fought contest that saw the champion retain his laurels against the competitive Nashiro (115), who came with a late run to win the last four sessions on the cards. Despite dropping the opening round as Nashiro got his left working well, Kokietgym (115) started picking up the points with rapid straight lefts and combinations that found their mark with regularity. In the middle rounds both men threw good shots, but it was Nashiro's late charge that took the fight to the wire.

8 July 2012. Yota Sato w pts 12 Silvester Lopez.

Venue: Bunka Gymnasium, Yokohama, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Laurence Cole.

Scorecards: 119-109, 116-113, 118-110.

Fight Summary: Controlling the contest from the opening bell, Sato (115) gave the hard-punching Lopez (115) the run around for much of the time, his long left jab and fast feet frustrating the latter who could never quite get to grips with the champion. Having scored five quick wins in his previous five contests Lopez was expected to do well, but after suffering weight-making problems the previous day his chances were greatly diminished.

19 May 2012. Juan Carlos Sanchez w pts 12 Juan Alberto Rosas.

Venue: TKT Box Tour Arena, Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Garry Ritter.

Scorecards: 118-109, 118-109, 120-107.

Fight Summary: Defending for the first time, Sanchez (115) made a great start when flooring Rosas (115) in the opening session with a solid southpaw straight left. Although Rosas recovered he was always second best, never quite being able to catch up with retreating Sanchez, who was more than comfortable on the back foot. When Rosas was cut on the bridge of his nose by a right uppercut-straight left in the sixth his chance of getting something out of the contest was virtually over.

21 April 2012. Omar Narvaez w pts 12 Jose Cabrera.

Venue: Aldo Cantoni Stadium, San Juan, Argentina. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Jose Hiram Rivera.

Scorecards: 118-108, 120-106, 118-108.

Fight Summary: Winning virtually every round in a master-class performance, the champion was the aggressor from start to finish, banging in southpaw rights and lefts as the bewildered Cabrera (115) tried to keep up with him. Using roughhouse tactics, in an effort to disrupt Narvaez (115), did Cabrera no good at all and he was deducted a point in the eighth and tenth rounds for head butts. In short, Cabrera could not find a way through Narvaez's excellent defence.

4 April 2012. Tepparith Kokietgym w rsc 9 Tomonobu Shimizu.

Venue: The Arena, Yokohama, Japan. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Ferlin Marsh.

Fight Summary: Having been out of action since winning the title and suffering an eye-socket fracture in doing so, and then being demoted to 'champion in recess' to allow the injury to repair, Shimizu (115) finally got to take on the man who took over from him. While Shimizu boxed well, throwing plenty of jabs to keep Kokietgym (115) at bay for short periods the latter would not be denied, a solid right-left almost taking the Japanese fighter out of the contest in the fourth. Prior to the ninth it was still close as Shimizu continually jabbed and moved, but in that session after he had been pinned on the ropes from a battery of blows and was not fighting back the referee came to his rescue. The finish was timed at 2.15.

 

On 28 April, Liborio Solis outpointed Santiago Ivan Acosta over 12 rounds at the Limon Coliseum, Maracay, Venezuela to retain his WBA ‘interim’ title.

27 March 2012. Yota Sato w pts 12 Suriyan Sor Rungvisai.

Venue: Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Jack Reiss.

Scorecards: 116-110, 114-112, 114-112.

Fight Summary: Outjabbing the champion from the start, Sato (114¼) really went to town in the third when dropping his man twice, an overarm right and then a short right doing the damage. Even though Sor Rungvisai (114½) came back strongly at times, looking to redress the situation, Sato continued to stick to his game plan in a hard-fought contest of which he was a worthy winner.

11 February 2012. Juan Carlos Sanchez w pts 12 Rodrigo Guerrero.

Venue: Union Arena, Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Ramon Corona.

Scorecards: 116-112, 119-109, 115-113.

Fight Summary: Regardless of what one of the cards stated this contest between two southpaws was relatively close. Although the champion began well on the front foot, his bodywork being most effective, Sanchez (115) did his share of the work, countering strongly at times and landing solid lefts. He also did a fair bit of running. Guerrero (115), whose face was battered and swollen at the finish, was obviously troubled by a badly cut upper lip and failed to do himself justice.

7 December 2011. Tepparith Kokietgym w pts 12 Daiki Kameda.

Venue: Prefectural Gym, Osaka, Japan. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Mark Nelson.

Scorecards: 116-112, 119-110, 115-113.

Fight Summary: Making his first defence of the belt that was handed to him after Tomonobu Shimizu was given 'champion in recess' status, Kokietgym (115) displayed much class when up against the hard-punching Kameda (115), often outboxing the latter, his long reach picking up the points with the use of accurate jabs. There were also plenty of good rallies, both men landing well, up and down. Hampered by a bad nose bleed suffered in the second after several solid uppercuts found their mark, Kameda came back strongly at times with cracking left hooks to the body, especially in the eighth, and despite his right eye swelling in the latter stages he was still prepared to go toe-to-toe with Kokietgym up until the final bell.

 

A few days later, on 10 December, Liborio Solis outpointed Jose Salgado over 12 rounds at the Fair Stockade, Nayarit, Mexico to win the vacant WBA ‘interim’ title.

4 November 2011. Suriyan Sor Rungvisai w pts 12 Nobuo Nashiro.

Venue: National Stadium Gym, Bangkok, Thailand. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Vic Drakulich.

Scorecards: 116-113, 115-113, 119-109.

Fight Summary: Putting up his belt for the first time, Sor Rungvisai (115) retained his title when holding off the aggressive Nashiro (115) with solid, accurate counter punches and left hooks. Although the fight was close, it was Sor Rungvisai's better work that kept him in front even though Nashiro came on strongly to win three of the last four sessions when landing several rights to the head that would have done more damage had he been a big puncher. One of the judges had Sor Rungvisai winning 11 of the rounds, which seemed far too extreme.

1 October 2011. Rodrigo Guerrero w tdec 6 Raul Martinez.

Venue: Municipal Auditorium, Tijuana, Mexico. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Pat Russell.

Scorecards: 59-54, 57-56, 57-56.

Fight Summary: Contested for the vacant title after Cristian Mijares was in the process of retiring, it was Guerrero (115) who picked up the belt after reversing a previous defeat at the hands of Martinez (115). Making the better start of the pair Guerrero upped the pace in the third before dropping Martinez with a southpaw straight left that might have put the latter out of the contest had the bell not rung. Throughout the fourth and fifth Guerrero maintained the pressure, and in the sixth when two accidental head butts left Martinez badly cut on the right eye the ringside doctor advised the referee to go to the cards at the end of the session, an action that resulted in the Mexican being awarded the technical decision.

31 September 2011. Tomonobu Shimizu w pts 12 Hugo Fidel Cazares.

Venue: Nihon Budokan, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Pinit Prayadsab.

Scorecards: 115-113, 115-113, 114-115.

Fight Summary: With Shimizu (115) taking the opening two rounds due a fast start and longer reach as Cazares (115) laboured it was not until the fourth that the champion got himself going when he banged in southpaw rights and lefts to the body in a bid to slow his man down. In charge from the fourth through to the seventh, despite being badly cut on the left eye in the fifth, but in the eighth Cazares surprisingly tired and gave way to Shimizu, who stayed on better for the a narrow points win.

 

In the aftermath it was discovered that Shimizu had suffered damage to his right eye (a fractured orbital floor), and with the WBA fearing long-term damage he was recognised as a 'champion in recess' on 10 November. Following that, Tepparith Kokietgym, the WBA ‘interim’ champion, was handed full title status on 14 November. Kokietgym had already been matched against Daiki Kameda for the 'interim' title, and the bout went ahead with full championship status accorded while arguments as to Shimizu’s treatment at the hands of those concerned continued to rage.

19 August 2011. Suriyan Sor Rungvisai w pts 12 Tomas Rojas.

Venue: Khonmuangsri Stadium, Srisaket, Bangkok. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Jack Reiss.

Scorecards: 116-112, 117-111, 115-114.

Fight Summary: Confusing the champion with his tactic of fighting on the outside despite being much smaller, Sor Rungvisai (115) would leap in with hooks before banging away on the inside. It was not until the seventh as Sor Rungvisai tired that Rojas (115) was able to begin the fight back when landing accurate southpaw shots to head and body, but unfortunately for him he had left it too late.

9 July 2011. Hugo Fidel Cazares w rsc 3 Arturo Badillo.

Venue: Eduardo Fontanet Bullring, Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Gustavo Padilla.

Fight Summary: Going straight on the attack with punches from both hands, in the main Badillo (115) was controlled by the champion's southpaw jab before being hurt by solid lefts. Dropped early in the third by a powerful left, although Badillo made it to his feet he was quickly put down again by a similar punch as Cazares (115) laid into him, and after being decked for the third time following a three-punch combination the referee called a halt on the 2.00 mark.

11 June 2011. Omar Narvaez w pts 12 William Urina.

Venue: Luna Park Stadium, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Roberto Ramirez.

Scorecards: 117-110, 117-110, 117-110.

Fight Summary: Coming in as a late replacement for Juan Carlos Sanchez, and in a battle between fellow southpaws, Urina (114¼) took the fight to the champion from the bell. Showing good work-rate, Urina sent in many straight blows as Narvaez (114½) countered with solid shots on the inside. With Urina deducted a point in the sixth for going low, although he maintained the pressure it was Narvaez who carried the latter sessions when going from head to body. All three judges agreed that Narvaez won nine of the rounds.

 

A contest for the vacant WBO ‘interim’ title on 15 October, at the Centenary Stadium, Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico, saw Daniel Rosas and Jose Cabrera share the points after 12 rounds.

21 May 2011. Tomas Rojas w rtd 11 Juan Jose Montes.

Venue: Metropolitan Arena, Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas, Mexico. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Rocky Burke.

Fight Summary: Boxing from the start as he meant to carry on, the tall champion picked Montes (115) apart with long southpaw jabs before moving on. For round after round it was the same. In the third after heads came together with a sickening thud Montes went to the floor, but luckily picked up no lasting damage and was soon back in the fray. Mixing his punches well by the middle rounds, Rojas (115) began softening Montes up when going from head to body and in the ninth the latter had a point deducted for ducking too low. With swellings around both eyes, having gone for broke in the tenth and 11th without success, Montes was retired by his corner at the end of the penultimate session.

14 May 2011. Cristian Mijares w pts 12 Carlos Rueda.

Venue: National Fair Stockade, Durango, Mexico. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Jack Reiss.

Scorecards: 120-108, 118-110, 120-108.

Fight Summary: Virtually a shut-out points win for the champion, even though the willing Rueda (115) was outboxed from the start he never stopped trying. Recognising that he had to impose himself on Mijares (114¾), Rueda banged away in the hope that he would get lucky. He even fell to the floor on occasion when slipping or missing with punches. Despite picking up nose damage in the third Mijares soon began to warm up with southpaw jabs, uppercuts and hooks to the body that hurt Rueda, who was cut on the left eye in the sixth. From thereon in the tiring Rueda bravely fought on to make it to the final bell, having to withstand some damaging blows on the way.

 

Mijares vacated the IBF title on 17 August due to weight-making difficulties before announcing his retirement from boxing a month later. Following that, Rodrigo Guerrero and Raul Martinez were matched to find a new champion. Having beaten Federico Catubay (w pts 12 at the Centennial Sports Centre, Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico on 24 July 2010), Guerrero lost his next eliminating contest against Martinez at the WinStar Casino, Thackerville, Oklahoma, USA on 20 November 2010. However, the 12-round points decision in Martinez’s favour had been so close that a return bout was a natural.

15 April 2011. Omar Narvaez w pts 12 Cesar Seda.

Venue: Estudiantes Football Ground, Bahia Blanca, Argentina. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Raul Caiz Jnr.

Scorecards: 117-110, 115-112, 117-110.

Fight Summary: Seda (114¾) started well enough in this battle of southpaws, his longer reach keeping the little champion on the end of some solid blows, especially downstairs. However, by the fourth Narvaez (115) was getting inside the jab as Seda fell short, and in the fifth the referee took a point away from the latter for low blows. Despite having had an excellent sixth and beginning to get on top, Narvaez, who finished with a cut on the left eye, could never relax against a man who was still dangerous. Ultimately, it was his accuracy that was the difference.

12 February 2011. Omar Narvaez w pts 12 Victor Zaleta.

Venue: Municipal Sports Gym, Monte Hermoso, Argentina. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Jose Rivera.

Scorecards: 120-107, 120-107, 119-108.

Fight Summary: After two competitive rounds the champion took over, making Zaleta (115) miss with good movement and sending in southpaw rights and lefts as the latter floundered. When Zaleta, who had been warned several times, had a point deducted in the sixth for going low his prospects sunk even further. With Zaleta tiring Narvaez (115) hammered his rival over the last few sessions in an effort to secure an inside-the-distance victory, but the Mexican proved too tough to finish off.

5 February 2011. Tomas Rojas w pts 12 Nobuo Nashiro.

Venue: Prefectural Gym, Osaka, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Rocky Burke.

Scorecards: 116-111, 116-113, 114-113.

Fight Summary: The taller man by three inches, the champion was soon on the move with southpaw jabs picking out Nashiro (115). Continuously stalking Rojas (115), it was clear that Nashiro had to get inside to be effective, and although he had some success with two-fisted flurries in the third and seventh he could not halt the Mexican's movement. Having caused damage to Rojas' nose following an accidental head butt in the eighth Nashiro was docked a point. Caught by a solid right hand in the ninth, Rojas spent the next three sessions moving briskly as Nashiro unsuccessfully tried to pin him down.

23 December 2010. Hugo Fidel Cazares w pts 12 Hiroyuki Hisataka.

Venue: Prefectural Gym, Osaka, Japan. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Luis Pabon.

Scorecards: 117-111, 117-111, 116-112.

Fight Summary: Retaining his title by a fair margin of points away from home, the southpaw champion had made life difficult for Hisataka (114¾) right from the start despite the latter landing good body shots in the opening round. Switching first one way and then the other, jabbing from either hand and landing solid shots, Cazares (115) confused Hisataka more often than not, and in the third a clash of heads saw the latter reeling away with a badly cut on the right eye. It was in the eighth that Hisataka finally showed when he landed a solid right followed by combinations that had Cazares in trouble at the bell. However, with Hisataka not following up his advantage in the ninth, Cazares took the last three sessions without a real struggle.

 

Drian Francisco lost his WBA ‘interim’ title after being outpointed over 12 rounds by Tepparith Kokietgym at the Benjamatheputid School Arena, Petchaburi, Thailand on 1 May 2011.

11 December 2010. Cristian Mijares w pts 12 Juan Alberto Rosas.

Venue: Municipal Auditorium, Torreon, Coahuila, Mexico. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Joseph Cooper.

Scorecards: 117-111, 115-113, 116-113.

Fight Summary: Losing his title at the first time of asking, Rosas (115) had given of his best but had been unable to get inside the defences of Mijares (115) for any lasting period. Boxing on the back foot the southpaw challenger, showing plenty of lateral movement, was far too clever for Rosas, who was forced to chase all night. Although Rosas won three or four rounds on aggression alone, he was more often than not on the end of the Mijares' jab. The final session saw both men going toe-to-toe in an effort to force a stoppage, but it was not to be.

9 October 2010. Hugo Fidel Cazares w rsc 9 Alberto Rossel.

Venue: Convention Centre, Tlalnepantla, Mexico. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Gustavo Perez Pineda.

Fight Summary: Stalking Rossel (114½) from the opening bell, Cazares (114¾), making his first full title defence, put his man on the floor in the fourth with a solid southpaw right to the head before continuing his forward march once the Peruvian was back on his feet. Even though he got inside the champion's guard at times Rossel was unable to do much damage and in the ninth, after being slammed to the deck by a solid right, the referee rescued him with just 31 seconds of the session gone.

20 September 2010. Tomas Rojas w pts 12 Kohei Kono.

Venue: Super Arena, Saitama, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Frank Garza.

Scorecards: 116-111, 116-111, 118-109.

Fight Summary: Contested for the vacant title after Vic Darchinyan moved up in weight, Rojas (115) became the new champion when outscoring Kono (115) by a fair margin. This came about despite him being hammered to the floor following a heavy southpaw right to the head in the final session. Prior to this Rojas had used speed and extra reach to good effect, and apart from the tenth, when warding off a sustained attack from Kono, and the 12th, had matters much his own way.

31 July 2010. Juan Alberto Rosas w rsc 6 Simphiwe Nongqayi.

Venue: Fairground Stockade, Tepic, Nayarit, Mexico. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Ray Corona.

Fight Summary: All one-way from the start, Rosas (115) gradually ground the champion down prior to winning the title by means of a stoppage. Throwing punches from head to body, Rosas was just too heavy handed and fresh for the 38-year-old Nongqayi (115) to cope with. Although Nongqayi had advantages in height and reach they were of no great use to him as Rosas continued to bang away, and after he was stunned and dropped by a right-left to the temple in the sixth his corner intimated to the referee that their man had taken enough despite him getting to his feet. The third man's stoppage came at 1.00 of the session.

15 May 2010. Omar Narvaez w pts 12 Everth Briceno.

Venue: Luna Park Stadium, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Luis Pabon.

Scorecards: 117-108, 117-108, 118-107.

Fight Summary: In a contest to decide the vacant title after Jorge Arce moved up in weight it was Narvaez (114¼) who cruised to the win, more than helped by the fact that Briceno (114¾) was deducted three points, in the fifth, eighth and 11th, for head butts. Stepping up to add the 115lbs title to the one he won at 112lbs, Narvaez boxed skilfully with the southpaw jab, backed up with left-hand combinations, paving the way forward when Briceno surprisingly stopped using his defensive powers in favour of slugging. Although Briceno was dropped in the fifth the referee decided that it was a push and not a punch that put him temporarily on the canvas. Coming into the fight as the WBO flyweight champion, Narvaez handed back that belt on beating Briceno.

9 April 2010. Simphiwe Nongqayi drew 12 Malik Bouziane.

Venue: De Coubertin Sports Centre, Massy, France. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Pete Podgorski.

Scorecards: 114-114, 114-114, 113-115.

Fight Summary: It seemed that the 38-year-old champion was lucky to retain his title by a majority draw, Bouziane (114¾) running him too close for comfort. Although Nongqayi (115) was clearly better than Bouziane in the third and fourth, having spent the opening two session adjusting to the latter's awkward style, from thereon in the fight went first one way and then the other. Both men visited the canvas, but each time the referee concluded that they were not knockdowns. Had Bouziane been awarded the fifth and tenth rounds on all three cards, which two of the judges saw him winning, he would have become champion.

6 March 2010. Vic Darchinyan w pts 12 Rodrigo Guerrero.

Venue: Agua Calianta Casino, Rancho Mirage, California, USA. Recognition: WBA/WBC. Referee: Ramon Corona.

Scorecards: 117-111, 120-108, 118-110.

Fight Summary: Proving to be one tough hombre, Guerrero (114) took all that the two-belt champion could throw at him over the full distance without ever being floored. Showing plenty of aggression, Guerrero, a fellow southpaw, certainly came to fight, but whilst Darchinyan (115) normally found the mark with his blows the Mexican's were wild despite being power laden. Cut over the right eye in the fourth, the injury worsening as Darchinyan worked on it, the last two sessions saw Guerrero hit with heavy punches from both hands, his pride intact.

 

On 8 May, Hugo Fidel Cazares outpointed Nobuo Nashiro over 12 rounds at the Prefectural Gym, Osaka, Japan to win the WBA ‘second tier’ title. Cazares made his first defence when stopping Everardo Morales inside seven rounds at the Convention Centre, Tlalnepantla, Mexico on 3 July.

 

Seven days later, on 10 July, Nonito Donaire stopped Hernan Marquez in the eighth round at the Jose Miguel Agrelot Coliseum, San Juan, Puerto Rico to retain the WBA ‘interim’ title, prior to stating that he was immediately moving up to the bantamweight division. That was followed by Drian Francisco stopping Duangpetch Kokietgym in the tenth round to win the vacant WBA ‘interim’ title at the Public School, Bueng Kan, Thailand on 30 November.

 

Despite the WBA and WBC continuing to recognise Darchinyan as their ‘special’ champion at the weight after he had won the IBO bantamweight title on 20 May, to all intents and purposes he would be fighting in a higher weight division from there on. However, it was not until the end of August that Darchinyan forfeited both the WBA and WBC titles, actions that were followed by Tomas Rojas and Kohei Kono being matched for the vacant WBC title and Cazares taking as head man at the WBA.

30 January 2010. Jorge Arce w tdec 7 Angky Angkota.

Venue: Arroyo Bullring, Mexico City, Mexico. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Samuel Viruet.

Scorecards: 70-64, 70-63, 68-65.

Fight Summary: Battling for the vacant title after Marvin Sonsona failed to make the weight for a defence, Arce (115) quickly decided that his best way of slowing Angkota (115) down was to work inside with hooks to the body. This also appeared to suit Angkota, but by the fifth he was tiring. The contest was concluded on the ringside doctor's advice at 1.28 of the seventh when an accidental head butt saw Angkota badly cut on the right eye. Following that, the referee sent for the scorecards. Arce became a two-weight world champion on winning, having been a WBO and undefeated WBC junior flyweight champion.

 

Arce relinquished the WBO title on 24 April after deciding to move up a division, and Omar Narvaez and Everth Briceno were signed up to find a new champion.

12 December 2009. Vic Darchinyan w rsc 2 Tomas Rojas.

Venue: Agua Caliente Casino, Rancho Mirage, Ca, USA. Recognition: WBA/WBC. Referee: Raul Caiz Jnr.

Fight Summary: Putting his two championship belts on the line Darchinyan (114½) made short work of the taller Rojas (113½), despite being made to miss and countered by rights and lefts early on. However, there were warning signs towards the end of the opening round that Darchinyan was getting closer. Having taken a big punch from Darchinyan relatively well in the second, the follow up blow, a terrific left to the jaw, sent Rojas crashing to the floor, whereupon the fight was stopped at 2.54 of the session to allow the latter to be given aid. Both men were southpaws.

15 September 2009. Simphiwe Nongqayi w pts 12 Jorge Arce.

Venue:  The Bullring, Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Jack Reiss.

Scorecards: 116-112, 117-112, 117-111.

Fight Summary: Matched for the vacant title after Vic Darchinyan sent his belt back when unable to meet the IBF's terms and conditions, Nongqayi (114½) took over the belt after being awarded the unanimous decision over Arce (115). Both men had started well enough, but by the fourth Nongqayi had the bit between the teeth as he began to pull away from Arce, who had been cut on the left eye in the opening session. Arce was still dangerous though, and in the eighth he had the South African over from a big left hook that the referee strangely decided was not a knockdown due to the rain-soaked canvas. With Nongqayi tiring it was Arce who finished the stronger, but he had left his surge too late.

4 September 2009. Marvin Sonsona w pts 12 Jose Angel Lopez.

Venue: The Casino, Rama, Ontario, Canada. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Rocky Zolnierczyk.

Scorecards: 116-109, 114-111, 115-110.

Fight Summary: Although starting reasonably well the champion was badly hurt by a southpaw right hook to the head at the end of the second, and in the fourth a similar blow had him down as Sonsona (115) went for it. Despite Lopez (114¼) recovering well and coming back strongly, when he was deducted two points in the eighth for low blows it made things more difficult for him. However, with Sonsona going on the back foot it gave Lopez new impetus when picking up the next two sessions, only for the Filipino to come back with solid straight lefts to take the 11th and 12th.

 

Sonsona lost the title on the scales when coming in at 117¾lbs for a defence against Alejandro Hernandez (115) at The Casino, Rama on 21 November. With Hernandez still able to claim it if he won, the fight went ahead before ending in a draw. Following that, Jorge Arce and Angky Angkota were booked to contest the vacancy.

28 March 2009. Jose Angel Lopez w pts 12 Pramuansak Posuwan.

Venue: Ruben Rodriguez Coliseum, Bayamon, Puerto Rico. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Luis Pabon.

Scorecards: 117-111, 116-112, 117-111.

Fight Summary: Contested for the vacant title after Fernando Montiel moved up a weight class, it was Lopez (115) who took over the belt when outscoring the 40-year-old Posuwan (114¼). No spring chicken himself at the age of 37, Lopez took control of the fight with solid jabs and lead rights whilst Posuwan's favoured shot was an overarm right. In the seventh, Posuwan touched down after taking some heavy blows to the head, only for the referee to ignore it. Both men were happy to trade, with Posuwan concentrating on the body in an effort to slow Lopez down but it was the latter's accuracy that eventually won the day.

7 February 2009. Vic Darchinyan w rsc 11 Jorge Arce.

Venue: The Pond, Anaheim, California, USA. Recognition: IBF/WBA/WBC. Referee: Lou Moret.

Fight Summary: With his three championship belts on the line, Darchinyan (115) forced Arce (115) out of the contest at the end of 11th round, having won all rounds bar the third. Taking it to Arce from the opening bell, Darchinyan banged in southpaw uppercuts and rights and lefts to keep his man well occupied and, although the latter got some solid shots off in the third and fourth, he maintained the pressure. Carrying a cut and swollen left eye from the fourth and tiring, when Arce picked up a cut on his right eye in the ninth and took some heavy shots in the tenth and 11th the ringside doctor advised the referee to bring matters to an end.

 

On 11 April, at the Prefectural Gym, Osaka, Japan, in an all-Japanese fight, Nobuo Nashiro stopped Konosuke Tomiyama in the eighth round to retain the WBA ‘second tier’ title.

 

A month or so later, on 18 July, at the Convention Centre, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, Tomas Rojas won the vacant WBC ‘interim’ title when forcing Everardo Morales to retire at the end of the ninth round.

 

This was followed by Darchinyan vacating the IBF version of the title on 27 July when unable to meet the timescale for a defence against South Africa’s Simphiwe Nongqayi, and to find a new champion the IBF set up a fight between Nongqayi and Arce, who had just defeated Fernando Lumacad.

 

The vacant WBA ‘interim’ title was up for grabs on 15 August, at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, but when Rafael Concepcion came in over the weight only Nonito Donaire could win it, which he did after securing a unanimous points decision.

 

With Darchinyan still recognised as the ‘super’ champion, Nashiro successfully defended the WBA ‘second tier’ crown when drawing over 12 rounds with Hugo Fidel Cazares at the Prefectural Gym, Osaka, Japan on 30 September.

 

Following this, Rojas made a successful defence of the WBC ‘interim’ title when outscoring Evans Mbamba at the World Trade Centre, Vera Cruz, Mexico on 24 October.

1 November 2008. Vic Darchinyan w rsc 9 Cristian Mijares.

Venue: Home Depot Centre, Carson, California, USA. Recognition: IBF/WBA/WBC. Referee: Lou Moret.

Fight Summary: In a battle between southpaws, Mijares (115) put his WBA and WBC Championship Belts on the line against the IBF champion, Darchinyan (115). After being dropped by a left uppercut to the jaw in the opening round it was all uphill for the favoured Mijares, his right eye swollen by the third, as he elected to trade with the hard-punching Darchinyan instead of trying to box his way back into the fight. Having fallen badly behind, Mijares tried to get his act together, but Darchinyan gave him no room to breathe, and in the ninth after the Mexican had been decked heavily by a solid right-left the referee called the fight off on the bell to allow the medics into the ring.

 

On the same day, at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, Jorge Arce stopped Isidro Garcia inside four rounds to successfully defend his WBA ‘interim’ title.

30 August 2008. Cristian Mijares w rsc 3 Chatchai Sasakul.

Venue: The Arena, Monterrey, Mexico. Recognition: WBA/WBC. Referee: Toby Gibson.

Fight Summary: Defending his two championship belts, Mijares (115) was far too strong for the 38-year-old Sasakul (115), hammering him in the opening round before sending him crashing in the second following a southpaw left to the jaw. After somehow managing to get up Sasakul was soon in trouble in the third when a right-left combination followed by two short blows from each hand sent him down again, and on getting up and stumbling around the referee called the fight off on the 1.05 mark.

 

Nobuo Nashiro won the vacant WBA ‘second tier’ title when outpointing Kohei Kono over 12 rounds at The Pacifico, Yokohama, Japan on 15 September, and on the same day Rafael Concepcion lost the WBA ‘interim’ title when retiring at the end of the ninth round against Jorge Arce at The Arena, Mexico City, Mexico.

2 August 2008. Vic Darchinyan w co 5 Dmitry Kirillov.

Venue: Emerald Queen Casino, Tacoma, Washington, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Earl Brown.

Fight Summary: Having taken in two contests at 115lbs since losing his IBF flyweight crown, Darchinyan (114) looked to be back his best when knocking out the champion to become a world title holder at two different weights. As the stronger man, Darchinyan virtually hurt Kirillov (114½) with every punch he hit him with, and although the latter had remained on his feet for the opening four rounds all that would change in the fifth. Floored by a four-punch combination, culminating with a solid left, Kirillov was dropped for 'four' before coming back into the fray and being counted out at 1.05 of the session after a short left had decked him again.

31 May 2008. Fernando Montiel w rsc 3 Luis Maldonado.

Venue: The Bullring, San Luis Potosi, Mexico. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Raul Caiz Jnr.

Fight Summary: Starting like a train, the champion was soon slamming in solid left hooks up and down, and it was not too long before a hard right-left had Maldonado (115) down on one knee. In the second it was more of the same, Montiel (115) flooring Maldonado with a left-hand counter that put the latter under even more pressure. With Montiel going for a quick win in the third, Maldonado was happy to punch it out until being put down by a countering right. That should have been it but, allowed to fight on, Maldonado was rescued by the referee with just two seconds of the session remaining when under fire from solid head punches.

 

Montiel relinquished the WBO title in February 2009 in order to contest the organisation’s vacant bantamweight crown, an action that was followed by Jose Angel Lopez being matched against Pramuansak Posuwan to find a new champion.

17 May 2008. Cristian Mijares w pts 12 Alexander Munoz.

Venue: Centenary Auditorium, Gomez Palacio, Durango, Mexico. Recognition: WBA/WBC. Referee: Jon Schorle.

Scorecards: 115-112, 116-111, 113-115.

Fight Summary: In a unification contest between the WBA champion, Munoz (114¾), and Mijares (114¾), the WBC representative, it was the latter who picked up both belts after winning the split decision. There was never much between them, Munoz being the heavier puncher and Mijares possessing more skill, and it went first one way then the other, as both men tried to assert themselves. The last few sessions saw Munoz, who had been docked a point in the sixth for low blows, going all out for a stoppage, only to be held up by the classy Mijares before tiring in the last round.

 

Following his victory, Mijares was promoted to ‘super’ champion status by the WBA, which was followed by Rafael Concepcion and AJ Banal contesting the vacant ‘interim’ championship on 26 July at the City Coliseum, Cebu, Philippines. The fight ended by way of a tenth-round count-out in favour of Concepcion.

28 February 2008. Dmitry Kirillov drew 12 Cecilio Santos.

Venue: Roseland Ballroom, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Steve Willis.

Scorecards: 116-112, 114-114, 114-114.

Fight Summary: Beginning brightly, the champion got away well with hard left-rights finding their mark in the opening session before Santos (115) picked up the action from the second through to the fifth with lefts and rights to head and body. Having landed some solid right hands in the sixth and seventh, instead of powering on Kirillov (113¼) dropped the eighth before cutting Santos over the left eye in the ninth and then ramming his advantage home in the tenth. With everything to play for in the remaining two sessions, both men threw punches in a desperate attempt to win before a majority draw saved Kirillov's bacon.

16 February 2008. Fernando Montiel w co 4 Martin Castillo.

Venue: MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Joe Cortez.

Fight Summary: Getting away quickly the champion powered into Castillo (115) from the opening bell, slamming in punches that ended with a left hook to the head dropping the latter heavily. Although Castillo came back gamely it was clear that he would continually be at risk from the left hook and in the fourth, after Montiel (115) had scored with a solid left-right followed by such a punch to the body, the challenger was down again. Clearly in pain, Castillo was counted out at 1.56 of the session in the act of rising.

16 February 2008. Cristian Mijares w pts 12 Jose Navarro.

Venue: MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Russell Mora.

Scorecards: 117-111, 115-113, 108-120.

Fight Summary: In a skilful battle of southpaws it was the champion who came out on top by a split decision that had one of the judges giving Navarro (115) all 12 rounds. Both men landed good scoring punches throughout, with Mijares (115) just keeping his nose in front despite Navarro taking the sixth and eighth on all cards with his better work. In the 11th Navarro was badly cut over the right eye, but after two inspections by the ringside doctor he was allowed to carry on. Although the more accurate and hurtful punches were landed by Mijares, had Navarro produced more quality rather than quantity the result might have gone his way.

14 January 2008. Alexander Munoz w pts 12 Katsushige Kawashima.

Venue: Cultural Gym, Yokohama, Japan. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Steve Smoger.

Scorecards: 115-113, 117-111, 115-114.

Fight Summary: After struggling to make the weight the champion performed well below par, even though he took the opening three rounds when throwing many punches as Kawashima (115) was finding his way into the contest. Kawashima showed his intent by making his move in the fourth when firing off lefts and rights, but Munoz (115) was still more accurate. In the last two sessions it was Kawashima who made the running, but although taking the rounds he was unable to pull a winning punch out of the bag. Kawashima announced his retirement from the ring immediately after the decision was announced.

20 October 2007. Cristian Mijares w rsc 1 Franck Gorjux.

Venue: Go-Kart Auditorium, Cancun, Mexico. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Gelasio Perez.

Fight Summary: Never giving his challenger a chance to settle, Mijares (115) started to unlock his rival's defences with the southpaw jab before blasting in solid lefts. It was a left hook to the chin that downed Gorjux (113¼) less than a minute into the fight, and when he fell again after taking more heavy blows to the head the referee stopped the contest with 15 seconds of the opening round still remaining.

13 October 2007. Dmitry Kirillov w pts 12 Jose Navarro.

Venue: Khodynka Ice Palace, Moscow, Russia. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Samuel Viruet.

Scorecards: 116-112, 114-113, 114-113.

Fight Summary: Contesting the title left vacant after Luis Alberto Perez was forced to hand back his belt, Kirillov (114¾) made a good start when having Navarro (114) over in the third from a solid right, a punch that was ultimately responsible for him winning the fight on the cards rather than drawing. Despite being cut over the right eye in the fifth, Navarro, a southpaw, was always throwing punches, his work-rate being superior to that of the Russian. However, it was Kirillov who was landing the harder and more noticeable shots that ultimately appealed to the judges.

4 October 2007. Fernando Montiel w rsc 12 Luis Melendez.

Venue: Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Kenny Bayless.

Fight Summary: Once again Montiel (115), finishing with cuts over both eyes, had trouble with a southpaw challenger even though he was the superior boxer of the pair. Picking Melendez (114½) apart with the jab, other than in the third when he was hurt and cut, Montiel stormed into the Colombian in the sixth, landing punch after punch before a solid right hander did the job. Although Melendez got up, he was in a dazed state when the bell came to his aid. Surprisingly, he came out fresh for the seventh and put Montiel down for 'nine' with a left to the jaw, the latter just beating the count. From thereon in Montiel took few chances, but towards the end of the 11th several solid shots to the jaw had Melendez in trouble. All over Melendez in the last, after having him down with a left to the body for 'nine', Montiel was slamming in heavy blows to the head when the referee called a halt on the 1.58 mark.

24 September 2007. Alexander Munoz w pts 12 Kuniyuki Aizawa.

Venue: Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Luis Pabon.

Scorecards: 120-106, 120-107, 118-109.

Fight Summary: Boxing in a negative fashion the challenger dropped virtually every round, spending much of the time on the back foot and even being told by the referee that he needed to do more. Cut on the left eye in the third Aizawa (114¾) had the crowd off their seats when he finally landed a big right in the sixth that shook Munoz (115), but failed to follow up. In the ninth, Munoz finally got to grips with Aizawa, dropping him with a solid left-right after a cracking left hook had made the opening. Although Aizawa began to take on Munoz in the last two sessions it was too little and too late.

14 July 2007. Fernando Montiel w rsc 10 Cecilio Santos.

Venue: Tecate Esplanade, Ciudad Obregon, Sonora, Mexico. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Alejandro Garcia.

Fight Summary: Controlling all rounds bar the third when the game challenger fought spiritedly, the taller Montiel (115) jabbed and crossed continually before going for the body. Opening up in the fifth with two hands, Montiel eventually dropped Santos (112¾) with a solid left hook to the body that had the latter in real trouble. From thereon in Montiel made the short ribs his target, and in the tenth he had Santos over from a left hook to the body after setting his man up with left jabs and hard rights to the head. Allowed to fight on Santos was soon up against it again, and when he was being hammered by lefts and rights the referee rescued him at 2.15 of the session.

13 July 2007. Cristian Mijares w rsc 10 Teppei Kikui.

Venue: Gomez Palace, Durango, Mexico. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Frank Garza.

Fight Summary: Although winning every round on the cards prior to the tenth the champion was never able to take things easy against Kikui (115), who was always trying to get power punches off in an effort to turn things around. With one of the judges making it a 10-8 round for Mijares (115) in the sixth Kikui was right up against it before being lucky to see the round out in the eighth when the bell came to his rescue. Having survived the ninth, Kikui soon found himself facing defeat by the short route as Mijares opened up with southpaw shots from both hands in the tenth, slamming in blows from head to body, and at 2.28 the fight was halted by the referee with the challenger in real trouble from a body attack that took all the wind out of his sails.

3 May 2007. Alexander Munoz w pts 12 Nobuo Nashiro.

Venue: Ariake Coliseum, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Rafael Ramos.

Scorecards: 118-109, 117-112, 117-111.

Fight Summary: On the front foot from the opening bell, the hard-punching Munoz (114¾) began to pile up the points when continually throwing hefty combinations that kept the champion on the defensive. Although Nashiro (115) came back strongly in the third and sixth when landing with solid left hooks he allowed himself to be outworked by Munoz, who was almost as fresh as when he started as the fight went on. Dominating the last two sessions when pushing Nashiro back, Munoz proved a worthy winner.

14 April 2007. Cristian Mijares w pts 12 Jorge Arce.

Venue: The Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas, USA. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Mike Griffin.

Scorecards: 119-109, 118-110, 117-111.

Fight Summary: Matched against a former two-time champion, Mijares (115) quickly put his challenger under pressure when laying into him with southpaw blows to head and body. It did not get any better for Arce (115), who was consistently outmanoeuvred and outpunched, and after his nose was split open from an accidental head butt in the eighth things only got worse for him. Although fighting hard in the last four rounds as Mijares continually hammered away at him, Arce was unable to land any meaningful punches of his own before going down by a wide points decision.

24 February 2007. Fernando Montiel w pts 12 Z Gorres.

Venue: The Sports Complex, Cebu, Philippines. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Samuel Viruet.

Scorecards: 115-111, 114-112, 111-115.

Fight Summary: Out of the ring for nine months, Montiel (115) came up against a southpaw challenger who gave him a lot more trouble than he had bargained for. Coming forward off the back foot, jabbing and crossing with speed, Gorres (115) proved to be a surprise package, and according to one of the judges he won eight of the contested rounds despite being deducted two points for excessive holding in the tenth and 12th without being given a warning. Unable to get going the heavy-punching Montiel failed to dislodge Gorres, and his prediction of a first-round knockout was way out.

3 January 2007. Cristian Mijares w rsc 10 Katsushige Kawashima.

Venue: Ariake Coliseum, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Michael Ortega.

Fight Summary: Defending the belt that was handed to him after it was relinquished by Masamori Tokuyama, Mijares (115) started well, with southpaw jabs and combinations finding their mark, and although Kawashima (115) came back strongly in the third and sixth he was behind on the cards at the end of the eighth. Outpunched in the ninth, the tiring Kawashima fell apart in the tenth, being dropped by a solid right hook which the referee surprisingly saw as a slip. With Kawashima under the cosh as Mijares went for the finish, being battered by rights and lefts without return, the third man eventually rescued him at 1.05 of the session.

2 December 2006. Nobuo Nashiro w pts 12 Eduardo Garcia.

Venue: Prefectural Gym, Osaka, Japan. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Mark Nelson.

Scorecards: 117-112, 118-110, 117-112.

Fight Summary: Up against a former sparring partner in Garcia (114¾), the new champion started well when banging in right crosses and left uppercuts to head and body to run off with the opening three rounds. Although Nashiro (114¾) was generally in control, Garcia was happy to fight in bursts, his solid combinations keeping him in the fight. In the eighth, throwing punches from varying angles, Garcia opened a cut over Nashiro's left eye, and after being held at bay in the ninth he gave it one last crack in the tenth before tiring. Even then Garcia remained dangerous, but Nashiro upped his game to win handily.

22 July 2006. Nobuo Nashiro w rsc 10 Martin Castillo.

Venue: Higashi Arena, Osaka, Japan. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Guillermo Perez.

Fight Summary: Nashiro (115) made a good start when landing heavily on the champion with good combinations, before having to survive a heavy left hook to the head immediately prior to the bell to end the first. In the second, however, Castillo (115) suffered a bad cut over the left eye, which got steadily worse as the fight continued. Although the fight remained on an even footing right through to the end of the ninth, both men scoring solidly, the referee called a halt at 1.02 of the tenth when Castillo's face was masked in blood. In winning, the former university graduate captured the title in only his eighth pro fight.

6 May 2006. Luis Alberto Perez w pts 12 Dmitry Kirillov.

Venue: DCU Centre, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: John Zablocki.

Scorecards: 115-113, 114-113, 110-117.

Fight Summary: Having been out of the ring for over a year, the southpaw champion ran into a tartar in Kirillov (114½), who despite being an unknown quantity soon showed that he had real ability, ramming in rights and lefts. One judge had him winning six of the opening seven rounds, but in the eighth solid rights to body and head from Perez (114½) dropped Kirillov. Back on his feet, Kirillov took the last four rounds according to one of the judges, only to lose the contest by a split decision when the great majority of the crowd and reporters had him winning by some margin.

 

Due to defend his title against Ricardo Vargas on 4 November, in Phoenix, Arizona, when Perez came in over the weight and the fight had to be scrapped the latter forfeited his belt. In order to find a champion, with Vargas inactive the IBF matched Kirillov against Jose Navarro for the vacant title.

27 February 2006. Masamori Tokuyama w pts 12 Jose Navarro.

Venue: Central Gym, Osaka, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Mark Green.

Scorecards: 117-113, 116-113, 116-113.

Fight Summary: Cut over the right eye in the first round did not help the southpaw challenger's chances, Tokuyama (115) taking full advantage of the situation when targeting the damage with lefts and rights. Realising that he was falling behind, Navarro (114¾) came on hard in the seventh and eighth before Tokuyama took over in the ninth with jabs and left-rights. The last three sessions saw both men tiring rapidly, but just when Navarro looked to be getting on top Tokuyama opened up in the 12th to make sure of the win.

 

Cristian Mijares won the vacant WBC ‘interim’ title when outpointing Katsushige Kawashima over 12 rounds at The Pacifico, Yokohama, Japan on 18 September, and successfully defended it when defeating Reynaldo Lopez on points over 12 rounds at the Municipal Auditorium, Torreon, Coahuila, Mexico on 17 November.

 

When Tokuyama relinquished the main title on 6 December due to weight-making difficulties, Mijares was appointed champion.

21 January 2006. Martin Castillo w pts 12 Alexander Munoz.

Venue: Thomas & Mack Centre, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Richard Steele.

Scorecards: 115-112, 116-111, 112-115.

Fight Summary: Being knocked down in the opening round by a battery of lefts and rights did not augur well for the champion in his rematch with the hard-punching Munoz (115). However, Castillo (114½) gradually got himself back in the fight even though both men missed more often than they landed, when getting to close quarters where he could work to body and head. Coming into the ninth with Munoz just ahead, Castillo, the fresher man, won three of the last four sessions to take the split decision. Both fighters were carrying cuts at the finish, mainly caused by accidental head butts, Castillo on both eyes and Munoz under his left optic.

29 October 2005. Fernando Montiel w pts 12 Pramuansak Posuwan.

Venue: Desert Diamond Casino, Tucson, Arizona, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Raul Caiz.

Scorecards: 115-112, 114-112, 114-112.

Fight Summary: Slow-paced over the first half of the contest, with the challenger sustaining a badly swollen right eye early on and Montiel (115) being caught by sharp jabs he would normally have avoided, it was not until the latter realised he was falling behind on points that he started to pick up in the seventh. In the eighth Montiel was strangely counted-over after taking a left hook that was clearly low to most ringsiders, and it was that incident which ultimately spurred him on to take the remaining four rounds. Although Posuwan (115) attempted to stay with Montiel, his face had become a real mess and he was being outboxed. He was also extremely tired. His problems were then compounded when he slipped over in the 12th. With the referee calling it a knockdown, Posuwan dug deep to hurt Montiel with a cracking left hook immediately prior to the bell before trudging back to his corner.

 

Allowed time out to challenge Mexico’s Jhonny González for the WBO bantam title on 27 May 2006, on being outpointed over 12 rounds Montiel decided to remain in the junior bantam division, being booked to make a defence early in 2007 against Z Gorres.

18 July 2005. Masamori Tokuyama w pts 12 Katsushige Kawashima.

Venue: Central Gym, Osaka, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Ian John-Lewis.

Scorecards: 118-109, 115-112, 117-110.

Fight Summary: Trying to reverse his shocking one-round defeat at the hands of Kawashima (114¾), the former champion started well, especially with the jab and left-right combinations, and soon began to pick up the points. This time around, Tokuyama (115) was proving a more difficult proposition for the somewhat pedestrian Kawashima to handle, his speed and movement being a decisive factor. After taking the first six rounds, Tokuyama started to tire and began to get caught by overarm rights and left hooks before cleverly turning to hit-and-hold tactics to defuse the situation as Kawashima went for broke. Eventually, in the 12th, Tokuyama was put down by a countering right. On his feet again, Tokuyama had to hang on for all his worth as Kawashima looked to turn things around, but he remained upright to regain the title when the latter missed time and again with wild swings.

16 July 2005. Fernando Montiel w pts 12 Everth Briceno.

Venue: MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Tony Weeks.

Scorecards: 117-111, 118-110, 117-111.

Fight Summary: Expecting to defend his title against Eric Morel, a southpaw, Montiel (115) agreed to take on the orthodox Briceno (115) at six days’ notice after Morel had been suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission following an assault charge. For the first seven rounds Montiel dominated with accurate punches to head and body, and almost took his opponent out in the seventh following an overarm right to the jaw which was followed up by a volley of blows. However, Briceno made it through the round, gradually getting into the fight as Montiel dropped his work-rate, but although he took the eighth and the last two sessions it was too little and too late.

26 June 2005. Martin Castillo w pts 12 Hideyasu Ishihara.

Venue: Aichi Prefectural Gym, Nagoya, Japan. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Stan Christodoulou.

Scorecards: 116-112, 116-111, 116-111.

Fight Summary: After winning the first three rounds with ease, as Castillo (114½) began to find it more difficult he was forced to retreat when the southpaw challenger began to lift himself to fire in solid lefts to head and body. In the fifth, Ishihara (115), who was beginning to be countered by solid combinations and body shots, picked up a bad swelling over the right eye before Castillo was deducted a point for repeated low blows in the next session. Castillo was then cut over the left eye in the seventh, but boxed his way clear over the final five sessions to make sure of the win in what was a messy affair.

30 April 2005. Luis Alberto Perez w rsc 6 Luis Bolano.

Venue: Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NYC, New York, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Pete Santiago.

Fight Summary: Fighting for the first time in 16 months due to any number of problems, Perez (115) quickly got back into action against Bolano (113¼), banging in jab after jab and cracking in the occasional body punch before dropping his fellow southpaw challenger with a ram-rod jab in the second round. Following this, Bolano showed little inclination to make a fight of it, being put down by another jab in the fifth, and then cut under the right eye prior to being stopped at 2.46 of the sixth after a right hook to the body had sent him crashing.

9 April 2005. Fernando Montiel w rsc 7 Ivan Hernandez.

Venue: Don Haskins’ Centre, El Paso, Texas, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Rafael Ramos.

Fight Summary: Reclaiming the WBO title, Montiel (115) gave a superb display of boxing to outclass the hard-hitting Hernandez (113½), who found the challenger’s speed and lateral movement too much to handle. Exuding confidence by the third, and after catching Hernandez with lefts and rights over the next few sessions, Montiel opened up in the sixth to drop his rival with two solid head punches. Hernandez showed his commitment when getting up and fighting furiously to the bell before the seventh saw him in big trouble again when he was sunk by a left hook to the body. On his feet again, it was now just a matter of time for Hernandez, and when another rasping body shot put him down for the second time during the round the referee immediately stopped the fight, the finish being timed at 1.48.

19 March 2005. Martin Castillo w pts 12 Eric Morel.

Venue: MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Robert Byrd.

Scorecards: 119-109, 119-109, 119-109.

Fight Summary: Outfighting his southpaw challenger throughout, Castillo (115) showed his qualities as he quickly moved to close quarters in an effort to nullify the boxing skills of Morel (115) who was often made to fight with his back to the ropes. Although a clash of heads in the tenth opened up a cut over Castillo’s left eye, the latter continued to send in body punches as well as connecting with the occasional big right to the face of Morel to make the result a formality.

3 January 2005. Katsushige Kawashima w pts 12 Jose Navarro.

Venue: Ariake Coliseum, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Mark Green.

Scorecards: 109-120, 115-114, 115-113.

Fight Summary: In a battle of skill versus power, although the hard-hitting Kawashima (115) held on to his title, it was much closer than one of the scorecards suggested, the lanky southpaw challenger proving a tough test. There were no knockdowns to report, but Kawashima was cut over the right eye in the second round before being similarly damaged on the left eye in the fifth. Subsequently, the action swayed to-and-fro, with Navarro (114½) displaying good skills and Kawashima beginning to concentrate on the body following a lack of success upstairs. Even though fading towards the end Navarro continued to keep his boxing together as the wild-swinging Kawashima poured in the leather, receiving warm applause at the final bell from an audience appreciative of his skills.

3 December 2004. Martin Castillo w pts 12 Alexander Munoz.

Venue: Entertainment Centre, Laredo, Texas, USA. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Laurence Cole.

Scorecards: 117-109, 116-110, 117-109.

Fight Summary: Proving a surprise package and finally fulfilling his potential, Castillo (115) boxed superbly to lift the title from the hard-hitting Munoz (115). Countering well from the start, Castillo also showed his power in the fourth when a solid left hook briefly dropped Munoz. Although the champion continued to track him down Castillo was not to be denied, beating his rival to the punch repeatedly. Put down by a left hook in the eighth, despite fighting back with much endeavour Munoz was caught repeatedly, and following the final bell the scoring showed that he had won just three rounds on the cards.

25 September 2004. Ivan Hernandez w co 8 Marc Johnson.

Venue: FedEx Forum, Memphis, Tennessee, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Armando Garcia.

Fight Summary: Certainly not overawed by the southpaw Johnson (115), the tall southpaw challenger proved it when landing a heavy right in the opening round which put the latter on his toes for the remainder of the contest. Although Johnson was dangerous, especially with the right uppercut, Hernandez (115) looked to match him all the way before having to weather the storm when badly hurt in the sixth by solid right hands. Coming back strongly in the seventh Hernandez dropped Johnson with a right-hand counter, and although the champion made it to the bell he was put him down again, in the eighth, by a right to the body that saw him counted out at 2.42 of the session.

20 September 2004. Katsushige Kawashima w pts 12 Raul Juarez.

Venue: Bunka Gym, Yokohama, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Bill Clancy.

Scorecards: 114-110, 113-111, 117-107.

Fight Summary: The newly crowned hard-punching Kawashima (115) made a good start in his first defence, flooring Juarez (114¼) with a smashing overarm right in the second round to show his intent. Back in the fray, and despite being unable to hurt Kawashima, the durable Juarez made life difficult for the champion as he looked for the finishing punch. Dropped twice, in the sixth and seventh rounds, before having a point deducted for spitting out his gum-shield in the seventh failed to deter Juarez, who staggered Kawashima in the eighth and won two of the last three sessions before going down on the cards.

28 June 2004. Katsushige Kawashima w rsc 1 Masamori Tokuyama.

Venue: The Arena, Yokohama, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Jay Nady.

Fight Summary: Aggressive from the start, the challenger tore into Tokuyama (115), unloading left-right combinations before sending in a vicious right to the head that dropped the champion on all fours. Somehow Tokuyama made it to his feet, but still on shaky legs he was set about by Kawashima (115) who saw his chance and took it when hammering in punches from all angles. When a cracking right to the head sent Tokuyama crashing again the referee did not even bother to count, and at 1.47 of the opening round the fight was over.

6 March 2004. Marc Johnson w rsc 4 Luis Bolano.

Venue: Foxwoods Resort Casino, Uncasville, Connecticut, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Arthur Mercante Jnr.

Fight Summary: Defending the title for the first time, Johnson (115) took on an unbeaten fellow southpaw at just three weeks’ notice and proceeded to hand him a boxing lesson before really getting down to work. Having shown his hand-speed to dominate the early action, Johnson opened up in the fourth to drop Bolano (115) with an explosive right hook. Although Bolano made it to his feet he was there for the taking and Johnson walked in with right uppercuts to the body, prior to sinking in a tremendous left hook to the solar plexus. With Bolano on the floor, the referee stopped the contest on the 2.40 mark after reaching the count of ‘four’.  

3 January 2004. Masamori Tokuyama w pts 12 Dmitry Kirillov.

Venue: Central Gym, Osaka, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Vic Drakulich.

Scorecards: 117-111, 117-112, 116-112.

Fight Summary: Starting as he meant to continue, the champion immediately got his left jab working effectively against a cautious Kirillov (114½) who rarely got into the fight until making a late challenge. Using the jab well, and throwing in right crosses for good measure, Tokuyama (115) really opened up in the 11th, almost dropping Kirillov with a smashing right counter. Surprisingly, Kirillov stormed into Tokuyama in the final session with solid combinations, but it was not to be his night.

3 January 2004. Alexander Munoz w rsc 10 Eiji Kojima.

Venue: Central Gym, Osaka, Japan. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Roberto Ramirez.

Fight Summary: Recovering from a poor start, having been outjabbed during the opening four rounds, the champion finally found his form to drop Kojima (115) with a cracking combination in the fifth. Now in full flow, Munoz (114¾) floored Kojima twice more, in the ninth and tenth rounds, to force a stoppage at 3.03 of the tenth immediately following the third knockdown.

 

On 16 May, at the Memorial Centre, Gifu, Japan, Martin Castillo won the vacant WBA ‘interim’ title when stopping Hideyasu Ishihara in the 11th round, and would go on to meet Munoz.

13 December 2003. Luis Alberto Perez w pts 12 Felix Machado.

Venue: Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Wayne Hedgpeth.

Scorecards: 115-113, 117-111, 119-109.

Fight Summary: Ending the year as he had begun it, Perez (114) outpointed Machado (115), only now he was defending the title not challenging. This time around it was more conclusive as the champion took control in the third round. Showing more aggression than his rival, who was mainly looking to steal points, Perez nearly finished the fight in the eighth when right-lefts almost put Machado down and out. Although the ropes saved Machado on that occasion, with the assault having taken a lot out of him he spent the rest of the contest intent on survival.

4 October 2003. Alexander Munoz w pts 12 Hidenobu Honda.

Venue: Ryogoku Sumo Arena, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBA. Referee: John Coyle.

Scorecards: 116-112, 118-110, 119-109.

Fight Summary: Forced to go the distance for the first time, the aggressive Munoz (115) repeatedly missed with his big punches, while Honda (115), who was surprisingly given four rounds by one of the judges, failed to take up the initiative expected of a challenger.

16 August 2003. Marc Johnson w pts 12 Fernando Montiel.

Venue: Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, Connecticut, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Michael Ortega.

Scorecards: 115-112, 117-110, 114-114.

Fight Summary: In suffering his first defeat in 28 bouts, Montiel (115) also lost his title as the ring-wise former flyweight champion, Johnson (115), basically kidded and jabbed him out of it. It was not that Johnson was special, it was more a case of Montiel not doing enough, and he only occasionally showed any urgency in his work against a crafty southpaw who had seen better days. Still, if Johnson did not throw as many jabs as he used to he was still dangerous, dropping Montiel with a cracking right hook in the fifth round. However, unable to sustain the pressure Montiel survived.

23 June 2003. Masamori Tokuyama w pts 12 Katsushige Kawashima.

Venue: The Arena, Yokohama, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Nobuaki Uratani.

Scorecards: 116-114, 116-112, 116-112.

Fight Summary: Calling on his excellent footwork and movement, Tokuyama (115) controlled the fight with his jab until damage to his left hand in the sixth round forced him to hit-and-run for the rest of the bout as the challenger stormed forward. Energised from the middle rounds, Kawashima (115) began to get in some pretty solid punches when taking the last two rounds clearly, but his work had been too sporadic and was not enough to overhaul Tokuyama’s lead.

18 January 2003. Fernando Montiel w co 2 Roy Doliguez.

Venue: Baseball Auditorium, Los Mochis, Mexico. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Lou Moret.

Fight Summary: Having won the WBO Asian-Pacific title at the weight, the southpaw Doliguez (114½) was given a crack at Montiel (115) regardless of the fact that he had failed to win his last three contests. Despite that, it almost paid off for him early on as he dropped the showboating champion with a countering left uppercut to the jaw. Again, early in the second round Doliguez decked Montiel, only this time it was ruled a slip. Realising that he had a dangerous man in front of him Montiel was forced into action, and picking up the pace he dropped Doliguez three times in the second session, the final occasion seeing the latter counted out on the 2.31 mark.

4 January 2003. Luis Alberto Perez w pts 12 Felix Machado.

Venue: The Armoury, Washington DC, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Ken Chevalier.

Scorecards: 115-112, 114-113, 110-117.

Fight Summary: A major upset occurred when Perez (114) came in at just five days’ notice to defeat the champion in what was a battle of southpaws. From the moment Machado (114) suffered a broken right cheekbone in the first round, an injury which could be explained by the massive swelling, his days as champion were numbered as he was caught repeatedly by the jab throughout. Both men slugged away, there never being much between them, but a point deducted from Machado’s total in the fifth for punching low ultimately proved costly.

20 December 2002. Masamori Tokuyama w pts 12 Gerry Penalosa.

Venue: Castle Sports Centre, Osaka, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Eddie Cotton.

Scorecards: 116-111, 114-113, 113-114.

Fight Summary: Yet again Tokuyama (115) almost lost his title against Penalosa (114¾) before ultimately prevailing, despite being docked a point in the third when a butt opened up a bad cut on the challenger’s forehead. The game Penalosa was always in Tokuyama’s face but a big offensive in the tenth swung it for the champion.

26 August 2002. Masamori Tokuyama w rsc 6 Erik Lopez.

Venue: Super Arena, Saitama, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Frank Cappuccino.

Fight Summary: Retaining the title for the fifth time, the taller Tokuyama (114¾) made such good use of the left uppercut that Lopez (115) was pulled out of the fight by the referee at the end of the sixth when his right eye was completely closed. Lopez was never able to get into range due to the champion’s ability to keep on the outside.

31 July 2002. Alexander Munoz w co 2 Eiji Kojima.

Venue: Prefectural Gym, Osaka, Japan. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Julio Cesar Alvarado.

Fight Summary: Kojima (115), had a good look at Munoz (114¾) before the pair of them got down to business in the second round, at one stage landing solid shots simultaneously which almost floored both of them. It was a warning for Munoz, and he immediately followed up with a cracking right hander to the head that smashed the tall southpaw challenger to the canvas where he was counted out on the 2.18 mark.

22 June 2002. Fernando Montiel w rsc 6 Pedro Alcazar.

Venue: MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Kenny Bayless.

Fight Summary: Even though he started well, Alcazar (115) soon faded once Montiel (115) began to get on top with speedy punches to head and body, and in the fifth round the referee was already looking to pull the champion out, especially as he had stopped fighting back. Into the sixth, with Alcazar continuing to take punches from WBO flyweight title holder without reply, merely covering up, the third man had seen enough and called a halt at 1.16. On winning, Montiel handed back his WBO flyweight belt to concentrate on his new title. Tragically, Alcazar, who was unbeaten in 26 previous contests, collapsed and died 40 hours after the fight.

30 March 2002. Felix Machado w tdec 6 Martin Castillo.

Venue: Sovereign Centre, Reading, Pennsylvania, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Blair Talmadge.

Scorecards: 58-56, 58-56, 58-56. 

Fight Summary: Machado (114½) looked to be in grave danger of losing his title in this one, but with both men bleeding badly from facial cuts, Castillo (115) on the scalp and the champion over the right eye, the fight was stopped after six completed rounds to go to the scorecards. There was much surprise at the verdict as most onlookers thought that Castillo’s seemingly better work had won the day.

23 March 2002. Masamori Tokuyama w rsc 9 Kazuhiro Ryuko.

Venue: The Arena, Yokohama, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Kazumasa Kuwata.

Fight Summary: Walking through the rounds, Tokuyama (115) was a scintillating winner over the southpaw challenger, who was thought to be a danger but ultimately posed no real threat. Having had his nose broken in the second round, and on the receiving end of some fairly hefty punches, Ryuko (115) went all out in the ninth before a heavy right-hand counter sent him crashing to the canvas. Realising that Ryuko was through for the night, the referee called the contest off with 18 seconds of the session remaining.

9 March 2002. Alexander Munoz w rsc 8 Celes Kobayashi.

Venue: Nihon Budokan Martial Arts Hall, Tokyo, Japan. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Stan Christodoulou.

Fight Summary: Fighting on home territory was not enough to save the championship for Kobayashi (115), who was dumped unceremoniously five times by the hard-hitting, if sometimes crude, Munoz (115). Decked in the second, sixth and seventh, and twice in the eighth, the final knockdown from a bombshell of a right hander saw the referee call matters off on the 1.31 mark.

5 October 2001. Pedro Alcazar w pts 12 Jorge Otero.

Venue: National Gym, Panama City, Panama. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Roberto Ramirez.

Scorecards: 116-112, 116-113, 118-110.

Fight Summary: Looking to dominate the action early on, the champion began to land solid hooks to the body while Otero (115) stuck with the left jab. That was generally the pattern throughout, with both men taking a breather in the fifth and sixth before Alcazar (115) came on strongly with fast combinations to head and body during the next three sessions. Several times Otero appeared hurt, but while his jab often got him out of trouble he was unable to make much of an impression with the right hand, subsequently failing to put a dent in the champion.

24 September 2001. Masamori Tokuyama w pts 12 Gerry Penalosa.

Venue: The Arena, Yokohama, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Larry O’Connell.

Scorecards: 116-113, 115-113, 115-113.

Fight Summary: In an exciting fight, Penalosa (115) went close to landing the championship as his persistent body punches continually hurt Tokuyama (115), but he was badly hampered from the middle rounds when sustaining nasty gashes on both head and face. Not as sharp as normal, the champion came back towards the end to outpunch the Filipino and maintain his grip on the title.

1 September 2001. Celes Kobayashi w pts 12 Jesus Rojas.

Venue: The Arena, Yokohama, Japan. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Luis Pabon.

Scorecards: 116-114, 115-113, 113-116.

Fight Summary: Despite forcing the fight all the way, the aggressive Kobayashi (115) barely held on to his title as Rojas (114½) countered him quite brilliantly at times. That was the story of the fight, the southpaw champion making all the running but being held up by solid combinations.

16 June 2001. Pedro Alcazar w pts 12 Adonis Rivas.

Venue: National Gym, Panama City, Panama. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Luis Pabon.

Scorecards: 116-112, 116-112, 114-116.

Fight Summary: Starting well with the left jab, the challenger took the fight to Rivas (114¼) for the opening three rounds before the latter settled down to have some successes. There was no doubt that Alcazar (114¾) was in control most of the way, even though Rivas landed well in the seventh and eighth, and he picked up where he left off over the last four sessions to walk away with the title.

16 June 2001. Felix Machado w pts 12 Mauricio Pastrana.

Venue: Cintas Centre, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: James Villers.

Scorecards: 118-110, 116-112, 117-111.

Fight Summary: Making full use of a three-inch-reach advantage, the back-pedalling Machado (115) picked up points with the southpaw jab, albeit exhibiting a lack of power. To his credit Pastrana (113) showed great conviction, but despite cutting Machado over the right eye in the eighth he was unable to break down the champion’s defences.

20 May 2001. Masamori Tokuyama w co 5 In-Joo Cho.

Venue: Sheraton Walker Hill Hotel, Seoul, South Korea. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Tony Perez.

Fight Summary: The return fight between the pair saw a fairly uneventful four rounds contested before heavy left-right combination punches delivered by Tokuyama (114¾) left Cho (115) taking the full count after 45 seconds of round five.

11 March 2001. Celes Kobayashi w rsc 10 Leo Gamez.

Venue: The Arena, Yokohama, Japan. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Armando Garcia.

Fight Summary: Persistently punching to the body Kobayashi (115) never allowed Gamez (113¾) to get going, and when the latter was gashed over the right eye in the fifth the writing was on the wall. However, the champion fought back strongly in the ninth before a countering left to the jaw decked him in the tenth and brought about the referee’s intervention with 51 seconds of the session remaining.

16 December 2000. Felix Machado w rsc 3 William De Sousa.

Venue: Itio Hotel, Maracay, Venezuela. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Luis Pabon.

Fight Summary: Down in the first from a heavy-handed left hook, De Sousa (113½) was under the cosh from there on, it being clear even at that early stage it would be just a matter of time before he succumbed. The referee finally rescued the challenger at 2.23 of the third after a straight right from Machado (115) had again deposited him on the floor.

12 December 2000. Masamori Tokuyama w pts 12 Akihiko Nago.

Venue: Maishima Arena, Osaka, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Frank Cappuccino.

Scorecards: 118-108, 117-109, 117-109.

Fight Summary: Although one-sided, Tokuyama (115) had to get off the floor himself in the sixth before continuing to dominate Nago (114¾). The southpaw challenger, who rarely got into the fight, was a huge disappointment to his supporters.

9 October 2000. Leo Gamez w rsc 7 Hideki Todaka.

Venue: Aichi Prefectural Gym, Nagoya, Japan. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Stan Christodoulou.

Fight Summary: Gamez (114¾) battered the champion incessantly before unloading a cracking right hand in the seventh to finish the fight on the 2.13 mark. Todaka (115), who sustained a fracture to the left side of his jaw, was out to the world and the referee called a halt immediately to allow him the necessary medical attention. Thus Gamez became a four-weight world champion, having previously held the WBA version of the title at mini flyweight (undefeated), junior flyweight and flyweight.

2 September 2000. Adonis Rivas w pts 12 Joel Luna Zarate.

Venue: National Stadium, Managua, Nicaragua. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Roberto Ramirez.

Scorecards: 116-112, 115-113, 118-112.

Fight Summary: Rivas (115) retained his title when holding his boxing together to run out a good winner over the determined Zarate (114) in what was a hard and bloody contest. Starting slowly, Rivas was shaken up several times with solid rights, and in the third round a clash of heads saw both men cut. However, with the memory of the champion’s last defence which went to a technical decision, the referee allowed the fight to continue. Despite Zarate being cut over the left eye and Rivas’ vision being affected by blood running from his scalp, both men continued in good spirit, with the latter boxing on the back foot when needed. Although the 11th saw another head clash, which left Rivas bleeding from the forehead and Zarate cut over the right eye, with them being allowed to continue the latter made up some lost ground in the last two sessions.

27 August 2000. Masamori Tokuyama w pts 12 In-Joo Cho.

Venue: Prefectural Gym, Osaka, Japan. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Lupe Garcia.

Scorecards: 119-107, 117-109, 116-110.

Fight Summary: Having cut Cho (115) over the left eye in the second and then dropping him with a left-right combination in the fourth, Tokuyama (114¾) became the first North Korean to win a world title after boxing his way to a clear points win over his South Korean rival. Although Cho came back well at times it was never enough, the new champion being too fast and too elusive.

22 July 2000. Felix Machado w pts 12 Julio Gamboa.

Venue: American Airlines Arena, Miami, Florida, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Armando Garcia.

Scorecards: 120-108, 119-109, 119-109.

Fight Summary: Contesting the vacant title in what was a return Machado (115) made no mistake this time around when using a stinging right jab and follow-up lefts to keep the heavier-punching Gamboa (115), cut on the right cheek and scalp, at distance. Although Gamboa realised the fight was running away from him and tried to rectify matters in the second half of the contest, Machado continued to control the action, being excellent value for his near shut-out win.

20 May 2000. Felix Machado drew 12 Julio Gamboa.

Venue: Grand Casino, Tunica, Mississippi, USA. Recognition: IBF. Referee: Elmo Adolph.

Scorecards: 111-116, 115-114, 114-114.

Fight Summary: Originally scheduled to take place on 3 March, Machado (113½) and Gamboa (113) were contesting the title that was vacated following the stripping of Marc Johnson. And after 12 rounds of boxing the championship was still vacant, although a rematch was ordered in the aftermath. That aside, it was an exciting fight, and while Gamboa was the bigger puncher of the two it was Machado, a southpaw, who scored the only knockdown, a long left hook to the head doing the damage in the fourth. With both men continuing to give it everything, if it had not been for two points being deducted from Machado for misdemeanours the championship would have been his at the first time of asking.

14 May 2000. In-Joo Cho w pts 12 Julio Cesar Avila.

Venue: Sheraton Walker Hill Hotel, Seoul, South Korea. Recognition: WBC.  Referee: Richie Davies.

Scorecards: 118-109, 118-109, 117-111.

Fight Summary: Sporting a five-inch-reach advantage, Cho (115) certainly made it pay when using his fast footwork to keep Avila (114¾) on the end of his left jab throughout. Too slow to make up the ground, the challenger, still trying to get to close quarters, was also caught heavily with well-timed uppercuts in the middle rounds before making it to the final bell.

23 April 2000. Hideki Todaka w rsc 11 Yokthai Sithoar.

Venue: Rainbow Hall, Nagoya, Japan. Recognition: WBA. Referee: Stan Christodoulou.

Fight Summary: Coming from behind, having been mainly on the receiving end during rounds three through to seven, Todaka (114¾) finally got his act together when blasting Sithoar (115) to the canvas with an overarm right just before the eighth session ended. Although Sithoar came out shakily for the ninth, Todaka, tracking his every move, was unable to catch up with his challenger again until swarming all over him in the 11th to force a stoppage on the 2.22 mark.

25 March 2000. Adonis Rivas w tdec 11 Pedro Morquecho.

Venue: National Stadium, Managua, Nicaragua. Recognition: WBO. Referee: Luis Pabon.

Scorecards: 106-103, 106-103, 107-102.

Fight Summary: Putting up his title for the first time, Rivas (114¾) had a difficult experience against the hardy Morquecho (115) who gave him all manner of problems before he was awarded a technical decision win at the end of the penultimate round. The action had been stopped after damage to Rivas’ right eye, caused by an unintentional head butt, had reached the point where it was too severe for him to continue. Prior to the ending, although Rivas had shown plenty of attacking aggression, he had been unable to subdue the tough southpaw challenger despite being ahead on the cards.

2 January 2000. In-Joo Cho w pts 12 Gerry Penalosa.

Venue: Sheraton Walker Hill Hotel, Seoul, South Korea. Recognition: WBC. Referee: Marty Denkin.

Scorecards: 115-112, 116-113, 114-115.

Fight Summary: Obviously a clash of styles, as in their first fight it was a dull affair with Cho (114) struggling to find a rhythm and the aggressive Penalosa (114¾), who apart from the odd occasion had difficulty landing his big southpaw rights. Although the champion’s punches lacked steam, there were enough of them to warrant the decision, especially after Penalosa had a point deducted in the tenth for his corner’s failure to keep water off the canvas following several warnings.