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News On: Thomas Dulorme, Delvin Rodriguez, Mauricio Herrera, More

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DelormeCuello Hogan3Orange, CA (October 17) – Next Saturday, October 27 HBO's Boxing After Dark will feature an exciting tripleheader that will be televised at 10:15 p.m. ET/PT. Emanating from Turning Stone Casino in Verona, New York, America's premium cable network will proudly feature the main event of the evening, WBC #1 welterweight contender Thomas Dulorme (16-0, 12 KOs) against Argentina's Luis Carlos Abregu (33-1, 27 KOs) in a 12-round welterweight war. The Co-Main event boasts IBF lightweight champion Miguel “Titere” Vazquez (31-3-0, 13 KOs) of Guadalajara, Mexico squaring of against challenger Marvin Quintero (25-3-0, 21 KOs) of Tijuana, Mexico.

Setting the tone for the anticipated all-out fistic action, the opening televised portion of the card features WBO NABO Junior welterweight champion Karim Mayfield (16-0-1, 10 KOs) of San Francisco, CA defending his title against challenger Mauricio Herrera (18-2-0, 7 KOs) of Riverside, California.

We caught up with Junior Welterweight Mauricio “El Maestro” Herrera to get his thoughts on his upcoming battle against Karim “Hard Hitta” Mayfield.

NEW YORK, NY (October 17, 2012) Joe DeGuardia's Star Boxing is proud to announce the re-signing of former world title challenger and perennial contender Delvin Rodriguez.

Sporting a record of the 26-6-3 with 14 knockouts and known for his thrilling performances including the 2011 “Fight of the Year”, Rodriguez is among the most exciting and respected warriors in the sport. He is currently world ranked #7 by the WBA.

Said DeGuardia, “Star Boxing is honored to extend our relationship with Delvin. Delvin and his team are true professionals that we've enjoyed working with over the years.”

“At every show I promote fans approach me wanting to know when Delvin is fighting next and I hope to announce details of his next fight shortly. He's a must-see attraction on the East Coast and we're very thankful for the support from the fans.”

Said Rodriguez, “Star Boxing has done very good by me, we work well together, they got me the two opportunities for the world title bouts. I'm back in the gym now and I feel very strong and confident”

“I want to get right back in the mix to face a top contender for my next fight, maybe Gabriel Rosado or Carlos Molina. There's a real buzz about Rosado who's on a nice winning streak and Molina has faced and beaten many top guys. Either one would be a very strong TV fight.”

Rodriguez's manager A.J. Galante also spoke about the signing and Delvin's future,”I'm very pleased that Joe and I were able to draw up a multi-year extension for Delvin. Delvin and I felt it was necessary to show our commitment to Star Boxing like they have showed Delvin over the past five years, which included two world title shots, multiple appearances on ESPN, fights on both HBO and SHOWTIME, and staging the Fight of the Year in 2011 against Pawel Wolak.”

“We are happy that we were able to get this contract out of the way, so now we can go back to work and get back on the winning track after our loss in June. Delvin is as hungry as ever and I plan and want him extremely active this coming year. As always Delvin wants the toughest fights out there and being in one of boxing's deepest divisions, I know we will get those tough fights. Myself along with Joe and Star Boxing matchmaker Ron Katz have already discussed plans for the upcoming months, and Delvin is very excited for what the future holds.”

Rodriguez is best known for his all out war with Polish standout Pawel Wolak, their first fight on JULY 15, 2011 from the Roseland Ballroom in New York City being declared a draw. The bout won “Fight of the Year” honors and was broadcast LIVE on ESPN Friday Night Fights.

While their first clash was declared a draw, Rodriguez fought beautifully in the rematch winning a clear and decisive ten round unanimous decision on DECEMBER 3, 2011 at a sold-out Madison Square Garden in a bout that was televised on HBO Pay-Per-View.

Most recently Rodriguez travelled to the West Coast challenging WBA Junior Middleweight Champion Austin Trout on JUNE 2 at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California, losing a twelve round decision in a bout that was broadcast on SHOWTIME.

“My goal is to get Delvin another world title shot soon. His whole career has been challenging the very best in his division and that will continue to be our focus for him” continued DeGuardia.

MAURICIO HERRERA Q&A SESSION

Q:How is training camp going?

A:Training camp has been going really well. I'm more relaxed now then I was when I was training to fight Mike Alvarado. When I was training to fight against Alvarado I knew it was a big fight and I felt a lot of pressure.

Q: Do you feel the any pressure because it's on HBO?

A: Fighting on HBO is different from fighting my usual fights because when you are at a larger venue, hearing the fight fans and seeing the cameras – You become aware that this is being televised to the world. I am glad that I had the chance to experience what it feels like to participate in a major televised event (referring to his last match up against Mike Alvarado) because I feel that I can handle it better now knowing what to expect.

Q: Where do you reside and where do you train?

A: I live and train in Riverside, CA. A long time ago there was a miscommunication that I lived in Lake Elsinore. I have always lived in Riverside.??I switch gyms constantly to keep it fresh but I always have stayed around home. For this camp, I have trained out of a gym called Orlando in Riverside and sometimes I train out of Lincoln Gym which is also located in Riverside.

?Q: How has your loss against Mike Alvarado changed your training regiment?

A: After the loss to Alvarado, which to me was a close, hard battle, I reviewed the fight nearly 100 times so that I can know where I need to make changes. I train to improve my skills and also by changing bad habits that I have like dropping my hands. I also try and move my head a little more. I believe that reviewing the tapes has helped because I am fixing the mistakes little by little.

Q: Have you seen Karim Mayfield fight before?

??A: Yes. I have seen his last two fights. His last two opponents weren't anything like me. His last two opponents did not pose too much of a threat. I consider myself smart inside the ring and I won't stop fighting, those 2 guys he just fought were not like me.

Q: Karim says that you throw a lot of punches and that you are very active in the ring. Because of this Karim says that he has been training to negate your activity. What do you have to say about that?

A: Karim's right about that… I do throw a lot of punches and I am very active in the ring. What he doesn't know is that I also have a lot of defense tactics
that I don't get credit for.

I can make a lot of guys miss the punches that they throw which tires them out. Mayfield is going to have to run and hold and that will wear him down. This is going to be a tough fight. I am not easy to hit and I throw a lot of punches
This is going to be the toughest fight of his career.

Q: What have you been doing to prepare for Karim Mayfield?

A: I have been doing my routine training that I usually do for a fight. The only difference is that in this camp I have also been focusing on fixing my mistakes and bad habits.

Q: Mayfield says that he is looking to capitalize on your last loss against Alvarado. What are your thoughts?

A:It's a waste of time for him to do that. He should know that it was a close fight and a tough loss and he's making a big mistake in thinking that I may be mentally off my game. He's going to find out real quick when he gets in the ring with me. I think I will hurt him in the middle rounds. He made a mistake in fighting me. I feel that he is underestimating me and overlooking me. He doesn't understand that damage that I can do to him.

Q: Why do you think he is overlooking you?

A: I think he's excited that he is on HBO but he needs to understand that he's not there yet and I'm not there yet. We both are still paying our dues and before any of us feel that way we have to earn that spot.

Q:What happened in your fight against Alvarado?

A: The feeling is different when you are in a bigger venue and experience the energy of a big crowd. You tend to listen to their reaction more. I stood there trading with Alvarado way longer than I needed to. I feel that I am going to take from my last experience and have it help me in this fight. In this battle I am going to fight with more intelligence, more boxing – less brawling.

Q: Do you have a closing comment?

A: Hopefully Karim Mayfield will be 100% ready. I know I will be. I'm ready to give a good show. This is my time. I have fought many prospects and beat them. I am looking to fight anyone at the top with a belt and hopefully they give me that chance.

The Herrera-Mayfield 10-round bout is promoted by Gary Shaw Productions in association with Thompson Boxing Promotions.

Doors open at the Turning Stone Resort Casino Event Center at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, October 27. The first undercard bout starts at 7:30 p.m. The live HBO Boxing After Dark telecast begins at 10:15 p.m.??

October 17, 2012 – Making a quick return to the ring is undefeated welterweight contender, Vitaliy Demyanenko (21-0, 12 KOs), who'll be fighting Damian Frias (19-5-1, 10 KOs) on November 3, 2012, in the main event at the Emerald Casino in Tacoma, Washington. The 10-round bout will be promoted by Brian Halquist Productions in association with Boxing 360.

Last week, Demyanenko won a unanimous decision against Roberto Valenzuela in a 6-round bout that took place at the Remington Park Racing Casino in, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Vitaliy looks to continue his winning ways against Frias.

“It very pleased that my promoter Boxing 360 has another fight lined up for me,” said Demyanenko. “My manager Steve Pochiro is working great with Mario Yagobi and together they are doing a wonderful job getting me fights. As long as I'm healthy I want to keep fighting as much as possible. Frias is a good fighter and he's one not to look past. I'll be ready for this fight and I will be victorious when the final bell rings.”

“Vitaliy has been training real hard for the last year,” mentioned Demyanenko's manager Steve Pochiro. “He gets up every morning to go run and his dedication to boxing is incredible. The Frias fight is the next big step in the right direction to line us up for a title shot. Yagobi and I are working harmoniously for the betterment of Vitaliy's career. He'll come prepared and he'll be ready to go against Frais.”

“Demyanenko is on a roll right now,” stated Boxing 360 promoter Mario Yagobi. “I'm happy with everything he's doing and our team is strong. A big fight is on the horizon if he can remain focused on his boxing career and win this fight.”

Philadelphia, PA (October 17, 2012) – Marie Suarez, the widow of legendary boxing trainer Oscar Suarez, will walk in his honor at the PurpleStride Marathon Saturday, November 3 at Fairmount Park in Philadelphia, PA.

With a million dollar smile and soft personality, Suarez was recognized as one of boxing’s good guys. The New Jersey native trained world champions “Prince” Naseem Hamed, Acelino “Popo” Freitas and Jhonny Gonzalez as well as contenders Omar Sheika, Aglando Nunes and Patrick Lopez among others. In 2008, Suarez lost his battle with Pancreatic Cancer at age 47. Two years later, he was inducted into the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame.

A benefit for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, PurpleStride is an annual 5K walk that takes place in various locations throughout the country. The walk helps raise funds for Pancreatic Cancer research, with the hopes of one day finding a cure for what is widely regarded as the worst form of cancer.

“I raise money for the cause as often as possible,” said Marie Suarez, a native of Paterson, NJ who resides in West Berlin, NJ. “My goal is to start the Oscar Suarez Foundation in the near future and events like this help educate me further about the process. The Suarez Foundation will be about patient care, education and helping families that get caught by surprise. Pancreatic Cancer gives no warning and the medical expenses are through the roof. I am hoping to gear my efforts strictly for patient care awareness, funeral expenses and things of that nature. I am still working on the specifics, but I am dedicated to making a difference.”

Every year, approximately 44,000 Americans are diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer and it’s the second leading cause of cancer death. Only six percent of people with Pancreatic Cancer survive longer than five years. Sadly, only two percent of the National Cancer Institute’s annual budget goes towards Pancreatic Cancer research, making it the most under-funded and least-studied of all major cancers.

Donations can be made in Oscar’s honor and those interested in participating in the event can register by going to http://purplestride.kintera.org.

For more information, please contact Marie Suarez at Mse22st@aol.com.

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Three Punch Combo: A Bouquet for “ShoBox” and More

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THREE PUNCH COMBO — We are embarking into a new age in boxing. There are new television contracts and digital platforms available that are making the sport more visible than ever before to the masses. But with all these new deals and platforms, it is important not to forget some of the consistent programming that has been around for some time. There is no better example of this than the ShoBox series on Showtime.

ShoBox, more formally ShoBox: The New Generation, began with a simple premise of matching young prospects in with tough opposition. To get their fighters on this series, promoters would have to find credible opponents who could potentially test and maybe even upset their prized prospect. This premise has led to consistently competitive and entertaining fights in the more than 200 broadcasts since the inception of the series in 2001.

This past Friday, we saw just how this premise works once again. There was a four fight card that featured competitive fights on paper in all the matches. However, in two of those matches there did seem to be clear favorites though each of the respective fighters was being matched with their toughest foe to date.

James Wilkins and Misael Lopez opened the telecast in a 130-pound contest. Wilkins was featured in a documentary that aired on Showtime just prior to the card and was expected to make a smashing television debut. He was a knockout artist and the thought was that he would put on a show to open the telecast. But instead, Wilkins got a boxing lesson from Lopez who was busier from the outside and managed to mostly avoid the power of Wilkins throughout the contest in winning an eight round unanimous decision.

The main event featured Jon Fernandez facing O’Shaquie Foster in another 130-pound contest. Fernandez had been getting a lot of buzz and many in the sport considered the Spaniard a future star. This was supposed to be a test for Fernandez as Foster (pictured on the right) represented a step up in class, but nonetheless many expected Fernandez to pass the test with flying colors. Instead, the power punching Fernandez was clearly out-boxed by Foster for ten rounds in an entertaining fight.

These two fights showed once again that when young fighters are matched tough we often get better than expected fights that can sometimes deliver surprises. This coming Friday, the series returns with highly touted lightweight prospect Devin Haney (19-0, 13 KO’s) in the main event taking on former world title challenger Juan Carlos Burgos (33-2-2, 21 KO’s). This is a fight in which Haney is favored but one in which he is facing the toughest challenge of his young career. At the very least, this should be a test for the highly touted 19-year-old Haney and I am certain we get a compelling fight.

ShoBox is boxing’s most consistent series and one that just continues to provide fight fans with high caliber, competitive fights.

10 Percent or 10 Pounds – How To Combat Fighters Who Blow Up In Weight

It is time to address the issue of fighters gaining an absurd amount of weight following the weigh-in. There is a reason why we have weight classes in boxing. If one fighter enters the ring weighing significantly more than his opponent, it gives the bigger fighter a big advantage. This can make for not only non-competitive fights but potentially dangerous situations. I have a simple solution that I think can combat this problem.

In past articles, I have touched on the issue of fighters who miss the contracted weight. My argument has always been to implement a system with stiff financial penalties. So in a similar aspect, I think stiff financial penalties can combat the continued problem of fighters blowing up in weight after the official weigh-in.

What I propose is second day weigh-ins where fighters would not be permitted to put on more than ten pounds or 10 percent (whichever is more) of the contracted weight limit. If they are over, the fight still goes on but the fighter who misses the second day weight limit pays a substantial fine. This simple adjunct can be easily administered by the various state commissions in the United States (or any other commissions worldwide).

Here is an example:  Let’s say we have a fight contracted at 130 pounds and each fighter weighs in at 129 pounds. The second day limit would be 10 percent of 130 pounds which was the contracted weight. So each fighter could come in at a maximum of 143 pounds. Now let’s say one fighter comes in at 146 pounds. The penalty I propose would be 20 percent of that fighter’s purse per pound over the weight. And this money goes directly to their opponent. Under this example, the fighter over weight would lose 60 percent of his purse.

Zero Shouldn’t Mean That Much

We are in an era, largely due to The Floyd Mayweather Jr. Factor, where fighters are often overly protected to keep that precious zero in the loss column. But to do so, they are frequently matched with soft opposition and learn little from dismantling their overmatched foes. There is little to no growth in their career during this period and though the record may get glossy, the development of the fighter may be stunted.

Setbacks can humble fighters and make them see what needs to be done so as not to experience that feeling again. They become better overall fighters and put themselves in a better long term position in their career.

This past weekend, we saw two once promising prospects bounce back with career defining wins after suffering an early unexpected defeat. They are both now in prime position to have their respective careers blossom which may not have otherwise been the case.

Earlier I mentioned O’Shaquie Foster’s upset win against Jon Fernandez. Three years ago, Foster was a highly touted prospect. He had a good amateur background and was blessed athletically with dynamic speed. After building up an 8-0 record against less than formidable opposition, he lost in a dreadful performance to Samuel Teah. Another loss would follow several months later to Rolando Chinea. But Foster clearly learned from his mistakes in these fights and bounced back, layering his natural athletic ability with much improved skills in frankly outclassing Fernandez. Foster’s losses made him take a step back and re-evaluate what needed to be done inside the ring. He is now in prime position to become a contender in the 130-pound weight division.

Luke Campbell was a 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist and considered a can’t-miss future star in boxing. But in his 13th pro fight, in a rather shocking development, he was put on the canvas and lost a split decision to veteran Yvan Mendy. Another loss followed two years later against Jorge Linares but Campbell performed well while losing a split decision and flashed signs of improvement from the Mendy setback.

The rematch with Mendy for Campbell took place this past weekend and Campbell did what many expected him to do in their first encounter. He boxed effectively from the outside and mixed in precision combination punching to easily avenge the defeat. It was a dynamic performance by Campbell and put him in line for a big fight at lightweight.

Luke Campbell is a vastly different fighter from the one who lost to Mendy three years earlier and appears primed to potentially live up to the once high expectations. He is in a better spot today in his career due to what he learned from that first loss to Mendy.

Photo credit: Dave Mandel / SHOWTIME

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In Dismantling Povetkin, Joshua Recaptured His Swag among the Heavyweights

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He was in against a very crafty and experienced opponent in former WBA titlist Alexander Povetkin 34-2 (24). And although he was troubled by the dangerous Russian fighting small as he tried to inch his way in and time him, AJ adjusted well and started to take the initiative and dropped and stopped Povetkin in the seventh round, retaining his WBA, WBO, and IBF heavyweight titles and thus becoming the first fighter to ever stop Povetkin, something Wladimir Klitschko failed to do.

During the fight AJ was forced back. He had to adapt to Povetkin making him punch down and that caused him to be a little tentative, especially after being bloodied from a broken nose in the first round. And early on, AJ was a little confused and busy trying to keep Povetkin occupied from outside so he couldn’t get in on him. His most effective weapon in doing such was his left jab, delivered to the head or body, although the fight really turned when he began putting his one-two together. Then after a fairly evenly-paced bout, AJ slowed some with the hope it would lure Povetkin to close in a little harder, and he did.

As Povetkin, who came to fight, became more assertive, he became more vulnerable. AJ found the openings for his big right hand and left hook. With the first really solid right hand that bounced off his chin, Povetkin buckled and instinctively went back. Joshua pursued him and then, with near Joe Louis-like accuracy, put his right hands and hooks together, along with a beautiful right to the body in the middle of the assault and finished his game opponent.

Once again it was shown that trading with AJ is almost certain suicide. Povetkin was in great shape and would’ve been a handful for any other heavyweight in the world because he no doubt brought his A-game. Sometimes it takes AJ a little while to get going, and if you don’t do anything to bother him or wake him up, he doesn’t fight with the urgency of a “Smokin” Joe Frazier. However, when you wake him up and force him to cut loose, he’s so dangerous that he doesn’t need too many clean shots to end it. And making Joshua more lethal is that he has both short and inside power in both hands.

After months of hearing how Povetkin was the most serious threat to Joshua, that’s now finished business. Prior to the bout The Ring magazine rated the top six heavyweights in the world as follows…..Joshua, Wilder, Povetkin, Ortiz, Whyte and Parker, in that order. Now Joshua is 3-0 (2) versus Povetkin, Whyte and Parker which squashes the narrative that he has fought weaker opposition than WBC title holder Deontay Wilder 40-0 (39) who has only faced Ortiz among the top six.

Today, the most widely levied criticism of any elite fighter is that he didn’t fight the best man or men in his division. Fighters can’t control who their contemporaries are but they can control fighting the best of their era. Rocky Marciano’s era wasn’t stellar, but he fought every top fighter who was in line to challenge him. Floyd Mayweather fought in a stout era – the difference is an overwhelming majority of his bouts with big name opponents were strategically manipulated so that he faced them on the downside of their career – and that’s a fact, not a theory.

Forty years after his last victory in a title fight, Muhammad Ali is respected and revered as a fighter even by those who don’t claim to be a fan of his. Why? He wasn’t the most fundamental boxer in heavyweight history nor was he the biggest puncher, and not all of his fights were edge of your seat exciting. The thing that’s often cited as to why he was a marvel is that he fought the best of the best during one of the deepest eras in heavyweight history. There were a few times between 1975-77 that he held a win over every fighter ranked among The Ring magazine’s top-10. Sure he fought a few Brian London’s and Jean Pierre Coopman’s, but London was encompassed by Sonny Liston and Ernie Terrell during the 1960s and Coopman by Joe Frazier and Ken Norton during the 1970s.

Anthony Joshua hasn’t yet sniffed the greatness of Ali on many levels, but he is on the same trajectory in regards to meeting and defeating the best of his generation. By the end of this month, the WBC heavyweight title fight between Deontay Wilder and former champ Tyson Fury will likely become official with them meeting in early December. And regardless of who wins, Joshua, if he really wants to etch a great legacy, must pressure the winner to meet him in their next bout. In addition to that, he must tell his brain, aka Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn, to forget about winning the purse war if it is the only stumbling block. If the winner of Wilder-Fury is impressive, he will have earned a 50-50 split.

During the faux negotiations between the Joshua and Wilder camps this past summer the purse split was the focal point. And prior to the prospect of Wilder and Fury meeting, Joshua clearly held the better hand based on his resume and owning three titles to Wilder’s single title.  But the Wilder-Fury winner will have closed the gap and Joshua needs to be next while the fighters are at or near their prime. The fact is Joshua versus the Wilder/Fury winner will be the most widely anticipated fight in the heavyweight division since Lewis-Tyson and maybe even since Tyson-Holyfield I. The onus is on the fighters to make it happen and they both have the clout to make sure it does, especially Joshua.

Interviewed in the ring after dispatching Povetkin, AJ said it didn’t matter to him who he fought next as long as it’s Wilder or Fury, but it was obvious that he preferred Wilder. A lot depends on how Wilder fares with Fury, but until then, here’s what we know…..Alexander Povetkin and Luis Ortiz are about on the same level; having never faced each other, it’s a tossup as to who’d win. Both Joshua and Wilder scored impressive stoppages over Povetkin and Ortiz respectively…AJ needed seven rounds and Deontay needed ten rounds. During his bout with Ortiz, Wilder was knocked around the ring and had to endure a few big exchanges, some of which he came out second-best. Wilder was also nearly stopped in the seventh round but battled back, summoning great courage and reserve to win a fight he was losing. Against Povetkin, Joshua was more troubled than he was beaten up. And once he found his range and pace and began putting his punches together, the fight ultimately ended when AJ got off with his best stuff. In essence, Joshua was more impressive against Povetkin and had fewer close calls than did Wilder against Ortiz.

Between now and the time Wilder fights Tyson Fury, it’ll be debated as to who was more impressive – Joshua against Povetkin or Wilder against Ortiz; the answer is clearly Joshua for the reasons stated. Moreover, when analyzing a fight, A + B doesn’t equal C. Joshua will be favored over either Wilder or Fury, but probably along the line of 7-5 and nothing will change that.

The thing that emerged from Joshua dismantling Povetkin is that AJ recaptured some of the limelight and swag he ceded to Wilder this past March. AJ is again the fighter to beat in the heavyweight division and will probably get the bigger purse split regardless of whether he faces Wilder and Fury.

That said, he better not let the fight fall through over it!

Between 1977 and 1982, Frank Lotierzo had over 50 fights in the middleweight division. He trained at Joe Frazier’s gym in Philadelphia under the tutelage of the legendary George Benton. Before joining The Sweet Science his work appeared in several prominent newsstand and digital boxing magazines and he hosted “Toe-to-Toe” on ESPN Radio. Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@gmail.com

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Tanaka vs. Kimora: A Monday Morning Treat For Serious Fight Fans

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Kosei Tanaka was just 4-0 the first time he was appraised on The Sweet Science back in 2015; the question then was, is Tanaka the world’s brightest boxing prospect? The question now is whether or not Tanaka is about to add a strap at a third weight to an already glittering career that has seen him annex belts at 105 and 108lbs in just his first eight fights.

Now 11-0 with seven knockouts he prepares, this coming Monday, to duel Sho Kimura in Nagoya, Japan and with a lot more than just the WBO trinket on the line.

Hearts and minds, as always, translate into dollars and yen. The winner of this all-Japanese contest will find himself buoyed in fame, glory and gold in his home country, which also happens to be one of the few places on the planet where a boxer can collect a small fortune without ever leaving his native shores. Should the winner dare to dream a wider dream, then that too can be facilitated by the win.  Even fistic denizens of boxing strongholds in Japan and Britain feel a shiver run down their spines when the words “Las Vegas headliner” are whispered into their ear.

The favored man among the hardcore in the west is Tanaka. He is still very young at just twenty-three years old and is slick and quick, what the west expects of a Japanese force. Interestingly enough, however, the Japanese seem to be leaning towards Kimura: older, at twenty-nine, armed with a superb work-rate, good power, limited technique but the conqueror of Chinese superstar Shiming Zou who he stopped in the summer of 2017. Zou may have had his bubble burst by the Thai brawler Amnat Ruenroeng in 2015, but it was Kimura who sent him stumbling into retirement and at a time when the talk was of China stealing Japan’s thunder as boxing’s home in the east.

Kimura was indeed impressive that night in Shanghai. He maintained pressure with wonderful variety, eschewing the jab, perhaps, for spells, but filling those gaps with an assortment of wonderful punches, most of all his body attack, which was persistent, withering, and apparently went unscored by two of the three judges who somehow had the Chinese ahead at the time of the eleventh round stoppage. Zou had shown a skill for flurrying while fleeing and Kimura had shown him how to fight.

Now a strapholder at 112lbs, Kimura staged two defenses in the following twelve months. The first was against Toshiyuki Igarashi, the man who beat Sonny Boy Jaro, the man who had beaten the superb champion Pongsaklek Wonjongkam before a softer fight against Froilan Saludar. He won both by stoppage.

Kimura, then, rather came from nowhere but made the most of his arrival. What he displayed in all three of these fights was a determination to offer pressure and footwork educated enough to do it while taking many fewer steps than his harried opponent. A tad overrated as a puncher, I suspect, he places himself in hitting position often enough that his default fight plan – chase, harass, throw – makes him capable of hurting his opponents by way of persistence and pressure.

He left Zou, Igarashi and Saludar, broken in his wake.

In short, he is the type of opponent Kosei Tanaka has been waiting for.

There have been calls for Tanaka to be considered a pound-for-pound talent should he overcome Kimura this Monday. I understand the impulse. Tanaka, were he to triumph, would become a three-weight world champion and he hails from a boxing territory which has little direct control over the meaningful pound-for-pound lists, if such a statement is not a contradiction in terms.

In short, it is felt he would be undervalued.

Tempering these calls is the fact that he has never beaten a divisional number one and that Kimura would be, by far, the best opponent he would have bested, and the most proven. Some Tanaka opponents have come good after he defeated them, some were ranked in the lower reaches of their respective divisional top tens when he matched them, but none are scalps as impressive as those dangled by the likes of Errol Spence or Anthony Joshua, who populate the nine, ten and eleven spots in reputable lists.

But this is neither here nor there; the key is not what Kimura does not represent, it is what he does represent. He is the best that Tanaka has met and, I would argue, the first truly elite fighter that Tanaka has met. He is the litmus test and he is one with a stylistic advantage.

Tanaka can punch. Here we will find out whether or not he punches hard enough to keep Kimura off him. Personally, I doubt it and that means that Kimura is going to hand him a serious gut check.

Interestingly, it will not be Tanaka’s first. The first time I wrote about him I stressed that his chin was essentially untested. That is no longer true. Tanaka, who is reasonably sound defensively, can be lazy in minding himself and foolish in pursuing the attack.

Thai puncher Rangsan Chayanram checked him in 2017, delivering a serious eye injury among other ignominies before succumbing in nine; puncher Angel Acosta, a ranked fighter if not a great one, hit and hurt Tanaka repeatedly late in their 2017 contest. If Tanaka has been learning these lessons, expectations concerning his potential may be realized. If he is not, he will fall short. Kimura is the man to test him.

Kimura’s experience and seemingly limitless twelve-round stamina are to be pitted against Tanaka’s skill, proven heart and taut footwork. It sees a superior technician – Tanaka – who has shown a propensity for being drawn into a cruder fighter’s wheelhouse matching an aggressive stalker – Kimura – who specializes in drawing technically superior foes into knockdown-drag-out scraps.

It is framed both as a fight that is likely to finish a future pound-for-pounder’s education and a fight where a young pretender is found out by a grizzled veteran.

Best of all, it is a fight that fight fans can watch for free, simply by clicking here.  The Asian Boxing website has secured exclusive international rights to the fight and will broadcasting it, free of charge, to anyone with an internet connection. As can be seen here, the fight is due to start at 4pm Japanese time.

All the reader has to do is find out what that means for timing in their own corner of the globe and a potential fight of the year will unfold before his or her eyes free of charge.

World class boxing being broadcast for free and including two of the best below 115lbs; a stylistic crossroads contest that opens up the on-ramp to pound-for-pound recognition for at least one of the combatants – on a Monday.  All facts worth keeping in mind the next time that someone tells you boxing’s prime was any number of decades ago.

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