The Cyber Boxing Zone Newswire
|ORIENT UPDATE: Joe Koizumi|
As of March 22, 1999
JESUS "KIKI" ROJAS, WBA super-fly champ, will put his title on the line against Japanese prospect HIDEKI TODAKA, 14-2, 7 KOs, in Miyazaki, Japan, on Mar. 28. The 34-year-old Venezuelan, 32-7-2-1NC, 16 KOs, wrested the 115-pound title by a unanimous verdict over Satoshi Iida, Todaka's stablemate, in Nagoya last Dec. Todaka, 25, returned from his training in Los Angeles under the tutelage of Mack Kurihara. Todaka may have a puncher's chance, but Rojas is more ringwise and more accurate in counterpunching. Todaka's chance will exist just in mixing up in the close range from start to last.
MANNY PACQUIAO, WBC flyweight champ, will risk his newly-acquired crown against #1 ranked GABRIEL MIRA, Mexico, at Araneta Coliseum, Quezon City, Philippines, on Apr. 24. Pacquiao dethroned Thailander Chatchai Dutchboygym on an upset 8th-round KO in the champ's home turf last Dec. Pacquiao, 24-1, 15 KOs, is a very aggressive and hard-hitting lefty, though his skill is not highly evaluated. Mira is a soft-punching but smart footworker, having defeated Korean Yongsoon Chang in an eliminator to decide the top contender in Mexico in the previous year. Pacquiao may outhustle and overpower the shorter and less powerful Mexican.
INJOO CHO, WBC super-fly champ, will defend his throne against Argentine JOSE RAFAEL SOSA in Seoul, Korea, on May 23. The unbeaten Cho, 14-0, 6 KOs, wrested the WBC crown by a hairline decision over Filipino lefty Jerry Penalosa last Aug. Cho repeated a lackluster performance in barely outscoring Mexican Joel Luna Zarate this Jan. Sosa, 34-10-6, 24 KOs, failed to win the WBC bantam crown via a lopsided decision to Joichiro Tatsuyoshi in the previous year. Cho, with good hand speed despite his lack of convincing power, may outspeed and outleg the game Argentine.
TAKANORI HATAKEYAMA, WBA super-feather champ, Japan, will face #1 contender LAKVA SIM, Mongolia, in his 2nd defense in Tokyo this coming June. Hatakeyama barely kept his throne on a split draw with Mexican Saul Duran on Feb. 13. The unbeaten Japanese, 22-0-2, 17 KOs, will find a tough opposition in the highly regarded Monglian who previously failed to win the WBA 130-pound crown by a close nod to Yongsoo Choi in 1997. Hatakeyama, a gutsy boxer-puncher, seemed too nervous to display his best form in his first defense against Duran, but he will be able to keep his title if he regains his usual rhythm and speed in the forthcoming mandatory defense.
YONGSUK CHOI, a 6'4" Korean ranked #11 in the WBC super-middle ratings, will meet SAM LEUI, OPBF #1 light-heavy contender, in a semi-final to the WBA super-fly title bout in Miyazaki on Mar. 28. Choi, 6-0, 4 KOs after turning pro, is the OPBF 168-pound ruler, but his title will not be at stake. "Korean Spider" Choi is willing to fight in Australia or US because of his difficulty in finding good oppositions.
TOSHIAKI NISHIOKA, Japanese bantam champ ranked #19 by the WBC, is regarded as the best prospect here in Japan. The hard-punching lefty, 16-2-1, 9 KOs, received the Knockout Award by Tokyo Writers Club in the previous year. Nishioka will engage in a most sensational bout against SHIGERU NAKAZATO, 16-2, 11 KOs, in Kakogawa, Japan, on Apr. 24. Nakazato, also a highly regarded prospect, disappointingly lost to the OPBF bantam champ Jess Maca, a crafty Filipino, in a non-title bout last Oct. Since both are heavy hitters, it will end within the distance, whichever may win.
PETER "ISHIMARU" OKELLO, a Japan-based Ugandan, will fight TOAKIPA TASEFA, New Zealand, in a bid for the OPBF heavyweight title in Okayama, Japan, on Apr. 10. The 6'4" Peter, 4-0, 4 KOs, has been training here since he turned pro in Nagoya. Tasefa, 21-2-2, 18 KOs, acquired the vacant OPBF title via a stunning KO win over Justine Fortune, Australia, in Nagoya in the previous year. It was originally scheduled between Tasefa and Peter, but the Ugandan had suffered a dislocation of the shoulder during his training in Australia, so Fortune appeared as a late substitute in the elimination bout. It was be a good test match for Peter to show his real power against the more experienced New Zealander.
AKIRA OHIGASHI, Japanese super-welter champ who kept his title 10 times, will meet the OPBF champ KUKYUL SONG, Korea, in a non-title bout in Osaka, Japan, on Apr. 26. The WBA #15 ranked Ohigashi, 27-7-2, 17 KOs, has kept his national title with his gameness and durability, and he may show his asset against the Korean, but he is also a durable warrior. We'll see a competitive battle.
-- Joe Koizumi
If you wish to refer to my previous reports, please access to: www.ring-japan.com/oriental.htm
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