Quick Boxing update for the true Boxing fan

Tijuana’s Nery dethrones Yamanaka to win the Title

On Tuesday in Kyoto, Japan, the unbeaten Mexican southpaw Luis “Pantera” Nery (24-0, 18 KOs), surprised the previously unbeaten champion Shinsuke Yamanaka (27-1-2, 19 KOs) to win his WBC World Bantamweight title. Like an attacking panther, the more aggressive Nery never let his opponent get comfortable, hung in close and when possible swarmed all over the former champion, battering him with punch after punch until finally, Yamanaka’s corner, dreading permanent injury to their fighter, threw in the towel at the 2:29 mark of round four. As a result, the former champion failed in his attempt to match the Japanese mark set by Yoko Gushiken who from October 10, 1976, until March 8, 1981, defended his Light Flyweight World Title 13 times. 

At this time, can you imagine the elation of fellow Mexicans, fellow Tijuanians, fellow boxers and mates from both sides of the border? How large of a crowd can we expect at the Tijuana Airport when he arrives home? The tall welcome home placards will be everywhere showcasing the City’s love for their Champion: Welcome home Luis “Pantera” Nery!”

It wasn’t so much that Shinsuke Yamanaka performed poorly, it was the fact that Luis “Pantera” Nery did so unbelievably well.

It’s now official, Tijuana’s Luis Nery has joined the Fraternity of Mexican World Champions who have gone all the way to Japan in order to bring back a World Title. Now the burden becomes how you as a champion represent yourself, your country, your sport, your family, your neighborhood, your coach, and gym.

The coronation of the newest World Champion has been added to the following:

172 Mexican World Champions

21 Mexican World Champion Flyweights

19 World Champions from Baja California

13 World Champions from Tijuana

48 World Champions who signed with Zanfer Promotions

5 current Mexican World Champions

Great performances from Mexicans who fought in Japan

On March 8, 1981, at the City Gymnasium in Gushikawa, Okinawa, Japan, the 5’2″ tall, 30-year-old Pedro Flores (with a record of 16-7) rose from the canvas in the second round of his 15 round bout against 25-year-old Yoko Gushiken to later knock his opponent out in the 12th round to win the WBA Light Flyweight title. Gushiken, the overwhelming favorite, was attempting to defend his title for the 14th straight time.

On March 30, 1986, the 24-year-old, 5’3″ mighty-mite Gilberto Roman from Mexico City by way of Mexicali (40-3) traveled all the way to the Sports Centre, Itami, Hyogo, Japan to win a 12 round unanimous decision victory over the 31-year-old champion, 5’5½” tall, southpaw Jiro Watanabe (26-1) to become the new WBC World Super Flyweight Champion.

On October 25, 1990, the unbeatable Ricardo “Finito” Lopez from Mexico City by way of Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico, (27-0 at the time), traveled 7,033 miles to Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan to knock out the Minimum Weight World champion Hideyuki Ohashi (14-3) from Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan. Lopez, 25-0 in World Title Fights, ended his amazing career with a record of 51 wins, no losses, and one tie.

On June 14, 1991, southpaw Daniel “El Raton” Zaragoza (41-5-1) from Mexico City recaptured his WBC World Super Bantamweight Title by defeating Kiyoshi Hatanaka from Nagoya, Aichi, Japan (22-1-1) by a split decision in Hatanaka’s hometown of Nagoya. As it turns out, this was the last fight for the 23-year-old Hatanaka whose reign as Champion lasted only four months and 11 days.

In Tokyo, Japan, on 10-16-2008, the 31-year-old Oscar “Chololo” Larios (62-6-1) from Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico became the Undisputed World Featherweight Champ by winning a very close, split decision victory over 24-year-old Takahiro Aoh (16-0-1) from Ichihara, Chiba, Japan. In their battle royale, Larios went down once in round four and again at the beginning of round five. Before the start of the fifth round, Aoh had a point deducted for an accidental butt which occurred in the fourth round.

On April 30, 2010, Fernando “Kochulito” Montiel (41-2-2) defended his WBC & WBO Bantamweight World title in Tokyo, Japan, by stopping the much taller southpaw Hozumi Hasegawa (28-2) in the fourth round. Stunned by a left hook from Montiel, Hasegawa staggered back to the ropes where he soon found himself trapped by an onslaught of punches from Montiel. Unable to defend himself, referee Laurence Cole stepped in to stop the carnage.

And you talk about your thrilling finishes. On Monday, September 20, 2010, in a WBC World Super Flyweight Title match at the Super Arena in Saitama, Saitama, Japan, Japan’s Kohei Kono (25-4) sent Tomas “Gusano” Rojas (33-12-1) from Veracruz, Veracruz, Mexico to the canvas in the final round of a match that at the time had Rojas well ahead on the scorecards. The courageous Rojas managed to get to get back on his feet and finish the round to secure a unanimous decision 116-111, 116-111, and 118-109 victory. Crisis averted. The legendary Rojas is still fighting and has a record of 49-15-1 with 33 KOs.

On Tuesday, August 15, 2017, in Kyoto, Japan, Luis “Pantera” Nery is hoping to add his name to the list of Mexican champions who traveled all the way to Japan to secure a World Title. Standing in his way is Shinsuke Yamanaka who is seeking to defend his WBC World Bantamweight Title for the 13th straight time. 

Prediction offered: Tuesday evening’s World Title fight at the Shimazu Arena in Kyoto, Japan between the champion Shinsuke Yamanaka and the challenger Luis Nery has all the components of a truly memorable bout.

On August 15th at Shimazu Arena in Kyoto, Japan, the WBC bantamweight champion 5’7″ Shinsuke Yamanaka (27-0-2, 19 KOs) will be looking to dash the hopes of the latest Mexican challenger 5’5″ Luis “Pantera” Nery (23-0-0, 17 KOs), in what one media outlet is calling “a Titanic Clash of undefeated KO artists”. 

Could there be a problem? With less than a week to go until their official weigh-in, both boxers were still over the mandatory 118 lb. weight limit.

There’s no need to over-hype this fight because they do indeed have the very best, extremely high caliber boxers battling for the WBC Bantamweight World title. Nery, who has been the Continental Americas champion plus the WBC Silver champion, is an outstanding two fisted athlete with all sorts of skills to include quick hands and quick defensive reactions. Nobody knows better than Luis Nery how very hard it was to earn this opportunity. The gap in their ages favors Nery who is 22, while Yamanaka could be classified as the grizzled veteran at age 34.

On Saturday, August 12, 2017, the two gentlemen finally met face to face when they showed up for their pre-fight medical exam at the Grand Palace Hotel in Tokyo. The disparity in their height, two inches, was certainly noticeable.

Not only is the more experienced Yamanaka two inches taller at 5’7″, he will also benefit from a two-inch reach advantage. To win this contest, Nery must get inside and capitalize on the very best thrown right and left uppercuts.

The Mexican faithful are hoping Yamanaka’s quest to tie the mark of successful defenses made by the former Japanese champion Yoko Gushiken has been a distraction. Too much talk – too many interviews, it could have been a drain on his preparation. Yamanaka’s fans would disagree. Their champion is always focused and if per chance he were to be distracted, there are at least a dozen or so people in his entourage to run interference (a trainer, an assistant trainer, a coach, a head coach, a nutritionist, a masseur, an equipment manager, the go-for, the computer expert, a driver, etc. And don’t forget, when you are the champion, you always have that one guy in charge of carrying around your championship belt. When you compare Yamanaka’s entourage to the three people present to help Luis Nery, you have to wonder if Nery’s people have all their bases covered.        

Also, on the downside, it is extremely tough to go up against a popular fighter in his hometown. It’s like climbing Mount Everest. To his credit, Yamanaka has never shied away from fighting the very best, which speaks volumes of his stoutheartedness, his aura of invincibility. Every time Yamanaka lands a punch or even appears to have landed a punch on Nery, the home folk will be working the judges over with their overt, over zealous, shouting of ooh and aah.

Below we see Luis Nery holding a light workout at Tokyo’s Teiken Boxing Gym. After chatting with the press, Nery trained with a sparring partner for two rounds, hit the heavy bag, worked the pads and finished by jumping rope.

With the Press watching, Luis Nery (photo left, blue head gear) finished off his light sparring session with a left hook to his sparring partner’s chin.

Luis Nery respected the Press’ need for comments and happily posed for photos.

(bottom, right) There’s always one jokester in the crowd who will ask a boxer to do something out of the ordinary to grab his readers’ attention or stir some controversy. Nery felt clipping his opponent on the chin would do the trick.

Nery’s positivity with the local press: “My physical condition seems better than ever. I could fight Yamanaka today!  Each morning I run and in the afternoon I do my physical exercises. I feel very strong here in Japan. Your daily temperatures and humidity have made it easy for me to control my weight. I’m more and more motivated to win.”

Shortly after Nery’s workout, the world champion Shinsuke Yamanaka made his entrance and like Nery, Yamanaka made time for the Press. Aware that his Mexican challenger is a dangerous opponent, he said: “We know that Nery is here to win my belt. But I will knock him out to once again successfully defend my title.” Whoa! That was a bit harsh.
Then, as if reading from a Sports Editor’s list of questions, one of the photographers asked: “When you win on Tuesday night, you will have matched the record for most title defenses in Japanese boxing history currently held by Yoko Gushiken, has this been a distraction or a motivator?” Yamanaka’s polite but scripted response: “I do not feel the pressure to pass Gushiken’s title defenses record. I’m just grateful for my opportunity to defend my crown against a great rival.”

WBC Female World Heavyweight Champ Alejandra Jimenez improves to 9-0

How about truth in advertising? Do you see any noticeable difference between the above fight poster and the photo below showing the combatants at their pre-fight weigh-in? Prediction: There was no way this bout was going 10 rounds.

Intimidation factor: Imagine being in Vanessa Lepage’s shoes when she was summoned to come up on stage for her face off with the much taller Alejandra Jimenez. Most everyone, to include a gentleman dressed in “La Muerte” garb was smiling. The message: “Come fight night, you’re going to be in big trouble.”

Mexico City’s 29-year-old Alejandra “La Tigre” Jimenez (9-0, 7 KOs, 5’11” tall, weight 225 pounds) is one of the most likable ladies you’ll ever meet. Of course that all changes once you step into the ring and attempt to take away her World Heavyweight Crown. After boldly making this 3,814-mile trek from Quebec City to the Grand Oasis Cancun Hotel & Casino in Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico, Vanessa “Rampage” Lepage Joanisse believed in her heart of hearts that she was ready to face the champion on Saturday evening, August 12, 2017. The 5’6″ tall Canadian from Saint Andre Avellin, Quebec, Canada may have been a bit premature in her thinking. Lepage (3-0), with just a year and a half experience as a Professional Boxer and never once fighting outside of Canada, found herself in the challenge of her life. Her bio had her defeating this one gal twice, Annie Mazerolle, both by decision and then she stopped Maria Jose Velis (1-1) in the third round. How could anyone have enough experience after just three Pro fights? Whoops! Only if your name is Claressa Shields could you have dreamed of pulling off such an upset.  

Mexico City’s Alejandra Jimenez has her arms raised in victory after her destruction of the Canadian Vanessa “Rampage” Lepage Joanisse.

Lepage’s over-confident talk prior to the fight: “I want to give thanks for this opportunity. We are going to give a great show. I’m sure of myself because of all the (hard) work that I did in the gym and that the WBC belt will be going home with me to Canada.”

Plain and simple, someone should have advised the young lady that she was totally unprepared to go 10 rounds with someone like Alejandra Jimenez for the World title. If she had been able to go the distance with Jimenez, it would have been a nightmare to end all nightmares. 


Fair or totally unfair? Receiving tips from the wise guys

Hmm? On Thursday, Gennady Golovkin’s trainer Abel Sanchez invited what he called several high-level, technical advisors to visit his Big Bear Training facility. After some research, we discovered who these people were. On the left is well-known Boxing Promoter Guillermo “Memo” Mayen from Tijuana and on the right, Hall of Fame Boxing Promoter Bobby DePhilippis from Chula Vista, CA. 

Still not satisfied, Abel Sanchez (c) brought in a third promoter, Tom Loeffler (r) to huddle with Mayen and DePhilippis in their “Let’s talk strategy” sessions.

Thompson Promotions’ Boxing show, 7-21-17

Friday’s results: six bouts starting from Bout #1 at the bottom

Whatever the reason, Tijuana’s Carlos Carlson went down to defeat for the second straight time. In search of an answer, you might say: it was because Mr. Carlson had gone up in weight eight pounds to compete as a featherweight instead of a bantamweight against the larger Isaac Zarate, or it may have been too soon for Carlson to return to the ring after his TKO loss to Shinsuke Yamanaka in that World Bantamweight title match in Japan.

Back on March 2, 2017, the Japanese World Champion Shinsuke Yamanaka stopped Carlson at the 57-second mark of round seven in Tokyo. It was Yamanaka’s 12th defense of his title, the second longest streak ever by a Japanese champion. When Yamanaka meets Luis Nery, also from Tijuana, on August 15th of this year, Yamanaka will be going after another milestone. With a win, he will have tied the former WBA lightweight champion Yoko Gushiken. Not to be a wiseguy but the outcome of the other five matches was never in doubt. 

Featherweight Chris “The Hitman” Avalos 

On Tuesday evening, July 18, 2017, in Alexandria, Louisiana, Miguel Flores (now 21-2, 125¼ lbs.) lost to the 27-year-old featherweight Chris “The Hitman” Avalos 125¾ lbs. from Lancaster, Calif. who with the win improved his record to 27-5, 20 KOs. Why are we still keeping tabs on Mr. Avalos? Avalos is the same gent who San Diego’s Christopher Martin defeated on National TV (ShoBox: The New Generation on SHOWTIME) by a split decision back on Friday, August 6, 2010, at the Grand Casino, Hinckley, Minnesota.

San Diego’s Christopher Martin (r) lands the dramatic, well placed overhand right to the left side of Chris Avalos’ face. This was but one of the many punches that landed with authority to help Martin win the split decision victory.

Tuesday night’s stoppage came at 3:00 of round 5 of their scheduled 10 rounder. Avalos had been knocked down in round three but got up immediately. Then, at the conclusion of round 5, the fight doctor advised the referee to stop the bout since Flores had a bad cut on his left eyebrow. The game Avalos has now been in quite a few big fights – there was the Carl Frampton TKO loss in Belfast, Ireland in February of 2015; the Oscar Valdez TKO loss in September of 2015 at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas Hotel & Casino and that TKO loss to Mark Magsayo at the Cebu City Sports Complex, Cebu City, Cebu, Philippines. 

On the very same fight card of Tuesday, July 18th, you had heavyweight “Prince” Charles Martin (25-1-1, 23 KOs) knocking out Michael Marrone (21-8, 15 KOs) in round one and cruiserweight Edwin Rodriguez (29-2) won a TKO victory over Melvin Russell (10-2-2).

Amanda Serrano stops Edina Kiss

(l to r) Amanda Serrano, the WBO World Female Super Bantamweight Champion and her opponent on July 21, 2017, Edina Kiss of Budapest, Hungary.

On Friday, July 21, 2017, southpaw Amanda Serrano (33-1-1) stopped Edina Kiss (13-5, 7 KOs) from Budapest, Hungary at the Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino in San Juan in the third round of their scheduled 10 rounder to win the WBO World Female Super Bantamweight title. Prior to this fight, Kiss had lost two of her last three fights.

Guerrero, multi-division champ hanging up the gloves

On Saturday, July 15th, we may have witnessed Robert “The Ghost” Guererro’s last fight. The multi-division champ stated that he is hanging up the gloves after his glorious 16 year Pro career.

The 34-year-old Guerrero (33-6-1, 18 KOs) officially said goodbye to professional boxing after suffering his first knockout loss on Saturday, July 15, 2017, when he faced another former world champ, the Texan Omar ‘Panterita’ Figueroa at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Long Island, New York. In their fight, Guerrero was knocked down five times and finally stopped in round three.

“I want to thank God, said Guerrero,” for allowing me to have a wonderful career. I’m a kid from a small town in Gilroy, California, who made it to the mountain top of the boxing world. When I was a young kid growing up, I always believed in myself, but never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined a small-town kid like myself, would be fighting in front of millions of fans.

“I was blessed to win multiple world titles in four-divisions. A boxer’s career is a long and tough road. Many tears were shed, lots of blood, and tons of sweat. Many miles were traveled, thousands of rounds sparred, none were easy and nothing was ever given to me. I earned everything I got the old fashion way. I never ducked anyone and fought the best fighters in the world. I fought my way through every obstacle to make sure my fans enjoyed every second, of every round, of my fights.

“I want to thank some very important people in my career starting with the most important person, my wife Casey, who has been with me every step of the way, my soul mate, my sweetheart, the one and only love of my life. My father/trainer Ruben Guerrero Sr. He’s the one who started it all and made me the man I am today, and the champion I was in the ring. He’s one of the best trainers in the world and I hope to be working side by side with him in the future.  There are so many people who have helped me. If I leave anyone out, thank you, for everything.”

With his fan friendly, never give up, aggressive style, Guerrero secured world titles in both the featherweight and super featherweight divisions. In 2012 he achieved his most important victory when defeating the former WBC welterweight champion Andre Berto in just his second bout at 147 pounds. For his next fight, he attempted to take down the braggart Floyd Mayweather Jr. but lost by decision. However, you could say he was a big winner in that fight after winning the biggest purse of his career. From Boxing Fans everywhere, this future Hall of Famer deserves major praise.

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