It might be late – but that, my friends, is the greatest Easter cartoon known to man. Take a moment to savour it, along with the amazing weekend of boxing we just had. If you missed that amazing weekend, then my main men Tim Starks, Patrick Connor and Andrew Harrison have you covered.
This weekend is also a bit of a big one, if you’re into the lower weight classes. There’s some serious action at flyweight, bantamweight and junior lightweight, all taking place in the far east (though some of it is on HBO2).
- Zou Shiming vs. Eleazar Valenzuela, Saturday, HBO2, Macau. The main event in Top Rank Promotions’ eastward push doesn’t do much for me. Chinese gold medallist Zou Shiming is getting a showcase in his first pro fight against Mexico’s Eleazar Valenzuela (2-1-2, 1 KO). Shiming was noticeably faded in the London Olympics and at 33 is a little bit old to be starting a lower weight pro career, so colour me “meh.” The undercard is much more exciting, with junior lightweight puncher Rocky Martinez (26-1-2, 16 KO) taking on Diego Magdelano (23-0, 9 KO) in what should be a thriller. Magdelano, finally taking a step up to fight a legitimate contender, does everything very well from his southpaw stance and is only lacking in punching power. Martinez has power in spades, though sometimes lacks much else. The Puerto Rican’s best chance is to be all over Magdelano like a rash. Magdelano, for his part, will have to stay active and not lose his concentration, or he’ll find himself on the end of a right hand that gets rid of it for him. The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board’s #1 flyweight contender, Brian Viloria (32-3, 19 KO) will also appear, taking on Juan Francisco Estrada (22-2, 18 KO), who was last seen emerging from obscurity to take Roman “Chocalatito” Gonzalez into an unexpected war. It’s nice that he’s getting another fight, but I don’t think this is going to be his moment. Viloria has everything going for him at this point in his career. He’s a much, much better boxer than Gonzalez will ever be and he’s not going to get dragged into a close quarters brawl with Estrada. Even if he did, he’d probably win. Junior featherweight Wilfredo Vazquez, Jr. is also fighting, against Japan’s Yasutaka Ishimoto (21-6, 5 KO).
- Shinsuke Yamanaka vs. Malcolm Tunacao, Monday, Tokyo. The best fights this week might actually be next week. On Monday it’s going to be a party in the lower weight classes in Tokyo. The main event is between the TBRB’s #2 and #7 bantamweights, Shinsuke Yamanaka (17-0-2, 12 KO) and Malcolm Tunacao (32-2-3, 20 KO). Both men are southpaws, awkward and tall for their size, so expect a strange fight. Yamanaka has a ramrod southpaw jab, but some bad habits like dropping his hands after punching. You can get away with that kind of thing against shorter fighters, but Tunacao, a counterpuncher, may be able to take advantage. The supporting bout, between flyweight champion Toshiyuki Igarashi (17-1-1, 10 KO) and former strawweight action hero Akira Yaegeshi (16-3, 9 KO) could easily overshadow the main event. Igarashi is often seen as the sport’s weakest champ, having defeated Sonny Boy Jaro — who caught the long reigning Pongsaklek Wonjongkam at just the right time — for the honour. That might be a little unfair, because Igarashi is a lot more technically sound than some of his Japanese compatriots. He’s a lot bigger than Yaegeshi, to boot. I don’t really see him being forced into a toe to toe situation where Yaegeshi’s proven grit can be made to count. Mexican junior lightweight veteran Gamaliel Diaz (37-9-2, 17 KO) also fights, against Japan’s Takashi Miura (24-2-2, 18 KO).
- The Rest. Not a hell of a lot. Friday Night Fights on ESPN2 is unbelievably uninspiring. I just can’t believe how little it inspires. The main event pits Peruvian lightweight Jonathan Maicelo (19-0, 11 KO) against Rustam Nagaev (22-6, 12 KO) of Russia. Maicelo might one day be Peru’s biggest export since ceviche, but at this stage he doesn’t even have an FNF level name… Puerto Rican puncher Thomas Dulorme (17-1, 13 KO) continues his slow climb back from his first loss by fighting Ivan Hernandez (29-3, 23 KO) in Puerto Rico Saturday… That Paul Spadafora dude is fighting in West Virginia the same night.