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Hipster Fights: October 31 - November 6

After a brutal last week, things look to get more exciting from here on out.

Sauerland Boxgala Photo by Boris Streubel/Bongarts/Getty Images

As many of you know, when it comes to boxing, I’m a glass half full kind of guy. I don’t think 2016 is as bad as many people think. But hey, even I can admit there almost no good fights last week.

I’ll go even further. It was brutal. I’m actually thrilled that we’ve moved past it.

Even so, there were a few matches I was keeping an eye on. How did they fare?

  • Dmitry Bivol C Abdallah Paziwapazi. Paziwapazi withdraw from this fight as well as from his match-up with Toni Kraft. Instead, Dmitry Bivol (8(6)-0) fought journeyman Yevgeni Makhteienko (8(7)-6), and won by UD. All three judges scored 100-90.
  • Dixon Flores P Marcio Soza. Still awaiting the results.
  • Julio Mendoza P Omar Ortiz. Still awaiting the results.
  • Israel Gonzalez UD Ramon Hirales. Scores: 78-72, 79,73, 79-73. Predictable results, but fun fight nevertheless. Gonzalez seems to have limited upside, and Hirales should probably retire.
  • Catalin Paraschiveanu KO2 Dragan Lepei. I did not foresee this result. Coming into this, Lepei looked like a bigger puncher than Paraschiveanu. Nevertheless, Paraschiveanu now looks like a prospect worth taking seriously.
  • Bilal Akkawy RTD7 Kerry Hope. Akkawy broke Hope’s jaw, and dislodged several teeth. Hope’s corner therefore retired Hope. I’m still on the fence about Akkawy’s potential, but he’s a big puncher — and who doesn’t like big punchers?

So how does this next week look for under-the-radar fights? Much, much better. Maybe chalk this up to this being a Pacquiao fight week, we finally have some decent action. Take a look!

November 3, 2016

Kumamoto, Japan

★ Tatsuya Fukuhara vs. Genki Hanai

One thing I love about the Japanese fight scene is that they’re willing to fight stiff opposition early, and often.

This is the case for Tatsuya Fukuhara (17(6)-4-6). Earlier in his career, he’s fought some big names as far as Japanese domestics are concerned. Back-to-back, in 2013, he faced off against Takuma Inoue and Yu Kimura. Did he lose? Oh yeah, but the point is he took his losses, learned from them, and is now undefeated in his last eight fights. As a result, he’s the Japanese minimumweight champion. Since more than 25% of all world minimumweights are Japanese, holding this title is a good place for Fukuhara.

But that also means he’s the man to beat should most Japanese prospects have world title aspirations. That’s where Genki Hanai (7(5)-0) is right now. And I like his chances. Hanai has an impressive KO ratio, and a good reason for that is his crushing body blows. But, of course, Hanai needs a lot more than power to beat Fukuhara.

One big x factor is that this is Hanai’s first time at minimumweight. Will he be too weight drained to put up a fight?

November 4, 2016

Buenos Aires, Argentina

★ ★ Adela del Carmen Peralta vs. Ana Laura Esteche

I’d like female boxers to get more appreciation, and in this circumstance, both ladies deserve their dues. It’s a title unification match. The WBA, WBO, and IBF female super lightweight titles on the line.

This is also a rematch that occurred last year that was won by MD for Adela del Carmen Peralta (8(1)-0). At that time, Peralta wasn’t proven at world level, but she recently acquired both the IBF and WBO belts Marisa Nunez. She did it definitively by knocking Nunez down in R6 and R10.

Ana Laura Esteche (11(2)-4-3), though, has been around the block and has held the WBA title since January 2014. Shockingly, though he’s defended it twice, neither of her defenses resulted in wins. They were both draws, in both cases to undefeated boxers fighting on their home turf. Prior to her current rein, she challenged for the WBA and IBF titles, but not winning them. Esteche, therefore, is 1-2-3 in world title match-ups, and has one of the more bizarre records for a current world titlist. Her loss last year to Peralta was while Esteche was a world titlist.

This is a weird world title unification.

November 5, 2016

Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovinia

★ ★ ★ ★ Marino Goles vs. Gogita Gorgiladze

Why am I so excited about a 6 round fight in which neither fighter is anywhere near elite, and probably doesn’t have much of a future? Put simply, someone’s probably getting KO’d. Go ahead, call me a bloodthirsty ghoul, but I don’t foresee any other result.

Let’s look at Marino Goles (21(19)-8). He’s exactly the kind of fighter who can pitch but not catch. As you can see, the overwhelming amount of his wins come by KO, but likewise, 7 of his losses also come by KO. What about that 8th loss? That was by DQ.

What about Gogita Gorgiladze (32(27)-14). He’s younger, but he’s already fought 10 times this year and has faced murderer’s row. Just last month, he was KOed in the first round by Zhilei Zhang. Last March, the same thing happened when he faced Tom Schwarz. But still, 11 of his last 12 wins have come by KO, with Mamuka Jikurashvili being one of this victims.

So if you like competitive match-ups that are likely to end by stoppage, it’s worth keeping an eye out for this one.

Potsdam, Germany

★ ★ ★ ★ Tyron Zeuge vs. Giovanni De Carolis II

Tyron Zeuge (18(10)-0-1) is another one of those German fighters who’s simply not as good as his ranking indicates. The fact Zeuge is even getting a rematch is baffling. Simply put, I would be shocked if he gets a legitimate win here -- emphasis on legitimate since a robbery is entirely possible.

In many ways, De Carolis is a nice guy for again fighting Zeuge on German soil. He already got robbed when he fought Vincent Fiegenbutz. The robbery was so atrocious that the Germans mandated a rematch. The next time, De Carolis didn’t put it in the hands of the judges -- he stopped Fiegenbutz in R11.

Will the judges this time do De Carolis right? He’s been robbed twice in Germany now. Maybe, once again, he won’t let them decide.

Munich, Germany

★ ★ ★ ★ Avni Yildirim vs. Schiller Hyppolite

Avni Yildirim (13(8)-0) fights out of Germany, but was born and still resides in Turkey. He’s actually, pound-for-pound, the highest ranked Turkish fighter, and certainly their best prospect. And so far, he’s crossed all the boxes you’d expect from a high profile prospect with wins over the likes of Aaron Pryor Jr., Jackson Junior, Glen Johnson, and the previously undefeated Timur Nikarkhoev.

Certainly, his biggest challenge yet -- on paper at least -- is Haitian-Canadian Schiller Hyppolite. Like Yildirim, Schiller has his wins against notable journeyman such as Ivan Jukic, Darnell Boone, and Mohammed Akrong. A few people may wrinkle their nose at his lone loss, but that happened in his 6th fight against fellow undefeated prospect Francy Ntetu.

Buenos Aires, Argentina

★ Matias Rueda vs. Daniel Brizuela

Matias Rueda (26(23)-1) looked like a pretty exciting prospect. Hell, that KO ratio is pretty impressive. But then, last July, he was blown away in two rounds by Oscar Valdez in a WBO world featherweight title attempt. He might still have a future, but he’s got a long way back.

Daniel Brizuela (28(8)-6-2) is a good opponent for Rueda. Certainly, Brizuela is no world beater, and he’s actually lost his last two fights -- his last fight a KO loss to Stephen Smith. But he’s just the guy to beat if Rueda will ever get a run at a world title ever again.

Belfast, Northern Ireland

★ ★ ★ Philip Sutcliffe Jr. vs. Chris Jenkins

Philip Sutcliffe Jr. (11(7)-1) has only fought one opponent of note, and that was Anthony Yigit in Germany. Since most judging in Germany is suspect, and Sutcliffe Jr. lost by MD, that loss should be taken with a grain of salt. Still, the Irishman is largely untested and has mostly fought journeymen with losing records. Of those journeymen, the best win was over Yoann Portailler.

Chris Jenkins (16(8)-1-1) has won against better opponents. Most notably, he won a Prizefighter Tournament with wins over Tony Owen, Eren Arif, and Cassius Connor. Afterwards, he recorded victories over Christopher Sebire and Jacek Wylezol. Unfortunately, Jenkins is coming off two brutal fights against Tyrone Nurse — one which was a draw, the other which was a hard fought loss. In both fights, Jenkins suffered some cuts, and that may affect him down the road.

Either fighter could be European level, and this fight may reveal who.

★ ★ Tyrone McKenna vs. Sean Creagh

Outside Ireland, I’m not sure if either of these fighters are on anyone’s radar. However, if you love Irish fighters -- and if you’re familiar with the long and storied history of Irish boxing, you should -- then you should keep your eye on the results of this fight.

Tyrone McKenna (11(3)-0-1) was born in Belfast. He spent two years fighting across the eastern USA, but now he’s back home. Until now, McKenna has only fought journeyman, and his best opponent so far has been Istvan Kiss who was 17-16 at the time.

Sean Creagh (4(2)-0) is therefore a big step up for McKenna. That said, Creagh has only fought four rounders and has limited amateur experience, so going immediately to 10 rounds is a big ask. In Creagh’s favour, though, is that the Dubliner’s last two fights have been won by KO, which indicates he may have more power than McKenna.

November 6, 2016

Osaka, Japan

★ ★ ★ ★ Kota Fujimoto vs. Katsuya Murakami

As stated earlier, the Japanese love to match their prospects competitively early and often. This card is a case in point.

Kota Fujimoto (5(1)-0) is only 18-years-old, and he’s already fought fellow domestic prospect Kenta Nomura. One concern about Fujimoto is he hasn’t won his last two fights in emphatic fashion. They both went to MD, but seeing how he’s young, perhaps those will be learning experiences.

22-year-old Katsuya Murakami (4(1)-0-1) struggled in his first three fights, but has won definitively in his last two, punctuated by a TKO4 victory in his last match. In terms of momentum, it seems Murakami has more.

★ ★ ★ ★ Ruito Saeki vs. Bunta Okamoto

On the same card, here’s another competitive match-up between Japanese prospects.

I’m not sure Ruito Saeki (4-0) really has the power to made a dent at super bantamweight. Then again, he’s only four fights into his career, and he’s only fought four rounders. In terms of ability, though, he always does well on the scorecards. His last win was against fellow undefeated prospect Yuki Hirashima.

Bunta Okamoto (4(2)-0) seems to have more power, and handed fellow undefeated prospect Kyosuke Tsutsumimoto his first loss. That said, Okamoto only won his last fight by MD.

Korea

★ ★ Ye Joon Kim vs. Yuki Strong Kobayashi

It’s been a long, long time since we’ve had a notable South Korean prospect. I hope Ye Joon Kim (14(7)-1-2) is the first of a great Korean boxing revival -- as much as boxing might seem like it’s dying in America, it’s nearly dead in South Korea.

Truth be told, Kim is performing better with time. His lone loss was four years ago in his second fight. A few impressive wins on his resume are over Vergil Puton, Aekkawee Kaewmanee, and former world title challenger Angky Angkotta.

Yuki Strong Kobayashi (10(5)-5) is a Japanese domestic stalwart, and in the lower weight divisions, that means something. That said, he’s 2-4 in his last 6 fights, and winning has never come easy for Kobayashi. Last year, he challenged for the OPBF title, and was stopped within two rounds.

Kim should be the favourite here, but remember there’s a world of difference between the Korean and Japanese domestic scenes.

Kiev, Ukraine

★ Oleg Yefimovych vs. Martin Parlagi

You got to feel for a guy like Oleg Yefimovych (28(15)-2). He won the EBU title in 2008, defended it successfully four times, then lost it to Sofiane Takoucht by SD. And what’s happened since? Meaningless fights for meaningless trinkets. Oh, he hasn’t lost in six years, but do you recognize anyone notable on his resume during that time?

One thing I’ll say about Martin Parlagi (20(11)-2) is that, while not well known, he’s got a pulse. Yes, he’s got okay wins against Francis Miyeyusho, Artur Movsesyan, and Khavazhy Khatsyhau. But what’s more important is how he’s performed in his losses. Though he lost to Marco McCullough and Ben Jones, the fights were close and he managed to knock both opponents down.

Either way, if Yefimovych hopes to actually get a world title shot soon, he needs to perform well here. At 35-years-old, he’s no spring chicken.