December 25, 2014


Merry Christmas! Japan has become a house of world champions since the year-end world title shows are coming close with foreign titleholders and challengers having arrived here in Japan. WBO junior bantam ruler Omar Narvaez from Argentina arrived in Tokyo on Monday, WBA light-fly ruler Alberto Rossel of Peru on Tuesday and WBA/WBO 122-pound kingpin Guillermo Rigondeaux on Sunday. Narvaez will risk his belt against unbeaten 21-year-old ex-WBC 108-pound ruler Naoya Inoue at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium on December 30. Rossel will put his throne on the line against former national champ Ryoichi Taguchi in Tokyo on the last day of the year. On the same December 31, in Osaka, unbeaten Cuban Rigondeaux will defend his diadem against 5f10h hard-puncher Hisashi Amagasa, who lately renounced his OPBF 126-pound belt to have an ambitious shot at the 122-pound championship.

Our fight scribes have been too busily occupied with many events such as public workouts at various gyms and welcome interviews at the airport of Tokyo (Rigondeaux landed in Tokyo and then will move to Osaka by a bullet train). As we see no less than eight world title bouts on the last two days of the year, there are sixteen public workouts of the contestants separately.

At noon of yesterday (Wednesday), Narvaez, 39, cooperated with a 30-minute interview by plenty of press people but displayed only a round of shadow boxing at Ohashi gym in Yokohama. gHuracan (hurricane)h Omar was as eloquent as his busy combination punching, confidently saying, gIfll sweep all rounds and win by a one-sided decision to defend my belt. Historically, I believe I am the greatest boxer in Argentina over Carlos Monzon and Nicolino Locche, etc. I donft know how long more Ifll go on fighting as I donft absorb punches due to my excellent defensive skills. I havenft hit the canvas throughout my amateur and professional careers.h

The fistic history between Argentina and Japan is long and deep since Pascual Perez, the first Argentine world champ, dethroned Yoshio Shirai, our first world titlist, via hard-fought fifteen round decision here in Tokyo in 1954. The Japanese boxer who inflicted the first setback to the previously unbeaten Perez in a non-title bout was Sadao Yaoita, currently a famous boxing writer, who was asked for pictures with Argentine handlers of Narvaez.

The younger brother Nestor Daniel Narvaez will cope with Naoyafs brother Takuma Inoue, also a bright prospect already ranked tenth by the WBC after only three pro bouts thanks to his victory over a world-rated Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr, at a 114-pound catchweight for eight rounds beneath the world title go.

From 4 PM at Watanabe gym in Tokyo, WBA champ Alberto Rossel also showed his public workout before many journalists and photographers. The short but energetic champ worked long for more than an hour--skipping rope, shadow boxing and hitting bag. Rossel, 36, proudly said, gI failed in the previous mayor election in my province, but aim to be successful in the next election four years later. Until that time I wish to keep my belt to remain world champion. Though Ifm now the 108-pound champ, I had some experiences in fighting in bantam or super-fly bouts as we, in Peru, had few opportunities to fight name world rated opponents, so I went abroad and tasted some defeats such as against Vusi Malinga (KO by 5 at 118 lbs. in South Africa in 2007) and Hugo Casares (TKO by 9 at 115 lbs. in Mexico in 2010). Rossel has been unbeaten for last four years, having registered eight victories and four WBA title defenses to his credit.

At 7:30 PM, Norberto Jimenez of Dominican Republic arrived in the Narita airport. He will have an ambitious crack at the WBA super-fly belt against Japanfs Kohei Kono at the Ota Ward General-purpose Gymnasium on December 31. Our press people pitifully had little time to celebrate a Merry Christmas afterward.


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