WBO Asia Pacific championship recognized by JBC, JPBA

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By Joe Koizumi –
Photos by Boxing Beat –

There is a proverb in Japan that no one can compete with a crying baby, but it might be true that no sports can compete with the Olympic Games. People here are only talking about how many medals our representatives have acquired—forgetting professional boxing for a while. But this summer we have seen some significant progress in the Sweet Science in this country, where the WBO Asia Pacific championship was duly recognized by the Japan Boxing Commission (JBC) and the Japan Professional Boxing Association (JPBA; the union of club owners the president of which is Hitoshi Watanabe) after their prolonged consideration and discussion among prudent members on August 5. Unlike in other counties, our Japanese fraternity has been so traditional and stubborn in regulating regional championships that the JBC/JPBA had been only recognizing the belts of the Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation (OPBF) and the WBC Youth championships.

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In Japan, you are not allowed to have a world title shot to any of the four organizations such as the WBC, WBA, IBF and WBO without being or once having been (1) Japanese national, (2) OPBF or (3) WBO Asia Pacific champions. That’s for the sake of quality control of world championships. In this regard, it is very meaningful that Japanese boxers aiming to gain the world championship—when staged in Japan—will be able to increase their possibility of a world title shot by winning the WBO Asia Pacific belt.

The historically first WBO Asia Pacific title bout will take place with the vacant lightweight belt at stake between Japan’s Akihiro Kondo and Filipino Jeffrey Arienza over twelve rounds in Tokyo on September 13. On the next day, a couple of WBO Asia Pacific title bouts will follow as the vacant junior lightweight belt will disputed by Japan’s Takuya Watanabe and Indonesian Musa Letding, and the also vacant middleweight title by Japanese compatriots Hikaru Nishida and Makoto Fuchigami also at the Hall. It is Leon Panoncillo, the president of the WBO regional jurisdiction, that will supervise all the title bouts here in Tokyo. It is good that they will be staged after the Olympic Games in Brazil since our people will remember the existence and value of boxing.

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Naoya Inoue Named Japan’s Boxer of the Year

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By Joe Koizumi
Photos by Boxing Beat

Newly crowned, unbeaten two-class world champ in only eight professional bouts, WBO junior bantam kingpin Naoya Inoue, just 21, was named Japan’s Boxer of the Year by Japan Boxing Commission and Sports Writers Club. Inoue, in the amazing 2014, seized the WBC 108-pound belt by disposing of Adrian Hernandez in his sixth bout in April and jumped up two categories to dethrone formidable WBO defending titlist Omar Narvaez in just two sessions last December. Inoue was also rendered Knockout award thanks to his three KO wins in as many games—all with the world title at stake in the previous year.

His title-winning fight with Narvaez was elected Fight of the Year due to the shockingly quick demolition by the enfant terrible. Inoue, trained by his father, took only three holidays after his triumph over Narvaez and returned to his routine gym work at Ohashi Gym as usual. The sensational champ may grow stronger and smarter.

The Technique award was given unbeaten WBC bantam ruler Shinsuke Yamanaka, and the Valuable Victory award went to IBF/WBO 105-pound champ Katsunari Takayama due to his coronation to win the vacant belts by stopping his compatriot Go Odaira this December. The Fighting Spirit award was rendered to three outstanding boxers of unbeaten WBA super-feather titleholder Takashi Uchiyama, ex-WBC ruler Akira Yaegashi and a gallant loser to Guillermo Rigondeaux named Hisashi Amagasa. New WBA 108-pound champ Ryoichi Taguchi and unbeaten ex-Olympic middleweight gold medalist Ryota Murata were awarded the Effort prize. The Rookie citation was given unbeaten future world champ Kosei Tanaka, 19, who acquired the OPBF 105-pound belt only in his fourth bout. The female Boxing of the Year was unanimously WBC atomweight ruler Momo Koseki who registered fourteen successful defenses to her credit.

The award-giving ceremony will take place at the Korakuen Hall from 6 PM on January 23, when great many aficionados will gather to watch the star-studded carnival. Too many isn’t necessarily a good thing, as there were such world champs as WBC 130-pound ruler Takashi Miura, WBA 115-pounder champ Kohei Kono and WBO bantam titlist Tomoki Kameda out of eight Japanese champs that failed to be given any award. Don’t worry, and get it next year.

http://www.fightnews.com/Boxing/naoya-inoue-named-japans-boxer-year-276080

WBO Congress Day One Report

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Story and photos by David Finger

The 26th Annual WBO Congress officially kicked off Tuesday morning at the InterContinental Hotel in downtown Budapest as boxing insiders from around the world came to celebrate some of the exciting developments in the World Boxing Organization in 2013. The event kicked off with roll call, followed by an invocation. After approving the prior minutes from the 2012 Convention, the congress moved forward with the regional Vice President’s reports. Starting off was Vice President Mark Reels, who did reports from the NABO and the WBO Intercontinental. Although the NABO and the WBO Intercontinental both saw a slight drop in activity it still was a productive and profitable year for the regional organizations.

The NABO held an impressive 12 championship fights (with revenue of $46,760) while the Intercontinental held 20 championship fights (with a revenue of $68,560). Reels also discussed the success of the WBO in developing world class fighters. Reels discussed how the NABO has seen 54 of the 262 fighters who fought for the belt subsequently fight for the WBO title. Although Reels downplayed the statistic, expressing a desire to see that number rise, it nonetheless impressed many at the table, with President Francisco “Paco” Valcarcel calling it “impressive.”

“Our issue is with quality over quantity,” Reels said during his presentation, “we have criteria for a fighter who is able to fight for a title.” Reels, however, did want to see some leniency on the issue of fighters getting sanctioned for NABO and WBO InterContinental fights, noting some good fighters who technically fell short of the high standards set by the WBO in regards to qualifications. President Valcarcel expressed concern over the idea.

Still, with all 15 NABO championship fights since last year’s convention being televised by a major TV network, Reels had an impressive year by nearly any standard. “As far as activity levels go, it is low,” Reels added, “but we really are recognized the world over.” Reels then discussed the revenue of the Intercontinental, confirming that the WBO Intercontinental collected over $40,000 of the $68,560 income in 2013.

From there Vice President Istvan “Koko” Kovacs presented his report on the WBO Europe. Although he admitted it was a “quiet year” he still was happy to announce that it Iwas still a productive year for the European continent. There were 13 Intercontinental title fights, with 9 taking place in Europe. There were also 14 International title fights, with 9 taking place in Europe, as well as 11 WBO European title fights. There were 6 WBO Youth title fights, with 4 taking place in Europe, 21 female title fights, with 5 taking place in Europe, and 32 world title fights with 10 taking place in Europe. Overall the WBO had 29 fights in Europe, a drop from 38 the previous year. WBO Europe’s revenue in 2013 was $40,500. Kovacs also commented on the previous issue with the British Boxing Board, commenting on how the WBO no longer has any problems working with the BBB. The BBB refused to recognize the WBO in previous years.

Next was Vice President Jorge Molina’s report on the WBO Latino. Molina admitted it had been a “hard year” for the Latino, with “only 25 Latino title fights in 10 months.” Still, Molina was able to point to the WBO Latino’s proud tradition and was able to proudly say that the WBO Latino continued that tradition in 2013. “#7 WBO Latino Champions became world champions,” Molina said, “and four of our WBO Latino champions have become world title holders (this year).” The WBO Latino raised $26,000 in the 25 title fights since the last convention, with 13 planned title fights to round out the year.

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From there a short video on the WBO’s widely successful WBO Kids Drug Free program was shown.

Next was Andrew Smalle’s WBO Africa regional report. Smalle admitted it was a slow year, with 7 WBO Africa fights since the last convention. From November of 2012 to December of 2012 there were three title fights, with revenue of $5,050. From January of 2013 to August of 2013 there were 4 WBO Africa title fights with revenue of $4,800. However, Smalle confirmed that additional income was expected as some sponsorship allocation was expected to kick in before the end of the year. Smalle also commented on the WBO’s commitment to high standards for the quality of the fighters who compete for the WBO African belt. Smalle’s commitment to the highest standards for WBO title fights has resulted in a lower number of championship fights, but also of a growing reputation in the continent.

“It’s been a challenge but I don’t see it as a negative at all,” Smalle admitted, “it can only go up from where it’s at now. We are a young organization, and one of our proudest moments was one of our fighters winning a championship earlier this year.” Smalle noted that despite the low activity, the WBO Africa’s high standard has resulted in it being the only regional African organization that has seen all of its champions ranked in the world rankings after winning a regional belt.

Next came Leon Panoncillo’s report from WBO Asia. Similar to the other organizations WBO Asia saw a slight decline in revenue, but it has continued its commitment to quality. Since the last convention the Asia-Pacific held 14 championship fights, raising $27,700. Panoncillo also anticipated holding 10 more fights before the end of the year. The WBO Oriental title had 5 fights, with 8 more planned for the end f other year. The WBO Asia Pacific Youth title had three title fights, raising $3,750. Although Panoncillo admitted that the Youth title has “not taken off” he was optimistic that a major Filipino television network was interested in partnering up with the WBO Asia-Pacific to award a youth belt to the winner of a “Contender” like reality series involving young prizefighters in the Philippines. Panoncillo’s biggest coup came with the exciting developments of his newest title: the WBO International championship. In just one year the WBO International title has become a highly prestigious belt, with Manny Pacquiao and Brandon Rios fighting for the vacant belt in Macao on November 24th. Panoncillo confirmed that the WBO has custom made a new belt for the winner of that fight.

The next report came from Zhang Tao on the China Zone. Although the WBO China Zone held only 7 fight shows, the WBO is still making headway into the world’s largest market, and Tao informed the board that he looked forward to hosting the WBO in China. Joe Hernandez then spoke of the Cuban boxing scene, and his desire that the situation in Cuba would soon open up. “When it (Cuba) does come free, the WBO will be at the forefront.”

Markus Aslani followed with his report on female boxing in the WBO. He proudly announced that the WBO had a good year, with an emphasis on quality in regards to female championship fights.

After lunch there was a brief discussion on ratings by Luis Perez, followed by a report by Luis Bautista Salas, which not only focused on “loyalty” but also discussed the successful year of the WBO, with 54 total championship fights (33 men’s championship fights and 21 female championship fights). There was a brief discussion on the growth of the WBO in the British boxing scene.

“We have good working relations and we want to see how we can continue this in the future,” President Valcarcel said.

A discussion from representatives from the Japan Boxing Commission followed, which was a clear sign of the WBO’s success in breaking into a new market. At the last congress in Budapest in 2009 there was a controversy over the WBO’s inability to operate in Japan. The growth in Japan since then was a clear victory for the WBO as it moved forward in Japan.

Next came the legal report, in which the WBO legal representatives discussed several pending legal issues. Several issues regarding trademark registration was discussed, with several brands extended into 2018. They then followed up with a discussion on the recent litigation in Puerto Rico. Some confusion emerged in 2012 in regards to the administrative level, with the Puerto Rican Department of treasury moving forward with legal action against the WBO in regards to its tax exempt status.

“It’s confusion over what we actually do,” one of the legal advisors for the WBO said, “It’s a lack of knowledge of the working issues of the organization.” Although the WBO is confident that they will prevail, several members understood that even if they do not prevail in litigation, it will have little major impact on the WBO. If there is an issue we will simply change the way we disperse funds,” one legal advisor of the WBO said.

Rounding off Day One, WBO President Francisco “Paco” Valcarcel gave a special shout out to WBO Asia Vice President Leon Panoncillo over the impressive developments in Macao and the Philippines.

“We control Asia from A to Z,” Valcarcel said, “everything that occurring Asia is very important to us.”

Rounding off the night, boxing insiders visited the Lázár Lovaspark, where they were delighted by a traditional Hungarian horseshow as well as a traditional Hungarian dinner.

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http://www.fightnews.com/Boxing/wbo-congress-day-one-report-221703

Tomoki Kameda Grabs WBO Gold in Cebu City

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By Rene Perez –

Japan’s Tomoki Kameda lifted his first world title on Thursday, when he won a unanimous decision over WBO bantamweight champion Paulus Ambunda of Namibia in the Philippines.

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It was the first world title for Kameda, the youngest of three professional boxing brothers. His oldest brother, Koki, is the WBA bantamweight champion, while his brother Daiki is a former WBA flyweight champ.

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“Achieving my dream, my father’s dream makes me truly happy,” Tomoki said.

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According to the Japan Boxing Commission, they are the first trio of brothers to have won world titles. The younger Kameda became Japan’s first champion recognized by the WBO, which the JBC joined this year.

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Kameda vows to make impression before Cebu fans

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By:  Lemuel P. Maglinte –

CEBU, Philippines – Unbeaten Japanese world title challenger Tomoki ‘Mexicanito’ Kameda is raring to showcase his skills in front of Cebuano fans, even as he expessed confidence of seizing the WBO bantamweight crown from Namibian champion Paulos Ambunda when they slug it out in the  main event of ‘Battle of the Undefeated’  fightcard on August 1 at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino.

Since Kameda is not the mandatory challenger, the Japan Boxing Commission won’t let him fight for the belt in his own country.

Still, the Japanese boxer feels that he has hometown advantage fighting on Philippine soil.

“I will do my best so that Filipino fans will enjoy this fight. I want to showcase my skills in front of them and I can say that I have a very big chance of beating him (Ambunda) to get that belt,” said Tomoki, the youngest of the three fighting Kameda brothers of Japan.“I would love to make my own name here in the Philippines just like I did when I was fighting in Mexico where I get my ring name Mexicanito.”

Tomoki,  who also holds the WBC Silver bantamweight belt, vows to follow in the steps of his elder brothers Koki, the reigning WBA bantamweight champion, and Daiki, the former WBA flyweight titlist.

“This is something unique because this is the first time that a world title fight featuring foreign boxers will happen here in Cebu and we Cebuanos should be proud,” said Cebuano promoter Rex “Wakee” Salud.

http://www.philstar.com/cebu-sports/2013/06/21/956501/kameda-vows-make-impression-cebu-fans

WBO President Credits Filipino Champions For Japan Entry

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by Ronnie Nathanielsz

World Boxing Organization president Francisco “Paco” Valcarcel has credited Filipino world champions for helping get the WBO to be finally recognized in Japan.

In an overseas telephone conversation with the BoxingScene.com/Manila Standard, Valcarcel said “that with all the Filipinos fighting around the world it helped a lot because it wasn’t easy to enter Japan.”

Valcarcel cited Manny Pacquiao and WBO champions  Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire, Donnie Nietes and Brian Viloria as well as “the support in Asia.”

He extended the WBO’s gratitude to businessman-sportsman and boxing promoter Akihiko Honda and Mexican promoter Felix “Tito “ Zabala for their help and disclosed that “they are very close to us and we worked like undercover” for the past five years.

He said now that the WBO can have world title fights in Japan there will be more opportunities for Japan to finally have WBO world champions because “its not easy for them in Mexico and the Philippines but now they can promote fighters like Nietes, (bantamweighty champion) Pyungluang Sor Singyu who will defend his title in Namibia and all the other big names.”

Valcarcel who will be in Macau for the blockbuster Top Rank promotion on April 6 said his first big plan is “to  work to have some Japanese fighters in Macao” and that he would meet with Japanese promoters today because they want to participate and can make good offers for champions to come here (to Japan) and fight.”

He also commended WBO Asia Pacific vice president Leon Panoncillo for his work in the region and revealed he was “shocked because everybody, especially the promoters, knew and liked Leon.”

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WBO Arrives in Japan For Their Presser

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Tokyo, Japan: WBO President Francisco “Paco” Valcarcel arrived in Tokyo today for a press conference to be held on Monday where together with the Japanese Boxing Commission they will announce the official entrance of the organization to Japan.

The delegation included WBO Ratings Chairman Luis Perez, WBO Asia Vice President Leon Panoncillo and Promoter Felix “Tutico” Zabala. Upon his arrival Mr. Valcarcel declared: “I’m very happy and delighted to have been able to get our organization into such a great Country, this is history in the making, I want to thank the JBC, Mr. Akihiko Honda and Felix “Tutico” Zabala who have work very hard for the past 3 years to make this happen.

The press conference will be held at 2 PM, Monday, February 18, 2013 at the Tokyo Dome Hotel.

 

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