Oubaali takes aim at Inoue unification clash

By Robert Coster

The co-main event of the Naoya Inoue-Nonito Donaire battle last Thursday saw WBC bantamweight champion Nordine Oubaali retain his title with a convincing decision over the Monster’s younger brother Takuma Inoue.

Oubaali Takuma
Photo: Team Oubaali

This victory has no doubt opened the door for a grudge match between both titleholders and Oubaali says “the sooner, the better. Naoya is over-hyped. Let’s unify our titles.” Fightnews.com® reached the WBC monarch to talk about the possible intriguing showdown between the two unbeaten boxers.

Any remarks about the fight with the younger Inoue brother?

Of course, I am happy that I won clearly as it naturally is a big challenge defending your belt in the opponent’s home country. It was not an easy fight because Takuma came in very motivated. We fought in front of 20,000 of his fans so he gave a 110 % performance. Me on the other hand, I felt not at my best for a number of reasons. We have however identified the weak points and surely my next performance will be even better.

Did you watch Inoue vs Donaire? What did you think of champion Inoue’s performance? Is he really such a “monster”? Are you going to be the monster-tamer?

I watched Naoya’s fight from my locker room and the fight pretty much went the way I expected it. Nonito did very well and he exposed the weaknesses of Naoya. Nonito almost KOed Naoya at some point and I think the Nonito of a couple of years ago would have done the job. Naoya is a good fighter that deserves respect but that’s it, not more and not less. If and when I fight him, I will beat him.

Was your victory celebrated in France? I’m sure you would like a rebirth of boxing in France.

France is a country with a rich boxing tradition, but for some reason in the past couple of years it went down. I am currently the only world champion coming out of France so, of course, the media is keen on what I’m doing and the fight was shown live in France. My popularity is rising quickly and many people already recognize me.

I am confident that my success motivates and paves the way for young talents to follow my footsteps. In my training group that my brother Ali Oubaali who is also an ex-Olympian and successful pro boxer leads, there is one of the best upcoming talents – Souleymane Cissokho (Olympic Bronze medal).

One should also not forget that I have two hearts in my chest – besides the French one it is very important for me to also represent the home of my ancestors which is Morocco. My success also ignited a wave of euphoria in Morocco that motivates many young talents to pick up the sport and I am very proud of that.

Inoue has signed up with Top Rank and his next bout will be in the USA. Would you like to be on that card?

Sure, why not? I won my world championship in Las Vegas and it would be nice to come back to defend it. I have trust in my manager Mirko Wolf of MTK Global and I know that MTK is working closely with Top Rank so I am sure good things will come.

So, what is your message to Inoue? You are aiming at 2-0 against the Inoue family?

Naoya Inoue called me out after I beat and dropped his brother in front of him and his fans.
I like Japan so I don’t want to take away their hero from them but I also want his WBA and IBF belts so let’s do it! Anytime, anywhere!

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Herring beats Roach to retain WBO 130lb title

WBO junior lightweight champion Jamel “Semper Fi” Herring (21-2, 10 KOs) scored a twelve round unanimous decision to retain his world title against previously unbeaten Lamont Roach Jr. (19-1-1, 7 KOs) on Saturday night at Chukchansi Park in Fresno, California.

Jamel Herring Vs Lamont Roach Jr Action8
Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Seemingly close fight through ten rounds. Roach rocked Herring with a right hand at the end of round eleven. Roach pressed the action again in the final round, but it was too little, too late. Scores were 115-113, 117-111, 117-111 for Herring.

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Haney shuts out Santiago, retains WBC 135lb title

WBC lightweight champion Devin Haney (24-0, 15 KOs) scored a twelve round unanimous decision over previously unbeaten WBC #17 Alfredo Santiago (12-1, 4 KOs) on Saturday night at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Haney Santiago
Photo: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom Boxing USA

Haney dropped Santiago in round five and almost finished him. Santiago managed to slow the pace after that and the bout ended up going the distance with Haney winning 120-107 3x.

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BJ Saunders KOs Coceres, retains WBO 168lb title

WBO super middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders (29-0, 14 KOs) scored an eleventh round KO over previously unbeaten WBO #10 rated Marcelo Coceres (28-1-1, 15 KOs) on Saturday night at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Saunders Coceres
Photo: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom Boxing USA

Coceres gave Saunders fits for ten lackluster rounds, but then Saunders woke up in round eleven to drop Coceres three times to end it. Time was 1:59.

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98th WBA World Convention: Day Three

By Tracy Morin

The 98th WBA World Convention’s third day kicked off with the WBA Global Boxing Summit on Saturday, November 9, in Fuzhou, Jiangxi, China, at the Grand New Century Hotel Fuzhou. 

Photo: Sumio Yamada

After a brief welcome, Cai Qing, vice mayor of Fuzhou, introduced her city, which has 4 million inhabitants and thriving arts, culture and business sectors. Now Fuzhou looks to develop sports facilities and events; a recent televised boxing match broke viewership records, and boxing has a high market value in China overall. Qing expressed her desire to work together with the WBA and the forthcoming WBA Academy to train more talent and encourage development of the city. 

Next, Jorge Ramirez, director of development for the WBA Academy, discussed the concept of the new facility, which will provide education to trainers, boxers, physicians, promoters, officials—those who are involved at every level of the sport. The first goal is to certify coaches, and the overall threefold focus for the academy will be certification, training, and ongoing education and development. Ramirez showed a video that showed what the finished complex would look like, with classrooms, training spaces, a library and more. 

Longtime trainer Pedro Diaz then took the stage for a talk titled The Path to the Championship. After applauding China’s strong boxing presence and competitors, he outlined the need for trainers to possess medical, pedagogical and psychological knowledge. They must be able to teach young people properly and understand everything from nutrition to biology, taking social, cultural and functional angles into consideration. 

Lu Xiaolong, CEO of the local Max Power Promotions, noted that China’s boxing scene has enjoyed rapid development over the last few years but still can progress much further. With 18% of the world’s population, Chinese boxers represent only 1.8% of the world’s participants, and Xiaolong would like to see those numbers grow. Currently, he said, Chinese boxers usually require side jobs to survive, and coaches often spend their own money helping injured boxers, without much professional medical assistance. However, Xiaolong is dedicated to help cultivate more local talent and make China a leader in the boxing world in the next five to 10 years. The WBA Academy, he believes, will help make that happen and represents a new start for the Chinese boxing industry. 

Next door at the medical seminar, a special video from the WBA’s oldest official (and 2019 inductee into the International Boxing Hall of Fame) showed 88-year-old Guy Jutras thanking the WBA and the Mendoza family for all their years of support. Then boxing officials reviewed real-life cases of boxers’ injuries, such as a serious cut, hematoma or broken jaw, to determine whether the fight should be stopped to preserve the long-term health of the boxer. The WBA urged officials to consult with the ringside physician for determinations—and, if necessary, use common sense to stop a fight even when not mandated by the ringside physician. 

Dr. Paul Wallace, esteemed California ringside physician, also pointed out that, due to the arteries present in that area, blood loss from the face would never be to the extent that a transfusion is required or cause a long-term health threat; instead, fighters have to be protected when, for example, they cannot see to protect themselves. Raul Caiz Jr., vice chairman of international officials for the WBA, suggested that officials can familiarize themselves with cutmen and their experience levels, as well as a boxer’s own history of injuries when possible. 

Finally, a very important topic was addressed, that of recent boxing deaths—a total of four this year so far. Even with preventative measures, the sport remains high-risk for participants. To help prevent tragedies, international officials chairman Luis Pabon advised officials doing their homework and asking questions of every boxer, understanding the following: the fighter’s record; how he performed his last fight and how he won or lost (i.e., what punishment he received); if he has ever been suspended; if he needs to shed pounds at weigh-in or is moving two weight classes up or down, plus his day-of-fight weight; and if he has been knocked out during workouts. Caiz also recommended that during the fight to check in with the boxer—not the trainer or others in the corner. 

WBA president Gilberto Jesus Mendoza took the microphone to commend the officials who attend these seminars worldwide to improve their knowledge and raise the safety of the sport. He vowed to help prevent mismatches through quality control of fights, as well as help elevate education via the WBA Academy. 

Dr. Karanjeet Singh, sports medical consultant with the Indian National Boxing Team, tackled dehydration in boxing. He discussed causes and signs of dehydration, the function of proper hydration in the body, and why it’s so important within boxing. As little as 2% water loss in the body (only 4 pounds in a 200-pound boxer) can decrease ring performance by 5%, but 5% loss (10 pounds in a 200-pound boxer) can decrease performance by as much as 30%. Dehydration affects boxers through decreased alertness and concentration, increase of fatigue, and slower reaction time—ultimately affecting the brain. Dehydration also has links to high blood pressure and kidney failure, and even increases levels of cortisol, which decreases sensitivity to pain. 

But how can dehydration be prevented? Singh recommends education and discipline from day one of training, avoiding rapid weight loss, monitoring weight pre- and post-training, and avoiding losing 3% to 5% of one’s hydrated weight. 

After a lunch break, Wallace continued the topic with a discussion on weight cutting and dehydration in boxing. In addition to detailing the effects of dehydration, he pointed to a study of more than 1,500 boxers over several years that found 26% of boxers changing their weight by 8% or more. Now in California, if a fighter has gained more than 15% of his body weight since the weigh-in, the fight will be called off. Wallace wants this to be adopted by the major boxing organizations like the WBA, and advocates for eliminating the window of time allowed for boxers who don’t make weight to cut further. With proper education and regulation, Wallace believes, weight cutting can be reduced across the sport.

Judge Roberto Torres then reviewed proper conduct for judges, both inside and outside the ring. After reviewing scoring criteria, various hypothetical situations were offered and judges in attendance scored accordingly on an oversize card in front of the meeting room so that Torres could explain the correct score and why. Then a series of videos were shown so attendees could vote on whether the episode showed a knockdown. 

At the evening dinner and awards banquet, several past and current champions and boxers joined the festivities, including Mary Kom, Bernard Hopkins, Erislandy Lara, Roberto Duran, Hanna Gabriels and Xu Can. The WBA recognized journalists in the sport, while Gabriels offered a special dedication for Kom, a trailblazer in women’s boxing. Duran thanked the people of China for a warm welcome, and Hopkins took the stage to discuss the importance of dedication in boxing. 

The 98th WBA World Convention will host its final day on Sunday, November 10, with a city tour, six-fight boxing card and closing farewell.


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Shocker: “Monster” Inoue suffers eye socket fracture

By Joe Koizumi
Photo by Boxing Beat

While this reporter stays in China to attend the 98th WBA convention, there has come a shocking news from Japan that the ultimate WBSS bantamweight winner Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16 KOs), still 26, had suffered a couple of fractures at the eye socket and the nose through his hard-fought battle with Nonito Donaire in Saitama on Thursday.

Inoue Eye Fracture
Naoya “Monster” Inoue and his manager/promoter Hideyuki Ohashi

It was disclosed at the Korakuen Hall today (Friday) by Naoya himself along with his manager/promoter and ex-WBC/WBA titlist Hideyuki Ohashi. “Monster” Inoue took a solid left hook from Donaire in round two, and he confessed that he had a double vision since. He also suffered a nose bleeding unlike in his previous bouts midway in the slugfest. Naoya yesterday consulted a doctor and was diagnosed that he had sustained fractures on the eye socket and under the nose as well.

Naoya said, “The doctor said there would be no need for surgery, but I’ll have a re-examination after a month. Then I will decide my training schedule thereafter.”

Ohashi, 54, also said, “Despite his fracture and pain from the second round on Naoya displayed such a great performance with the Filipino Flash. It must become the new chapter of the Monster legend that proves his heart.” Although Naoya announced his promotional agreement with Top Rank just after the invaluable victory, his new-year campaign next spring will have to be delayed.”

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IBF #9 Dwight Ritchie passes

By Ray Wheatley – World of Boxing

Very sad news. IBF #9 light middleweight Dwight Ritchie has died after collapsing during a sparring session with WBA #8 middleweight Michael Zerafa on Saturday in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

“It is with great sadness and shock to announce that ‘The Fighting Cowboy’ Dwight Ritchie sadly passed away today doing what he loved,” promoter and friend Jake Ellis said. “It’s unbearable to accept the tragic news that’s just surfaced.”

“Dwight will always be remembered by the boxing fraternity as one of the brightest talents in Australia who’s fighting style embodied exactly how he lived.”

Dwight Ritchie who had a 19-2 record and fought ten tough rounds with IBF#8 Tim Tszyu in August, was 27 years old.

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