SAN DIEGO, August 15, 2017 – The longest reigning world champion in boxing got the shock of his life in front of his equally shocked Japanese fans Tuesday night (early Tuesday in the U.S.) as 22-year-old Luis Nery won a fourth round TKO victory over Shinsuke Yamanaka to win the WBC world bantamweight title.
The fight will air again Tuesday night in the U.S. at 10 pm ET/7 pm PT on BeinSports Espanol. If you subscribe to a major satellite or cable provider, chances are good you’ve got BeinSports Espanol available. Check here for your local listings. http://www.beinsports.com/us/faqs/#S1Q1
Nery (24-0, 18 KOs) was ranked among the top ten in the division coming into the fight. Nevertheless, it was a major step up and his first bout outside Mexico, fighting on the champion’s home turf in Tokyo. Yamanaka (27-1-2, 19 KOs), age 34, hoped to tie the Japanese record for consecutive title defenses in any division with a win and continue toward the all-time title defense record in the bantamweight division, which is 16 consecutive bouts currently held by Orlando Canizales from the 1990s.
It was not to be. After Nery shook off some understandable nerves in the first round, he got down to business. He invested early and effectively in body work in the first few rounds. By the end of the second round, Nery began landing good head shots as he found the right distance.
In the third round, Nery started taking control of the fight. He snapped Yamanaka’s head from both sides. Yamanaka kept Nery honest by firing back with several left hooks of his own. At the end of the round, Nery landed an effective right to the jaw. He sensed blood in the water, and stepped up the action as the bell sounded.
Nery opened the the fourth round right where he left off, landing an impressive overhand right on Yamanaka. He seized the opening and blasted a shocked Yamanaka from both sides. Nery threw a solid left hook to the body mid-round, and it took the last bit of steam out of Yamanaka. Nery backed him into the ropes, and continued to land solid punches, turning Yamanaka’s head back and forth as he was unable to answer. But he stayed on his feet. Referee Michael Griffin had his eyes on Yamanaka, giving the champion every chance to finish the round.
It was Yamanaka’s corner who decided their fighter had enough, and waved off the contest for a TKO win at 2:24 of the fourth round.
As Yamanaka walked back to his corner and sat down he was in disbelief. At first, he acted as if the round had simply ended. When the reality of the loss washed over him, he began to weep with his head in his hands, inconsolable. It was a shocking loss for the champion.
After the fight in a video statement posted to Twitter, Nery credited his preparation for the win, saying he was happy with the victory, and dedicated the fight to his fans at home in Tijuana, Mexico.
Nery showed tremendous poise and focus, especially for a 22-year-old in his first international championship bout. He won the fight in his head long before he stepped into the ring. He took his time to get his bearings, and when the opportunity to score the upset came, he seized it.
This is why more boxing fans need to get on board with the talent in the lower weight divisions. It was a thrilling, action packed fight full of drama and significance. Nery has put himself on the short list for Upset of the Year and Fight of the Year.
Nery could now proceed to try and clean out all the titles at 118 pounds. But there is also potential in Nery fighting at super flyweight, 115 pounds, where there are bigger name champions and bigger paydays for him. The ultmate prize down the road is a fight at either 115 pounds or 118 pounds with Japanese sensation Naoya Inoue, who will participate in the “Superfly” card at the StubHub Center in Carson, California on September 9. Count on Nery to be in attedance doing a little research.
As of today, Teiken Boxing has only one World Champion and he is not Japanese: Jorge Linares of Venezuela. Should Roman Gonzalez win back his WBC super flyweight title, there will be two, but still no Japanese champion.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is a veteran boxing observer covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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