By Ryan Maquiñana
Hall of Famer Akihiko Honda, CEO of Teiken Promotions, arrived in California last week to watch his fighters in back-to-back televised cards.
“He tried to show his heart, but a little too much, which is why he took two big [punches],” Honda told BoxingScene.com regarding Teiken welterweight Yoshihiro Kamegai, who drew with Jorge Silva in an entertaining main event last Saturday in Sacramento. “He can take [punches], and we will give him another chance here in America.”
After describing his contentment with lightweight Jorge Linares’s wide unanimous decision over Hector Velazquez, he switched topics to this Saturday’s featured bout in Carson involving unified junior featherweight champ Nonito Donaire and Teiken fighter Toshiaki Nishioka, who is generally recognized as the top 122-pounder in the world.
“He’s been training very hard and very good,” Honda said of Nishioka. “It’s the best I have ever seen him, and I hope he will show it.”
The last time the Home Depot Center housed a major card, bantamweight beltholder Leo Santa Cruz emerged as a star-in-waiting. Regarding a potential matchup between Teiken 118-pound titlist Shinsuke Yamanaka and Santa Cruz down the line, Honda smiled in approval.
“Oh, that would be good,” he said. “Next is Tomas Rojas. And next [after that] is the mandatory [challenger], and after the mandatory, we’ll put him with anybody.”
Honda also offered his thoughts regarding a possible junior lightweight unification bout between Teiken’s Takahiro Ao and countryman Takashi Uchiyama. Ao defends his belt in his hometown of Tokyo against Gamaliel Diaz on Oct. 27.
“Yes. Next year we will try to do [that fight],” Honda said.
Ryan Maquiñana writes a weekly boxing column for CSNBayArea.com. He is a full member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and the Ratings Panel for Ring Magazine. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org , check out his blog at Norcalboxing.net, or follow him on Twitter: @RMaq28.