Advertisement
Advertisement

Officials Named For Takayama-Rodriguez Jr. Title Unifier

By Jake Donovan

Strawweight titlist Katsunari Takayama travels to Mexico this weekend, where he will face fellow beltholder Francisco Rodriguez Jr. in a bout that marks just the 5th unification bout in the history of the division.

It’s fitting that such a rare occasion also comes with a fresh set of ring officials for both fighters. Veteran referee Samuel Viruet has been named third man for the bout, which takes place at Arena Monterrey in Monterrey, Mexico. His last title fight appearance came in Sergey Kovalev's 7th round stoppage of Cedric Agnew in their light heavyweight bout this past March in Atlantic City.

In the event that the bout goes to the scorecards, the fate of both fighters will be placed in the hands of ringside judges Glenn Trowbridge, Waleska Roldan and John Madfis. All four officials are from the United States; none have ever worked a fight involving either fighter. 

Takayama (27-6, 10KOs) welcomed with open arms the decision for the Japanese Boxing Commission to recognize the International Boxing Federation (IBF) after three decades of resistance. The ruling allowed the strawweight titlist to return home a champion after having hit the road in five straight fights, all of which were sanctioned by the IBF. 

Saturday’s bout marks Takayama’s second trip to Mexico, the first coming in a title winning effort versus Mario Rodriguez last March. The bout was the last of the aforementioned five-fight road trip, having since twice defended his belt at home, including a 12-round decision over Shin Ono in May. 

Rodriguez Jr. (14-2, 10KOs) emerged as a champ in emphatic fashion, scoring a 10th round stoppage over previously unbeaten Merlito Sabillo in March. The 21-year old has spent nearly his entire career at home in Mexico, with the exception of 7th round knockout loss to Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez last September in Nicaragua. Three straights win have followed. 

The unification bout is the first for the division since Kazuto Ioka scored a 12-round split decision over Akira Yaegashi in their June ’12 war. The occasion marked the first time in history in which two titlists from Japan met in a unification bout.

Ricardo Lopez, often regarded as the greatest strawweight of all time, was involved in the division’s other three unification bouts. The Hall of Famer scored a 5th round knockout over Alex ‘Nene’ Sanchez in Aug. ’97, before engaging in a pair of closely contested wars with Rosendo Alvarez in 1998, his final two fights as a strawweight before moving up to junior flyweight.

Saturday’s bout will air live on TV Azteca in Mexico and beIn Sports in the United States.

Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com, as well as the Records Keeper for the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and a member of Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Post a Comment/View More User Comments (0)
Top Headlines Selby Turns Back on Warrington, Eyes Frampton vs. Santa Cruz Porter Plans To Bang Away at Thurman's Ribs, Break His Body Atlas Would Love Pacquiao-Crawford, Spence Face The Top Dogs Bounced in Buffalo: 'Bump City' and 'Boom Boom' Hit The Skids Arslan Gets Foe: Manuel Charr, Adrian Granat, Fornling in Action Lara: Fans Will Get Tired of Golovkin's Easy Fights, He Needs Me Zabala To Take Stand in $27 Million Lawsuit vs. Canelo/Golden Boy Photos: Francisco Vargas, Orlando Salido Face-Off at 'A Los Golpes' Vargas, Salido Confident of Victory: Chavez Expects FOTY War Oscar Valdez Opens Camp in Carson For WBO World Title Fight Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury is an Immense Fight, Says DiBella Roach Wants One Tune-Up For Chavez Jr. - Then Golovkin Fight WBO, WBC Have No Issue Sanctioning Canelo vs. Smith or Charlo Tony Bellew Ready: I Would Tank David Haye Any Day of The Week! Jose Pedraza To Be Ringside For Lomachenko-Martinez Bout Adonis Stevenson-Thomas Williams Set Down for July 16, Quebec David Haye To Tony Bellew: I'm a Bitch? I'll Smash You To Bits! Nietes' Promoter To Discuss Possible Juan Francisco Estrada Clash Drozd To Exercise WBC Title Shot, Starts Camp For Tony Bellew Joseph Parker's Handlers Are Open To David Haye Showdown Thomas Williams: A lot of People Wrote Me Off in Rodriguez Fight Dillian Whyte: I Got a 2 Year Ban, Browne Got 6 Months For PED! Golovkin's Coach: Kovalev Will Be Too Much For Andre Ward! Photos: Tony Bellew Grabs WBC Title With Vicious KO of Makabu Photos: David Price, Paul Smith Rack Up Big Wins in Liverpool Daily Bread Mailbag: Kovalev-Ward, Canelo-GGG, Crawford, More David Price is Hungry To Get His Hands on Anthony Joshua Hearn: If Haymon Brings Sack of Money - Burns vs. Broner in Vegas Andre Berto Targets Danny Garcia: I Want To Make a Statement! "Fighting Words" - The Revolving Door and Boxing's Changing Faces Mayweather Continues To Push a McGregor PPV With Poster Gervonta Davis is Set To Face Mario Rorozco on Barthelemy-Bey Photos: Orlando Salido Arrives in LA For Francisco Vargas War Mosley Tabs Porter Over Thurman: He Has Better Chin, Endurance Hearn: Badou Jack-Callum Smith is The Fight We're Pushing For Mares: Don't Rule Out Possibility of Cuellar Getting Knocked Out! Deontay Wilder's Handlers Reach Out To Alexander Ustinov Kosei Tanaka Stops Rene Patilano in Six Rounds in Nagoya, Japan Video: Shane Mosley Jr. Reflects on Win, The Future, More Tony Bellew: I'll Face That Bitch David Haye on That Joker Channel!
Advertisement

Latest Active Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement