By Cliff Rold
Like most of its nearby weight classes, the Flyweights completed another year with some good fights but less of the high quality drama in larger realms. Unification has avoided 112 lbs for close to two generations even if the lineage of the World title; the trend continued. The regionalization of markets and titles in class doesn’t look to be changing soon and it’s too bad. Like Jr. Bantamweight three pounds higher, Flyweight features a deep top ten. It has been deep for most of the decade. The depth was on display up to the last day of the year as, in a rematch of a battling 2007 draw, Thailand’s Denkaosan Kaovichit upset Japan’s Takefumi Sakata in two rounds. It was Kaovichit’s third overall try at the WBA crown.
Someday, the borders and dollars will line up to make best use of the depth.
Until then, we present the best of one of Boxing’s oldest and smallest tribes.
Flyweight Fighter of the Year: Daisuke Naito
He may have pulled the biggest upset of 2007, winning a decision from record-breaking lineal champion Pongsaklek Wonjongkam after suffering two previous knockout losses to the same. In 2008, the 34-year old Naito proved the win to be no fluke, racking up three title defenses to run his reign-total to four.
His year started with the fourth fight (so far) against Thailand’s Wonjongkam, a draw leaving the series at 2-1-1 to date. It wasn’t as thrilling as their third fight but it had its moments and each man had a case to call themselves the victor. Naito moved on to stoppages of the less experienced Tomonobu Shimizu and veteran Shingo Yamaguchi. His management will have their hands full keeping on the title next year as all of the WBC’s top four contenders are of the highly legitimate variety. For now, he remains the division’s true World champion and posted a career validating year.
Flyweight Fight of the Year: Julio Cesar Miranda-Omar Salado
On the undercard of the 115 lb. unification clash between Cristian Mijares and Alexander Munoz, these two Flyweights stole the show. An absolute war from start to finish, it was one of the least noticed bits of violence in the entire sport for 2008. It is remembered here. As reported at: https://www.boxingscene.com/?m=show&id=14020
In an all-Mexico sanctioning body eliminator at Flyweight, WBC #3 Julio Cesar Miranda (26-3-1, 19 KO) of Tampico outlasted WBC #4 Omar Salado (19-1, 11 KO) of Tijuana in a savage five-round war. Both men came in aged 28, but exchanged the sort of violence that should have each feeling fifty come the morning.
Miranda and Salado weighed in just below the division limit of 112 at 111.8 lbs on Friday.
Round one featured thrilling two-way action. Miranda came out tense, shaking his arms as if still trying to warm up. It turned out he was just loading up. With little more than a minute gone by, Salado landed a clipping right hand that brought a slamming right-left combo from Miranda, dropping Salado against the ropes. Salado rose to complete the mandatory eight-count and then covered up as Miranda poured in with lethal intent. Weathering the storm and getting his feet beneath him, Salado began firing with authority, stunning Miranda with a left hook and getting the better of sustained exchange between both men up to the bell.
The second was almost all Salado. Growing confidence from his brave stand in the first, Salado came forward behind the jab, firing pinpoint counter punches that repeatedly beat Miranda to the mark. A right hand pinned Miranda to the ropes down the stretch, bringing a roar from the crowd as each man opened up.
Miranda doubled up on the jab early in the third to open up some hard right hands but soon returned to firing one power punch at a time without setting the table first. Miranda also flirted with switching to southpaw in the round. Salado continued to control the action regardless of the stance in front of him.
That would not be the case in the fourth. After two minutes of solid boxing from Salado, Miranda crashed home with a harsh left hand, wobbling Salado and taking charge of the exchanges from there. For the first time since the first, it was Salado regularly on the backfoot as the power punching Tampico native came forward.
The war culminated in round number five. Having found his way back into the scrap in the fourth, Miranda continued to pressure, winging nasty rights and lefts as Salado visibly weakened. One of those shots, a slashing left, brought a trough of blood from the nose of Salado whose punches seemed to have lost all of their snap. Finally, a winging left swooped towards the jaw of Saladao, his knees sent fluttering as he tumbled backwards from mid-ring to the ropes, Miranda in hot pursuit. Two more flush lefts landed with Salado pinned down, brining the referee in for the stoppage at 1:16 of the fifth.
Miranda now turns his attention to a shot at lineal World Flyweight champion, and WBC beltholder, Daisuke Naito (32-2-3, 20 KO) of Japan. Whether the eliminator he survived on Saturday will equal an immediate title shot may hinge on what Japanese mega-star Koki Kameda (17-0, 11 KO) elects to do. One of the biggest gate draws in the world below Featherweight, Kameda is rated #2 by the WBC and may have the immediate inside track for a shot at Naito.
Flyweight: The Year in Results
Since last January, BoxingScene has produced quarterly ratings for each of Boxing’s seventeen weight classes. Ratings for the first quarter of 2009 should be available at the New Year; for now, here’s a look back at the critical Flyweight results of 2008.
01/25: #3 Omar Narvaez (25-0-2, 16 KO, WBO) UD12 Carlos Tamara (17-4, 13 KO)
03/08: World Champion Daisuke Naito (32-2-3, 20 KO, Lineal/WBC) D12 #4 Pongsaklek Wonjongkam (65-3-1, 34 KO)
03/22: #6 Koki Kameda (17-0, 11 KO) UD10 Rexon Flores (18-3-4, 9 KO)
03/27: #7 Roberto Vasquez (25-2, 18 KO) TKO2 Jesus Lora (6-4, 3 KO)
03/29: #2 Takefumi Sakata (32-4-2, 15 KO, WBA) UD12 Shingo Yamaguchi (22-5-2, 8 KO)
05/03: Bernard Inom (19-1-1, 10 KO) TKO8 #8 Andrea Sarritzu (27-4-4, 10 KO)
05/07: #7 Roberto Vasquez (25-2, 18 KO) TKO3 Cesar Singo (21-4-1, 12 KO)
05/09: #4 Omar Narvaez (27-0-2, 17 KO, WBO) TKO7 Ivan Pozo (28-5-1, 18 KO)
05/17: Julio Cesar Miranda (25-3-1, 18 KO) TKO5 Jr. Flyweight #6 Omar Salado (19-1-2, 11 KO)
05/29: #9 Wandee Singwancha (56-8-1, 12 KO) KO4 Roland Latuni (5-5-2, 2 KO)
07/12: #6 Koki Kameda (18-0, 12 KO) TKO2 Marino Montiel (30-13-1, 16 KO)
07/25: #10 Julio Cesar Miranda (27-3-1, 20 KO) RTD6 Julio Grimaldo (2-15-1)
07/30: World Champion Daisuke Naito (33-2-3, 21 KO, Lineal/WBC) KO10 Tomonobu Shimizu (13-3, 5 KO)
07/30: #3 Takefumi Sakata (33-4-2, 15 KO, WBA) UD12 Hiroyuki Hisataka (16-7-1, 5 KO)
08/11: Takahisa Masuda (19-7-3, 4 KO) UD 10 #7 Wandee Singwancha (56-9-1, 12 KO)
08/30: #6 Koki Kameda (19-0, 12 KO) UD 12 Salvador Montes (5-5, 2 KO)
09/20: #2 Omar Narvaez (28-0, 17 KO, WBO) UD12 Alejandro Hernandez (20-6-1, 9 KO)
09/25: #5 Pongsaklek Wonjongkam (68-3-1, 36 KO) TKO6 Mohamed Akbar
10/24: #8 Julio Cesar Miranda (28-3-1, 21 KO) TKO7 Eduardo Garcia (10-3, 5 KO)
10/31: #4 Pongsaklek Wonjongkam (69-3-1, 37 KO) TKO2 Danny Sutton (0-1)
11/1: #1 Nonito Donaire (20-1, 13 KO, IBF) W TKO6 #10 Moruti Mthalane (22-2, 15 KO)
12/23: World Champion Daisuke Naito (33-2-3, 21 KO, Lineal/WBC)
12/31: #5 Denkaosan Kaovichit (46-1-1, 20 KO) TKO2 #3 Takefumi Sakata (33-5-2, 15 KO, WBA)
Other divisions in 2008 reviewed:
Light Heavyweight: https://www.boxingscene.com/?m=show&id=17628
Super Middleweight: https://www.boxingscene.com/?m=show&id=17595
Jr. Middleweight: https://www.boxingscene.com/?m=show&id=17653
Jr. Welterweight: https://www.boxingscene.com/?m=show&id=17647
Jr. Lightweight: https://www.boxingscene.com/?m=show&id=17637
Jr. Featherweight: https://www.boxingscene.com/?m=show&id=17610
Jr. Bantamweight: https://www.boxingscene.com/?m=show&id=17572
Flyweight: To Be Posted
Jr. Flyweight: https://www.boxingscene.com/index.php?m=show&id=17514
Continue to check BoxingScene’s Year in Review as it hits overdrive with Year-End Awards as voted on by the site’s staff.
Cliff Rold is a member of the Ring Magazine Ratings Advisory Panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org