By Joe Koizumi
Wise men say a good card is made by each contestant’s misevaluation of the other’s real power. It might be rightly applied to the matchmaking of tomorrow’s WBC bantamweight title bout between defending champ Shinsuke Yamanaka (15-0-2, 11 KOs), Japan, and ferocious challenger Vic Darchinyan (37-4-1, 27 KOs) of Australia here in Tokyo. Yamanaka has scored nine consecutive KO wins and wishes to collect another victim in Darchinyan, while Raging Bull loudly boasts of his superiority in ring experience, punching power and speed. In short, it’s a very interesting encounter of hard-hitting southpaws. There was a weigh-in ceremony today (Thursday), when Yamanaka and Darchinyan each tipped the beam at the 118-pound class limit.
Prior to the weigh-in we attended the press conference, where we witnessed a one-man show by Raging Bull, who spoke so long as if he believed he should be the headliner. There were many Australian supporters who loudly hailed him the champion, though he isn’t crowned yet. Funny enough, Darchinyan apparently forgets he is the challenger, saying “I don’t challenge Yamanaka, but he challenges me.”
We have to realize a couple of important facts: (1) Darchinyan, 36, isn’t what he used to be after he moved up to the bantam category, having decked just a 5-3 mark as a 118-pounder as he lost to Joseph Agbeko, Abner Mares and Ansermo Moreno, and (2) Yamanaka, 29, is internationally less experienced than Darchinyan, but can punch with his southpaw left as strong as Raging Bull.
One of the most important factors to decide the result in boxing is “chemistry” that is the affinity of their styles, as you say, “Styles make fights.” Yamanaka is an upright southpaw, while Darchinyan a low-crouching lefthander. Any boxer doesn’t like to fight such an awkward stylist as Darchiyan, but Yamanaka said, “I’m excited to fight such an internationally well-known boxer as Darchiyan.”
Yamanaka acquired the vacant WBC bantam throne by stopping Christian Esquivel in eleven give-and-take rounds here last November. The Japanese southpaw hit the deck once, but overpowered the Mexican and finally halted him to his credit. He doesn’t show busy head-movement, but displays good footwork. His legs may be the key to win, as his footwork must carry him to the optimum position to penetrate Darchinyan’s defense as well as keep the distance from the formidable Vic’s roundhouse rights and lefts. We look forward to watching whose left will catch the foe earlier tomorrow.
Also, WBC super-feather champ Takahiro Aoh (22-2-1, 10 KOs) scaled in at 130, while top contender Terdsak Kokietgym (46-3-1, 31 KOs) a quarter pound lighter at 129.75. Aoh will risk his belt against the go-for-broke hard-puncher in the main event. This is also an collision of southpaws.
For this bout, the WBC officials are as follows:
referee Mike Griffin (Canada); judges Burt Clements (US), Steve Morrow (UA) and Alvaro Aldrete (Mexico); supervisor Robert Lenhardt (US).
For the Yamanaka-Darchinyan contest, the officials consist of:
referee Hector Afu (Panama); judges Burt Clements (US), Juan Carlos Pelayo (Mexico) and Steve Morrow (US); supervisor Alberto Leon (US).
This show will be presented by Akihiko Honda’s Teiken Promotions.