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The Resurrected Art of Body Punching


PhilBoxing.com



Rosado drops Melikuziev.

Unbeknownst to many a boxing fan, the recent busy fight weekend in the US saw two bouts that featured the resurrected art of body punching with two contrasting results.

Of course, everybody knew about Naoya Inoue's nasty sneak body attacks that knocked the wind out of his Filipino mandatory challenger Michael Dasmariñas in a fight that lasted less than three rounds in the defense of his unified WBA super and IBF world bantamweight titles at the Virgin Hotels in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA Saturday night.

But few were aware that several miles away almost at the same time at the Don Haskins Center in El Palo, Texas, another fighter who has built his reputation and erstwhile unbeaten record by body snatching failed to advance any further losing by one punch, face first knockout to a gritty former journeyman also inside just three rounds.

Former world title challenger “King” Gabriel Rosado (26-13-1, 14 KOs) spectacularly knocked out previously unbeaten super middleweight Bektemir “Bek Bully” Melikuziev (7-1, 6KOs). Rosado was down in round one from a body shot. However, in round three a Rosado overhand right put Melikuziev down face first to end it. Time was 1:21. Rosado wins the WBO Intercontinental and WBA Continental Americas titles.

Those two fights were a study in contrast only on how they ended as from the very start Inoue and Bek Bully never hid their intent at creating mayhem and to finish their fight ASAP by wrecking havoc on their opponent's body.


Dasmariñas rolls out in the canvas in acute pain courtesy of Inoue's body shots.

The taller and longer Dasmariñas failed to stop what proved to be the inevitable by equally failing to establish his jabs which could have kept Inoue at bay and constantly retreating to the ropes where the Japanese was able to pin him and put his body punching more effectively to bear.

On the other hand, after being downed by a body shot, the veteran, tough as nails Rosado did not give Bektemir anymore opportunities to hammer him with his body blows, retreating to the corners only when forced to do so but making sure he was sufficiently covered up.

In fact, Rosado used Bektemir's penchant for body attacks as his trap in nailing him down with a powerful right as he moved in, sending him crashing down semi unconscious near the end of the third round that drew comparison to Juan Manuel Marquez's knockout of Manny Pacquiao in 2012.

Of course, Inoue with 21 fights and wins under his belt, 17 by knockouts, many by paralyzing body shots, is a more polished, accomplished fighter than Bully Bek, a former karate fighter who was only into his seventh pro bout. Bek was definitely still raw though he is more powerful than most boxers, even at super middleweight. He was even fancied to meet former light heavyweight great Sergei Kovalev before this upset defeat.

The thing is both fighters and fights brought home the message that body punching if utilized properly and by the right fighter steeped in right scientific training, could still be a potent weapon in today's modern prizefighting.

Gennady Golovkin was known for that in his earlier knockout streak until he became focused on head hunting and exchanging jabs later in his career. Vasily Lomachenko used a wicked body shot to stop a very difficult and tough Jorge Linares years back. Even Amir Khan in his prime nearly stopped tough Marcos Maidana with a nasty sneak body shot last decade.

Nonito Donaire in his post fight immediate reaction even paid tribute to Dasmariñas managing getting up after being hit and downed by Inoue's seemingly just grazing body shot in the second round. "I felt those shots before and I know how much they hurt, so I am giving credit to Dasmariñas on getting up and still figuring out how to fight Inoue despite being outgunned and outpowered," he said.

Many of Inoue's recent knockout victories against bigger foes have been caused or set up by his deadly body punching. Even in sparring, bigger sparmates have complained about and testified to the strength of Inoue's body blows.

As sure as the sun rises, Naoya Inoue is now the new King Body Snatcher and every opponent henceforth will have to deal with that weapon of destruction.

I casually asked a former boxer, now trainer, how to deal with an opponent specializing in body punching. His answer: Huwag magpatama, don't get caught or hit.

Easier said than done.

But true. A good fighter ought to hit and not get hit.

The author Teodoro Medina Reynoso is a veteran boxing radio talk show host living in the Philippines. He can be reached at teddyreynoso@yahoo.com and by phone 09215309477.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Teodoro Medina Reynoso.


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