Lomachenko-Walters highlight an exploding 130-pound division
By Hector Franco
October 7, 2016
At the end of September, it was announced by Top Rank that Vasyl Lomachenko (6-1, 4 KOs) will be facing Nicholas Walters (26-0-1, 21 KOs) on November 26th. The fight will be for the WBO 130-pound championship. It will take place at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, Nevada. The fight is highly anticipated by fans as it was thought that it would take place earlier this year.
Walters hasn’t been in the ring since last December. He faced Jason Sosa (19-1-4, 15 KOs) and was awarded a controversial draw. Most observers and fans that watched the fight thought Walters clearly won the bout. By the time Walters steps into the ring with Lomachenko he will have gone 11 months without stepping in the ring. Walters is big for his weight class at 5’7 and has shown trouble making weight in the past. One has to wonder if the almost year layoff will have an impact in how he makes weight and how sharp he will be. Regardless, this will not be an easy fight for Lomachenko against Walters. The Jamaican fighter has a 73’ inch reach and is one of the best body punchers in the game. This fight is just one of many taking place at 130-pounds in the last half of 2016.
A fight that was just recently announced by HBO to take place on December 17th is Orlando Salido (43-13-4, 30 KOs) against Takashi Miura (30-3-2, 23 KOs). The fight will take place at The Forum in Inglewood, California. This has fight of the year written all over it. Salido has been on a roll of exciting fights starting with his two fights against Roman Martinez in 2015. Just this last June on the day after Muhammad Ali’s death, he was in the leading fight of the year candidate against WBC 130-pound champion, Francisco Vargas (23-0-2, 17 KOs). Miura is no different as he was in the 2015 fight of the year against Vargas on the undercard of the Cotto-Canelo PPV last November. Miura is younger than Salido and one wonders how much longer it will be until all these wars will take its effect on Orlando Salido. This fight will without question be another fight of the year contender. The fight is an early Christmas gift to boxing fans.
To end the year 2016 fans can witness a rematch of one of the biggest upsets to take place this year. Jezreel Corrales (20-1, 8 KOs) will defend his WBA “Super” Championship against Takashi Uchiyama (24-1-1, 20 KOs). Last April, Corrales traveled to Japan and shockingly stopped Uchiyama in the second round. Uchiyama had made 10 successful title defenses before facing Corrales. This included victories over Takashi Miura and Juan Carlos Salgado. His knockout of Jaider Parra in 2013 is one of the best body shot knockouts of this era. The only blemish on Uchiyama’s record before he faced Corrales was a draw against Michael Farenas in 2012. Corrales a native of Panama was the underdog going into the first fight with Uchiyama. Seeing how easily he dispatched of Uchiyama the first time it may be a case of Corrales simply having the Japanese fighters number. The rematch will take place on New Year's Eve in Japan.
The 130-pound division may not have the glitz and glamour of other divisions but it has brought fans great fights recently. Besides Lomachenko, the competitors in the division aren’t ranked in any publications pound-for-pound list. But that list has always been more mental masturbation than reality. What’s important is that the best fighters in the division are fighting one another. The fact that these fights have been exciting is a plus. It’s a weight class that highlights boxing’s worldwide appeal. Fighters from Japan, Mexico, Panama, Puerto Rico, and the Ukraine inhabit the top ten at 130-pounds. As has been the case the last few decades, the smaller weight classes show what can be good about boxing. The 130-pound division happens to be at the forefront.
(Featured Photo: Marilyn Paulino)