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Luis Nery fails drug test for Shinsuke Yamanaka fight


By Dan Ambrose: Unbeaten Luis Nery (24-0, 18 KOs)failed his pre-fight drug test for his title challenge earlier this month against previously unbeaten WBC World bantamweight champion Shinsuke Yamanaka (27-1-2, 18 KOs) for their fight on August 15 at the Shimazu Arena in Kyoto, Japan.

(Photo credit: Sumio Yamada)

Nery stopped the 34-year-old Yamanaka in round 4 of the fight. Nery was much too fast and powerful for the aging Japanese fighter. Nery, 22, tested positive for the banned drug Zilpaterol, according to the World Boxing Council.

There’s no word yet about results of their fight being changed to a no contest or a disqualification. If Nery fights Yamanaka a second time, he’s very likely to knock him out again. It would be in the best interest of Yamanaka if the WBC drops Nery from the No.1 spot to a lower position in their ranking.

“The WBC has been notified by VADA of an adverse finding from an out of competition sample taken from WBC bantamweight champion Luis Nery,” said the WBC.

What seemed to give Yamanaka problems was the hand speed and the furious way that Nery put his punches together when he would go on the attack. I can’t see any of that changing from Nery in a rematch. He’s still going to be fast, and he’s still going to be much younger than Yamanaka.

Yamanaka did reasonably well in the 1st round of the fight, jabbing and using his height and reach advantage to keep the shorter Nery bottled up on the outside. But starting from round 2, Ney began to attack Yamanaka with fast and powerful combinations that seemed to rattle the Japanese fighter. He couldn’t deal with the hand speed of Nery.

In round 4, Nery suddenly pounded on Yamanaka, hitting him repeatedly with one big shot after another. Nery kept nailing Yamanaka until his corner stepped into the ring and stopped the fight. Nery had been taking it easy on Yamanaka in the first 3 rounds. Going into the 4th, Nery’s corner likely told him to go after Yamanaka in that round, because he was a different fighter. Nery wasn’t going to back off anymore. He was intent on finishing Yamanaka, and that’s exactly what he did.

If Yamanaka’s corner hadn’t stopped the fight, he would have ended up on the canvas within seconds. Yamanaka was trapped against the ropes and taking withering fire from Nery. At the time of the stoppage, Nery was ahead on the scorecards by the scores 29-28, 29-28 for Nery, and 29-28 for Yamanaka. Boxing News 24 had Nery winning by the score 29-28. It was obvious from the 1st round that Nery was going to be too much for Yamanaka in the fight. Each time Nery would attack Yamanaka, he would snap his head back violently with the force of his blows. Yamanaka looked stunned at the speed and power of Nery after just the 1st round. Yamanaka seemed to realize that he was going to have a really tough fight on his hands. That was Yamanaka’s best round though, as Nery took over the fight starting in round 2 with his speedy combinations and hard shots to the head.

Yamanaka came into the fight highly rated in Ring Magazine’s pound-for-pound list. He was viewed as someone that would hold onto his WBC 118 lb. title for a long time. Indeed, Yamanaka was favored to beat Nery. In looking at Nery’s past fights, the odds-makers made a mistake in picking Yamanaka to beat him, as the Mexican fighter from Tijuana was clearly going to be a HUGE problem for the aging Yamanaka. That was a given. Yamanaka is not a big puncher, and he was always going to have problems with the speed and youth of Nery.

“The WBC Clean Boxing Program will begin the process according to its protocol and will provide additional information during the process,” the WBC said.

Nery has the option of having his B-sample tested by the WBC if he chooses. The WBC hasn’t decision about the results of the Nery vs. Yamanaka fight yet. The WBC can certainly order a rematch between Nery and Yamanaka if they choose to, but I think the results will be the same. Nery just has too much speed, power and youth for the stork-like Yamanaka to contend with. The best thing in the world that could happen to Yamanaka is if the WBC drops Nery to a lower position in their rankings. If they do that, Yamanaka will be able to hold onto his title for a little while longer.

Depending on how far the WBC drops Nery, he might be better off walking away from that sanctioning body and choose to go after one of the other champions the weight class. Nery would be a real problem fighting WBO champion Zolani Tete, IBF champ Ryan Burnett or the 2 WBA champions Jamie McDonnell and Zhanat Zhakiyanov. Those are guys that Nery would be a real problem for. However, at this time, Nery isn’t rated by any of those sanctioning bodies. He would need to get ranked, and it might take him a while for him to get a title shot. At 22, Nery has time to work his way into position for a title shot.

If the WBC doesn’t drop Nery from their rankings to a lower spot, then we should be seeing a rematch between him and Yamanaka before long. I’d be surprised if the rematch takes place before the end of the year, however, considering that the Japanese fighter took a lot of punishment in the 4th. He might need time to recover from that beating. Yamanaka looked badly hurt in that round in a way that suggested that he wasn’t going to make it out of the round. If Yamanaka loses the rematch with Nery, he still has a lot to be proud of.

Yamanaka held the WBC title for 6 years after winning the title in 2011. You don’t see too many champions holding onto their titles as long as Yamanaka did. He’s been a good champion all these years. He can still go after one of the other 4 champions in the 118 lb. division if he loses to Nery in the rematch. I would give Yamanaka a good chance of beating most of the champions in the division. The only guy I see Yamanaka losing to on regular basis is Nery. If they fight again, I think Nery has his number and he beats Yamanaka every time.

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