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Luis Nery fails to make weight, stripped of title for Yamanaka rematch

Latest Luis Nery Shinsuke Yamanaka

By Marcus Richardson: Luis Nery (25-0, 18 KOs) came in overweight at Wednesday’s weigh-in for what was supposed to be his title defense of his WBC bantamweight title against former champion Shinsuke Yamanaka (27-1-2, 19 KOs) for their fight this Thursday on March 1 at the Ryogoku Sumo Arena in Tokyo, Japan.


Nery, 23, weighed in at 123 pounds for the first weigh-in attempt, which was 5 lbs. over the 118 lb. limit for the bantamweight division. Nery was allowed 2 hours to lose the 5 lbs., but he was only able to drop 2 lbs. For the second weigh-in, Nery came in at 121 lbs. He was then stripped of his WBC bantamweight title. The belt will be on the line for the 35-year-old Yamanaka on Thursday night, but not for Nery.

Yamanaka weighed in at 117.5 lbs. He’s fine. Never the less, it still doesn’t mean Yamanaka is going to win the fight. The 23-year-old Nery had Yamanaka’s number in stopping him in the 4th round last year on August 15th in Japan. Nery was too fast, too powerful and too explosive for Yamanaka. He was too young for the aging Japanese fighter. Yamanaka is a talented guy, but Nery had too much speed and power for him. Yamanaka would look good at times against Nery, but when the Mexican fighter would suddenly unload with a burst of punches, he was hurting the aging fighter. The fight was stopped in the 4th round after Nery trapped Yamanaka against the ropes and hit him with a flurry of powerful head shots that had him out on his feet. Yamanaka’s corner stepped in and stopped the fight to prevent him from getting seriously hurt.

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As young as Nery is, he’s going to be alright despite not making the weight for the Yamanaka fight today. If Nery wins the fight, he’ll have a chance to go after the vacant WBC 118 lb. title in the future. Given how badly Nery came in overweight, he might need to consider moving up to the 122 lb. weight class, because he might have outgrown the bantamweight division.

The Mexican knockout artist Nery tested positive for the banned substance zilpaterol in a test conducted by VADA on July 27. The test results weren’t known until after the August 15th fight. As such, a rematch was scheduled between the southpaw Nery and the former WBC champion Yamanaka for March 1. Nery is said to have eaten contaminated meat in Mexico, which is why he tested positive for the banned substance. The World Boxing Council ordered the Nery vs. Yamanaka rematch instead of them stripping him of his WBC title.

Nery no longer has his WBC title, but the fight with Yamanaka goes on. Yamanaka will be giving away a little bit of weight to Nery tomorrow night, but not enough for it to be much of a benefit. If Yamanaka loses to Nery again, it’ll be due to him facing a younger, faster and more powerful fighter. The speed and power difference between the two is significant, as is the age difference. Yamanka, 5’7”, will try and use his 2-inch height and reach advantage over the 5’5” Nery to beat him. Yamanaka was finding success at times last August when he had Nery on the outside of his jab and long reach. The problem that Yamanaka had was when Nery close the distance quickly unloaded on him with blistering fast combinations to the head and body. The speed and power of those attacks by Nery was too much for Yamanaka to handle.

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Before Yamanaka was beaten by Nery last August, he had a long streak of 12 consecutive title defenses of his WBC 118 lb. title from 2012 to 2017. During that 5-year run, Yamanaka beat some very good fighters in Carlos Carlson, Liborio Solis, Anselmo Moreno, Stephane Jamoye and Vic Darchinyan. It was a case of Yamanaka having met his match when he fought Nery. A victory for Yamanaka would have been his 13th successful title defense of his WBC strap, but he met a fighter with too much youth and speed for his slower, stork-like frame to handle. The rematch will likely see the same result unless Nery has lost something from having to lose water weight at the weigh-in today. If Nery isn’t weakened from that process, then the southpaw Yamanaka might be in for a world of hurt tomorrow night. If Yamanaka loses this fight, he needs to go in another direction towards one of the other champions in the weight class. Nery is a bad match-up for Yamanaka due to the combination of youth, speed and power that he possesses. Yamanaka would have a better chance of beating WBA bantamweight champion Ryan Burnett or Jamie McDonnell. WBO belt holder Zolani Tete might have too much punching power for Yamanaka. That’s a bad match-up too for him.

“This championship belt is for my newly born daughter in December, and I have to bring it back to her,” Yamanaka said to ESPN.com.

If Nery can get close enough to land his shots on Thursday night, he’s going to give Yamanaka a lot of problems. Yamanaka is going to try and keep the fight on the outside as best as he can. I’m not sure if he’ll be able to do that for the entire fight without Nery closing the distance and lighting him up with enormous power shots. Yamanaka was winning rounds last time when he was getting clobbered by Nery. I think he’ll be able to do the same in the rematch. If Nery gets to Yamanaka for any prolonged period, he’s going to end the fight. Yamanaka is too slow to deal with Nery’s speed and explosiveness.

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Yamanaka hasn’t fought since his loss to Nery. For his part, Nery is coming off a 6th round knockout win over Arthur Villanueva on November 4th in Tijuana, Mexico. Nery obliterated a very good fighter in Villanueva in stopping him for the first time in his career. Villanueva was beaten by Zolani Tete by a 12 round unanimous decision in April of last year. Tete couldn’t knock Villanueva out. The way that Nery destroyed Villanueva shows how talented and powerful a fighter he is. No one had ever beaten Villanueva the way Nery did.

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