Back in September we were expecting to see IBF and WBA unified Super Bantamweight champion Danny Roman (27-2-1, 10) defending his titles against WBA mandatory challenger Murodjon Akhmadaliev (7-0, 6) [Ахмадалиев, Муроджон Кахарович]. Sadly however Roman suffered a training injury not long before the fight, forcing it to be delayed and rescheduled.
Today we finally had confirmation on the date for the bout, confirming the news that the bout would be taking place on January 30th in Miami, on a stacked card with two other world title fighs.
Although the date had been circulating for the last few days it is worth noting that it will be a relatively rare Thursday night show, but given how stacked it is, featuring Tevin Farmer and Demetrius Andrade defending their titles, the show is expected to be a big success just days before the Super Bowl, which also takes place in Miami.
One man who has said he will be attending the bout is IBF "interim" Super Bantamweight champion Ryosuke Iwasa (27-3, 17) [岩佐 亮佑], who won the IBF "interim" title this past weekend and will be the mandatory challenger for the winner.
Earlier this week Kazakh website reported the disappointing news that unbeaten hopeful Nursultan Zhangabayev (8-0, 5) [Жанабаев Нурсултан] had suffered an injury in training.
Although the full details of the injury haven't been made public was is known is that it's serious enough to have forced Zhangabayev to withdraw from his December 21st bout with Venezuelan puncher Ernesto Espana (30-2-1, 25), which was scheduled to take place in Moscow.
Quotes from a member of Zhangabayev's team seem to suggest that they will be looking to reschedule the bout for another date, rather than flat out cancel the bout, though of course this is boxing and it's easy to predict the future. It would be a shame if Zhangabayev Vs Espana didn't happen, as it looks like a great match up, but the first certainly don't "need" each other and both have other options to go on to if the bout can't be pushed back for whatever reason.
(Image courtesy of vesti)
We are now less than 2 week away from the seeing WBA "regular" Middleweight champion Ryota Murata (15-2, 12) [村田 諒太] defending his title against confident Canadian challenger Steven Butler (28-1-1, 24).
Today, ahead of that bout, Murata took part in a notable work out in front of the press, and took questions from the press.
Murata spoke about the challenging boasting a high KO rate and being a highly ranked challenger, referencing the fact Butler was ranked #1 by the WBA. Though he also made it clear that his game plan will be based on pressuring the challenger, and backing him up.
The actual work out saw him sparring 2 rounds with American sparring partner Isaiah Steen (13-0, 10). The spar was very much dominated by Murata, who looked strong and powerful, and despite the fact he's never been the most fluid fighter out there he looked very much like a man comfortably letting his shots go. Something that was lacking in his 2018 loss to Rob Brant.
After the spar Murata then began to work out with trainer Carlos Linares, the brother of Jorge Linares.
Among those watching the work out was Butler's trainer, who stated Murata was strong and good, but added that he had come up with a great game plan for Butler, and it seemed clear that he was confident in his man and the strategy they planned.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today at Korakuen Hall the Japanese award ceremony for October took place, with all 3 award winners taking part in the event, as well as one other fighter who we'll get on to a little bit later.
The main awards for the month was won by Shuichiro Yoshino (11-0, 9) [吉野 修一郎], who claimed the MVP award for his his excellent KO win over Filipino fighter Harmonito Dela Torre (20-3, 12) for OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific Lightweight titles.
The other two awards were both Fighting Spirit Awards, awarded to former Japanese Flyweight champion Junto Nakatani (20-0, 15) [中谷 潤人], for his win over -Milan Melindo (37-5, 13), and the newly crowned Japanese Light Flyweight champion Yuto Takahashi (11-4, 5) [高橋悠斗], for his upset win over Kenichi Horikawa (40-16-1, 13) [堀川 謙一].
The fourth man to turn up at the event was Izuki Tomioka (7-2-1, 2) [富岡樹], who we now know will definitely face Yoshino at the 2020 Champion Carnival.
Yoshino and Tomioka went face to face at today's event, and Yoshino announced that he would be making his mandatory defence of the Japanese title against Tomioka on February 13th at Korakuen Hall. The bout is the first of the 2020 Champion Carnival bouts to have had a date and venue set, though all the others will be announced in the new year.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
The Super Bantamweight division is one of the most criminally under-rated at the moment, and keeps delivering some amazing contests.
Today fight fans at Korakuen Hall saw one of the more overlooked fighters in the division, OPBF champion Hiroaki Teshigawara (21-2-2, 14) [勅使河原 弘晶] score his latest defense, as he stopped the talented Shohei Kawashima (18-4-2, 4) [川島翔平].
Teshigawara, who has been on a great run since suffering a split decision loss to Ryo Akaho back in 2016, applied pressure early on. He fought smartly whilst bringing the pressure and found a home early on for his right hand. Kawashima seemed to take the shots well, but struggled to build any momentum of his own.
After 4 rounds Teshigawara was up 39-37, twice, and 40-36. He looked in control of the bout, and really forced Kawashima to try and turn things around. Kawashima's attempt to change things came at a risk, and at the very end of round 5 he was caught by a left hook from Teshigawara, and failed to beat the count. Kawashima was counted out an official time of 3:09 of round 5.
Having now made 3 defences of his belt Teshigawara has his eyes on world title glory, and it seems clear that mentor Koichi Wajima shares that desire. We wouldn't be surprised at all with Teshigawara getting a title shot late in 2020.
Interestingly Kawashima stated that Teshigawara didn't hit as hard as expected, but that his control of distance was more impressive. That's something that seemed to be a big strength of Teshigawara's earlier in the year when he faced Shohei Omori, and looks to be one of his most under-rated skills.
For fans wanting to watch this bout it will be televised on Fuji TV this coming Saturday.
(Image courtesy of A.McGovern)
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