According to one notable Japanese source we are set to see Hiroto Kyoguchi (5-0, 5) [京口 紘人] return to the ring on February 28th to take part in his first title bout, with that bout set to see the really exciting Watanabe Gym product take on Filipino veteran Armando dela Cruz (25-14-3, 11) in a bout for the OPBF Minimumweight title.
The bout is said to have been pencilled in for the "Dangan 176" card, set for the very end of February and will act as a co-feature for the 2017 Charmpion Carnival bout between Masayuki Kuroda (25-7-3, 15) [黒田 雅之] and Yuta Matsuo (12-2-1, 6) [ユータ松尾], who will battle for the for the interim Japanese Flyweight title.
At the time of writing only one source has informed us of this bout, but it has been known that Kyoguchi was in talks for an OPBF title bout, and it may be that the talks have pushed through this short notice contest for the incredibly fun to watch unbeaten youngster, who appears to be on the fast track to the top.
It does leave some questions, such as whether or not Ryuya Yamanaka (13-2, 3) [山中 竜也] has vacated the title, but it would likely be a case of Yamanaka being moved into a world title fight if he has vacated. Talking about world title bouts a reason why Kyoguchi may have been rushed into a bout for the title could be that his team are looking to get him in world title action before the end of 2017.
We suspect more news in regards to this bout will be revealed in the coming days, with Dangan expected to announce some of their upcoming shows for Boxingraise shortly, and the card in question is expected to be streamed live over the excellent subscription service.
Earlier today Japanese fans got their final show of January, and it was a pretty notable one that was streamed live on Boxingraise.
The main event of the card saw former world title contender Nihito Arakawa (29-6-1, 17) [荒川 仁人] claim the WBO Asia Pacific Lightweight title, becoming a triple crown winner. The Japanese tough guy was however forced to work incredibly hard to over-come unheralded Filipino fighter Anthony Sabalde (12-6-0-1, 7) in a bout that proved much more competitive than we had expected.
Sabalde got off to a perfect start, starting fast and claiming the first two rounds on all 3 cards. Sadly for the Filipino it didn't take long for Arakawa to find his groove and from round 3 onwards the Japanese fighter began to make the most of his experience, getting a foot hold in the bout. Sabalde refused to concede the bout and in the middle rounds he gritted his teeth and turned the bout in his favour.
Sadly for Sabalde his second wind came to an end in round 9 and Arakawa had a great charge in the final third of the bout, sweeping the last 4 rounds to earn a very hard fought, and well deserved, decision with scores of 115-113, twice, and 116-112.
Arakawa had to work hard for this win, but will know that it opens up a potential WBO ranking. Despite the loss for Sabalde her certainly put his name on the map for Japanese fans and will likely be welcomed back to Tokyo for future bouts against notable foes.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today Mutoh Gym held a special event, to mark a successful 2016 and to look at the upcoming year.
The centre piece of the event was the showcasing of the 3 Mutoh gym fighters that currently hold titles. They were OPBF Bantamweight champion Mark John Yap (23-12, 11), WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight champion Hirofumi Mukai (13-4-3, 3) [向井 寛史] and OPBF Middleweight champion Koki Tyson (11-2-2, 10) [太尊 康輝].
We've known about Mukai's next bout for a little while, with the former world title challenger being set to face Rex Tso (20-0, 12) [曹星如] on March 11th. Today Mukai stated that he was determined to win and potentially earn a third world title fight.
Yap stated that he was looking to have a big 2017, and even admitted that he had his eye on getting a fight with WBC Bantamweight champion Shinsuke Yamanaka (26-0-2, 18) [山中慎介] , but knows he will have to defend his OPBF title first.
As for Tyson he stated he was looking to get a fight abroad this year, and may well defend his title on the road before the end of 2017.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Tomorrow fight fans with Boxingraise, as well as those in Tokyo, will get the chance to see Nihito Arakawa (28-6-1, 17) [荒川 仁人] battle with Filipino Anthony Sabalde (12-5-0-1, 7) in a bout for the WBO Asia Pacific title.
Today, ahead of that bout, the two men took part in their weigh in for the contest and both made weight for the contest, which looks likely to be a mismatch but an exciting one.
On the scales Arakawa was the slightly heavier man, coming in around 134.7lbs for the contest. The weight is notably under the Lightweight limit, but is around the typical weight for an in shape Arakawa, who has been 134.5lbs in his last two bouts.
Sabalde was only marginally lighter at around 134.5lbs, which was one of the highest of his career so far. Although he was almost the same weight on the scales as Arakawa it did look like he was a naturally smaller fighter than Arakawa.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Earlier today saw an announcement from Japan that Naoko Fujioka (15-2, 6) [藤岡 奈穂子] would again attempt to become a 4-weight world world champion, with the Japanese legend dropping down to Light Flyweight for her next title fight.
The legendary Japanese warrior, who has won world titles at Minimumweight, Super Flyweight and Bantamweight,will be dropping to 108lbs to take on unbeaten Australian Louisa Hawton (7-0, 3), the current WBO female Light Flyweight champion.
Hawton won the title last year, when she defeated Kei Takenaka, at the Korakuen Hall and will be returning to the hallowed venue to take on Fujiuoka, in what is a genuine step up for the champion, who isn't a big Light Flyweight.
Although Fujioka has suffered two losses she is unbeaten in Japan, with both of her losses on foreign soil, and both at Flyweight. The first of those was a narrow loss in a messy fight with Susi Kentikian whilst the second was last year's very controversial loss to Jessica Chavez, with the Mexican getting more away with various spoiling tactics.
From what we understand the bout will be screened on Asign Boxing and be part of quite an interesting looking card,
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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