We know much of today's focus on Asian boxing has been targeted at the Heavyweight bout between Nobuhiro Ishida and Kyotaro Fujimoto but that bout was certainly not the only one fought, in fact their was also a Japanese title fight.
The bout in question was the chief support bout to the Heavyweight contest and saw the Japanese Lightweight champion Yoshitaka Kato (27-5-1, 7) defending his belt for the 6th time. Kato, who lost his OPBF belt earlier this year to Masayoshi Nakatani, was facing the hard hitting Yuhei Suzuki (14-4, 11).
The men had met before, fighting to a narrow close decision victory in favour of Kato. It was expected that this would be a similar affair with neither man managing to stop the other, or in fact if there was a stoppage it would be Suzuki scoring it.
Instead however it was Kato's power, strength, toughness and aggression that decided the bout. It seemed as if Kato knew he had started slowly against Nakatani and decided that that wouldn't happen again and instead traded blows with Suzuki. Every time the challenger landed something the champion fired back and seemed to do more damage.
Suzuki's limited success was shown on the score cards which were shown after 5 rounds and all favoured Kato, 50-45, 50-45 and 49-46. It was clear there and then that Suzuki needed to change something.
Unfortunately for the challenger things went from bad to worse as he was hurt in round 6 then stopped in round 7 as Kato recorded the 6th defence of his title.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Today's much anticipated Heavyweight clash between Kyotaro Fujimoto (9-1, 5) and Nobuhiro Ishida (25-10-2, 10) ended up being a surprisingly close affair on the score cards.
The bout, which finished just moments ago saw Fujimoto winning a unanimous decision with scores of 77-75, 77-75 and 77-76.
From what we understand Ishida was the unfortunate party in the decision with the former Light Middleweight champion being the more aggressive fighter. Although coming up 4 weights he seemed much, much stronger than anyone had expected and at times seemed to bully the naturally bigger Fujimoto. Whilst we had assumed Ishida would have to rely on his speed he seemed willing to trade with Fujimoto who had his moment though appeared to be thoroughly out classed at times. However Ishida certainly seemed to tire in the second half of the fight and it was possibly that that helped Fujimoto take home the victory.
From what we've been told Fujimoto was asked about a rematch and seemed to hint that he would prefer not to share the ring with Ishida again.
We would like to see a 10 round rematch for the title, especially considering how competitive this was though we have a feeling the JBC may have other ideas. Forcing a mandatory with Ishida would be incredibly interesting however and it would force Fujimoto's hand somewhat as to whether or not he would honour the title.
For those wanting to watch the contest, we are under the belief that it will be shown in early May on tape delay on TBS. We hope to have more information as it becomes available though we've heard both the 7th of May and the 9th of May being mentioned.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Earlier today IBF Minimumweight title challenger Shin Ono (17-5-2, 2) had a public work out and answered some questions for the media ahead of his world title fight with Katsunari Takayama (26-6-0-1, 10) on May 7th.
From what we understand Ono appeared somewhat nervous though his trainer and the chairman of Watanabe Gym both fielded questions and made a case for Ono being a very credible challenger. They argued that Ono's wins over both Yu Kimura and Xiong Zhao Zhong proved that he was able to fight at the world level and that he was a strong fighter.
Although Ono is fighting in his first world title fight there did seem to be an air of confidence from his team, even if he looked less than sure of himself. Unfortunately for Ono it appears many, including ourselves, aren't really giving him much of a chance to defeat the very talented Takayama. It's a huge step up for him moving from his recent fights to getting in the ring with the "Lightning Kid" and that's likely to be a big deciding factor.
(Image thanks to Boxingnews.jp)
A few days ago, April 27th, the JBC released their updated national rankings and we saw a wide number of changes across various weights includes movers, shakers, retirements and new champions.
We'll our look at the Minimumweight division which really seem some interesting developments.
Firstly the number of ranked fighters has dropped from 10 in March to just 8 in April. This was partly because Ryuji Hara (previously #2) went on to win the OPBF Minimumweight title and partly because Takuma Inoue changed weights moving to the Light Flyweight division.
The removal of Ryuji Hara has had a knock on effect with Kosei Tanaka (#2) moving up a place from #3 and many are predicting he will fight for the national title by the end of the year.
As with the Minimumweight division we've also seen a bit of a change at 108lbs though the big talking point is that Takuma Inoue (#4) appears here ahead of Ryo Miyazaki. Inoue is ranked behind Ryoichi Taguchi, Shin Ono and Yuki Chinen though this is set to change with Ono about to fight for the IBF Minimumweight world title against reigning champion Katsunari Takayama and Chinen set to fight Yu Kimura for the Japanese title, effectively these results could push Inoue to the #2 slot and allow him to come good on his promise of winning a Japanese title in his third fight.
With the Japanese record standing at 4 fights to win a national title it's amazing to think we could have two men breaking the record in the coming months. At the moment the record is jointly held by James Callaghan, Modesty Napunyi, Akinobu Hiranaka, Joichiro Tatsuyoshi and Naoya Inoue.
In the 112lb Flyweight division Kazuto Ioka sits as the #1 contender, though he'll not be acting on it as he has a world title fight lined up. He has moved the rankings due to Masayuki Kuroda's (now #5) loss to Suguru Muranaka in a title fight earlier this month. Another interesting change is that Jo Tanooka's (#15) has been moved in to the rankings following his victory over Ryuto Oho.
At Super Flyweight Yohei Tobe is the new champion following his excellent victory over Taiki Eto (now #5). Eto's loss has seen him dropping behind former world champions Daiki Kameda (#1) and Koki Kameda (#2) as well as the highly talented Sho Ishida (#3) and current world title contender Teiru Kinoshita (#4).
We are still awaiting to here about Kinoshita's IBF world title fight though we expect details to emerge of that in the coming days.
At Bantamweight, as with Super Flyweight, we saw a new champion crowned as Kentaro Masuda beat Yu Kawaguchi (now #5) in a battle for the vacant title. Another change here saw former champion Kohei Oba (now #4) dropping a place following his loss to Randy Caballero. These changes have allowed former world title challengers Konosuke Tomiyama (#1) and Ryo Akaho (#2) to both move up.
In the Super Bantamweight division we've seen Hozumi Hasegawa (#3) drop from the top place following his loss in an IBF world title fight with Kiko Martinez. This leaves Yasutaka Ishimoto (#1) as the new top contender, despite his upcoming fight with Chris Avalos, and former OPBF champion Yukinori Oguni (#2) in a great place to challenger for the belt. Another interesting change is that Naoto Uebayashi (#13) has moved in to the rankings following his string of solid victories.
Yet another new champion was crowned in the Featherweight division as Satoshi Hosono won the previously vacant belt. Hosono defeated Yuki Ogata (#5) who has dropped significantly as a result of his loss. The top contenders now are Rikiya Fukuhara (#1) and Akifumi Shimoda (#2) who was last seen getting knocked out hard by Marvin Sonsona.
In the 130lbs division we've seen some small shake ups with the most notable of those being Masao Nakamura's (#5) move up 2 places whilst Masayuki Ito (#7) has moved up 4 places. The champion, Rikki Naito, will be fighting the #2 ranked contender Kyohei Tamakoshi on June 9th whilst former champion Daiki Kaneko (#1) will make his return to the ring a few days earlier.
In the Lightweight division we've seen a few changes low down the rankings but at the top everything is as it was, with Yoshitaka Kato as the champion. Kato will defend his belt later today against #1 ranked challenger Yuhei Suzuki (#1) who sits above a trio of well known names in the form of Jorge Linares (#2), Takahiro Ao (#3) and Nihito Arakawa (#4) whilst Kazuhiro Nishitani (#5) has managed to climb one place.
The Light Welterweight division as seen Keita Obara removed from the rankings following his OPBF title victory earlier in the month, this has helped future title challenger Shamgar Koichi (#2) move up two places. In the top position is former champion Shinya Iwabuchi (#1) who is currently world ranked by the WBO following his victory over Jimrex Jaca.
The major change at Welterweight has seen the emergence of Daisuke Sakamoto (#8) following his shock victory over Toshio Arikawa (#12). The loss for Arikawa has sent him tumbling down the rankings from #7, in all honesty it's a loss that tells us more about Arikawa than Sakamoto. Although the rankings haven't changed much we are aware that Suyon Takayama's next defence will come against Koshinmaru Saito (#2) in July.
Amazingly we've not seen a single change at the 154lb Light Middleweight division though we have got news that Charlie Ota (#1) will be fighting in Canada on May 24th against Jermell Charlo. A win for Ota there would likely open doors for him to fight in a world title fight, though we do admit it's a hard bout for him to win.
In the Middleweight division we've seen just a single change as Shoma Fukumoto (#8) moves into the rankings extending the Middleweight rankings from 8 to 9 as a result. With Ryota Murata (#1) fighting around the world we dare say he won't actually be looking for a Japanese or OPBF title fight before challenging for a world title.
Poor Shintaro Matsumoto (#1) is left all alone with the only ranked position here. Other than another bout with Yuzo Kiyota or a possible clash with a Middleweight Matsumoto may find himself frozen out in the cold.
Light Heavyweight and Cruiserweight
There are no ranked fighters in either the Light Heavyweight or Cruiserweight divisions
These are exactly as they were. Kyotaro Fujimoto, who fights Nobuhiro Ishida later today, is the champion whilst Takehara Kotatsu (#1) and Okello Peter (#2) are the only ranked fighters in the division.
Highly ranked Super Bantamweight Yasutaka Ishimoto (24-6, 7) has followed in the footsteps of fellow Teiken fighters Takahiro Ao and Shinsuke Yamanaka and gone over to the US to help him prepare for his up coming fight.
The 32 year Ishimoto fights Chris Avalos (23-2, 17) in Macau on May 31st in an IBF Super Bantamweight title eliminator and to prepare he has organised a 3 week US training camp in Los Angeles.
Although we're unsure who Ishimoto has been training with we have heard that has has been sparring some "name" US fighters in recent days as he's began to sharpen up. We have been told that the first session of sparring started with Ishimoto's timing looking off but he's now starting to find his rhythm in the gym and things are starting to go as expected.
Regarding the bout in particular, we've heard that the bout will headline an episode of "Soleo Boxeo" on Unimas
(Image courtesy of Teiken.com)
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