Back in April we reported that Kazuki Nakajima (0-0) [中嶋一輝] had signed with the Ohashi gym. Today the talented, former amateur star, took part in his protest bout, sparring with upcoming Japanese Super Bantamweight title challenger Ryoichi Tamura (8-2-1, 5) [田村 亮一].
The spar is likely to have lead to Nakajima impressing the JBC enought for them to give him a B class license, something he and those at the Ohashi gym are hoping for.
If, as expected, Nakajima gets his B class license then the plan is for him to debut on June 25th in Tokyo, as part of the show which will be headlined by stable mate Koki Inoue (7-0, 6) [浩樹井上]. That debut will see Nakajima take on a Thai foe, in what should be an easy way to kick off his professional career.
Interestingly the idea seems to be to keep Nakajima busy and his second bout has been pencilled in for August 30th, on a yet to be announced card. Notably this August card also seems likely to feature fellow amateur standout Katsuya Yasuda [保田克也], making his debut, and potentially also a title fight in the main event.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Earlier today it was revealed that former Japanese amateur stand out Katsuya Yasuda [保田克也] was the latest fighter to sign with the Ohashi Gym.
The former national champion, who won an amateur domestic title in 2013, ran up an impressive 64-12 (30) record in the unpaid ranks and is planning his debut towards the end of August, with his protest to take place not too much earlier.
The signing of Yasuda might not be a huge one internationally, yet, but is another big signature domestically for the Ohashi gym who look like they really are building for the future. They already have some of the hottest young talents in Japan, with the likes of Naoya Inoue, his younger brother Takuma Inoue, their cousin Koki Inoue, Ryo Matsumoto, Kazuki Nakajima and Andy Hiraoka, and appear to be building their future are the new wave of talent.
Whilst the likes of Satoshi Hosono and Akira Yaegashi are coming to the end it's fair to say the gym it's self is future proofing, and that's certainly exciting to see.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier this year we saw the popular Yasutaka Ishimoto (29-9, 8) [石本 康隆] lose the Japanese Super Bantamweight title to mandatory challenger Yusaku Kuga (14-2-1, 10) [久我 勇作], who steam rolled the Teiken man in the second meeting between the two men.
Originally we were informed that the two men would be having a rubber match on July 18th, but it was later revealed that Kuga would be returning to the ring 11 days later to defend his title against first time challenger Ryoichi Tamura (8-2-1, 5) [田村 亮一]. That news thwarted Ishimoto's attempts to reclaim his title, but the veteran will still return on July 18th, with his opponent yet to be announced.
The exciting Ishimoto, now aged 35, is likely in his final years as aprofessional and although he's not getting an immediate rematch with Kuga it's still going to be a lot of fun following him down the twighlight of his career, and if we're being honest he has rarely been in a bad fight during his 38 bout career.
As of now Ishimoto is one of only two men announced for the July 18th show, along with Teiken stablemate Masaru Sueyoshi (14-1, 9) [末吉 大], who will be looking to move a step closer to a title bout of his own, later in the year.
(Image of Ishimoto courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today Japanese sources broke the news that WBO Atomweight champion Nao Ikeyama (18-3-1, 5) [池山直] would be returning to the ring on July 11th to defense her title against former challenger Saemi Hanagata (13-6-2, 7) [花形 冴美], with the two women meeting in a rematch following a split decision draw last June.
Their first bout was a thrilling contest with back and forth action that saw both fighters impress the judges, with the scores being 96-94, 95-95 and 94-96. The contest was one where both fighters could have felt like they deserved the win, and few would have argued had the decision not been a draw.
Aged 47 Ikeyama is the oldest world champion in Japanese boxing history and she will be looking to extend her record, and secure her 6th defense, which would likely see her passing her 48th birthday as a champion. She comes into the bout following a surprise stoppage win over Ayaka Miyao, though in fairness Miyao did suffer a bad leg injury in that bout rather than actually being stopped due to the punches of Ikeyama.
The exciting Hanagata will be looking to secure a world title in her fourt bout at this level, following a loss to Momo Koseki in 2012, razor thin loss in 2015 to Naoko Shibata and the draw last year to Ikeyama. Although a talented fighter she has got a record that is patchy, but she has mixed with good company and has lost to the likes of Koseki, Kumiko Seeser Ikehara and Shibata.
At the time of writing this bout is pencilled in as the main event of Dangan 187 and will take place at the Korakuen Hall.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
According to Puerto Rican website http://www.elnuevodia.com the Arroyo twins are said to be targetting potential show downs with two Asian world champions.
The report suggests that McWilliams Arroyo (16-3, 14) may be heading up to Super Flyweight to get his third world title fight and take on Japanese sensation Naoya Inoue (13-0, 11) [井上 尚弥] in Inoue's next defense of his WBO Super Flyweight title. Although no news of this bout has been reported in Japan as of yet it does make sense in many ways, with the plan being for the bout to take place in the US on the under-card of the rematched between Srisaket Sor Rungvisai and Roman Gonzalez, which is expected to take place in September.
The bout would see Inoue take on a man known for going the distance with Gonzalez, albeit at Flyweight, and give himself a great chance of making a statement on his US debut, however it's a bout that could be strongly criticised. For a start Arroyo is 0-2 in world title bouts, is a career Flyweight and hasn't fought in over a year, with his last win being more than 2 years ago, and in fact come September he would have scored just a solitary win in the last 3 years.
It's a bout that could be sold as Inoue taking on a man who had taken Gonzalez the distance, but equally it could be criticised very easily and may not pass the WBO rules for a title defense, with McWilliams currently being unranked by the organisation.
The other bout would see former IBF Super Flyweight champion McJoe Arroyo (17-1, 8) move down in weight to fight at Flyweight against WBO world champion Zou Shiming (9-1, 2) [邹市明]. It would be a tough bout for Shiming on paper, but McJoe has been a frustrating fighter to follow during his career, and hasn't fought since handing over the IBF title last September to Jerwin Ancajas, prior to that he had previously fought in July 2017 and looked disinterested at times during that fight. The Puerto Rican talent has never fought at Flyweight before, had been a real nightmare for Ancajas' team to deal with and pulled out of a world title eliminator with Teiru Kinoshita earlier this year, on very short notice.
Currently ranked #15 at Super Flyweight McJoe could challenge Shiming but with his history of being tricky to deal with and failure to have fought at Flyweight it's hard to see this bout coming off.
Although both bouts would be interesting, and are possible, we must admit there are better opponents for both men out there, and strangely McJoe Arroyo Vs Inoue and McWilliams Vs Shiming bout both seem to make more sense than the proposed contests.
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