As the present moment there are two on going cards in Japan, each headlined by a pair of world title fights. One of those cards is a Woz promoted show in Kyoto, with the main events from the card set to be aired live on TBS.
The under-card for the show has featured several notable names, with their results likely have an effect on the boxing scene for 2017.
The first of those notable fighters was OPBF female Super Flyweight champion Tamao Ozawa (14-3, 4) [小澤 瑶生] who took a clear 6 round decision win over compatriot Yuki Koseki (4-2) [小関 有希]. The bout looked a mismatch on paper though ended up being a good work out for Ozawa who will be looking to either defend her title next year or potentially fight for a world title.
The second of the notable names was JBC and OPBF ranked Super Flyweight hopeful Masayoshi Hashizume (12-0, 9) [橋詰 将義] who scored a 4th round KO win over Thai visitor Chatpetch Saithonggym (0-1). The Thai came to fight, and credit to him, but Hashizume soon took control of the bout and hurt the Thai in reound 3 before finishing him the following round, with the Thai being counted out at the 2 minute 38 second mark of round 4. Hashizume will almost certainly be looking to get into the title mix in 2017 though Ioka do seem to be moving him very gradually considering he won Rookie of the Year back in 2014!
Another Japanese fighter beating a Thai was the world ranked Sho Ishida (23-0, 12) [石田 匠], who defeated Petchnamnung Srisaketpattana (0-1)* in 2 rounds. The Thai, we have been told was ranked #8 in Thailand, was never really in the bout and Ishida before Ishida closed the show in the later stages of the second round round. It now looks almost certain that Ishida will get a world title fight in 2017, and in fact his #1 WBA ranking may mean that a figth with Britain's Kal Yafai could happen, potentially in Spring when Ioka would be expected to hold their next show.
In a Japan Vs Philippines bout fans saw the world ranked Shohei Omori (18-1, 13) [大森 将平] take card of veteran Rocky Fuentes (35-9-2, 20) in 3 rounds. Omori, who was originally slated to fight for the IBF Bantamweight title on this show, took some of his furstrations out on the much smaller Fuentes and now looks set to figth for a world title in 2017, potentially with Lee Haskins who he was originally meant to face on this card.
*Given the Thai's ranking it would seem likely that boxrec.com have an incomplete record for Petchnamnung.
At the moment there are two shows going on in Japan, one in Kyoto and one in Tokyo, both of which have had several notable fighters in action on the under-cards.
The Tokyo card, dubbed "The Best of Best", has already featured two very highly regarded young prospects and a title unification bout between an OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific champion. For those interested in watching these bouts they will be featured in the near future on boxingraise.com.
The first of the prospects in action was Masataka Taniguchi (6-0, 4) [谷口 将隆] who continued his perfect record with a wide 6 round decision win against Filipino Vincent Bautista (5-6-3, 1). Taniguchi, who began his career with 4 straight stoppage wins, was coming in to this bout on the back of a split decision over Dexter Alimento though showed no lack of confidence as he won every round against against Bautista. Following the fight the unbeaten man announced he would be looking to get into the title mix next year.
The second of the prospects in action was the destructive Hiroto Kyoguchi (5-0, 5) [京口 紘人] who took on Filipino southpaw Junuel Lacar (7-4-3, 5). Despite fightign his first southpaw Kyoguchi settled into action quickly and in round 3 landed a series of uppercutts that dropped Lacar. With Lacar trying to regain his feet his corner threw in the towel, seemingly sensing their man was too game for his own good. Kyoguchi admitted that he was worried about facing his first southpaw opponent but it didn't seem to show here and we'd be shocked if he's not in the title mix at some point in 2017.
The main bout from the under-card saw the under-rated Masayuki Ito (20-1-1, 9) [伊藤 雅雪] not only defend his OPBF Super Featherweight, but also unify it with the WBO Asia Pacific title as he clearly out-pointed the teak tough, and always game, Takuya Watanabe (30-7-1, 16) [渡邉 卓也]. Ito, who will be looking to fight for world titles soon, was a deserving winner with score cards that read 117-111, twice, and 118-110. Although Watanabe refused to give up he was limited in his success as Ito's timing, speed and movement were the difference between the two fighters.
Again for fans wanting to watch these bouts these will be aired on boxingraise.com, likely from tomorrow.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Later today we will get the chance to see an IBF Super Bantamweight title bout between Yukinori Oguni (18-1-1, 7) [小國 以載] and defending champion Jonathan Guzman (22-0-0-1, 22). As with all IBF world title bouts the two men have had to take part in a second weigh in earlier today and, as with their first weigh in, both men made weight for the bout.
At today's weigh in Guzman came in at 128¾lbs, well under the allowed weight for the second weigh in. He was however notably lighter than Oguni who came in a full 1lbs heavier, at 129¾lbs.
Both men were well under the allowed maximum but the weight advantage for Oguni may be something he can use against Guzman, who looked a little affected by the cold weather in Japan, but seemed happy to be there and admitted to enjoying the atmosphere in the country.
Oguni looks to over-come Guzman and claim world crown!
(Image courtesy of Kadoebi Houseki)
Yesterday we saw a major end of year card from Japanese promotional outfit Ohashi. Today saw Ohashi hosting a press conference featuring a trio of their fighters, who were on that show.
The men in question were WBO Super Flyweight champion Naoya Inoue (12-0, 10) [井上 尚弥] IBF Light Flyweight champion Akira Yaegashi (24-5, 12) [八重樫 東] and 2012 Olympic bronze medal winner Satoshi Shimizu (2-0, 2) [清水 聡].
Ath the press conference all 3 men spoke about their future and what they are looking to do next.
Inoue, who scored a sensational 6th round TKO win over former champion Kohei Kono (32-10-1, 13) [河野 公平] announce that he didn't suffer any injuries during yesterday's fight, a relief for fans of his, and that he was looking towards his next fight. He was pleased by his performance and will continue to pursue a fight with Roman Gonzalez, though it seems he's targetting it for the end of the year after both men have gotten their next bouts out of the way, with Inoue likely to return in the Spring. At the moment no opponent has been named but it'll likely be a top contender and will take part live on Fuji TV as part of the Golden Week.
Yaegashi is another man expected to return in Spring, following yesterday's win over Samartlek Kokietgym (31-6, 11) [สามารถเล็ก ปูนอินทรียิม]. He knows his next opponent will be Filipino Milan Melindo (35-2, 12) in a mandatory title fight though it's yet to be announced whether that bout will take place in Japan, potentially on the Inoue Vs TBA card, or in the Philippines on an ALA promoted card.
Shimizu stated that his hopes for 2017 would be to fight for titles and there is a good chance he'll be doing that either domestically or regionally, with bouts for either the Japanese, OPBF or WBO Asia Pacific titles all being real possibilities. There's a chance that Shimizu won't be fighting for a title next time out, in Spring, but probably will before the end of 2017.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
To call hectic for a Japanese fight fan is merely stating the obvious as the fans across the country get 3 shows in totally different areas. The first of those was in Gifu and took place earlier today on CBC, and their various online platforms. That card featured the first two title fights, from 7, taking place today.
That first title fight was the only one for domestic honest but ended up being a very fan friendly fight as Japanese Featherweight champion Shota Hayashi (29-5-1, 17) [林 翔太] narrowly retained his title with a very hard fought win against Akifumi Shimoda (31-6-2, 14) [下田 昭文].
The bout began well for Shimoda who used his superior technical ability to land shots at range and controlled the early tempo with his southpaw jab being one of the keys. Hayashi was like a stream train though and although he made a slow start he was right back in to things by the mid way point, being level on one of the cards when they were announced at the end of round 5.
In the second half of the fight Hayashi got fully ahead of steam and can Shimoda's left eye in round 6, before opening a cut over the right eye of the challenger who was beginning to look a bit beaten up as we started to enter the later stages. Shimoda's early success was again turned back in round 9 when he was dropped just moments before the bell.
Going into round 10 it seemed both men believed it was all to fight for and Shimoda really did try all he could to turn it around, in the end though Hayashi's youth and desire was just too much for the faded veteran to over-come.
Next for Hayashi will be Kosuke Saka, in the Champion Carnival next year, whilst Shimoda will likely consider whether he wants to retire or fight a ranked contender or two in hope of getting one more crack at this title in the near future. Whilst Shimoda's future does appear to be up in the air we can't help but be very excited about Hayashi Vs Saka as that has the potential to be a very exciting fight!
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