Earlier today in Osaka Japanese fight fans saw Japanese Youth Featherweight champion champion Kyohei Tonomoto (9-2-1, 4) [殿本恭平] make his first successful title defense, fighting to a draw with Ryotaro Motohashi (9-1-1, 2) [本橋遼太郎].
On paper this looked a really competitive match up, and the bout proved to be hotly contested. Despite that it was also one where neither man really managed to fight to their gameplan.
The challenger shone early on, racking up the rounds and taking an early lead around his pressure and aggression. The pressure caused a headclash midway through the bout that left Tonomoto cut, but the blood only seemed to inspire Tonomoto to bite down on his gumshield and fight back, whilst Motohashi began to slow notably.
The fight back from Motohashi was impressive, and although he managed to hurt the challenger he did enough to win rounds, and to and retain his title with a draw. The judges turned in cards of 76-76, 77-75 Motohashi and 77-75 Tonomoto.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Tomorrow in Japan fans will get an interesting card, albeit a small one.
The main event of the card will see Kotatsu Takehara (15-12-3, 8) [竹原真敬] battle against Ryu Ueda (8-1-1, 5) [上田龍], with the two men looking to claim the Japanese Heavyweight title, which was vacated earlier this year by Kyotaro Fujimoto.
Ahead of the their bout, which is actually a rematch, the two big men weighed in.
On the scales Takehara was the much heavier man. He came in at 111.2KG's, which is just over 245lbs. This is one of the heaviest weights of his career and more than 14lbs heavier than he was in 2016 when he stopped Ueda in the first men between the two men.
Ueda on the other hand was 103.3KG's, or 227.7lbs, the second heaviest of his career and more than 16lbs heavier than he was in the first bout with Takehara.
Another notable bout on this card will see former world title challenger Tomomi Takano (11-5, 8) [高野人母美] fight in Japan for the first time in over 2 years, as she takes on Sachiko Kondo (2-4-2) [近藤佐知子].
Takano, who recently revealed that was an ambassador for UK sporting wear company Lonsdale, weighed in at around 111.3lbs, the same weight as Kondo.
Related - Takehara and Ueda rematch for Japanese Heavyweight title!
Last night in the US fans saw unbeaten Uzbek destroyer Bektemir Melikuziev (4-0, 3) [Бектемир Мелиқўзиев] took a clear step up, as he took on American Vaughn Alexander (15-4, 9).
The Uzbek had been blitzing solid fighters in his first two bouts but last night showed their was more to him than pure power.
Through the bout we saw how tough Alexander was, something that was never in doubt, but Melikuziev showed how good of a boxer he was. He was out landing Alexander at will, and made the American throw very little. Whilst Alexander did land with what he threw, there was so little of it that hardly mattered. The one guy who letting his hands go was the Uzbek, who was landing at will and showing an impressive variety of shots through the whole 10 rounds.
At the final bell their was no questioning the winner, with Melikuziev dominating every round. He dictated the tempo, the distance, the activity for every minute of every round.
This was a very different performance to the ones we had previously seen from "Bek Bully" who had been hyper destructive, but this was the type of performance that answered a lot of question. We now know that Melikuziev can fight at a good pace for 10 rounds, can box when his power isn't taking opponents out, and can rely on the basics of boxing.
Notably this win also sees Melikuziev claim his first professional title, the WBA Continental Americas Super Middleweight title, and on the back of his shape here it appears that he could drop further down the scales in the future.
(Photo: Tom Hogan / Golden Boy)
On December 21st Kyotaro Fujimoto (21-1, 13) [藤本京太郎] will take on English prospect Daniel Dubois (13-0, 12), in the most significant Heavyweight bout to ever feature a Japanese fighter.
The bout for the WBC Silver and WBO International Heavyweight titles, will see Kyotaro looking to secure the biggest win of his career, though he is a massive under-dog and is expected to be taken out very early on.
Today Kyotaro left for England, flying out of Haneda airport.
For those wondering how Kyotaro has been preparing for his upcoming bout, he has been doing a training camp in the US, spending 3 weeks in America before returning to Japan earlier this month. Notably he admitted that he's not sure what is in his suitcase, following the quick turn around, having hardly been back in Japan following that training camp.
Given that he'll be in England for around a week to prepare for the flight, and has just come back from the US we do wonder how well acclimatised he'll be for the fight, though we'd also add that even a 100% acclimatised Kyotaro would still be a massive under-dog against someone like Dubois.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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