This past weekend we saw Kazuto Takesako (10-0, 10) [竹迫司登] make his his first defense of the Japanese Middleweight title, stopping former champion Sanosuke Sasaki (12-7, 6) [佐々木左之介] in 2 rounds.
Tomorrow we will find out who Takesako's next challenger will be, as former champion Hikaru Nishida (17-9-1, 8) [西田光] takes on Rookie of the Year winner Shuji Kato (9-1-1, 6) [加藤収二] to determine the mandatory challenger for Takesako, at the 2019 Champion Carnival.
Today the two men took part in their weigh in, and both fighters made weight.
On the scales Nishida was bang on the 160lbs limit, and like always looked strong and powerful. He spoke highly of Kato, with the two men having sparred a lot before and with Takesako stating that Kato is strong.
Kato, who looked bigger at the weigh in, was actually the lighter man. He weighed in at 159.4lbs and looked in great condition. He admitted he got this chance earlier than he expected and describing describing Nishida as being like a "rock" he wanted to destroy him.
Related - Former champion Nishida takes on Rookie winner Kato! (Fight preview)
(Image courtesy of Sponichi)
Earlier today Japanese fight fans at the at the Kaikyo Messe in Shimonoseki, had the chance to see a Japanese Lightweight title eliminator. The match up was the third meeting between Accel Sumiyoshi (11-4-3, 3) [アクセル住吉] and Tatsuya Yanagi (15-5-2, 6) [柳達也], and much like their first bout there was nothing to separate the two fighters.
From the off there was little to split the two fighters, who seemed to find a weird pattern of alternating rounds. The first 5 rounds were scored identically on the scores cards, with Sumiyoshi taking rounds 1, 3 and 5 whilst Yanagi took rounds 2 and 4. Neither man could ever get the upper hand for long with the pace being an exciting one with both upping the tempo bit by bit, round by round.
In round 6 the pattern of alternating rounds finally ended with one judge scoring the round to Sumiyoshi, putting him in the lead on one of the scorecards. Yanagi seemed to realise he was behind and he took round 7, and round 8 on two cards with the third judge having it a 10-10 round.
At the end of a pulsating back and forth battle the judges turned in cards of 76-76, 76-76 and 77-76 to Sumiyoshi.
Due to the rules on how to decide a challenger in the event of a draw Sumiyoshi advances to the title shot in 2019. After the bout he revealed he had damaged his hand early in the bout, though we suspect that injury will be healed by the time his title shot comes around.
For Yanagi this is his second draw with Sumiyoshi, though he was stopped in the second bout between the two men, when he was hurt by a counter shot and was never allowed to recover. This is a setback for him, but he can certainly come again and showed he is equal to Sumiyoshi.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Earlier today in Fukuoka fans got the chance to see a Japanese title challenger decider bout at Welterweight. The match up saw local hopeful Yuki Beppu (18-1-1, 18) [別府優樹] face off with Teiken's Yuki Nagano (15-2, 11) [永野祐樹] to become the mandatory challenger at the 2019 Champion Carnival.
Beppu, dubbed the "Tyson of Kyushu", looked raw in the early going and in round 2 he was dropped from a straight left from Nagano, who had his confidence boosted by the knockdown. With his confidence high Nagano would press hard and look to get the crowd on side the following round.
In round 4 Beppu landed one of his best shots of the fight, a hard right hook to the mid section. Nagano was caught cleanly by the shot, but recovered quickly and found a home for his straight left hand as he re-established control of the contest. Beppu managed to strike hard again in round 5 as he began to come on strong but Nagano did well to stifle the heavy handed fighter, who had a good second half of the fight. In fact round 8 saw Nagano fighting smartly, using his legs to stay out of range and landing his jab to unsettle Beppu as he came forward looking to land bombs.
Having gone to the final bell the bout went to the judges, with all 3 judges scoring in favour Nagano, with scores of 76-75, 77-75 and 78-73.
With the win Nagano secures himself a title fight. As for Beppu this loss should act as a wake up call, and hopefully he will be given real match ups to develop his skills, rather than more mismatches, like many of his contests have been in recent years.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Earlier today in Fukuoka we had the Japanese Minimumweight title decider bout, as once touted Takumi Sakae (19-3-1, 13) [榮拓海] battled with tough veteran Norihito Tanaka (17-7, 9) [田中教仁] for a place in the 2019 Champion Carnival.
It was Tanaka who managed to dictate the early distance,by closing the distance and getting in to the fact of the youngerman. Sakae,to his credit, managed to create some space, using his sharp jab and quicker feet, but it was clear that he had to work incredibly hard to create distance. On the inside Tanaka worked away well, damaging Sakae with body shots in round 2.
Sakae would manage to rebuild, and would begin to find a foot hold in the bout, soon afterwards as he started to be more active than Tanaka and use his younger, fresher, legs. Unfortunately for him however he struggled to discourage Tanaka who came on strong in the final two rounds, particularly round8, and he tried to put the but beyond doubt. Sakae saw off the storm and avoided the bigger shots from Tanaka but was unable take the rounds, which is what he really needed to do.
In the end we went to the scorecards, with the judges favouring Tanaka in a split decision. The scores were 76-75 and 77-76 in favour of Tanaka, whilst the dissenting judge, turned in a score of 77-74 for Sakae, who is a local fighter from Fukuoka.
With the win Tanaka bounces back perfectly from his recent loss to OPBF champion Tsubasa Koura, and secures himself a third title bout. For Sakae this was another setback in a mjor bout, with his other losses coming in another Japanese title eliminator and a Japanese title fight. He may rebuild, but questions still need to be asked about his future, and potentially we could even see him move up in weight to continue his career development.
Tomorrow in Fukuoka we'll see the Japanese title challenger decider bout at Welterweight, as Yuki Beppu (18-0-1, 18) [別府優樹] and Yuki Nagano (14-2, 11) [永野祐樹]. The two men will clash in what is essentially a Japanese title eliminator and will see the winner challenger for the belt in early 2019 as part of the Champion Carnival.
Today the two men took part in their weigh in, and both fighters made weight easily, though looked like they belonged in very different divisions, with a clear height difference between the two men.
On the scales Beppu, the shorter man, was 145.9lbs. He looked strong and powerful, though very short for a Welterweight. He was excited about fighting against a top national fighter, something he's rarely done, and it's clear that he's looking forward to proving himself against a fighter like Nagano.
Surprisingly Nagano, who looked the much bigger man, was just 145.5lbs on the scales. He looked in great shape and seemed pretty confident that he would win and would become the next mandatory challenger for the Japanese title, currently held by Ryota Yada.
Related - Heavy handed Beppu and Nagano clash in eliminator!
(image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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