Earlier today saw the official pre-opening of the "Sugar Fit Boxing Gym" in Saitama city, a gym that has been set up by former world champion Akifumi Shimoda (31-6-2, 14) [下田 昭文].
The gym, which is only a short walk from Kitaurawa Station, is the hard work of Shimoda who is best known for having a short reign as the WBA Super Bantamweight champion in 2011. He won the bout in a 4 knock-down thriller with Ryol Li Lee, before famously losing in the US against Rico Ramos, when he suffered a KO of the Year loss. Despite the title loss Shimoda would continue to fight on until late 2016.
At today's event Shimoda was accompanied by a genuine who's who of Japanese boxing, including:
Whilst today's event was a pre-opening the gym will open fully on November 20th and is very much focused on fitness and is appealing to a wide variety of people, from children to amateurs.
For those interested the gym's website can be accessed here https://sugarfit-boxing.com/index.html
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today atthe Korakuen Hall fight fans sawformer OPBF and Japanese Featherweight champion Hisashi Amagasa (33-7-2, 21) [天笠 尚] take part in his retirement ceremony, officially ending his career and marking the start of his post-boxing life.
Although a successful fighter in Japan he is best known for his 2014 loss to Guillermo Rigondeaux. The talented Cuban went over to Japan face the then unknown Japanese fighter, who went on to score two knockdowns of Rigondeaux, before suffering an 11th round TKO with his face a swollen and broken mess.
Following that loss western fans ended up following Amagasa's career, though sadly he would go 5-2 (2) following the Rigondeaux fight, losing to Josh Warrington in the UK in 2016 before suffering a decision loss to Richard Pumicpic last year. After that loss to Pumicpic Amagasa revealed he was going to retirement, but his ceremony was held off until today.
Amagasa thanked the fans for their support, throughout his career, and stated that he will do his best outside of boxing. For those unaware he has returned to Gunma where he's now working for an agricultural company
Before the ceremony was over he was joined in the ring by former world champion Akifumi Shimoda [下田 昭文] and stated that boxing is the best.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Former WBA Super Bantamweight champion Akifumi Shimoda (31-6-2, 14) [下田 昭文] has had a frustrating few years in the ring, fighting to a draw in 2013 with Roli Gasca before suffering losses to Marvin Sonsona, Satoshi Hosono and Shota Hayashi in bouts for titles. Today though he has announced his retirement, taking to his blog to state that his professional career was over after 39 fights.
The popular southpaw debuted back in 2003 and and claimed his first title in 2007, when he beat Daisuke Yamanaka for the Japanese Super Bantamweight title. He defended the title 3 times before losing a technical decision to Kazuma Miura in 2008. Shimoda would rebuild from that loss and in 2010 he claimed the OPBF title,beating Hiromasa Ohashi for the belt, which he defended once. In 2011 Shimoda scared a career defining win over Ryol Li Lee to claim the WBA Super Bantamweight title.
Sadly for Shimoda he'd lose that title in his first defense, suffering a KO of the year contender to Rico Ramos in a bout he was seemingly in control of. Following that loss he moved upto Featherweight and had mixed success, suffering a highlight reel KO loss to Sonsona and narrowly coming up short to Hosono and Hayashi.
Although best remembered for his losses Shimoda's career has seen him achieve success at every level of the sport and he has certainly had a career to be proud of.
(Image courtesy of Teiken)
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!
One of the many notable non-world title bouts set to take place tomorrow across Japan is a Japanese Featherweight title bout between Shota Hayashi (28-5-1, 17) [林 翔太] and Akifumi Shimoda (31-5-2, 14) [下田 昭文]. The bout will be Hayashi's first title defense whilst Shimoda will be looking to claim this particular title at the second time of asking, having come up just short a year ago against Satoshi Hosono.
Today those two men took to the scales for their weigh in and both managed to make the 126lb limit on their first attempt.
At the weigh in Hayashi was 126lbs dead on and looked like a man who had been training ridiculously hard for this bout. He was ripped, ready and looking looking incredibly determined to score a career best win and prove that he should be moving on towards bigger and better fights in 2017.
A slightly less ripped Shimoda made the weight to spare, possibly showing signs that he's not a fully fledged Featherweight having previously made his name at Super Bantamweight. Although not ripped Shimoda did come in good shape whilst weighing in at around 125.5lbs and looked confident and calm at the weigh in.
Hayashi and Shimoda face off for Japanese crown!
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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