Just moments ago fight fans at the Korakuen Hall were given a major surprise as local favourite Akihiro Kondo (31-8-1, 18) [近藤 明広] suffered his first stoppage loss, in 40 bouts, at the hands of unbeaten Thai Downua Ruawaiking (15-0, 12) [ดาวเหนือ เรือไวกิ้ง], aka Apinun Khongsong, who announced himself as a serious player on the world scene. In fact not only did Downua put himself on the map, but did so in an IBF world title eliminator, earning a shot at the IBF Light Welterweight title with this victory.
Downua, the much taller man, was looking to use his jab early on, but often had them blocked by Kondo who was using his own jab well, especially in round 2. Those jabs of Kondo opened up gaps for him to land more powerful shots, including his left hook and straight right.
Downua, despite being under some pressure, was using his brain, looking for power shots and finding the space for uppercuts when Kondo was up close. In round 5 one of those uppercuts landed sweetly, dropping the teak tough Kondo hard. The fighting spirit of Kondo saw him get to his feet, some how, but he was unsteady and the referee halted the bout, at 1 minute 47 seconds into round 5.
The win for Downua is huge. It's his first away from Thailand, and his first against a fighter of some known value at world level, given that Kondo went 12 rounds in a competitive fight with Sergey Lipinets. Sadly for Kondo, who turns 34 next month and has a long fight back if he intends to get himself another shot at the top.
This fight is expected to be uploaded to the A Sign Boxing youtube channel in the coming days.
Tomorrow fight fans at the Korakuen Hall have the chance to see Akihiro Kondo (31-7-1, 18) [近藤 明広] battle against unbeaten Thai Downua Ruawaiking (14-0, 11) [ดาวเหนือ เรือไวกิ้ง], aka Apinun Khongsong, in an IBF world title eliminator.
Today the two fighters took part in their weigh in for the contest, and both fighters made weight for the bout.
The local veteran weighed in around 139.5lbs for the bout, and looked relaxed describing his preparation as perfect. He spoke about his foe and seemed to be wary of Downua's speed and size, as the Thai really towered over him. Despite being wary he seemed very confident that his experience and power would be the difference as he looks to secure a second world title fight.
Confidence wasn't just Konodo's thing, as Downua also sounded very confident, confidently telling the press that he was going to return to Thailand as the winner. He made weight with real ease, coming in at 138.8lbs, and looked strong, powerful, young and very determined.
Related - Kondo and Downua battle in IBF eliminator!
(Image courtesy of Kiatkreerin Promotions)
Earlier today we saw the announcement of an A Sign Bee show set for February 18th at the Korakuen Hall. There wasn't many details for the show revealed, though their was an announcement that the main event would be an IBF Light Welterweight world title eliminator, with the winner becoming the mandatory for the title.
The match up will see Japan's Akihiro Kondo (31-7-1, 18) [近藤 明広], who is best known for fighting for the IBF title in 2017 against Sergey Lipinets, taking on unbeaten Thai Downua Ruawaiking (14-0, 11) [ดาวเหนือ เรือไวกิ้ง], aka Apinun Khongsong, with the winner to get a shot at the title, currently held by the unbeaten Ivan Baranchyk (19-0, 12).
Kondo, who is a 39 fight veteran, is currently 33 years old and has faced a number of notable fighters during his career. They include Lipinets, Ricky Sismundo, Valentine Hosokawa, Nihito Arakawa and Yoshitaka Kato. At 22 Downua is the much younger man, and is far less experienced, with just 14 fights, but he has been really impressive with 8 stoppages in his last 9 bouts including an excellent win over Sonny Katiandagho earlier this month.
At the moment we're awaiting more announcements for this card, but this is a fantastic main event!
Earlier today it was revealed that that former Rookie of the Year and former WBC Youth Lightweight champion Tsukasa Saito (21-3, 16) [斉藤 司] had transferred gym, to the Ichiriki, and was looking to restart his career after almost 3 years of inactivity.
Saito had been trying to leave the Mitani Yamato gym though had struggled to get away with his move to Ichiriki only being finalised in the last few days, and it's clear that the issues with the gym have slowed his career massively. A career that once promised so much.
Saito began his career back in 2007, as a 17 year old, and quickly impressed by winning the All Japan Rookie of the Year in 2008 at Super Featherweight. As well as the All Japan Crown he had also claimed the All Japan and the East Japan MVP awards and looked like one to watch for the future.
The youngster would win his first 12 bouts before suffering a technical decision loss in an upset against Takeshi Kimura. That loss would be followed by a year out of the ring for Saito who would claim the WBC Youth Lightweight title in 2010, defending the belt once before being upset by Jose Maxian, who stopped Saito in the 7th round to take the WBC Youth title from him.
The Japanese youngster would rebuild, earning a Japanese title fight in 2014, which he lost by stoppage to Yoshitaka Kato before his career tailed off with two low key wins against Thai foes in 2015, in what were his last two bouts.
It's unclear when he will make his Ichiriki debut, but he's supposedly got the hunger to fight and will be training alongside the likes of Akihiro Kondo (31-7-1, 18) [近藤 明広].
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier this year Ryo Akaho (31-2-2, 20) [赤穂 亮] vacated the Japanese Bantamweight title due to health issues. Originally it was feared that he was going to have to retire from the sport, though he did announce that he would be continuing to fight on, after taking some time to get over the medical problems.
Today we finally saw an announcement of when Akaho would return to the ring.
His return will take place on July 13th at the Korakuen Hall, on the next of the "A-Sign Bee" shows.
At the time of writing there has been no opponent announced for Akaho but his bout is pencilled in as an 8 round Super Bantamweight bout which will likely be the chief support bout for the card.
We say the bout will be the chief support contest as the main event has also been announced, with recent world title challenger Akihiro Kondo (30-7-1, 17) [近藤 明広] facing off with Quaye Peter (11-9-3, 6) in an 8 round contest at 140lbs. Although this is expected to be the main event it's fair to say that a lot of the focus will be on akaho and his ring return.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
News! We try and give you the most interesting news stories from the Asian boxing world!