Female boxing is on the rise, and whilst plenty of fans haven't yet been won over by it there is a clear growth in the attention it's getting. This past weekend we aw a great example of that, with Katie Taylor and Delfine Persoon having a brilliant 10 round unification bout at Madison Square Garden.
Today we saw another big announcement for female boxing, with a press conference being held to announce a WBA female Flyweight title bout between Naoko Fujioka (18-2, 7) [藤岡 奈穂子] and Tenkai Tsunami (26-12, 15) [天海 ツナミ].
The two fighters have long been connected with a potential bout, with Tsunami being the mandatory when Fujioka was the WBO female Light Flyweight champion. Fujioka chose to vacate that title in her pursuit to become a 5-weight champion, which she did by winning the WBA Flyweight crown, and now we see Tsunami move up to challenge Fujioka at 112lbs.
The press was late to start, due to Fujioka being late, and despite only Tsunami being there to begin with, she did reveal she has changed plans due to this bout. She's cancelled a previously planned defense of her title in Mexico, choosing to vacate her title for this show down, and looked really excited to be finally facing Fujioka.
Fujioka apologised for being 40 minutes late to the press conference and seemed really excited to face Tsunami in what looks like one of her toughest bouts to date, that's despite the fact she's won world titles in 5 weight classes and faced a who's who of female boxing.
The bout will take place on July 12th at the Korakuen Hall, and will headline A Sign Bee 21, which will also feature the brilliant match up between Andy Hiraoka (13-0, 9) [平岡アンディ] and Akihiro Kondo (31-8-1, 18) [近藤 明広].
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today Japanese Youth Light Welterweight title holder Andy Hiraoka (13-0, 9) [平岡アンディ] announced his next bout, revealing that plans had changed.
Originally he was pencilled in for the July 1st Ohashi show, set to be headlined by Japanese Light Welterweight champion Koki Inoue (13-0, 10) [浩樹井上] defending his title against Ryuji Ikeda (14-5-3, 9) [池田竜司]. At the time he has no opponent announced for the show, and seemed to be pencilled in to just stay busy and tick over. Now however he has confirmed he will fight on July 12th against former world title challenger Akihiro Kondo (31-8-1, 18) [近藤 明広], in what is a big step up for the youngster.
Hiraoka is one of the Ohashi Gym's best prospects, and is a talented boxer-puncher who showed real class early in his career, reaching the Rookie of the Year final. In recent he has made his mark on the domestic youth scene but did need a big bout, and this is a big bout, against a world ranked fighter. Kondo is a true veteran, but he is now at the point where is battling for his career following a huge KO loss to Downua Ruawaiking (15-0, 12) [ดาวเหนือ เรือไวกิ้ง], aka Apinun Khongsong, in an IBF eliminator earlier in the year. He can't afford another loss, but will be coming into this bout following his worst career defeat.
At the moment no other bouts have been announced for this show, which will take place at Korakuen Hall, and likely be made available on the A-Sign Boxing channel on youtube following the event.
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!
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