In Japan today much of the boxing focus was on Osaka, where their was a title triple header, featuring some of the biggest names in Japanese boxing. That card over-shadowed a second Japanese card of note in Tokyo, which featured a very interesting bout between a rising young prospect and a former world title challenger, in what was a make or break fight for both men.
The bout in question saw youngster Andy Hiraoka (14-0, 9) [平岡アンディ] take a massive jump up in class to take on veteran Akihiro Kondo (31-9-1, 18) [近藤 明広]. For Hiraoka the bout was his first 10 rounder, and a clear test of what he was made of following a short reign as the Japanese Youth Light Welterweight champion.For Kondo on the other hand the bout was an opportunity to bounce back following a shock KO loss to Downua Ruawaiking in an IBF eliminator earlier this year.
From the opening moments the tactics of the two men were clear. Kondo was looking to pressure, get inside, rough up Hiraoka and break him down at close quarters. It was an idea based on the experience that Kondo has, and looked to try and hide his flaws, such as his lack of speed and size. Hiraoka on the other hand went with the opposite approach, using his speed,m his reach and his straigth punching, picking Kondo off as he came forward.
It was the skills and speed of Hiraoka that really dominated the bout overall, with his straight left hand and right jab being a major factor later in the bout, as Kondo continued to press but was tagged every time he took a risk and after 10 rounds it was clear that the youngster had taken the win with ease.
After 10 rounds Hiraoka's hand was raised with scores of 98-92, 98-93 and 97-93.
Following the bout Kondo spoke highly of Hiraoka. Hiraoka managed to get this bout after airing some frustrations on social media and seemed to suggest that this win was just the first step towards bigger and better success.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Tomorrow at Korakuen Hall fight fans will be able to see Andy Hiraoka (13-0, 9) [平岡アンディ] and Akihiro Kondo (31-8-1, 18) [近藤 明広] face off in a compelling match up.
Today the two men took part in their weigh in for the contest and both men made weight, weighing in at 140lbs, and looking in great shape.
Hiraoka, taking a huge step up in class, looked huge at the weigh in and seemed calm, confident and excited, telling the media that he was motivated to impress against Kondo.
Kondo, fighting for the 41st time, is looking to bounce back from a shock stoppage loss to Downua Ruawaiking earlier this year. He seemed fully aware this was a must win bout, and realises that if he loses here it will end any chance of him getting a second world title fight.
For fans hoping to watch this bout we're expecting the Asign Boxing channel on youtube to put the bout up, in full, in the coming days.
Related- Kondo looks to bounce back whilst Hiraoka looks for big win
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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.
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