Over the last few weeks we've seen Uzbek fighter Shohjahon Ergashev (16-0, 14) [Шохжахон Эргашев] being linked to several bouts but it wasn't until today that something has been set in stone.
We now know that the hard hitting Ergashev will be facing off with Mexican foe Abdiel Ramirez (24-4-1, 22) on August 23rd at the Broken Arrow in Oklahoma, on a Salita promoted card.
The bout will be Ergashev's first bout in the US since he was taken the distance by Mykal Fox back in February. Interestingly his Boxrec record is currently missing one of bouts since then, a bout in Russia against against Maxim Churbanov, from back in June.
The talented Ergashev is a fun to watch fighter, but someone who could be fairly described as a crude slugger at times, who is in love with his power. We expect that power to be too much for Ramirez, however the Mexican can also bang, and has 22 stoppages in his 26 career bouts, and he certainly has the power to ask Ergashev some questions, but may not have the toughness or skills to use that power against the Uzbek.
Last Friday Fuji TV, and affiliate Kansai TV, showed a world title double header. The card saw Ryota Murata (15-2, 12) [村田 諒太] reclaim the WBA "regular" Middleweight title, as he stopped Rob Brant (25-2, 17) in 2 rounds, and also saw WBC Light Flyweight champion Kenshiro (16-0, 9) [拳四朗] stop mandatory challenger Jonathan Taconing (28-4-1, 22).
Following those bouts there was a rather long wait for the TV numbers to be released, with that wait ending today. And boy were the numbers impressive!
Kenshiro, who has often missed out on live TV chances with Fuji, drew an average audience of 8.4%, a huge number for a guy that had been so over-looked.
Despite the Light Flyweight champion doing impressive numbers his fight was dwarfed by Murata, who averaged 11.9% in the Kanto region and 12.9% in the Kansai region, and peaked at 14.9% in Kanto and 20.8% in Kansai.
Whilst transferring the % to raw numbers isn't totally accurate it does give us some us fairly rough numbers to be blown away by.
The rough average is a little over 7,000,000 people watching Murata, with a peak of around 11,000,000. A figure that is frankly staggering for a fight, though may end up paving the way for more bouts in Japan to take place on a Friday.
Taro Takeuchi, a producer at Fuji TV, praised the numbers and Murata and made it clear that boxing was getting great figures on Fuji TV, and it seems clear that they are expecting the numbers to continue to grow.
Of course it's not only Murata and Kenshiro who are big names affiliated with the channel, with Naoya Inoue (18-0, 16) [井上 尚弥] also fighting on the channel, and his WBSS final with Nonito Donaire (40-5, 26) will expected to do incredible numbers of Fuji later int he year.
Back in April we saw Yuki Nagano (16-2, 12) [永野祐樹] stop Ryota Yada (18-5, 15) [矢田良太] to become the new Japanese Welterweight champion. Since then we've been waiting for him to make his first defense, and today we finally found out when he would be risking his belt, and who he would be up against.
The champion, from the Teiken gym, will be taking on 35 year old veteran Makoto Kawasaki (11-7-1, 2) [川崎真琴], in what will be his first shot at the full title following a bout for the interim belt back in 2017, with the bout being held at Korakuen Hall on September 7th.
Coming in to this Nagano won't just be looking to defend his belt but also continue his impressive winning streak, which stands at 14 straight wins, including notable victories over Giraffe Kirin Kanda, Riku Nagahama, Yuki Beppu and Ryota Yada. Another win and he could well find himself moving towards bigger titles, and in fact it's fair to suggest that his current run is deserving of a regional title fight already.
Kawasaki has been a professional since 2012 and although his record isn't great he has faced some really interesting names during his career. He debuted against Koki Tyson, his first two losses came to Hironobu Matsunaga and other losses have come to Ryota Yada and Daisuke Sakamoto among others. Despite a sketchy record he has actually won his last 2 bouts, beating both Kentaro Endo and Yuichi Ideta, though a loss to Nagano would likely be the end of his career.
Notably this bout is set to be the chief support bout for the rescheduled contest between Kenichi Ogawa (24-1-0-1, 18) [尾川 堅一] and South African Azinga Fuzile (14-0, 8), who are meeting in an IBF world title eliminator.
Earlier today we were informed that Japanese Super Featherweight champion Masaru Sueyoshi (19-1-1, 11) [末吉 大] would be returning to the ring on September 2nd to defend the belt against former Japanese Featherweight champion Kosuke Saka (18-5, 15) [坂晃典].
For the once beaten champion the bout will be his 5th defense, and will see him trying to reestablish himself after razor thin bouts with Hironori Mishiro and Ken Osato. He's been the champion since October 2017, but hasn't really looked like he has found a new gear since winning the title, and in many ways has sort of stagnated at the top of the domestic tree. Despite that stagnation it's hard to deny that he is a very talented fighter, and does have a rather awkward style. Interestingly, his only loss came early in his career to Masayuki Ito, and a rematch between the two would certainly be very interesting.
Whilst the champion has faltered he's been unbeaten since his loss to Ito, way back in 2012, and has gone 16-0-1 since then, proving himself to be a very hard man to beat.
Saka, who also suffered his first loss to Masayuki Ito in 2012, has had some mixed success. He went on a great run following a 2014 loss to Hiroshige Osawa, scoring wins against the likes of Ryuto Kyoguchi, Burning Ishii, Takafumi Nakajima and Shota Hayashi, with the win over Hayashi netting Saka the Japanese Featherweight title. Sadly though Saka's reign was a short one, and he was knocked out in bizarre fashion by Takenori Ohashi in his first defense, mishearing the clacker as the bell and taken clean out. A couple of bounce back wins, including one over Masanori Rikiishi, saw Saka begin to climb back up to where he was but an April loss to Joe Noynay, for the WBO Asia Pacific Super Featherweight title.
On paper this will be Sueyoshi's first defense against a puncher, with Saka having very heavy hands, but the champion will still be strongly favoured, given his natural size advantage and his counter punching ability.
At the moment no other bouts for this card, which will be held at Korakuen Hall, have been announced.
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