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.
Over the last 24 hours or so we saw Japanese Light Welterweight champion Koki Inoue (13-0, 10) [浩樹井上] reveal his first defense.
The unbeaten Ohashi gym fighter, the cousin of Naoya and Takuma Inoue, revealed he would be defending his title on July 1st at Korakuen Hall against Ryuji Ikeda (14-5-3, 9) [池田竜司]. The bout will see Inoue look to build on his impressive title win against Valentine Hosokawa (24-7-3, 11) [細川バレンタイン] back in April and he has suggest that this will be a more exciting fight than that one, where he seemed happy to box and move.
For Ikeda this will be his first Japanese title fight, though he did fight for a regional title in 2017, losing to Darragh Foley in Australia. Although he enters as the #8 ranked Japanese challenger it should be noted that he hasn't really shined on the domestic stage, going 1-1-1 in his last 3 bouts in Japan.
The card has had a number of notable fighters pencilled in for it. These include former world title challenger Ryo Matsumoto (22-3, 20) [松本亮], Japanese Youth title holder Andy Hiraoka (13-0, 9) [平岡アンディ], the very highly regarded Taku Kuwahara (4-0, 3) [桑原拓], the exciting Tsuyoshi Tameda (19-4-2, 17) [溜田剛士] and unbeaten prospect Katsuya Yasuda (3-0, 2) [保田克也]. At the time of writing none of these fighters have had their opponents announced.
Earlier today fight fans in Tokyo had the chance to see a number of notable Ohashi Gym fighters in action at Korakuen Hall. That included 3 bright youngsters, all looking to move forward with their career, two of whom had suffered recent set backs.
One of those looking to rebuild from a recent loss was Ryo Matsumoto (22-3, 20) [松本亮], who had actually lost his last 2 bouts. He made relatively light work of Indonesian visitor Carlos Obisuru (5-2-1, 1), scoring a stoppage in round 2.
Another man rebuilding from a loss was the once touted Sho Nakazawa (12-3, 6) [中澤奨], who scored a much needed win after losing 3 of his last 6. Nakazawa scored a 3rd round win over Jio Alfriando (5-8, 2), in what really was nothing more than a confidence building win for the Japanese fighter.
Arguably the most interesting of the youngsters on this card was Taku Kuwahara (4-0, 3) [桑原拓], who scored a 3rd round win over Aprilianto Rumahpasal (1-4, 1). Kuwahara is one of the many talented Japanese fighters breaking through the ranks at 108lbs and he looked incredibly sharp here, a real one to watch!
Sadly a planned bout between Andy Hiraoka (13-0, 9) [平岡アンディ] and Atchariya Wirojanasunobol (12-0, 5) fell through when the Thai was arrested, though Hiraoka did participate in a spar with Kaiki Yuba (4-0-1, 2) [湯場海樹].
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
On Monday at the Korakuen Hall fight fans will get the chance to see Andy Hiraoka (13-0, 9) [平岡アンディ] in the ring, though unfortunately his scheduled bout with unbeaten Thai Atchariya Wirojanasunobol (12-0, 5) will not take place.
The bout, which has looked the best bout on the show by some margin, was cancelled on Sunday when the Thai was unable to get to Japan.
Originally we weren't informed of the reasons, but we have now been informed that the Thai was actually arrested at the airport when trying to leave Thailand. At the time of writing the reason for the arrest is unknown.
As a result of the bout being cancelled we'll see Hiraoka take part in a 2 round spar with Kaiki Yuba (4-0-1, 2) [湯場海樹], who is preparing for his own fight on April 15th.
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