Earlier today at the Korakuen Hall fans got the chance to see the award ceremony for February's award winners.
The MVP for the month was veteran fighter Kenichi Horikawa (39-15-1, 13) [堀川 謙一], who became a 2-time Japanese Light Flyweight champion when he stopped Satoru Todaka (9-3-4, 3) [戸髙達] on February 14th. The veteran, who for years was seen as a nearly man, will make his first defense in May and seemed really happy to be at the Korakuen Hall today.
The Fighting Spirit Award was claimed by Japanese Flyweight champion Junto Nakatani (18-0, 13) [中谷 潤人], who won his title on February 2nd, when he stopped Naoki Mochizuki (15-4, 8) [望月直樹] and took both the title and his award. He spoke about returning to one of these ceremony's in the future as the MVP. That could in just a few months time, with the youngster set to defend his title on June 1st, in what will be his first defense.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
We recently wrote about not handing out awards whilst there are still bouts to come. There are however exceptions to that rule, such as when there is such a clear winner that no matter how the year ends there is no challenger. For us writing about those before the year ends is fine.
It's with that said we want to award the dubious honour of "Downfall fighter of the Year 2018" to Ryo Matsumoto (21-3, 19) who has had a horror 2018, and we suspect he would love to be able to turn the clock back 12 months.
The Ohashi gym fighter, who was once tipped as being a future star, began the year 21-1 (19) with his sole loss against Victor Uriel Lopez being avenged. His health issues had been sorted following surgery and there was a real feel good story about him heading into the new year with his career back on track.
Sadly he would lose in February, when he challenged Daniel Roman in a WBA title fight. He showed real toughness to survive the 12 rounds, but gave Roman little in way of a challenge as he was widely beaten on the scorecards. It was a world title fight that we had waited long to see Matsumoto get and yet he looked completely outclassed.
He would move up in weight and return in September to take on the unheralded Ryo Sagawa. It was supposed to be a chance to Matsumoto to announce himself on a new weight class and settle at the weight where his body is more suited, as he is a really wiry and rangy fighter. Sadly, however he was stopped by Sagawa in 3 rounds, in what was his final bout of the year.
Matsumoto spent his 2018 going 0-2, going from being regarded as a top contender in the Super Bantamweight division to a 24 year old who seriously needs to consider how his career is going to go over the next 12 months. Fingers crossed that he bounces back, as he is a sensationally gifted fighter, but we can't ignore that 2018 has been a massive setback for him.
Sadly for the Ohashi gym Matsumoto isn't the only fighter from the gym who has had a bad 2018, with Ryuji Hara also having a nightmare due to his injury woes. He's a worthy notable mention here.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today the East Japan Boxing Association announced their award winners for October. Notably there was only 2 winners this month and both were featured on the same show!
The MVP for the month was Hiroaki Teshigawara (18-2-2, 11) [勅使河原 弘晶] who earned the award for his stoppage win over Filipino visitor Glenn Suminguit (21-4, 11). The bout saw Teshigawara move up to Super Bantamweight and claim the OPBF Super Bantamweight in very impressive fashion. The win for the Japanese fighter saw him a second regional title, after having previously held the WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight title, and it now seems like heading on to bigger and better things.
The Fighting Spirit award was won by Daishi Nagata (11-2-1, 5) [永田 大士], despite the fact he actually lost to the OPBF Light Welterweight champion Rikki Naito (23-2, 7) [内藤 律樹]. It seems clear that he was rewarded for the spirit he showed, and was a well worthy winner, especially given how good his performance was and how deep he dug late on.
There was, unfortunately, no winner of the New Comer award.
The two men will be award at a ceremony at the Korakuen Hall on December 13th.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
of those rare fights where the two fighters give their all.
It was won by Tanaka, with a narrow decision, and had several Round of the Year contenders. In fact we suspect the bout will do more than just receive the WBO's fight of the Year award, but also that of several major boxing publications, as it really was a treat. Despite taking place on a Monday when most fans were unable to stream live it through the official source, or even watch it live, with the bout only being available in Nagoya in Japan, it was something to remember.
Well done to both men for picking up this great honour.
Earlier today the East Japan Boxing Association announced their monthly award winners for the month of May, with only two awards being won this month.
The MVP award was won by Light Welterweight champion Valentine Hosokawa (23-6-3, 10) [細川バレンタイン] due to his brilliant stoppage victory over mandatory challenger Vladimir Baez back on May 7th. The win was Hosokawa's first defense of the title and showed, at the age of 37, there is still a lot left for him in the sport.
The other award winner was Yuki Nagano (14-2, 11) [永野 祐樹] following his May 30th win over Riku Nagahama, which came courtesy of a 5th round TKO. The win for Nagano saw him claim the Fighting Spirit award, and also move a huge step closer to getting a title fight, which may well come later this year.
Sadly there was no suitable fighters for the Newcomer award, which won't be award for May.
The two awarding winning fighters will be given their awards on July 9th at the upcoming "Slugfest" card, at the Korakuen Hall.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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