Earlier this week we were expecting to see the ring return of Shohei Omori (18-2, 13) [大森 将平], who has been out of the action since losing to Marlon Taples in a WBO world title fight last year. Omori's return bout was supposed to be against domestic foe Coach Hiroto (13-2-2, 4) [小内義人], though Hiroto failed to make weight for the contest and forced the bout to be cancelled.
Following the inability to make weight Hiroto has been essentially kicked out of the gym that he fought for, with Kadoebi announcing that they had banned him from March 28th. The gym stated that failing to make weight severely damages the social credibility of boxing, which is based on a weight class system.
Whilst fighters have been punished by the JBC for failing to make weight, as we saw recently with the JBC giving Luis Nery an indefinite ban, it's very rare for a gym to punish their fighters like this, though it does now seem like Japanese boxing is taking weigh ins very seriously.
It seems like the JBC will themselves punish Hiroto for missing weight, and may also punish Kadoebi, though the gym's stance is something that is admirable here, and could help set the mark for how gyms treat fighters who fail to make weight going forward. Sadly it does seem like we're having more and more fighters failing to make weight, and it's becoming an all too common occurence in boxing around the globe.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Earlier today fight fans at the Korakuen Hall saw Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Yusaka Kuga (16-2-1, 11) [久我勇作] record his second title defense, as be blitzed mandatory challenger Ryo Kosaka (15-4-1, 7) [小坂遼] in just 133 seconds.
Kosaka looked like he was there to win and started looking for body shots, but had no answer to Kuga's power, and was dropped after about 90 seconds. Kosaka got back to his feet but was down again only moments later with a left , forcing the referee to stop the bout with Kosaka back on his feet but lookihookng like a fighter who needed saving before Kuga got the chance to land another bomb.
Having blown away his over-matched challenger Kuga's attention turned towards the future and he's now being linked to his third defense, which is looking likely to take place in Summer and could be against former world title challenger Shingo Wake (23-5-2, 15) [和氣 慎吾]. That bout would essentially act as not only a Japanese title fight but also a worldtitle eliminator, with both men holding a number of world rankings.
Interestingly before Kuga's bout Wake was involved in a public exhibition with another former world title challenger, Shohei Omori (18-2, 13) [大森 将平] who was supposed to fight on the card, before his opponent Coach Hiroto (13-2-2, 4) [小内義人] failed to make weight, resulting in the exhibition bout.
(Image coutesy of boxmob.jp)
Last year we saw Shohei Omori (18-2, 13) [大森 将平] suffer an 11th round TKO loss to Marlon Tapales in a bout for the WBO Bantamweight title. That loss saw Omori suffer a broken jaw and take a long break from the ring to recover. His recovery is complete, thankfully, and he was scheduled to return to the ring tomorrow to battle fellow Japanese fighter Coach Hiroto (13-2-2, 4) [小内義人] at the Korakuen Hall.
Sadly that bout won't take place after Hiroto failed to make weight at today's weigh in.
Hiroto sadly came in 1.8KG's, or 4lbs, over the aagreed limit. Even after a 2 hour grace period Hiroto was unable to lose the weight forcing the bout to be cancelled, and essentially costing himself the biggest opportunity of his career so far. Given that he was nowhere near the limit serious questions will have to be asked.
Omori made weight with room to spare, and looked sensational, but instead of fighting tomorrow he'll take part in a bit of a work out for the fans, with reports suggesting he do a 2 round spar for the fans at the venue.
Sadly we'll now need to wait to see Omori's ring return, though given the shape he was in today there is a good chance his return will be sooner rather than later and he really did look in amazing condition.
(Image, of Hiroto, courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Talented Japanese fighter Shohei Omori (18-2, 13) [大森 将平] was last seen in action last April, when he suffered an 11th round TKO loss to Marlon Tapales in a bout for the WBO Bantamweight title. The loss saw Omori suffer a serious facial injury and need surgery to recover from the damage. Today we saw new finally break of Omori's ring return, with both date,venue and opponent all being revealed.
The exciting Woz gym fighter will be moving to Super Bantamweight for his return and will face off with fellow Japanese fighter Coach Hiroto (13-2-2, 4) [小内義人], with the bout scheduled to take place on March 27th at the Korakuen Hall.
The fight will be Omori's first against a domestic opponent since he defended the Japanese Bantamweight title against Hirofumi Mukai way back in September 2015. Following that win he has gone 3-2 (3) against foreign foes, suffering a pair of stoppage losses to Tapales as well as stoppage wins over Espinos Sabu, Edgar Jimenez and Rocky Fuentes. Notably this will be his first bout as a fully fledged Super Bantamweight, though he did dip his toes in the weight class when he fought Fuentes at 121.25lbs.
Hiroto seemed to retire from boxing in 2012, following a loss to Eiji Tsutsumi, but returned last year, after almost 5 years away from the ring, and has since gone 2-0-1 (1). The last of those bouts was in January, when he fought to a draw with the very talented Ryo Hino. He will be looking to continue his unbeaten run since his ring return, and take a huge step towards gwtting a shot at the Japanese title in the process. This is however a huge step up for Hitoro, and he will clearly be the under-dog against the hard hitting Omori.
The bout will act as the chief support contest on a show headlined by a Japanese Super Bantamweight title fight between defending champion Yusaka Kuga (15-2-1, 10) [久我勇作] and mandatory challenger Ryo Kosaka (15-3-1, 7) [小坂遼]. A potential show down between the two winners could be a very mouth watering contest for later in the year.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
The Japanese domestic scene is arguably the best on the planet, with all-Japanese bouts often delivering in the best possible ways. That was seen again today, with the main event of a card at the Korakuen Hall standing out as being a little special.
The bout in question saw touted former amateur stand out Hironori Mishiro (4-0, 2) [三代大訓] battle against the 2015 Rookie of the Year Featherweight runner up Shuma Nakazato (6-1-1, 5) [仲里周磨], and they delivered.
Within seconds of the bout starting the men warmed to their task, boxing and moving, keeping just on the edge of their range whilst trying to land power shots. The bout wasn't a brawl from the off, but was a highly skilled and thrilling bout between two men who were willing to work their openings then go for them, testing each other's durability.
The pace gradually quickened and in round 3 Mishiro's durability showed cracks as Nakazato detonated with a huge right hand. Lesser fighters would have been down and out but Mishiro quickly got back to his feet and saw off the follow up assault from Nakazato. Nakazato attempted to jump on Mishiro in the following round but Mishiro had recovered well and late in round 4 he landed a sweeping hook that sent Nakazato down.
Although Nakazato had moments in the final 2 rounds Mishiro's more varied attack and better defense was enough to earn him the win, taking the decision on all 3 cards, but both men grew their reputations in a bout that really gave the fans more than they had ever expected and will go down as one of the ever growing number of great bouts that fans at the Korakuen Hall have seen this year.
The win for Mishiro sets up a January encounter with Shuya Masaki (9-0, 5) [正木脩也] in what is a really mouth watering match up!
On the same card there was also notable wins for Coach Hiroto (13-2-1, 4) [小内義人], Kenshin Oshima (3-1, 3) [大嶋剣心] and Ryo Sagawa (2-1, 2) [佐川遼], who are all expected to move into bigger bouts in 2018.
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