Earlier today at the Korakuen Hall fight fans got an absolute treat of a show thanks to several brilliant match ups. The card, shown on G+, won't get rave reviews in the West but we do tip our hats to the promoter for the quality of bouts and the excellent match making through the show.
The card had a number of excellent bouts on it, starting with a 6 round war between Rookie of the Year runner up Aso Ishiwaki (5-2-1, 3) [石脇麻生] and the hard hitting Yoji Saito (1-1-1, 1) [齊藤陽ニ]. On paper this wasn't going to be a bout that got many talking unless you followed the Japanese scene, but it was arguably the bout of the card, as both men gave their all. Saito started brilliantly, getting inside and working hard shots up close. It seemed like he would break Ishiwaki down, but instead he began to flag heavily in round 3 as Ishiwaki really began to take the fight to him, and it was Ishiwaki who seemed to do enough to deserve the win after out working Saito over the final 4 rounds. In the end however the judges had the bout a split draw, with scores of 58-56 to Iwshiwaki, 58-57 to Saito and 57-57. We really do need to wonder about the 58-57 card, which we can't come to any defense of, though 57-57 was fair enough, as Saito may have done just enough to edge round 5.
A second notable bout saw 2017 Rookie of the Year winner Hironori Shigeta (6-1-1, 3) [重田裕紀] take a clear decision win over the limited but game Mitsumasa Takahashi (9-6-1, 3) [高橋光政]. The once beaten Shigeta dropped his man in the opening round and put on a bit of a show case of ring control as he easily won the bout, though showed a few flaws that we expect fighters will take advantage of in the future. Although clearly too skilled, too fast and too smart for Takahashi, who constantly brought the pressure, Shigeta does seem like a very lead hand focused southpaw, and does waste movement. Though there is a real talent for his team mould. He won this one 60-54, 60-53 and 59-54.
In a Japanese youth Light Flyweight title eliminator, as Tsuyoshi Sato (9-1-1, 5) [佐藤剛] pressured and broke hard hitting Tetsuya Tomioka (5-4, 5) [富岡哲也]. Tomioka, who has never heard the final bell, was under pressure from the off and after being dropped in round 2 he really had no answer, and was saved by the referee as Sato went to work. Sato is an absolute nightmare to fight and looks like he will clearly be in the mix for titles well beyond youth level in the coming years. He will face the winner of the April 11th bout between Rikito Shiba (2-0, 1) [芝力人] and Hizuki Saso (10-5-1, 3) [佐宗緋月].
The only bout that was actually poor saw Cristiano Aoqui (14-7-2, 10) [アオキ クリスチャーノ] struggle to get going against Filipino Anthony Marcial (24-4-1, 22). This was a disappointing and messy affair, though it did end in very impressive fashion, with Aoqui landing a sensational left hand to knock out Marcial in round 5. It was a highlight to an other forgettable match up.
A second sensational finish came only a few minutes later when hard hitting Middleweight Koki Tyson (14-3-2, 12) [太尊 康輝] took out Thai visitor Chaiwat Mueanphong (4-4, 2) in the second round, with a brutal left hand. Tyson, who was fighting for the first time since joining the Kadoebi gym, impressed here and we're going to look forward to what he does next.
Earlier this month we reported that Koki Tyson (13-3-2, 11) [太尊 康輝] would be returning to the ring on April 6th at the next "Slugfest" card, and would be up against a Thai foe. We now know who that Thai will be, and if we're being honest we're actually expecting this to be a solid work out for the favoured Japanese puncher.
Tyson, who hasn't fought since a loss in December 2017 to Yasayuki Akiyama, will be up against the durable Chaiwat Mueanphong (4-3, 2). On paper it's a mismatch, but Chaiwat has given Japanese champion Kazuto Takesako [竹迫司登] his toughest bout, by far, and will be expected to give Tyson a genuine test here, given the long break Tyson's had.
Also confirmed for the card now is a Japanese youth Light Flyweight title eliminator, as Tsuyoshi Sato (8-1-1, 4) [佐藤剛] takes on the hard hitting Tetsuya Tomioka (5-3, 5) [富岡哲也] and the return to the ring of the exciting Cristiano Aoqui (13-7-2, 9) [アオキ クリスチャーノ], following a hand injury he suffered last year.
These bouts fill out a card that will be headlined by Japanese Light Welterweight champion Valentine Hosokawa (24-6-3, 11) [細川バレンタイン] defending his title against mandatory challenger Koki Inoue (12-0, 10) [浩樹井上] and will also feature an excellent contest between Aso Ishiwaki (5-2, 3) [石脇麻生] and Yoji Saito (1-1, 1) [齊藤陽ニ].
For fans wanting to watch this card but can't get to Tokyo, it will be aired live on G+.
Earlier today former Japanese "interim" Welterweight champion Daisuke Sakamoto (14-9-3, 8) [坂本大輔] took to his blog to announce his next bout. In his blog post Sakamoto revealed that he would be returning on July 9th as part of a Kadoebi promoted "Sugfest 5" card.
The 36 year old Sakamoto, who turned professional back in 2007, announced that his opponent for the bout would be Koki Koshikawa (6-1, 4) [越川孝紀], who turned professional with high expectations but has so far failed to deliver.
Sakamoto stated the bout would be the final one of his career, and comes after a notable break from action, with the Kadoebi man last fighting in November 2017. That bout saw him lose in a bout to unify the Japanese and Japanese "interim" Welterweight titles, with Toshio Arikawa stopping him in 5 rounds.
Whilst not well known outside of Japan Sakamoto has had a pretty interesting career at hime, fighting a domestic who's who of the Light Welterweight and Welterweight diviison. He has shared the ring with Yasuhiro Okawa, Moon Hyon Yun, Cobra Suwa, Nobuyuki Shindo, Toshio Arikawa and Makoto Kawasaki.
As an amateur Koshikawa shined before signing with the Celes gym. Sadly his professional career which began back in 2014, has been a frustrating one. He looked to be on the fast track before losing in 2015 to Koshinmaru Saito. Following that loss he would be away from the ring for over 2 years before returning in August, and beating 2 over-matched Thai foes.
Also set to be on this card are Japanese ranked fighters Yusuke Konno (12-4, 6) [今野裕介], Cristiano Aoqui (12-7-2, 8) and Tsuyoshi Sato (6-1-1, 2) [佐藤剛], though none of them have had confirmed opponents announce for the card as of yet.
(Image courtesy of Sakamoto's blog)
Earlier today Japanese fight fans saw the fast rising Koki Inoue (9-0, 8) [浩樹井上] score his biggest win to date, as he scored a 2nd round TKO win over domestic ranked foe Cristiano Aoqui (11-7-2, 7) [青木クリスチャーノ]. Sadly whilst the result looks great on paper for Inoue the win did come with a lot of disappointment for the Light Welterweight hopeful.
The bout started excitingly and Inoue showed the class which is expected to take him far, as he neutralised Aoqui and landed some eye catching counters in an engaging and fun opening round.
Sadly at the start of round 2 Aoqui was unable to get off his stool in a manner fit to fight, with an apparent back injury that forced his team to pull him from the contest and assist him back to the changing room.
The Brazilian-Japanese fighter later revealed that it was an injury from twisting that caused him to pull out of the back, in genuine agony. As for Inoue the bout sees him take a step closer to a Japanese title fight, and he made it very clear that that was what he wanted, whether he was getting a shot next, or had to earn the shot, though he did also admit that he was disppointed with today's bout.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Tomorrow Japanese fight fans get an interesting show thanks to the Ohashi gym who are looking to show case a number of their hopefuls. Among those hopefuls is the all-action Koki Inoue (8-0, 7) [浩樹井上], who looks to extend his unbeaten record and move closer to a Japanese title fight as he takes on domestic foe Cristiano Aoqui (11-6-2, 7) [青木クリスチャーノ], in what is essentially a Japanese title eliminator.
Today Inoue, the cousin of world champion Naoya Inoue, and Aoqui took part in their weigh in and both fighters came in under the 140lb limit.
Inoue was the heavier man, coming in around 139.75lbs and he looked in fantastic shape, as he has through his career. He knows this is a huge chance for him to prove himself, and it's clear that he'll be looking for a stoppage, but believes in his stamina enough to go the distance if he has to.
Aoqui, a former Japanese title challenger, was well under the limit at 137.5lbs, and looked like a fighter who had come in a little bit too much on the light side. The Japanese-Brazilian has lost his last two bouts, including a Japanese title fight against Hiroki Okada, and it looks like those two set backs have lead to him getting into great shape, and coming in at his lowest weight in almost 4 years.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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