In a bout between Japanese ranked fighters earlier today fight fans saw Dai Iwai (23-5-1, 7) [岩井 大] battle against Spicy Matsushita (17-11-2, 2) [スパイシー松下]. The bout was a real must win for both, and looked like it could be something pretty interesting on paper, given their rankings and need for a win.
The bout began with Iwai coming forward and having the early success in what was a pretty messy round. Despite being messy the fight the fight was most clear early on. Sadly the clean action began to fade round by round as Matsushita began to fight back with more regularity, having pretty notable success with his uppercuts.
Although messy Iwai was consistently getting the better of the action in center ring, whilst Matsushita was really only having success when he pinned Iwai on the ropes.
The messy action became messier round by round, and saw both men landing low in round 5, though neither was given any warning by the referee who seemed to see them as being tit for tat, and incidental. It was however a pretty notable thing, even if accidental by both fighters.
Heading into round 6 it was clear that Iwai was in the lead and it seemed like Matsushita was sent out with instructions to turn things around. He began the round with more aggression and took the fight to Iwai, but couldn't discourage Iwai who ended the round well, and left Matsushita with a small cut under the left eye. It looked like Matsushita had given his all in the round and Iwai clearly won the 7th round.
The final round was arguably the round of the fight as Matsushita tried to turn things around again and Iwai stood firm, once more, firing back. Towards the end of the round Matsushita became wilder, with exhaustion and desperation clearly effecting him. The wilder shots of Matsushita made life easier for Iwai who merely had to see the final bell to get the decision, with scores of 79-73, 79-74 and 78-75.
Earlier today fight fans at the Korakuen Hall has a chance to see a show promoted by Hideki Todaka. The card wasn't a high profile one, but did feature a number of Japanese ranked fighters, several of which were in pretty interesting match ups.
One of those notable names was JBC ranked Welterweight Cobra Suwa (20-13-2, 12) [コブラ諏訪], who bounced back from his November 2017 loss to Nobuyuki Shindo by blasting out an over-matched Thai foe in just 53 seconds.
One of the more interesting match ups pitted Japanese ranked Super Featherweights against each other, with Kazuma Sanpei (15-4, 6) [三瓶数馬] coming out on top against Kei Iwahara (8-5, 4) [岩原慶]. The bout was a really well matched one on paper, with both fighters just outside the JBC top 10, but in the end Sanpei's experience proved too much for Iwahara, with his team tossing in the towel mid way through round 6.
Another bout between Japanese ranked fighters was the main event, which pitted two JBC top 15 Featherweights against each other. This bout saw Dai Iwai (22-5-1, 7) [岩井大] out point Yosuke Kawano (12-7-2, 6) [河野洋佑] over 8 rounds to take a huge step towards getting a Japanese title fight, potentially against JBC Featherweight champion Taiki Minamoto. This was a really competitive bout, though Iwai's experience helped him to the decision with scores of 78-74 and 77-75, twice.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today Japanese fight fans at the Korakuen Hall saw a number of Japanese title eliminator bouts, with the winners being set for title bouts in 2018.
The first of those bouts took place at Flyweight and saw Katsunori Nagamine (14-1-1, 10) [長嶺克則] battle with Akinori Hoshino (13-7-2, 9) [星野晃規] in what was a really interesting match up on paper, especially given Hoshino's recent wins. Sadly whilst it looked good on paper the bout really never caught fire and was a frustrating affair overall, resulting in a split decision draw that really left everyone feeling under-whelmed. The score-cards at the end of the bout were 78-75, 75-77 and 76-76, giving Nagamine the mandatory status on the "dominant point" rule and he will meet Masayuki Kuroda or Mako Matsuyama next year.
The second eliminator was at Bantamweight and saw the under-rated Yusuke Suzuki (9-3, 6) [鈴木悠介] score a 7th round stoppage win over the experienced Eita Kikuchi (21-5-4, 8) [菊地永太]. Kikuchi was dropped 4 times by Suzuki who proved to be too strong, too powerful and too good for the veteran, who was finally saved in round 7. The win sets Suuki up for a shot at Ryo Akaho in 2018, and it's to not get very excited about that potential war, which will take place early next year.
At Featherweight we got a thriller as Dai Iwai (21-5-1, 7) [岩井大] went up against the heavy handed Taiki Minamoto (14-5, 11) [源大輝]. The bout pitted the top two contenders at 126lb against each other and fans really got a treat. The fight started well with Minamoto generally having the better off it, befoe busting Iwai open. With bloody oozing from Iwai's face it was clear he had toup the pace and this resulted in a really exciting contest. Sadly for Iwai he lacked the power to hurt Miniamoto and instead it was the Minamoto who controlled the bout the bout to take a decision, with scores of 77-76, 77-75 and 78-75 and move his way to a title fight.
The final eliminator to take place today was a Welterweight contest which saw Moon Hyun Yun (18-5-3, 3) [尹文鉉] battle against the heavy handed Ryota Yada (14-4, 11) [矢田良太]. Yada started well, and seemed to hurt Yun in round 2, before Yun upped the anti and took the fight to Yada, squeezing him for space. This resulted in an all-action contest that really was thrilling through the contest. Sadly for Yun however his aggression and work-rate wasn't to be enough to impress the judges, with Yada winnign 77-75, twice, and the third card was 76-76.
(Images courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Earlier today the JBC announced their replacement of the "Strongest Korakuen" and in all honesty we really like their decision, even if we were fans of the Strongest Korakuen.
For those unaware, the Strongest Korakuen, was a short tournament to decide the mandatory challenger for the Japanese titles the following year, at the Champion Carnival. At one point the tournament was pretty significant, with fighters genuinely vying for a place, but in recent years fighters have been less eager and what was once a tournament format has since dropped to being a straight final between two highly ranked JBC contenders in only a few divisions. A far cry from what the Strongest Korakuen once was.
The solution from the JBC was to have a "Japanese Champion Challenger Decision Battle", not a catchy name we'll admit, between two contenders to decide the mandatory challengers across a number of weight classes. And unlike the past these bouts aren't cramped on a single show but instead allowed to take place over a number of cards and dates. This has allowed the fighters more flexibility, and arguably set up a more interesting end to 2017 for Japanese fight fans, who have a number of big domestic clashes to look forward to on the national stage.
The first of the bouts will take place on August 20th and will come at Minimumweight as WBO world ranked fighter Ryoki Hirai (9-4-1, 4) [平井亮輝] take on Kenta Matsui (8-6, 1) [松井謙太]. On paper this doesn't look an amazing bout but the reality is that it's well matched on paper and give both men a rea reason to fight hard and go for the win, and could potentially see Hirai continue his remarkable career turn around which has seen him rebuild from a 3-3-1 (1) record to a potential title fight.
The second bout will take place on October 8th and will be the Light Flyweight bout, which will pit Koki Ono (12-3, 5) [小野晃輝] against veteran Koji Itagaki (17-11-3, 7) [板垣幸司] in what looks like another of those under-rated match ups that has made the Japanese scene as interesting as it is. On paper Ono will be strongly favoured, however Itagaki ios no joke and his record really doesn't tell the story of his good he is,
Interestingly we'll have 5 of the bouts take place on October 21st.
One of those will be at Flyweight as the always fun to watch Katsunori Nagamine (14-1, 10) [長嶺克則] takes on Akinori Hoshino (13-7-1, 9) [星野晃規]. Whilst this looks likely to be another predictable win, for Nagamine, it's hard to argue with him getting a title shot after the run he's been on since losing to Ken Shiro. Another bout on the same day Eita Kikuchi (21-4-4, 8) [菊地永太] will face off with Yusuke Suzuki (8-3, 5) [鈴木悠介] in a really good looking Bantamweight bout, which pits a veteran against a relative novice in what could be a real thriller.
On the same day we'll also get Featherweight bout which will pit Dai Iwai (21-4-1, 7) [岩井大] against Taiki Minimoto (13-5, 11) [源大輝], in a bout where we see former title challengers face off. We also get the Lightweight bout, which will pit fast rising prospect Shuichiro Yoshino (4-0, 2) [吉野修一郎] against Spicy Matsushita (17-9-1, 2) [スパイシー松下] in a another bout that pits a veteran against a novice, though it's fair to say the novice will be very strongly favoured here. The other bout taking place the same day is a Welterweight bout which will see former title challenger Moon Hyun Yun (18-4-3, 3) [尹文鉉] take on the heavy handed Ryota Yada (13-4, 11) [矢田良太] in a potentially explosive bout.
On November 4th we'll again get a number of bouts. One of those is a juicy looking Super Bantamweight bout between Yuta Nakagawa (21-4-1, 12) [中川勇太] and Yasutaka Ishimoto (30-9, 9) [石本康隆], in what could well be the pick of the bouts given the styles of the two men. Another bout on the same day will see Masaru Sueyoshi (15-1, 10) [末吉大] take on Ribo Takahata (13-7-1, 5) [高畑里望] in a Super Featherweight bout, with Sueyoshi looking ready to move on to title level. A third bout on the same day, and another real cracker on paper, will see Shoma Fukumoto (11-1, 9) [福本祥馬] trade blows with Kazuto Takesako (6-0, 6) [竹迫司登] for the chance to fight for a Middleweight title next year, and we suspect that one will be very explosive.
The Super Flyweight bout will take place on November 11th as Ohashi gym fighter Go Onaga (27-3-3, 18) [翁長吾央] battles against 4-time world title challenger Hiroyuki Hisataka (25-16-1, 11) [久高寛之] in what will almost certainly be a gruelling battle between two veterans of the ring.
At some point in November, though yet to be confirmed, we'll see the Welterweight bout between Nobuyuki Shindo (18-4-1, 7) [新藤寛之] and Cobra Suwa (19-12-2, 11) [コブラ諏訪], in what is a real must for both, who are both struggling at the moment and cannot afford another loss.
The final bout, scheduled for December 8th, will be at 140lbs and see Dominican born Japanese based Vladimir Baez (22-3-21, 20), aka "Destino Japan, take on Kazuyasu Okamoto (14-4, 4) [岡本和泰] in what should be another explsoive match up.
The winners of all the bouts will earn themselves a shot at their respective divisional champion in 2018, meaning the bouts really do matter, not just to the men involved, but also to the Japanese champions and the top domestic contenders.
It's fair to say that 2017 has been quiet so far this year, though it's good to see Boxingraise.com list their next few shows. That includes the fact the website will show tape delay footage of their two upcoming Rookie cards, on January 17th and January 23rd, but more importantly live coverage of Dangan 175, a show headlined by former world title challenger Nihito Arakawa (28-6-1, 17) [荒川 仁人].
The live stream will show the whole show live for Boxingraise subscribers and will see the teak tough Japanese warrior battle with Filipino Southpaw Anthony Sabalde (12-5-0-1, 7) for the WBO Asia Pacific Lightweight title. The title would see Arakawa become a triple crown champion, having previously held the Japanese and OPBF title, and would secure his place as one of the most notable Lightweights in the Oriental region.
The live stream will also feature 4 other bouts. The chief support from those will be a really interesting match up between Dai Iwai (19-4-1, 7) [岩井 大] and Shota Yamaguchi (14-3, 8) [山口 翔太], a bout that neither man can really afford to lose at the moment. Another supporting bout will be a rematch between Naoya Okamoto (10-5-1, 5) [岡本 ナオヤ] and Keita Nakano (13-10-6, 4) [中野 敬太], who fought to a draw last year.
At the moment Dangan haven't revealed any of any shows for subscribers in February but we're expecting to hear about those potential shows in the near future, and are hoping that they will carry at least one live show.
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