Back in April Daigo Higa (15-1, 15) [比嘉 大吾] suffered his first professional loss, as he was stopped against Nicaraguan Cristofer Rosales, prior to which he had been stripped of the WBC Flyweight title for failing to make weight.
By being stripped on the scales Higa became the first ever Japanese fighter to lose a world title in that fashion. Soon afterwards Higa was given an indefinite suspension by the Japanese Boxing Commission (JBC), who had felt the need to make a statement following a number of fighters failing to make weight in the country.
Higa hasn't been given a life time ban, but has been given a ban that will only end when he meets several conditions to the JBC.
Recent reports from Japan however make it seem like he's in no rush to fight again, with the Japanese Daily Sport website quoting Higa as saying "I have not decided anything yet, I am not thinking" in regards to his future. It's also been reported that he hasn't began training full time yet and it does seem like boxing isn't at the front of his mind right now, instead his social media seems to be focused on relaxing and living a fun life, something we can't blame him for.
We'll admit we do look forward to Higa hopefully returning to the ring, but there's certainly no rush to have the youngster return and the fighter "enjoying" his suspension may not be the worst thing for him if he does return to the ring.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Back in June we saw a Japanese Bantamweight title bout between Suguru Muranaka (26-3-1, 8) [村中 優] and Yuta Saito [齊藤裕太] falling apart at the 11th hour with Muranaka being taken to hospital due to issues making weight. Sadly Muranaka this wasn't a one off, and his issues with making weight had really plagued his career in recent years, forcing him to be stripped of the Japanese Flyweight title, then having issues making weight in subsequent bouts.
With the inability to weigh in against Saito it appears the Japanese Boxing Commission (JBC) have had enough of Muranaka's issues and today, following a meeting related to the JBC rankings, they announced that they were indefinitely suspending Muranaka.
The JBC have made it clear this year they will not accept fighters missing weight any more. Muranaka is the third fighter, this year, to be given an indefinite suspension, following Daigo Higa [比嘉 大吾] and Luis Nery, who both failed to make weight earlier this year.
Unfortunately for Muranaka, who is best known internationally for losing in a WBA Super Flyweight bout to Kal Yafai, he is now 33 years old. He's not a youngster like Higa and Nery who can take their punishment and come back with most of their career ahead of them. Instead Muranaka's career is possibly now over. He will have to regain the JBC's trust, and hope that they end the suspension sooner rather than later. Sadly however it's likely that the JBC will want to make an example of Muranaka due to the multiple time that he's missed weight already.
Earlier this month was saw Daigo Higa (15-1, 15) [比嘉 大吾] not only suffer his first defeat but become the first Japanese fighter to lose a world title on the scales, as he failed to make weight for a WBC Flyweight title defense against Nicaraguan Cristofer Rosales (27-3, 18).
Following the loss Higa was forced to spend time in hospital with the JBC reviewing the ordeal to decide on his punishment, which was announced today.
Firstly Higa will be financially punished, with 20% of his purse being taken. In a more telling punishment the JBC have given him an indefinite punishment, essentially the same as was given to Luis Nery for failing to make weight in his second bout with Shinsuke Yamanaka.
The JBC have also stated that as part of Higa eventual return to the ring he will be forced to move up in weight.
Following the JBC announcing the punishment the Shirai Gushiken Gym, who manage Higa, released a statment apologising for Higa's failure tomake weight and stated it shouldn't have happened. They explained that Higa has been hospitalised for examinations but has since been released and will now aim to manage the health of their fighters more seriously.
Interestingly the JBC have stated they won't remove the suspension until they satisfied with health and condition reports from the gym, and it seems like they are intending on keeping a close eye on the fighter going forward, to prevent something similar happening again.
The seriousness of this punishment seems to be a statement from the JBC that they are running out of patience with fighters unable to make weight, and we're expecting to see them change their rules in this regard in the near future, with a number of domestic bouts being cancelled recently dueto weight failures.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
On May 25th we'll see Naoya Inoue (15-0, 13) [井上 尚弥] attempt to become a 3-weight world champion as he challenges WBA "regular" Bantamweight champion Jamie McDonnell (29-2-1-1, 13).
Ahead of the bout Inoue has been preparing for McDonnell by sparring with opponents who are physically similar to the English world champion. On Wednesday that included unbeaten British Featherweight - come Super Featherweight Raza Hamza (9-0-1, 5) who, at 5'10", matches the height of the champion.
The sparring session saw Inoue impress, as he always does, with his sharpness and even in sparring conditions with heavy gloves his power was clear, as he dropped Hamza with a nasty left hook to the body. To his credit Hamza hasn't been put off sparring with the "Monster" and stated on his twitter account that he "can’t wait to go again Thursday".
According to reports in the Japanese media Inoue is quite a bit over the limit, but it does seem like he has no problems with the 118b limit.
On the subject of weight Inoue seemed to suggest that former WBC Flyweight champion Daigo Higa (15-1, 15) [比嘉 大吾] should consider returning to the ring at Bantamweight, when he returns to action.
(Image courtesy of daily.co.jp)
Yesterday we saw Ryota Murata (14-1, 11) [村田 諒太] record his first defense of the WBA Middleweight title, as he stopped Emanuele Felice Blandamura (27-3, 5). The bout has really shown the appeal of Murata and saw him set the TV figures alight with a staggering average of 14.7% of the Kanto region watching the contest, with the number peaking at 17%.
To put that into perspective those numbers, just for the one region, are an average of 6.36 million and a high of 7.35 million. Numbers for the other regions haven't been widely reported, but similar viewing rates would be expected in Kansai as well, the second biggest market for being in Japan.
These numbers aren't quite as impressive as Murata's second bout with Hassan N'Dam, which peaked at 20.5%, but they have been reported as "good figures" with it being the highest sports rating of the year for Fuji TV.
Despite losing Daigo Higa (15-1, 15) [比嘉 大吾] to Cristofer Rosales (27-3, 18), and being stripped of the WBC Flyweight title before the bout, Higa was also a ratings hit. His bout averaged 10.5% of the Kanto region and peaked at 12.7%. To put those in to raw numbers that's an average of 4.54 million and a peak of of 5.49 million.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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