Yesterday we reported that an October 26th card at Korakuen Hall would be playing host to 5 Japanese eliminators as we begin to piece together the 2020 Champion Carnival bouts. Now we've been given a full list of all the eliminators, as we really see the end of the year Japanese boxing calendar take shape.
The first of the bouts will take place on September 13th at Super Bantamweight, and will see former champion Ryoichi Tamura (12-4-1, 6) [田村 亮一] take on experienced veteran Gakuya Furuhashi (25-8-1, 14) [古橋大輔], in what should be a thriller.
The second of the eliminators will take place just a few days later, on September 21st and is another bout that was already known about. This one is the Japanese Minimumweight title eliminator between unbeaten teenager Kai Ishizawa (6-0, 6) [石澤開] and former world title challenger Masataka Taniguchi (11-3, 7) [谷口 将隆].
Following the Minimumweight bout we'll have to wait until October for many of the bouts, with the first of those coming on October 21st and seeing Cristiano Aoqui (14-7-2, 10) [アオキ クリスチャーノ] and Daishi Nagata (13-2-1, 5) [永田大士] clash in an eliminator at 140lbs. On paper this one has explosive action written all over it and could turn out to be the hidden gem of the eliminators.
We then move on to the October 26th card, which features 5 different eliminators. They are the Flyweight eliminator, between Ryota Yamauchi (5-1, 4) [山内涼太] and Seiya Fujikita (13-4, 6) [藤北誠也], the Bantamweight eliminator between Kazuki Tanaka (11-2, 8) [田中一樹] and Kyosuke Sawada (13-2-1, 6) [澤田京介] the Featherweight eliminator, pitting Hinata Maruta (9-1-1, 7) [丸田陽七太] against Takenori Ohashi (17-5-2, 11) [大橋健典], the Lightweight eliminator between Kazuki Saito (7-1, 5) [斎藤一貴] and Izuki Tomioka (6-2-1, 2) [富岡樹] and the Welterweight bout between Keita Obara (21-4-1, 19) [小原 佳太] and Toshiro Tarumi (12-3-3, 6) [垂水稔朗]. This is where the bulk of the bouts are, and is expected to be a sensational card.
The Super Featherweight bout will take place on October 30th and is one of the best match ups. The bout will see former Japanese Featherweight champion Taiki Minamoto (16-5-1, 13) [源大輝] take on Takuya Watanabe (36-9-1, 21) [渡邉卓也]. This pits a huge puncher against a proper tough guy in what could be a very brutal bout.
At Light Middleweight we'll see former champion Nobuyuki Shindo (20-5-2, 8) [新藤寛之] take on Yuto Shimizu (13-4-2, 5) [清水優人] in what looks like a disappointing match up on paper but should prove to be very entertaining. This bout will take place on November 2nd and is expected to be featured on a card that has at least one other noteworthy bout.
The final bout to be scheduled is the Light Flyweight contest, which is set to feature Rikito Shiba (3-0, 2) [芝力人] taking on the big punching Masamichi Yabuki (9-3, 9) [佐藤政道], in another amazing match up. This bout, set to take place in Nagoya on December 15th, is a huge step up for Shiba and a win here would be a huge statement for the youngster.
One bout that has been ordered, but has no set date yet, is the Super Flyweight bout, which will feature former champion Hiroyuki Kudaka (26-18-2, 11) [久高寛之] and Yuta Matsuo (15-4-1, 8) [松尾雄太], in what should be an action packed war, helped by the limitations of the two men involved.
Notably there will be no eliminator at Middleweight and instead Riku Kunimoto (4-0, 2) [国本陸] will get a shot at the belt, likely against current champion Kazuto Takesako (11-0-1, 11) [竹迫司登], in the new year.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Earlier today we reported that Japanese Heavyweight Kyotaro Fujimoto (20-1, 12) [藤本京太郎] would be back in the ring on October 21st as he takes on Suthat Kalalek (13-10, 12) in a rematch of their 2018 clash. That bout won't be the main event of the card however, instead the main event of the show, Slugfest 11, will be WBO Asia Pacific Flyweight title clash, between defending champion Yusuke Sakashita (18-8-3, 13) [阪下優友] and Naoki Mochizuki (16-4, 8) [望月直樹], in what will be a rematch of their December 2016 clash.
The bout will be Sakashita's first defense of the title, which he won earlier this year when he stopped former world title challenger Masahiro Sakamoto.
The 28 year old Sakashita is probably best known for his 2014 loss to Suguru Muranaka for the Japanese Flyweight title. Following that bout he went 2-3 though has now rebuilt well with a 4-0-1 record in his last 5 bouts, including a draw with Takuya Kogawa and stoppage wins over Keisuke Nakayama and Masahiro Sakamoto. Although no world beater he is in good form and his last 3 performances have been among his best.
Interestingly the last man to Sakashita was Mochizuki, who beat him at the end of 2016 with a clear unanimous decision. Since that win he has gone 5-3, with losses to Keisuke Nakayama, Komgrich Nantapech and Junto Nakatani, being stopped by Nakatani in a Japanese title bout earlier this year. Despite the loss to Nakatani he does have some momentum coming into this bout thanks to a June win over Samartlek Kokietgym.
Kyotaro's bout isn't even the chief support bout of the card, instead that's a Japanese Light Welterweight title eliminator between Cristiano Aoqui (14-7-2, 10) [アオキ クリスチャーノ] and Daishi Nagata (13-22-1, 5) [永田大士], in what is a really good match up and could end up being a bit of an instant classic. Aoqui is an aggressive, heavy handed and swift fighter and whilst Nagata isn't as quick or sharp he's tough, aggressive and his bout against Rikki Naito showed how much fun he can be to watch.
One other bout announced for this card will see Riku Nagahama (10-2-1, 4) [長濱 陸] battling against Fumisuke Kimura (9-4-1, 6) [木村文祐] in an interesting 8 round contest.
Earlier today at the Korakuen Hall there was an award ceremony for the East Japan Boxing Association October award winners.
The MVP for the month was the interestingly dressed Hiroaki Teshigawara (18-2-2, 11) [勅使河原 弘晶], who became the OPBF Super Bantamweight champion in October. He spoke to the fans today and revealed that he would be defending the OPBF title in February, though the opponent hasn't been named.
To prepare for his bout he's been training in the Philippines and clearly seems confident as we head into the new year of having another fantastic 12 months.
The Fighting Spirit award was won by Daishi Nagata (11-2-1, 5) [永田 大士], who lost in his own OPBF title bout but impressed in his performance. He spoke to the audience and stated that he was "honored to receive such an award" and that he would "be a champion next year," though revealed nothing about when he would be fighting again.
(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)
Earlier today Japanese fight fans got a domestic treat the Korakuen Hall as Rikki Naito (23-2, 7) [内藤 律樹] battled against Daishi Nagata (11-2-1, 5) [永田 大士], with Naito looking to make his second defense of the OPBF Light Welterweight title.
The bout had originally been criticised in some circles, given that Nagata had been stopped by Vladimir Baez not too long ago, but that criticism was silenced by a fantastic back and forth war.
Nagata got off to a great start winning the first round on all 3 cards and being on the lead on all 3 cards after 3 rounds. He had managed to quickly establish his jab and find a home for his straight southpaw left hand. Naito however had done enough to be level on all 3 cards when the scores were announced after the 4th round, with all 3 judges scoring the bout at 38-38.
Nagata would have a good round 5 but the middle of the rounds saw little to split the two men, with rounds 6 and 7 both being Naito rounds before Nagata took round 8. This left the two men level on 2 of the scorecards whilst the third favoured Naito 77-75, when the scores were publicly announced for the second time.
Round 9 was a close one though in round 10 Nagata made a statement dropping Naito hard. To his credit Naito got to his feet and survived through the final round before rebounding well the following round to take round 11. Amazingly it went down to the last round, literally with all 3 judges having the bout scored at 104-104. The two fighters knew it was close and they both went all out looking to make a statement in an amazing round that left the decision really in the air.
The final bell rang and lead to the judges being called in, with all three having the bout incredibly close. The first judge favoured Nagata, 114-113, the other two however over-ruled him, scoring it 114-113 to Naito, narrowly retained his title in a second close defense. For Nagata the performance shows he's title quality and he will likely get another title fight in the near future. For Naito the win does little to establish him as the best in Asia, and we wouldn't be surprised to see him being dethroned in 2019, likely by stoppage.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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