After a couple of underwhelming performances Japanese Super Flyweight champion Takayuki Okumoto (23-8-4, 11) [奥本貴之] really showed what he could do today, as he defeated Dynamic Kenji (11-4, 7) [木久健次] in impressive fashion, ending a strong run of form from Kenji who had rightfully earned a shot at the title.
From the opening round Okumoto lookd the better fight, his jab was sharp and his fontro from the southpaw stance was clear, whilst Kenji struggled to figure his man out. Kenji would look to land a straight right hand, but struggled to land it cleanly, with Okumoto firing off his own straights with much more success.
In round 4 a clash of heads left Okumoto cut, around the top of his right eye, but it didn't really give him any problems. Instead of being bothered by the cut Okumoto merely remained in control, taking the 5th round to secure a 50-45 lead on all 3 score cards when they were announce at the end of the 5th round.
Being in such a comfortable lead Okumoto could have cruised but instead he wanted to prove he was was a fighting champion and a combination in round 6 sent Kenji to the canvas where he took the 10 count.
After the bout Kenji seemed to realise he was out of his depth whilst Okumoto, for the first time in a long time, looked like he had made improvements, and Masaya Motoishi, the chairman of the Green Tsuda gym also compliment his fighter, recognising his development and growth. Following 3 poor performances from Okumoto this was just what he needed to prove himself as a champion and build his reputation, which was certainly in need of a boost.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Tomorrow fight fans in Osaka will get the chance to see Japanese Super Flyweight champion Takayuki Okumoto (22-8-4, 10) [奥本貴之] taking on the under-rated Dynamic Kenji (11-3, 7) [木久健次] in his next defense.
On the scales the champion came in at around 114.7lbs and looked in good shape for what is his third defense of the belt. Kenji, fighting in his first title bout, was a little heavier, coming in on the divisional limit and looking strong and powerful.
Okumoto stated that he was really excited. He's not looked great in his defenses so far and although a talented fighter there clearly hasn't been the typical boost we see when a fighter wins a title. Kenji on the other hand seemed determined to win for his gym and showed real desire, though he is stepping up massively for this bout.
Related - Okumoto defends Japanese title against Kenji
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today in Osaka the Green Tsuda gym announced their next show, Crash Boxing volume 18. The show, set for August 4th at the EDION Arena Osaka, in Osaka City, is a pretty stacked one with a couple of title fights, the next bout of a former Japanese champion and the next bout of a very highly regarded Thai prospect.
The main event of the card will see Japanese Super Flyweight champion Takayuki Okumoto (22-8-4, 10) [奥本貴之] defending his title against Dynamic Kenji (11-3, 7) [木久健次] in a mouth watering clash. The champion, seeking his third defense, will be looking to build from close bouts against Hiroyuki Kudaka, Masayoshi Hashizume and Yuta Matsuo whilst Kenji will be getting his first title fight. Neither man looked great last time out, but they should put on an absolute thriller here in a bout that neither man can really afford to lose.
The other title bout on this card will see Toshiki Shimomachi (9-1-2, 5) [下町俊貴] battle against Kenta Nomura (6-2, 3) [野村健太] in an excellent match up for the Japanese Youth Super Bantamweight title. The winner of this will get their first title and it's a bout that we're expecting to be fantastic, with two under-rated youngsters meeting in a big bout for this stage in their career. Of course a Japanese Youth title doesn't always put you on the fast track, we would be surprised to not have the winner move towards a proper national title in the years to come.
In notable supporting bouts we'll see former Japanese Welterweight champion Ryota Yada (18-5, 15) [矢田良太] and former Japanese amateur standout Kazuki Tanaka (10-2, 7) [田中一樹]. Neither man has had their up coming opponents named yet, though both are in the rebuilding process, with Yada wanting to rebuild from his title loss and Tanaka looking to secure his second win since a defeat to Keita Kurihara.
Arguably the most interesting part of the undercard is the Green Tsudada debut of Thai teenager Thanongsak Simsri (9-0, 9), who is being referred to as "Srisaket II" in the Thai press. Simsri signed with Green Tsuda earlier this month and is tipped as something of a prodigy, so we're really looking forward to what he can do with a Japanese gym behind him. Sadly his opponent, for an 8 rounder, has also not yet been confirmed.
Earlier today at the L-Theatre in Osaka saw the promising Dynamic Kenji (11-3, 7) [木久健次] being given a real scare as unheralded Thai Sophon Klachun (4-3, 1) pushed him all the way in an 8 round bout.
On paper this was supposed to be a straight forward win for the inform Kenji, who had won his last 5 by stoppage, including wins over Futa Akizuki and Shota Kawaguchi. It turned out to be a tough, tough fight for the Japanese fighter.
Kenji started well, and seemed to build a good lead in the early rounds. he pressed well and landed good body shots, in what was a good start. After 3 rounds however Kenji's work rate dropped and the Thai came into the bout, whilst Kenji looked exhausted, struggling to fire off with any power. He was just lucky that Sophon could never quite make him pay.
The poor effort from Kenji in the final 5 rounds lead to some very worried faces, and some incredible close scores, with one judge having the bout level, 76-76, another giving it to Kenji with a score of 77-76 and wild score of 79-74, in what was a hard to explain score from the judge.
Whilst the bout taking place at a contracted 54KG didn't help Kenji this performance will not convince his team to get him a title fight and there will, instead, be some series questions to answer for the OPBF, WBO Asia Pacific and JBC ranked Super Flyweight contender. As for the Thai he has, again, proven his value, and despite being 0-3 in Japan he has now twice gone 8 rounds with Japanese hopefuls and we suspect he will be invited back sooner rather than later.
Having started his career 2-2 it would have been easy to write off Dynamic Kenji (10-3, 7) [木久健次] as a fighter unlikely to be worthy of a mention. Over the last couple of years however Kenji has shone, stopping his last 5 foes including Futa Akizuki and Shota Kawaguchi, to become a really promising fighter who will likely find himself in the title mix sooner rather than later.
Kenji's recent run of form has seen him being boosted to a top 10 place in the Japanese, OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific rankings and we have bow been informed that he will be returning to the ring on April 14th in his 14th professional bout.
At the moment the full details of his bout aren't confirmed, though we do know that it will be an 8 round bout at the El Theater in Osaka. The bout will also be the main event of Champion's Road 65.
The chief bout of this card has also been confirmed, and will be an 8 round bout between Noboru Osato (10-7-4, 2) [大里登] and the once beaten Ryotaro Motohashi (8-1, 2) [本橋遼太郎], in what looks like a mismatch on paper, but should be much more entertaining than the records suggest.
News! We try and give you the most interesting news stories from the Asian boxing world!