Last week the fantastic Notifight reported that WBC female Light Flyweight champion Yesenia Gomez (14-5-3-1, 6) will be making her first defense on February 16th, against Japanese challenger Erika Hanawa (10-3, 4) [塙英理加].
The 22 year old Mexican champion won the belt last September, when she narrowly over-came Esmeralda Moreno in a second meeting between the two. She made her debut back in 2011, at the age of 15, and lost 2 of her first 3 bouts. Despite those early setbacks Gomez has rebuilt her career and whilst scoring notable wins against the likes of Arely Valente and the the win over Moreno.
Interestingly Gomez is 1-1-3-1 in her last 6 bouts, dating back well over 2 years, and although she has only won 1 since 2017 she has only lost once in that time period as well.
Hanawa on the other hand is a Japanese fighter who began her career in 2015 and had a good start, winning her first 7 bouts. Since then however she has gone 3-3, with losses Kayoko Ebata, in a WBO Minimumweight title bout, Saemi Hanagata, in an OPBF title bout, and Shione Ogata, in a WBO Asia Pacific title bout.
Last time out, in November, Hanawa defeated Jujeath Nagaowa, in what was seen as a must win bout for Hanawa. That win has lead to this bout, and it is again a must win for Hanawa.
At the Korakuen Hall earlier today fight fans saw the Erika Hanawa (10-3, 4) [塙英理加] claim her biggest career win, and keep her career alive, as she stopped Filipino veteran Jujeath Nagaowa (13-19-1, 8), to claim the OPBF female Minimumweight title.
Prior to the fight Hanawa had been frank with the press and suggested that if she lost she'd consider retiring from the sport. It seemed like those comments were on her mind early on as she came forward with a tight defense and used good technical skills to press the Filipino. Nagaowa worked hard to try and create some space, and landed a number of combinations, but she couldn't back up Hanawa for any prolonged amount of time.
Hanawa would take round 2, again boxing technically and using a tight defense as well as an accurate jab. By the end of the second round Nagaowa's work rate had began to drop off. That drop off from the Filipino continued into round 3, where she began to look like a mentally beaten fighter, going through the motions to put up an effort whilst accepting defeat.
Hanawa didn't just want to win, and set a pace for round 4, a round that she truly dominated, landing shots at will whilst Hanawa rarely responded. It was clear that Hanawa wanted a stoppage, and Nagaowa obliged retiring from the bout after round 4.
If we're being honest it seemed like Nagaowa was beaten after the second round and she gave very little after that, with the bout perhaps signalling the very end of her boxing career. Hanawa was clearly hungry for the win, and you could tell after the bout that it meant the world to her, keeping her career alive and moving her towards one more big fight. Sadly for Hanawa there is a huge gulf between a win at this level and a world title win, and that's clearly what she's wanting in the future. She's talented but winning a world title would take so much more than she showed here.
Tomorrow fight fans at the Korakuen Hall and those who subscribe to Boxingraise, will be able to see a Japan Vs China card. Part of that card will see Japan's Erika Hanawa (9-3, 3) [塙英理加] take on Filipino veteran Jujeath Nagaowa (13-18-1, 8) in a battle for the OPBF female Minimumweight title, in what is the only title bout on the show.
Today the two women took part in their weigh in for the contest, and both fighters made weight, though did so in very different fashion.
On the scales Hanawa was comfortably under the 105lb limit, coming in around 104.25lbs and making weight with a lot of room to spare. She spoke confidently at the weigh in, revealing she had been training with world champions Saemi Hanagata and Ayaka Miyao and had now physically grown into the Minimumweight division, having fought a good portion of her career at Atomweight.
Nagaowa on the other hand came in over weight originally, weighing around 105.6lbs. She was given an hour to lose the excess which she did and came in on the limit. She spoke happily about fighting at the Korakuen Hall again, a venue she has a 1-2 record in, and seemed confident of winning the title and enjoying a good fight.
Fans wanting to watch this bout but can't make their way to the Korakuen Hall, can do so live on Boxingraise.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
On November 28th Dangan will promote their next Japan Vs China card, which features local prospects Shu Utsuki (2-0, 1) [宇津木秀] and Kaiki Yuba (3-0-1, 2) [湯場海樹] taking on opponents from China.
One of the bouts from this card not to be part of the Japan Vs China theme is a female bout between local hopeful Erika Hanawa (9-3, 3) [塙英理加] and Filipino veteran Jujeath Nagaowa (13-18-1, 8), who will be fighting for the OPBF female Minimumweight title.
Hanawa is a former OPBF "interim" champion but has come up short in her most notable bouts, losing in a WBO world title fight to Kayoko Ebata and losing in a bout for the full version of the OPBF title earlier this year to Saemi Hanagata. Despite those losses the 28 year old has shown promise, and will be hungry to get back to winning ways after a loss in September to Shione Ogata.
Nagaowa on the other hand is a true veteran of the ring, having debuted as a professional boxer more than 12 years ago. Her career has seen her face a real who's who but sadly the stiff competition has seen her score just a single win since the start of 2013. It needs to be noited that she hasn't fought in a boxing ring since June 2017, but she has remained active as a fighter with bouts in MMA, where she holds an impressive 4-0 record.
We're expecting more details of this card to be announced very shortly, with a poster image expected in the coming weeks.
Earlier today fight fans in Neyegawa City will got the chance to see an interesting card, which was held as a joint promotional venture by three different promotional outfits. One of those was the Neyagawa Ishida Boxing Club, run by Nobuhiro Ishida, who were playing a part in the promotion of a show for the very first time.
It was Ishida's fighter Shione Ogata (10-6, 2) [緒方汐音] who headlined the show, fighting in the card's main event. It was also Ogata who claimed the biggest win of her career as she over-came former world title challenger Erika Hanawa (9-3, 3) [塙英理加] to become the new WBO Asia Pacific female Light Flyweight champion.
Ogata boxed smartly through out, and although she spent quite a bit of the fight on the back foot she smartly used her jab to set up her straight right hand, and timed her left hooks brilliantly to stop the charges of Hanawa.
Hanawa certainly showed her hunger, rarely showing anything but aggression, but lacked the skills and know how to make the more of her offensive forays.
With the gold around the waist of Ogata it seems like Ishida is planning big things, and spoke about wanting to get his star a world title fight in Japan. It's clear that Ishida has big aspirations for both Ogata and the gym and it's fantastic to see him chasing gold for his fighters, despite the gym only being a relatively new one.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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