We are now just over a week away from the highly anticipated WBSS Bantamweight Japanese star Naoya Inoue (18-0, 16) [井上 尚弥] and Filipino icon Nonito Donaire (40-5, 26), who will battle for the Muhammad Ali trophy, the WBA "super", IBF and Ring Magazine titles.
As well as the brilliant main event the show will also feature a WBC Bantamweight title bout between Takuma Inoue (13-0, 3) [井上 拓真] and current WBC Bantamweight champion Nordine Oubaali (16-0, 12).
Over the last few days Fuji TV have revealed the TV details for the card.
The event is set to begin it's broadcast at 19:57 local time, with around 2 hours put aside for show, which will feature both world title bouts.
Of course for fans around the world title times will need to be adjusted, so for British fans wanting to watch the show will begin around 11AM UK time. Of course DAZN in the US will also show the event, and will need to be relied upon to present their own schedule, which we suspect will match up very accurately with Fuji, who are the lead broadcaster for the event.
Whilst it's a shame for an international audience that it's on a "work day", we suspect the number of viewers Fuji will be getting will genuinely be huge, and with over 20,000 tickets sold for the bout the mid-week scheduling has done no harm at all to the expected attendance for the bout.
After weeks of rumour and speculation we finally got the announcement of Fuji's huge end of year card today. And it was much bigger and more exciting than any of us had anticipated.
As had been previously reported the card will take place on December 23rd in Japan will not only feature one world title bout, but 3! Including an amazing world title eliminator and a chance for a modern legend to get one final big win, before potentially ending his career. It also leaves the door open to a notable under-card return.
The one bout that was well known about before hand was the WBA "regular" Middleweight championship bout between Ryota Murata (15-2, 12) [村田 諒太] to and once beaten Canadian Steven Butler (28-1-1, 24). This was announced as the show's main event and will see Murata make his first defense of his second reign in what looks like an excellent match up on paper. Butler might not be a huge name, but as a match up on paper this should sell it's self.
The legend in action is former 3-weight world champion Akira Yaegashi (28-6, 16) [八重樫 東]. The hugely popular Yaegashi had been public about hoping to get a Super Flyweight world title bout. He's failed to do that, but he has managed to land a different world title bout, as he shares the ring with IBF Flyweight champion Moruti Mthalane (38-2, 25), in an attempt to become a 2-time Flyweight champion. For Mthalane this will be his third successive bout against a Japanese opponent following wins over Masahiro Sakamoto, on December 31st last year, and Masayuki Kuroda, earlier this year.
The third of the world title bouts, and the one we are the most excited about, will see WBC Light Flyweight champion Kenshiro (16-0, 9) [拳四朗] defending his title in a unification bout with IBF champion Felix Alvarado (35-2, 30). Through the year we have seen Kenshiro and WBA "super" champion Hiroto Kyoguchi both speak about unification bouts, to see one of the two men landing a bout at this level is great, even better when it features a high risk and power punching fighter like Alvarado. This bout really will strengthen the winner's claim the be #1 in the division and will be Alvarado's second successive bout against a Japanese fighter following a win earlier this year against Reiya Konishi.
Although not announced this is also expected to be the show where we will see the return of former WBC Flyweight champion Daigo Higa (15-1, 15) [比嘉 大吾], with an announcement about that set to come later this year!
For those wanting to attend the event it will take place at the Yokohama Arena.
Fuji are ending the year big, and by big we mean huge with this amazing show, and without a doubt a contender for card of the year.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Last Friday Fuji TV, and affiliate Kansai TV, showed a world title double header. The card saw Ryota Murata (15-2, 12) [村田 諒太] reclaim the WBA "regular" Middleweight title, as he stopped Rob Brant (25-2, 17) in 2 rounds, and also saw WBC Light Flyweight champion Kenshiro (16-0, 9) [拳四朗] stop mandatory challenger Jonathan Taconing (28-4-1, 22).
Following those bouts there was a rather long wait for the TV numbers to be released, with that wait ending today. And boy were the numbers impressive!
Kenshiro, who has often missed out on live TV chances with Fuji, drew an average audience of 8.4%, a huge number for a guy that had been so over-looked.
Despite the Light Flyweight champion doing impressive numbers his fight was dwarfed by Murata, who averaged 11.9% in the Kanto region and 12.9% in the Kansai region, and peaked at 14.9% in Kanto and 20.8% in Kansai.
Whilst transferring the % to raw numbers isn't totally accurate it does give us some us fairly rough numbers to be blown away by.
The rough average is a little over 7,000,000 people watching Murata, with a peak of around 11,000,000. A figure that is frankly staggering for a fight, though may end up paving the way for more bouts in Japan to take place on a Friday.
Taro Takeuchi, a producer at Fuji TV, praised the numbers and Murata and made it clear that boxing was getting great figures on Fuji TV, and it seems clear that they are expecting the numbers to continue to grow.
Of course it's not only Murata and Kenshiro who are big names affiliated with the channel, with Naoya Inoue (18-0, 16) [井上 尚弥] also fighting on the channel, and his WBSS final with Nonito Donaire (40-5, 26) will expected to do incredible numbers of Fuji later int he year.
Thursday next week Japanese fans at the Korakuen Hall will get the next Diamond Glove card. The show will be headlined by Hiroaki Teshigawara (18-2-2, 11) [勅使河原 弘晶], defending the OPBF Super Bantamweight title against Yuki Iriguchi (10-2-1, 4) [入口裕貴], and will also feature Kenichi Horikawa (38-15-1, 12) [堀川 謙一] battling with Satoru Todaka (9-2-4, 3) [戸髙達] for the Japanese Light Flyweight title.
Over the last day or so Fuji TV have revealed that the show will be aired the following weekend, on Saturday night/Sunday morning, as their next "Diamond Glove" broadcast.
As is typical for these Diamond Glove shows it will have a 1 hour time slot, beginning at 27:10 Saturday night, or 3:10 Sunday morning, meaning we'll likely only get TV edited highlights of the bouts unless they finish early.
Whilst we're not fans of delay footage, we are glad that this does have a scheduled air date, and is only a few days after the bouts take place.
Teshigawara looks to defend OPBF crown against Iriguchi!
Horikawa and Todaka battle for vacant Japanese crown!
This coming Sunday Japanese fight fans will be able to see a major card thanks to Fuji TV who are showing a card from the Ota City General Gymnasium.
For those wanting to watch the card on Fuji TV the broadcast is set to being at 7PM local time, which is 10AM in the UK and is set to show two bouts live.
The first of those live bouts will be the WBC "interim" Bantamweight bout between Takuma Inoue (12-0, 3) [井上 拓真] and Petch Sor Chitpattana (48-0, 33) [เพชร ซีพีเฟรชมาร์ท], with Takuma looking to join brother Naoya Inoue as a world champion.
The second live bout will see WBO Super Featherweight champion Masayuki Ito (24-1-1, 12) [伊藤 雅雪] defending his belt for the first time, and taking on mandatory challenger Evgeny Chuprakov (20-0, 10). This is the main event of the show and is a really exciting match up, especially given that the Super Featherweight division is one with a number of notable names in it.
Unfortunate the WBC Light Flyweight bout between Kenshiro (14-0, 8) [拳四朗] and Saul Juarez (24-8-2, 13) is not set to be shown live, though could be used to fill time in the event of early finishes in the other two bouts. For fans in the venue this will be the first of the three world title fights on the show, so the result will likely be out there before the broadcast is shown.
Despite not being shown live the Kenshiro Vs Juarez bout is expected to be shown in full in 2019 on a Fuji or Fuji BS broadcast. The Kenshiro bout is also expected to be squeezed on the ESPN+ broadcast, if the other two bouts finish early. That ESPN+ broadcast is set to begin at 5AM ET.
Related- Masayuki Ito faces mandatory Evgeny Chuprakov
Petch Sor Chitpattana and Takuma Inoue clash for WBC interim title!
Kenshiro seeks 5th defense, takes on Baby Juarez
(Image courtesy of Fuji TV)
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