Tomorrow fight fans at the Korakuen Hall get the chance to see a brilliantly stacked card, featuring two OPBF title bouts. One of those will see OPBF Super Flyweight champion Rene Dacquel (19-6-1, 6) defending his title against Japanese challenger Hayato Kimura (26-9, 17) [木村 隼人所属], in what we expect will be a hotly contested fight between two men who know that a win really could push their careers on.
At the weigh in today Dacquel was the lighter man, coming in around 114.35lbs. The champion was very comfortably under the limit, but looked in good shape, and is clearly relaxed in Japan where he has fought 6 previous bouts, and has won his last two bouts. Despite being relaxed he certainly won't be over-looking the challenger, who was once viewed as a genuine prospect with a lot of potential to go all the way.
Talking about his foe, Kimura was 115lbs on the scales, hitting the limit,and looked in great shape, with real confidence in his eyes. Despite looking confident he did admit that this could be his last chance at a major title, following two losses in recent years for the Japanese title. He will, however, be coming into this bout on the crest of momentumn that is sweeping through the Watanabe gym right now and has seen them have an amazing 2017 so far.
Related-Kimura looks for OPBF crown as he takes on champion Dacquel!
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier this month we reported that Hidenori Otake (28-2-3, 12) [大竹 秀典] would be defending the OPBF Super Bantamweight title for the first time on July 19th, battling against fellow veteran Kinshiro Usui (27-5, 11) [臼井 欽士郎]. The winner of that bout will then defend the title in October against super-prospect Hinata Maruta (5-0, 4) [丸田 陽七太].
Today we learned that the Otake Vs Usui bout may not be the only OPBF title bout on that July 19th card.
According to our sources the other OPBF title bout on the card will see OPBF Super Flyweight champion Rene Dacquel (19-6-1, 6) defending his title against Japanese challenger Hayato Kimura (26-9, 17) [木村 隼人所属], and will be officially announced in the coming days, with two separate sources reporting the bout is a done deal for the show.
For Dacquel the bout will be his third straight contest in Japan, where he has beaten Go Onaga and Shota Kawaguchi in the last 12 months, and will be his 7th bout on Japanese soil in total, where he is now 3-2-1. The win will help strengthen his claim for a world title fight, but the reality is that he's a long way off contending with the top dogs in the division. Despite being a fringe contender the OPBF title he holds is a valuable title to hold and is earning him solid pay days to defend the belt on the road against Japanese challengers.
For Kimura the bout will see him trying to end a 0-5 run in title fights dating back more than 8 years. The talented 27 year old Japanese fighter has suffered recent title fight losses to Sho Ishida and Kenta Nakagawa but could really give his career a huge shot in the arm if he can upset Dacquel here. A win for the Japanese would be a career defining victory, but he's clearly the under-dog against the well travelled Filipino.
With two solid looking titles bouts the card looks good, and it will also feature Shingo Wake (20-5-2, 12) [和氣 慎吾] battling former Japanese interim Super Bantamweight champion Mikihito Seto (34-13-3, 18) [瀬藤 幹人], giving it a really strong ling up at the topof the card.
Although boxing has heated up over the past weekend, with several FOTY and KO of the year contenders, there has also been some disappointing stories. One of those was the late cancellation of Lee Selby Vs Jonathan Barros bout, with Barros failing a medical test, and another was the late cancellation of tomorrow's bout between former Japanese Super Flyweight title challenger Hayato Kimura (25-9, 16) [木村 隼人所属] and 2014 Rookie of the Year winner Ryohei Takahashi (10-2-1, 2) [高橋 竜平].
The bout between Kimura and Takahashi was supposed to be the headline bout of "Fresh Boy 83", a card that was being sold through Asign Boxing for ¥500, which is about £3.50 for our UK readers or $4.33 for our American readers. Sadly it was cancelled today after Takahashi failed to make weight, and was later treated for dehydration.
The fighter himself apologised to Kimura and although it was clear Kimura was annoyed at havign to go through a training camp only to have the bout cancelled the day before the contest he did seem to sympathise with Takahashi and there was little in terms of actual anger. Instead it seems like Kimura will focus on another bout and look to move forward with his career, rather than dwelling on the disapointment here.
The card will still go ahead as otherwise planned, but the reality is that the card is now little more than a rookie show, with Kimura Vs Takahashi being the only real bout of note scheduled for it. It's a clear frustration for fans and those at Asign, but as with Kimura's attitude, their is little point in being annoyed and it makes more sense to look towards the rest of the year.
(Image courtesy of Boxmob.jp)
It's fair to say that 2016 has been slow to get going and we've only seen one Japanese show so far, though we have a number coming up between now and the end of the month. Thankfully it seems that both Boxingraise and Asign Boxing are looking to keep their output steady through the year.
We currently know that Boxingraise will feature 3 Dangan shows later this month, including a live card on January 31st. As for Asign they recently announced that they will feature the January 30th "Fresh Boy 83" show, with the service expected to carry the card in full on 24 hour delay.
The show isn't a big one, by any means, but it does have a brilliant and meaningful main event, topping a card that features novices on the under-card.
That main event will see former Japanese Super Flyweight title challenger Hayato Kimura (25-9, 16) [木村 隼人所属] battle against 2014 Rookie of the Year winner Ryohei Takahashi (10-2-1, 2) [高橋 竜平]. The bout, being fought at Bantamweight, is a wonderfully well matched bout and it's likely to really live up to it's headline status. Sadly though other than the main event the card won't get much attention due to the real lack of name value on the card. Despite that Asign are looking to charge ¥500, which is about £3.50 for our UK readers or $4.33, so it's certainly not a pricey card, but on the other hand it's not one that many will be buying at that price.
Earlier today Japanese fight fans at the Korakuen Hall saw Kenta Nakagawa (13-2-1, 9) [中川 健太] become the new Japanese Super Flyweight champion, with the heavy handed southpaw claiming a split decision win over Hayato Kimura (25-9, 16) [木村 隼人所属].
The fight started off with a tense feeling and it seemed that both men were trying to feel out the other without committing too much. It was clear that each man knew their opponents strengths, something that had been documented going into the bout, and wanted to neutralise them whilst fighting to their own strong points. For Kimura that was a case of using his superior speed whilst Nakagawa looked to land his powerful left hand.
After a tame opening round the action began to pick up and the two were happier at a closer distance in the second round, with Nakagawa applying intelligent pressure with his footwork, and trying to open up Kimura. The tactic helped Nakagawa get a foothold in the bout but it was another round that lacked drama for the most part, and could have been scored either way, with Kimura being busier but Nakagawa getting through with most of the better shots.
By round 3 it seemed like both men were beginning to feel confident and the action did pick up notably with both having more success. Although the action was picking up, and the crowd was coming alive, the clean shots were still lacking with many being glancing blows, or missing the target altogether.
Thankfully the pace continued to build and the big shorts started to be thrown more freely with the crowd, and the atmosphere, raising the fighters who seemed more willing to exchange in round 4 as we had some great moments. The action still lacked in quality but was becoming more intriguing with every passing minute and this continued through round 5 with the styles beginning to gel, though the stances were leading to the occasional head clash and Nakagawa did seem to show some frustration at times in the final stages of the 5th round as he suffered a cut around he left eye.
After 5 rounds the open scoring was announce, giving Kimura a narrow lead, with cards of 48-47, twice to Kimura, and 48-48.
Knowing he was behind Nakagawa rallied, up the pressure and went about breaking down his faster opponent with intense pressure and was more willing to take a shot to land one. This forced some negativity from Kimura, who seemed happier to try and move, avoid a fight and stay away from the left hand of Nakagawa. The pressure had almost immediate impact and Kimura was hurt late in round 6 with Nakagawa's power and willingness to force the fight paying dividends.
The aggressive pressure of Nakagawa continued in round 7, forcing a loud “Kneta” chant and he again seemed to stagger Kimura with his power as Kimura began to be dragged into a dog fight. It seemed as if nothing Kimura could do could stop Nakagawa who was eating counters and not blinking whilst landing his own combinations and taking over the fight. The take over continued in round 8, with Kimura again unable to escape the pressure and the strength of Nakagawa who had done any to over-turn the deficit he had found himself in at the half way mark.
Kimura seemed to know he was behind at the start of round 9 and began to fight fire with fire as we got a sensational start to the round and saw both guys letting their hands go. It was much better from Kimura than the previous few rounds, and although he was forced to eat some bombs he proved he could stand and fight with Nakagawa, giving us a really thrilling 3 minutes.
Given the thrilling nature of round 9 it was clear both would be feeling the pace in the final round and it showed, with a round that lacked the intensity of the previous round. It wasn't full but it lacked the long trading sequences and instead merely gave us a few moments here and there.
By the end it seemed clear that Nakagawa had done enough to win. When he had to turn it around he did, and his domination of the second half of the fight was genuinely impressive. He didn't show the sweetest of science, or look the most defensively astute but he out landed his man with the bigger shots and was a well worthy winner.
Although the fight was hard to score early on questions do need to be asked of the judge who scored the bout to Kimura, and gave him rounds 6 and 8 to give him a 96-95 lead. Thankfully his peculiar scorecard was over ruled by scores of 97-93 and 97-95 for Nakagawa.
For Kimura this was a second loss in a Japanese title fight, though it seems likely he'll bounce back and fight again for the title down the line. For Nakagawa however this win is something that puts him on the proverbial map and shows he has more than just power going for him. He's unlikely to ever make a mark above the domestic scene, but he might be a very hard guy to dethrone at this level.
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