Earlier today the Nikkan Sports reported that Naoya Inoue (17-0, 15) [井上 尚弥], the WBA "regular" Bantamweight champion, had been sparring earlier in the day with amateur standout Hayato Tsutsumi [堤駿斗], a 19 year old wunderkind.
The sparring was the help Inoue prepare for his May bout with IBF champion Emmanuel Rodriguez (19-0, 12), in what will be a WBSS semi-final bout.
The Nikkan reports that the two men sparred for 4 rounds with Tsutsumi playing as a virtual Rodriguez due to his speed and sharp counter right hand. For Tsutsumi the sparring was of course a chance to share the ring and polish his skills as he prepares for a huge year in the amateur ranks, and begins his preparation for the 2020 Olympics.
Interestingly this was one of two Inoue stories to break today, with the other being being a potential showdown with WBA Super Bantamweight champion Danny Roman (26-2-1, 10), who has, according to one Japanese paper, shown an interest in moving down to Bantamweight in the future to take on Inoue. That bout likely won't be this year, but would be a very interesting test if Roman is able to make 118lbs safely.
(Image courtesy of the Nikkan Sports)
Tomorrow fight fans at the Korakuen Hall will see see world ranked Heavyweight Kyotaro Fujimoto (19-1, 11) [藤本京太郎] defending his WBO Asia Pacific and OPBF Heavyweight titles against Thai visitor Suthat Kalalek (12-9, 11), who has previously fought for the OPBF Super Middleweight title.
Today the two men took part in their weigh in, and unsurprisingly, Kyotaro was the heavier man and the fighter with significant natural size advantages over the Thai. In fact it very much looked like Kyotaro was several divisions bigger than Suthat, also known as Kajornsak Sithsaithong. Not something we often say about Kyotaro.
On the scales Kyotaro was 233.25lbs, the heaviest he's been since his first bout with Nobuhiro Ishida back in April 2014. The Thai on the other hand 203.7lbs, which is actually a career heaviest, and a huge increase from his December 2012 weight against Phonphisan Sor Saithong when he came in at 159lbs.
Related - Kyotaro defends unified Heavyweight crowns against Thai foe!
(Image courtesy of Hochi.jp)
Earlier today the Japanese Boxing Federation (JBF) who look after Japanese amateur boxing, announced their award winners for last year, ahead o the award ceremony later this month.
Unsurprisingly the MVP for the year was the fantastic Hayato Tsutsumi [堤駿斗], who impressed for a second year running. The teenager looks like a nailed on star of the future, and had a 2017 to remember as he shone on both the international and domestic scenes. Although still some time off turning professional he will have every major promoter in Japan interested in snapping him up as soon as they can.
The Outstanding fighter award was shared 3 ways, with Arashi Morisaka [森坂嵐], Issei Aramoto [荒本一成] and Taiga Imanaga [今永虎雅] all being awarded the honour.
Another shared honour was the Skill Award, with Ryomei Tanaka [田中亮明], the older brother of Kosei Tanaka, and Ryusei Baba [馬場龍成] both winning here. The Fighting Spirit Award was won by the pairing of Daisuke Narimatsu [成松大介] and Ryutaro Nakagaki [中垣龍汰朗], the Effort award by Tomoya Tsuboi [坪井智也 whilst the new-come award was shared between 4 young fighters, including another fighter from the Tanaka clan.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Last week we reported on the Japanese boxing awards, awarded to the professional Japanese fighters. Today sees news of the Japanese Amateur boxing awards, and the big story of the day is that youngster Hayato Tsutsumi [堤駿斗] has been awarded the MVP award, despite only being a high school student, being the high school boxing to claim the MVP award.
In 2016 the 17 year old had a massive year, winning gold at both the the Asian Youth Championships and the AIBA Youth World Championships as well the national High School championships. Although they may have been at Youth level there was little to argue with his achievements and it's fair to say that if Tsutsumi looks to turn professional before Tokyo 2020 his signature will be one that all the major promoters will be after.
Other awards were won by Daisuke Narimatsu [成松大介] and Arashi Morisaka [森坂嵐], who shared the Excellent Fighter award, the Skills Award was won by Ryomei Tanaka [田中亮明], the Fighting award was won by Yusuke Yamauchi [山内祐季] whilst the Effort and Newcomers awards were both shared.
(Image courtesy of Boxingnews.jp)
Earlier today saw the finals of the Japanese High School tournament. Among the tournament winners was the very promising Keisuke Matsumoto [松本 圭佑] a youngster tipped for a place at Tokyo 2020 and a potential star of the future.
Matsumoto, who has been in the gym with Akira Yaegashi and Naoya Inoue, claimed the Light Flyweight crown and continued to build on his burgeoning reputation as a genuine one to watch. He claimed the crown with a decision win over Takumi Tamura [田村拓実].
Other winners at the event included-
Ginjiro Shigeoka [重岡銀次郎] at Pinweight,
Hayato Tsutsumi [堤駿斗] at Flyweight, who also built on his success from last year,
Taiga Imanaga [今永虎雅] who claimed the Bantamweight crown, and built on his own success
and Light Welterweight Issei Aramoto [荒本一成].
Whilst the competition doesn't also lead to stars of the future it does tend to highlight the top young teenagers in the Japanese amateur scene and these young men will all be worth following over the coming years. The continued success of a number of these fighters does suggest a very promising future and don't be surprised to see them at Tokyo 2020, or in fact turning professional by the 2020 Olympics.
(Image courtesy of Hideyuki Ohashi's blog)
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