Earlier today saw Ohashi gym announce two bits of information regarding their March 27th card, "Phoenix Battle 59".
One of those those things was that Quaye Peter (9-8-2, 5) has seen his opponent for the show change. Originally the Japanese based Ghana born fighter was set to face the 32 year old Yusuke Konno (11-3, 5) in a relatively interesting match up. Now however Konno is out of the bout and in his place is recent Japanese title challenger Valentine Hosokawa (20-6-3, 9) [細川バレンタイン], who will be risking his JBC ranking as he takes on Peter.
The reason for the change wasn't announce but if we're being honest the move seems like a positive change with Hosokawa being a much bigger name than Konno, and also being a man who will be fighting with a point to prove following his controversial loss last year to Hiroki Okada. Peter is a decent fighter but a win over Hosokawa would be a huge ask for the Ohashi man.
The other announcement was the poster, which Ohashi put on their website. It's not an amazing poster by any means but it features the 6 Ohashi fighters on the show and makes it clear that this card is an Ohashi event where their fighters will be the key. The poster could have featured some of the opponents, such as Hideo Sakamoto (17-3-3, 5) [坂本 英生], Shogo Yamaguchi (10-2-1, 5) [山口 祥吾] or Mitsuyoshi Fujita (10-2, 3) [藤田 光良], but it didn't need to as the Ohashi gym members were the key selling point of the show, and they all have their faces on the poster.
It's notable that the poster doesn't confirm whether or not some of the show will feature on Fuji TV, though the expectation is that it will indeed be covered on a tape delay broadcast, either on Fuji or a sister channel such as Fuji BS, giving fans a chance to follow the careers of the hopefuls on the card, such as Ryo Matsumoto (18-1, 16) [松本 亮], Koki Inoue (6-0, 5) [浩樹井上] and Andy Hiraoka (8-0, 5) [平岡アンディ.
We've known for a while that Ohashi would be holding one of their next "small" cards on March 27th at the Korakuen Hall, and last week we saw a number of bouts for that card being announced, including the very interesting match ups between Ryo Matsumoto (18-1, 16) [松本 亮] and Hideo Sakamoto (17-3-3, 5) [坂本 英生] as well the bout between Andy Hiraoka (8-0, 5) [平岡アンディ] and Shogo Yamaguchi (10-2-1, 5) [山口 祥吾].
Today we saw some more bouts from that show announced.
One of those will see Japanese ranked Light Welterweight hopeful Koki Inoue (6-0, 5) [浩樹井上] battle against fellow Japanese ranked Light Welterweight Mitsuyoshi Fujita (10-2, 3) [藤田 光良] in a very good match up, which will boost the winner towards a Japanese title fight later this year. For Inoue this will be a second straight fight against a Japanese ranked foe, following a win over Futoshi Usami back in December. Although not as well known Fujita is a talented southpaw who has run up 8 straight wins and looks to be full of confidence following that run. Despite being in good form Fujita is taking a huge step up in class here.
Another bout announced today will see former Japanese Super Featherweight champion Seiichi Okada (19-6-1, 11) [岡田 誠一] battle against Kentaro Yamada (8-7-1, 6) [山田 健太郎]. Okada was the Japanese champiuon back in 2011, and recorded 3 successful defenses in a career defining year, but has since gone 3-5-1 and his career is clearly winding down. Although Okada is struggling he's doing much better than Yamada, who has lost his last6 and is now more than 4 years removed from his last win.
Earlier this month we reported that Ohashi had announced "Battle Phoenix 59", which would be held on March 27th at the Korakuen Hall. At the time of that announcement a number of notable fighters had been announced for the show but no opponents were named at the time.
Today we saw some of those notable fighters having their opponents named.
One of those notable fighters was former OPBF champion Ryo Matsumoto (18-1, 16) [松本 亮] who we now know will be up against the talented and under-rated Hideo Sakamoto (17-3-3, 5) [坂本 英生], in what looks looks like a genuinely good domestic bout. Although a good match up we suspect Matsumoto will be too good for Sakamoto, but the bout is still a decent fight with Sakamoto more than capable of serving as a good test for a fighter like Matsumoto, who will likely be looking for a world title fight before the end of the year.
Another notable fighter having their opponent named today was former world title challenger Ryuji Hara (21-2, 11) [原隆二], who we now know will be fighting Akiyoshi Kanazawa (14-6-4, 7) [金沢 晃佑]. Hara should be far too good for Kanazawa, however the under-dog can put in good performances and holds a draw with Tatsuya Fukuhara and was competitive with both Myung Ho Lee and Kenichi Horikawa. If Kanazawa turns in a good performance here, he could be a fantastic test for Hara, who will be looking for his second world title bout later this year.
Arguably the most interesting of the bouts announced today was a bout between the unbeaten Andy Hiraoka (8-0, 5) [平岡アンディ] and the 2014 All Japan Lightweight Rookie of the Year Shogo Yamaguchi (10-2-1, 5) [山口 祥吾]. Originally this bout was set to take place in December 2014, but Hiraoka was forced to pull out of the fight with influenza. Since that aborted bout in '14 we've seen Hiraoka sign with the Ohashi Gym and score two stoppages. As for Yamaguchihe has stepped up in class and despite losses to Akihiro Kondo and Genki Maeda last year still has a lot of potential, which he will look to show when he takes on Hiraoka in a bout that is more than 2 years in the making.
At the moment we are yet to hear who the fast rising Koki Inoue (6-0, 5) [浩樹井上] and veteran Seiichi Okada (19-6-1, 11) [岡田 誠一] will be facing, but we expect their opponents to be named in the near future.
Earlier today fans at the EDION Arena in Osaka got a notable upset as Hideo Sakamoto (16-3-3, 5) [坂本 英生] lost a decision to Seizo Kono (17-8-1, 11) [高野 誠三] in an 8 rounder.
The bout had been put together at relatively late notice, with Sakamoto's original opponent Kazuki Tanaka (5-0, 4) [田中 一樹] being forced out. That pull out by Tanaka opened the door for Kono who took his chance and claimed a career best win with a split decision.
From the opening round Kono looked determined, like a man who knew this was his big opportunity, and he landed a good 1-2 early whilst also quickly reading the straight right of Sakamoto blocking it well. The good start from Kono forced Sakamoto to respond and by the middle rounds the fight had really picked up with Kono landing some excellent counter right hands, and leaving Sakamoto with a cut over the left eye.
Sakamoto tried to turn it around in the later rounds and had his success but was unable to really blunt the desire of Kono who did enough to earn the decision on the judges score-cards, with scores of 78-75 and 77-75, whilst the dissenting judge had it 77-76 to Sakamoto.
The win should see Kono earn a Japanese ranking and perhaps open the door for him to now face Tanaka later in the year. For Sakamoto however the loss is his third success setback, following a draw last year to Hiroaki Teshigawara and a loss to Kentaro Masuda, and it could well be the end of him as a Japanese title contender.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Several reliable sources have informed us that the very highly touted prospect Kazuki Tanaka (5-0, 4) [田中 一樹], is out of his highly anticipated match up with Hideo Sakamoto (16-2-3, 5) [坂本 英生], a bout that was set to take place this coming Sunday.
Details as to why Tanaka is out of the bout are scarce but 3 different sources have informed us that as a result of Tanaka's issue, which we suspect is an injury,the main event of the card, the card has been altered significantly.
Originally Tanaka Vs Sakamoto was set to be the main event, however we will now see Sakamoto face Seizo Kono (16-8-1, 11) [高野 誠三] on one of the under-card bouts, with Kono originally having been set to face Filipino Jhon Gemino (13-7-1, 5) on the card. With Gemino now seemingly being shifted to South Africa to fight on Friday.
As a result of Sakamoto's bout slipping down the card the new main event for the show will see Japanese ranked Super Flyweight Takayuki Okumoto (16-7-12, 6) [奥本 貴之] face off against the once beaten Sonin Nihei (8-1-2, 1) [仁平 宗忍]. It's a good bout but given the originally scheduled main event the bout does look like a very disappointing one.
Notably the debut of Fuko Komura [小村楓香], who faces Kaori Nagai (0-1) [長井 香織], is the third highest billed bout on the show suggesting that Komura really is a potential future draw and someone that Green Tsuda may well push as a bankable fighter, if she looks impressive here.
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