Earlier today fans at Korakuen Hall had the chance to see a really interesting card put on under the Dynamic Glove banner.
On of the most notable bouts saw big punching Minimumweight prospect Kai Ishizawa (6-0, 6) [石澤開] continue his rise through the ranks with his 6th straight stoppage win, stopping Indonesian journeyman Silem Serang (13-20-2, 1) in 4 rounds.
The hard hitting Ishizawa applied his trademark pressure from the off and seemed intent on seeing off the visitor as soon as possible. He would drop Serang early in the bout, showing his power, but failed to stop the Indonesian. Serang showed his bravery by getting back to his feet, but he couldn't handle the power of Ishizawa who drop him again and again. In total the Indonesian would recover from 3 knockdowns, getting applause from the crowd for his bravery, before being stopped after a 4th knockdown with just 8 seconds of round 4 remaining.
As well as Ishizawa there was a number of other notable bouts on the card. Among those a narrow decision win for the 2018 East Japan Featherweight Rookie of the Year Hikari Mineta (6-1, 3) [峯田光], who narrowly over-came Motosuke Kimura (3-2-2, 1) [木村元祐] in one of the most competitive bouts on the card. This 6 rounder was saw Mineta win with two scores of 58-57 and one of 59-56, though Kimura did have a strong argument for a draw, at the very least.
Another notable bout on the card Ryota Toyoshima (11-2-1, 8) [豊嶋亮太] score a 3rd round win over Korean Woo Min Won (10-2, 6), in a bout that looked really competitive on paper. Coming in to this Won had stopped 3 Japanese foes, to boast a 3-0 (3) record against Japanese fighters, but Toyoshima ended that run when he forced the referee to step in and save Won when he was trapped in the corner taking shots. The bout had started slowly but warmed up in round 2 and then Toyoshima got the big break through and secured one of the best wins of his career so far.
One other bout that took place here saw former Japanese and OPBF champion Charles Bellamy (28-4-2, 18) come up short against Yuto Shimizu (13-4-2, 5) [清水優人], in an 8 round contest. These two had fought last year, with Bellamy taking a very hotly contested decision and this immediate rematch was equally as competitive as their first. Shimizu, at times, looked unorganised, off balance and sloppy,but out worked the hard hitting Bellamy to take the decision, and avenge his 2018 loss. It's worth noting that this leaves Bellamy's career in a worrying position, with the 37 year old Japanese based American likely considering retirement sooner rather than later. As for Shimizu the win puts him in the mix for a potential title fight later in the near future.
On paper one of the stand out bouts at the 2018 All Japan Rookie of the Year final's was the Featherweight bout, that pitted Hikari Mineta (5-1, 3) [峯田光] against Yuri Takemoto (5-1-1, 3) [竹本雄利]. On paper this was something special, with both men reaching the final in impressive fashion. At the Korakuen Hall today, both fighters delivered, albeit in very different ways.
Mineta seemed to realise quickly that his right hand was the danger punch against the southpaw. That however didn't really help him and instead it was Takemoto that took the early advantage, dropping Mineta 3 times in the opening round. That could have been it, Mineta could have been done there and then, but instead he battled on, and slowly began to crawl his way back into the bout, that was despite the fact Takemoto was all over him to begin round 2.
Mineta's success really was dependent on landing the right hand cleanly, something he struggled with. Despite struggling to connect with the right hand he was doing enough damage to leave to leave Takemoto's left eye swelling shut in the third round, with huge, purple bruising around it.
In round 4 it finally felt like Mineta could, some how, get to his man, and it became the edge of the seat type of fight. Takemoto however saw off the storm, and actually hurt Mineta in the 5th, and final, round securing the decision and putting it well beyond doubt.
In the end the score cards were read, 49-44, and 47-46 twice, all to Takemoto, who was a well deserved winner, and we do need to question how judges had the bout 47-46 given the opening round, which we believe also saw a point being taken from Takemoto in what was a genuinely crazy final minute!
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