Back on May 1st we saw a thrilling Japanese Featherweight title bout, as defending champion Taiki Minamoto (16-5-1, 13) [源大輝] just retained his title, fighting to a draw with Reiya Abe (19-2-1, 9) [阿部 麗也]. After the bout their was talk about a rematch, and talk about Minamoto potentially moving up. We'll be honest and admit we wanted to see a rematch, the first really was that good, though today the hope of a rematch was ended.
The decision has been made by Minamoto to abandon the division and begin campaigning at Super Featherweight, due to issues making the 126lb weight limit. Whilst that does ruin hope of a rematch it's not a bad thing for fans who are now set to get another hard hitting in the already stacked Japanese Super Featherweight picture and a number of potentially interesting bouts to fill the title void at Featherweight.
For the vacant title we would expect to see Abe fighting for the belt again next, with likely opponent being highly ranked by the JBC. The #2 ranked fighter, behind Abe, is former world title challenger Genesis Servania (32-2, 15) and we would certainly expect that to be an amazing match up. Others ranked highly by the JBC include Ryo Hino (13-1-2, 8) [日野僚], who would look to avenge a 2015 loss to Abe, the in form Ryo Sagawa (7-1, 4) [佐川遼], former world title challenger Hiroshige Osawa (35-5-4, 21) [大沢宏晋] and super talented youngster Hinata Maruta (9-1-1, 7) [丸田陽七太]. Any of those 5 possible foes against Abe would be great.
With Minamoto moving up he will find himself linked to fights against the likes of Japanese champion Masaru Sueyoshi (19-1-1, 11) [末吉 大] and former world champion Masayuki Ito (25-2-1, 13) [伊藤 雅雪], among others. Though, for now,m he'd be unable to challenge for the OPBF title held by Watanabe gym stablemate Hironori Mishiro (7-0-1, 2) [三代大訓], who defends that title in July.
Whilst it's obviously a shame we won't see Abe and Minamoto run it back with a rematch, the move up in weight for Minamoto is better for his health, and really changes the dynamic on the Japanese scene at both Featherweight and Super Featherweight.
Earlier today at the iconic Korakuen Hall fans saw touted youngster Hinata Maruta (9-1-1, 7) [丸田 陽七太] claim his latest victory, shutting out the the game but over-matched Coach Hiroto (13-3-2, 4) [小内義人] over 8 rounds.
The bout really wasn't the most exciting, and that was seemingly be design from Maruta who boxed really well behind his jab, showed off his movement, his speed and ring IQ but boxed safely, showing the same lack of urgency that has been criticised in the past.
Although Maruta lacked urgency he wasn't inactive, instead he was just fighting comfortably behind a busy and sharp jab. There wasn't a great deal of follow up to the jab, with big right hands a rarity, but there was no need to take risks here and potentially suffer some sort of injury. Instead it was a conscious performance by Maruta against an experienced but slower, older, smaller opponent.
Hiroto, to his credit, did try to fight, and did try to make a go of things, but all too often found himself out of range, and then being pinged in the face by Maruta's razor like jab, which really was the story of the fight.
After the bout Maruta made it known he was wanting to get a title bout, and the 8 rounds here will have served as a decent bout to sharpen his tools. He looked good and sharp, but there was a feeling that there was much more for him to show than he did here. It was clear he was levels above Hiroto, but was also happy to take a clear decision, and get some rounds in the bag.
For Hiroto, who hadn't fought in over a year, the bout will have helped him shake some ring rust, but it's hard to imagine him making any noise of the domestic scene going forward.
For fans wanting to watch this, the bout is now available on Boxing Raise.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Tomorrow fight fans at Korakuen Hall will get a stacked card with several really good match ups. Among those is a brilliant fight between the highly touted Hinata Maruta (8-1-1, 7) [丸田 陽七太] and the returning Coach Hiroto (13-2-2, 4) [小内義人], who has been out of the ring following an issue with weight last year.
The bout is set to be an 8 round Featherweight and today the two men took part in their weigh in, with both men making weight for the bout.
On the scales Hiroto came in at 125.25lbs, comfortably under the Featherweight limit. Despite making weight he looked a little bit fleshy, and it was clear that he isn't a natural Featherweight having often fought as a Super Bantamweight.
Maruta came just slightly under the divisional limit, and unlike Hiroto he looked good at the weight, in fact if anything he looked like he was still filling out his frame and it's clear the youngster has the frame to fight at Super Featherweight in the years to come.
It's worth noting that Hiroto sounded more confident than he looked, suggesting that he has worked hard to bounce back from more than a year from the ring. Maruta however looked and sounded confident, stating that "I am confident, of course. I will firmly win tomorrow and want to challenge the main winner." That suggests he will be challenging the winner of the Japanese Featherweight title bout, on the same show, between Taiki Minamoto (16-5, 13) [源大輝] and Reiya Abe (19-2, 9) [阿部 麗也], and that will be an excellent bout when it takes place!
Related - Maruta and Hiroto clash at Korakuen Hall!
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp
Last week we reported that Hinata Maruta (8-1-1, 7) [丸田 陽七太] had been listed as fighting on May 1st , with the Dangan card at the Korakuen Hall seemingly the most obvious show for his bout. At the time there was no opponent named, but confirmation that he would be in action on the date.
Today the Dangan twitter account confirmed Maruta's next bout, and confirmed not only that it was going to be on the May 1st Dangan card but also who Maruta would be facing.
The talented youngster from the Morioka Gym will be up against Coach Hiroto (13-2-2, 4) [小内義人], who will be fighting for the first time since fighting to a draw with Ryo Hino, and the first time since the weight mishap that saw him being forced to cancel a fight with Shohei Omori last March. Following the weight issues for the bout with Omori the Kadobi gym punished Hiroto who has now transferred to the Dangan gym, with this being his first bout as a Dangan fighter.
Interestingly the Dangan twitter account suggest that the winner will be targeting the winner of the show's main event, which is the Japanese Featherweight title bout between Taiki Minamoto (16-5, 13) [源大輝] and Reiya Abe (19-2, 9) [阿部 麗也]. And it we're being hone that would be great, in fact the losers meeting could also make for an interesting match up down the line as well.
Earlier this week we were informed that the Japanese Light Middleweight title bout between defending champion Nobuyuki Shindo (20-4-2, 8) [新藤寛之] and mandatory challenger Hironobu Matsunaga (14-1, 8) [松永 宏信], had been delayed.
Originally the bout had been pencilled in for May 1st, along with a Japanese Featherweight title bout between hard hitting champion Taiki Minamoto (16-5, 13) [源大輝] and skilled challenger Reiya Abe (19-2, 9) [阿部 麗也], on what was a very attractive looking Dangan card. Now however the Light Middleweight title bout will be held on May 10th as part of an A-Sign Bee card, which should mean the bout ends up being uploaded to youtube within days of the bout.
This interestingly matches up with another story there may be a big addition to the May 1st card, with multiple sources now confirming that Hinata Maruta (8-1-1, 7) [丸田 陽七太] would be in action on May 1st, though at the time of writing sources haven't been able to confirm whether he will be on the same show as the Minimoto Vs Abe fight.
No clear reason has been given for the delay, though with it only being pushed back by 9 days it seems clear neither man is injured and would seem to be a scheduling issue, or just a feeling that the Dangan card didn't need to be as top heavy as originally announced. Or of course the Maruta fight is on the show and is a big one, time will tell.
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