Earlier today the Muto gym announced their next big card, which will take place on December 3rd at the EDION Arena Osaka, and feature 4 title bouts, includng a title unification bout.
One of those bouts will see Masahiro Sakamoto (10-1, 6) [坂本 真宏] attempt to claim the WBO Asia Pacific Flyweight title, in his second shot at the belt, as he takes on former world champion Kwanthai Sithmorseng (50-4-1, 27) [ขวัญไทย ศิษย์หมอเส็ง]. For Sakamoto this will be his second title fight, having lost a bout for this very title last November against current WBO world chamoion Sho Kimura. Interestingly Kwanthai was preparing to face Sakamoto earlier this year for the WBO Asia Pacific title, before Kimura got the call to fight the then WBO world champion Zou Shiming.
Another of the bouts will see Hirofumi Mukai (14-5-3, 4) [向井 寛史] battle against Inthanon Sithchamuang (31-9-1, 19) [อินทนนท์ ศิษย์ชะมวง] for the WBO Asia Pacific title, which has previously been held by Mukai. The bout, between former world title challengers, is really a must win for both fighters with neither really able to take another loss if they are to remain relevant. For Mukai the bout will be his second since being stopped by Rex Tso earlier this year whilst Inthanon will be seeking to avenge his 2016 loss to Mukai, who stopped him last year. Tha Thai is 0-2 in Japan and will be hoping to make it third time lucky in the Land of the Rising Sun.
In another bout we'll see Mark John Yap (27-12, 13) defend his OPBF Bantamweight title on against Japan's Seizo Kono (19-8-1, 12) [高野誠三], in what will be Yap's second defense of the title and comes on the back of his incredible cone-back against Kentaro Masuda. For Kono the bout will be his his second title, with his only other one being a battle with Rey Vargas for the WBC Youth Intercontinental Super Bantamweight title back in 2013. The bout should be a really interesting one, and much better than the records of the two men suggest. A win for Yap would almost certainly improve his world rankings and help him get a long pursued world title fight, though he will likely need another win or two given the depth at Bantamweight right now.
The final bout, and technically the main event of the show, will see the heavy handed Koki Tyson (13-2-2, 11) [太尊 康輝] take on Yasuyuki Akiyama (11-7-1, 8) [秋山 泰幸] in a bout which not only be for Tyson's OPBF Middleweight title, but also the vacant WBO Asia Pacific title, with the winner unifying the two titles. For Tyson this bout will be his second defense whilst Akiyama will be getting his will be getting his second title fight, after having challenged Akio Shibata for the Japanese and OPBF titles back in 2015. The winner here may find themselves sneaking into WBO world rankings, and potentially beginning moving towards a world title fight.
Whilst it's yet to be confirmed it's expected that we'll be able to see this card on boxingraise, with many other Mutoh shows also on the service. Hopefully this will be confirmed either later ths month or in November and then we'll get the chance to see all 4 title bouts.
(Image at the top courtesy iof boxmob.jp)
This coming Sunday Japanese fans in Osaka are in for a treat with a brilliant looking OPBF title triple header. For those unable to make their way to the Edion Arena Osaka there is no fear with the show being the latest to be added to the brilliant Boxingraise service, meaning subscribers will be able to watch the card on demand after it takes place. With that news only being confirmed over the last day or so, and it continues the great relationship that Dangan have with the Mutoh gym.
The card is headlined by OPBF Middleweight champion Koki Tyson (12-2-2, 11) [太尊 康輝] defending his title against Japanese based American Brandon Lockhart Shane (8-5-1, 7) and although it's unlikely to be a hugely notable one for Western fight fans but it does feature a number of notable names and a mouth watering bout for the OPBF Bantamweight title.
That Bantamweight title bout will see Japanese based Filipino champion Mark John Yap (26-12, 12) defending his title against former 2-time Japanese champion Kentaro Masuda (27-7, 15) [益田 健太郎], with both men risking world rankings for the bout, and the winner potentially moving to with in a bout or two of a world title fight.
The other OPBF title bout on the card will see Light Middleweight champion Ratchasi Sithsaithong (8-3, 6) defending the title against Jumbo Oda Nobunaga Shoten Petagine (10-4, 8).
As well as the three title bouts the card will also feature former Hirofumi Mukai (13-5-3, 3) [向井 寛史] fighting against a Thai foe as he looks to rebuild his career once again.
Boxing will always have a mix of fighters, from the skilled "hit and don't be hit" fighters to in your face action warriors. One of the most popular action warriors right now may well be Hong Kong's all action Rex Tso (21-0, 13) [曹星如] who notched another thrilling win today as he stopped former 2-time world title challenger Hirofumi Mukai (13-5-3, 3) [向井 寛史] in a sensational 8 round war that could well end the year as FOTY contender.
The bout, streamed live over the Huawei Mobile HK facebook group, had kept fans waiting until incredibly late in Hong Kong but was worth staying up for with the two men putting on a genuine show from the first round to the eventual finish in round 8.
From the opening bell Tso looked like a man intent on making a statement and took the fight to Mukai with intense pressure, a lot of leather being thrown and a not letting Mukai have the space or time he needed to use his more typical boxing skills. It was the perfect gameplan from Tso who cu the distance and unloaded.
In round 2 Tso had a major break through, scoring his first knockdown of the Japanese visitor. Mukai, to his credit, got up and tried to fight fire with fire, and landed some very classy combinations on the counter, but couldn't hold back the raging bundle of energy that Tso.
Tso began to slow down in round 3, giving Mukai more openings, but even those openings couldn't really help Mukai who couldn't dent the chin of Tso and was forced to take much heavier shots than he was able to land himself. To his credit Mukai was trying things, regularly going to the body and mixing up his shots well, but they never stemmed the flow from Tso for long with the local star continuing to be a bully in a brilliant round 4.
By round 5 it was clear that Mukai was going to need Tso to blow himself out, or land something a bit special, that never came though and instead it was Mukai who was looking the more tired as he suffered a second knockdown, which seemed to come from a combination of exhaustion and a shot to the head in roudn 6. It could have been it from Mukai but the Japanese warrior spirit kept him in it and he played his part in an enthralling 7th round, suggesting there was still something left in his legs.
Sadly for Mukai no matter what eh tried he couldn't force Tso off him and in round 8 a huge Tso assault ended with a sickening right hand to the body which sent Mukai down for the third and final time. This time Mukai stayed down for the count, in pure agony. With he stoppage Tso added the WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight title to his collection of belts and moved a step further to securing a world title bout.
In many ways the performance was the perfect one for Tso. Despite the unorthodox nature of the stream there was more than 145,000 people watching at one point, and they get a treat, there was very few empty seats in the arena and Tso certainly highlighted not only his action style, and his skills but also his drawing power. For Mukai the loss was a painful one, and could well make the start of the end for his career, despite that he certainly played his part in a thrilling contest, and threw shots that would have seen off lesser fights.
Tomorrow fight fans will be able to see Rex Tso (20-0, 12) [曹星如] risking his WBO #1 ranking against former 2-time world title challenger Hirofumi Mukai (13-4-3, 3) [向井 寛史]. Given his unbeaten record and home advantage there is no wonder that Tso is the betting favourite, but he's a surprising heavy favourite and is priced at 1/25 with most bookies, with one bookie having him best priced at 1/16.
Although we do favour Tso we do need to admit that odds of 10/1 or 11/1 with some bookies on Mukai are very tasty with the Japanese visitor not being a mug at all, and coming in to this one on a big win over Inthanon Sithchamuang. Mukai has experience of fighting on the road, he's tougher than his record suggests and could well be a banana skin here.
For those interested in the draw the odds on that are 33/1, suggesting an unlikely outcome, but one we have seen thrice in the career of Mukai, including a technical draw against Pongsaklek Wonjongkam in a WBC Flyweight title bout.
Tomorrow fight fans in Hong Kong will get the chance to see a multi-title unification on the regional/international level. That bout will see local star Rex Tso (20-0, 12) [曹星如] risking his belts against former 2-time world title challenger Hirofumi Mukai (13-4-3, 3) [向井 寛史].
Today the two men took part in their weigh in and both men came in at 115lbs for their bout. Tso, who will be defending his WBO International Super Flyweight and WBC Asian Boxing Council Super Flyweight titles, came in at 115lbs for the second bout in succession. The bout is expected to be one of his final fights before getting a world title fight and his team have made it clear that he is a huge draw in Hong Kong, have broken box office records for this bout.
Mukai, the WBO Asia Pacific champion, also came in at 115lbs for the bout and look in good shape, and confident. He will know that a win here will open the doors to potential world title fights and will come in following a stoppage win last time out over Inthanon Sithchamuang.
(Image courtesy of Sumio Yamada)
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