Earlier today we saw the names of the East Japan Boxing Association award winners for May being announced, with 3 winners being announced.
The MVP of the month is OPBF Bantamweight champion Keita Kurihara (14-5, 12) [栗原 慶太], who needed just 35 seconds to blow away Warlito Parrenas (26-10-1, 23) and retain his regional title. This was an incredible performance from Kurihara and really did create a lot of buzz about the young puncher.
The Fighting Spirit award was won by the newly crowned Japanese Light Middleweight champion Hironobu Matsunaga (15-1, 9) [松永 宏信], who shocked Nobuyuki Shindo (20-5-2, 8) [新藤寛之] to claim the belt. This was a huge win for Matsunaga who has now won 9 in a row and really bounced back excellently from his Rookie of the Year loss to Yuki Beppu back in 2014.
The Newcomer Award was won by Masafumi Ando (6-8-2, 3) [安藤暢文], who shocked the Japanese boxing scene when he stopped former Japanese Welterweight champion Toshio Arikawa (15-7, 13) [有川 稔男], in what was a massive upset on the domestic scene.
The fighters will be able to attend a special ceremony on July 12th at the Korakuen Hall to receive their awards.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Earlier today at Korakuen Hall fight fans saw a new Japanese Light Middleweight champion being crowned, as Hironobu Matsunaga (15-1, 9) [松永 宏信] shocked Nobuyuki Shindo (20-5-2, 8) [新藤寛之].
The bout, the final of the 2019 Champion Carnival bouts, looked like a really interesting one on paper. In the end however it was was rather less competitive than most would have assumed.
The opening round saw the lanky Shindo show off his skills and movement. He looked good, fighting to his strengths as the shorty, some what clumsier, Matsunaga came forward looking to apply pressure. In round 2 however Matsunaga began to close the distance with more ease and landed a great right hook late in the round.
With Matsunaga being able to cut the distance he was able to grind down Shindo, who struggled to respond to the pressure. Shindo did have moments of success, when Matsunaga pushed forward, but for the most part it was the challenger who was dictating the tempo of the fight and breaking down the defending champion, who was backed up against the ropes on a regular basis.
After 5 rounds the scores were announced, with the Matsunaga in the lead on all 3 cards, 48-47, twice, and 49-46. Shindo tried to turn it around in round 6, but couldn't stop Matsunaga from coming forward, and by the end of the round Shindo was looking like a clearly beaten man. His team knew it an pulled him out between rounds 6 and 7, saving him from further punishment.
For Shindo this could be the bout that sends that him into retirement, and he has taken a lot of damage in his last few bouts. As for Matsunaga this is a career defining win, and could help set up some very interesting domestic bouts down the line.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Tomorrow Japanese fight fans at Korakuen Hall will see Japanese Light Middleweight champion Nobuyuki Shindo (20-4-2, 8) [新藤寛之] defending his title, for the second time, as he takes on mandatory challenger Hironobu Matsunaga (14-1, 8) [松永 宏信]. The bout is the final bout from the 2019 Champion Carnival and will take place on a stacked card from Yokohama Hikari.
Today the two men involved in that bout took part in their weight in.
On the scales Shindo, the much taller man, was bang on the 154lb weight limit and looked calm and relaxed. He comes into this bout following the insane 2018 draw with Akinori Watanabe, a bout that really deserves to be watched by everyone, and despite not having a reputation for being in great fights has had a string of fun to watch bouts in recent years.
Matsunaga, in what will be his first title fight, hit the scales at 153.7lbs, though was genuinely dwarfed by the champion who looked in a different weight class. It's worth noting that e earned this shot with a win last October against Koshinmaru Saito, in a title challenger decider match, and is riding an impressive 8 fight winning run.
Related-Shindo takes on mandatory challenger Matsunaga
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
On May 10th we'll see an A-Sign Bee card, headlined by a Japanese Light Middleweight title bout, which will see defending champion Nobuyuki Shindo (20-4-2, 8) [新藤寛之] facing mandatory challenger Hironobu Matsunaga (14-1, 8) [松永 宏信].
Earlier today the A-Sign twitter account announced the under-card bouts for the show, and there was one that really stood out.
The stand out supporting bout is a Bantamweight bout between Matcha Nakagawa (13-1-1, 5) [武田航] and Kai Chiba (10-1, 7) [千葉開]. This has the potential too out-shine the main event and should be a very competitive fight between two men each looking to make their mark and move towards a title bout.
Another intriguing fight confirmed for the card is an 8 round bout between the popular Joe Tanooka (15-6-4, 1) [田之岡条] and Naoto Mizutani (5-6-1, 2) [水谷直人]. On paper this doesn't have the same feel as the previously mentioned bout, but Tanooka has lost 3 of his last 4 and will have to work for the win here against the under-rated Mizutani.
One more bout announced will see former Japanese title challenger Masaki Saito (15-13-6, 5) [斉藤正樹] battle against former OPBF title challenger Ryuto Araya (12-7-1, 4) [荒谷龍人] in what looks like a competitive bout on paper.
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.
News! We try and give you the most interesting news stories from the Asian boxing world!