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 Boxing Raise updated the schedule of shows they will have for this month. Sadly there is only a single live card, though there is 4 different shows to be added on Video on Demand (VOD).
The first show which is set to be added is Gouken 15, which took place earlier today in Sakai city, the card features Daiki Tomita [冨田大樹], former world title challengers Jeffrey Galero and Hiroshige Osawa [大沢宏晋] and the hard matched Daisuke Watanabe [渡部大介].
The second show to be added will be the April 14th card from Mie, headlined by Japanese Youth Super Flyweight champion Yuto Nakamura (9-5, 7) [中村祐斗] defending his title against Toma Kondo (7-4, 1) [近藤冬真] and also featuring former OPBF Super Bantamweight champion Roli Gasca (24-8-1, 8) battling against once beaten Shuma Sugawara (6-1, 4) [菅原秀馬].
The live show comes on April 14th, when we get the long awaited Japanese Bantamweight title unification bout between Yuta Saito (11-9-3, 8) [齊藤裕太] and Hayato Kimura (28-10, 19) [木村隼人]. Although this is live, it will later become available on demand for those unable to watch the show live next Sunday.
On the 20th of April we'll see the Harada promoted card on demand. This card is headlined by an excellent match up between Kosuke Saka (18-4, 15) [坂晃典] and Japanese-Filipino Joe Noynay (16-2-1, 5) who will battle for the WBO Asia Pacific Super Featherweight title. Also on this card will be Tetsuya Hisada (33-9-2, 19) [久田 哲也].
The final card to be added to the service this month will be the April 28th card from Okayama, Japan. This card will be headlined by Seigo Yuri Akui (12-2-1, 8) [阿久井政悟] and Yoshiki Minato (8-1, 3) [湊義生] with a mouth watering support bout between Tetsu Araki (13-1-1, 2) [荒木哲] and Atsushi Takada (6-0-3, 3) [高田篤志], who battle for the Japanese Youth Bantamweight title.
Earlier today fight fight fans at the Sangyo Shinko Center got the latest show in the Gouken series of cards. It wasn't a huge card but it was an interesting one, and will be added to the Boxing Raise archive of videos in the coming days.
The main event of the card saw talented youngster Daiki Tomita (13-1, 5) [冨田大樹] bounce back from a 2018 loss to Tsubasa Koura, as he stopped former WBC Minimumweight world title challenger Jeffrey Galero (17-7, 8) in 3 rounds. This bout marked a move up in weight for Tomita, to Light Flyweight, and he looked really good, Tomita looked sharp from the off, landing some solid body shots earlier before closing the show with a hard right hand in round 3, that dropped Galero for the 10 count.
The chief support bout saw former world title challenger Hiroshige Osawa (35-5-4, 21) [大沢宏晋] score an easy win over Indonesian foe Ahmad Lahizab (4-8-1, 1), in what was a clear stay busy fight. Osawa, the #1 ranked WBA Super Bantamweight...somehow, landed a big right hand in round 2, that left the Indonesian down for the 10 count.
A third bout of note was an all Japanese clash, which ended when Daisuke Watanabe (8-4-1, 5) [渡部大介] stopped Yu Konomura (9-9-2, 3) [此村勇] in the 7th round. This was much more competitive, and Konomura gave a game effort, before being dropped from a body shot, he would get up but the referee wouldn't let him continue.
Earlier today we were informed that former world title challenger Hiroshige Osawa (34-5-4, 20) [大沢宏晋], best known for his bout with Oscar Valdez, would be back in the ring on April 7th.
Originally the full details of the bout weren't revealed, though now know that the bout will take place at the Sakai City Industry Promotion Center, Sakai City, Osaka and would see him facing an Indonesian foe.
The opponent will be 19 year old Ahmad Lahizab (4-7-1, 1), who has fought outside of Indonesia twice, losing both of those bouts by stoppage. Despite those losses he has managed to hold the KTI/IBC Featherweight title, though he did lose it in his first defense.
As well as Osawa's bout we have also been informed that the main event on this card will see Daiki Tomita (12-1, 4) [冨田大樹] take on Filipino foe Jeffrey Galero (17-6, 8), himself a former WBC Minimumweight world title challenger.
(Image courtesy of http://hiroshige0519.com/)
In the chief support bout of a card in Osaka today fans saw former world title challenger Hiroshige Osawa (34-5-4, 20) [大沢 宏晋] battle against WBA #7 ranked Super Bantamweight Belmar Preciado (18-2-1, 11), in a bout fought at Featherweight.
The fight began with the naturally bigger Osawa pressing the action whilst Preciado picked his moments off the back foot. The cleaner shots all seemed to be from the Japanese fighter, but Preciado looked the more dangerous of the two men, and he was the one who seemed to be throwing with more bad intent. Sadly for Preciado he was too little in the early rounds, as Osawa simply out worked him and out muscled him, limiting his success to essentially single shots here and there.
Round 3 was a huge one for Osawa as he hurt Preciado a number of times with body shots, forcing the Colombian on to the retreat several times. Preciado did see off the storm but showed that the shots Osawa landed were taking a clear effect on him, no matter how much of a supposed none puncher Osawa was.
Knowing he had to make an impression and get Osawa's respect Preciado showed more offensive ambition in round 4, landed several eye catching shots including a huge right hand on the chin, but even that couldn't discourage Osawa. In fact the better the shots from Preciado the more willing Osawa was to let his hands go and trade, something they did on the bell.
As the rounds went on Preciado seemed to be rocked more and more often, backing off frequently, holding and spoiling and looking to prevent Osawa from following up attacks. There were moments when Preciado landed clean, but whenever he did it did little other than slow Osawa who was really hunting a stoppage, and in round 7 seemed to take a lot out of the visitor.
The Colombian found himself pinned on the ropes early in round 8, and took further punishment before turning the tables and forcing Osawa on to the ropes. He struggled to return the punishment, as Osawa covered up well and pushed his man about, trapping the Colombian on the ropes again later in the round. Preciado tried once again to turn the tables but was caught by a vicious counter hook that shook him to his boots and he was dropped from a follow up, that seemed more glancing than a solid blow. Luckily for Preciado the bell came only moments after he recovered to his feet, as he looked about done.
Preciado was clearly still shaken as we began round 9, and he tried to find solace in the ring, learning that it was a lonely place for a hurt man as Osawa pursued him, landing body shots as he tried to take the Colombian's movement away from him. There was next to nothing coming back from the Colombian and Osawa was determined to get the stoppage, something he finally secured near the end of the round when he landed a huge right hand on the side of Preciado's head, dropping his man hard.
This was first stoppage since he stopped Yon Armed in April 2016 and it clearly meant a lot to him. For Preciado it was a first stoppage loss, and may well cost him his world ranking, even though the bout was fought above the weight that he's ranked at.
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