Back in March fight fans at the Korakuen Hall, and subscribers to Boxingraise, saw Filipino youngster Jayr Raquinel (9-0 1, 6) travel to Tokyo and rip the OPBF Flyweight title from the waist of Keisuke Nakayama, stopping the Japanese fight in the 9th round of their bout. The contest with Nakayama's was Raquinel's first outside of the Philippines and he impressed, not only taking the best Nakayama had to offer but also stopping the local fighter, showing good variety, stamina and power..
Now it's been announced that Raquinel will return to Japan for his first defense, as he takes on 22 year old challenger Shun Kosaka (15-3, 4) [小坂駿] at the Big Wave in Wakayama on May 27th.
The champion is only 21 but looks like one of the Flyweights division's best young talents. He's been a professional for just over 4 years and already scored notable wins over Jimboy Haya, Richard Rosales and the aforementioned Nakayama. He has shown all the tools to go a long way, well beyond OPBF level, but still needs time to hone those skills, round off some rough edges and mature physically.
The challenger, from the Shinsei Gym, has been a professional since December 2012 and was runner up in the 2014 Rookie of the Year,where he lost a decision to Kenya Yamashita. The loss to Yamashita would be Kosaka's first defeat and has since been followed by losses to Tetsuya Hisada, the current Japanese Light Flyweight champion, and the under-rated Akinori Hoshino. In regards to his best win that came over Yota Hori, who he beat last November with an 8th round technical decision. It is notable that this will be his first career title fight.
At the moment the details for the rest of the card don't look too enticing, but this is a great main event and the card will also feature former 3-weight world champion Hozumi Hasegawa (36-5, 16) [長谷川 穂積] as a special guest.
As a fighter Japan's Hozumi Hasegawa (36-5, 16) [長谷川 穂積] was a genuine Japanese star, a multi-time MVP and a long reigning world champion, who ended up collecting world titles over 3 weight classes. Hasegawa ended his professional career in 2016 though has remained involved in boxing ever since, working notably in the media side of the sport.
Today Hasegawa held a press conference talking about his future in the sport, which seems a lot more hands on than the media work, with the former fighter now opening a new boxing gym of his own.
The gym, located 1 minite from the Rokko station in Kobe, has been opened with Hasegawa explaining that whilst he has retired from being a professional boxer he has not retired from boxing and that this gym will keep him involved in the sport and allow him to train and practice.
Hasegawa was at the event today with several other members of the gym staff, including trainer Shohei Okuda. Okuda spoke about the gym being one where anyone will be able to enjoy boxing, and it seems like the mentality of both men is based on the enjoyment aspect and the openess of boxing.
For those interested in knowing more about the gym the official link to the gym's website is here - www.hozumi-box.com.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today fight fans in Kyoto saw a WBA Super Bantamweight title fight,sadly for those fans they also saw local star Shun Kubo (12-1, 9) [久保隼] suffer a 9th round TKO loss to Amerian Daniel Roman (23-2-1, 9), who dethroned Kubo of the title.
Part of the commentary team for that bout former Japanese star Hozumi Hasegawa (36-5, 16) [長谷川 穂積], who was also a member of the Shinsei gym which manages Kubo, talk about the loss of Kubo's.
Hasegawa was critical of his former stablemate, speaking about the clear weaknesses that Kubo showed, such as his inability to clinch and learn how to get out of the situation he kept finding himself in. Given the pressure of Roman clinching would have been a great tool in Kubo's arsenal, and given him a chance to slow the grinding effect of the American, but he didn't clinch at all. Whilst that may not have lead to Kubo winning, it would certainly have helped his chances, and potentially have frustrated Roman and given Kubo a chance to create some space from. It could well be a lack of experience, a lack of confidence or just not know how to clinch, but today's loss will lead to his team working on that aspect of his game.
Although critical Hasegawa did also see the loss as a chance to learn, and as a chance to learn from the loss. The experience will help improve Kubo as a fighter and, also Hasegawa stated that fans empathise with losers, like himself, and it's likely that the guts Kubo showed will help him build a fan base, potentially even bigger than had he won.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
When it comes to modern day legends Japan has few greater than Hozumi Hasegawa (36-5, 16) [長谷川 穂積], a multi-time Japanese boxer of the year, a very long reigning champion at Bantamweight and a man who moved up to claim titles at Featherweight and Super Bantamweight.
Today that legendary career has come to an end with Hasegawa announcing that is retiring from the sport of boxing, whilst at the top and holding the WBC Super Bantamweight title, his third world title.
Hasegawa stated that he had nothing to prove to himself in the soport having achieved his long term goal of becoming a 3-weight world champion, becoming only the 5th Japanese fighter to achieve that feat, and although he felt physically he could continue in the sport there was nothing there mentally to challenge him.
Hasegawa has long been one of the stars of the Japanese boxing scene and since debuting in 1999 has has had a brilliant career. He won the OPBF Bantamweight title in 2003, claiming the belt with a win over "Japanese-Killer" Jess Maca, he would later add the WBC Bantamweight title by beating Veeraphol Sahaprom in 2005, who had been unbeaten in his previous 44 bouts. As the WBC Bantamweight champion Hasegawa ran up 10 defenses, including a stoppage over Sahaprom and victories over Simpiwe Vetyeka and Vusi Malinga. In 2010 he claimed the WBC Featherweigth title, over-coming the then unbeaten Juan Carlos Burgos, before becoming a 3 weight champion this past September with an upset victory over Hugo Ruizto claim the WBC Super Bantamweight title.
Although now retired Hasegawa will attend the upcoming WBC general assembly to officially vacate the title.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Over the last few weeks it's been as if we've been drip fed information regarding the year ending Japanese shows, however today we saw JBC leak a little bit of information that has raised some eye brows.
That is the fact that Woz boxing will be promoting a world title triple header on December 31st at the Shimazu Arena in Kyoto, Kyoto, finally putting a venue and promoter to the IBF Super Bantamweight title fight between Yukinori Oguni (18-1-1, 7) [小國 以載] and defnding champion Jonathan Guzman (22-0-0-1, 22).
Last week we saw Oguni announce that he would be challenging Guzman in Kyoto, with the announcement certainly coming as a bit of a surprise, however the fact the JBC are listing the show as a triple world title show is a real surprise.
Whilst we know a lot of fighters will be in action around that time of year we can't imagine that either WBA Flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka's (20-1, 12) [井岡一翔] or WBO Super Flyweight champion Naoya Inoue (11-0, 9) [井上 尚弥] and we know several other champions aren't set to fight again this year, with other champions already booked for a show in Tokyo on the same day.
That leaves us wondering who the other two world title bouts will feature. The obvious choice is Woz's own fighter Shohei Omori (17-1, 12) [大森 将平], afterall why would Woz be involved unless their star man was set for a world title bout, but it's hard to see what title he could be fighting for given that he's only currently ranked by the WBC, and their is no way Omori will be facing Shinsuke Yamanaka (26-0-2, 18) [山中慎介] or Hozumi Hasegawa (36-5, 16) [長谷川 穂積] in December.
Whilst there is a chance at least one of the bouts could be a female title bout, featuring either WBO female Minimumweight world champion Kumiko Seeser Ikehara (9-1-2, 3) [池原シーサー久美子] WBO Atomweight champion Nao Ikeyama (17-3-2, 4) [池山直] it does seem like Woz have worked on sorting out something big and we may be in for something a little bit unexpected being announced in the very near future.
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