In October Seigo Yuri Akui (14-2-1, 10) [阿久井政悟] claimed the Japanese Flyweight title, as he blitzed Shun Kosaka (16-6, 4) [小坂駿], inside a round. The win saw Akui winning the title which had previously been vacated by Junto Nakatani (20-0, 15) [中谷 潤人], who is focusing on getting a world title fight.
The win for Akui was his 9th opening round win from 10 stoppages, and saw him prove his power was legitimate.
We now know the details of Akui's first title defense, with the bout being a Champion Carnival bout against Seiya Fujikita (13-4, 6) [藤北誠也], who essentially got a bye in his title eliminator last year due to an injury forcing Ryota Yamauchi (5-1, 4) [山内涼太] out of their planned October bout. Interestingly this will be Fujikita's first title bout, of any kind.
Akui and Fujikita will face off on March 8th at the AEON Hall in Okayama, with the bout being the main event of Momotaro Fight Boxing 39. At the moment not much else is known about the card, though we have been informed that Kenya Okada (5-1-1, 3) [岡田兼弥] will be facing Daisuke Sudo (6-6-3) [須藤大介] in a supporting 6 round Flyweight bout.
Although yet to be confirmed it seems likely this will be made available on Boxing Raise, like many of Akui's other recent bouts.
Earlier today Japanese fight fans at the Korakuen Hall saw Japanese Featherweight champion Ryo Sagawa (9-1, 4) [佐川遼] make his first defense, as he scored a clear decision win over mandatory challenger Ryo Hino (13-2-2, 8) [日野僚].
On paper this looked a really good match up, with both men having similar looking records and similar, technique based, styles. In the end though it was a pretty comfortable win for the talented champion, who has been in great form recently and extended his run here.
The early part of the bout was ultra-competitive, with both man looking to control the distance and make their most of their jabs. Through the first 5 rounds it was hard for the judges to split the two men, and when the scores were announced at the mid way point the judges were split. One judge had Hino leading 48-47, whilst the other judges had the bout 48-47 and 49-46 in favour of Sagawa.
From the mid way point however Sagawa took over. Hino tried to set the pace but it was Sagawa who rose above, increasing his work rate and landing the harder shots, particularly in round 8 when his straight right hand landed hard and forced Hino to rethink his tactics. Sadly for Hino his stamina then began to falter and rounds 9 and 10 allowed Sagawa to further increase his control of the bout.
After 10 rounds we went to the scorecards which were 97-93, twice, and 98-92, all in favour of Sagawa.
Sagawa will enter 2020 knowing that his next defense is another mandatory, as he is now set to battle Hinata Maruta (10-1-1, 8) [丸田陽七太] during the 2020 Champion Carnival, whilst Hino will go into the new year with knowledge that he has to improve significantly if he's to win a Japanese title any time soon.
(Image courtesy of A.McGovern)
Tomorrow fight fans at Korakuen Hall will get the chance to see Japanese Featherweight champion Ryo Sagawa (8-1, 4) [佐川遼] make his first defense, as he takes on Ryo Hino (13-1-2, 8) [日野僚] in the chief support bout of a Diamond Glove show. The bout will be Sagawa's first bout since beating Reiya Abe for the belt, and will see him looking to build on a great run that has seen him defeat Abe, Ryo Matsumoto, Al Toyogon, Shingo Kawamura and Junki Sasaki. As for Hino the bout sees him looking to extend his current unbeaten run to 10 bouts.
Today, ahead tomorrow's match up, the two men took part in their weigh in, and both fighters came in bang on the 126lb limit.
At the weigh in Sagawa stated that he usually struggles to make weight, but made it easily this time around, and he seemed very confident and relaxed. It was as if the title has solidified his self belief. That belief was also helped by the success of the Misako Gym, which boasts 5 champions and 3 fighters who will fight for titles in the new year.
Hino did state that Sagawa was good, but seemed like he felt he was better, and was talking like a man who was going to claim the title tomorrow.
Interestingly the winner of this will defend the Japanese title in 2020 against Hinata Maruta (10-1-1, 8) [丸田陽七太] during the Champion Carnival.
Related - Sagawa takes on Hino in first Japanese title defense
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Today's double header at the EDION Arena Osaka, was one to forget for the team at Green Tsuda who saw two of their biggest names suffer serious set backs.
Following the up and down battle between Ryota Yada [矢田良太] and Yuki Beppu [別府優樹], more about that bout here, fans then got a Japanese Super Flyweight title bout, with defending champion Takayuki Okumoto (23-9-4, 11) [奥本貴之] trying to defend against former champion Kenta Nakagawa (18-3-1, 12) [中川 健太]. Sadly for Okumoto his reign came to an end, after 3 defenses.
Okumoto had gone into the bout with confidence and that confidence showed early on, as he pressed behind his jab, looking to keep Nakagawa at range and control the fight. The idea was a smart one, but it was a flawed one with Nakagawa setting an awkward rhythm and taking the lead at the mid-way point.
After 5 rounds, when the scores were announced, Nakagawa was leading on all 3 cards, 48-47, twice, and 49-46.
Despite the competitive start it was clear that Nakagawa was the one in charge, and his control over the bout tightened significantly in the second half. He was beginning to land right hands to the body, left hands up top and continually forced the issue, preventing Okumoto from getting back into things. Even when Okumoto did manage to build some success it was cut off quickly, and he was never able to dictate things for long.
Things went from bad to worse to Okumoto in round 9. With the score cards well and truly against him he was then cut, badly, on the right eye lid. He passed a doctors inspection, but it was still bad and he had to fight with a bloodied through the final round and a bit.
After 10 rounds there was no disputing the outcome, with Nakagawa winning 98-92, twice, and 99-92.
Nakagawa will make his fist defense at the 2020 Champion Carnival, when he faces either Hiroyuki Kudaka (26-18-2, 11) [久高寛之] or Yuta Matsuo (15-4-1, 8) [松尾雄太], who battle on December 22nd in their title eliminator.
As for Okumoto his future is less clear, though we suspect he'll bounce back with an easy win next year, then look to get back into the title scene as early as he can.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Today's Dynamic Glove might be the final one of 2019 but it certainly wasn't a dull old show with nothing happening. In fact the first of two title fights on the show saw a genuine surprise as defending Japanese Super Featherweight champion Masaru Sueyoshi (19-2-1, 11) [末吉 大] was battered by former Japanese Featherweight champion Kosuke Saka (20-5, 17) [坂晃典], who became a 2-weight Japanese champion.
Saka, who was less than 8 months removed from a stoppage loss to Joe Noynay in a WBO Asia Pacific title bout, was expected to be the next fighter tortured by Sueyoshi's frustrating, yet effective style. He was supposed to be the man that Sueyoshi made his 5th defense against. Instead Saka turned out to have the Kryptonite to Sueyoshi's back foot style.
From the opening moments Saka applied intense pressure, cramping Sueyoshi for space, landing his jab to get inside and prevented Sueyoshi from ever getting comfortable. The pressure continued to come, and Sueyoshi looked like a man who was lost by the end of round 2, as Saka refused to slow down.
It wasn't until round 4 that Sueyoshi managed to create any workable space of note, and even then he didn't do enough to win the round. It was a better round for him, but not a round that he won. Similarly the 5th round, had competitive moments, with Sueyoshi ending the round well, but taking a lot before hand.
After 5 rounds the open scoring kicked in, with Saka leading 50-45, twice, and 49-46. The big question was whether he was going to be able to keep it up.
Whether Saka could do it for 10 rounds or not hardly mattered. In round 6 he managed to shake up Sueyoshi, who never got chance to recover, being knockdown hard mid way through the round. Referee Biney Martin, had taken a close look at Sueyoshi earlier on, knew it was pointless in administering a count, and waved off the bout.
For Saka this is arguably the biggest win of his career, at worth it's on par with his win over Shota Hayashi for the Japanese Featherweight title. As for Sueyoshi this was a painful defeat, and one that could be very hard to bounce back from. He was bullied, he was battered and he was exposed as someone who cannot handle intense pressure. Few at Japanese level could do what Saka did, but the issue is that many above Japanese level can.
With this result we now know that Saka will defend the belt in the 2020 Champion Carnival against Takuya Watanabe, in what looks like an amazing fight on paper.
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