Earlier today at the Korakuen Hall fans were treat to a special bout as Japanese Featherweight champion Satoshi Hosono (27-2-1, 20) retained his title, though had to dig deep and battle hard to see off the spirited effort of former Super Bantamweight title holder Rikiya Fukuhara (30-8-1, 22).
The bout was the second meeting between the two men, and also the second defense of Hosono's second reign. It proved however, to be much tough than their first meeting, which was back in 2012.
In their first meeting Fukuhara started well but was eventually saved by the referee as Hosono's power took it's toll on the Watanabe gym fighter. This time around however Fukuhara took the biggest shots of the Ohashi promoter "Bazooka" and fought back, showing his heart and desire.
Early on the challenger looked sharp and used his legs. It was a tactic that served him well in their first bout. For the first 2 rounds it appeared that Fukuhara had the style to beat Hosono, who simply seemed too slow. In round 3 however Hosono managed to cut the distance and make his pressure begin to pay.
The pressure of Hosono helped him land some crunching blows which eventually put Fukuhara on the canvas in round 4. It seemed the end was inevitable.
Fukuhara, despite being hurt, managed to recover from the knockdown and see out a hairy round 5 as Hosono smelt blood. To his credit Fukuhara managed to find a way to survive the onslaught from his dangerous foe and then began to find a home for his own shots.
It was during the later rounds that Fukuhara managed to land some of his best shots and at one point it it seemed he hand landed a counter that would have felled an elephant. Hosono however remained up right showing he had a chin to match his power.
Sadly for a swollen Fukuhara he couldn't turn the fight around and instead he had to settle for merely going the distance as he lost the decision with scores of 98-91, 98-92 and a surprisingly close card of 95-94.
Whilst Fukuhara was on the losing end of the decision it wasn't a great day for Hosono who seems unlikely to get a world title bout next time out. He didn't look his best, though in fairness to him he had been out of the ring for almost 9 months and some sharpness had clearly gone given the break between fights. Hopefully a quick turn around will see Hosono moving towards a title fight at the end of the year, thought the Featherweight division is certainly not an easy one to crack at the top and we'd understand Mr Ohashi holding his charge back, at least for now.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
The main event on today's "Dangan 103" show saw the very promising Japanese Super Featherweight prospect Rikki Naito (10-0, 5) successfully defending his national title for the first time as he out pointed the experienced Kyohei Tamakoshi (32-9-6, 12).
Naito was fighting for the first time since winning the belt, in exceptional style, against Hiroyasu Matsuzaki, and was widely regarded as the favourite going into the clash. The tag of favourite may well have played on Naito who seemed to be frustrated early on by Tamakoshi who wasn't giving much away in terms of opportunities. It was a cagey start by the challenger and whilst Naito was winning the rounds he wasn't able to full impress as he'd have wished.
Tamakoshi's experience managed to prevent Naito from really shining but in the second half the champion put his foot on the gas, increased the pressure and tried to stop the challenger. Again Tamakoshi's experience and toughness helped him but it was a thoroughly one sided bout in the end with Tamakoshi's main achievement being his survival.
When it came to the score cards there was no doubting who won with Naito taking the decision with scores of 99-91 on all 3 cards.
Although Naito was impressive, for the second successive fight, his inexperience is something that needs work. We don't think he's ready for any of the top fighters in the country, though they do including WBA world champion Takashi Uchiyama and WBC champion Takashi Miura as well as the very talented Daiki Kaneko and the monstrous puncher Masao Nakamura. Aside from those 4 world class fighters Naito is the best in Japan.
As for Tamakoshi this was likely his last chance to win a domestic title and is was 5th loss in Japanese title fights.
This fight, as with Go Odaira's bout with Yuma Iwahashi, will be aired later today on Fuji TV.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Japanese Minimumweight champion Go Odaira (10-3-3, 1) successfully defended his title earlier today in an unexpectedly close contest with determined challenger Yuma Iwahashi (11-7-1, 1).
Odaira, a speedy southpaw from the Hanagata gym, worked well with his counters early on and was in the lead on all 3 cards as we entered the second half of the fight. Although he was in the lead it was close and and it seemed like Iwahashi could over-come the small deficit between the two men.
In the second half of the fight thins started to swing a little to Iwahashi who seemed to hurt Odaira slightly with a counter in round 7. Unfortunately for the challenger his lack of skills saw Odaira getting off the hook relatively easily and re-settling relatively quickly.
In the final round it seemed both men were unsure on who was winning and they both went for it in a very entertaining round that showed the character of both men.
Unfortunately for Iwahashi, who was challenging for the Japanese title for the second time, he came up just short losing a majority decision with scores of 97-93, 96-94 both being rendered for Odaira and 95-95 coming from the third judge.
This bout will be shown on Fuji TV in a few hours time on tape delay
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Earlier today fans in Japan were treat to a domestic title fight as the talent Yu Kimura (14-2-1, 2) successfully retainined his Japanese Light Flyweight title in a sensational performance.
Kimura, who narrowly won the title earlier this year with a debated victory over Kenichi Horikawa, was fighting the bigger, taller and harder hitting Yuki Chinen (14-2, 7) though made life look easy in arguably the best performance of his career.
Chinen went in to the bout with a reputation of being a heavy handed fighter. He had taken Ryan Bito out in 81 seconds last time out and looked good doing it. Unfortunately for the challenger that power did him no favours here as Kimura took his best shots and fired back.
The early part of the fight was competitive with Chinen having most of his success in the first few rounds. That success was reflected on the on the score cards after 5 rounds, which was when we had open scores issues. At this point the fight was in the balance with 2 of the judges scoring the bout 48-47 in favour of Kimura whilst the other judge had it 49-46. Unfortunately for Chinen his early successes vanished and in the second half of the fight he simply couldn't get past the defence of Kimura who was starting to control the tempo and range.
By round 10 it seemed like Chinen was a fading force and Kimura still had energy to burn. Rather than keeping that energy in reserve Kimura started to force the challenger back as if he was beginning to think of a stoppage. By that point there wasn't enough time to see of Chinen but the result was in no doubt and the scorecards reflected what everyone knew, Kimura had retained his title.
With scores of 99-91, 98-93 and 97-94 there is no argument that Kimura deserved the victory here though questions of "what next?" need to be asked. Does Kimura attempt to avenge his defeats at the hands of Ryoichi Taguchi and Shin Ono, does he go hunting for the OPBF title, currently held by Jonathan Taconing, or does he get ambitious and attempt to hunt a world title fight. At the moment Kimura holds top 15 rankings with the IBF, WBC and WBO. As for Chinen we're expecting a move up in weight, with his frame the 108lb division cannot be easy to make and he's probably sapping a lot out of himself by continuing to fight at the weight.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
In a minor shock, at least to us, Yohei Tobe (8-1-1, 5) managed to stop Taiki Eto (12-3, 9) earlier today to claim the Japanese Super Flyweight title.
Going in to the bout Tobe was ranked #1 by the JBC whilst Eto was #2 as the men tried to claim the belt vacated by Teiru Kinoshita earlier this year. We had expected a thriller going in though favoured Eto's hard punching, the bout however didn't go as we expected and instead it was almost all 1-way traffic from Tobe who claimed the first title of his career.
Tobe started excellently, he used his jab, movement and aggressiveness to prevent Eto from setting himself with his bombs. It was a bit of a mismatch early on with Eto often chasing shadows and punching the air due to Tobe's sharp and accurate work.
It wasn't until round 8 that Eto had any major success as he landed a right that seemed to buzz Tobe for a second. Tobe recovered well from it however and in the following round landed a devastating right hand of his own that sent Eto down and forced the referee to call a halt to the bout.
For Tobe this victory probably means more than his early career wins over both Wandee Singwancha and current world champion Kohei Kono. It may not take away his defeat to Ryo Akaho in an OPBF title bout but will certainly make him feel like he's back on the track to the top and in fact he may well view a rematch with Kono or Akaho as one of his next steps.
As for Eto this is his second loss in a title bout having come up short in an OPBF title bout with Arthur Villanueva. With his power and style Eto will always be fun but this bout, more than any other, showed his technical limitations and may well see him either needing to go back to the gym in an attempt to completely change his style, or accept that he's a limited but fun to watch domestic level fighter.
In regards to boxrec these fighters were both top 25 in the Super Flyweight division with Tobe going in ranked #18 whilst Eto was ranked #21, as a result we'd expect this victory to push Tobe to around #12 or #13. Interestingly Eto was ranked #12 by the WBA going in so we should see Tobe given a world ranking as a result of this victory.
(Poster courtesy of Misako Gym)
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