At the start of today we knew that Seiya Tsutsumi (5-0, 4) [堤聖也] was assured a place in the God's Left Bantamweight tournament semi final. What we didn't know is who the other 3 semi-finalists would be. That changed today, when we had the three quarter final bouts take place the the Korakuen Hall. Whilst they didn't provide much in terms of an upset they did provide some great entertainment.
The first man to join Tsutsumi in the round of 4 was Ohashi gym's unbeaten hopeful Kazuki Nakajima (7-0, 6) [中嶋一輝]. Nakajima, a former amateur stand out, did exactly what was expected of him as he quickly disposed of veteran Kenichi Watanabe (8-5-1, 4) [渡辺健一] inside a round. Nakajima took control quickly and dropped hard near the ropes. The referee quickly waved off the action, after just over 2 minutes, as he booked his place in the final 4.
The next man to advance was the aggressive Kenya Yamashita (14-5, 11) [山下賢哉], who booked himself a fight with Tsutsumi, as he scored a second round win over Gaku Aikawa (9-8-1, 3) [相川 学己]. Aikiawa put up a good effort in the opening round, but Yamashita always looked more dangerous, more aggressive and much more powerful. In round 2 that aggression proved too much for Aikawa who was dropped and failed to beat the 10 count, at a time of 2:10 in round 2.
With Yamashita Vs Tsutsumi now booked we're glad to say that this will be a brutally violent war and we really cannot wait to see this one.
The final of the quarter final bouts proved to be the most exciting, and the most competitive, with Jin Minamide (4-0, 3) [南出仁] and Tetsu Araki (14-2-1, 2) [荒木哲] putting on a show.
Minamide always looked the more powerful and aggressive fighter, but often the man who was taking risks and he was cut and tagged by counters from Araki, who proved his mettle and toughness through out. In the end Minamide did enough to earn the decision, albeit a razor close one, and book himself a fight with Nakajima. From all the rounds of today's show the 6th round of this bout was particularly good, with the men stand and throwing bombs in the final moments of the fight.
Whilst Tsutsumi Vs Yamashita is likely to be a violent inside war we can't help but feel that Nakajima and Minamide will make for a brutal fight in it's own right, albeit with a more varied style due to the strong amateur pedigree of both men, who can certainly both bang and both put on a show.
For fans interested in watch this it was aired live in Boxing Raise and will be made available on demand in the coming days.
(Image ourtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Tomorrow we'll see the God's Left Bantamweight tournament kick off with the 3 quarter final bouts. On paper the best of those will see Jin Minamide (3-0, 3) [南出仁] risk his perfect record against Japanese Youth champion Tetsu Araki (14-1-1, 2) [荒木哲]. On paper this is, by far and away, the best of the quarter final bouts, and is a really mouth watering match up.
Today the two men had the chance to size each other up at the official weigh in, and of course both men were tasked with making the 118lb weight limit.
On the scales Araki was bang on the 118lb limit and looked the naturally bigger man, having several inches of height over his unbeaten foe. With his last 8 bouts being 8 round contest Araki revealed that he will have to adapt to this bout only being a 6 rounder, and will need to start faster than he's done in recent contests, in fact he's gone 8 rounds in 6 of those 8 bouts.
Minamide on the other hand was closer to 117.75lbs, and although the naturally smaller man seemed very confident and relaxed. He spoke about how Araki is ranked by the JBC and was more motivated than he had been in the past. He also spoke about being Wakayama's Edwin Valero. He seemed incredibly confident and like a man who backed himself strongly to win the whole tournament.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Back in April we reported that Japanese legend Shinsuke Yamanaka [山中慎介] had began to work with Danagn on an special Bantamweight tournament, set to begin in July.
Today the draw for that tournament took place, as well as the reveal of who would be involved, and who the men would be facing.
The original plan seemed to be for 8 fighters to compete, though only 7 have actually been selected, allowing one fighter to have a bye into the final 4. The fighter getting the bye is 23 year old Seiya Tsutsumi (5-0, 4) [堤聖也], who has been given a seeding position and will skip the quarter finals as a result.
Tsutsumi is a really exciting fighter from the Watanabe gym who made his debut in March 2018 and impressed last September when he won a B Class tournament, dismantling Junpei Inamoto in the final. More recently he stopped tough Filipino Ryan Rey Ponteras, back in April, and has been strongly tipped as one to watch.
Tsutsumi's opponent in the semi-final will be either Gaku Aikawa (9-7-1, 3) [相川 学己] or Kenya Yamashita (13-5, 10) [山下賢哉].
Aikawa, from the Misako gym, is a 25 year old who has lost 3 of his last 4, but has been fighting mostly at Super Bantamweight and not Bantamweight. At his best he's a tough guy to discourage, but will be regarded as one of the big under-dogs in the tournament. Interestingly he reached the 2013 All Japan Rookie of the Year, losing to Bunta Mitaka in the final.
Yamashita on the other hand is a well liked, aggressive fighter who was one tipped to be a force on the domestic scene. He brings intense action, but can be out boxed, as we've seen recently against John Riel Casimero. He's explosive, exciting and comes to fight, but has suffered 4 stoppage losses, and at the age of 22 it already feels like his all action style is catching up with him. Notably this will be his first fight since joining up with the JB Sports Gym. As with Aikawa he will be regarded as a betting outsider.
Another of the semi-final bouts will see Ohashi gym's unbeaten hopeful Kazuki Nakajima (6-0, 5) [中嶋一輝] take on Kenichi Watanabe (8-4-1, 4) [渡辺健一]. On paper this looks like a bit of a mismatch, but should be a good chance to see if Nakajima is as good as some suggest.
Nakajima is a 26 year old former amateur stand out who made his debut in 2017 and already holds solid wins over Taiga Higashi and Yoshihiro Utsumi. He has been groomed for success following his long amateur career, where he went 72-15 (30) and is expected to become another of the top guys under the guidance of Hideyuki Ohashi.
Watanabe on the other hand is from the little known Dream Boxing Gym and at 32 years old is clearly the oldest man in the tournament. He debuted more than a decade ago, but has had a stop-start career which has struggled to get going. During his time in the sport he has shared the ring with Koki Eto, Akinori Hoshino and Hiroaki Teshigawara, though those bigger names have all beat him. Another of the tournaments outsiders.
The remaining quarter final is the best of the bunch will see another of the tournaments favourites in action, in fact even the bout's under-dog will be regarded as the best of the under-dogs. In one corner will be unbeaten puncher Jin Minamide (3-0, 3) [南出仁] and in the other will be once beaten Japanese Youth champion Tetsu Araki (14-1-1, 2) [荒木哲], in what is easily the best of the match ups in the first round.
The 24 year old Minamide was a notable amateur, going 43-22 (15) before turning professional with Celes Kobayashi at the Kobayashi gym. Since debuting, in June 2018, he has fought just 5 rounds but taken out some impressive competition, including Marjun Pantilgan. His opponents combined record so far is 33-12-1, yet he has sliced through them with complete ease and looked ready for much bigger things.
As mentioned Araki the the Japanese Youth champion, and is also 24 years old. He debuted in 2014 and lost in the 2015 Rookie of the Year tournament to Tenta Kiyose, since then however he has reeled off 10 straight wins including notable victories over Yuto Nakamura, Ryuto Owan, Morihisa Iju and Atsushi Takada. As far as under-dogs go he's the most likely to over come the unbeaten men, all of whom were top, top amateurs.
Thee tournament officially begins on July 23rd, with the quarter final bouts. The semi-final bouts will take place on October 31st with the final pencilled in for January 2020. The winner will receive a large financial prize
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today fight fans at the Korakuen Hall had the chance to see a number of notable prospects in action, as they looked to continue their promising starts to professional boxing.
The first of the prospects to fight today was Masahiro Suzuki (2-0, 1) [鈴木雅弘], who really impressed us on his debut against Antonio Siesmundo last year. Suzuki was up against Filipino Kelvin Tenorio (4-5, 2), and although Suzuki failed to stop his man he did take a very clear decision win, with scores of 60-54, twice, and 59-55. Suzuki seemed to be getting strong as the bout went on but Tenorio showed his toughness to see out the 6 round scheduled.
Following Suzuki's win Jin Minamide (3-0, 3) [南出 仁] would extend his stoppage run, taking a huge step up in class, and stopping Marjun Pantilgan (18-8, 14) in what is an impressive result. Minamide, who had taken out his first 2 opponents in the first round, was expected to win here but few would have expected a stoppage against Pantilgan, who has proven to be a tough and durable foe. Pantilgan was dropped following a series of right hands from Minamide in the latter part of round 3, and made it clear he didn't want to continue. The unbeaten fighter, who is managed by Celes Kobayashi, told the crowd to remember his name and that he was going to become a world champion, given his performances so far it's hard to doubt him and that confidence.
The third prospect in action on this card was Takuma Takahashi (3-0, 3) [高橋拓磨] who stepped up to the 8 round level for the first time. Sadly whilst Takahashi was expecting to have a bit of a test his opponent, 21 year Filipino Jonel Dapidran (10-4, 6) was unable to ask any questions of Takahashi. Takahashi needed just 85 seconds to take out Dapidran, who took some body shots and took the full count in what proved ton be a total waste of time. We wouldn't be surprised of Dapidran found his name on the JBC list of Invitation Prohibited Fighters given this loss, and his loss to Rikuto Adachi late last year.
On March 2nd we'll see unbeaten Japanese Middleweight champion Kazuto Takesako (10-0, 10) [竹迫司登] defending his title against mandatory challenger Shuji Kato (10-1-1, 6) [加藤収二] on March 2nd at the Korakuen Hall.
We had previously reported that two highly regarded prospects would be on the card Takuma Takahashi (2-0, 2) [高橋拓磨] and Masahiro Suzuki [鈴木雅弘] (1-0, 1), who are both stablemates of Takesako.
We can now confirm that they will be joined by another top prospect, this time Celes gym's Jin Minamide (2-0, 2) [南出 仁], who went 43-22 (15) in the unpaid ranks.
Notably Minamide has had his opponent for the show announced, unlike Takahashi and Suzuki. The unbeaten hopeful is set to take a big step up to take on Filipino foe Marjun Pantilgan (18-7, 14), in an 8 round bout at Bantamweight.
To date Minamide has has fought just over 3 minutes as a professional, stopping Anthony Holt and Conrado Tanamor both in the opening round. He has looked great but clearly needs to take a step up, and that's exactly what this is.
Pantilgan on the other hand, has faced tough competition, with notable bouts against the likes Sonny Boy Jaro, Robert Onggocan, Ryusei Kawaura and Masayoshi Hashizume. Although he's lost to those 4 foes he has proven to be tough, and a very good test, likely explaining why Minamide's team have matched their man against him.
This card, for those interested, will be aired live on G+ as part of the Dynamic Glove series of shows.
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