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.
Highly touted Japanese prospect Jin Minamide (2-0, 2) [南出仁] came out for his second bout to the strains of "I fought the law (and the law won)" but today he was the winner, and the winner in what was little more than a cameo as he stopped Filipino Conrado Tanamor (10-3, 4), in the opening round.
The Filipino had come to win and took center ring early on but the bout was turned around quickly and Minamide dropped his man with a couple of right hands up top to score the first knockdown of the fight. He seemed to follow it up with a couple of unnecessary shots when Tanamor was heading to the canvas, but there was no complaints from the Filipino.
Tanamor got back to his feet but was sent down again soon afterwards and took the 10 count, following a body shot, that left him on his backside in the corner. It looked like he could have gotten up, but decided not to, after just 92 seconds.
For Minamide it was a good cameo but we do wonder what Tanamor's career has going for it, he's now been beaten the 3 times he's faced an opponent of some note, and has now been stopped in his last 3 bouts.
Ealier this year Japanese Middleweight Kazuto Takesako (8-0, 8) [竹迫司登] blasted away the tough Hikaru Nishida (17-9-1, 8) [西田 光] to become the Japanese Middleweight champion. That bout was, sadly, only aired on an obscure regional channel in Japan, meanign that most fans in the country haven't seem Takesako since he stopped Shoma Fukumoto inside a round last year.
Thankfully fans in Japan will get the chance to see the exciting, and very heavy handed, Takesako in the ring in early June as he has been selected to headline the June version of Dynamic Glove on G+.
The hard hitting Takesako won't be defending his title however, instead he will be facing off with Filipino veteran Joel Dela Cruz (20-26-3, 8), who is fighting in his 50th professional bout.
On paper this is a huge mismatch in favour of the Japanese fighter, who has only fought for 3 minutes and 2 seconds, combined, in the last 12 months, but it's great to see that he will be kept active and will be returning to the ring less than 3 months after his title win.
Other fighters on this card include Seiya Tsutsumi (1-0, 1) [堤聖也], who will be up against Kenshin Oshima (3-1-1, 3) [大嶋剣心], the debuts of Jin Minamide (0-0) [南出仁] and Takuma Takahashi (0-0) [高橋拓磨], as well as bouts featuring Spicy Matsushita (17-10-1, 2) [スパイシー松下] and Junki Sasaki (19-3, 7) [佐々木洵樹] in decent domestic tests.
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