Earlier today the Ohashi Gym announced their next Phoenix Battle show, which we now know will take place on September 17th at Korakuen Hall.
The main event for the card was announced as a being a bout between the fast rising Taku Kuwahara (5-0, 4) [桑原拓] and world ranked Filipino Jonathan Refugio (21-6-5, 7), who is currently ranked #15 by the WBC at Minimumweight.
The talented Kuwahara, who has been dubbed "Ioka II", made his debut in May 2018 and and has been tipped for major success since announcing that he was heading to the professional ranks. In just his third bout he was fighting in 8 round bouts but this is a huge step up in class against a man who has over 230 rounds as a professional.
The 26 year old Refugio has been a professional since June 2010 and whilst he hasn't yet scored a world class win he has mixed with good company with losses to Wanheng Menayothin, Merlito Sabillo, Knockout CP Freshmart, Melvin Jerusalem and Hiroto Kyoguchi in recent years. He's no world beater, but a stoppage against him would be very, very impressive.
In the chief support we'll see Japanese ranked Super Featherweight Kazuma Sanpei (17-5, 7) [三瓶数馬] will take on Toru Kiyota (9-3, 7) [清田亨] in what should be a very competitive and interesting 8 round bout. Sanpei has the edge in experience and achievement but with 4 stoppages against him Kiyota will enter the bout with the belief that he has the power to stop his man.
Another good bout announced for this card will see JBC and WBO Asia Pacific ranked fighter Tsuyoshi Tameda (20-4-2, 18) [溜田剛士] take on Filipino Joe Tejones (13-6, 7), who fights in Japan for the third time, following losses to Hinata Maruta and Tenta Kiyose in previous Japanese bouts. Coming into this bout Tameda is riding high following a really good win over Tae Il Atsumi whilst Tejones recently took the unbeaten record of KJ Natuplag.
One other talented hopeful booked for this is Katsuya Yasuda (4-0, 2) [保田克也], though he is yet to have his opponent for the card announced. Given he took a step up in class in July, when he beat Jerry Castroverde, we would hope for another step up for the 27 year old, however it does seem more likely to be a tick over for the Lightweight hopeful.
Introducing... Taku Kuwahara
Introducing... Katsuya Yasuda
Earlier today Japanese fans in Osaka saw the fast rising Hinata Maruta (4-0, 3) [丸田 陽七太] score his first defense of the WBC Youth Bantamweight title as he stopped Filipino southpaw Joe Tejones (6-2, 2) in 7 rounds.
Maruta was viewed as the big favourite but it was clear that his inexperience against southpaws was going to see him face some new questions here, and that showed early on when Tejones landed a solid right hook on Maruta, showing a key weapon a southpaw's arsenal.
That southpaw stance of Tejones saw the Filipino being right in the fight through 4 rounds, with two of judges actually having the bout level after the firsr 4 rounds, and the other judge having Maruta in a narrow 39-37 lead.
Having taken a few rounds to figure out the the Filipino Maruta started to take over, cutting the right eye of Tejones with a big right hand in round 5 and then breaking down the Filipino who was dropped in round 7 from a vicious combination punctuated by a nasty body shot. The Filipino failed to beat the 10 count,and gave Maruta his third straight stoppage win
Although the Japanese teenager took his time, and lost a few rounds, here the experience against a hungry southpawwill have been invaluable going forwardand he'll have learned about the right hook from the southpaw stance. The win was a key and he's now said to be chasing more titles in 2017, with the Japanese, OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific titles clearly on his radar. Sadly for Tejones the a good start was essentially wiped out by a fighter who is several levels above him. It was a bad performance from the Filipino but he was out of his depth against a fighter with the ability and skills of Maruta. He will bounce back, but it's hard to see how far Tejones will potentially go in the course of his career.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Tomorrow Japanese fight fans in Osaka will get the chance to see ultra-highly regarded prospect Hinata Maruta (3-0, 2) [丸田 陽七太] defending his WBC Youth Bantamweight title against Filipino challenger Joe Tejones (6-1, 2), who is stepping up massively here.
Today those two fighters weighed in for their bout with both making weight for the bout.
Maruta, defending his belt for the first time, was comfortably under the limit coming in at around 117¼lbs. Although looking really slim at the weight Maruta looked comfortable and happy at the weight in and it's clear his young frame can easily boil down to the Bantamweight limit with no issues.
Tejones also came in well under the limit, in fact he was equal to his career low coming in at 116½lbs for the bout. The weight is significantly lighter than he was last time out, against Robert Awitin, but he looked solid at the weigh in and didn't look like a man making a career low.
(Image courtesy of Hinata Maruta's blog)
After what seems like an eternity we've finally got the full line up for the upcoming “You Will be the Champion 6/Art of Boxing 3” co-promoted card and it really does seem like Japanese promoters are attempting to out do each other. That's been seen in the fact that the much anticipated November 23rd show will featured 5 title bouts!
The OPBF title bouts between Light Middleweight champion Takayuki Hosokawa (28-10-5, 9) [細川 貴之] and Yutaka Oishi (13-5, 7) [大石 豊] and the OPBF Middleweight title fight between Koki Tyson (10-2-2, 10) [太尊 康輝] and defending champion Dwight Ritchie (14-0-0-4,1) have been long known about.
We've also long been aware that Hinata Maruta (3-0, 2) [丸田 陽七太] would be defending his WBC Youth Bantamweight title for the first time. Today we finally saw Maruta's opponent being named, with it being Filipino Joe Tejones (6-1, 2).
Tejones a 20 year old southpaw, will be fighting outside of the Philippines for the first time and, if truth be told, is a disappointing opponent for Maruta given the Japanese youngster's performances so far. Although disappointing Tejones has never been stopped, and his only loss was a razor thin one to Jess Rhey Waminal, back in July. With it being Maruta's first defense of the title, and given the restrictions involved in WBC Youth title fights, we won't complain too much, especially given the depth of the card.
As reported yesterday other bouts on the card include a contest between Hirofumi Mukai (12-4-3, 2) [向井 寛史] and Inthanon Sithchamuang (30-8-1, 18) [อินทนนท์ ศิษย์ชะมวง], with both men being former world title challengers. Interestingly this 12 round bout has now been confirmed as a WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight bout, whilst the bout between Masahiro Sakamoto (8-0, 4) [坂本 真宏] take on the once beaten Sho Kimura (12-1-2, 6) [木村 翔] has been confirmed as a WBO Asia Pacific Flyweight title bout.
With 5 title bouts the show slightly over-shadows the November 11th card, which has 4 OPBF title fights, and given the quality of the overall card this really does look like a treat for fans in Osaka in in the final week of November.
Hirofumi Mukai to face Inthanon Sithchamuang on November 23rd!
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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