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 fight fans at the Korakuen Hall saw OPBF Minimumweight champion Hiroto Kyoguchi (7-0, 6) [京口 紘人] record his first defense of the title as he over-came teak tough Filipino foe Jonathan Refugio (16-6-5, 4), taking a 12 round decision win of Refugio.
Prior to the bout Kyoguchi had steam rolled his first 6 opponents, in a combined 12 rounds. Although he had looked like a star in the making those 6 bouts had left us asking some questions in regards to his stamina and what he does when he simply can't blitz an opponent. Today however he answered those questions, and did so real style, against a man who had come to more than just survive.
From the off Kyoguchi began the bout fast, looking to replicate his success from other bouts, pressive the action and looking to take out his man very quickly. Refugio however was unwilling to go down and unwilling to just take the loss, instead choosing to fight back, and use his counter shots well to make Kyoguchi think twice about steaming in.
Due to the counters and Refugio's success he was doing more than just surviving but also winning some rounds, and when the scores were announced after the 4th round the scores were 40-36, 39-37 and 39-38, with all 3 favouring the champion.
Kyoguchi slightly changed his approach in the middle rounds, pressing the action more intelligently and lowering his output whilst making every shot count. That change saw him extending his lead after 8 rounds, with the score cards then reading 77-75, 78-75 and 79-73.
Although Kyoguchi could have relaxed, given his his lead going in tot he final found rounds, and almost picked his way to a win, he decided that he was wanting to try and continue his KO streak. In the final round he went for the finish but Refugio, using his feet really well, avoided the big blows Kyoguchi was sending his way, and managed to fiddle his way to the final bell.
Having put in a good effort early on Refugio really was forced to think differently in the later rounds, and failed to take even a share of the last 4 rounds with Kyoguchi taking a unanimous decision, with scores of 117-111, 118-111 and 119-109.
After the win sources in Japan have indicated that the bout was essentially a dummy run for Kyoguchi before a possible world title fight later in the year. Going 12 wasn't and out-and-out part of the plan, but will have done no harm at all for the youngster ahead of a title bout in a few months time. For Refugio the bout proved his toughness, and it's clear that he'll be invited back to Japan in the future given his effort, but against a fighter like Kyoguchi he really was up against it.
(Image courtesy of Boxingnews.jp)
Tomorrow Japanese fight fans ta the Korakuen Hall will get the chance to see OPBF Minimumweight champion Hiroto Kyoguchi (6-0, 6) [京口 紘人] defending his title, for the first time, against 23 year old Filipino foe Jonathan Refugio (16-5-5, 4).
Today the two men took part in their weigh in.
On the scales the champion was bang on the limit, and looked in great shape. He looked like a man hungry to retain his title and perfect record, stating that he was hunting a KO, and that he had scouted Refugio, and is wellaware that the Filipino has lost to 3 world champions during his career. Although not yet a world champion himself it's clear Kyoguchi is lookign to compare himself to those world class fighters.
As for Refugio he was comfortably under the 105lb limit, in fact he was just 104lbs on the scales, and looked significnatly smaller than than Kyoguchi. Although the clear under-dog Refugio did sound confidence of using his skills to pick up a win in Japan, following a draw earlier this year with Seita Ogido, in a bout for the WBC Youth Light Flyweight title.
Kyoguchi looks to retain perfect record as he takes on Refugio!
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
We've long known that Hiroto Kyoguchi (6-0, 6) [京口 紘人] would be making his first defense of the OPBF Minimumweight title on April 25th, at Dangan 180. What we didn't know was who the destructive Watanabe Gym buzzsaw would be up against. Today however we saw sources begin to report that Kyoguchi would be up against 23 year old Filipino foe Jonathan Refugio (16-5-5, 4).
For Kyoguchi the bout sees him looking to build on a 3rd round KO of Filipino veteran Armando dela Cruz (25-15-3, 11), back in late February. He's looking to secure his 7th straigtht stoppage win and continue his quick rise through the ranks, towards a potential world title fight. Despite having only had 6 bouts he is seen as one of the countries top young talents and looks to be following in the footsteps of other young Japanese fighters, like Naoya Inoue, and Daigo Higa.
Although relatively unknown outside of Asia Refugio is a really good gate keeper. Although he has 5 draws and 5 losses it should be noted that 4 of those draws came in his first 10 bouts and losses have come against the likes of Wanheng Menayothin, Merlito Sabillo, Knockout CP Freshmart and Melvin Jerusalem. He holds a notable win over Richard Claveras, a draw with Seita Ogido and has only been stopped by Wanheng and Sabillo, who took 9 and 7 rounds respectively.
Kyoguchi will be the favourite coming in to this bout, but he will be facing arguably his best test to date and an impressive showing could well tempt Watanabe gym to throw him into a world title fight later this year.
Earlier today Japanese fight fans got their first taste of action for 2017, with a show in Okinawa that was live streamed on youtube by promoter Hiranaka Boxing School. The card wasn't a big one, as the live streaming figures showed, but it was one with several notable bouts on it.
The main draw of the show was a Japan Vs Philippines theme, a theme that resulted in 3 of the bouts. That included the main event, a bout between Seita Ogido (11-2-2, 3) [荻堂 盛太] and Jonthan Refugio (16-5-5, 4), who traded blows for the vacant WBC Youth Light Flyweight title. The two men proved to be very well matched over the 10 rounds with Ogido starting the better but fading whilst Refugio seemed to grow stronger. The competitive nature of the bout left the decision in the air before the cards were announced with a majority decision draw, leaving the title vacant, and leaving both men disappointed.
Another bout between Japan and the Philippines saw Japanese veteran Go Onaga (27-3-3, 18) [翁長 吾央] fight to a draw with late replacement Ryan Lumacad (12-0-3, 7), who was a fill in for Jake Bornea (11-1, 5). Onaga was in trouble early on, and was dropped in the openign round, but gritted his teeth and managed to do just enough to gain a draw, albeit one where he was fortunate. For Onaga it seems the end is nigh and this draw has followed a loss from last year to Rene Dacquel. For Lumacad the result sees him remain unbeaten, and this is his second notable draw following a technical draw with Ardin Diale from last September. Despite the draw Lumacad will feel he deserved the win here.
The first of the Japan Vs Philippines bouts saw Masatoshi Kotani (20-2, 13) claim a hard fought and competitive win over the experienced Rey Laspinas (21-15-6, 12) in what was a really fan friendly fight. The Filipino was competitive through out but came up short on all 3 cards.
On the under-card were a number of all-Japanese bouts.
(Image courtesy boxmob.jp)
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