Back in July we reported that the popular Jorge Linares (45-5, 28) would be returning to a Japanese ring in September, as he takes part on the September 7th Dynamic Glove show at Korakuen Hall.
What wasn't known was who he would be facing on the card, that was until today when his opponent for the show as announced as Filipino youngster Al Toyogon (10-4-1, 6) who returns to the Korakuen Hall for his second bout there, coming just weeks after losing in July to Shuya Masaki.
For Linares, a 3-weight world champion, this will be his first bout in Japan since stopping Francisco Javier Prieto on December 30th 2014. Despite the long break from a Japanese ring this will actually be his 24th bout in the country. Interestingly he is 22-1 in Japan, though his career does seem to be coming to an end and he was blown out last time out by Pablo Cesar Cano in New York, suffering his second loss in 3 bouts.
Whilst Linares' career is coming to an end Toyogon is in his early 20's and has a lot of potential. Sadly though he has lost his last 2, losing to Masaki in July and to Ryo Sagawa back in July. Those loses ended a 5 fight winning run for Toyogon however a win against Linares would be the biggest of his career, by far.
The bout between Linares and Toyogon will be the chief support bout to a Japanese Welterweight title bout between defending champion Yuki Nagano (16-2, 12) [永野祐樹] and veteran challenger Makoto Kawasaki (11-7-1, 2) [川崎真琴].
Just over a week ago we reported that Yuki Nagano (16-2, 12) [永野祐樹] would be defending his Japanese Welterweight title on September 7th, in his first defense, as he takes on Makoto Kawasaki (11-7-1, 2) [川崎真琴]. We can now reported that a big name has been added to that card, and further speculation about the show in general.
We'll start by looking at the speculation about the card, and this isn't a great way to start as one of the originally scheduled bouts looks to be off.
Originally the card was supposed to feature the rescheduled match up between Kenichi Ogawa (24-1-0-1, 18) [尾川 堅一] and Azinga Fuzile (14-0, 8), who were supposed to meet in an IBF world title eliminator. It's now looking highly likely that the bout will not appear on the card as first planned. At the moment the reason is unclear, though it has long been known that Fuzile wasn't wanting to fight in Japan, and visa issues did scupper the bout earlier in the year. Whether one of the them has gotten a different route to a world title is unclear, though sources in Japan are suggesting that either the bout is off, or is in serious doubt.
To soften the blow for Japanese fight fans they may be glad to hear that the still hugely popular Jorge Linares (45-5, 28) has been added to the card, returning to a Japanese ring for the first time since he stopped Francisco Javier Prieto back in December 2014, on the same show that Naoya Inoue blitzed Omar Andres Narvaez.
At the moment Linares' opponent for the bout hasn't been confirmed, and neither has the weight for the contest, though we do know it will be a 10 round bout and will see Linares getting a chance to appear in a Japanese ring for what maybe the last time.
The popular Venezuelan has lost 2 of his last 3 by stoppage, being taken out by Vasyl Lomachenko in May 2018 and Pablo Cesar Cano earlier this year, and at 33, 34 by the time this fight takes place, there are real question marks about his future in the sport. Despite being a faded force we're expecting the Korakuen Hall faithful to give Linares a huge show of support for what will be his first fight in the venue since February 2007!
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today DAZN Japan released a press release to confirm that they would be the Japanese distributor for 2 major international bouts featuring Japanese fighters. In fact not only will DAZN Japan show the bouts but also the cards the bouts are on.
The first of those cards comes later this week, and will be the Matchroom promoted show from Madison Square Garden Theater, in New York.
The Japanese interest here is the IBF Super Bantamweight title fight between Japanese challenger Ryohei Takahashi (15-3-1, 6) [高橋竜平] and current champion TJ Doheny (20-0, 14). As well as that title bout the card will also feature Japanese interest in the form of Teiken promoted Jorge Linares's (45-4, 28) bout against Pablo Cesar Cano (31-7-1, 21). The card will also feature Demetrius Andrade (26-0, 16) defending the WBO Middleweight title against Artur Akavov (19-2, 8).
This card will be on Friday 18th of January in the US but in Japan it will be shown at 11:00 AM on Saturday morning, with the main event expected to be shown at 1:00 PM.
Just over a week later we'll get a Golden Boy Promoted card from Texas, headlined by Takeshi Inoue (13-0-1, 7) [井上 岳志] challenging WBO Light Middleweight champion Jaime Munguia (31-0, 26). That card will also feature a WBA "regular" Featherweight title bout between defending champion Jesus M Rojas (26-2-2-1, 19) and Chinese challenger Can Xu (15-2, 2) [徐灿].
As with the New York card this will be aired in the morning in Japan, with the broadcast beginning at 9AM local time, and the main card set to begin at 11AM.
Related-Preview: Doheny Vs Takahashi
(Image courtesy of DAZN Japan)
On January 10th the JBC, along with members of the Tokyo Boxing Press, announced the nominations for the 2018 Japanese boxing awards.
The highest award is the Best Fighter, or MVP, award. The nominations for this award are:
Naoya Inoue (17-0, 15) [井上 尚弥] - The current WBA "regular" Bantamweight champion
Kosei Tanaka (12-0, 7) [田中恒成] - The current WBO Flyweight champion
Kenshiro (15-0, 8) [拳四朗] - The current WBC Flyweight champion
and Masayuki Ito (25-1-1, 13) [伊藤 雅雪] - The current WBO Super Featherweight champion
The Skills Award again includes Kenshiro and Tanaka but also:
Tomoki Kameda (36-2, 20) [亀田和毅] - The current WBC "interim" Super Bantamweight champion
Hiroto Kyoguchi (12-0, 9) [京口 紘人] - The current WBC Light Flyweight champion
and Jorge Linares (45-4, 28)
The Special award sees Ito and Tanaka being nominated
The KO award see's Naoya Inoue being joined by:
Satoshi Shimizu (8-0, 8) [清水 聡] - The current OPBF Featherweight champion
and Kazuto Takesako (10-0, 10) [竹迫司登] - The current Japanese Middleweight champion
The Newcomer award has seen a nice number of candidates, the nominees here are, Takesako along with:
Tsubasa Koura (14-0, 9) [小浦 翼] - The current OPBF Minimumweight champion
Hiroaki Teshigawara (18-2-2, 11) [勅使河原 弘晶] - The current OPBF Super Bantamweight champion
Shuichiro Yoshino (9-0, 7) [吉野 修一郎] - The current Japanese Lightweight champion
Ryota Yada (18-4, 15) [矢田良太] - The current Japanese Welterweight champion
The "strive", which appears to be an achievement type of award, has seen the following nominations:
Masayoshi Nakatani (18-0, 12) [中谷正義] - The current OPBF Lightweight champion
Valentine Hosokawa (24-6-3, 11) [細川バレンタイン] - The current Japanese Light Welterweight champion
Masayuki Kuroda (30-7-3, 16) [黒田 雅之] - The former Japanese Flyweight champion
and Tetsuya Hisada (33-9-2, 19) [久田 哲也] - The former Japanese Light Flyweight champion
The best fight, at world level has seen 3 bouts being nominated:
Sho Kimura [木村翔] Vs Kosei Tanaka [田中恒成] - WBO Flyweight title fight
Jorge Linares Vs Vasyl Lomachneko - WBA "super" Lightweight title fight
and Naoya Inoue [井上 尚弥] Vs Juan Carlos Payano - WBA "Regular" Bantamweight title fight
The best fight that wasn't at world level has 4 nominations:
Yusaku Kuga [久我勇作] Vs Shingo Wake [和氣 慎吾] - Japanese Super Bantamweight title fight
Valentine Hosokawa [細川バレンタイン] Vs Vladimir Baez - Japanese Light Welterweight title fight
Hironori Mishiro [三代大訓] Vs Masaru Sueyoshi [末吉 大] - OPBF / JBA Super Featherweight unification bout
Hikaru Nishida [西田 光] vs Kazuto Takesako [竹迫司登] - Japanese Middleweight title fight
The female Fighter of the Year nominations are:
Tenkai Tsunami (26-12, 15) [天海 ツナミ] - The current WBO female Light Welterweight champion
Etsuko Tada (18-3-2, 5) [多田悦子] - The current WBO female Minimumweight champion
Naoko Fujioka (18-2, 7) [藤岡 奈穂子] - The current WBA female Flyweight champion
The female Fight of the Year nominations were:
Tenkai Tsunami [天海 ツナミ] Vs Chaoz Minowa [チャオズ箕輪]- WBO female Light Flyweight title fight
Nao Ikeyama [池山直] Vs Mika Iwakawa [岩川美花] - WBO Atomweight title fight
Naoko Fujioka [藤岡 奈穂子] Vs Irma Sanchez - WBA female Flyweight title fight
Kayoko Ebata [江畑佳代子] Vs Etsuko Tada [多田悦子] - WBO female Minimumweight title fight
Voting will take place in January with the winners being awarded at a ceremony on February 8th.
Late last week Indonesian fighter Daud Yordan (38-3-0-1, 26) took part in a press conference with his promotional team and confirmed that they were indeed chasing a world title fight later this year. Not only that but they finally revealed who they were looking to face and what belt they were chasing.
The press conference saw Yordan and his team state they were attempting to secure a match up with Venezuelan Jorge Linares (44-4, 27). The intention from Yordan's team is for Yordan, who is ranked #2 by the WBA, to face #1 ranked Linares for the vacant WBA "regular" Lightweight title, in early November.
The bout hasn't been set in stone, but according to Raja Sapta Oktohari from Mahkota Promotion the teams are negotiating for the bout and both teams appear to want the match to be made sooner rather than later. Oktohari also admitted that the bout would be very unlikely to take place in Indonesia, though it does seem there are several countries in the running to host the contest, likely including the USA and Japan, both of whom have strong ties to Linares.
Linares was last seen losing the WBA "super" title at Lightweight to Vasyl Lomachenko, and left the "regular" title vacant, which the WBA will likely be hoping to fill as soon as possible. That loss ended his reign which had began in September 2016, when he beat Anthony Crolla, and had seen him record 3 successful defenses. Yordan on the other hand was last seen back in April scoring an upset win over the previously unbeaten Pavel Malikov in Ekaterinburg, Russia.
(Image courtesy of tempo.co)
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