Earlier today the Japanese monthly boxing awards for February were awarded. The awards, for the MVP, Fighting Spirit and "State of the art" (or prospect) saw a trio of relatively expected winner.
The most obvious winner was the MVP which went to Shingo Wake who was exceptional in defending his OPBF Super Bantamweight title against Jovy Katsumata on February 10th. Wake, who is currently ranked by 3 of the big 4, seems likely to fight for a world title in the next year or two as long as he keeps winning fights like he has been recently.
The "Fight Spirit" award was given to promising youngster Rikki Naito who burst on to the title scene with an outstanding victory over the much more experienced Hiroyasu Matsuzaki. This victory, on the same card as Wake's fight, saw Naito claiming the Japanese Super Featherweight and replicating his father, Cassius Naito, who was also a Japanese national champion.
The State-of-the-art award which was awarded to Yusaku Kuga, pictured, who won the award thanks to a stoppage victory against Yuki Iwasaki on February 28th. Although it was a great win for Kuga, who does look very promising, it does need noting that Iwasaki does seem to be in a poor run of form. Saying that however he had never previously been stopped so it was a genuinely good win.
(Photo courtesy of http://watanabegym.com)
It was announced earlier today that February 10th will see two title bouts taking place in the Korakuen Hall on the Diamond Globe & Dangan 93 show. The card, promoted by Reason, will be headlined by an OPBF title fight whilst featuring an excellent looking Japanese title fight in the co-feature.
The main event will see the world ranked Shingo Wake (15-4-2, 8), pictured, defending his OPBF Super Bantamweight title for the 3rd time. Trying to dethrone Wake will be Japanese based Filipino Jovylito Aligarbes (10-2, 4), a man also known as Jovy Katsumata. Jovy is the WBC Youth Super Flyweight champion and the difference in weight, experience and skills should see this looking like an easy contest for Wake who is beginning to look like an exceptional fight.
In the co-feature the unbeaten Rikki Naito (8-0, 4) will take on the very experienced Hiroyasu Matsuzaki (22-6-2, 11) in a battle for the vacant Japanese Super Featherweight title. For Naito this will be his first title bout after having beaten Keiichi Izumi at the Strongest Korakuen in September, for Matsuzaki however this will be his third Japanese title fight having fallen short in both of his previous attempts. This is a big test for Naito though likewise it's a big opportunity for Matsuzaki. For those interested this will be one of the Champions Carnival bouts.
We've yet to hear details about the rest of the card though with those two bouts already made we'd not be shocked if the rest of the card was somewhat disappointing.
Yes we do think Wake/Aligarbes is a mismatch but there is no doubting that Naito/Mastuzaki is one of those fantastic domestic clashes that really is worth looking forward to.
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