An important part of the Japanese boxing calendar is the Champion Carnival, which takes place in the first half of the year. The fighters who compete in the Champion Carnival are the national champions and the leading domestic contenders.
In August we a number of bouts to decide the top contenders being announced, with 6 such bouts being set for October 12, on a stacked card at the Korakuen Hall.
For those missed that report those bouts on October 12th will be:
Light Flyweight - Kenichi Horikawa (37-15-1, 11) [堀川 謙一] Vs Koji Itagaki (18-12-3, 7) [板垣幸司]
The Super Flyweight - Yuta Matsuo (14-3-1, 7) [松尾雄太] Vs Rey Orais (20-17-2, 5)
Super Bantamweight - Mugicha Nakagawa (23-5-1, 14) [武田勇太] Vs Naoya Okamoto (13-6-1, 6) [岡本直也].
Super Featherweight - Ken Osato (14-2-1, 4) [大里拳] Vs Satoru Sugita (14-5-1, 9) [杉田聖]
Light Welterweight - Koki Inoue (11-0, 10) [浩樹井上] Vs Marcus Smith (5-0-1, 5)
Light Middleweight Koshinmaru Saito (24-9-2, 13) [斉藤伸介] vs Hironobu Matsunaga (13-1, 7) [松永 宏信]
As well as the October 12th card we also, recently, saw the confirmation that the Flyweight bout would see Junto Nakatani (16-0, 12) [中谷 潤人] battle against Shun Kosaka (15-4, 4) [小坂駿], which that bout now set for October 6th as part of notable Japanese domestic card which is set to be televised on G+.
Today saw the rest of the bouts being announced.
On October 21st we'll have two of them take place in Fukuoka. One of those is the Minimumweight bout, which will see Takumi Sakae (19-2-1, 13) [榮拓海] take on Norihito Tanaka (16-7, 9) [田中教仁], in what could end up being one of the surprise contests from these eliminator style contests. On the same card will be the Welterweight clash between Yuki Beppu (18-0-1, 18) [別府優樹] and Yuki Nagano (14-2, 11) [永野祐樹], in what we are expecting to be a very explosive and exciting encounter between two fighters with very solid power at this level.
A week later, October 28th, we'll get the Lightweight bout, which will see Accel Sumiyoshi (11-4-2, 3) [アクセル住吉] face off with Tatsuya Yanagi (15-5-1, 6) [柳達也]. This bout will take place in Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi prefecture, which should favour Sumiyoshi but given the styles of the two men this has the potential to be very exciting.
On November 7th we'll get the Middleweight bout as former champion Hikaru Nishida (17-9-1, 8) [西田光] takes on Shuji Kato (9-1-1, 6) [加藤収二], with this bout taking place at the Korakuen Hall.
The only bout with out a set date so far is the Bantamweight bout. Despite no set date we do know that Hayato Kimura (27-10, 18) [木村隼人] facing off with Seizo Kono (19-10-1, 12) [高野誠三], in what is a bit of an under-whelming contest given some of the Japanese domestic talent in the division. This bout is expected to have it's date and venue announced in the coming weeks.
Earlier this month Japanese Flyweight champion Masayuki Kuroda (30-7-3, 16) [黒田 雅之] left Japan for Thailand, to take part in a training camp alongside WBO Flyweight champion Sho Kimura (17-1-2, 10) [木村翔], who is preparing for mandatory challenger Kosei Tanaka (11-0, 7) [田中恒成] ahead of their September bout.
It's now been revealed that Kuroda isn't just in Thailand to help Kimura prepare but to also prepare himself ahead of a world title eliminator in Thailand in November.
Earlier this week Kuroda's promoter, Shosei Nitta of the Nitta gym in Kawasaki, revealed that Kuroda would be facing off with former world title challenger Eaktwan BTU Ruaviking (24-5, 15) [ตะวัน BTU เรือไวกิ้ง], aka Komgrich Nantapetch on November 21st in an IBF Flyweight title eliminator.
For the Japanese fighter, who is a former WBA title challenger and a 2-weight national champion, the bout opens the door to him potentially getting a world title fight in 2019. If he can over-come the Thai it would be his 7th straight win, following notable recent victories over Takuya Kogawa, Katsunori Nagamine and Akinori Hoshino, and see him to world level for the first since a February 2013 loss to Juan Carlos Reveco. Interestingly this will only be Kuroda's second bout outside of Japan, his first since a 2015 loss to Mario Andrade in Mexico and it will likely see him vacating the Japanese Flyweight title, leaving it open for Junto Nakatani (16-0, 12) [中谷 潤人] to fight for the belt before the end of 2018.
For the Thai, who lost in an IBF title fight in 2017 to Donnie Nietes then lost in an eliminator to the aforementioned Reveco, the bout would see him throwing his hat straight back into the IBF title mix. Interestingly since losing to Reveco Eaktwan has only scored a couple of low key wins, but the IBF have put a lot of weight into his IBF Pan Pacific title win against Naoki Mochizuki back in February. He has good experience at this level and is, notably, 23-0 when fighting in Thailand, where this bout will be staged
The winner of this will become the leading challenger to the newly crowned IBF world champion Moruti Mthalane, and should see them securing a shot before the end of next year.
(Image courtesy of Shosei Nitta's blog)
Earlier today Japanese fight fans at the Korakuen Hall saw Japanese Flyweight champion Masayuki Kuroda (30-7-3, 16) [黒田 雅之] pull himself off the canvas to successfully retain his title and defeat Akinori Hoshino (13-8-2, 9) [星野晃規].
Kuroda got off to a good start, winning rounds 1 and 2 with his sharp jab, but in round 3 he dropped hard from a 1-2 by Hoshino just moments before the bell. It was the perfect turn around for Hoshino, but unfortunately it was only a fleeting moment of success for the challenger who was put on the back foot again in round 4. To his credit however Hoshino gritted his teeth and fought back hard to be level on two scorecards, 47-47, when the scores were announced. The third card had Kuroda narrowly in the lead, 48-47, but it seemed like everything was to play for in the second half of the fight.
For Hoshino the open scoring seemed to kick Kuroda into gear and the champion cut the distance and forced Hoshino backwards, with the challengers work rate dropping as he was pushed backwards by the jab and accuracy of Kuroda. It wasn't until round 10 that Hoshino really managed to get anything off, but by then it was too little too late.
After the fight Kuroda stated that he hadn't felt well coming into the bout, though felt he recovered well from the knockdown. His promoter hinted at a possible world title fight for Kuroda, but admitted that he wasn't fussy which title his man challenged for, or even that a deal was likely to be made.
Hoshino wounded a lot more down about the result, admitted that he had found his level, and made it seem as if he was set to retire. He stated that he could understand why he can't be a champion and that this bout with Kuroda showed him his limits.
Interestingly Hoshino's stablemate Junto Nakatani (16-0, 12) [中谷 潤人] was ringside for the bout and made it clear he wanted to face Kuroda for the title, whilst giving props to Hoshino and his performance. Whilst Nakatani will almost certainly get a shot it's unclear whether Kuroda will be the man he will be fighting for the title, especially with Kuroda having his eyes on a world title fight.
(Image courtesy of boxmob)
Earlier today fight fans at Korakuen Hall had the chance to see fast rising Flyweight hopeful Junto Nakatani (16-0, 12) [中谷 潤人] continue his impressive unbeaten run, as he dismantled Filipino foe Dexter Alimento (13-4, 9) in 3 rounds.
At the weigh in yesterday the two men looked like they belonged in different divisions, and that looked to be the case again today. Nakatani looked bigger, stronger, more powerful and naturally a better fighter. He managed to show his power in round 2, landing a brutal body shot that left Alimento in clear agony. To his credit Alimento refused to just give in, but it was clear he was out matched.
In round 3 Nakatani landed a brutal straight left hand that dropped Alimento, who took the 10 count to give Nakatani his 12th stoppage win and move him a step closer to a big fight.
After the win Nakatani stated that he would like to fight for the Japanese title, and is expected to compete in a title eliminator later this year. However that depends on the result of the July 23rd bout between Japanese Flyweight champion Masayuki Kuroda (29-7-3, 16) [黒田 雅之] and Akinori Hoshino (13-7-2, 9) [星野晃規], with Nakatani and Hoshino both fighting out of the same gym and the two wouldn't be able to face off, if Hoshino was to come out omn top against Kuroda.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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