Earlier today at the Korakuen Hall fans got the chance to see the award ceremony for February's award winners.
The MVP for the month was veteran fighter Kenichi Horikawa (39-15-1, 13) [堀川 謙一], who became a 2-time Japanese Light Flyweight champion when he stopped Satoru Todaka (9-3-4, 3) [戸髙達] on February 14th. The veteran, who for years was seen as a nearly man, will make his first defense in May and seemed really happy to be at the Korakuen Hall today.
The Fighting Spirit Award was claimed by Japanese Flyweight champion Junto Nakatani (18-0, 13) [中谷 潤人], who won his title on February 2nd, when he stopped Naoki Mochizuki (15-4, 8) [望月直樹] and took both the title and his award. He spoke about returning to one of these ceremony's in the future as the MVP. That could in just a few months time, with the youngster set to defend his title on June 1st, in what will be his first defense.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Yesterday we saw the announcement of two Japanese title bouts which are now both set to take place in the summer, in fact they are set to take place within in the space of 2 weeks of each other, in June.
The first of those will take place on June 1st and will see Japanese Flyweight champion Junto Nakatani (18-0, 13) [中谷 潤人] make his first defense of the title he won earlier this year. The talented Nakatani will be up against #3 ranked JBC contender Wolf Nakano (6-7-4, 2) [中野玄悠]. On paper this is a mismatch, and should serve as little more than getting the first defense on the board for Nakatani, who is likely to move on to bigger and better things in the near future.
The Nakatani Vs Nakano bout will be on a Dynamic Glove card and we've been informed that the chief support bout will be a rematch between Charles Bellamy (28-3-2, 18) and Yuto Shimizu (12-4-2, 5) [清水優人], who had a great bout earlier this year.
The other title bout will take place on June 13th and will see Japanese Minimumweight champion Norihito Tanaka (18-7, 10) [田中教仁] make his first defense, as he takes on Naoya Haruguchi (15-10, 6) [春口直也], in what looks like a pretty competitive bout on paper. Tanaka won the title in January, stopping Shin Ono and looked better than ever, but Haruguchi is better than his record suggests and should put up a decent effort.
In earlier February we saw a new Japanese Flyweight champion being crowned, as Junto Nakatani (18-0, 13) [中谷 潤人] stopped Naoki Mochizuki (15-4, 8) [望月直樹] in a career best win.
Earlier this week Nakatani took his Japanese title to the mayor's office in Sagamihara, where he spoke to mayor Toshio Kayama.
The event saw Mr Kayama tell Nakatani "I want you to be a strong world champion" (Translated) as well as handing over an award, the “Prince of Honor”, to Nakatani his achievement and title win.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today the East Japan Boxing Association announced their Award winners for February. Their was only two awards this month, but both went to new Japanese champions.
The MVP for the month was newly crowned Japanese Light Flyweight champion Kenichi Horikawa (39-15-1, 13) [堀川 謙一], who claimed the title when he stopped Satoru Todaka (9-3-4, 3) [戸髙達] on February 14th.
The Fighting Spirit Award was won by the newly crowned Japanese Flyweight champion Junto Nakatani (18-0, 13) [中谷 潤人], who won his title on February 2nd, when he stopped Naoki Mochizuki (15-4, 8) [望月直樹] .
The was no Newcomer award winner.
Horikawa and Nakatani will be able honoured at an awards ceremony on April 11st at the Diamond Glove show.
(Image courtesy of boxing.jp)
Earlier today we saw a new Japanese Flyweight champion being crowned as Junto Nakatani (18-0, 13) [中谷 潤人] and Naoki Mochizuki (15-4, 8) [望月直樹] battled to fill the vacancy left by Masayuki Kuroda at the end of 2018. Both men were fighting in their first Japanese title bout, as part of the Champion Carnival, and it was an excellent match up on paper. The unbeaten wonder kid, who has a wonder boxer-puncher style, against the grizzled pressure fighter.
The fight looked one sided through the opening few rounds, with Mochizuki's pressure being ineffective and leading to him being blasted by straight shots from Nakatani, who looked sharp, crisp and effective. The gameplan from Mochizuki was simple, "get inside and take away Nakatani's reach", it was however a gameplan that was really tricky to put into effect, with Nakatani using his movement well, and often connecting clean as Mochizuki rushed in. Mochizuki was forced to pay for his aggression in round 3, when he was hurt late, and in round 4 Nakatani began to sit on his punches more, but couldn't stop the charge of Mochizuki.
In round 5 we saw Mochizuki have his best round, seemingly picking it up as Nakatani began to look a little tired. The pressure perhaps paying off at last. It was however a momentary blip and the following round Nakatani would slowly ramp things back up before having a dominant round 7, as he began to accept Mochizuki's pressure and return fire with uppercuts. They were the Achilles heel for Mochizuki who ate so many uppercuts in round 7 that he face began to really show the damage that he was taking.
By the end of round 7 Mochizuki would be bleeding from the nose, have a bad swelling around his right eye and look like a man who was too tough for his own good. That proved to be the case even more in round 8, when Nakatani continued to wail away with uppercuts, essentially telling Mochizuki that his only tactic wasn't going to be a smart one.
Mochizuki probably should have been saved by his corner between rounds 8 and 9 but instead he was sent out for 9, and ended up being stopped early in the round, with the referee essentially pulling the plug on his bout as soon as Mochizuki looked hurt. It was, perhaps, a poorly timed stoppage as Mochizuki had looked more hurt earlier in the bout, but in reality it was a perfect stoppage, knowing the bout was too one sided to allow it to continue.
It had been compelling, and competitive at times, but never did Nakatani look like he was going to lose. Instead this was his coronation and his next step towards a world title fight.
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