Earlier today fight fans at the Differ Ariake, and those watching on Boxingraise, had the chance to see Hironori Mishiro (6-0, 2) [三代大訓] claim his biggest win so far, as he claimed the OPBF Super Featherweight title with a split decision win over Carlo Magali (23-10-3, 12).
The bout was a huge step up in class for Mishiro but he looked calm and confident early on, but had to cope with the aggressive pressure of Magali before finding his rhythm. The aggression of Magali made life uncomfortable, but after 4 rounds the men were level on the scorecards, which were all 38-38.
Mishiro had looked to create some distance, using his significant height and reach, and had had success with his jab and straight, but was holding his own in the trenches with some nasty uppercuts which had bust Magali's nose and caused notable facial swelling on the champion.
In round 5 it was Magali who had a huge break through, rocking the Japanese fighter and pressing him hard. The round was the clearest of the fight and saw Mishiro look ready to drop at one point as he went on the retreat, hands down, and looked like he had forgotten everything he had trained for. Thankfully for him Magali failed to close the show and in round 6 Mishiro seemed to clear his head, before have a small surge in rounds 7 and 8, as Magali began to look tired. Those rounds saw Mishiro sneak his nose ahead on two of the cards, 77-75, whilst the third was even, 76-76, when the scores were announced after 8 rounds.
Magali then knew things were up against him going into the final 4 rounds, the first two of which were razor thin, with Magali looking to up the pressure and Mishiro holding his own. The could have gone either way, but the final two had Magali really put it all out there, as if he knew it was in the balance. Mishiro on the other hand took his foot off the case, looking to avoid another big scare in the final moments.
In the end Mishiro's decision to play safe proved to be a smart one, with the Japanese fighting edging the decision with scores of 115-113 in his favour, twice, whilst the third judge had the bout 115-113 in Magali's favour.
On the under-card there was a bit of a mixed bag for notable fighters. the hard hitting Riki Hamada (7-2, 6) [濱田力] was stopped in 2 rounds by China's Xiao Tao Su (6-1, 3) [苏晓涛], in what was a pretty brutal KO after having already dropped Hamada. Hamada had been sent through the ropes earlier in the round, and Su had got himself deducted a point as he followed up on the prone Japanese. Hamada never really recovered before being laid out only moments later. Shuma Nakazato (7-1-2, 6) [仲里周磨] saw his fight with late replacement Vergil Puton (17-10-1, 8) come to an early conclusion after a clash of heads forced the bout to be stopped after just 2 minutes 30 seconds, resulting in a technical draw.
The real highlight of the supporting card was a thrilling, yet relatively one sided, battle between Katsunori Nagamine (15-2-1, 11) [長嶺克則] and the insanely tough Yujie Zeng (11-8-1, 6) [曾玉洁]. The aggressive Zeng came out with serious belief as he pressed Nagamine from the off, but the Japanese fighter saw out the early pressure and ended up giving Zeng a real beating until the fight was finally stopped in round 7, by a referee who had seen enough punishment for the Chinese fighter. Given his performance we'd like to see a lot more of Zeng, maybe against more competitively matched opponents, as he was really good value here. As for Nagamine he'll be looking for his second title fight shortly, after having lost in a Japanese title fight earlier this year.
(Image courtesy of Sponichi)
Earlier today saw news being revealed of a Dangan card set for June 20th at the Differ Ariake, in Tokyo. The show had been rumoured earlier this year as the next in the Japan Vs China series of shows that Dangan are holding though until today nothing had been announced for the show. Thankfully that changed with several bouts being announced, including a really good looking main event, and two very notable bouts in the Japan Vs China rivalry.
The main event will not be a Japan Vs China bout, but will instead feature a Filipino against a Japanese fighter as OPBF Super Featherweight champion Carlo Magali (23-9-3, 12) makes his next defense of the title, and finally returns to the ring after January's win over Masatoshi Kotani [小谷 将寿]. The champion has seen bouts with Yoon Sung Kim [김윤성] and Miguel Berchelt fall through already this year but won't be expecting similar issues from Japanese prospect Hironori Mishiro (5-0, 2) [三代大訓], who takes a huge step up up from fringe Japanese domestic level to OPBF title level. Obviously Magali has the huge edge in experience but will be the older, smaller man and Mishiro is a highly accomplished amateur, who seemed really confident of using his amateur pedigree and size to over-come the champion.
For Magali this bout will be his second defense of the title and see him looking to secure his fourth straight win. The 31 year old is going through a bit of an Indian summer at the moment and will be fully aware that if he's to get a shot at a world title, as he came so close to getting against Berchelt, he has to win here. Mishiro on the other hand will know the pressure isn't really on him, but the 23 year old from the Watanabe gym will see this as a massive chance to put himself on the verges of a world ranking, and fast track him to a potential showdown for a world title fight.
In supporting bouts fans will be able to see recent Japanese Flyweight title challenger Katsunori Nagamine (14-2-1, 10) [長嶺克則] take on a visitor from China as well as a bout featuring former Mishiro foe Shuma Nakazato (7-1-1, 6) [仲里周磨]. Sadly we don't currently have the names of the two Chinese fighters, but given that Nagamine and Nakazato are both always worth watching we're already excited to see them both in the ring.
Earlier today fight fans in Kanagawa got an absolute treat of a Japanese Flyweight title fight, as Masayuki Kuroda (29-7-3, 16) [黒田 雅之] went to war against mandatory challenger Katsunori Nagamine (14-2-1, 10) [長嶺克則], and narrowly retained his title.
The defending champion fought well behind a busy left jab early on, but Nagamine refused to back off, and continually brought the pressure, despite his right eye becoming swollen and reddening quite badly early in the bout. The pressure of Nagamine had an effect on Kuroda, though the champion had done enough to impress the judges in the early stages, leading 48-47 on two of the 3 cards when they were announced after the 5th round, with the other judge having the bout level at 48-48.
In round 6 it was Nagamine's turn to really up the ante, and he cut the distance and workd the body well, Kuroda tried to respond but it was a round to Nagamine who surged over the following few rounds, despite his eye swelling badly, and forcing a doctor's inspection in round 8. Almost immediately after the restart from the inspection Nagamine had a big break through, dropping Kuroda with a left hook.
Kuroda showed his championship level expeience in round 9 as he upped the pace and took advantage of Nagamine never going beyond 8 rounds. The change in tempo from Kuroda was impressive and something he managed to keep going with in round 10, despite a firce fight back from Nagamine. In the end those two rounds essentially decided the result with the judges scoring the contest 96-93, 96-94 and 95-94 all in favour of Kuroda, who moves a step closer to a world title fight.
Fans in attendance have suggested it's the top contender, so far, for the Japanese fight of the year and really was a special fight, as fans would have expected given the styles of the two men involved. For Nagamine the loss is a set back, but the performance will keep doors open for him going forward. For Kuroda a world title fight looms, and he could be just a few months from a shot at one of the champions.
(Image courtesy of Nikkan Sports)
Tomorrow fight fans in Kanagawa will get the chance to see two Japanese title fights as part of the 2018 Champion Carnival.
One of those is a Japanese Flyweight title bout which will pit defending champion Masayuki Kuroda (28-7-3, 16) [黒田 雅之] against his mandatory challenger Katsunori Nagamine (14-1-1, 10) [長嶺克則.
Today the two fighters weighed in for their contest, and both fighters managed to makethe 112lb Flyweight limit on their first attempt. Both fighters looked in good shape and confident and despite showing mutual respect it seems clear that both are coming into their bout with the intention of making a statement.
For Kuroda the bout seems to be viewed as the next step towards a world title fight, and he' looking to get a shot later in the year, in what would be his second world title fight. For Nagamine the focus is on beating a strong fighter like Kuroda, with the title looking like a secondary though to the challenger, who has been chasing a title fight for quite before finally getting one here.
Nagamine takes on Kuroda for domestic crown!
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
One of the key parts of the Japanese boxing calendar is the Champion Carnival, which takes place over the first 6 months of the year and sees the national champions defending their titles against their mandatory challengers.
Today we saw the bouts being announced for the 2018 Champion Carnival at a huge press confeence, and as with every year, there were some brilliant bouts being announced.
At Minimumweight we'll see Ryoki Hirai (10-4-1, 4) [平井亮輝] and Shin Ono (21-9-3, 5) [小野 心] battle for the vacant title, which was given up by Reiya Konishi (15-0, 5) [小西伶弥] a few days ago. The bout will be Hirai's first title bout, whilst the experienced Ono will be getting his 4th shot at a Japanese title, having previously won an OPBF title and having several world title bouts. This bout will take place in Kobe on April 22nd and should be a very, very good match up.
The Light Flyweight bout will see defending champion Tetsuya Hisada (30-9-2, 19) [久田 哲也] make his 3rd defense of the title, as he takes on Koji Itagaki (18-11-3, 7) [板垣幸司]. This looks like a mismatch on paper, but it will be Itagaki's first, and likely last, shot at a domestic title and he sounded determined and confident at today's event. This contest has been pencilled in for April 19th and will take place in Osaka.
Although a number of bouts were announced today, some were already known about. One such bout was the Flyweight contest, which will see Masayuki Kuroda (28-7-3, 16) [黒田 雅之] defending his title against the exciting Katsunori Nagamine (14-1-1, 10) [長嶺克則. This will be Kuroda's third defense of the title, whilst Nagamine will be having his first challenge, and the bout really does have the potential to be a real thriller. As mentioned this bout was already known about, and will take place on March 3rd, as previously reported.
At Super Flyweight we'll be getting a rematch between Hiroyuki Kudaka (25-17-2, 11) [久高寛之] and Go Onaga (28-3-4, 19) [翁長 吾央], who face off following a technical draw in December. The two men will be fighting for the currently vacant title, which was given up by Ryuichi Funai (29-7, 20) [船井 龍一] earlier this week. Sadly at the time of writing this bout has no venue, or set date, but seems likely to be fought in Tokyo on either a Dangan show or an Ohashi one, potentially in April or May.
Interestingly the first Champion Carnival bout comes in just over a week's time, as Ryo Akaho (31-2-2, 20) [赤穂 亮] defends his Bantamweight title against Yusuke Suzuki (9-3, 6) [鈴木悠介] at the Korakuen Hall on January 20th, in a bout set to be televised on G+. For Akaho the bout willbe his second defense, whilst Suzuki gets his first title fight, in what looks like a really exciting way to kick off the 2018 Champion Carnival, and should be a very brutal bout.
At Super Bantamweight we'll see Ryo Kosaka (15-3-1, 7) [小坂遼] challenging champion Yusaka Kuga (15-2-1, 10) [久我勇作], with Kosaka essentially filling in for the injured Yasutaka Ishimoto (31-9, 9) [石本康隆]. The bout is a decent looking one, but it's hard to not expect a win for the champion, who has looked fantastic in a number of recent contests, and could well find himself in the world title mix later this year. This bout is scheduled for March 27th at the Korakuen Hall.
Featherweight champion Takenori Ohashi (15-4-2, 10) [大橋健典] will look to build from his dramatic 2017 win over Kosuke Saka (16-4, 13) [坂晃典] as he defends his title against fellow puncher Taiki Minamoto (14-5, 11) [源大輝]. This bout promises to be explosive, even if both are a bit crude, and Ohashi will be hoping to avoid a similar finish to his title win, where Saka turned away thinking he had heard the bell, and got iced by Ohashi in the final seconds of the round. These two will meet on April 7th at the Korakuen Hall.
In early February we'll see Ken Osato (13-1-1, 4) [大里拳] challenge Super Featherweight champion Masaru Sueyoshi (16-1, 10) [末吉 大]. For Sueyoshi this will be his first defense whilst Osato looks to build on his big 2017 win over Satoru Sugita (13-5-1, 8) [杉田聖]. The talented Sueyoshi has frustrated at times, but does look class when he gets going and should be favoured here for the February 3rd bout, but Osato is in good form and could easily spring the upset, if Sueyoshi is anything less than his best.
At Lightweight we'll see the very talented Shuichiro Yoshino (6-0, 4) [吉野修一郎] defending his title, for the first time, against Masaki Saito (14-12-6, 5) [斉藤正樹]. Yoshino has really shined so far in his short career and looks to be a star of the future for Japanese boxing, though will obviously need to get his first defense under his belt before becoming a star. Saito looks like a limited challenger, though is a very experienced fighter and should be able to give Yoshino some questions. This bout will be taking place on February 8th at the Korakuen Hall.
The Light Welterweight contests looks set to be one of the most exciting, as Valentine Hosokawa (22-6-3, 9) [細川バレンタイン] makes his first defense, and takes on the heavy handed Vladimir Baez (24-3-2-22). This bout looks likely to be a war, and whilst Baez will be the favourite, despite being the challenger, we can't rule out the champion, who hs long been under-rated. Like many this contest will take place at the Korakuen Hall and is set for May 7th.
One of the most explosive bouts on paper will see Welterweight champion Toshio Arikawa (15-4, 13) [有川 稔男] taking on fellow puncher Ryota Yada (14-4, 11) [矢田良太]. The contest might not have a future world champion or potential star in it, but given the power of both men this should be a shoot out, and could be something fvery, very special for the fans, who will be in the Korakuen Hall on April 16th.
At Light Middleweight we'll see triple crown winner Takeshi Inoue (12-0-1, 7) [井上 岳志] take on former Welterweight champion Nobuyuki Shindo (19-4-1, 8) [新藤寛之] in what should be a really good test for Inoue, who will be lookibg at bigger and better things in 2018. Shindo's reign at Welterweight was a short one, and whilst he will be hoping to become a 2-weight champion he is really up against it here against the fantastic Inoue. This bout is set to take place on April 26th at the Korakuen Hall.
The heaviest weight being contested at this year's Champion Carnival is Middleweight, and it may well end up being the best of the bouts, as March 3rd plays host to a contest between defending champion Hikaru Nishida (17-8-1, 8) [西田 光] and the heavy handed Kazuto Takesako (7-0, 7) [竹迫司登]. Nishida is a freakishly strong fighter who brings a lot of pressure, and whilst he can be out boxed he is a tough and aggressive nightmare,. Takesako on the other hand is a really brutish puncher and this will be something very special.
The winners of the bouts will of course be the defending champion, and will also be in the running for a number of prizes, including a notable award for being crowned the MVP of the Champion Carnival, or winning either the Skill or Battle awards.
(Photographs courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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