Earlier this month we reported that the Japanese Featherweight title had become vacant, with Taiki Minamoto (16-5-1, 13) [源大輝] giving up the title to move up in weight following his draw with Reiya Abe (19-2-1, 9) [阿部 麗也]. That left us wondering who would be fighting who to fill the vacancy.
Today we were informed that Abe would be taking on the in form Ryo Sagawa (7-1, 4) [佐川遼] for the vacant title, and better than just who we now know the where and when of this excellent match up, with the bout taking place at Korakuen Hall on September 13th.
Sharp shooting Abe is unbeaten in his last 12 bouts, dating back more than 4 years, with notable wins over the likes of Tsuyoshi Tameda, Joe Noynay, Satoshi Hosono, Ryo Hino and Daisuke Sugita and the draw with Minamoto from back in May. He's excellent southpaw, who moves around the round well, fires off sharp and hurtful southpaw left hands and controls the ring and tempo excellently, often counter punching and sucking the life out of opponents with accurate shots. Although not a pure puncher he does hit much harder than his record suggests, and is a very smart fighter.
Although less experience Sagawa has gone on excellent run of his own. He lost his second professional bout, being stopped in 2 rounds by Retsu Kosaka, but has since scored 6 wins in a row including wins over Junki Sasaki, Ryo Matsumoto, Shingo Kawamura and Al Toyogon. Like Abe he has proven to be a very skilled fighter, though has also shown he can brawl when he needs to, as he did against Toyogon, and can really press the fight when he's behind.
At the moment no other details of the September card are available, but this is an excellent match up and a fantastic national title fight.
Interestingly Watanabe may find himself moving into a Japanese title eliminator himself, with the former Featherweight champion now being ranked #3 by the JBC at Super Featherweight, with Kazuhiro Nishitani (20-4-1, 12) [西谷和宏] being ranked #1. That is a bout seems to be very possible for later in the year. The reason this bout is being spoken about is that the #2 ranked fighter Shuya Masaki (12-1, 5) [正木脩也] is from the same gym as the current champion Masaru Sueyoshi (19-1-1, 11) [末吉 大]
Earlier today in Kobe fight fans had the chance to attend the latest show from the Shinsei Gym. The card wasn't a big one, but did feature a few notable fighters at the top of the card.
In the co-feature of the show former Japanese Lightweight champion Kazuhiro Nishitani (20-4-1, 12) [西谷和宏] made light work of Filipino visitor Glenn Medura (10-5-1, 6), who was stopped in the 4th round of a scheduled 8 round contest. The Filipino was dropped from a body shot, late in the opening round before being left unable to defend himself in round 4, forcing the referee to step in and stop the bout.
It is worth noting their was a point taken for a rabbit punch from Nishitani, though Medura never really looked like he was able to settle regardless of the foul.
In the main event Shun Kosaka (16-5, 4) [小坂駿] took a split decision over veteran Shunji Nagata (12-18-2, 4) [長田瞬志], ending a 2 fight losing run. The bout was a really competitive one, fought at a good tempo. Sadly for Kosaka he was cut from a headclash in round 5 and struggled late on as Nagata tried to turn things around, almost doing enough to earn the victory. In the end however the judges gave it to Kosaka on a split decision, with scores of 77-76 in his favour, twice, against a 78-76 card to Nagata.
Whilst the win does end a 2 fight losing run for Kosaka it does leave his career still hanging by a thread and he really will need to put in a good performance next time out if he's to remain relevant.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today in Kobe the Shinsei gym held a press conference to announce their next big show, set for July 13th at the Central Gym in Kobe. The card is set to be a title double header and feature the two brightest youngsters at the gym, with one man defending a world title and the other hunting a regional title bout.
The world champion in question is highly skilled Ryuya Yamanaka (16-2, 5) [山中 竜也] who will be making his second defense of the WBO Minimumweight title, as he takes on hard hitting Filipino Vic Saludar (17-3, 10). For the champion the bout comes in the wake of his most impressive performance, an 8th round retirement of Moises Calleros, in what was an unexpectedly 1-sided contest. As for Saludar this will be his second world title challenge, having previously come up short against Kosei Tanaka, in a bout for this very same title. Since losing to Tanaka in 2015 Saludar has gone 6-1 (1) and shown there is more to him than just power.
The other title bout will see Reiya Konishi (15-1, 5) [小西伶弥] return to the ring following his loss to Carlos Canizales. The former WBA Light Flyweight title challenger will battle against 24 year old Filipino Orlie Silvestre (11-3-1, 7) in a contest for the WBO Asia Pacific title, with the winner likely to find themselves in the mix for a WBO Light Flyweight world title fight down the line.
The show is also set to feature the debut of former amateur stand out Yuki Yamauchi (0-0) [山内 祐希], who is set to face Jimboy Rosales (3-2-1, 2) and and former Japanese Lightweight champion Kazuhiro Nishitani (17-4-1, 9) [西谷 和宏], with his opponent yet to be announced.
Notably this card has been confirmed to have some TV coverage, with Fuji 1 showing at least the main event from 7PM local time.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Back in July we saw the announcement of the Japanese Challenger Determination bouts. At Lightweight the bout announced was a contest between the fast rising Shuichiro Yoshino (5-0, 3) [吉野修一郎] and veteran Spicy Matsushita (17-9-1, 2) [スパイシー松下], with the bout to take place on October 21st. Today however we learned that that would no longer be a Japanese title eliminator but instead it would be a bout for the full title.
The bout was confirmed as a title bout after the news that Kazuhiro Nishitani (17-4-1, 9) [西谷 和宏] had officially vacated the title, and the winner of Yoshino Vs Matsushita will end 2017 as the Japanese Lightweight champion.
It's worth noting that Yoshino was in action today, and ticked over with a 2nd round stoppage of a horribly over-matched Thai foe in what really was a stay busy bout for the talented Misako gym prospect, ahead of the bout with Matsushita.
Nishitani vacates Japanese crown, looks to get world title shot!
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Earlier today we saw news break from Japan that Kazuhiro Nishitani (17-4-1, 9) [西谷 和宏] had officially vacated the Japanese Lightweight title, which he won back in March when he climbed off the canvas to stop Shuhei Tsuchiya [土屋 修平] in a 8 round thriller.
The VADY gym fighter announced that the reaosn he vacated was to focus on getting a world title fight, at Featherweight, Super Featherweight or Lightweight, showing his willingness to look across a number of weight classes for a crack at the top.
At the time of writing Nishitani's only world ranking is a #12 position with the IBF at Lightweight. However that ranking could open up fights to not only IBF Lightweight champion Robert Easter but also Super Featherweight champion Gervonta Davis and Featherweight champion Lee Selby.
It's looking unlikely that Nishitani will get an immediate shot at a belt, but there is the potential for a world title eliminator later in the year and he could well find himself moving towards a clash with a champion soon. Or he may be viewed as a straight forward next defense by either Easter or Selby, if they are looking for a dance partner for an easy to make match up in the near future.
For those who haven't seen Nishitani Vs Tsuchiya we've included the video below.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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