Back in February Japanese Yuki Nonaka (33-10-3, 10) [野中 悠樹] rolled back the clock and defeated hard hitting Shinobu Charlie Hosokawa (11-4, 10) [細川チャーリー忍], at the age of 41. With the win Nonaka claimed both the OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific Middleweight titles, dethroning Hosokawa and proving there is still life left in his career.
Today we were informed that the two men will be meeting once again on July 9th, with Hosokawa looking to reclaim his titles.
Their first bout took pace in Osaka, giving Nonaka the home advantage. This rematch however will take place at the Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, giving the former champion the advantage, with what will be his 15th bout in the Holy Land of Japanese boxing. That advantage for Hosokawa is really worth noting when you consider that Nonaka is 3-3 at the venue through his long career.
A win for Nonaka is expected to give his career a real push towards one final big bout, though it's fair to suggest that he would have preferred to have avoided a rematch to have a big fight instead if one was available. For Hosokawa it's a chance to reclaim the gold he lost to Nonaka, and avenge a loss. Interestingly this will be the second time Hosokawa has rematched someone he has previously been beaten by, with his previous rematch being a stoppage win over Yasuyuki Akiyama, who had beaten him in 2017.
The under-card for this show will include Kazuki Saito (6-1, 5) [斎藤一貴] and Sonin Nihei (9-3-2, 1) [仁平 宗忍]
Earlier this year we saw the talented but defensively flawed Kazuki Saito (6-1, 5) [斎藤一貴] suffer a surprise KO defeat at the hands of Amphol Suriyo, aka Pharanpetch Tor Buamas. Today he fought for the first time since that loss, and faced off with Filipino visitor Rey Ramos (8-10-2, 3).
On paper this was a mismatch, even with Saito's recent loss. Surprisingly however the bout was relatively competitive, with Ramos not fearing Saito's power, skills or speed. Instead the Filipino looked to counter the touted Japanese fighter, bursting combinations at the local fighter and tagging him with regularity to the body.
Despite being hit Saito was landing the better shots, though there always seemed to be a worry that he would be caught on his chin, and go down, as he had against Amphol. Thankfully for him he avoided taking big head shots for the most part, that until round 4 when Saito become too aggressive and was clocked by a combination up top that screwed his senses. Saito was forced to hold tightly, wrestling Ramos to the canvas, and holding again when the men were rest. Ramos smelled the wounded Saito and hunted a stoppage but was unable to see off the Japanese fighter who saw out the round.
In the rounds that followed Saito fought like a man who knew he could be hurt. He was much more careful, picking Ramos off at range and not giving the Filipino chances to land big. Ramos would still have success, but would never trouble Saito in the same way over the last 4 rounds. If he did there is a real chance Saito would have suffered his second professional loss.
By managing to reach the final bell Saito would hear the judges for the first time in his career, and would be the worthy winner with score cards of 78-75, 78-74 and 79-74 in his favour. Despite the win however it's clear that Saito cannot take a shot on the chin, and that is going to continue being a major issues going forward. He's a gifted fighter, but he's cursed with a major durability issue which will likely hold him back from reaching the heights once expected of him. For Ramos this is another loss, but the type of loss which will probably get him another pay day in Japan down the line.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
On October 1st the Kadobei Houseki Boxing Gym will host their next card under the "Slugfest" banner, "Slugfest 6" at the Korakuen Hall. The main event of that card has been known for a while, and will see former Japanese Featherweight champion Takenori Ohashi (15-5-2, 10) [大橋健典] battle against once beaten teenager Ruito Saeki (7-1, 1) [佐伯瑠壱斗].
Whilst the main event had been known about for weeks what wasn't so well known was the under-card, which had a number of talented Kadoebi prospects scheduled to fight on it, but none of them had their opponents. Thankfully that has changed and now we know a number of the match ups for the card. We have to admit that in some cases the bouts look underwhelming, but it's great to see prospects being active.
One of the prospects in action on the card will be the debuting Yuki Nakajima (0-0) [中嶋 憂輝], the younger brother of Ohashi gym prospect Kazuki Nakajima (5-0, 4) [中嶋一輝]. The touted Nakajima, who went 52-21 in the amateurs, will be facing off with Thai 21 year old Somphon Banyaem (3-1, 3), who's only loss actually came in Japan to then debuting Takamori Kiyama back in May.
Another youngster on this card is the fast rising Ryota Yamauchi (3-0, 3) [山内涼太], who is ranked by both the OPBF and the JBC. Sadly after back-to-back notable opponents Yamauchi will be facing a notable step backwards as he takes on Indonesian visitor Rio Nainggolan (4-8, 3). This is a pretty disappointing contest, given that Yamauchi has stopped Lester Abutan and Yota Hori in his last 2 bouts, but we suspect that the plan will be to move him into title fights next year.
Notably the show will also feature the ring return of Kazuki Saito (5-1, 5) [斎藤一貴], who will be taking on Filipino foe Rey Ramos (8-9-2, 3). This will be Saito's first bout since a shock upset loss earlier this year against Amphol Suriyo, aka Pharanpetch Tor Buamas. The touted Saito had looked excellent at times prior to that loss, but had question marks about his durability, which Amphol certainly answered. It seems clear that this is an easy comeback for Saito, but there will be serious questions hanging over his head going forward, and how he reacts to being tagged, and having a fighter put it on him.
As with the previous Slugfest cards we expect this card will be uploaded to both Boxingraise and to youtube, in full, for fans wanting to watch it.
Earlier today Japanese fight fans at Korakuen Hall saw a notable upset, as touted prospect Kazuki Saito (5-1, 5) [斎藤 一貴] was stopped in 2 rounds by Thai foe Amphol Suriyo (23-3, 19), aka Pharanpetch Tor Buamas, in what was a genuine upset.
The talented Saito had been an accomplished amateur, going 83-14 in the unpaid ranks, and was expected to be a star as a professional. He had looked excellent, for the most part, since his debut and seemed very confident yesterday at the weigh in. The Thai on the other hand has struggled against fighters of some quality, and was stopped in his previous bout against Masayoshi Nakatani.
Saito managed to show his class early on, boxing behind his jab and looked solid. Sadly for Saito he did look like he was worried every time Amphol hit him back. Amphol however didn't really throw too much in the first round, instead he got a read on Saito, fought behind his guard and was cautious, respectful even of Saito's power. In round 2 the Thai let his hands go a little more, and landed a solid right hand up top. The shot seemed to have a delayed effect on Saito, with his knees buckling a few moments after being tagged. The Thai smelled blood and would send Saito down soon afterward.
Although Saito got to his feet he hadn't recovered and Amphol rushed his man, sending him down again. This time the towel was thrown in saving Saito from further punishment, but costing him his unbeaten record.
For the Thai this is a massive win, and could help him move towards a second OPBF title fight. Sadly for Saito the loss reveals that his chin is a massive concern going forward, something we had already question given he had been dropped earlier in his career. Saito can certainly rebuild, but this is still a massive set back at this point in his career.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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