Earlier today fight fans at the Sogo City Gym saw Japanese Welterweight champion Ryota Yada (16-4, 13) [矢田良太] successfully defend his title, for the first time, as he stopped Kazuyasu Okamoto (14-6, 4) [岡本和泰] in 7 rounds.
Okamoto showed a great jab early on as he looked to establish his range and tempo, but a right hook from Yada showed the distinct difference in power between the two men and managed to take control as the rounds went on and he found a way to get his own jab into play, neutralising Okamoto's as and when he could.
After 5 rounds the power boxing style of Yada's had began to control the action and he was leading on two of the cards 49-46 and 49-45, whilst the third card had it 47-47.
Okamoto looked to turn it all around in round 6 and seemed to rock Yada, but he couldn't close the show as he put everything into an attack. Sadly for Okamoto that turned out to be his big chanced as Yada recovered and in round 7 he picked up the pace and rocked Okamoto with an uppercut that backed up the challenger and forced the referee to jump in.
Despite the loss Okamoto seemed like he had enjoyed the contest, and suggested he had learned from the loss. Yada also seemed to have enjoyed the contest, but it did show flaws in his ability that he will be looking to work on in the future.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Tomorrow fight fans in Hirakata City, Osaka, will get the chance to see Japanese Welterweight champion Ryota Yada (15-4, 12) [矢田良太] make his first defense, as he takes on Kazuyasu Okamoto (14-5, 4) [岡本和泰] at the City Sogo Gym.
Today, ahead of their fight, the two men took part in their weigh in.
On the scales today the blonde haired champion was well under the limit, weighing in at 146.17lbs. The weight is well under the 147lb maximum allowed, but should be no surprise with Yada coming in at around 146lbs in his last 2 bouts. He looked in great shape and promised a good fight for the fans, though it's hard to imagine him losing to Okamoto here given how good he was in his title winning performance against Toshio Arikawa earlier this year.
Okamoto, who will be having his first title fight, came in on the divisional limit of 147lbs, and also looked in great shape. He stated he could be, but seems to be fully aware that he will need to control the distance if he's to defeat Yada. That is half the challenge against the champion, who can be outfought if he's not able to establish his distance and tempo.
Related - Hard hitting Yada defends against Okamoto
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today the Green Tsuda gym held a press conference to announce the next show in their "Crash Boxing" series of cards.
The main event of the card will see Japanese Welterweight champion Ryota Yada (15-4, 12) [矢田良太] made his first defense of the title that he won a few weeks ago aat the Champion Carnival. The hard hitting champion will take on Kazuyasu Okamoto (14-5, 4) [岡本和泰] in what looks like a relatively straight forward first defense for the champion. The champion looked fantastic in his title win and really put himself on the map and will be looking to enhance his reputation here. As for the challenger, who has fought much of his career at Light Welterweight, this is his first major about at 147lbs.
The title bout was just one of two great fights announced for the card. The other was a Super Bantamweight bout between Yada's stablemate Kazuki Tanaka (9-1, 6) [田中 一樹] and the hard hitting Keita Kurihara (11-5, 10) [栗原 慶太], in what could be one of the Japanese fights of the year. Tanaka, a former amateur standout, comes into this fight on the back of big wins over Hikaru Marugame and Seizo Kono but will surely be well aware of Kurihara's much vaunted power. As for Kurihara he has scored back to back stoppages over Ryan Lumacad and Tetsuya Watanabe, and has bounced back excellently since his June 2017 loss to Hiroaki Teshigawara, in what was a sensational bout.
For those interested in attending the show, it will take place on August 11th at the Hirakata City Gym in Osaka.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today fight fans at the Korakuen Hall had the chance to see a Japanese eliminator at 140lbs, as the Japanese based Dominican slugger Vladimir Baez (24-3-2-22), aka "Destino Japan, battled Kazuyasu Okamoto (14-5, 4) [岡本和泰] with the winner set to become the mandatory challenger for the Japanese Light Welterweight title.
The bout was pitting the top two challengers in Japan against each other, but the reality is that the two men really didn't look like they belonged in the same ring together. From the off Baez looked too strong, too powerful and too good. Those traits proved to be the difference, as Baez took the first 4 rounds with no issue, and had his nose clearly in front at the mid way point of the bout.
In round 5 Okamoto managed to return fire, and had some moments, but a counter left hand from Baez dropped the out matched but spirited man from Nara. Okamoto to his credit got up but never looked like getting back into the bout. Instead of trying to win it seemed more like a question of whether or not Okamoto could see out the distance.
Sadly for Nakamoto Baez wanted to do more than just win, and in round 8 finally forced Okamoto's corner to throw in the towel, and save their man, in what was the final minute of the bout.
Baez's win secures a shot at the Japanese title next year, and he will face the winner of the upcoming title show down between Koichi Aso (22-7-1, 15) [麻生興] and Valentine Hosokawa (21-6-3, 9) [細川バレンタイン].
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp
Earlier today the JBC announced their replacement of the "Strongest Korakuen" and in all honesty we really like their decision, even if we were fans of the Strongest Korakuen.
For those unaware, the Strongest Korakuen, was a short tournament to decide the mandatory challenger for the Japanese titles the following year, at the Champion Carnival. At one point the tournament was pretty significant, with fighters genuinely vying for a place, but in recent years fighters have been less eager and what was once a tournament format has since dropped to being a straight final between two highly ranked JBC contenders in only a few divisions. A far cry from what the Strongest Korakuen once was.
The solution from the JBC was to have a "Japanese Champion Challenger Decision Battle", not a catchy name we'll admit, between two contenders to decide the mandatory challengers across a number of weight classes. And unlike the past these bouts aren't cramped on a single show but instead allowed to take place over a number of cards and dates. This has allowed the fighters more flexibility, and arguably set up a more interesting end to 2017 for Japanese fight fans, who have a number of big domestic clashes to look forward to on the national stage.
The first of the bouts will take place on August 20th and will come at Minimumweight as WBO world ranked fighter Ryoki Hirai (9-4-1, 4) [平井亮輝] take on Kenta Matsui (8-6, 1) [松井謙太]. On paper this doesn't look an amazing bout but the reality is that it's well matched on paper and give both men a rea reason to fight hard and go for the win, and could potentially see Hirai continue his remarkable career turn around which has seen him rebuild from a 3-3-1 (1) record to a potential title fight.
The second bout will take place on October 8th and will be the Light Flyweight bout, which will pit Koki Ono (12-3, 5) [小野晃輝] against veteran Koji Itagaki (17-11-3, 7) [板垣幸司] in what looks like another of those under-rated match ups that has made the Japanese scene as interesting as it is. On paper Ono will be strongly favoured, however Itagaki ios no joke and his record really doesn't tell the story of his good he is,
Interestingly we'll have 5 of the bouts take place on October 21st.
One of those will be at Flyweight as the always fun to watch Katsunori Nagamine (14-1, 10) [長嶺克則] takes on Akinori Hoshino (13-7-1, 9) [星野晃規]. Whilst this looks likely to be another predictable win, for Nagamine, it's hard to argue with him getting a title shot after the run he's been on since losing to Ken Shiro. Another bout on the same day Eita Kikuchi (21-4-4, 8) [菊地永太] will face off with Yusuke Suzuki (8-3, 5) [鈴木悠介] in a really good looking Bantamweight bout, which pits a veteran against a relative novice in what could be a real thriller.
On the same day we'll also get Featherweight bout which will pit Dai Iwai (21-4-1, 7) [岩井大] against Taiki Minimoto (13-5, 11) [源大輝], in a bout where we see former title challengers face off. We also get the Lightweight bout, which will pit fast rising prospect Shuichiro Yoshino (4-0, 2) [吉野修一郎] against Spicy Matsushita (17-9-1, 2) [スパイシー松下] in a another bout that pits a veteran against a novice, though it's fair to say the novice will be very strongly favoured here. The other bout taking place the same day is a Welterweight bout which will see former title challenger Moon Hyun Yun (18-4-3, 3) [尹文鉉] take on the heavy handed Ryota Yada (13-4, 11) [矢田良太] in a potentially explosive bout.
On November 4th we'll again get a number of bouts. One of those is a juicy looking Super Bantamweight bout between Yuta Nakagawa (21-4-1, 12) [中川勇太] and Yasutaka Ishimoto (30-9, 9) [石本康隆], in what could well be the pick of the bouts given the styles of the two men. Another bout on the same day will see Masaru Sueyoshi (15-1, 10) [末吉大] take on Ribo Takahata (13-7-1, 5) [高畑里望] in a Super Featherweight bout, with Sueyoshi looking ready to move on to title level. A third bout on the same day, and another real cracker on paper, will see Shoma Fukumoto (11-1, 9) [福本祥馬] trade blows with Kazuto Takesako (6-0, 6) [竹迫司登] for the chance to fight for a Middleweight title next year, and we suspect that one will be very explosive.
The Super Flyweight bout will take place on November 11th as Ohashi gym fighter Go Onaga (27-3-3, 18) [翁長吾央] battles against 4-time world title challenger Hiroyuki Hisataka (25-16-1, 11) [久高寛之] in what will almost certainly be a gruelling battle between two veterans of the ring.
At some point in November, though yet to be confirmed, we'll see the Welterweight bout between Nobuyuki Shindo (18-4-1, 7) [新藤寛之] and Cobra Suwa (19-12-2, 11) [コブラ諏訪], in what is a real must for both, who are both struggling at the moment and cannot afford another loss.
The final bout, scheduled for December 8th, will be at 140lbs and see Dominican born Japanese based Vladimir Baez (22-3-21, 20), aka "Destino Japan, take on Kazuyasu Okamoto (14-4, 4) [岡本和泰] in what should be another explsoive match up.
The winners of all the bouts will earn themselves a shot at their respective divisional champion in 2018, meaning the bouts really do matter, not just to the men involved, but also to the Japanese champions and the top domestic contenders.
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