Back in August we announced that Hikaru Nishida (16-8-1, 7) [西田 光] would be defending his Japanese Middleweight title against Kazuyuki Fukuyama (11-8, 3) [福山 和徹] on September 22nd.
Sadly since we reported that bout Fukuyama has, sadly, become ill and had to pull out of the contest. As a result we will now see Nishida in the ring against a replacement opponent, who we've been informed will be a Thai foe.
Originally the the plan for Nishida Vs Fukuyama was that the bout would go ahead and then the winner would go on to face a mandatory challenger in early 2018. That mandatory bout will still go ahead, however it will see Nishida defending his title against either Shoma Fukumoto (11-1, 9) [福本祥馬] or Kazuto Takesako (6-0, 6) [竹迫司登].
Sadly for Fukuayama this does leave him missing out on a notable opportunity, though the reality is that him getting a title fight wasn't really that appealing, and instead it seems much more important for him to recover from his illness, and for that we wish him the best.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Back in May we saw Japanese Middleweight champion Hikaru Nishida (16-8-1, 7) [西田 光] unify the regular title with the interim title as he defeated a determined, and heavy handed, Tomohiro Ebisu [胡 朋宏] with a clear decision.
Today we saw his next defense being announced, and as one would assume it's not the best of match ups, an issue caused in part due to the recently announced challenger determination bout between Shoma Fukumoto (11-1, 9) [福本祥馬] and Kazuto Takesako (6-0, 6) [竹迫司登], which is really mouth watering.
The announced bout will see Nishida take on Kazuyuki Fukuyama (11-8, 3) [福山 和徹], who is ranked #4 by the JBC coming into this bout. With the two meeting at the Korakuen Hall on September 22nd.
For Nishida the bout will be his second defense of the Japanese title, which he claimed back in March 2016, when he stopped Akio Shibata in 3 rounds, and will see him looking to build on the bit win over Ebisu in May. Although his record doesn't suggest he's anything special it's worth noting that Nishida really has proven his worth after a 4-5-1 (1) start to his professional career. During his last 14 bouts he has notched notable wins against the likes of Ebisu, Shibata, Makoto Fuchigami, Kazuhiko Hidaka and current OPBF Light Middleweigth champion Ratchasi Sithsaithong.
The challenger on the other hand has struggled in recent years, losing 4 of his last 6 including losses to Shoma Fukumoto and Tomohuiro Ebisu. Early in his career Fukuyama struggled for form, lsoing his first 3, before going 9-1, claiming the 2010 Middleweight Rookie of the Year crown along the war. Sadly though his streak form has reared it's head again and he's certainly going to be in need of a career best win to over-come the exciting and aggressive champion.
For those wondering, the winner of Nishida Vs Fukuyama will be mandated to face the winner of Fukumoto Vs Takesako in 2018 as part of the Champion Carnival.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today Japanese fans got their first televised card of the year, as Kadoebi Houseki put on a Dynamic Glove card, headlined by Kyotaro Fujimoto. Whilst the main event, an OPBF Heavyweight title fight, was the stand out bout the card did have two other bouts of note.
The first of those was a rematch between Japanese ranked Middleweights Shoma Fukumoto (10-1, 8) [福本 祥馬] and Kazuyuki Fukuyama (10-8, 3) [福山 和徹]. These two had fought back in January 2015, and that bout had been very competitive with Fukumoto doing just enough to deserve a majority decision. This time around however the judges weren't needed with Fukumoto seeing off his man in the 4th round. Fukumoto seemed to look like a more confidence fighter this time around and that showed from the opening seconds, he looked a better puncher, and dropped Fukuyama hard in round 4. Although Fukuyama rose to his feet following the knockdown he was stopped soon afterwards, as he crashed to the canvas for the second time.
The other bout was a really intriguing match up between a rising novice and a veteran former champion. The former champion was Akinori Watanabe (33-6, 28) [渡部あきのり], who had previously held PABA, JBC and OPBF titles, his opponent was the unbeaten and really promising Takeshi Inoue (8-0-1, 3) [井上 岳志].
From the opening round it looked like Inoue was out to make a statement and he twice hurt Watanabe in the first round, and had the bell not come when it did there is a chance Watanabe may have been dropped. Inoue went straight on the offensive in round 2 and started to bully Watanabe around the ring with a combination of intelligent boxing and physicality in the clinch. Watanabe had his moments but really struggled to get the respect of Inoue, despite the fact Watanabe is a genuine puncher.
In round 3 Watanabe had one of his best round as he fought fire with fire and was happy to punch back with Inoue. It was however having more of an effect on Watanabe than Inoue with Watanabe's face swelling around his eyes, with that swelling getting worse through the fight. Watanabe also had a solid 4th round, but then seemed to struggle as Inoue moved up a gear and neutralised the power of Watanabe whilst landing his own bombs, shots that would have dropped many of his fellow domestic fighters.
By the end of round 6 it seemed like Watanabe was too far behind to win and was more going to impress based on his bravery and toughness. Those traits allowed him to dig in deep in rounds 7 and 8 to see out the final bell, but he was thoroughly out worked in both of those rounds and was, at times, badly hurt with Inoue hunting a stoppage particularly in the final round.
Given how much of the bout Inoue had dominated there was little doubting the winner, with Inoue taking the unanimous decision courtesy of scorecards that read 78-74, 78-74 and 79-73.
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