Over the weekend news broke from Korea that former OPBF Flyweight champion Keisuke Nakayama (11-5-2, 5) [中山佳祐] would be facing Korea's very own Woo Hyun Kim (8-1, 1) [김우현] in the new year. In what is a really interesting match up pitting a former OPBF champion against a former interim PABA champion.
The 31 year old Nakayama, from the Watanabe gym in Japan, was the OPBF Flyweight champion back in 2017 and early 2018. His reign was a short one, and since then his career has struggled, with the fighter now desperately needing a win to resurrect his badly faltering career. It's faltered to the point where he has gone 1-3-1 in his last 5, with stoppage losses to Jayr Raquinel and Yusuke Sakashita.
At 22 year old Kim is seen one of the brightest hopes in Korean boxing. His sole defeat happened more than 4 years ago, when he was still a teenager, and he subsequently went on to win the interim PABA title. Sadly Kim, like many Korean hopefuls, vanished from boxing we close to 3 years before returning this year and beating Junhui Zhao in June. That is his only bout since September 2016, when he beat Jong Min Jung.
Despite the stop start nature of the Korean's career those in Korean boxing see the youngster as one of their best hopes for the future and taking on Nakayama, even an out of form Nakayama, is a clear sign that they want Kim to make up for lost time with this bout, which will be for the WBA Asia Super Flyweight title.
Interestingly their may be a second title on the line here, with the KBM revealing they were in talks with the JBC to also have the vacant KBM title on the line for the bout, which is possible following a rule change earlier this year, and could see the winner becoming a double champion.
(Image courtesy of boxing M)
Whilst many of today's bouts at the Korakuen Hall went the way everyone expected there was one standout upset.
That upset saw former OPBF Flyweight champion Keisuke Nakayama (11-5-2, 5) [中山佳祐] coming up on the losing end of a majority decision against the unheralded Akio Furutani (8-4, 3) [古谷昭男].
The fight started well for Furutani, who got behind his jab in the opening round and found some space for his straight right hand. Nakayama managed to get going in round 2, but met real resistance from Furutani, who landed some eye catching body body blows.
As the bout went in to the middle rounds we saw more from Nakayama, but he always struggled to get Furutani's respect, as Furutani bound forward, looking to set the pace. The aggression of Furutani saw him walking onto some big head shots, but Nakayama rarely followed up after landing clean and was regularly forced to give ground.
Although looking the better pure boxer it wasn't until late in the bout that Nakayama managed to make that pay off, and by then he was in a bit of a hole, needing to do more than he was able to do. It was in the later stages that his experience over 12 rounds began to show, but it really was too little too late for the talented yet frustrating Nakayama.
After 8 rounders the judges scored this 77-75, twice, in favour of Furutani and one score of 76-76.
For Nakayama this sees him sliding to 1-3-1 over his last 5 bouts whilst Furutani has now reeled of 4 straight wins since a split decision loss to Yoshiki Minato in the 2018 Rookie of the Year .
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
On October 30th the Watanabe Gym will hold a small but notable show at Korakuen Hall. The card, which will be feature the retirement ceremony of former world title challenger Ryuichi Funai (31-8, 22) [船井 龍一], hasn't been fully announced but a number of fighters involved on the show have been announced including the several former amateur outs.
One of those former amateur standouts is Yudai Shigeoka (0-0) [重岡優大], who will make his debut on the card. The 22 year old Shigeoka is the older brother of WBO Asia Pacific Minimumweight champion Ginjiro Shigeoka (4-0, 3) [重岡銀次朗], and had planned to compete at the 2020 Olympics, until his weight class was removed the games.
At the moment the full details of Shigeoka's bout have yet be announced, though it's expected to be a 6 rounder fought just above the Minimumweight limit against an imported opponent.
Another amateur standout set for the card is Shu Utsuki (5-0, 4) [宇津木秀], who is listed as being in the main event. Utsuki's opponent hasn't been named yet, but we do know his bout will be an 8 rounder. So too will be a bout involving Motoki Osanai (4-2, 1) [小山内幹], who is looking for his 4th straight win as looks to build some momentum with his career.
One bout that has been confirmed for the show will see former OPBF Flyweight champion Keisuke Nakayama (11-4-2, 5) [中山佳祐] battle against Akio Furutani (7-4, 3) [古谷昭男]. This bout is also schedule for 8 rounds and is a must win for Nakayama who has struggled massively in recent bouts.
Full details of this show are expected in the coming week or two as Watanabe look to bring on their next wave of promising fighters.
In a week's time we'll see WBA Light Flyweight "super" champion Hiroto Kyoguchi (12-0, 9) [京口 紘人] defending his title against unbeaten Thai challenger Satanmuanglek CP Freshmart (11-0, 5), aka Tanawat Nakoon, in what will be Kyoguchi's first defense.
Today, ahead of that bout, Kyoguchi took part in a media work out in Tokyo, at the Watanabe Gym.
The talented champion stated that he was 100% ready for the bout, and that he had scouted the Thai, being aware that Satanmuanglek is a tall southpaw. Despite the fact the Thai is unbeaten Kyoguchi seemed ultra-confident of winning, and really looked amazing at the work out as if he has really grown into a a very strong Light Flyweight.
At today's work out the champion sparred with former OPBF Flyweight champion Keisuke Nakayama (11-4-2, 5) [中山佳祐], who stated that Kyoguchi is just as quick as he was but compared his strength to that of a Bantamweight or Super Bantamweight. He looked ultra sharp with his punching, , his foot work was on point and the pressure he brought was scarily effective against his Watanabe gym mate.
As well as the sparring Kyoguchi worked the mitts, the heavy bag a punching ball and essentially went through a pretty full work out. He's got 2.5KG's to lose by the weigh in, but that's not expected to be any kind of issue come the weigh in.
Related -Kyoguchi takes on unbeaten Thai challenger Satanmuanglek
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today at the Korakuen Hall fight fans had the chance to see former Japanese Flyweight title challenger Yusuke Sakashita (17-8-3, 12) [阪下優友] score his career best win, stopping former OPBF champion Keisuke Nakayama (11-4-2, 5) [中山佳祐] in 4 rounds.
Nakayama started brightly, looking sharp and light on his feet. Sakashita on the other brought pressure originally struggling to close the distance but gradually tuned his timing in and began to find the range for his right hand. In round 2 Sakashita began to really cut the distance and found more success up close.
Up close Sakashita had real success and in round 4 he landed a solid right hand that dropped Nakayama. To his credit Nakayama would beat the count, but was under pressure soon afterwards, with the referee stepping in to save the former Oriental champion.
This "survival match", was between two men who really needed a major win. Sadly for Nakayama, h is now 1-2-1 in his last 4, and his career is really hanging by a threat. For Sakashita on the other hand this extends his current unbeaten run to 4 fights, and is his first win over a domestic opponent in more than 3 years as he seemingly saves his career and moves higher up the domestic rankings, closing in on one more potential title fight.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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