Earlier today we saw the names of the East Japan Boxing Association award winners for May being announced, with 3 winners being announced.
The MVP of the month is OPBF Bantamweight champion Keita Kurihara (14-5, 12) [栗原 慶太], who needed just 35 seconds to blow away Warlito Parrenas (26-10-1, 23) and retain his regional title. This was an incredible performance from Kurihara and really did create a lot of buzz about the young puncher.
The Fighting Spirit award was won by the newly crowned Japanese Light Middleweight champion Hironobu Matsunaga (15-1, 9) [松永 宏信], who shocked Nobuyuki Shindo (20-5-2, 8) [新藤寛之] to claim the belt. This was a huge win for Matsunaga who has now won 9 in a row and really bounced back excellently from his Rookie of the Year loss to Yuki Beppu back in 2014.
The Newcomer Award was won by Masafumi Ando (6-8-2, 3) [安藤暢文], who shocked the Japanese boxing scene when he stopped former Japanese Welterweight champion Toshio Arikawa (15-7, 13) [有川 稔男], in what was a massive upset on the domestic scene.
The fighters will be able to attend a special ceremony on July 12th at the Korakuen Hall to receive their awards.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Back in December Keita Kurihara (14-5, 12) [栗原 慶太] claimed the OPBF Bantamweight title, with a narrow decision win over Yuki Strong Kobayashi (14-8, 8) [小林佑樹]. That bout saw Kurihara go the distance for the first time in over 4 years, despite dropping Kobayashi 4 times.
Today Kurihara made his first defense of the OPBF title, taking on former world title challenger Warlito Parrenas (26-10-1, 23), in a bout that promised to be a shoot out for as long as it lasted.
The thing with a shoot out is that they are hard to predict. They could last a few rounds, as both show their toughness to fight through fire. Or they could be over in the blink of an eye. And today's was over very, very quickly.
Kurihara looked to set an incredible pace from the off, firing off bombs before Parrenas had a chance to settle. The champion was clearly there for a shoot out, and was making sure to get his shots off before Parrenas could.
After around 20 seconds a hook from Kurihara connected clean and sent down the challenger, who failed to beat the 10 count, and was officially counted out after just 35 seconds.
Following the incredibly short bout Kurihara spoke about wanting to face Japanese champion Yuta Saito (12-9-3, 9) [齊藤裕太], former Japanese interim champion Hayato Kimura (28-11, 19) [木村隼人] or Kenya Yamashita (13-5, 10) [山下賢哉]. All 3 of those bouts would be very fan friendly and all would be expected to last longer than today's bout.
Unsurprisingly this bout is the shortest ever OPBF Bantamweight title bout, smashing the previous record of 90 seconds, for the 2012 bout between Rolly Matsushita and Ji-Hwan Lee.
Parrenas is now expected to call it a day, for good, and end his long career, which has had some real ups and downs.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Tomorrow fight fans at Korakuen Hall will get the chance to see a potential fire fighter as OPBF Bantamweight champion Keita Kurihara (13-5, 11) [栗原 慶太] takes on former world title challenger Warlito Parrenas (26-9-1, 23).
For Kurihara the bout will be his first defense of the regional title, which he won back in December against Yuki Strong Kobayashi, whilst Parrenas will be looking to bounce back from successive losses, to Ryuichi Funai and Sho Ishida.
Today the two fighters took part in their weigh in, and both fighters made weight for the contest, with Kurihara being bang on the limit of 118lbs whilst Parrenas was 117.5lbs.
Despite their not being much between the men on the scales it was clear Kurihara was the natural Bantamweight, towering over the challenger, who looked more like a blown up Super Flyweight than a big Bantamweight. Despite being smaller than the champion Parrenas did appear confident and it's obvious this is a must win bout if his career is going to continue.
Related - Kurihara and Parrenas meet in OPBF title bout!
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Back in December the OPBF Bantamweight title fight between Keita Kurihara (13-5, 11) [栗原 慶太] and Yuki Strong Kobayashi (14-8, 8) [小林佑樹] was blighted by a number of time keeping errors, errors that lead to a number of officials being punished. Those errors unfortunately left a shadow over what was a brilliant fight, though it was seen as a one off.
Sadly yesterday we saw another case of time keeping error in Japan, in fact just like the Kurihara Vs Kobayashi fight it was another time keeping error in Osaka, though this time at the EDION Arena and not the Sumiyoshi Ward center.
This time around it came in round 3 of the match up between Tae Il Atusmi (16-2, 8) [テイル渥美] and Kyosuke Tsutsumimoto (9-2, 8) [堤本京介]. The round was cut a full minute short, in what was a very clear error from the time keeper.
Atsumi would win the bout the following round, stopping his opponent. Interestingly the promoter tried to make out that Tsutsumimoto was bossing round 3, though the reality is that the round a minute early didn't really change the result, and didn't save Atsumi in anyway.
Rather oddly the promoters fighter lost not only this bout but also the Kurihara one, suggesting this has nothing to do with officials being biased, just inept. It is however clear that the JBC are unhappy with this happening, and their will be an investigation into this error, like their was in December as well.
For those wanting to watch the fight, and decide whether the bell coming early really effected the result we've included it below thanks to ytv who streamed the bout live on their website.
Earlier today the A-Sign boxing twitter account revealed that their May 10th card had now secured it's main event.
The bout that will headline that card will see OPBF Bantamweight champion Keita Kurihara (13-5, 11) [栗原 慶太] defending his title against former world title challenger Warlito Parrenas (26-9-1, 23), what should be an explosive encounter.
The champion will be defending the belt he won on December 24th, in what was a bout marred by officiating errors, for the first time and looking to maintain his current winning run, which stands at 4 fights. As for the challenger, who is best known for losing to Naoya Inoue, he'll be looking to end a 2-fight losing run and get his career back on track.
It should be noted that Parrenas had previously announced his retirement but it seems this opportunity was good enough to end that retirement, and as fans of the sport, we do like the look of this one, a lot.
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