Earlier today at the Korakuen Hall Japanese fans got their first card of 2018. The card wasn't the strongest on paper, but did feature a very interesting domestic match up, as former Japanese Bantamweight title challenger Tatsuya Takahashi (28-7-5, 20) [高橋竜也] battled against Keita Nakano (14-13-6, 6) [中野敬太].
On paper the bout didn't look like anything too special, but fans who had followed the Japanese scene over the last few years whould have been well aware of how well matched the two fighters would be, and that showed in a thrilling war.
The fight started perfectly for Takahashi, who landed a brutal right hand and dropped Nakano in the opening round. In round two another right hand dropped Nakano, who seemed unable to take the power of Takahashi, who is known as a crude but tough and rugged fighter.
With 2 knockdowns in the opening couple of rounds it looked like Takahashi was on his way to an easy win. Amazingly however Nakano started his fight back in round 3, and really fought his way back into the bout whilst gritting his teeth, battling toe-to-toe with Takahashi. The fight back was an incredible show of heart, and determination from Nakano, but it was too little too over-come the knockdowns.
The judges score-cards were split, with scores of 76-74 and 76-75 in favour of Takahashi and 76-75 in favour of Nakano.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
We've seen a really slow start to 2018, however you want to look at it the action just, simply, has not been there. Thankfully over the coming days we are, slowly, kicking the year off.
Tomorrow we see the first Japanese show of 2018, and that card will be headlined by big punching Welterweight Yuki Beppu (16-0-1, 16) [別府 優樹], who takes on a Thai visitor in the headline contest.
Today the two men took part in their weight in, and both made the Welterweight limit.
On the scales Beppu came in around the limit whilst the Thai, who towered over Beppu, was well under the limit, at 145.75lbs.
Also on the card will be a very interesting looking clash between Tatsuya Takahashi (27-7-5, 20) [高橋竜也] and Keita Nakano (14-12-6, 6) [中野敬太]. These two both came in slightly under their contracted weight, and both looked in good shape, for what could well be the show stealing contest, between limited but well matched domestic foes.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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