Earlier today the Japanese Light Flyweight title changed hands, as veteran Kenichi Horikawa (40-16-1, 13) [堀川 謙一] came up short against young challenger Yuto Takahashi (11-4, 5) [高橋悠斗], in what was an incredibly close bout.
The 39 year old Horikawa was look to control the distance against the 26 year old challenger, but in the early going it was the challenger who managed to do that little bit more and dictate the tempo. Horikawa used his speed and movement to just do enough to take the rounds, though it wasn't clear cut and the champion had his own success, particularly in round 5 with his left hook.
After 5 rounds Takahashi was leading, 48-47, twice and 49-46.
Knowing he was behind Horikawa looked to impose himself more, and had notable success in round 7 as he ramped up the pressure. Though he was upping his work rate Horikawa couldn't take away the legs of Takahashi who bit down on his gum shield and fought back hard, refusing to let Horikawa take total control.
After 10 rounds it was clear the bout was close, much closer than it had been at the midway point. The fight back from Horikawa had been excellent, and he showed a champions determination. In the end however it wasn't enough, with Takahashi taking the decision with scores of 97-93, 96-94 and 95-95, to become the new Japanese Light Flyweight champion.
It's now unclear on what the future holds for Horikawa, and it wouldn't be a massive shock if he retired given his age. However given his effort here, we certainly wouldn't complain about a rematch next year, and even at an advanced age Horikawa has plenty left in the tank. As for Takahashi he will be defending the title in the 2020 Champion Carnival against either Rikito Shiba (4-0, 2) [芝力人] or Masamichi Yabuki (9-3, 9) [佐藤政道], who will fight in an eliminator later this year.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Tomorrow fight fans at Korakuen Hall will see Japanese Light Flyweight champion Kenichi Horikawa (40-15-1, 13) [堀川 謙一] make his next defense, as he takes on the unheralded Yuto Takahashi (10-4, 5) [高橋悠斗].
The bout was made at relatively short notice, with Horikawa having a bout cancelled in August and Takahashi planning a different bout for this month, against Horikawa's stablemate Norihito Tanaka. Despite that it looks likely to be a very interesting bout, between two men with very under-rated records.
Today the two men took part in their weigh in, and both fighters made the 108lb limit with no issues.
At the weigh in Horikawa spoke about the short notice for the fight. He revealed that back in August, when his bout with Ryuto Oho (12-5-1, 4) [大保 龍斗] fell through on the day of the weigh in, he was offered an October bout, this one. He immediately jumped at the opportunity.
Horikawa is currently ranked in the top 5 by 2 of the world title bodies and the feeling is that if he wins here he will be looking to make the most of those rankings and get a world title fight in 2020.
Takahashi was full of confidence, he spoke excitedly about the opportunity of becoming a champion and stated that he will fight like a challenger. There was a clear desire running through his veins and he's certainly not going to be there to just make up the numbers.
Related - Horikawa defends Japanese title against Takahashi in a battle of circumstance
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Back in August we reported that on October 10th Japan's Shuichiro Yoshino (10-0, 8) [吉野 修一郎] would face Filipino Harmonito Dela Torre (20-2, 12) for the OPBF interim Lightweight title. Now however we have seen two changes to that.
Yesterday it was revealed that Masayoshi Nakatani (18-1, 12) [中谷正義] had vacated the OPBF Lightweight title, meaning the Yoshino Vs Dela Torre bout would be for the full OPBF title and not the interim belt. Today saw further news with sources informing us that the bout will also have the WBO Asia Pacific title on the line, allowing the winner to unify the two major regional crowns.
The WBO Asia Pacific title has previously been held by Kye MacKenzie, who won the belt last October, and prior to that Nihito Arakawa had held it. Sadly neither man defended it with much regularity, however with Yoshino and Dela Torre battling to unify the belts we suspect that both regional titles will be more active than they have been in recent years.
As previously reported that is another title bout set for the October 10th card, with Japanese Light Flyweight champion Kenichi Horikawa (40-15-1, 13) [堀川 謙一] defending his title against Yuto Takahashi (10-4, 5) [高橋悠斗]
According to incredibly reliable Japanese sources fight fans will have an excellent card to look forward to on October 10th at Korakuen Hall as part of Fuji TV's the Diamond Glove series of shows.
The card has yet to be officially announced though appears to be a title double header, and a mouth watering one at that.
The main event is set to see unbeaten Japanese Lightweight champion Shuichiro Yoshino (10-0, 8) [吉野 修一郎] step up a level and fight for the interim OPBF Lightweight title. Yoshino's opponent is set to be the once touted Filipino fighter Harmonito Dela Torre (20-2, 12), in what looks like an excellent match up. The winner will then become the top challenger for once beaten Japanese fighter Masayoshi Nakatani, who Yoshino has been chasing for some time. Yoshino has looked excellent as the Japanese champion and a win here would open major doors for him to move through the levels. On the other hand Dela Torre's early promise has been questioned recently after 2 losses in his last 3, including one to Mongolian Featherweight Tugstsogt Nyambayar.
The co-feature will see Kenichi Horikawa (40-15-1, 13) [堀川 謙一] defending the Japanese Light Flyweight title against Yuto Takahashi (10-4, 5) [高橋悠斗]. This bout is a strange one in some ways, but does have real appeal.
Horikawa was supposed to defend his title earlier this month, though that bout was cancelled why Ryuto Oho was taken ill on the day of the weigh in, whilst Takahashi had agreed terms to fight Horikawa's stablemate Norihito Tanaka for the Japanese Minimumweight title, before Tanaka suffered an injury. As a result we get this bout, with Takahashi moving up in weight to get his shot.
Coming in to the national title fight Horikawa has been in impressive form but Takahashi can't be written off and it's going to be very interesting to see how he looks with a few extra pounds on his frame.
Following Ryuto Oho (12-5-1, 4) [大保 龍斗] needing to pull out of his Japanaese Light Flyweight title bout today, due to health issues related to make weight, fans at the Korakuen Hall saw Japanese Light Flyweight champion Kenichi Horikawa(40-15-1, 13) [堀川 謙一] spar 2 rounds with WBC champion Kenshiro (16-0, 9) [拳四朗].
The spar was essentially put together at the last minute, so that Horikawa could still perform in front of the fans who had hoped to see him defending his title. Even though it was put on at short notice it was certainly interesting for the fans, especially in the second round when both men went through the gears.
After the sparring Horikawa apologised to the fans who had purchased tickets to see him, though in fairness to him he had no part to play in the bout being cancelled. He also spoke about wanting to go further with his career, and despite being 39 he may well end up landing a world title bout before his career is over.
Kenshiro, who actually ended Horikawa's first reign with the Japanese title, looked a little bit out of shape, though still looked sharp all the same and encouraged fans to see him in his his future defenses and stated that he felt he could still grow.
Neither man revealed any of their immediate plans, though with Horikawa being world highly ranked by 2 of the world there's a chance he'll be looking for an eliminator, whilst Kenshiro fought less than a month ago, in his latest defense of the WBC title.
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