Unbeaten Japanese prospect Shokichi Iwata (2-0, 1) [岩田翔吉] made his Japanese debut in May, when he easily beat 2018 Light Flyweight Rookie of the Year at Daiki Kameyama (7-3-1, 2) [亀山大輝]. We now been informed that he will be back in a Japanese ring in July.
The talented former amateur standout has become the latest fighter to find himself added to the July 12th card in Osaka, headlined by Ryota Murata's (14-2, 11) [村田 諒太] rematch with WBA "regular" Middleweight champion Rob Brant (25-1, 17).
At the time of writing his opponent for the show hasn't been announced, though we have been told the bout will be a 6 round bout at Light Flyweight, with the possibility that this will be his last bout over the 6 round distance before he moves onto 8 rounders.
Iwata's inclusion on the card gives the show a solid under-card bout to go with the three title bouts. Those include the Brant Vs Murata bout as well as the WBC Light Flyweight title bout, pitting unbeaten champion Kenshiro (15-0, 8) [拳四朗] against mandatory challenger Jonathan Taconing (28-3-1, 22) and a WBO Asia Pacific Super Featherweight title bout between Filipino champion Joe Noynay (17-2-1, 6) and Japanese challenger Satoshi Shimizu (8-0, 8) [清水 聡].
In 2018 we saw 2012 Olympic bronze medal winner Satoshi Shimizu (8-0, 8) [清水 聡] fight 3 times, defending the OPBF Featherweight title in all 3 bouts and. His activity for the year consisted of just 15 rounds of action and unfortunately he's yet to fight this year.
Thankfully we now know that the hard hitting southpaw will return to the ring this coming July, and will be doing so at Super Featherweight, as he looked to open up new possible avenues to an eventual world title fight.
Earleir today Shimizu, along with promoter Hideyuki Ohashi and trainer Koji Matsumoto, held a press conference to announce his next fight will see face Filipino fighter Joe Noynay (17-2-1, 6), in a bout for Noynay's WBO Asia Pacific Super Featherweight title on July 12th, as part of a card headlined by Ryota Murata's (14-2, 11) [村田 諒太] rematch with WBA "regular" Middleweight champion Rob Brant (25-1, 17).
The press conference began with Mr Ohashi revealing that the bout isn't a sign of Shimizu abandoning the Featherweight division, but instead expanding options for a world title fight, suggesting that Shimizu can make weight with out issue. Given his frame it's not hard to believe this.
Although Shimizu has been inactive since December he revealed that there hasn't been any problems and he has been sparring, correcting issues, especially with his balance, and feels comfortable that his power will career up to Super Featherweight.
Although the Japanese fighter is seen as the puncher it is worth noting that Noynay really shined earlier this year, when he blitzed Kosuke Saka to win he WBO Asia Pacific title. Whist Noynay has lost twice both were ultra close decisions, coming to Richard Pumicpic and Reiya Abe, and he has certainly grown, matured and developed since then.
On paper this should be a very, very interesting tests, and adds a third notable bout on to the July card, which will also feature WBC Light Flyweight champion Kenshiro (15-0, 8) [拳四朗] defending against mandatory challenger Jonathan Taconing (28-3-1, 22), giving us a trio of very notable title bouts.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Back in late April Ian Melodillar revealed that WBC Light Flyweight champion Kenshiro (15-0, 8) [拳四朗] was planning to take on mandatory challenger Jonathan Taconing (28-3-1, 22), with the bout being pencilled in for the July 12th card in Osaka.
That card, which will be headlined by Ryota Murata's (14-2, 11) [村田 諒太] rematch with WBA "regular" Middleweight champion Rob Brant (25-1, 17), has now had the Kenshiro bout announced for it, with the champion holding a press conference earlier today to confirm the bout.
Kenshiro revealed today that he had been wanting to defend his title in Kyoto or Osaka for a while, with the youngster actually coming from the Kansai region despite fighting more often in Kanto. It appears that being added to this card is a chance for him to get a "home defense" after running up 5 previous defenses in the Kanto region, with his previous defenses taking place in Tokyo and Yokohama. This will be his first bout in Kansai since he defended the Japanese and OPF titles against Toshimasa Ouchi way back in 2016.
To prepare for this bout he has already taken part in a tough Filipino training camp, and is now expected to go back into a camp to work on southpaw counter measures, and will be inviting Filipino fighters over for sparring in June.
Kenshiro also reaffirmed that he wants to beat Yoko Gushiken's defenses record and is wanting to unify, suggesting possible showdowns against IBF Light Flyweight champion Felix Alvarado (35-2, 30), who recently defended his title in Japan, and the much talked about showdown with WBA "super" champion Hiroto Kyoguchi (12-0, 9) [京口 紘人].
At the moment it's unconfirmed whether Kenshiro Vs Taconing will be aired live on Fuji TV, but the hope is that it will be, and that confirmation won't take too long.
Related - Kenshiro Vs Taconing in the works!
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Ian, who is one of the most reliable source for Filipino news, suggests that bout may be announced in the coming days.
Given how Fuji TV, who will be airing the Murata bout, works closely with Kenshiro the bout does make a lot of sense being on the card, making it a double header and possibly helping Kenshiro get a US audience through the ESPN service, who work with Murata through Top Rank.
Interestingly by fighting his mandatory challenger in July this would get one obstacle out of the way for the highly anticipated, and much talked about, unification bout between Kenshiro and WBA "super" champion Hiroto Kyoguchi (12-0, 9) [京口 紘人], which is said to be getting eyed for December.
For Taconing this will be a third world title shot, after having lost a controversial decision to Kompayak Porpramook in 2012 and a clear loss to Ganigan Lopez in 2016, with both of those bouts being for the WBC title that Kenshiro now holds. At the age of 32 this could be his final chance.
Unbeaten WBC Light Flyweight champion Kenshiro (15-0, 8) [拳四朗] may not yet have announced his next defense, but he's certainly not been doing nothing.
Today the popular champion attended an elementary school in Kyoto to give some lectures to local children about various traffic based things, including how to ride a bicycle safely.
Kenshiro was there essentially as a police officer giving a seminar on a few traffic safety situations for around 200 children in attendance, who were mostly 5th and 6th graders. The event continues a bit of a Kenshiro tradition of working alongside the police and the local community.
Despite being there as a police officer, essentially, Kenshiro took his WBC title and clearly would have inspired youngsters by his boxing success, and it's obvious that Kyoto is in his heart, despite the fact most of his bouts are in Tokyo. The event continues to show that he is appealing to the young generation, who can see success, and fingers crossed these types of appearances by the champion will continue in the future.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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