Over the last few days we've seen a lot of Japanese title bouts being revealed as part of the Champion Carnival. Earlier today those bouts were set in stone as the Champion Carnival presentation took place, confirming the contests we'd reported and getting all the champions and challengers in one event.
The first of the bouts will take place on February 1st at the Dynamic Glove show, and will see Japanese Welterweight champion Yuki Nagano (17-2, 13) [永野祐樹] defending his title against mandatory challenger Keita Obara (22-4-1, 20) [小原 佳太]. This bout has been known about for weeks and is an exciting, and potentially very explosive, way to kick off the Champion Vs Challenger series. This bout will be at Korakuen Hall, where most of the title bouts will actually take place.
The second bout will take on February 13th, when Lightweight champion Shuichiro Yoshino (11-0, 9) [吉野 修一郎] defends his belt against Izuki Tomioka (7-2-1, 2) [富岡樹]. This is expected to bee a match up showing a lot of skills, from both men, though the power and physical edges with the champion does make him the favourite. This is another bout at Korakuen Hall.
It's then almost a month later until we get the next bout in the series. That'll be on March 7th, on the March Dynamic Glove, when Light Middleweight champion Hironobu Matsunaga (16-1, 10) [松永 宏信] defends his belt against Yuto Shimizu (14-4-2, 5) [清水優人] in a potentially enthralling bout. The champion will be seeking his second defense whilst Shimizu will be getting his first title fight. This will be the third successive bout at Tokyo's Korakuen Hall.
Just one day later, March 8th, we get the Flyweight bout with the heavy handed Seigo Yuri Akui (14-2-1, 10) [阿久井政悟] defending his title against Seiya Fujikita (13-4, 6) [藤北誠也]. Given Akui's style this should be an explosive bout, and one to look forward to. This was announced way back at the start of the year and will take place at the Aeon Mall mall in Okayama City, the first of the bouts outside of Tokyo.
Just a week later, March 15th, action turns to the Aioi Hall in Kariya as Light Flyweight champion Yuto Takahashi (11-4, 5) [高橋悠斗] defends against hard hitting challenger Masamichi Yabuki (10-3, 10) [佐藤政道]. This will be the first title defnense for Takahashi, and will see him entering enemy territory.
The following day, March 16th, Light Welterweight champion Koki Inoue (15-0, 12) [浩樹井上] will take on Daishi Nagata (15-2-1, 5) [永田大士] in the main event of a card at Korakuen Hall from Ohashi. This is one of the few shows where under-card details have been revealed, and it makes for a very decent looking card overall.
After a slew of fights in March we then have a bit of a break before returning on April 9th for a double header at Korakuen Hall. One of the bouts here will see Bantamweight champion Yusuke Suzuki (11-3, 7) [鈴木悠介] make his first defense, as he goes up against Kyosuke Sawada (14-2-1, 6) [澤田京介] in a rematch of a bout both men had back in 2013. The other bout on this card will see Featherweight champion Ryo Sagawa (9-1, 4) [佐川遼] make his second defense as he takes on Hinata Maruta (10-1-1, 8) [丸田陽七太], in what we feel is the standout bout from this year's Carnival.
On April 28th Super Bantamweight champion Yusaku Kuga (19-4-1, 13) [久我勇作] will defend his title against Gakuya Furuhashi (26-8-1, 14) [古橋大輔]. This bout will be Kuga's first defense since reclaiming the title last year and will be Furuhashi's third shot, at a third different champion. This bout is also set to be at Korakuen Hall.
Interestingly the Super Featherweight bout between hard hitting champion Kosuke Saka (20-5, 17) [坂晃典] and teak tough challenger Takuya Watanabe (37-9-1, 21) [渡邉卓也] is pencilled in for April in Osaka, though no date or specific venue was confirmed at today's event.
On May 16th we'll see the Super Flyweight title bout as defending champion Kenta Nakagawa (18-3-1, 12) [中川 健太] takes on Yuta Matsuo (15-4-2, 8) [松尾雄太] at the Sumida City Gymnasium in Tokyo.
No those who are eagle eyed will be aware there were some division's missing.
Firstly the Minimumweight bout hasn't yet been decided. The title is currently vacant, after Norihito Tanaka (19-7, 10) [田中教仁] returned the belt earlier this year. What we do know is that Masataka Taniguchi (12-3, 7) [谷口 将隆] will be involved in the title bout, though there is currently no opponent, date or venue for the bout.
The Middleweight title bout will see the hard hitting Kazuto Takesako (11-0-1, 11) [竹迫司登] defending his belt against Riku Kunimoto (4-0, 2) [国本陸] but this bout has no date or location set. This bout is likely to be scheduled following Takesako's bout this coming weekend against OPBF champion Shinobu Charlie Hosokawa (12-4-1, 11) [細川チャーリー忍].
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Earlier today we were informed that Japanese Super Flyweight champion Kenta Nakagawa (18-3-1, 12) [中川 健太] has got his first defense set, as he takes on mandatory challenger Yuta Matsuo (15-4-2, 8) [松尾雄太] as part of the Champion Carnival, on May 16th
For Nakagawa this will be his first defense of his second reign, after he reclaimed the title last year from Takayuki Okumoto, taking a clear decision over Okumoto in Osaka. His first reign was a short one, lasting only 5 months before he lost the title to Ryuichi Funai in his first defense. He'll be hoping for a more meaningful reign this time around.
On the other hand Matsuo is fighting in his third title fight, after having previously fought for the Japanese "interim" Flyweight title and the Japanese Super Flyweight title, losing to Okumoto last year. He earned his shot thanks to a draw with Hiroyuki Kudaka back in December.
Given the styles of the two men involved this should be a very fan friendly bout, even if neither of the men are particularly big names.
The bout is set to take place at the Sumida City Gymnasium in Tokyo. At the time of writing no under-card details have been released, though with the bout set for mid-May we're not expecting many more details on this one any time soon.
Today's double header at the EDION Arena Osaka, was one to forget for the team at Green Tsuda who saw two of their biggest names suffer serious set backs.
Following the up and down battle between Ryota Yada [矢田良太] and Yuki Beppu [別府優樹], more about that bout here, fans then got a Japanese Super Flyweight title bout, with defending champion Takayuki Okumoto (23-9-4, 11) [奥本貴之] trying to defend against former champion Kenta Nakagawa (18-3-1, 12) [中川 健太]. Sadly for Okumoto his reign came to an end, after 3 defenses.
Okumoto had gone into the bout with confidence and that confidence showed early on, as he pressed behind his jab, looking to keep Nakagawa at range and control the fight. The idea was a smart one, but it was a flawed one with Nakagawa setting an awkward rhythm and taking the lead at the mid-way point.
After 5 rounds, when the scores were announced, Nakagawa was leading on all 3 cards, 48-47, twice, and 49-46.
Despite the competitive start it was clear that Nakagawa was the one in charge, and his control over the bout tightened significantly in the second half. He was beginning to land right hands to the body, left hands up top and continually forced the issue, preventing Okumoto from getting back into things. Even when Okumoto did manage to build some success it was cut off quickly, and he was never able to dictate things for long.
Things went from bad to worse to Okumoto in round 9. With the score cards well and truly against him he was then cut, badly, on the right eye lid. He passed a doctors inspection, but it was still bad and he had to fight with a bloodied through the final round and a bit.
After 10 rounds there was no disputing the outcome, with Nakagawa winning 98-92, twice, and 99-92.
Nakagawa will make his fist defense at the 2020 Champion Carnival, when he faces either Hiroyuki Kudaka (26-18-2, 11) [久高寛之] or Yuta Matsuo (15-4-1, 8) [松尾雄太], who battle on December 22nd in their title eliminator.
As for Okumoto his future is less clear, though we suspect he'll bounce back with an easy win next year, then look to get back into the title scene as early as he can.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Tomorrow in Osaka, at the EDION Arena Osaka, fans will see a Japanese Super Flyweight title bout, as defending champion Takayuki Okumoto (23-8-4, 11) [奥本貴之] takes on former champion Kenta Nakagawa (17-3-1, 12) [中川 健太].
Today, ahead of their bout tomorrow, both fighters took part in their weigh in and they both made weight with no issues, and looked in fantastic shape, for what promises to be an excellent match up.
On the scales Okumoto was slightly under the limit, at 114.75lbs whilst Nakagawa was bang on the divisional limit of 115lbs.
Okumoto seemed confident, and suggested that he would win and win well, though also appeared to have his eyes on the future and bigger opportunities. Nakagawa on the other hand seemed confident, stating he was in the shape of his career and that he would be the champion again tomorrow.
Related - Japanese champion Okumoto takes on former champion Nakagawa in up coming defense
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jpo)
Back in mid-October the Green Tsuda gym announced a triple title show set for December 8th in Osaka.
The bouts announced for the card were on a great looking clash at Welterweight, between Yuki Beppu (20-1-1, 19) [別府優樹] and Ryota Yada (19-5, 16) [矢田良太], who will battle for the WBO Asia Pacific Welterweight title, a Japanese Super Flyweight title bout, between Takayuki Okumoto (23-8-4, 11) [奥本貴之] and Kenta Nakagawa (17-3-1, 12) [中川 健太] and a Japanese Youth title bout featuring Toshiki Shimomachi (10-1-2, 6) [下町俊貴] against a then un-named opponent.
Sadly for Shimomachi he never actually ended up with an opponent able to challenge for his title and today we were informed that his plans had changed.
Whilst Shimomachi will still fight on December 8th in Osaka, his opponent will no be a domestic foe but will instead take on Indonesian teenager Jufry Kakahure (5-2, 5).
For Japanese Youth Super Bantamweight champion Shimomachi the bout has got to be a disappointment, following his title win in August against Kenta Nomura. The 23 year old, who is unbeaten in his last 10, has been really impressive in recent years, winning the Rookie of the Year in 2017 and the Japanese Youth title earlier this year.
On the other hand the bout is a big opportunity for Kakahure, who debuted in 2019 and will be making his international debut here. The 19 year old is certainly no world beater, but this is a chance for him to take on a talented fighter who may have just taken his eye off the ball, given the failure of Shimomachi's team to land him a title defense.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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