Just moments ago Japanese fight fans at the Bunka Gym in Yokohama got the chance to see 2012 Olympic bronze medal winner, and current OPBF Featherweight champion, Satoshi Shimizu (5-0, 5) [清水 聡] record his first defense of the title that he won this past October. The talented, and heavy handed, Japanese fighter from the Ohashi stable was facing off with gutsy Filipino challenger Eduardo Mancito (15-8-2, 9) but made the bout look like a relatively one sided show case, bouncing Mancito off the canvas a number of times.
The challenger came to fight and showed that from the off as he came out trying to attack Shimizu, but lacked the nuances needed to to get inside the much taller man. Instead Shimizu picked him off and scored a knockdown in the opening round.
Thanks to the knockdown Shimizu was winning 40-35 when the scorecards were announced, but Mancito wasn't going to go without a fight and continued to try and break down the champion. This came at a price and in round 5 the champion landed some heavy blows on the challenger, and scored the second, and third, knockdowns of the fight.
In round 7 Mancito was down again, and this time Shimizu wasn't letting him off the hook, going for the finish and forcing the referee in to stop the bout.
Prior to this OPBF title fight fans in the arena had seen Takuma Inoue (10-0, 2) [井上 拓真] take a competitive but clear decision win over former 2-time Japanese Bantamweight champion Kentaro Masuda (27-9, 15) [益田 健太郎], with Masuda refusing to ever quit and coming on strong late on. They had also seen Koki Inoue (10-0, 9) [浩樹井上] stop Korean visitor Dong Hee Kim (8-2-2, 3) in 4 rounds, whilst Ohashi novices Kazuki Nakajima (3-0, 2) [中嶋一輝] and Katsuya Yasuda (2-0, 1) [保田克也] had to settle for 6 round decision wins.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
One of many ineresting bouts taking place tomorrow will see 2-time Japanese Bantamweight champion Kentaro Masuda (27-8, 15) [益田 健太郎] face off with the unbeaten Takuma Inoue (9-0, 2) [井上 拓真], in a 10 round fight at the Bunka Gym in Yokohama.
The bout, which will be fought off TV, is Takuma's 2nd bout this year, following a very entertaining win over 4-time world tirle challenger Hiroyuki Kudaka (aka Hiroyuki Hisataka), and will be a test or Inoue's arm and stamina as well as his chin against the under-rated but solid hitting Masuda. For Masuda the bout serves as a chance to get back into the title mix following a dramatic 4th round TKO loss to Mark John Yap in July, which saw Masuda drop Yap 3 times in the opening round!
Interestingly one UK bookie currently has the bout priced up, albeit just the "to win" market.
They have got Inoue as an almost unbackable favourite, priced at 1/16. Whilst rightfully the favourite those odds really won't tempt many to put money on him. Masuda on the other hand is a huge 7/1 to defeat the unbeaten youngster and and give his career one more notable win.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Tomorrow fight fans in Yokohama get the chance to catch a number of really interesting untelevised under-card bouts. One of those is an excellent 10 round match up between the unbeaten Takuma Inoue (9-0, 2) [井上 拓真] and former 2-time Japanese Bantamweight champion Kentaro Masuda (27-8, 15). The bout, which may be televised on delay in early 2018, is a really intriguing match up given that Masuda can't afford another loss and Inoue can't afford any set backs after a very frustrating 2017.
Today the two men took part in their weigh in for the contest and both came in under the contracted 119lbs.
Inoue, who looked in the same excellent shape that he's always been in, came in at 118.8lbs and it looked clear that he wasn't over-looking Masuda here, instead focusing on getting the win and moving towards a world title fight next year.
As for Masuda he was well under the limit, coming in at just over the Bantamweight limit, weighing in at 118.1lbs. Although not quite looking as good as Inoue he was also in fantastic shape, and will be looking to use his experience, and under-rated power, to over-come the unbeaten youngster.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
We've known for a while that 2017 will end with two big Japanese cards, one on December 30th and the other on December 31st, though details of the under-card for those shows haven't been very widely announced. Thankfully though we have now began to see details emerge for both shows, and both feature some notable names.
We've known for a while that the first show, on December 30th, will be headlined by WBO Super Flyweight champion Naoya Inoue (14-0, 12) [井上 尚弥], who faces French challenger Yoan Boyeaux (41-4, 26). We've also long known that that card is also going to feature Naoya's younger brother Takuma Inoue (9-0, 2) [井上 拓真], who faces former 2-time Japanese Bantamweight champion Kentaro Masuda (27-8, 15). What we didn't know until the last 24 hours was that Koki Inoue (9-0, 8) [浩樹井上] would also feature, meaning all 3 of the Inoue clan will be in action on the show.
Koki will be up against Korean visitor Dong Hee Kim (8-1-2, 3), who has never been stopped, and has gone 10 fights unbeaten following a decision loss. Not only is Kim in good form, but he also managed tofight to a draw with the talent In Duck Seo for the Korean Light Welterweight title.
Other Ohashi gym fighters now confirmed for the card are former amateur standouts Kazuki Nakajima (2-0, 2) [中嶋一輝] and Katsuya Yasuda (1-0, 1) [保田克也]. Nakajima will be up against domestic foe Taiga Higashi (4-1, 1) [東大河] whilst Yasuda will be facing off with a Korean visitor.
On the 31st we get a world title triple header, with the stand out bout being the Light Flyweight title unification bout between WBA champion Ryoichi Taguchi (26-2-2, 12) [田口良一] and IBF champion Milan Melindo (37-2, 13). We now know that along with the three world title bouts the card will also include former world title challenger Shingo Wake (22-5-2, 14) [和氣 慎吾] and recent OPBF title challenger Masataka Taniguchi (8-2, 6) [谷口 将隆]. Both of these men will be facing Thai foes, in what we suspect will be easy wins, but it's clear the plan for bother fighters is to have something big in 2018, and just want to keep ticking over befoe the year comes to an end.
After what feels like weeks of waiting we finally have news of some big yer ending bouts, with Ohashi holding a press conference this morning to announce their December 30th show, folloing a tradition of shows which have ran over the last few years. As with the previous shows that Ohashi have ran at the end of the year it will air on Fuji TV and will be headlined by the sensationally, and hugely popular Naoya Inoue (14-0, 12) [井上 尚弥], and feature a strong supporting line up.
It's fair to say that Inoue is the man that the boxing world are most interest interested in, and a man who has seen numerous top name opponents become unavailable, for reasons for, the end of year slot. As a result his opponent isn't a big name, as we'd have all hoped, but though it will be the highly experienced Yoan Boyeaux (41-4, 26). The French challenger is an 8 year professional who went 10-4 in his first 14 bouts but has since reeled off 31 straight wins, and done so as a road warrior with bouts in Croatia, Hungary, Brazil, Argentina, Slovakia and China.
On paper this is a monstrous step up for the French challenger, who has never fought at world level, but the reality is that the contest is likely to be a showcase for Inoue, who would have been desperate to be in action at the end end of the year, an continue to have such a big date in the Japanese boxing calendar.
Inoue won't be the only man defending a world title on the show, as WBC Light Flyweight champion Ken Shiro (11-0, 5) [拳 四朗] will be defending his title against against Panamanian fighter Gilberto Pedroza (18-3-2, 8), confirming the story that was reported a week ago. For the champion this will be his second title defense, and should help him prepare him for an agreed 2018 defense against former champion Ganigan Lopez, (28-7, 17). This bout is less than amazing, but given that the champion has gone in with Lopez and Pedro Guevara in his last two, few will begrudge him an easier bout.
A third title contest on this show will see OPBF Featherweight champion Satoshi Shimizu (4-0, 4) [清水 聡] make his first defense. The 2012 Olympic bronze medal winner will be up against Filipino challenger the limited but tough Eduardo Mancito (15-7-2, 9). The Japanese fighter won the title earlier this year, stopping Sa Myung Noh in 5 rounds, to move to 4-0 (4) but with just 14 career rounds he does need some solid ring time. He should be able to get that against Mancito, who has lost 6 of his last 8 but has only suffered a single stoppage and has seen the final bell against world class fighters like Rey Vargas and Alberto Guevara.
One more contest that was announced was the previously leaked was leaked bout between former 2-time Japanese Bantamweight champion Kentaro Masuda (27-8, 15) [益田 健太郎] and the unbeaten Takuma Inoue (9-0, 2) [井上 拓真]. This bout was revealed on Masuda's blog a few days ago, before the veteran deleted the post, almost as if he revealed it too early, though has now been confirmed. Potentially this could be Inoue's final bout before a long anticipated world title bout.
At the moment the rest of the card has yet to be announced, but it is expected that we will see at least one other notable name added to the show before the event takes place.
(Image courtesy of Daily.co.jp)
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