Earlier today the Japanese boxing world had the chance to say goodbye to former 2-time WBA Super Flyweight champion Kohei Kono (33-12-1, 14) [河野 公平], who took part in an emotional retirement ceremony at the Korakuen Hall.
The popular Kono spoke to the fans and admitted that not everything went perfectly through his career, but that he was happy to become a world champion twice, stated that it was best boxing life and thanked everyone who supported him. It was clear in his walk to the ring that he was shocked by how much fans loved him, and he did look like he was holding back tears.
Following his short speech he got 10 rings of the bell to before having photos taken with his family and team.
At the moment it's not clear what Kono tends to do in his post boxing career but we'd like to send out best wishes to Kono, no matter what he does next. He has given us so many great memories that it's hard not to have a lot of respect for the Watanabe gym fighter.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Earlier today at the Korakuen Hall, before a punch was through, the first annual event of the Japanese boxing calendar took pace, as officials from the Japan Professional Boxing Association (JPBA) took part in the cleansing ceremony, with prayers for safety of the fighters and the development of the sport, as well as cleansing of the venue.
After the prayers and officials greeted visitors at the entrance of the Korakuen Hall with a custom made Sake as they welcomed people in to watch Dangan 220, which included 2 Japanese title fights and the retirement ceremony of former 2-time world champion Kohei Kono (33-12-1, 14) [河野 公平].
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today the Watanabe gym held a press conference with Kohei Kono (33-12-1, 14) [河野 公平], to announce Kono's retirement at the age of 37.
The former 2-time WBA Super Flyweight champion last fought on May 19th, when he lost by TKO to Jason Moloney, and although still showing signs of his trademark aggression there was a clear decline in his energy and punch resistance in that bout, compared to what he had been a few years earlier.
The "Tough Boy" had been one of the longest active professionals in Japan, having debuted in 2000. Since the he has a remarkable career, full of thrilling fights and great memories, including his FOTY contenders with Liborio Solis and Rex Tso, his sensational win in the US over Koki Kameda, his upset win over Tepparith Kokietgym and his second title win, stopping Denkaosan Kaovichit.
Between September 2008, when Kono fought in his first world title fight against Nobuhiro Nashiro, and his final bout against Moloney he took on a bit of a who's who's who including not only the men mentioned already but also Tomas Rojas, Yota Sato, Luis Concepcion and Naoya Inoue, and consistently delivered action fights. Sadly however he would 4 of his last 5, and would be stopped in 2 of his last 3 bouts.
It's worth noting that he played a key part in helping the Watanabe gym establish it's self as a leading gym in Japan, along with Takashi Uchiyama and Ryoichi Taguchi, who all held world titles together as the gym put it's self on the map and began to use those 3 fighters to attract the young talent that the gym is now building around, such as Hiroto Kyoguchi and Ginjiro Shigeoka.
Kono's retirement ceremony will take place on January 12th 2018 at the Korakuen Hall, with more details on his future plans expected to be released during that ceremony.
(Image courtesy of Boxmob.jp)
Earlier today we had the chance to catch an Australian show thanks to FITE TV, who broadcast the show on a PPV basis. The card was an interesting one for us as it featured a number of notable Asian fighters.
The first of those was former world title challenger Richard Claveras (18-4-2, 15), who took on Andrew Moloney (17-0, 10) in a bout for the WBA Oceania Super Flyweight title. Claveras went out aggressively but the more technically skilled Moloney proved to be too smart and too quick on the whole, and even fought southpaw at one point as he racked up the rounds. The Filipino was always dangerous, and showed that by dropping Moloney in round 7, sadly though the Australian was pretty much able to avoid Claveras's power in the final 3 rounds to take home a clear and wide decision.
The second bout saw former 2-time WBA Super Flyweight champion Kohei Kono (33-12-1, 14) [河野 公平] move up to Bantamweight to face off with unbeaten Australian prospect Jason Moloney (17-0, 14). Kono fought like he always does, looking to force a high tempo war, and to begin with Moloney tried to avoid a fire fight, using his better boxing skills to land at range. Both men landed some great though remarkable Kono was dropped by a jab in round 3. Kono suffered a cut in round 4 that worsened through the fight and in round 6 it was a mess, covering the ring and Moloney in claret. Kono managed to get past a doctor's inspection in round 6 but was stopped at the very start of the following round, with the cut ruled to have come from a punch.
With the win Moloney is thought to have secured his spot in the Bantamweight World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) whilst Kono will be expected to think hard and long about his future. This is only the second stoppage loss of Kono's careeer, but it does seem like he's looking his age now.
Before either Claveras or Kono fought there was also a loss for Korean fighter Dong Young Kang (3-5-2), who was dropped in round 2 before losing a decision to Tim Hateley (4-4-1)
Japan's popular former 2-time WBA Super Flyweight champion Kohei Kono (33-11-1, 14) [河野 公平] will be back in action this coming Saturday when he takes on unbeaten Australian prospect Jason Moloney (16-0, 13) in a bout for the WBA Oceania Bantamweight title. The bout will be Kono's first since a controversial technical decisiuon loss to Rex Tso in Hong Kong last October, and will see the "Tough Boy" look to turn around his struggling form, which has seen him score 1 win in his last 4 bouts. On the other hand Moloney will be looking to record his first win over a former world champion and establish himself as a legitimate contender in the talent laden Bantamweight division.
Coming in to this bout the Australian is the champion, the unbeaten man, the younger fighter and the guy fighting at home. Given all those things it will be little surprise to see him as the betting favourite, with the bookmakers in the UK pricing him at 2/9 to pick up the win against the Japanese veteran and extend his unbeaten record. It's short odds, given he's stepping up quite significantly from the likes of Immanuel Naidjala, Julias Kisarawe and Lolito Sonsona but it's clearly a step up his team feel he's comfortable with and ready for.
The Japanese veteran is priced at 9/2 to score the shock win and give his career another shot in the arm at the age of 37. Despite being seen as beyond his best it is worth noting that Kono has regularly scored surprise wins, including his 2012 win over Tepparith Kokietgym for the WBA Super Flyweight, his 2014 win over Denkaosan Kaovichit and his 2015 win over Koki Kameda. Many though Kono's career was coming to an end back in 2011, when he suffered a third straight loss and came up short to a then novice Yohei Tobe. Despite all of that a fighter can only pull off so many surprises and we may have already had all of Kono's shock wins.
As for the draw that is best priced at 22/1 at the moment, with many bookies pricing it at 20/1
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