Earlier this week we broke the news that Korean fighter Jae Woo Lee (6-2, 5) [이재우] would be participating in the tournament set up to celebrate the 30th anniversary of popular manga Hajime No Ippo. Today the draw for the competition took place, for what will actually be a 7 man, 3 foreign fighters and 4 Japanese ones, tournament spread over 6 months.
The draw, which was done live on youtube earlier today, saw Lee being drawn against Japan's Tsuyoshi Tameda (21-4-2, 19) [溜田剛士], in what looks like a really explosive match up in one of the 3 quarter-finals.
A second quarter-final will see local fighter Shingo Kusano (11-8-1, 4) [草野慎悟] take on Chinese visitor Qiang Ma (5-1-2, 3) [马强], in what looks less interesting than the first, but should be evenly matched given the limitations of both. Ma enters on a 7 fight unbeaten run, and has won the WBO Great China Featherweight title, so he has form, though the 30 year Kusano has lost his last 4 in a row.
The third, and final, quarter final bout will be an all-Japanese bout, as the unbeaten Koshin Takeshima (4-0, 3) [竹嶋宏心] take on the under-rated Daisuke Watanabe (9-4-1, 6) [渡部大介] in a mouth watering match up.
As a result of only 7 men competing a bye has been given to Filipino Richard Pumicpic (21-10-2, 6).
The quarter-final bouts will all take place on November 19th with the winners of the first two quarter-finals will facing off and the winner of the third semi final facing Pumicpic in February next year. The final will then be held in May 2020.
The competition will see all quarter-final bouts being fought over 6 rounds whilst the later stages will be 8 round bouts.
.Earlier today at the Aioi Hall in Kariya Japanese fight fans had the chance to see a trio of notable prospects in action, all 3 of which managed to net wins against international opponents.
The first of the trio in action was Koshin Takeshima (4-0, 3) [竹嶋宏心], who was forced to work really hard to over-come hard hitting and tough Filipino Jon Jon Estrada (11-7-1, 10). Coming in to this bout both men were in the the WBO Asia Pacific rankings, and the bout looked like a really good one on paper.
Given that Takeshima had had things pretty much all his own way through his first 3 fights this was a genuine test, and Estrada didn't come to lose. Instead the Filipino got in the ring and brought his typical pressure, giving Takeshima problems, though the talented Japanese youngster did do enough to rack up the rounds.
After 8 rounds Takeshima took the decision 79-73, twice, and 79-74, to gain his most meaningful win and likely put himself on he verge of a regional title fight.
The second prospect to pick up a win was the exciting Kento Hatanaka (9-0, 9) [畑中 建人], who did was expected and blitzed limited Indonesian foe Thomas Tope Hurek (3-4-1, 1) inside a round. The talented Hatanaka, who will be in action in August against Jaysever Abcede, dropped his man with a right hand and Hurek was unable to beat the count. Officially this KO was scored at 2:11 in round 1 and Hatanaka will have shaken some rust before his bout with Abcede.
The third prospect was Takuya Mizuno (17-1-1, 14) [水野拓哉] who was given the toughest test by far, as he narrowly over-came former OPBF champion Roli Gasca (25-9-1, 8). The 24 year old Mizuno seemed to have the edge in power and size, but Gasca's experience saw him neutralise a lot of Mizuno's work, whilst doing well with his own shots, landing clean blows on the Japanese fight, especially to the body. It was a really hard one to score but in the end the home crowd seem to just help Mizuno over the line, as he took the majority decision. After 8 rounds the judges had this one 76-76 and 77-75, twice, for Mizuno.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
With a world wide audience to show his skills former amateur standout Koshin Takeshima (3-0, 3) [竹嶋宏心] took his opportunity to shine, as he dominated, and stopped Chinese visitor Jian Wang (7-2-1, 2) in a very 1-sided contest.
The Japanese prospect dropped the visitor within seconds of the bout beginning and immediately went for the kill when Wang got back to his feet. Impressively Wang saw out the storm and managed to reach the end of a torrid opening round, a round that really did see him take a beating. In round 2 we saw a more calm and calculated approach from Takeshima, who seemingly wanted to have a look at what Wang brought to the table, quickly figuring out that it wasn't a lot.
In round 3 Takeshima put his foot on the gas again, and with Wang on the ropes he unloaded a series of body shots, then head shots, pinning the visitor on the ropes in survival mode until the referee rescued Wang, who was stopped for the first time in his career.
Given the performance we wouldn't be surprised to see Takeshima in a big bout later this year. He was very impressive here. There is work to do, but he doesn't need many fights to do that work, there is incredible natural talent here, and he is a real one to watch.
Back in early January Hatanaka held a press conference to announce that 3-weight champion Kosei Tanaka (12-0, 7) [田中恒成] would be defending the WBO Flyweight title against Ryoichi Taguchi (27-3-2, 12) [田口良一]. At the time no real details of the under-card were available, though that changed today.
We now know that youngster Kento Hatanaka (7-0, 7) [畑中 建人], who was featured on the poster, will be defending the WBC Youth Flyweight title against Thai visitor Songsaeng Phoyaem (6-1, 1). The Thai is 6-0 at home but he lost in his only other visit to Japan, being stopped in 4 rounds by Dynamic Kenji back in 2017. If we're being honest this should be a straight forward defense for the exciting Hatanaka.
Also confirmed for the card is 2-time Japanese title challenger Yushi Tanaka (21-2-3, 14) [田中裕士], who will be facing a Chinese visitor in an 8 round bout. Although the name wasn't confirmed we believe it will be Yougu Yu (5-1-2, 2). We were also informed that the once beaten Takuya Mizuno (15-1-1, 13) [水野拓哉] will be going up against Thai journeyman Chatpayak Sithkopon (22-25, 20), aka Artid Bamrungauea, and that former amateur standout Koshin Takeshima (2-0, 2) [竹嶋宏心] will be facing off with Chinese visitor Jian Wang (7-1-1, 2), in a very exciting step up in class.
Earlier today our attention turned to Nagoya where Sho Kimura and Kosei Tanaka put on a Fight of the Year contender over the WBO Flyweight title.
On the same card fans at the venue had another title fight to see, with "Prince" Kento Hatanaka (7-0, 7) [畑中 建人] battling against Aprilianto Rumahpasal (1-3, 1) for the WBC Youth Flyweight title.
This was a notable bout for the 20 year old, who was fighting for his first title, and despite some early tension Hatanaka was the boss.
The ropes had to keep the Indonesian upright in round 3 before Hatanaka dropped his man in round 5. The visitor recovered from the knockdown in round 5, but the follow up attack forced the referee to stop the bout and give Hatanaka his 7th stoppage win!
It's worth noting that Hatanaka is the son of former world champion Kiyoshi Hatanaka, who also promotes the youngster, and it seems likely that Kiyoshi will begin to guide Kento to more notable fights in the very near future. Japanese and OPBF titles might be out of his reach for now, but they won't be for long and we suggest fans remember his name.
Also on the under-card was the touted Koshin Takeshima (2-0, 2) [竹嶋 宏心], who stopped Kiki Marciano (1-3) in the second round.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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