Just moments ago in London fight fans saw former Japanese Heavyweight champion Kyotaro Fujimoto (21-2, 13) [藤本京太郎] suffer a brutal 2nd round KO loss to hard hitting English prospect Daniel Dubois (14-0, 13).
The first saw Kyotaro actually do quite well, taking one or two shots and using his almost trade negative style to avoid having too many clean shots land. Dubois won the round with ease, but to his credit Kyotaro never looked hurt, though didn't really land anything of note himself.
In round 2 things changed, as Dubois began to show more patience, placing his shots better, and dropped Kyotaro with a clean jab. It was a flash knockdown, but it was the start of the end. Kyotaro was hurt soon afterwards and rather than relying on his movement to get away he began to trade. That was a mistake and Dubois forced him against the ropes, though was unable to land anything too clean.
Not long after that however Dubois landed a perfect right hand on to the chin of Fujimoto, who took it clean as a whistle and crashed into the canvas. It was a brutal finish and whilst Fujimoto's eyes were open and the lights were on, no one was at home. It took several for Fujimoto to regain his bearings before congratulating Dubois who took another step towards a big bout.
For Fujimoto it's hard to see where he goes. He's already admitted that he had thought about retiring, and that he's thought about going back into martial arts, rather than boxing. Truth is maybe he would have a better career outside of the sport.
Later today we'll see former Japanese Heavyweight champion Kyotaro Fujimoto (21-1, 13) [藤本京太郎] go up against fast rising English prospect Daniel Dubois (13-0, 12) at the Copperbox in London.
Yesterday the two men took part in their weigh in for the bout.
On the scales Kyotaro, who weighed in first, was 230¼lbs. The weight is around his average, though looking at him he did appear to be carrying some extra flesh and it is unlikely to work in his favour, as his best bet would have been to come in light and make the most of his footwork and movement.
Dubois came in heavier, at 240lbs. This again is around his average, and fits right in with the weight he's been for the last year or so. He looked in much better shape than Kyotaro, and was not only in better shape but also looked naturally much bigger, like a natural Heavyweight compared to a man who could likely make Cruiserweight.
Related - 10 facts you probably didn't know about... Kyotaro Fujimoto
Next weekend we'll see former Japanese Heavyweight champion Kyotaro Fujimoto take part in a career defining bout, as he takes on Daniel Dubois in the UK. Although the under dog that is still a huge fight for Kyotaro.
Earlier this year Kyotaro ended his domestic reign, vacating the Japanese title to focus on bigger challenges, such as Dubois, and today we saw the vacancy Kyotaro left, being filled as Ryu Ueda (9-1-1, 5) [上田龍] and Kotatsu Takehara (15-13-3, 8) [竹原真敬] battled for the vacant title.
This wasn't the first time Ueda and Takehara had fought. They had faced off in May 2016, when Takehara stopped Ueda, but at 41 years old Takehara was up against it, especially given that Ueda was now in is physical prime at 27 years old.
Despite losing the first time they fought Ueda showed no fear here and was letting combinations go as Takehara brought the pressure. The older man was slow, he has been for years, but was coming forward with intent and showed little respect of Ueda's output. Takehara's his saw him walking into shots as a result and taking damage, with his both of his eyes being cut early on, but he was getting off the bigger shots, and took many of the early rounds.
After 5 rounds Takehara was up on two of the score-cards 49-46 and 48-47, with the other judge having Ueda up 48-47.
Ueda would be cut himself as he looked to try and turn the scores around, throwing more shots, standing his ground more and increasing his work rate notably. By round 8 both men were looking tired, but digging deep.
In round 8 Ueda was cut from a headclash, but dug deep and in round 10 the two men engaged in a toe-to-toe war as they gave it their all in the final round of a very competitive bout.
The final round proved significant on the cards, with all 3 judges giving it to Ueda, who won 96-94.
Following the bout Takehara announced that he was retiring, after what has been a remarkably notable career as one of the leading figures of the Japanese Heavyweight scene over almost 20 years.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
On December 21st Kyotaro Fujimoto (21-1, 13) [藤本京太郎] will take on English prospect Daniel Dubois (13-0, 12), in the most significant Heavyweight bout to ever feature a Japanese fighter.
The bout for the WBC Silver and WBO International Heavyweight titles, will see Kyotaro looking to secure the biggest win of his career, though he is a massive under-dog and is expected to be taken out very early on.
Today Kyotaro left for England, flying out of Haneda airport.
For those wondering how Kyotaro has been preparing for his upcoming bout, he has been doing a training camp in the US, spending 3 weeks in America before returning to Japan earlier this month. Notably he admitted that he's not sure what is in his suitcase, following the quick turn around, having hardly been back in Japan following that training camp.
Given that he'll be in England for around a week to prepare for the flight, and has just come back from the US we do wonder how well acclimatised he'll be for the fight, though we'd also add that even a 100% acclimatised Kyotaro would still be a massive under-dog against someone like Dubois.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Last week we reported Kyotaro Fujimoto (21-1, 13) [藤本京太郎] would be back in the ring in December when he will take on English prospect Daniel Dubois (13-0, 12), in a bout for the WBC Silver and WBO International Heavyweight titles, titles that would set the winner up for a potential world title fight.
Today, ahead of that fight, Kyotaro took part in a press conference in Japan to talk about that contest, alongside a man dressed as a Panda, and more about him a little later.
Kyotaro stated that Dubois was a "strong" opponent but that he wanted to go into this bout with a "Rocky feeling". He then went on to state, rather strangely "I'm doing hard boxing with a jab. A terribly strong opponent like a bear. I feel like fighting animals." [Translated]. Whilst that is a very odd comment to make it did, clearly, relate to the man dressed as a panda, who turned out to be Kyotaro's trainer, Hiroyuki Abe.
In a more serious comment Kyotaro stated "I think it ’s my mission to stand. If I win here, my life will change and I want to make people around me happy even a little. I will do my best to make it a Christmas present.” [Translated]
When Mr Abe removed the panda head he spoke about tactics, and explained that Kyotaro would have to use his foot speed to win, “Incoming and going as fast as when beating Peter Arts. I want to defeat it at the counter. There is a possibility if you go in a short-term battle like K-1." [Translated]
Ahead of the bout Kyotaro will travel to the US to get 3 weeks of sparring with American Heavyweights in LA to try and prepare himself to take on the biggest test of his career.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
News! We try and give you the most interesting news stories from the Asian boxing world!