Japanese, OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific unified Heavyweight champion Kyotaro Fujimoto (18-1, 10) [藤本 京太郎] hasn't fought since November 4th, when he stopped Randall Raymart to defend his two regional titles. That was his third bout of 2017 and saw him build on other wins over Willie Nasio and Herman Ene Purcell as he solidified his position as a fringe world contender.
There was no sign of when he would return until recently with various Japanese sources now reporting that he will be back in the ring on May 7th, as part of a Kadoebi card at the Korakuen Hall.
At the moment the details are scarce, though it seems like the bout will be a 12 round contest, like Fujimoto's last 3. At the moment there is no opponent set for the bout, and with no opponent it's unclear whether he will, or won't, be defending his titles.
Until recently it was assumed the main event for the card would be Valentine Hosokawa (22-6-3, 9) [細川バレンタイン] defending the Japanese Light Welterweight title against Vladimir Baez (24-3-2-22). That however has now been relegated to the show's chief support slot.
Interestingly for such a notable card there has been no confirmation, yet, of television or online distribution coverage. We'd assume some of the bouts will be shown, but up to now there has been nothing announced or confirmed in that regard.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Over the weekend Japanese boxing gym Kadoebi Houseki posted a blog regarding two of their world ranked fighters, Hiroki Okada (17-0, 12) [岡田 博喜] and Kyotaro Fujimoto (18-1, 10) [藤本 京太郎], who are both looking to get world title fights later this year.
Sadly the blog didn't meantion when either man would be back in the ring, though did state that both fighters had travelled to Los Angeles for a training camp, which will see both men sparring with fellow world class fighters and help prepare both for a potential shot at a belt.
Of the two men it's Kyotaro who is more well known, given he's a rare Japanese Heavyweight who has a bit of talent and potential, and also the fact he has a background in kick boxing, where he was also success. As a boxer Kyotaro has has rebuilt well from a 2012 loss to Solomon Haumono, and won his last 12 bouts. That winning run has seen him unify the JBC, OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific titles at Heavyweight and work his way into both the WBO and WBA world rankings.
Given the quality of the Heavyweight champions Kyotaro would be a big under-dog against any of the champions, but it would be great to see a Japanese fighter fight in a Heavyweight title bout, and potentially lead the way for others to come in the future.
Although less well known Okada is the better candidate to win a world title and he is ranked by all 4 world title bodies at 140lbs, giving him and the Kadoebi gym a number of options to go with in the future. His unbeaten record has seen him win the Japanese and WBO Asia Pacific titles at 140lbs, and score notable wins at the domestic level against Koichi Aso, Masanobu Nakazawa, Cristiano Aoqui and Valentine Hosokawa whilst he holds continental wins over Jheritz Chavez and Jason Pagara.
Hopefully an update from the gym will be published shortly and we can follow who they have been sparring with and training along side.
(Image courtesy of Kadoebi Houseki)
Earlier today at the Korakuen Hall fight fans saw Kyotaro Fujimoto (18-1, 10) [藤本 京太郎] successfully defending his OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific Heavyweight titles as he over-came Australian challenger Randall Rayment (8-4, 3) in what was a largely forgetable bout lacking in quality and action.
The opening round saw Fujimoto take the outside of the ring whilst Rayment followed him. The challenger, who had obviously come to boxing from a career in some other combat sport, showed a unqiue style that some fighters from a Muay Thai background show, and although on the front foot he looked defensively open, flat footed and and slow with his shots. The flaws of Rayment made life easy for Kyotaro in the opening round, with the champion tagging the body of the challenger.
In round 2 Rayment began to up the pace slightly, and he gradually grew in success during rounds 2 and 3, though never had Kyotaro in any real problems. The main issue for Rayment was actually connecting and he was regularly hitting the air whilst looking to land power power shots. When he threw he really put everything behind his shots and regularly span himself out of position and left himself open to counters, with Kyotaro obliging when he felt safe.
After 4 rounds the judges had their score cards announced and all 3 had scored it 39-37 to Kyotaro, who had landed the better blows and shown the more variety in his work, likely giving Rayment either round 3 or 4. Sadly for Rayment his success wouldn't grow and in round 5 he was badly staggered by a solid right hand, another one sent him down hard and forced the referee to stop the contest, giving Kyotaro the KO win.
After the bout Kyotaro stated he wanted to do a world a title bout, and he has long been linked to a bout with Joseph Parker, though on this performance it would be a terrible clash of styles and a very unexciting contest.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Tomorrow fight fans in Japan will be able to see Kyotaro Fujimoto (17-1, 9) [藤本 京太郎] defending his OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific Heavyweight titles in bout against Australian challenger Randall Rayment (8-3, 3).
The bout, which headlines the televised card on G+, had it's weigh in earlier today and saw both men coming in over 100KG's (in excess of 220.4lbs).
The lighter man was the read headed champion was 222.7lbs, which is the lowest weight of his career so far. He seemed to suggest that due to his weight being so good he would be able to do more in the ring, and it's likely that he will be quicker than usual, and make the most of both his mobility and his hand speed. Whilst the weight won't help him up close it would seem likely that he will be looking to avoid a trench war.
Rayment was was also in better shape than he has been recently, weighing 233.7lbs. That isn't close to his career lowest of 209lbs, which came against the touted Jai Opetaia back in 2015, but is lighter than he has been in 5 of his last 6 bouts.
Kyotaro battles Rayment for unified crown!
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier this week we reported that Kyotaro Fujimoto's (17-1, 9) [藤本 京太郎] November 4th bout, which would see him defending his OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific Heavyweight titles against Australian Randall Rayment (8-3, 3), was at risk of being cancelled, due to possibility of Fujimoto facing WBO Heavyweight champion Joseph Parker (24-0, 18) in December.
According to sources today the bout between Fujimoto and Rayment is now not going to be cancelled. Instead the bout with Rayment will be regarded as part of Kyotaro's preparations, despite only taking place only 8 weeks apart, if a deal with Parker can be made.
The talk out of the Japanese press this morning, Thursday in Tokyo, is that talks representatives from both Duco, who represent the current world champion, and Kadoebi Houseki, who manage Fujimoto, is that talks are beggining, with the key points of issue at the moment being the finances.
The bout si expected to gain a lot of attention in Japan, with Kadoebi said to be massively interested in the promotional rights of the contest, which is expected to take place on December 31st in Japan. It's thought that the bout would feature on TBS's year ending "Kyoguken" show, and would garner a multi-million viewer audience. That's helped in part due to the intrigue and interest in a Japanese fighter finally fighting for a Heavyweight world title, for the first time in history.
The two men have been linked to fighting in the past, with talk of the two men fighting dating back to late 2014. It now seems like the bout has been given enough time to build to the point where it's going to be at it's most significant, and leaving it any longer will potentially see one of the two men suffer a loss that takes the chine off the contest.
According to reports in the Japanese press both fighters are enthusiastic about the contest taking place, and it's obvious that bout is something both teams are now actively pursuing, and looking to get sorted. Even if Kyotaro does fight in the interim.
(Image courtesy of daily.co.jp
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