Just over a week ago we reported that Tsubasa Koura (14-0, 9) [小浦 翼] would be making his next defense of the OPBF Minimumweight title against Filipino challenger Lito Dante (15-10-4, 7) on March 31st in Kanagawa. At the time details on specifics weren't available though now we have seen more information come out about the show.
The bout will indeed be held on a Dangan card, but it's a Dangan and E&J Cassius Gym joint promoted show, with the event being held to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the E&J Cassius Gym, run by Cassius Naito. The venue of the show in Yokohama has also been selected due to it being an historical place of for Japanese boxing, with one of the first gyms being there and other events being held in and around Yokohama back then.
As well Koura's bout it has also been announced that Mirai Naito (6-1, 2) [内藤 未来] will feature in the main supporting bout whilst his older brother Rikki Naito (23-2, 7) [内藤 律樹] will participate in a sparring session. Both Naito and Rikki are son's of promoter Cassius.
A more complete look at the show is expected in the coming weeks, with Mirai Naito's opponent being named and Rikki Naito's sparring partner.
Earlier today the OPBF twitter account revealed that Tsubasa Koura (14-0, 9) [小浦 翼] would be making his next defense of the OPBF Minimumweight title on March 31st in Kanagawa, against Filipino challenger Lito Dante (15-10-4, 7).
On paper this looks like an horrific mismatch, an unbeaten and destructive youngster taking on someone who looks to be little more than a journeyman. The reality however is that, at the very least, Koura should be able to get some good rounds under his belt.
The unbeaten champion, 24, hasn't been in the ring since beating Daiki Tomita last September and fought just 17 rounds last year. He also only fought 18 rounds in 2017 and clearly needs some more ring time.
Dante, 28, has lost a significant number of bouts but has never been stopped, and has shown real durability. He has lost decisions to the likes of Vic Saludar, twice, Simpiwe Koncko and Jesse Espinas. Although often a clear loser he is a handful.
For fans interesting this bout will take place at the Osanbashi Hall, Yokohama, Kanagawa, with an under-card expected to be announced shortly. At the moment however the promoter hasn't been announced, though we suspect it could be a Dangan card, which will likely mean it'll be available on the Boxingraise service.
Earlier today at the Kagoshima Arena, Kagoshima fight fans had the latest show in the Kagoshima Soul Boxing. Sadly it lead to mixed success for locally born fighters.
In the main event fans saw Naoya Haruguchi (15-10, 6) [春口直也] suffer an upset loss to the often-overlooked Filipino Lito Dante (15-10-4, 7).
Dante, applied pressure from early on and really attacked the body of Haruguchi, who tried to box and move in the early going. As the fight went on Haruguchi began to fight back with body shots of his own before starting to wilt late on.
Amazingly one judge gave Haruguchi the bout, scoring it 97-95 in his favour, though they were over ruled by the other two judges who scored the contest 96-94 to Dante. Even those cards to the Filipino visitor seemed like they had been influenced by the home town crowd cheering on Haruguchi, who was second best through much of the fight.
The co-feature was better for locals fans as Kagoshima born Tokyo based fighter Miyo Yoshida (11-1) [吉田 実代] made her first defense of the OPBF female Bantamweight title. The talented Yoshida, who holds both the OPBF and Japanese females titles, scored a clear decision win over Thai challenger Phannaluk Kongsang (4-7-1, 2).
Yoshida, who had only won the title in August, out worked and out fought Phannaluk, though credit to the Thai who showed no quit and always looked to try and fight back against the talented, but light punching, champion.
On August 20th we saw Miyo Yoshida (10-1) [吉田 実代] become a double champion, as she unified the Japanese female Bantamweight title with the OPBF female title. Despite that bout only taking place a few days ago Yoshida's first OPBF defense is already set, and will take place on September 30th in her birth place of Kagoshima.
Although boxrec doesn't list her opponent for the bout, which will take place on Kagoshima Soul Box Vol 8, we've been informed that it will Thai fighter Phannaluk Kongsang (4-6-1, 2).
The Thai is 0-2 in Japan, having lost to Yuko Henzan and Tamao Ozawa, and will clearly be seen as a safe opponent for Yoshida, which may explain why she has had such a quick turn around following her title win. Notably this will be the Thai's third shot at a world title, having twice fought Henzan for the OPBF Bantamweight title fighting to a loss and a draw.
Notably the bout between Yoshida and Phannaluk will only be the card's chief support bout, with the main event being a 10 round non-title contest, between Naoya Haruguchi (15-9, 6) [春口直也] and Filipino Lito Dante (14-10-4, 7). This will be Haruguchi's first bout since he lost a 10 round decision in July against Tatsuya Fukuhara, though he did notably defeat Filipino Jeffrey Galero back in March, in his only bout against a Filipino.
Dante on the other hand will be fighting in Japan for the second time, having previously had a technical draw with Takumi Sakae. Although his record doesn't look amazing he has mixed with very good company, including the likes of Vic Saludar, twice, Simphiwe Khonco, Tibo Monabesa and Jesse Espinas.
One other bout on this card that's worth noting is an all Japanese bout between between Wolf Nakano (4-7-4) [中野玄悠] and Mako Matsuyama (8-13-2, 3) [松山真], in what should be a fun contest between exciting but limited fighters.
Back in May we learned that Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Yusaku Kuga (14-2-1, 10) [久我 勇作] would be making his first defense of the title on July 29th against the under-rated Ryoichi Tamura (8-2-1, 5) [田村 亮一], in what looks like a really good match up against two under-rated and really hungry young fighters looking to prove a point. Today it was revealed that that bout won't be the only title bout on the show.
The other title bout will see the really promising and fast rising Tsubasa Koura (10-0, 7) [小浦 翼] face off with Filipino foe Lito Dante (13-8-4, 7) for the OPBF Minimumweight title, which has been vacated by future world title challenger Hiroto Kyoguchi (7-0, 6) [京口 紘人].
For Koura the bout will be his first title bout, of any kind, as he looks to build on being the 2015 Minimumweight Rookie of the Year, and subsequent stoppage run which has included a 2nd round TKO over former world title challenger Jeffrey Galero. Although he's on a 4 fight stoppage run this is a step up in class in some ways with Dante being much better than his record suggests, and much tougher than fan may suspect. Given that Koura has fought just 31 rounds in his career, and just 10 rounds since the start of 2016, he'll likely be getting a genuine stamina test here.
Dante isn't the greatest fighter but he has never been stopped and has faced the likes of Siyabonga Siyo, Vic Saludar, Takumi Sakae, Jessie Espinas and Simphiwe Khonco. He is a handful at Oriental level and certainly won't be getting in the ring with Koura to fall over. In fact he'll travel seeing this bout as a chance to win the Oriental title and move towards a potential world title fight down the line.
The two bouts will be the headline bouts at Dangan 189 and will be shown on Boxingraise, giving subscribers another treat in what looks set to be a great month for Japanese fight fans.
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