Earlier today we saw the names of the East Japan Boxing Association award winners for May being announced, with 3 winners being announced.
The MVP of the month is OPBF Bantamweight champion Keita Kurihara (14-5, 12) [栗原 慶太], who needed just 35 seconds to blow away Warlito Parrenas (26-10-1, 23) and retain his regional title. This was an incredible performance from Kurihara and really did create a lot of buzz about the young puncher.
The Fighting Spirit award was won by the newly crowned Japanese Light Middleweight champion Hironobu Matsunaga (15-1, 9) [松永 宏信], who shocked Nobuyuki Shindo (20-5-2, 8) [新藤寛之] to claim the belt. This was a huge win for Matsunaga who has now won 9 in a row and really bounced back excellently from his Rookie of the Year loss to Yuki Beppu back in 2014.
The Newcomer Award was won by Masafumi Ando (6-8-2, 3) [安藤暢文], who shocked the Japanese boxing scene when he stopped former Japanese Welterweight champion Toshio Arikawa (15-7, 13) [有川 稔男], in what was a massive upset on the domestic scene.
The fighters will be able to attend a special ceremony on July 12th at the Korakuen Hall to receive their awards.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Just over a year ago Toshio Arikawa (15-7, 13) [有川 稔男] was the Japanese Welterweight champion. He had run up 2 defenses and run off a 7 fight winning run, including big wins over Akinori Watanabe and Nobuyuki Shindo, avenged 2 of his losses and was looking like a real force on the domestic scene.
Today his career is in tatters, potentially over, following a third straight stoppage loss. Not only was this a third success loss inside the distance, but this was a massive upset.
The first of the 3 losses was an understandable one, losing the Japanese title to the hard hitting and talented Ryota Yada [矢田良太] and the second came against the highly regarded Kudura Kaneko [クドゥラ金子]. Today's however came against the very unfancied Masafumi Ando (6-8-2, 3) [安藤暢文]. Ando, with a sub .500 record hadn't scored a stoppage in well over 5 years, with his last one coming against Daiki Mori back in 2013 and was 2-3-2 in his last 7.
Despite being a major under-dog Arikawa had started well enough and took the initiative early on, but was caught by Ando's right hook in round 2 and it was clear that Ando could get through with his shots from the southpaw stance. Arikawa managed to get success in round 3, dropping Ando, but that success was very shorted lived and within a minute he was himself dropped, from a hard counter right. He wouldn't recover, and was stopped as he rose to his feet.
Whilst losses to Yada and Kaneko were set backs this was so much worse, and Arikawa himself seemed to suggest that this was going to be the end, saying he didn't think he was going to continue.
For Ando this is a career defining win, the biggest of his career, by a mile. For Arikawa it's a sad way to go out of the sport.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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