This past weekend in Osaka fight fans had the chance to see the Mutoh Gym put on their latest show, with two notable regional title bouts.
Those bouts ended in mixed fashion for the Gym's fighters, with one fighter picking up a huge win, whilst the suffered a big loss.
Today the team at the Mutoh gym held a press conference and spoke, in part, about those bouts at the weekend, as well as introducing their newest signing, a former top amateur fighter.
At the press conference Yuki Strong Kobayashi (15-8, 9) [小林佑樹] was presented with a sizable financial reward for his shock win over Filipino fighter Ben Mananquil (17-2-3, 4) to claim the WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight crown. Kobayashi had been the big under-dog but actually secured himself a stoppage of the the Filipino, and really did earn the financial reward with his performance and result.
Sadly new was less good when it came to former world title challenger Masahiro Sakamoto (13-3, 9) [坂本真宏], who has reportedly retired following his TKO loss to Yusuke Sakashita (18-8-3, 13) [阪下優友] in a bout for the WBO Asia Pacific Flyweight title. That bout ended with Sakanmoto's face a swollen bloodied mess, for the second fight in a row, and we did suspect that Sakamoto would walk away from the sport.
Today's press conference also saw the Mutoh gym introduce Yusuke Mine [峯 佑輔], who ran up an impressive 51-10 (12) amateur record and has won international tournaments. The 23 year old will take his pro-test on July 7th with his debut expected later in the month, and is said to have had some amateur training under former world champion Nobuo Nashiro, himself a former fighter at the Mutoh gym.
(Imagge courteys of boxingnews.jp)
Earlier today in Osaka fans were able to attend a show at the Osaka City University. The main event of the card was a WBO Asia Pacific Flyweight title bout, between former world title challenger Masahiro Sakamoto (13-3, 9) [坂本真宏] and domestic rival Yusuke Sakashita (18-8-3, 13) [阪下優友].
On paper this looked like the perfect bounce back fight for Sakamoto, following his TKO loss to Moruti Mthalane at the very end of 2018. It was a winnable bout, against a domestic foe, for a regional title. It was a step down from world class, but a win would get him straight back into the mix. Sadly however it turned out to be an horrendous decision for Sakamoto, who suffered a similar to the one he suffered against Mthalane, in what was a brave losing effort.
The fight started evenly, and Sakamoto was certainly holding his own in the early stages. Sadly though as the bout went on, and more shots were traded, the former world title challenger ended up taking numerous clean head shots, shots that took their toll on his face, causing swelling around the right eye and a cut on the left eye in round 5.
The damage worsened in round 6 forcing an early conclusion to the bout and giving Sakashita his most significant win to date, a TKO6 win over Sakamoto.
For Sakamoto this bout may well be the end. Given his face has now swollen badly in back to back fights there's a real chance it will always swell, and he may well be better off walking away, rather than risk more serious damage. As for Sakashita this win nets him his first title, and potentially a world ranking with the WBO. Sadly though it also paints a target on his back, with fighters likely wanting his ranking, and his title.
Tomorrow fight fans will see a WBO Asia Pacific Flyweight title bout, as former world title challenger Masahiro Sakamoto (13-2, 9) [坂本真宏] takes on Yusuke Sakashita (17-8-3, 12) [阪下優友] in Osaka.
Today the two men took part in their weigh in, and both men made the Flyweight limit. Though did so very, very differently, with one of the two needing a second chance to weigh in to hit the 112lb mark, whilst the other made it at the first time of asking, in coming in well under the limit.
The fighter who made it easily was Sakamoto, himself an Osakan who is expected to be very strongly supported at this show. He came in at 111.5lbs, comfortably under the limit, and is looking to reclaim the title he gave up last year to fight IBF champion Moruti Mthalane.
Sakashita on the other hand was 112.5lbs on his first attempt but re-weighed and made the 112lb limit. He apologised the inconvenience, but didn't seem like he struggled to make the weight and looked incredibly strong at the weigh in.
For those interested in watching this it will be made available on demand on the Boxing Raise service.
Related - Sakamoto and Sakashita battle regional title!
(Image courtesy of Boxmob.jp)
This past weekend fight fans in Sanda, Hyogo, may have expected to see Riku Kano (14-4-1, 7) [加納 陸] battle against Indonesian journeyman Mektison Marganti (5-10-1, 3) in a WBC Youth Light Flyweight title clash, which was originally arranged as part of a triple header of youth title action. That bout was however rescheduled at late notice due to Kano suffering a minor injury.
Today we have been informed that the bout has now got a new date, and that date is May 26th, just 3 weeks after the original date. Not only has Kano had his return rescheduled, but it will be against his original foe as well.
The bout has now been added to the May 26th Mutoh promoted card at the Osaka City University, making that card a triple header.
As mentioned the card now features 3 title bouts, with the previously announced WBO Asia Pacific Flyweight title bout, between Masahiro Sakamoto (13-2, 9) [坂本真宏] and Yusuke Sakashita (17-8-3, 12) [阪下優友], and the WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight title bout, between champion Ben Mananquil (17-1-3, 4) and Yuki Strong Kobayashi (14-8, 8) [小林佑樹]. This Youth title bout is scheduled on the show between those two regional title bouts.
Although Kano's addition to the upcoming show does add something to it, it is still a shame that he removed from the card this past weekend, where he would have added a lot more to a smaller show. We are however very glad that the youngster's injury wasn't too significant and that it's only set him back weeks, and not months.
Interestingly he would likely have had his bout added to the TV Osaka youtube channel had he fought this past weekend, inside we're now expecting his bout to be featured on Boxing Raise along with the rest of the card.
Earlier today at the Osaka City University the Mutoh gym announced a double header for May, with both of the main bouts being for WBO Asia Pacific titles.
One of those bouts will be for the vacant WBO Asia Pacific Flyweight title. That bout will see former champion, and former world title challenger, Masahiro Sakamoto (13-2, 9) [坂本真宏] battle against Yusuke Sakashita (17-8-3, 12) [阪下優友] .
For Sakamoto this will be his first bout since losing to IBF world champion Moruti Mthalane at the very end of 2018, and he will be looking to reclaim the title he vacated for that world title fight. Sakashita on the other hand will be looking to build on a recent bit win over former OPBF champion Keisuke Nakayama. Interestingly this will be Sakashita's second title bout and comes more than 4 years after he was spectacularly knocked out by Suguru Muranaka in a Japanese Flyweight title bout.
The other title bout will see WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight champion Ben Mananquil (17-1-3, 4), from the Filipino, defending his title against former OPBF title challenger Yuki Strong Kobayashi (14-8, 8) [小林佑樹], in what could be a very intriguing match up.
Mananquil won the title earlier this year, beating Tenta Kiyose in Japan, whilst Kobayashi's last fight came in December, where he lost to Keita Kurihara in a thrilling 12 round bout that was marred by time keeper errors. This will b a highly skilled match up and should a tough one to call, given how much Kobayashi has improved in recent years.
The bouts will take place on May 26th in Osaka City, with sources in forming us the University's gym has been selected to host the bouts.
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