Having been really impressed by Masahiro Suzuki (3-0, 2) [鈴木雅弘] on his debut, when he stopped Antonio Siesmundo, we have really tried to follow his career as closely as possible. It was with great excitement that we previewed his his bout with Japanese ranked Lightweight Kosuke Arioka (9-4-1, 8) [有岡 康輔] as the first in our "Hidden Gems" series, and that we also covered Suzuki in our "Introducing" series.
Today fans at Korakuen Hall saw and Arioka battle, in what turned out to be a genuinely thrilling contest, that showed how exciting Suzuki can be and just how quickly the World Sports Boxing gym can fast track him.
Thge first was a step up on paper for Suzuki, against a hard hitting domestic opponent and over 8 rounds. Those 8 rounds however were never going to be needed with the style of fight the two men engaged in. It was clear neither man was interested in winning a decision, and both wanted to finish this off as quickly as they could.
After just 40 seconds Arioka was on the canvas, from a brilliant counter right hand from Suzuki. Arioka got up and began to try and take the play away from Suzuki, pressing on the inside but took heavy fire in return, with Suzuki landing some incredibly clean shots. To his credit Arioka had belief in his power, and seemed to believe that, sooner or later, he was going to get to Suzuki.
After making his way into round 2 Arioka managed to get inside and work the body of Suzuki, and then find some room for his short left hook up top, catching Suzuki with some solid clean shots. The work from Arioka was good, but came at a risk and a left hand to the body from Suzuki dropped Arioka for the 10 count.
With this win Suzuki will likely be rewarded with a Japanese ranking. After the bout Suzuki admitted that Arioka was strong and that he was left hazy himself, but was happy to have won and it seems obvious that his team will look to push him to total contention sooner rather than later.
Earlier today we were informed that Japanese Light Flyweight champion Kenichi Horikawa (40-15-1, 13) [堀川 謙一] would make his second defense of the title in August, with the veteran set to fight against Ryuto Oho (12-5-1, 4) [大保 龍斗] on August 8th.
The bout will be Horikawa's third of the year following title win in February against Satoru Todaka and his first defense this past May. The 39 year old champion has more wins than any other active Japanese born fighter and is still reeling off victories at his advanced age.
As for Oho, aged 24, the bout will be his the bout will be his first Japanese title bout, but follows a Japanese Youth title win for the youngster. It's worth noting that he was stopped last time out, but that loss had come at Flyweight, to Masamichi Yabuki who actually damaged his hand in the win.
The bout, which will serve as the chief support bout to the highly anticipated OPBF Super Bantamweight bout between Hiroaki Teshigawara (19-2-2, 12) [勅使河原 弘晶] and Shohei Omori (20-2, 15) [大森 将平] and rounds off an interesting card which will also see the very promising Masahiro Suzuki (2-0, 1) [鈴木雅弘] face off with Japanese ranked Lightweight Kosuke Arioka (9-3-1, 8) [有岡 康輔].
The World Sport Boxing gym hasn't had the most amazing of years so far, with neither of their two biggest names picking up wins in their bouts so far. We've seen Takeshi Inoue (13-1-1, 7) [井上 岳志] suffer his first defeat, though come out with a significantly improved reputation, and we also saw Japanese Middleweight champion Kazuto Takesako (10-0-1, 10) [竹迫司登] suffer the first mark on his record, fighting to a draw with mandatory challenger Shuji Kato (10-1-2, 6) [加藤収二].
Today the gym announced their two stars would be co-headlining a show on August 3rd at Korakuen Hall.
At the moment Inoue's opponent isn't known, though it will mark his first bout since losing to WBO Light Middleweight champion Jaime Munguia (32-0, 26) in Houston. We're not expecting anyone too testing for Inoue, but it'd be hard for World Sport Boxing to sell Inoue in a total mismatch given his performance against Munguia, which was genuinely a credible effort despite a clear loss on the cards.
Takesako's bout on the other hand is a pretty predictable one, a rematch with Kato. It was a bout both men stated they wanted, following the draw, and is a bout that makes a lot of sense. For Takesako it's a chance to put the draw behind him and look to advance to regional level title fights, potentially a bout with OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific champion Yuki Nonaka, whilst Kato gets a second chance to get over the line and get a win over Takesako.
At the moment the under-card hasn't been announced, though we'd not be surprised to see it stacked with World Sport prospects, such as Masahiro Suzuki (2-0, 1) [鈴木雅弘] and Takuma Takahashi (3-0, 3) [高橋拓磨], who we are really looking forward to following in the years to come.
Earlier today fight fans at the Korakuen Hall had the chance to see a number of notable prospects in action, as they looked to continue their promising starts to professional boxing.
The first of the prospects to fight today was Masahiro Suzuki (2-0, 1) [鈴木雅弘], who really impressed us on his debut against Antonio Siesmundo last year. Suzuki was up against Filipino Kelvin Tenorio (4-5, 2), and although Suzuki failed to stop his man he did take a very clear decision win, with scores of 60-54, twice, and 59-55. Suzuki seemed to be getting strong as the bout went on but Tenorio showed his toughness to see out the 6 round scheduled.
Following Suzuki's win Jin Minamide (3-0, 3) [南出 仁] would extend his stoppage run, taking a huge step up in class, and stopping Marjun Pantilgan (18-8, 14) in what is an impressive result. Minamide, who had taken out his first 2 opponents in the first round, was expected to win here but few would have expected a stoppage against Pantilgan, who has proven to be a tough and durable foe. Pantilgan was dropped following a series of right hands from Minamide in the latter part of round 3, and made it clear he didn't want to continue. The unbeaten fighter, who is managed by Celes Kobayashi, told the crowd to remember his name and that he was going to become a world champion, given his performances so far it's hard to doubt him and that confidence.
The third prospect in action on this card was Takuma Takahashi (3-0, 3) [高橋拓磨] who stepped up to the 8 round level for the first time. Sadly whilst Takahashi was expecting to have a bit of a test his opponent, 21 year Filipino Jonel Dapidran (10-4, 6) was unable to ask any questions of Takahashi. Takahashi needed just 85 seconds to take out Dapidran, who took some body shots and took the full count in what proved ton be a total waste of time. We wouldn't be surprised of Dapidran found his name on the JBC list of Invitation Prohibited Fighters given this loss, and his loss to Rikuto Adachi late last year.
Back in December we reported that Takuma Takahashi (2-0, 2) [高橋拓磨] and Masahiro Suzuki (1-0, 1) [鈴木雅弘] had been added to the March 2nd show headlined by a Japanese Middleweight title bout between Kazuto Takesako (10-0, 10) [竹迫司登] and Shuji Kato (10-1-1, 6) [加藤収二].
At the time neither Takahashi or Suzuki had their opponents named, today however both had opponents confirmed.
Takahashi will be having his first 8 round bout as he takes on 21 year Filipino Jonel Dapidran (10-3, 6). On paper this looks like a serious test for Takahashi, though it should be noted that Dapidran is 3-3 in his last 6, and was stopped in 3 rounds by Rikuto Adachi last October, in what was Dapidran's first, and so far only, bout in Japan.
As for Suzuki, who impressed on his debut against Antonio Siesmundo, he will be up against Kelvin Tenorio (4-4-, 2). Tenorio is a 26 year old from the Philippines, who will be making his international debut.
Sadly we've also been informed that this show will not be shown live, but will instead be on tape delay on G+, with the first airing coming on Monday March 4th.
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