Japanese action kicked off today with the first show of the new. The card, held at the Korakuen Hall, saw action come to an end with an intriguing Japanese title bout at 140lbs between heavy handed champion Hiroki Okada (11-0, 9) [岡田 博喜] and in form interim champion Masanobu Nakazawa (18-2-1, 7) [中澤 将信].
Going in to the bout both had sounded confident with Nakazawa looking to build on his interim victory, last year over Masayoshi Kotake, whilst Okada was wanting to make an impact following 10 months of inactivity, due in part to a fractured right thumb.
Despite the inactivity, and the previous injury, Okada looked like he didn't miss a beat. He was sharp from the off and took the fight to Nakazawa, who was left with a bloodied nose before the end of the opening round.
Nakazawa tried to respond in round 2, and did some damage to the face of Okada, but he was unable to stave off the fearsome champion who hurt him early in round 3 and forced the referee to step in.
The win for Okada was his third defence of the title and he may well be looking at a return in the summer against the winner of the upcoming OPBF title bout between Shinya Iwabuchi [岩渕 真也] and Al Rivera, who clash in early February.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Tomorrow we, finally, see action return to Japan for the first time this year. The main event of the card is by far the most intriguing match on offer and sees the Japanese 140lb title being unified as champion Hiroki Okada (10-0, 8) [岡田 博喜] faces interim champion Masanobu Nakazawa (18-1-1, 7) [中澤 将信].
Today, ahead of that bout, the fighters took part in their weigh in with both coming in sport on the divisional limit.
For Nakazawa the weight has been his norm, give or take ½lb, for almost 5 years and is the 15th time he has been between 139½lbs and 140lbs.
For Okada, who is fighting for the first time since suffering a thumb injury in sparring last year, this sees him weighing in at 140lbs, on the button, for the 11th successive fight, going all the way back to his debut back in 2011.
Okada returns with intent to reclaim unified throne!
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
This coming weekend is a big one for boxing with a number of high profile Heavyweight bouts in the West. Those Heavyweight bouts however aren't the only bouts of note and a number of British bookmakers have strangely included the upcoming Japanese 140lb title fight in their available betting markets.
The bout in questions sees unbeaten champion Hiroki Okada (10-0, 8) [岡田 博喜] defending his title against interim champion Masanobu Nakazawa (18-1-1, 7) [中澤 将信].
Unsurprisingly the bookies have favoured the champion and have him priced around 1/7 to retain his title whilst Nakazawa is widely available at 4/1, suggesting that he id a clear under-dog.
For those interested in the draw that's priced at 22/1.
Okada returns with intent to reclaim unified throne! (Preview)
Over the last day or two we've seen two Japanese title fights announced for 2016.
The first of those, set to take place on January 16th is at 140lbs where unbeaten champion Hiroki Okada (10-0, 8) battles against interim champion Masanobu Nakazawa (18-1-1, 7).
For Okada the bout will be his first since March, and follows a serious hand injury that forced him out of a bout with Maayoshi Kotake, one of two fighters to take Okada the distance. Okada's pull out for that bout saw Nakazawa being given the opportunity to fight Kotake for the interim title, which he won by a very close 10 round unanimous decision.
For Nakazawa this will be his first bout since his December win over Kotake and will be his third bout in the space of 12 months.
The other title bout is at Welterweight where Yasuhiro Okawa (14-11-3, 5) battles Nobuyuki Shindo (16-3-1, 6) for the now vacant title. The belt was recently given up by Suyon Takayama, who had held the title for almost 3 years and made an impressive 6 defenses. Those defences included one against Shindo, earlier this year, with Shindo really giving Takayama a very tough contest.
For Shindo the bout will be his second title fight Okawa will be fighting in his first. Despite his poor record her has racked up a 5 fight winning streak coming in to this one and appears to be in the best form of his career. Notably the winner of this one will be forced to defend the title against the big punching Toshio Arikawa (12-4, 10), following Arikawa's win in the Strongest Korakuen back in Novemeber
Early this week saw the announcement of the Japanese award winners for September.
The MVP for the month was Super Bantamweight champion Yukinori Oguni (15-1-1, 4) who recorded the second defense of his title with a wide decision win over Taiki Minamoto on on September 30th. The win was a return to form for Oguni who had looked fortune in his two previous bouts.
The Fight Spirit award was won by Japanese interim Light Welterweight champion Masanobu Nakazawa (18-1-1, 7), who claimed the title with a decision win over Masayoshi Kotake on September 5th with a clear, but hard fought, decision. The win was, by far, the biggest of Nakazawa's career and has essentially put him on the map and lined him up for a bout with Hiroki Okada.
The State of the Art award was won by 27 year old Kyosuke Sawada (4-2, 2), who scored his 4th straight win by over-coming Tonko Nakagawa on September 30th, on the same show as Oguni's win.
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