Reliable sources in Japan today broke the news that Masao Nakamura (25-3, 24) [仲村正男], the current WBO Asia Pacific Super Featherweight champion, had retired.
The popular boxer-puncher managed to have a fantastic career on the regional level, winning both the OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific titles during a career that was rarely dull.
Nakamura had been touted as one to watch when he turned professional, following a 59-5 (34) run in the unpaid ranks. He woruld begin his professional career in 2006, and score 3 straight opening round stoppages, to end the year 3-0 (3). His power managed to carry up through the levels and in 2010 he stopped Allan Tanada in 5 rounds to claim the OPBF title, and advance to 12-0 (12). He seemed on the verge of big things, but he reign lasted only months, and he was stopped in 61 seconds in his first defense of the title, by Ronald Pontillas.
Despite the loss Nakamura remained a popular fighter and he would bounce back with a series of wins before losing a decision to Masayuki Ito in 2014, then was sadly stopped against by Rey Labao. He would rebuild from those set backs, scoring a decision win over Daiki Kaneko in a tremendous 2015 bout, before retiring in 2016. He was however bitten by the boxing bug again and returned after almost 2 years away from the ring, mounting a 3 fight comeback, which resulted in a stoppage last December over Carlo Magali for the WBO Asia Pacific title.
It's a shame to see the popular, exciting and heavy handed Nakamura hang up the gloves, and at the age of 31 we wouldn't be surprised if this retirement turned out to be a full retirement, unlike his previous one, which seemed to be more of a rest following some hard years. We would however love to wish Nakamura the best in his future, whether it involves boxing or not.
In the past we have seen unranked fighters random pop into the rankings when a bout has been mooted and there is a chance the WBO will do that here, though Valcárcel's comments suggest they haven't got that intention. If they don't it will force plans from Top Rank to change.
Although plans changing wouldn't be a surprise it could actually make the bout a bigger one down the line, with Ito's profile potentially growing in the US with a win over a different opponent Stateside in May and with Herring appearing on the same card against a ranked opponent. This could lead to Ito maybe defending his title against Jason Sosa (22-3-4, 15), who is ranked #6 by the WBO, or Jonathan Oquendo (30-5, 19), who is ranked #5 by the WBO.
Interesting the current WBO rankings also feature two of Ito's fellow Japanese fighters, Masaru Sueyoshi (18-1-1, 11) [末吉 大], #4 and, Masao Nakamura (25-3, 24) [仲村正男], #14. Ito holds wins over both of these men, who may well be looking for revenge at some point in 2019.
Earlier today at the EDION Arena Osaka fight fans had the chance to see a new WBO Asia Pacific Super Featherweight champion being crowned, as the heavy handed Masao Nakamura (25-3, 24) [仲村正男] faced off with under-rated Filipino Carlo Magali (23-11-3, 12) for the vacant title. On paper this was an excellent match up, with styles that seemed to be made for an exciting bout, both men had been OPBF champions with flaws the other could take advantage of.
The opening round saw Nakamura, a hard hitting boxer-puncher, start well as he fought behind his jab and his movement, but Magali would amp up the pressure in round 2 and begin to push the tempo. Magali's pressure forced Nakamura to hold his feet occasionally, and he managed to have success doing that as well, landing a cracking upper uppercut in round 4. Magali, who has been stopped before, took it well and wasn't discouraged from his game plan, instead he was likely happy that Nakamura had began to stand still so early. In fact the following round Magali landed his own right hook which appeared to momentarily hurt Nakamura, though only momentarily.
Magali's toughness was tested in round 7, when he took a huge right hand that cut him around the eye, and stood his ground before coming back well in round 8 with hooks that forced Nakamura to think twice about taking extra risks looking for the finish.
Sadly for for Magali his limited defense, and relative slowness in comparison to Nakamura, saw him taking big shots that worsened the cut, with an uppercut in round 10 really doing damage to the wound. It was so bad that the referee took Magali to the ringside doctor, who halted the action, stopping the Filipino on a second check.
With the win Nakamura give his career a huge shot in the arm, and he possibly thinking of earning a rematch with WBO world champion Masayuki Ito, who took a decision over Nakamura back in 2014. For Magali however this is a second straight loss in Japan and a 4th stoppage defeat, he still has lots to give, but it does seem like his time at this level may be running out sooner rather than later.
Arguably the best of the fights taking place in Japan tomorrow is the WBO Asia Pacific Super Featherweight title bout, between the heavy handed Masao Nakamura (24-3, 23) [仲村正男] and under-rated Filipino Carlo Magali (23-10-3, 12). Both fighters are former OPBF Super Featherweight champions and both flawed but talented fighters, who should make for a nail biting and thrilling contest when they get in the ring together tomorrow.
Today, ahead of their bout at the EDION Arena Osaka, the men took part in their weigh in.
At the weigh in today the taller, longer and harder hitting Nakamura was bang on the 130lb limit, and looked strong at the weight. He stated he was going to win by KO and sounded incredibly confident as he looks put himself back in the mix for a world title fight, something he removed himself from when he retired in the summer of 2016.
Magali on the other hand was well under the limit, weighing in at 128.5lbs. He looked strong and powerful, but looked like a man who may be best served campaigning at Featherweight, rather than Super Featherweight going forward. Saying that however he's had success at 130lbs and we understand he may want to build on that success going forward, rather than cut extra weight to make a lower division limit.
Related - Nakamura and Magali to battle for regional crown!
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today Shinsei gym held a press conference to announce their second card for December 1st, making it one of the most stacked days for Japanese boxing in 2018.
The bouts that were announced today included two regional title fights and the next bout of a former champion.
One of the bouts announced is a WBO Asia Pacific Light Flyweight title fight, which will see Reiya Konishi (16-1, 6) [小西伶弥] make his first defense, as he faces off with Richard Rosales (13-7-2, 7). The Japanese warrior won the belt earlier this year, beating Orlie Silvestre, and is always a fun fighter to watch. He will be favoured strongly, with Rosales not expected to really test him, but the bout could be very action packed.
A second WBO Asia Pacific bout will take place at Super Featherweight as Masao Nakamura (24-3, 23) [仲村正男] and Carlo Magali (23-10-3, 12) trade blows for the vacant title. Both men are former OPBF champions and both will know that a win here will take them closer to a world title fight. Nakamura, who lost to Masayuki Ito earlier in his career, is a massive puncher whilst Magali is a tough guy who presses the action, so we're expecting a real thriller here.
A third bout announced today sees former WBA Super Bantamweight champion Shun Kubo (13-1, 9) [久保隼] facing off with Indonesian journeyman Noldi Manakane (33-25-2, 18), in what appears to be a stay busy bout for Kubo ahead of a big 2019.
Prior to today's announcement Shinsei had announced a quadruple header of female title fights for December 1st, including an OPBF Atomweight title bout between Eri Matsuda (1-0) [松田恵里] and Minayo Kei (6-3, 1) [慶美奈代] , a WBO Asia Pacific female Minimumweight title bout between Kasumi Saeki (2-0, 1) [佐伯霞] and Wassana Kamdee (3-4, 2) and a WBO female Minimumweight title bout between Kayoko Ebata (12-7, 6) [江畑佳代子] and Etsuko Tada (17-3-2, 5) [多田悦子].
Notably these bouts won't be on a mega show, but will instead be two shows on the same day at the same venue, the EDION Arena Osaka, by the same promoter. But both shows look incredibly stacked. The female card is "Real Spirits Vol 60" whilst the male card will be "Real Spirits Vol 61".
Related - Shinsei announce quadruple header for December 1st!
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