Earlier this month we reported that Japanese Super Featherweight champion Masaru Sueyoshi (19-1-1, 11) [末吉 大] was scheduled to defend his title in early September against Japanese Featherweight champion Kosuke Saka (18-5, 15) [坂晃典].
Sadly that bout is now is now off, with Sueyoshi having suffered an injury to his left foot during training on Friday.
According to reports the bout isn't totally off but is likely to be postponed until Sueyoshi is fit.
Sueyoshi took to the Teiken website to stated "I am in a situation like this because of my injury during my practice, and I am really sorry for the inconvenience caused to many people. I'm really sorry for the inconvenience and I'm full of apologize. What I can do now is to cure my injury with all my strength, and to get back in a state of more than now. I will keep trying to get back,"
Despite Sueyoshi's injury the show on September 2nd will still go ahead with the rest of the card taking place as planned.
Earlier today we were informed that Japanese Super Featherweight champion Masaru Sueyoshi (19-1-1, 11) [末吉 大] would be returning to the ring on September 2nd to defend the belt against former Japanese Featherweight champion Kosuke Saka (18-5, 15) [坂晃典].
For the once beaten champion the bout will be his 5th defense, and will see him trying to reestablish himself after razor thin bouts with Hironori Mishiro and Ken Osato. He's been the champion since October 2017, but hasn't really looked like he has found a new gear since winning the title, and in many ways has sort of stagnated at the top of the domestic tree. Despite that stagnation it's hard to deny that he is a very talented fighter, and does have a rather awkward style. Interestingly, his only loss came early in his career to Masayuki Ito, and a rematch between the two would certainly be very interesting.
Whilst the champion has faltered he's been unbeaten since his loss to Ito, way back in 2012, and has gone 16-0-1 since then, proving himself to be a very hard man to beat.
Saka, who also suffered his first loss to Masayuki Ito in 2012, has had some mixed success. He went on a great run following a 2014 loss to Hiroshige Osawa, scoring wins against the likes of Ryuto Kyoguchi, Burning Ishii, Takafumi Nakajima and Shota Hayashi, with the win over Hayashi netting Saka the Japanese Featherweight title. Sadly though Saka's reign was a short one, and he was knocked out in bizarre fashion by Takenori Ohashi in his first defense, mishearing the clacker as the bell and taken clean out. A couple of bounce back wins, including one over Masanori Rikiishi, saw Saka begin to climb back up to where he was but an April loss to Joe Noynay, for the WBO Asia Pacific Super Featherweight title.
On paper this will be Sueyoshi's first defense against a puncher, with Saka having very heavy hands, but the champion will still be strongly favoured, given his natural size advantage and his counter punching ability.
At the moment no other bouts for this card, which will be held at Korakuen Hall, have been announced.
Earlier this month we reported that the Japanese Featherweight title had become vacant, with Taiki Minamoto (16-5-1, 13) [源大輝] giving up the title to move up in weight following his draw with Reiya Abe (19-2-1, 9) [阿部 麗也]. That left us wondering who would be fighting who to fill the vacancy.
Today we were informed that Abe would be taking on the in form Ryo Sagawa (7-1, 4) [佐川遼] for the vacant title, and better than just who we now know the where and when of this excellent match up, with the bout taking place at Korakuen Hall on September 13th.
Sharp shooting Abe is unbeaten in his last 12 bouts, dating back more than 4 years, with notable wins over the likes of Tsuyoshi Tameda, Joe Noynay, Satoshi Hosono, Ryo Hino and Daisuke Sugita and the draw with Minamoto from back in May. He's excellent southpaw, who moves around the round well, fires off sharp and hurtful southpaw left hands and controls the ring and tempo excellently, often counter punching and sucking the life out of opponents with accurate shots. Although not a pure puncher he does hit much harder than his record suggests, and is a very smart fighter.
Although less experience Sagawa has gone on excellent run of his own. He lost his second professional bout, being stopped in 2 rounds by Retsu Kosaka, but has since scored 6 wins in a row including wins over Junki Sasaki, Ryo Matsumoto, Shingo Kawamura and Al Toyogon. Like Abe he has proven to be a very skilled fighter, though has also shown he can brawl when he needs to, as he did against Toyogon, and can really press the fight when he's behind.
At the moment no other details of the September card are available, but this is an excellent match up and a fantastic national title fight.
Interestingly Watanabe may find himself moving into a Japanese title eliminator himself, with the former Featherweight champion now being ranked #3 by the JBC at Super Featherweight, with Kazuhiro Nishitani (20-4-1, 12) [西谷和宏] being ranked #1. That is a bout seems to be very possible for later in the year. The reason this bout is being spoken about is that the #2 ranked fighter Shuya Masaki (12-1, 5) [正木脩也] is from the same gym as the current champion Masaru Sueyoshi (19-1-1, 11) [末吉 大]
Back on May 1st we saw a thrilling Japanese Featherweight title bout, as defending champion Taiki Minamoto (16-5-1, 13) [源大輝] just retained his title, fighting to a draw with Reiya Abe (19-2-1, 9) [阿部 麗也]. After the bout their was talk about a rematch, and talk about Minamoto potentially moving up. We'll be honest and admit we wanted to see a rematch, the first really was that good, though today the hope of a rematch was ended.
The decision has been made by Minamoto to abandon the division and begin campaigning at Super Featherweight, due to issues making the 126lb weight limit. Whilst that does ruin hope of a rematch it's not a bad thing for fans who are now set to get another hard hitting in the already stacked Japanese Super Featherweight picture and a number of potentially interesting bouts to fill the title void at Featherweight.
For the vacant title we would expect to see Abe fighting for the belt again next, with likely opponent being highly ranked by the JBC. The #2 ranked fighter, behind Abe, is former world title challenger Genesis Servania (32-2, 15) and we would certainly expect that to be an amazing match up. Others ranked highly by the JBC include Ryo Hino (13-1-2, 8) [日野僚], who would look to avenge a 2015 loss to Abe, the in form Ryo Sagawa (7-1, 4) [佐川遼], former world title challenger Hiroshige Osawa (35-5-4, 21) [大沢宏晋] and super talented youngster Hinata Maruta (9-1-1, 7) [丸田陽七太]. Any of those 5 possible foes against Abe would be great.
With Minamoto moving up he will find himself linked to fights against the likes of Japanese champion Masaru Sueyoshi (19-1-1, 11) [末吉 大] and former world champion Masayuki Ito (25-2-1, 13) [伊藤 雅雪], among others. Though, for now,m he'd be unable to challenge for the OPBF title held by Watanabe gym stablemate Hironori Mishiro (7-0-1, 2) [三代大訓], who defends that title in July.
Whilst it's obviously a shame we won't see Abe and Minamoto run it back with a rematch, the move up in weight for Minamoto is better for his health, and really changes the dynamic on the Japanese scene at both Featherweight and Super Featherweight.
Earlier today at Korakuen Hall fight fans saw a Japanese Super Featherweight title fight, with champion Masaru Sueyoshi (19-1-1, 11) [末吉 大] defending his title against mandatory challenger Ken Osato (15-3-1, 4) [大里拳], in what was a second meeting between the two men.
Last year these two fought and Osato dropped Sueyoshi before being stopped himself. This time around the bout went the distance, and no one was dropped, but it was a really, really, competitive bout, from the first round to the last.
The bout started really competitively, and there was little to separate them from the off, with he two men matching each other really well. The first round was highlighted by a solid left hook at the end by Osato, but the round really could have gone either way, just like the second round, where it was a left hook from Sueyoshi that left the best impact.
After 5 rounds, when the scores were announced, it seemed there was little to separate the two men, where were pretty much just cancelling each other out. Despite how little was separating the two men all 3 judges had Sueyoshi up, with scores of 48-47, twice, and 49-46.
Upon hearing the scores Osato upped his tempo in round 6, 7 and 8 as he managed to reel the scored back in his favour. It took a lot for Osato, during those rounds, to up the pace and the final 2 rounds saw Sueyoshi swinging things back in his direction, landing the cleaner punches and doing enough to get his nose in front, and narrowly keep it there, with clean, hard shots.
After 10 rounds there almost nothing to pick between the two men. One card had the bout eve, 95-95, another had it 96-95 to Sueyoshi whilst the third hard Sueyoshi winning 97-93, retaining his title with a majority decision.
The win should open the door for Sueyoshi to move onto another defense, or possible unification bout, for example a rematch with OPBF champion Hironori Mishiro, and move towards a potential world title fight. For Osato it's clear he belongs at this level, and with just a few simple improvements it seems clear he could win this title in the near future. He came incredibly close to going all the way to the title here, and it seems very clear he will come again in the future.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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