Earlier today the JBC (Japanese Boxing Commission) announced their month award winners for January 2014. Even though the month wasn't a particularly busy one there was enough action for deserving winners of several awards.
The MVP of the month was the most obvious selection with Masayoshi Nakatani (7-0, 5), pictured, taking the award for his victory over Yoshitaka Kato (26-5-1, 7). The Nakatani/Kato bout, for the OPBF Lightweight title, was the first title fight of Nakatani's career and was certainly the most impressive victory of the youngster's short career.
Due to the fact there was no world title fight it really was obvious that Nakatani was going to claim the MVP award.
The Fighting Spirit Award was given to the newly crowned Japanese Minimumweight champion Go Odaira (9-3-3, 1) who successfully claimed the title with a victory over the hard hitting Masashi Tada (11-4-1, 7). Odaira, who claimed a title for the first time, looked excellent and used his speed to great effect in the best victory of his career so far.
As for the "State of the Art" award, that was won by Yusuke Suzuki (4-1, 3) who claimed a major win stopping Takaaki Ishikawa (10-5, 5) in just 3 rounds.
The Japanese Champions Carnival has had a number of fights around for 2014. The "Carnival", which sees the Japanese national champions fighting their mandatory challengers is an annual thing and this years looks like a genuinely exciting one with a number of fantastic looking contests.
The first, which is scheduled to take place on January 17th is for the vacant Japanese Minimumweight title as Go Odaira (8-3-3, 1) takes on Masashi Tada (11-3-1, 7). This bout, at the Korakuen Hall, headlines what is already looking like a very interesting cad.
We get the second of the title fights on February 1st when Yu Kimura (12-2-1, 2) battles the experienced Kenichi Horikawa (25-12-1, 4) for the vacant Light Flyweight title. Like the Minimumweight bout this is to be held in the Korakuen Hall, though unfortunately no card has really been really been arranged around it.
The vacant Super Featherweight title will be fought for on February 10th as Rikki Naito (8-0, 4) fights Hiroyasu Matsuzaki (22-6-2, 11). This bout, also at the Korakuen Hall, is a genuinely tough match up for the unbeaten Naito and could well be his toughest test so far.
On March 1st we get arguably the best of the bouts as Japanese Middleweight champion Daisuke Nakagawa (22-3-2, 17) fights OPBF Middleweight champion Akio Shibata (21-8-1, 9). This bout is not only a unification bout but also a rematch from 2012 when Shibata narrowly beat Nakagawa for the Japanese Light Middleweight title. This one has all the ingredients of a great fight.
Just days after the Middleweight clash we expect the Light Middleweight clash as Tadashi Yuba (45-8-2, 32), pictured above, fights against Takayuki Hosokawa (24-10-3, 8). This bout, on March 4th, looks like a mismatch on paper but Yuba will be 37 by the time this fight comes around.
March 17th will see Welterweight action as champion Suyon Takayama (19-1, 7) defends his belt against Tetsuya Suzuki (29-11, 17). This will be Takayama's 3rd defense of the belt and Suzuki's first title fight since losing the Japanese Middleweight title to Makoto Fuchigami in October 2010.
A week after the Welterweight title fight we will see Super Bantamweight Hidenori Otake (21-1-3, 9) fighting against Takafumi Nakajima (22-6-1, 9). This will see Otake looking for his 4th title defence whilst Nakajima will be looking for revenge over the man who beat him to it back in August 2012.
On March 30th the highly promising Yohei Tobe (7-1-1, 4) challenges Teiru Kinoshita (19-0-1, 3) for the Super Flyweight title. This will be Kinoshita's 6th title defense whilst Tobe, who has been unsuccessful in an OPBF title fight, wil be fighting in his first Japanese national title bout.
There are 4 other have been arranged in principle though no date has been set for either. These bouts will see Suguru Muranaka defending his newly acquired Flyweight title against former champion Masayuki Kuroda and Kentaro Masuda fighting Yu Kawaguchi for the vacant Bantamweight title. This second bout however does depend on Masuda winning his fight on December 11th. The third will see Suzuki Yuhei facing Yoshitaka Kato, if Kato defeats Masayoshi Nakatani on January 11th. We also believe that Satoshi Hosono will be fighting Yuki Ogata for the vacant Featherweight title.
As well as the bouts which have been agreed in principle their are 2 champions that don't yet have a challenger. These are Light Welterweight champion Keita Obara and Heavyweight champion Kyotaro Fujimoto. Fujimoto's bout however is expected to be on March 30
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