A day of top sparring at the Ohashi Gym, Mr Ohashi states no decision has been made on WBSS final date
Today was a genuine crazy day at the Ohashi gym at the media were able to attend a packed session with a host of notable names involved.
The biggest name there was, of course, Naoya Inoue (18-0, 16) [井上 尚弥] who was preparing for this WBSS final bout with Nonito Donaire (40-5, 26), more about that bout in a few monemts. The 3 weight world champion was sparring with amateur standout Arashi Morisaka [森坂嵐], who is one of Japan's big hopes for the Tokyo games next year. Inoue hadn't really sparred over the last few months, focusing on general fitness since the Rodriguez bout in May, but spent 4 rounds with Morisaka today, and looked devastating when he moved through the gears.
Noaya Inoue was one of two world class Bantamweight's with the Inoue name sparring in front of the media, with younger brother Takuma Inoue (13-0, 3) [井上 拓真], who is preparing to face WBC champion Nordine Oubaali (16-0, 12), also in action. The talented, though often over-looked Takuma, did 4 rounds of sparring with former world title challenger Masataka Taniguchi (11-3, 7) [谷口 将隆]. Whilst Takuma has a bout with Oubaali to prepare for, Taniguchi has a major bout of his own to get ready for, as he meets Kai Ishizawa (6-0, 6) [石澤開] in a Japanese title eliminator in September.
Taaniguchi's stablemate Hiroto Kyoguchi (13-0, 9) [京口 紘人], the WBA "super" and Ring Magazine Light Flyweight champion, was also in the Ohashi gym. Kyoguchi will be defending his titles on October 1st against Tetsuya Hisada (34-9-2, 20) [久田 哲也] and today prepared for that bout by sparring with excellent Japanese youngster Taku Kuwahara (5-0, 4) [桑原拓]. Kuwahara will have taken a lot from the spar and it was particularly notable given he faces former Kyoguchi opponent Jonathan Refugio (21-6-5, 7) in September. Interestingly Kyoguchi admitted he got hit too much, with Kuwahara bringing the pressure in their spar.
Of course with this being the Ohashi Gym, and with Naoya Inoue being a notable figure, with a big bout on the horizon the press asked Hideyuki Ohashi about the recent rumour for the WBSS final. The story doing the rounds is that it will place on November 7th at the Saitama Super Arena. Mr Ohashi told Sankei Sports that "it has not been decided yet" whilst Nikkan sports have him quoted as simply saying "It is November", something that was already confirmed back at a recent Ohashi in July. Whether this was just Mr Ohashi keeping his cards close to his chest until an official announcement, which is expected to take place after the Bon Festival next week, or whether their are still details to iron out is unclear.
Although November 7th, a Thursday, is now widely reported it is worth noting that there are two bank holidays in Japan in November. The first of those is Monday 4th and the second is Saturday 23rd, giving some interesting alternatives
(Photo - nikkansports.com / Shinji Kawada)
The match up appears to have been why Takahashi wasn't involved in the Japanese Minimumweight title eliminator which was announced recently, and will instead feature Kai Ishizawa (6-0, 6) [石澤開] battling former world title challenger Masataka Taniguchi (11-3, 7) [谷口 将隆].
Given that eliminator, and Tanaka's injury, there is a chance we'll see a Japanese interim title, though it's more likely that we'll see Takahashi pushed down the pecking order and needing to wait for Tanaka to face the winner of the Eliminator before getting a potential shot at the belt in 2020.
Earlier this week we reported that Tsubasa Murachi (4-0, 3) [村地翼] would be battling against Froilan Saludar (30-3-1, 21) on September 21st in a bout for the WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight title. We were really excited about that bout, and since then we've seen the card really really develop and it's now been revealed that that bout will be one of two title bouts on the card, with the other being confirmed today.
That other title bout will see Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Yusaku Kuga (18-3-1, 11) [久我勇作] defending his title against Yosuke Fujihara (18-6, 5) [藤原陽介], in what will be Kuga's first defense since reclaiming the title in May with a thrilling win over Ryoichi Tamura (12-4-1, 6) [田村 亮一].
The hard hitting Kuga made 2 defenses in his first reign, before losing the belt last year to Shingo Wake. He regained the belt with the win over Tamura, but the bout took a lot out of both men, and it's hard to complain about him having an easier defense here, to begin his second reign. Fujihara, who won the Super Flyweight Rookie of the Year way back in 2008, will be getting his second title shot, following a 2016 loss to Yasutaka Ishimoto. Sadly he has done little to deserve a second shot, going 2-2 since losing Ishimoto, though should prove to be the perfect foil for the hard hitting Kuga to shine against.
The Kuga Vs Fujihara bout was the third notable bout to be announced for card, after the Murachi Vs Saludar bout and the brilliant Japanese Minimumweight title eliminator between Kai Ishizawa (6-0, 6) [石澤開] and former world title challenger Masataka Taniguchi (11-3, 7) [谷口 将隆]. We can now confirm the card will have 1 more notable bout, with unbeaten Afghan-Japanese Welterweight Kudura Kaneko (10-0, 7) [クドゥラ金子] taking on Moon Hyon Yun (18-7-3, 4) [尹文鉉] in a mouth watering 8 round clash between Japanese ranked Welterweights.
The card is expected to be featured on Boxing Raise and at the moment it really does look like a sensational card for subscribers to the Dangan streaming and video on demand service.
Less than a week ago we saw super prospect Ginjiro Shigeoka (4-0, 3) [重岡銀次朗] claim his first professional title, stopping Clyde Azarcon in 72 seconds to win the WBO Asia Pacific Minimumweight title. Today we've been informed that he's being followed into the professional ranks by older brother Yudai Shigeoka [重岡優大].
The 22 year old Yudai, the "1" in Ginjiro's 56-1 amateur record, took part in his B license test this morning, sparring with former world title challenger Masataka Taniguchi (11-3, 7) [谷口 将隆].
The youngster, who had originally planned to go to the 2020 Olympics linked up with the Watanabe Gym in April, following in his brother's footsteps.
As an amateur Yudai scored more than 80 wins and suffered just 10 losses, whilst taking a host of tournament wins, including the 2018 All Japan championships last November and reached the final of the 2018 World University Championship.
At the moment his debut hasn't been set though he will be competing at 105lbs, like his brother.
When compared to his brother Taniguchi stated that Ginjiro hits harder but Yudai is the faster fighter.
We'd expect news about his debut in the coming weeks, with it likely to take place before the end of 2019.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Earlier today the MT Boxing Gym held a press conference to announce big bouts for their top two fighters.
On paper the the lesser of those bouts concerned Minimumweight prospect Kai Ishizawa (6-0, 6) [石澤開] who we now know will be facing former world title challenger Masataka Taniguchi (11-3, 7) [谷口 将隆] on September 21st at the Korakuen Hall.
The bout is a massive step up for the crude, but heavy handed and exciting Ishizawa. Not only will it be a step up in terms of level of opponent but also in relevance, with the bout serving as a Japanese title eliminator for the Japanese 105lb title. Of course it's not only a big step up for the rock fisted youngster but also the more established Taniguchi, who cannot afford another loss, after defeats to Vic Saludar, Tsubasa Koura and Reiya Konishi. Taniguchi needs a win, and needs to give his career a major shot in the arm, just as much as Ishizawa needs the win to open big doors.
Whilst the Ishizawa Vs Taniguchi bout was big news it was over shadowed by the other bout announced, which will see Ishizawa's MT Gym stablemate Junto Nakatani (19-0, 14) [中谷 潤人] taking a huge step up in class to take on former world champion Milan Melindo (37-4, 13), in a bout at a contracted 114lbs on October 5th on a Dynamic Glove card.
For Nakatani this is a huge step up in class, but is a great step in the right direction and a clear move towards a world title fight. He's vacated the Japanese Flyweight title to pursue this bout and knows that that this bout is at a totally different level to any he's had so far. On the other hand Melindo is looking to bounce back from from back to back losses in Japan to Ryoichi Taguchi and Kenshiro. The Filipino is the naturally smaller man, having made his mark at Light Flyweight, but has serious experience at world level and will be looking to rely on that when he takes on the fast rising Japanese hopeful.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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