Last week Dan Rafael broke the news that Masayoshi Nakatani (18-0, 12) [中谷正義] would be making his US debut to battle against American hopeful Teofimo Lopez (13-0, 11) in an IBF Lightweight world title eliminator.
Today Nakatani took part in a press conference, alongside Hiroki Ioka and Kazunori Ioka, to talk about that bout.
At the press conference the the fighter and his promoter revealed they hadn't seen Lopez but sounded confident with Nakatani stating "I finally got a chance to reach the world. I still want to win, and impress the world with my power," adding "I want to bring in. I'm ahead of the title match and I want to win unscathed."
As had been reported by Rafael the bout will take place on July 19th in Maryland, and will be Nakatani's international debut.
At today's event Kazunori Ioka confirmed the venue for the bout will be the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, a venue that is a long way from the likes of the EDION Arena Osaka, where Nakatani has regularly fought in recent years. He will clearly be the under-dog, but given today's event they are confident of picking up a big win, and scoring a major shock.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Late last night US boxing writer Dan Rafael broke the news that Masayoshi Nakatani (18-0, 12) [中谷正義] would be making his US debut later this year, to battle against touted American hopeful Teofimo Lopez (13-0, 11) in an IBF Lightweight world title eliminator.
Lopez is one of the most hotly tipped US fighters out there and has been linked to a bout with Vasyl Lomachenko (13-1, 10), though the winner of this will actually be in line for a fight with IBF champion Richard Commey (28-2, 15) and not Lomachenko.
The 21 year old Lopez has been creating a real buzz with performances on notable US cards, and solid wins against the likes of Diego Magdaleno, Mason Menard and Edis Tatli. Although a talented boxer it's been his power and killer instinct which has been impressive and he's stopped his his last 5 opponents, doing so in a combined 20 rounds. In those 5 wins her has collected a number of minor titles, including the NABF and USBA Lightweight titles, and really made a name for himself as fast rising, confident up and comer.
Whilst Lopez has been impressive in recent years Nakatani has sort of done the opposite. The tall and rangy Osakan has actually faltered in recent years after a really good start to his career. Like Lopez he created a buzz when he was young, and won the OPBF Lightweight title in January 2014, in just his 7th bout. He won that belt by beating Yoshitaka Kato, and has defended that regional title 11 times since, against a miss of challengers. Whilst some opponents have been solid, such as Ricky Sismundo, a number of them have been thoroughly disappointing, such as Tosho Makoto Aoki and Ryan Sermona.
In the ring Nakatani is a long, rangy boxer who uses his jab and movement well, though struggles when he's up against a fellow jabber, and that was shown last July, when Izuki Tomioka came close to upsetting him, in what was Tomioka's 7th professional bout. Despite his long reign as the Oriental champion there is a feeling that he's actually only the #2 in Japan, due to the very much in form Shuichiro Yoshino, the Japanese champion who has really impressed in the last few years.
The bout is now pencilled in to take place on July 19th in Maryland, and will be Nakatani's first outside of Japan and his first against a non-Asian opponent.
Over the last couple of hours we have looked at some individual award winners at today's Japanese boxing awards, held in the amazing Tokyo Dome Hotel. For those who just want to see the winners in a list here we go:
The MVP was:
Naoya Inoue (17-0, 15) [井上 尚弥]
The Skills Award was won by:
Kosei Tanaka (12-0, 7) [田中恒成]
The KO Award was won by:
Naoya Inoue (17-0, 15) [井上 尚弥]
Special Award was won by:
Masayuki Ito (25-1-1, 13) [伊藤 雅雪]
The Effort Award was won by:
Masayoshi Nakatani (18-0, 12) [中谷正義]
The Newcomer Award was won by:
Kazuto Takesako (10-0, 10) [竹迫司登]
The Best World title Fight:
Sho Kimura [木村翔] Vs Kosei Tanaka [田中恒成]
The Best Japanese Domestic fight:
Yusaku Kuga [久我勇作] Vs Shingo Wake [和氣 慎吾]
Female fighter of the year was:
Tenkai Tsunami (26-12, 15) [天海 ツナミ]
Female Fight of the Year was:
Kayoko Ebata [江畑佳代子] Vs Etsuko Tada [多田悦子]
Trainer of the Year was:
Shingo Inoue [井上真吾]
A Special Achievement Award was won by:
Shinsuke Yamanaka [山中慎介]
Special Prizes were given to:
Toshiyuki Igarashi [五十嵐 俊幸]
Naoko Shibata [柴田 直子]
Nana Yoshikawa [好川 菜々]
Ryuya Yamanaka [山中 竜也]
And Momo Koseki [小関 桃]
A social Contribution prize was given too:
Naoko Fujioka (17-2, 7) [藤岡 奈穂子]
JBC Service Achievements were won by
Akira Tabata, who has served as a timekeeper, and Hiroyuki Tokuzaki, a referee who sadly passed away in October.
Several other officials earned awards for their roles in the sport as well, as did Atsushi Sato, a producer at WOWOW.
It's also worth noting that every male fighter who held a world title at some point during the year won an Outstanding Fighter Award, this is a normal thing to recognise all champions. We won't list them all here though they obviously included Kenshiro [拳四朗] and Hiroto Kyoguchi [京口 紘人] among others.
As for amateur awards, the best male fighter was:
Daisuke Narimatsu [成松大介]
and the best female fighter was:
Tsukimi Namiki [並木月海]
(Image courtesy of Boxingnews.jp)
On January 10th the JBC, along with members of the Tokyo Boxing Press, announced the nominations for the 2018 Japanese boxing awards.
The highest award is the Best Fighter, or MVP, award. The nominations for this award are:
Naoya Inoue (17-0, 15) [井上 尚弥] - The current WBA "regular" Bantamweight champion
Kosei Tanaka (12-0, 7) [田中恒成] - The current WBO Flyweight champion
Kenshiro (15-0, 8) [拳四朗] - The current WBC Flyweight champion
and Masayuki Ito (25-1-1, 13) [伊藤 雅雪] - The current WBO Super Featherweight champion
The Skills Award again includes Kenshiro and Tanaka but also:
Tomoki Kameda (36-2, 20) [亀田和毅] - The current WBC "interim" Super Bantamweight champion
Hiroto Kyoguchi (12-0, 9) [京口 紘人] - The current WBC Light Flyweight champion
and Jorge Linares (45-4, 28)
The Special award sees Ito and Tanaka being nominated
The KO award see's Naoya Inoue being joined by:
Satoshi Shimizu (8-0, 8) [清水 聡] - The current OPBF Featherweight champion
and Kazuto Takesako (10-0, 10) [竹迫司登] - The current Japanese Middleweight champion
The Newcomer award has seen a nice number of candidates, the nominees here are, Takesako along with:
Tsubasa Koura (14-0, 9) [小浦 翼] - The current OPBF Minimumweight champion
Hiroaki Teshigawara (18-2-2, 11) [勅使河原 弘晶] - The current OPBF Super Bantamweight champion
Shuichiro Yoshino (9-0, 7) [吉野 修一郎] - The current Japanese Lightweight champion
Ryota Yada (18-4, 15) [矢田良太] - The current Japanese Welterweight champion
The "strive", which appears to be an achievement type of award, has seen the following nominations:
Masayoshi Nakatani (18-0, 12) [中谷正義] - The current OPBF Lightweight champion
Valentine Hosokawa (24-6-3, 11) [細川バレンタイン] - The current Japanese Light Welterweight champion
Masayuki Kuroda (30-7-3, 16) [黒田 雅之] - The former Japanese Flyweight champion
and Tetsuya Hisada (33-9-2, 19) [久田 哲也] - The former Japanese Light Flyweight champion
The best fight, at world level has seen 3 bouts being nominated:
Sho Kimura [木村翔] Vs Kosei Tanaka [田中恒成] - WBO Flyweight title fight
Jorge Linares Vs Vasyl Lomachneko - WBA "super" Lightweight title fight
and Naoya Inoue [井上 尚弥] Vs Juan Carlos Payano - WBA "Regular" Bantamweight title fight
The best fight that wasn't at world level has 4 nominations:
Yusaku Kuga [久我勇作] Vs Shingo Wake [和氣 慎吾] - Japanese Super Bantamweight title fight
Valentine Hosokawa [細川バレンタイン] Vs Vladimir Baez - Japanese Light Welterweight title fight
Hironori Mishiro [三代大訓] Vs Masaru Sueyoshi [末吉 大] - OPBF / JBA Super Featherweight unification bout
Hikaru Nishida [西田 光] vs Kazuto Takesako [竹迫司登] - Japanese Middleweight title fight
The female Fighter of the Year nominations are:
Tenkai Tsunami (26-12, 15) [天海 ツナミ] - The current WBO female Light Welterweight champion
Etsuko Tada (18-3-2, 5) [多田悦子] - The current WBO female Minimumweight champion
Naoko Fujioka (18-2, 7) [藤岡 奈穂子] - The current WBA female Flyweight champion
The female Fight of the Year nominations were:
Tenkai Tsunami [天海 ツナミ] Vs Chaoz Minowa [チャオズ箕輪]- WBO female Light Flyweight title fight
Nao Ikeyama [池山直] Vs Mika Iwakawa [岩川美花] - WBO Atomweight title fight
Naoko Fujioka [藤岡 奈穂子] Vs Irma Sanchez - WBA female Flyweight title fight
Kayoko Ebata [江畑佳代子] Vs Etsuko Tada [多田悦子] - WBO female Minimumweight title fight
Voting will take place in January with the winners being awarded at a ceremony on February 8th.
Unbeaten OPBF Lightweight champion Masayoshi Nakatani (18-0, 12) [中谷正義] successfully made his 11th defense of the title earlier today, as he stopped the hard hitting Hurricane Futa (25-8-1, 15) [中岸風太] and took one more step towards a potential world title fight.
The rangy champion got his jab working really early and dictated the tempo of the fight very early on. Futa, as he typically does, came forward, looking to apply pressure, but he struggled to get close to the champion.
The sharp jab of Nakatani controlled the distance well, though when Futa did come close Nakatani managed to use his uppercut brilliantly. Not only did the jab control the tempo of the bout, but it also cut Futa over both eyes, as Futa's face became target practice for the champion.
The cuts gave Nakatani areas to target, and in round 4 he worsened them, forcing the doctors to inspect the cuts, and stop the bout.
Nakatani and promoter Kazunori Ioka seemed to suggest that a world title fight would be be coming up, with Ioka suggesting a world title fight next year for his charge. Sadly we've heard that sort of thing a few times before so won't believe it until we see it, though we hope to see it rather than Nakatani continue to defend the OPBF title in bouts like this. For Futa he seemed to know he had to start fast, but the reality was that he was always up against it here, against an excellent champion.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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