Earlier today the Nitta Gym held a press conference to announce the details of the IBF mandatory Flyweight title title bout between South African world champion Moruti Mthalane (37-2, 25) and mandatory challenger Masayuki Kuroda (30-7-3, 16) [黒田 雅之].
The bout, was confirmed more than a week ago, but details weren't revealed until today's press conference.
Today's announcement confirmed that the bout would be taking place on May 13th at the Korakuen Hall, for what will be Kuroda's second shot at a world title, after having fought Juan Carlos Reveco for the WBA title years ago.
The press conference was a large one, including not only the fighter and his team but also people from the IBF and Hitoshi Watanabe, who is not only the chairmen of the Watanabe Gym but also a key play in Japanese boxing due to his roles within the Japanese set up.
A big part of the conference was around the hope that Kuroda could, or would if he wins, become the first world champion from a gym based in Kawasaki.
Speaking about the champion Kuroda stated "It is a good athlete who sticks solidly, carefully pouncing on the left, good balance of the body" [Translated] and explained that he was mentally weak when he fought Revecco, suggesting that he has improved mentally since that defeat.
One thing that wasn't mentioned was the broadcaster, or lack of, so hopefully that will be announced shortly.
(Image taken by Kenta Yokoyama / Nikkan Sports)
Earlier today Nitta Gym had 3 people at a E-Tax event to talk about paying. Interestingly 2 of those 3 people were boxers, one of whom was IBF mandatory Flyweight title challenger Masayuki Kuroda (30-7-3, 16) [黒田 雅之].
Although not explicitly there to revealed anything the fighter did reveal that a deal was now done for him to face IBF world champion Moruti Mthalane (37-2, 25). Though details of that bout were mostly kept under wraps.
One of the few things that was confirmed about the contest was that is was signed for early late April or Early May, fitting into the idea of taking place during the Golden Week. Sadly there were no other details confirmed, leaving us none the wiser on where it would be taking place or on what channel.
Given that the Golden Week is a hugely popular time for boxing, it does seem likely the bout will be in Japan and on a televised card, though anything more than that is pure guess work at the moment.
(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.
We've known for a while that Masayuki Kuroda (30-7-3, 16) [黒田 雅之] would be next in line for an IBF Flyweight title fight, and now we've began to see some action to set that fight up.
Earlier this week the IBF ordered Kuroda's team, from the Nitta in Kawasaki, to begin negotiations with IBF world champion Moruti Mthalane (37-2, 25), who recently retained the title with a stoppage win over Masahiro Sakamoto (13-2, 9) [坂本真宏] in Macau.
The teams have until February 6th to come to an agreement or purse bids will be called.
Kuroda is a 2-weight Japanese national champion who lost in his only prior world title bout, being out pointed by Juan Carlos Revecco. Mthalane on the other hand is having his second reign as a world champion and despite being in his mid 30's is still regarded as not only one of the top Flyweights on the planet but also one of the sharpest and most skilled fighters in the lower weights.
(Image Nitta Gym)
On December 30th we'll see WBC Light Flyweight champion Kenshiro (14-0, 8) [拳四朗] defending his title against Mexican challenger Saul Juarez (24-8-2, 13), in what will be the Japanese fighter's 5th defense of the title.
Today, ahead of that bout, Kenshiro took part in a public work.
He stated that he was relaxed and in perfect physical condition. His father seemed to back that up, and explained that by staying more active, and having less time between fights it's easier to stay on weight, and they wanted to fight as many as 4 times a year so as to spend less time getting weight down. That seemed to be echoed by the fighter who said that whilst he's young he wanted to be fighting more and more.
The game plan is to control the distance, use the jab and foot work and score a KO in the second half of the bout, to record a 4th straight stoppage win in world title defenses.
After talking to the media Kenshiro got to the work out section of the event which included 2 rounds of sparring with Masayuki Kuroda (30-7-3, 16) [黒田 雅之]. The first round was competitive though in round 2 Kenshiro was told to step things up and showed that he was on a different level to the veteran, with his sharp punching, movement and variation.
Sadly it was also revealed that the Kenshiro Vs Juarez bout will not be shown live on Fuji TV, and will likely be left to a tape delay broadcast, in what was rather disappointing news.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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