Earlier today fight fans at Korakuen Hall had the chance to see fast rising Flyweight hopeful Junto Nakatani (16-0, 12) [中谷 潤人] continue his impressive unbeaten run, as he dismantled Filipino foe Dexter Alimento (13-4, 9) in 3 rounds.
At the weigh in yesterday the two men looked like they belonged in different divisions, and that looked to be the case again today. Nakatani looked bigger, stronger, more powerful and naturally a better fighter. He managed to show his power in round 2, landing a brutal body shot that left Alimento in clear agony. To his credit Alimento refused to just give in, but it was clear he was out matched.
In round 3 Nakatani landed a brutal straight left hand that dropped Alimento, who took the 10 count to give Nakatani his 12th stoppage win and move him a step closer to a big fight.
After the win Nakatani stated that he would like to fight for the Japanese title, and is expected to compete in a title eliminator later this year. However that depends on the result of the July 23rd bout between Japanese Flyweight champion Masayuki Kuroda (29-7-3, 16) [黒田 雅之] and Akinori Hoshino (13-7-2, 9) [星野晃規], with Nakatani and Hoshino both fighting out of the same gym and the two wouldn't be able to face off, if Hoshino was to come out omn top against Kuroda.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Back in April fight fans in Osaka saw Japanese Light Flyweight champion Tetsuya Hisada (31-9-2, 19) [久田 哲也] record his third defense, and over-come mandatory challenger Koji Itagaki [板垣幸司] as he continued to move towards a world title fight. The 33 year old Hisada suffered a pretty nasty looking facial injury in that bout, but his recovery appears to have been a success and today his team confirmed that he would be returning to the ring on July 16th to make his next defense of the title.
The world ranked Hisada will be not only risking his Japanese title but also world rankings with all 4 world title bodies on his July return, but will feel confident of over-coming his challenger, 27 year old Koki Ono (12-4, 5) [小野晃輝].
Hisada, who has won his last 10 bouts including wins over Kenichi Horikawa and Atsushi Kakutani, will be feeling full of confidence here, but will know that he has everything to lose. That include a WBA #1 world ranking, along with 3 other top 10 positions and an almost assured world title fight. Given his urrent run of form a loss won't be on his mind, but suffering another injury, like he had against Itagaki, would likely push any potential world title fight back to 2019 at the earliest.
Ono on the other hand actually lost to Itagaki last time out, in a Japanese title challenger bout, with that loss ending a 5 fight winning run. Although a talented domestic level fighter we don't expect him to be too much of a challenge for someone of Hisada's ability.
Also in Japanese title news it's been confirmed that Japanese Flyweight champion Masayuki Kuroda (29-7-3, 16) [黒田 雅之] will be defending his title against Akinori Hoshino (13-7-2, 9) [星野晃規] on July 23rd in what will be Kuroda's third defense of the title and Hoshino's first title bout.
Back in March Japanese fight fans had the chance to see national Flyweight champion Masayuki Kuroda (29-7-3, 16) [黒田 雅之] over-come mandatory challenger Katsunori Nagamine (14-2-1, 10) [長嶺克則] in an absolute war. Given the damage the champion suffered in that bout there is little wonder he's taken a few weeks away from the ring.
Over the last few hours we were informed that Kuroda is now preparing for his next defense, which is set to take place on July 23rd at the Korakuen Hall on "Hopeful Fight Vol 28" card, which will be promoted by the Nitta Gym, who manage Kuroda.
The former world title challenger has made 2 defenses since unifying the "interim" title with the proper title back in June 2017, when he defeated Takuya Kogawa with a clear 10 round decision. He will be looking to record his third and take one more step towards a second world title fight, following a loss to Juan Carlos Reveco back in 2013.
At the time of writing no opponent has been decided on for Kuroda, but given the depth in the division at the Japanese domestic level there are some really interesting bouts that could be made. For example a show down with either Junto Nakatani (15-0, 11) [中谷 潤人] or Ryota Yamauchi (3-0, 3) [山内涼太], both of whom will be looking for a title fight before the end of 2018.
We expect to hear an opponent being announced in the coming weeks, but hopefully it will be a top opponent for Kuroda, who can't waste time fighting the weaker domestic contenders any more. He has world rankings, and we under-stand him wanting to protect those rankings, but facing a weak challenger here will not help him prepare for a world title fight.
Earlier today fight fans in Kanagawa got an absolute treat of a Japanese Flyweight title fight, as Masayuki Kuroda (29-7-3, 16) [黒田 雅之] went to war against mandatory challenger Katsunori Nagamine (14-2-1, 10) [長嶺克則], and narrowly retained his title.
The defending champion fought well behind a busy left jab early on, but Nagamine refused to back off, and continually brought the pressure, despite his right eye becoming swollen and reddening quite badly early in the bout. The pressure of Nagamine had an effect on Kuroda, though the champion had done enough to impress the judges in the early stages, leading 48-47 on two of the 3 cards when they were announced after the 5th round, with the other judge having the bout level at 48-48.
In round 6 it was Nagamine's turn to really up the ante, and he cut the distance and workd the body well, Kuroda tried to respond but it was a round to Nagamine who surged over the following few rounds, despite his eye swelling badly, and forcing a doctor's inspection in round 8. Almost immediately after the restart from the inspection Nagamine had a big break through, dropping Kuroda with a left hook.
Kuroda showed his championship level expeience in round 9 as he upped the pace and took advantage of Nagamine never going beyond 8 rounds. The change in tempo from Kuroda was impressive and something he managed to keep going with in round 10, despite a firce fight back from Nagamine. In the end those two rounds essentially decided the result with the judges scoring the contest 96-93, 96-94 and 95-94 all in favour of Kuroda, who moves a step closer to a world title fight.
Fans in attendance have suggested it's the top contender, so far, for the Japanese fight of the year and really was a special fight, as fans would have expected given the styles of the two men involved. For Nagamine the loss is a set back, but the performance will keep doors open for him going forward. For Kuroda a world title fight looms, and he could be just a few months from a shot at one of the champions.
(Image courtesy of Nikkan Sports)
Tomorrow fight fans in Kanagawa will get the chance to see two Japanese title fights as part of the 2018 Champion Carnival.
One of those is a Japanese Flyweight title bout which will pit defending champion Masayuki Kuroda (28-7-3, 16) [黒田 雅之] against his mandatory challenger Katsunori Nagamine (14-1-1, 10) [長嶺克則.
Today the two fighters weighed in for their contest, and both fighters managed to makethe 112lb Flyweight limit on their first attempt. Both fighters looked in good shape and confident and despite showing mutual respect it seems clear that both are coming into their bout with the intention of making a statement.
For Kuroda the bout seems to be viewed as the next step towards a world title fight, and he' looking to get a shot later in the year, in what would be his second world title fight. For Nagamine the focus is on beating a strong fighter like Kuroda, with the title looking like a secondary though to the challenger, who has been chasing a title fight for quite before finally getting one here.
Nagamine takes on Kuroda for domestic crown!
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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