Over the last few days we've seen the Yokohama Hikari gym, and the team around Ryohei Takahashi (15-3-1, 6) [高橋竜平] race to get a Visa ahead of a January 18th clash with unbeaten IBF Super Bantamweight champion TJ Doheny (20-0, 14). Today we are glad to report that the visa has been granted, with the Ichitaro Ishii, the promoter if Takahashi, reporting that it had arrived today.
Mr Ishii broke the news in a blog post and revealed that due to the late notice there will not a glitzy announcement of the bout with suits for the media, with Takahashi leaving for the US the day after tomorrow.
In his blog Ishii also wrote about the Visa arriving, and stating that the bout was now set, and also went into some detail about how fights in the west and east are different from a behind the scenes perspective.
In Japan most bouts have a verbal agreement, with perhaps a simple paper contract to sign. For this bout there has been 10 different contracts sent, with a legal professional going through them and explaining that any verbal agreements after the contract will not be accept and the paper contract is the final decision maker.
It was also revealed that this news hasn't totally come out of the blue, as their had been contact back in December, when Takahashi was training with Masayuki Ito (25-1-1, 13) [伊藤 雅雪] in the US. It seemed like things went quite for a bit but Takahashi apparently trained as if the bout was agreed, so things like his weight and fitness shouldn't be an issue, though of course jetlag and being rushed around won't help the final stages of his preparation.
Related - Preview: Doheny Vs Takahashi
(Image courtesy of Ishii's blog)
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.
In his tweet Arum seemed to suggest that Ito's next bout would be against American challenger Jamel Herring (19-2, 10), who dropped to the Super Featherweight division in 2018 and scored a notable win over John Vincent Moralde whilst getting his career back on track.
It should be noted that this isn't a mandatory, Chuprakov was a mandatory challenger, and at the time of writing Herring isn't actually ranked by the WBO, though is expected to be in the rankings in the near future. So whether this was Arum essentially suggesting a possible opponent for Ito rather than announce his next bout is unclear. Though it is known that Ito wants to face notable names and fight again in the US, though has suggested a fight with WBC champion Miguel Berchelt (35-1, 31).
What's going to be fun is to see how Ito's 2019 develops, and how he can build on back to back impressive outings over Christopher Diaz and Chuprakov. He's a man with high confidence right now and would likely love any big bout, and working with Arum would certainly help open the door to bigger bouts than Herring, at least down the line.
On December 30th fight fans got their year ending Fuji TV show, a show that was dubbed the "Triple", yet only actually showed 2 of the 3 world title bouts that took place.
The broadcast saw a WBC "interim" Bantamweight champion being crowned, as Takuma Inoue (13-0, 3) [井上 拓真] out pointed Petch Sor Chitpattana (48-1, 33) [เพชร ซีพีเฟรชมาร์ท] and also saw WBO Super Featherweight champion Masayuki Ito (25-1-1, 13) [伊藤 雅雪] successfully defending his title against Evgeny Chuprakov (20-1, 10).
Today we saw various sources reporting the basic TV rating of the broadcast, which hit 6.3% in Kanto and 8.8% in Kansai.
To put that into raw numbers the show got around around 4,730,000.
Sadly we've not been given the information as to whether that was an average or a peak.
Given that the show didn't have a recognised star, for example Naoya Inoue [井上 尚弥], it's hard to know how Fuji will feel about those numbers. To put the numbers into some perspective Naoya Inoue's bout with Juan Carlos Payano averaged 8.4% of the Kanto region and peaked at an impressive 12.6% in the region.
Yesterday Japan went 3-0 in world title fights, with WBO Super Featherweight champion Masayuki Ito (25-1-1, 13) [伊藤 雅雪] scoring a TKO win over mandatory challenger Evgeny Chuprakov (20-1, 10) and WBC Light Flyweight champion Kenshiro (15-0, 8) [拳四朗] over-coming Saul Juarez (24-9-2, 13) in 2 of those 3 bouts.
Today Ito and Kenshiro attended a press conference to talk about their future plans.
Ito stated that he had a sense of security having now defended the title, and explained that the early stages were tricky due to Chuprakov leading with his head, but upon listening to his team those problems were solved. He seemed unhappy that he was cut by headclashes, but in fairness it was something he learned to deal with and that experience is invaluable. When talking about the future he again mentioned the name of WBC champion Miguel Berchelt (35-1, 31), who he had mentioned before the Chuprakov fight, and and that he wants to fight in big bouts, be it in Japan or overseas
Kenshiro admitted that he wanted to beatdown his man too much, and that he wasn't pleased with the result, despite scoring a near shut out win over the fairly decent Saul Juarez. He was seeing positives from it and clearly the experience of the fight wasn't a bad thing, especially given that he managed to get 12 rounds and do so without taking too much punishment. He went on to stated that he future is focused on running up a huge number of defenses, and unifying. Once again he mentioned Hiroto Kyoguchi (11-0, 8) [京口 紘人] as someone he would like to unify against, if Kyoguchi can claim the WBA Light Flyweight "Super" title from Hekkie Budler (32-3, 10) later today.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
News! We try and give you the most interesting news stories from the Asian boxing world!