Earlier this week WOWOW announced some of their scheduled for May and they already have two interesting international cards, featuring Japanese fighters, booked.
The first of those is the WBSS Semi final bout, which pits WBA "Regular" Bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue (17-0, 15) [井上 尚弥] against IBF champion Emmanuel Rodriguez (19-0, 12). The channel will be airing this live, from 4:30am local time on Sunday May 19th.
A week later they will be showing Masayuki Ito (25-1-1, 13) [伊藤 雅雪] defending his WBO Super Featherweight title. At the moment his opponent hasn't been announced, neither has the venue, though WOWOW do say his bout will be an "overseas" match. His opponents have been rumoured to be Jamel Herring (19-2, 10), who the WBO have previously said no to, and Jonathan Oquendo (30-5, 19), among others.
There rumours at the moment are that they will also be the channel airing IBF Light Flyweight title fight between hard hitting champion Felix Alvarado (34-2, 30) and Japanese challenger Reiya Konishi's (17-1, 7) [小西伶弥], though that hasn't yet been announced by the channel. That would, if the stories are all correct, also take place on May 19th, though at a more regular time in Japan.
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)
The Japanese Boxing Awards took place earlier today and one of the big prizes was the Special Prize, which is somewhat of a special achievement award.
Today the award was won by Masayuki Ito (25-1-1, 13) [伊藤 雅雪], the current WBO Super Featherweight champion, who won the title in the US. Ito's win on US soil was the first time a Japanese fighter had won a world title on American soil for close to 40 years. He then added to that with a defenses at the end of the year against his mandatory challenger, Evgeny Chuprakov.
At the event Ito stated "I am delighted to have a wonderful award.It was a year of a change in my life last year.I would like to challenge how far I can go this year because I have made a convincing start line and I will do my best to win MVP next year." (Translated) It seems that winning the Special Prize has seen him now begin to eye up the more prestigious MVP Award, which was won by Naoya Inoue (17-0, 15) [井上 尚弥].
His next bout is being planned for May, with Jamel Herring (19-2, 10) said to be the preferred choice of Bob Arum.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
In the past we have seen unranked fighters random pop into the rankings when a bout has been mooted and there is a chance the WBO will do that here, though Valcárcel's comments suggest they haven't got that intention. If they don't it will force plans from Top Rank to change.
Although plans changing wouldn't be a surprise it could actually make the bout a bigger one down the line, with Ito's profile potentially growing in the US with a win over a different opponent Stateside in May and with Herring appearing on the same card against a ranked opponent. This could lead to Ito maybe defending his title against Jason Sosa (22-3-4, 15), who is ranked #6 by the WBO, or Jonathan Oquendo (30-5, 19), who is ranked #5 by the WBO.
Interesting the current WBO rankings also feature two of Ito's fellow Japanese fighters, Masaru Sueyoshi (18-1-1, 11) [末吉 大], #4 and, Masao Nakamura (25-3, 24) [仲村正男], #14. Ito holds wins over both of these men, who may well be looking for revenge at some point in 2019.
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)
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