After a bit of waiting we're now starting to see the end of Japanese cards being put together, and today we had a huge announcement from a press conference to confirm Fuji TV's December 30th card, which was announced as a world title triple header.
As had long been rumoured Masayuki Ito (24-1-1, 12) [伊藤 雅雪] will indeed be defending his title against mandatory challenger Evgeny Chuprakov (20-0, 10), in what will be Ito's first defense since winning the title in the US against Christopher Diaz.
It was actually Ito who revealed the press conference to some fans yesterday and increase anticipation or today's event. His bout with Chuprakov is a good first defense, but one that he should win, given how much Chuprakov struggled with Filipino foe Ernie Sanchez last time out, a man that Ito easily beat back in 2016.
Another world champion defending his title on the show will be the Kenshiro (14-0, 8) [拳四朗], as he defends the WBC Light Flyweight title against Saul Juarez (24-8-2, 13). The "Smiling Assassin" has had a great 2018 , which already includes stoppage wins over Ganigan Lopez and Milan Melindo, and this bout really pushes him towards the Japanese Fighter of the Year. It will be his 5th defense of the title and see him keeping up one of the busier scheduled in Japan. For Juarez the bout is a bit of an unexpected chance. Since losing to Wanheng Menayothin in August 2016 he hasn't really done much to deserve a world title shot, going 1-3-1 with losses to Leroy Estrada and Gilbero Pedroza, but few question his ability, and he should be a decent test in the ring for the excellent champion.
The least surprising was the announcement was that Takuma Inoue (12-0, 3) [井上 拓真] would be facing off with Thai Petch Sor Chitpattana (48-0, 33) [เพชร ซีพีเฟรชมาร์ท], a bout that had essentially been confirmed back at the WBC Convention earlier this year. It now appears that their bout will be for the WBC "interim" Bantamweight title, as the WBC continue to tidy up a real mess in the division. The mess has been caused by repeated failures to meet deadlines between Nordine Oubaali (14-0, 11) and American Rau'shee Warren (16-2-0-1, 4). There is still some speculation that the interim title may become the regular title if a deal still cannot be sorted between Oubaali and Warren.
Takuma, the younger brother of Naoya Inoue (17-0, 15) [井上 尚弥] is looking to move out of the shadows of the monster, a win here would certainly help him stand out in his own right, but he still has some way to go to over-take the "Monster".
This tripled header is expected to be shown full and live on Fuji TV, giving them a huge platform to kick off their end of year events early and promote RIZIN 14 for the following day, headlined by Tenshin Nasukawa [那須川天心] facing boxing superstar Floyd Mayweather Jr (50-0, 27).
This card will take place at the Ota City General Gymnasium and is expected to have a strong supporting card, though no bouts have yet been announced for it.
(Image courtesy of Sports Hochi)
Back in July we saw Masayuki Ito (24-1-1, 12) [伊藤 雅雪] travel to America and claim the WBO Super Featherweight title, by upsetting Christopher Diaz. Since then however we've not seen Ito back in the ring.
Today Ito invested the press into the gym and took part in a public work out, speaking to the press and looking excited about making his first defense.
It was revealed Ito will be defending his title in December, though no opponent was named.
It's worth noting that whilst no opponent was named it does sound like the bout is signed and sealed and Ito stated that there would be an announcement at the end of the month to confirm the venue, date and opponent. Rumour is that he will be involved in the end of year Fuji TV card, with Evgeny Chuprakov (20-0, 10) viewed as the most likely opponent.
The plan is to announce the bout in late October before ramping up his training and heading to the US in November to train in LA for about a month before returning to Japan in December to defend the title. It's worth noting that the trip to the US will also help Ito avoid the Japanese media, following a lot of media work following his title win. It didn't seem he minded the media work, but it would likely serve as a distraction ahead of such a significant fight.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Sources in Japan have informed us that the upcoming Champ Fight Vol 5 at the Edion Arena Osaka on October 8th will be headlined by a very good looking Welterweight bout.
The match up in question will see once beaten Japanese fighter Rikuto Adachi (10-1, 7) [安達陸仁] face off with Filipino foe Jonel Dapidran (10-2, 6) in a mouth watering clash of 20 year old hopefuls.
The Japanese fighter made his debut back in 2015, as a 17 year hold, and would win his first 8 bouts before losing a close decision in the 2017 All Japan Rookie of the Year final to Hironori Shigeta. Since that loss he has bounced back with a pair of stoppage wins over limited visiting opponents. He will be taking a big step up, but will know that a win here could see him moving in to the OPBF rankings.
Dapidran, dubbed "Pacquiao", made his debut in 2013, at the age of 15, on the under-card of a world title fight. He would win his first 7 bouts before suffering a close loss to Richard Morales in October 2016. Since then he has gone 3-1, including fighting outside of the Philippines for the first time, and will be fully aware that this is a great opportunity for him, and a win will certainly give his career a huge boost.
We can also confirm that the card will feature a guest appearance from WBO Super Featherweight champion Masayuki Ito (24-1-1, 12) [伊藤 雅雪], who is expected to announce his first defense on, or around, the date of this show.
In July Masayuki Ito (24-1-1, 12) [伊藤 雅雪] become the latest Japanese fighter to claim a world title, as he defeated the touted Christopher Diaz in the US. Since then Ito has been out of the ring, taking part in various events.
Today the champion finally returned to the gym and managed to speak to the media on his gym return.
The fighter shocked some in the boxing world with his win over Diaz, but appears to have his sights set on bigger and better things and at today's work out he told the press that he wanted to be better than Lomachenko. He made it clear that he doesn't believe he could be the Ukrainian at the moment, but has the confidence to improve to the level that he could beat "Hi Tech" down the line. It's a lofty target though few can say they even expected Ito to win a world a world, and it seems obvious that Ito likes to set hard targets for himself.
The next for Ito hasn't yet been set but comments made by his gym chairman earlier today suggests that they are expecting it to be a mandatory defense against WBO #1 contender Evgeny Chuprakov (20-0, 10). It would be a relatively disappointing match up, but could be made in December, potentially as year ending bout in Japan.
It seems like a decision on Ito's next bout will be made in the coming weeks, but to begin with will be some training for the Japanese champion. He is looking to work on his vision, training and generally preparing for a fight whilst continuing to develop and mature into a better fighter.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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