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.
Tomorrow in Kyoto fight fans will be able to see a WBO Atomweight title fight, as veteran champion Nao Ikeyama (18-3-3, 5) [池山直] battles against Mika Iwakawa (7-5-1, 3) [岩川美花]. For Ikeyama this will be her 7th defense of the title whilst Iwakawa be looking to claim a world title in her second shot, and will be seeking to avenge a prior defeat to Ikeyama.
Today the two fighters took part in their weigh in for the contest, and both made weight for the bout.
On the scales On the scales the champion was well under the limit, weighing in at just 101lbs for the contest. Despite being comfortably under the limit this isn't the lightest she's been, and she was actually just 99.5lbs for her last defense, just over a year ago. Despite being a 48 year old she in great shape and not looking ready to give up the title, but she did look very small, even at the smallest weight in professional boxing.
The challenger on the other hand made weight and came in spot on the 102lb limit. At the weigh in she looked much bigger than the champion, have several inches of height advantage and a naturally thicker, wider, look to her. She's no spring chicken herself, at 35 years old, but she's more than a decade younger than the champion an showed she could hang at world level when she gave Yunoka Furukawa absolute hell in December 2016.
Related - Ikeyama and Iwakawa rematch, with world honours on the line!
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Back in May we reported that WBO Atomweight champion Nao Ikeyama (18-3-3, 5) [池山直] would be returning to the ring on July 29th to make her 7th defense of the title, taking on Mika Iwakawa (7-5-1, 3) [岩川美花]. Today that bout was officially announced, with the team of the champion confirming the contest.
The bour will be the second meeting between the two, with Ikeyama having narrowly beaten Iwakawa back in December 2013, in a 6 round bout. Since then Ikeyama has gone has gone 5-0-2, claiming and defending the WBO Atomweight title 6 times and become the oldest reiging world champion, at the age of 48. The champion is looking to continue her title reign beyond her 49th birthday, in September, and could well become the oldest world champion in the history of the sport.
As for Iwakawa she has gone 4-2, with a very notable yet competitive loss to Yunoka Furukawa in a bout for the WBA Atomweight title in December 2016. She has only fought once since that loss, beating a very limited Thai foe in 4 rounds last October.
This bout will headline one of 5 shows in Japan on July 29th, and will take place in Kyoto at the KBS Hall
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
According to sources in Japan fight fans in Kyoto will be able to see WBO Atomweight champion Nao Ikeyama (18-3-3, 5) [池山直] return to the ring on July 29th to make her 7th defense of the title. In the opposite corner to the champion will be former foe Mika Iwakawa (7-5-1, 3) [岩川美花] who will be getting her second world title fight.
The 48 year old champion, the current oldest champion in the sport, has held the title since May 2014, when she defeated Jessebelle Pagaduan in the inaugural title fight. Since then she has distinguished herself as one of the division's leading fighters with defenses against Masae Akitaya, Ayaka Miyao and Saemi Hanagata. Although a veteran she fights like a much younger fighter and is amazingly unbeaten since a 2010 loss to Ji Hyun Park, following which she has gone 7-0-2. That 9 fight unbeaten run has seen Ikeyama take a narrow decision win over Iwakawa, in 2013.
As for the challenger she challenged WBA Atomweight champion Yunoka Furukawa in December 2016, and lost a mjaority decision to the defending champion. Although the loss to Furukawa is her most notable result she did win the OPBF female Light Flyweight title in August 2016 and scored a draw against Kumiko Seeser Ikehara, who went on to claim a world title of her own. Aged 34 the challenger is no spring chicken herself but she will be encouraged by her narrow loss to Ikeyama in theri first bout, back in December 2013.
At the moment no other details of this card have been revealed, though we'd expect at least one other bout of note on the show.
Earlier this month we reported that Etsuko Tada (15-2-2, 4) [多田 悦子] ,who we now know will return to the ring later this month to face off with Chinese fighter Cai Zong Ju (8-1, 1) [蔡宗菊] in Macau. Today, ahead of that bout, Tada took part in a public work out showing how prepared she is for that bout, and also showed her desire to retain her IBF female Minimumweight title.
The talented Japanese fighter stated she he sparred around 120 rounds for the bout and sounded calm as she broke down Cai's strengths and weaknesses, it seemed clear that she has been scouting the Chinese fighter and sounded incredibly confident.
The work out saw Tada take part in a 6 round spar with OPBF champion Mika Iwakawa (6-5-1, 2) [岩川 美花] and it seems that level of sparring will help bring the best out of Tada, who will know that she's going to be up against not just her Chinese foe but also also the crowd, who will be cheering on Cai when they get in the ring.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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