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)
Last year we saw Atomweight great Momo Koseki (24-2-1, 9) [小関 桃] claim the WBC female Minimumweight title, over-coming Yuko Kuroki [黒木 優子] with a decision win to become a 2-weight champion.
Today it was revealed that Koseki had vacated that title, and the WBC Atomweight title, and was retiring from active boxing at the age of 34, gollowing an exceptional career.
Although relatively unknown outside of the hardcore of the hardcore Koseki was the torchbearer for the Atomweight division. She won the WBC title way back in August 2008 and went on to make an incredible 17 defenses, unifying the WBA title along the way with a win over Ayaka Miyao in 2015.
Although Koseki suffered a couple of early career defeats, losing 2 of her first 5 bouts, she went on to have an excellent career and score notable wins over Kuroki, Miyao, Nao Ikeyama and Saemi Hanagata and claim 3 world titles during her 27 fight career. She achieved the goals of becoming a unified champion and a multi-weight champion and clearly retires on her terms.
Today she stated that the bout with Kuroki was to be her last, that she had achieved her goals, and that she was now planning to begin vocational education in April to become a Physiotherapist.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Tomorrow we'll see Atomweight great Momo Koseki (23-2-1, 9) [小関 桃] challenge WBC female Minimumweight champion Yuko Kuroki (17-4-1, 8) [黒木 優子] in a genuinely significant fight between two world champions both looking to add another big win to their records, and prove their abilities.
Today the two fighters took part in their way in, and managed to pass.
On the scales Kuroki was the heavier fighter, weighing in at 107.75lbs in what was a wonderfully seasonal outfit showing that she's well and truly in the Christmas spirit. The fighter seemed incredibly relaxed and like a woman happy to get such a big fight, and such an opportunity to shine. She does have every reason to be so happy given the way her career has turned around, and the great she's currently on, with this being her 6th defense. Despite looking like she was having fun it's clear that she is fully aware of what Koseki brings to the ring, and knows she will have to rely on her skills to win here.
A much more serious Koseki was way under the limit, coming in at around 103.6lbs. The seriousness of Koseki showed not only on her face but also in general demeanour and it was clear she had been scouting Kuroki for this bout, noting tge champion's good left hand. She also stated she would be fighting aggressively and it seems likely she will be trying to handcuff Kuroki with his offense and tyr to break down the champion.
Related - Kuroki and Koseki klash for WBC honours! (Preview)
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
We've known that Atomweight great Momo Koseki (23-2-1, 9) [小関 桃] would be moving up in weight to take on WBC female Minimumweight champion Yuko Kuroki (17-4-1, 8) [黒木 優子] since mid-September, with the bout set for December 17th. It wasn't been big news, but itwas interesting news, with Koseki holding the Japanese record for most world title defenses and finally looking to become a 2-weight champion.
Yesterday the press saw Kuroki holding a press conference to talk about the bout, which will act as her 6th defense of the title, and see her fght to become recognised as one of the very top Japanese female fighters.
At the press conference Kuroki spoke highly of the challenger, stating that Koseki was a good fighter but showed her extreme confidence as she suggested she wasn't just going to win, but was ideally looking for a 4th round KO win! If, and if is a big word, she can get that it really would announce her as a top fighter, especially given how rough and tough Koseki is and the fact that the experience Koseki has rarely looked hurt during her long career.
It was also revealed that if Koseki wins she would begin to hunt a world title unification bout next year. Interestingly Koseki has unified the WBA and WBC Atomweight titles in the past, and although she had to vacate the WBA crown it was clear by then that she was the clear #1 in the division.
Whilst we're on the subject of the match we do have to share the rather peculiar poster, which looks less like a boxing poster and more like a wedding picture of a movie poster. It's a bizarre one that hasn't really grown on us since first seeing it. We can't blame the promoter for trying to sell on Kuroki's attractive looks, but the outfit of the champion is just very odd for a boxing poster.
Japanese fighter Momo Koseki (23-2-1, 9) [小関 桃] may not be a well known name in the world of professional boxing but her 17 title defenses of the WBC Atomweight title is a Japanese record for most defenses of a world title. Sadly for Koseki she holds wins over pretty much every notable fighter at 102lbs, and is at the point where what's left of the competition isn't particularly exciting. As a result she's having to look elsewhere for bouts, and today it was announced that her next bout would be up at 105lbs as she takes on WBC female Minimumweight champion Yuko Kuroki (17-4-1, 8) [黒木 優子], who has struggled to secure the unification bout that she was hunting.
Koseki has been the Queen of the Atomweight division since winning the WBC crown back in 2008 and has made a very impressive 17 defenses, including wins over current WBO champion Ikeyama, top contender Saemi Hanagata and thtthen WBA chamion Ayaka Miyao. In total she has racked up a very impressive 17 defenses, but her competition has been criticised due to the limited talent at 102lbs. By moving up she is looking for a real challenge, and should find one in Kuroki.
As for the defending champion she is she is hunting her 6th defenses of the title that she won in late 2014. Her record might not suggest anything special but she's won her last 8 and is on a great role with wins over Mari Ando, Katia Gutierrez, Masae Akitaya and Nancy Franco. If she could add a win over Koseki she would massively enhance her record and reputation.
The bout is set to take place at the Korakuen Hall, but it's unfortunately not taking place until December 17th, giving both women a lot of time to prepare for what is likely to be a really exciting contest.
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