Earlier this week we reported that Tsubasa Murachi (4-0, 3) [村地翼] would be battling against Froilan Saludar (30-3-1, 21) on September 21st in a bout for the WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight title. We were really excited about that bout, and since then we've seen the card really really develop and it's now been revealed that that bout will be one of two title bouts on the card, with the other being confirmed today.
That other title bout will see Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Yusaku Kuga (18-3-1, 11) [久我勇作] defending his title against Yosuke Fujihara (18-6, 5) [藤原陽介], in what will be Kuga's first defense since reclaiming the title in May with a thrilling win over Ryoichi Tamura (12-4-1, 6) [田村 亮一].
The hard hitting Kuga made 2 defenses in his first reign, before losing the belt last year to Shingo Wake. He regained the belt with the win over Tamura, but the bout took a lot out of both men, and it's hard to complain about him having an easier defense here, to begin his second reign. Fujihara, who won the Super Flyweight Rookie of the Year way back in 2008, will be getting his second title shot, following a 2016 loss to Yasutaka Ishimoto. Sadly he has done little to deserve a second shot, going 2-2 since losing Ishimoto, though should prove to be the perfect foil for the hard hitting Kuga to shine against.
The Kuga Vs Fujihara bout was the third notable bout to be announced for card, after the Murachi Vs Saludar bout and the brilliant Japanese Minimumweight title eliminator between Kai Ishizawa (6-0, 6) [石澤開] and former world title challenger Masataka Taniguchi (11-3, 7) [谷口 将隆]. We can now confirm the card will have 1 more notable bout, with unbeaten Afghan-Japanese Welterweight Kudura Kaneko (10-0, 7) [クドゥラ金子] taking on Moon Hyon Yun (18-7-3, 4) [尹文鉉] in a mouth watering 8 round clash between Japanese ranked Welterweights.
The card is expected to be featured on Boxing Raise and at the moment it really does look like a sensational card for subscribers to the Dangan streaming and video on demand service.
There are certain names we love to see fight, as we are assured of a fun contest. One such fighter is Moon Hyon Yun (18-7-3, 4) [尹文鉉] who took on Ryota Toyoshima (10-2-1, 7) [豊嶋亮太] at the Korakuen Hall earlier today and we got a real fun fight, with a potential Japanese round of the year.
The opening round had moments of excitement in the first minute but it was really the final 50 seconds or saw that the pace heated up and the two men began to brawl giving the crowd something special to get excited about. The second was again one that saw the two men fight it spots, but those spots were intense, with Toyoshima getting notable success with body shots, and when he pinned Yun on to the ropes and unloaded. Yun would however come back towards the end of the round and fought hard as the two men went head to head.
Yun tried to change his tactics in round 3, pressing the fight more. Toyoshima's crisp movement kept him out of harms way for the most part, though he was caught by a huge right hand. When he did stand his ground however Toyoshima landed the more impressive shots, including a brilliant combination late in the round. There was more pressure from Yun in round 4, as Toyoshima looked to slow slightly, but the younger man did find space to land some very eye catching blows and likely took the round. By then however it was clear that Yun was beginning to draw Toyoshima into his fight.
Toyoshima seemed to realise that Yun was building some momentum, even if he wasn't winning the rounds. In round 5 he looked to kill that moment, and began to back up Yun, before turning up the heat late and giving the tough Yun a pounding on the ropes. It was as if Toyoshima wanted to make an impression late in the round and take control as we entered round 6. Toyoshima continued to control the action for much of round 6 with his footwork, but did get dragged into a war late in the round as Yun showed he wasn't done yet and put on a great finish to the round as he looked to get things to swing back in his direction.
In round 7 we saw Toyoshima begin the bout on the move before choosing to trade with with Yun in the final moments, and he got the better of it, shaking Yun at one point. The trading to end round 7 continued in round 8 as the two spent close to the whole 3 minutes waling on each other, forehead to forehead in what was 3 minutes of pure, raw, violence. It wasn't what Toyoshima needed, with the Teiken man looking like he had the fight in the bag, but it was what he wanted whilst looking for a stoppage. Moon saw out the round, but the 34 year old tough guy took some serious punishment. It was the type of round that left fans with on the edge of their seats and was worthy of a rewatch time and time again.
We'll admit we were surprised by the score-cards which all favoured Toyoshima but two were closer than expected at 76-77 and 78-75, whilst the third judge had the bout much wider at 79-73. We had it 79-73, a clear win for Toyoshima.
Earlier today Japanese fight fans at the Korakuen Hall saw a number of Japanese title eliminator bouts, with the winners being set for title bouts in 2018.
The first of those bouts took place at Flyweight and saw Katsunori Nagamine (14-1-1, 10) [長嶺克則] battle with Akinori Hoshino (13-7-2, 9) [星野晃規] in what was a really interesting match up on paper, especially given Hoshino's recent wins. Sadly whilst it looked good on paper the bout really never caught fire and was a frustrating affair overall, resulting in a split decision draw that really left everyone feeling under-whelmed. The score-cards at the end of the bout were 78-75, 75-77 and 76-76, giving Nagamine the mandatory status on the "dominant point" rule and he will meet Masayuki Kuroda or Mako Matsuyama next year.
The second eliminator was at Bantamweight and saw the under-rated Yusuke Suzuki (9-3, 6) [鈴木悠介] score a 7th round stoppage win over the experienced Eita Kikuchi (21-5-4, 8) [菊地永太]. Kikuchi was dropped 4 times by Suzuki who proved to be too strong, too powerful and too good for the veteran, who was finally saved in round 7. The win sets Suuki up for a shot at Ryo Akaho in 2018, and it's to not get very excited about that potential war, which will take place early next year.
At Featherweight we got a thriller as Dai Iwai (21-5-1, 7) [岩井大] went up against the heavy handed Taiki Minamoto (14-5, 11) [源大輝]. The bout pitted the top two contenders at 126lb against each other and fans really got a treat. The fight started well with Minamoto generally having the better off it, befoe busting Iwai open. With bloody oozing from Iwai's face it was clear he had toup the pace and this resulted in a really exciting contest. Sadly for Iwai he lacked the power to hurt Miniamoto and instead it was the Minamoto who controlled the bout the bout to take a decision, with scores of 77-76, 77-75 and 78-75 and move his way to a title fight.
The final eliminator to take place today was a Welterweight contest which saw Moon Hyun Yun (18-5-3, 3) [尹文鉉] battle against the heavy handed Ryota Yada (14-4, 11) [矢田良太]. Yada started well, and seemed to hurt Yun in round 2, before Yun upped the anti and took the fight to Yada, squeezing him for space. This resulted in an all-action contest that really was thrilling through the contest. Sadly for Yun however his aggression and work-rate wasn't to be enough to impress the judges, with Yada winnign 77-75, twice, and the third card was 76-76.
(Images courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Yesterday Japanese fight fans in Hirakata City saw the heavy handed Ryota Yada (14-4, 12) [矢田良太] in action, as he ticked over ahead of a major bout in October.
The heavy handed Yada, who was actually born in Hitakata, was facing off with a Thai visitor and made light work of his foe, stopping him in 2 rounds.
Yada's power was evident from the off, and he dropped his man before the end of the opening round, showing just how much of a threat his shots had. To the Thai's credit he did get back up, and saw out the round, but it was clear that he wasn't going to be able to match the "Terminator of Naniwa" in the power or skills departments.
The second round was thoroughly one-sided for as long as it lasted, with the Thai being dropped multiple times before taking the 10 count at 1:39 of the round.
The bout was never expected to be competitive, and it's no surprise that Yada scored such a quick win, but it's aim was partly to keep him ticking over ahead of his October 21st bout with the exciting Moon Hyun Yun (18-4-3, 3) [尹文鉉], in what will be a Japanese title eliminator, and will see the winner becoming the mandatory challenger for the title in 2018. That bout will be much tougher for Yada than this one was, but ticking over and staying busy with this win will certainly have done him no harm, especially given how straight forward the win was.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today the JBC announced their replacement of the "Strongest Korakuen" and in all honesty we really like their decision, even if we were fans of the Strongest Korakuen.
For those unaware, the Strongest Korakuen, was a short tournament to decide the mandatory challenger for the Japanese titles the following year, at the Champion Carnival. At one point the tournament was pretty significant, with fighters genuinely vying for a place, but in recent years fighters have been less eager and what was once a tournament format has since dropped to being a straight final between two highly ranked JBC contenders in only a few divisions. A far cry from what the Strongest Korakuen once was.
The solution from the JBC was to have a "Japanese Champion Challenger Decision Battle", not a catchy name we'll admit, between two contenders to decide the mandatory challengers across a number of weight classes. And unlike the past these bouts aren't cramped on a single show but instead allowed to take place over a number of cards and dates. This has allowed the fighters more flexibility, and arguably set up a more interesting end to 2017 for Japanese fight fans, who have a number of big domestic clashes to look forward to on the national stage.
The first of the bouts will take place on August 20th and will come at Minimumweight as WBO world ranked fighter Ryoki Hirai (9-4-1, 4) [平井亮輝] take on Kenta Matsui (8-6, 1) [松井謙太]. On paper this doesn't look an amazing bout but the reality is that it's well matched on paper and give both men a rea reason to fight hard and go for the win, and could potentially see Hirai continue his remarkable career turn around which has seen him rebuild from a 3-3-1 (1) record to a potential title fight.
The second bout will take place on October 8th and will be the Light Flyweight bout, which will pit Koki Ono (12-3, 5) [小野晃輝] against veteran Koji Itagaki (17-11-3, 7) [板垣幸司] in what looks like another of those under-rated match ups that has made the Japanese scene as interesting as it is. On paper Ono will be strongly favoured, however Itagaki ios no joke and his record really doesn't tell the story of his good he is,
Interestingly we'll have 5 of the bouts take place on October 21st.
One of those will be at Flyweight as the always fun to watch Katsunori Nagamine (14-1, 10) [長嶺克則] takes on Akinori Hoshino (13-7-1, 9) [星野晃規]. Whilst this looks likely to be another predictable win, for Nagamine, it's hard to argue with him getting a title shot after the run he's been on since losing to Ken Shiro. Another bout on the same day Eita Kikuchi (21-4-4, 8) [菊地永太] will face off with Yusuke Suzuki (8-3, 5) [鈴木悠介] in a really good looking Bantamweight bout, which pits a veteran against a relative novice in what could be a real thriller.
On the same day we'll also get Featherweight bout which will pit Dai Iwai (21-4-1, 7) [岩井大] against Taiki Minimoto (13-5, 11) [源大輝], in a bout where we see former title challengers face off. We also get the Lightweight bout, which will pit fast rising prospect Shuichiro Yoshino (4-0, 2) [吉野修一郎] against Spicy Matsushita (17-9-1, 2) [スパイシー松下] in a another bout that pits a veteran against a novice, though it's fair to say the novice will be very strongly favoured here. The other bout taking place the same day is a Welterweight bout which will see former title challenger Moon Hyun Yun (18-4-3, 3) [尹文鉉] take on the heavy handed Ryota Yada (13-4, 11) [矢田良太] in a potentially explosive bout.
On November 4th we'll again get a number of bouts. One of those is a juicy looking Super Bantamweight bout between Yuta Nakagawa (21-4-1, 12) [中川勇太] and Yasutaka Ishimoto (30-9, 9) [石本康隆], in what could well be the pick of the bouts given the styles of the two men. Another bout on the same day will see Masaru Sueyoshi (15-1, 10) [末吉大] take on Ribo Takahata (13-7-1, 5) [高畑里望] in a Super Featherweight bout, with Sueyoshi looking ready to move on to title level. A third bout on the same day, and another real cracker on paper, will see Shoma Fukumoto (11-1, 9) [福本祥馬] trade blows with Kazuto Takesako (6-0, 6) [竹迫司登] for the chance to fight for a Middleweight title next year, and we suspect that one will be very explosive.
The Super Flyweight bout will take place on November 11th as Ohashi gym fighter Go Onaga (27-3-3, 18) [翁長吾央] battles against 4-time world title challenger Hiroyuki Hisataka (25-16-1, 11) [久高寛之] in what will almost certainly be a gruelling battle between two veterans of the ring.
At some point in November, though yet to be confirmed, we'll see the Welterweight bout between Nobuyuki Shindo (18-4-1, 7) [新藤寛之] and Cobra Suwa (19-12-2, 11) [コブラ諏訪], in what is a real must for both, who are both struggling at the moment and cannot afford another loss.
The final bout, scheduled for December 8th, will be at 140lbs and see Dominican born Japanese based Vladimir Baez (22-3-21, 20), aka "Destino Japan, take on Kazuyasu Okamoto (14-4, 4) [岡本和泰] in what should be another explsoive match up.
The winners of all the bouts will earn themselves a shot at their respective divisional champion in 2018, meaning the bouts really do matter, not just to the men involved, but also to the Japanese champions and the top domestic contenders.
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