Earlier today saw the announcement of the next Splendid Boxing card, set for April 14th in Kumamoto. The card is a really interesting one, and may be one of the most notable cards for Kumamoto this year.
The main event of the show will see Japanese youngster Musashi Mori (8-0, 5) [森 武蔵] making his first defense of the WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight title, as he takes on the man he beat for the belt, Richard Pumicpic (21-9-2, 6). These two fought last November, with Mori taking a split technical decision over Pumicpic to claim the title. The untimely ending seemed to please neither man, though Mori was obviously happy to have won the title, and the contest very much feels like they have unfinished business.
Whilst the main event is very attractive the under-card is also a rather interesting one, with 3 notable fighters announced for it.
One of those announced for the card is Ginjiro Shigeoka (1-0, 1) [重岡銀次朗], who is set for his first 8 round bout on the card. His opponent hasn't been announced, though he had revealed he wanted to fight a ranked foe on this show, and it's likely dependent on him getting through his February bout with no issues. The Watanabe teenage sensation is known to be chasing title fights in the near future and we wouldn't be surprised by him putting on a showcase here. This is a notable show for Shigeoka as he was actually born in Kumamoto.
Another promising fighter announced for the card is Shigeoka's stablemate Seiya Tsutsumi (4-0, 3) [堤聖也]. His opponent also hasn't been named who will be fighting for the time since October, after suffering an injury that forced him out of a December bout. Tsutsumi, injury aside, had a great 2018. He won a B Class tournament, gained international experience and created a fair bit of buzz, though that buzz has quietened down a little bit in the wake of his injury.
Also on this card Sora Takeda (4-1) [竹田宙], the 2018 Minimumweight Rookie of the Year, who will be fighting for the first time since since his Rookie of the Year win. As with Shigeoka and Tsutsumi his opponent also hasn't been announced.
Also confirmed for this card is Kanako Taniyama (1-0, 1) [谷山佳菜子] who will compete in a 2 round exhibition with Kana Fukuda (3-3-1, 1)[福田香奈].
Interestingly this card will get local TV coverage in Kumamoto, with TVU seemingly to be the channel airing it, though sadly this won't be widely available for fans outside of the local area.
Earlier today at the Aioi Hall in Kariya fight fans had the chance to see a WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight title bout, as defending champion Richard Pumicpic (21-9-2, 6) took on unbeaten Japanese challenger Musashi Mori (8-0, 5) [森 武蔵].
On paper this looked like a really interesting match up. The experienced champion had had a reputation as being a nightmare for Japanese fighters, holding Yohei Tobe to a draw, running Ryosuke Iwasa close in an OPBF title fight and scoring notable wins over Hisashi Amagasa and Yoshimitsu Kimura. Mori on the other hand was seen as one of the most promising Japanese teenagers, who had won the 2017 Super Featherweight All Japan Rookie of the Year.
Sadly though the bout failed to live up to the hopes we had all had. That's not to say it was bad, just ended in an inconclusive fashion.
Mori started really well, using his speed and aggression to keep Pumicpic from settling early. Pumicpic did try to attack behind his right hook when pressing forward, but he struggled to have major success early on due to the speed and movement of Mori. Pumicpic, knowing he was the slower man, tried to attack the body, and seemed to be willing to play the longer against the inexperienced and unproven Mori.
In round 5 Pumicpic suffered a cut from a head clash. He escaped the first inspection, but soon was stopped afterward as the doctor took a second look and waved the bout off, just shy of the half way mark of round 5. That took us to the scores cards which 47-49 to Mori, 48-47 to Pumicpic and 49-46 to Mori, who claimed the WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight title with a split technical decision.
Given the inconclusive ending, and how the bout had been competitive up to the finish, a rematch would make a lot of sense, though we suspect the two men will go in different directions, given there is a lot of talent and interesting match ups to make regionally at 126lbs. Pumipic deserves a rematch, given how he lost the title, but his career has often been one full of hard luck and unfortunate set backs. For Mori however today's win really boosts his standing in the sport and we wouldn't be surprised to see him in the WBO world rankings in the near future, helped significantly by today's regional title win.
Earlier today the brilliant Boxingraise revealed their scheduled for November, which will include 7 shows in total, one of which will be live.
The live show will be on November 10th and is a really good show headlined by Ryuichi Funai (30-7, 21) [船井 龍一] fighting in an IBF Super Flyweight world title eliminator against Mexican fighter Victor Olivo (15-2-1, 7). As well as that bout the card will also feature a strong support including Shuya Masaki (10-1, 5) [正木脩也] against Izuki Tomioka (5-1-1, 1) [富岡樹], a Japanese Youth Lightweight title bout between Shawn Oda (9-0, 8) [小田翔夢] would face off with Seiryu Toshikawa (10-4, 6) [利川聖隆] and a Japanese Youth Minimumweight title bout between Yuga Inoue (7-0-1, 1) [井上夕雅] and Kai Ishizawa (4-0, 4) [石澤開].
The tape delay cards, which are usually put up 1 to 7 days after they take place, will include the November 16th card headlined by Japanese Light Flyweight champion Tetsuya Hisada (32-9-2, 19) [久田 哲也], defending against Akihiro Toya(8-4, 1) [戸谷彰宏]. The November 20th card "Victoriva Vol 3", which is headlined by Ayaka Miyao (22-7-1, 6) [宮尾 綾香] having her third bout with Nao Ikeyama (18-4-3, 5) [森脇恵子], for the WBA "interim" Atomweight title, and the November 25th show, headlined by Richard Pumicpic (21-8-2, 6) defending the WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight against unbeaten teenager Musashi Mori (7-0, 5) [森 武蔵].
Whilst none of these shows are the jaw dropping things that the end of year cards are set to be, they are solid shows for what is a genuinely busy month in Japan!
(Image courtesy of boxingreaise.com)
Earlier today fight fans in the Aioi Hall saw local hopeful Musashi Mori (7-0, 5) [森 武蔵] being given his sternest test to date, as he got pushed all the way by Filipino foe Allan Vallespin (12-3, 9).
On paper the bout was a step up in class for the 2017 Rookie of the Year Featherweight king and that showed to be the case in the ring. Vallespin not only showed the toughness to survive Mori's power but also the skills and physiclaity to ask the Japanese teenage serious questions.
Mori looked to use his jab early on but Vallespin managed to find a home for his right hand, and quickly got Mori's respect. The power of Vallespin made Mori cautious and of standing his ground and instead of tading blows Mori bgan to show his movement. The youngster picked up the pace in the middle rounds, trying to get in and out, but Vallespin pressured well and had some very good success in round 5.
With Mori being put under pressure he was forced to bite down on his gum shield and grit his teeth, which he did in the final few rounds, with the crowd on his side. It was this late determination that saw him just doing enough to take home the win, with majority decision, courtesy of scores 77-76, twice, and 77-77.
Following the bout Mori spoke about wanting to fight for titles, though we suspect today's performance has left him perhaps a fight or two away from being ready for one.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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