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.
Tomorrow Japanese fight fans at the Korakuen Hall will get the chance to see WBO Atomweight champion Nao Ikeyama (18-3-2, 5) [池山直] defending her title against hungry challenger Saemi Hanagata (13-6-2, 7) [花形 冴美], in what will be the second bout between these two women.
Today the two fighters took part in their weigh in, and both made the 102lb limit with real ease.
The lighter of the two was the champion who came in well under the limit at 99.5lbs and was fully clothed at the time showing just how light she was. Although coming in at one of the lowest weights of her career Ikeyama will also come into the bout as a turly confident fighter, having already recorded 5 defenses of the title since winning it more than 3 years ago.
As for Hanagata she was around 101.6lbs for the bout, and looked in great shape, as she looks to finally claim a world title, in what will be her fourth world title fight.
At the weigh in both seemed confident with Ikeyama stating her stamina in the later rounds will be the difference whilst Hanagata showed real determination to claim a world title, after set backs to Ikeyama, Momo Koseki and Kayoko Ebata.
Ikeyama and Hanagata go again for WBO honours!
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Although it's not rare for Dangan shows to have title bouts, in fact several recent ones have had two title bouts, it is rare for the shows to be title triple headers .Now however we know that Dangan 187, set for July 11th at the Korakuen Hall, will indeed be a title triple header.
The first of the title bouts was announced at the end of May and is a WBO female Atomweight world title as Nao Ikeyama (18-3-1, 5) [池山直] takes on exciting challenger Saemi Hanagata (13-6-2, 7) [花形 冴美]. Not long after that saw the announcement that Nihito Arakawa (29-6-1, 17) [荒川 仁人] would defense the WBO Asia Pacific Lightweight title against Filipino challenger Marbon Bodiongan (14-5-2, 11), in a potentially very fan friendly bout.
We now know that the third title bout of the show will see WBO Asia Pacific Flyweight champion Sho Kimura (14-1-2, 7) [木村翔] take on former world champion Kwanthai Sithmorseng (50-4-1, 26).
For Kimura he bout will be his first of the title, a title he won last year Masahiro Sakamoto, and will be his first against a former world champion. Although the bout is a huge step up in class, it does appear to be a calculated risk from Kimura's team with the Thai now fighting well above his best weight, of Minimumweight, and coming in low on confidence and on a 0-2 run in Japan.
The Thai veteran, who has suffered stoppage losses in Japan to Kazuto Ioka and Ryoichi Taguchi, begane his career 31-0-1 (17) and was the WBA Minimumweight champion in 2010-2011, but has since struggled against name worthy opponents, Ioka, Taguchi Stamp Kiatniwat and Muhammad Rachman. A win here would help him get his career back on track, but it would be a genuine upset if the Thai was to comeaway with the win here.
For fans interested, the show will be featured on boxingraise.com.
News! We try and give you the most interesting news stories from the Asian boxing world!