On October 7th we'll see a triple header in Yokohama. The headline bout of the card will see Naoya Inoue (16-0, 14) [井上 尚弥] begin his WBSS campaign as he takes on Juan Carlos Payano (20-1, 9) whilst another the WBSS bout between Kiryl Relikh (22-2, 19) and Eduard Troyanovsky (27-1, 24) will increase the international profile of the card.
Arguably the best bout of the card however is a bout with no link to the WBSS. Instead it's the WBC Light Flyweight title bout between Ken Shiro (13-0, 7) [拳 四朗] and former IBF champion Milan Melindo (37-3, 13).
The bout is a fantastic match up between two top Light Flyweights and promises to deliver some brilliant action.
To prepare for the bout the reigning champion has been training in the Philippines, at the Elorde gym, sparring with the likes of Giemel Magramo (21-1, 17). That camp ended today, following 10 days at the camp.
The training saw Ken Shiro spar regularly with Magramo, admitting he had a bad day whilst there before improving and getting to control the spar more at his distance. In total the champion sparred about 60 rounds in total, with sessions as long as 8 rounds.
The fighter also attended a local show, and spoke to fans at the show, and seems to have genuinely enjoyed the hard work and conditions he's endured in the camp.
(Image courtesy of bmb gym)
Earlier this week fight fans at the Korakuen Hall saw unbeaten Japanese youngster Takuma Inoue (12-0, 3) [井上 拓真] score his most significant win to date, taking a decision over Mark John Yap (29-13, 14) to become one of two mandatory challengers for the next WBC Bantamweight champion.
Despite the contest with Yap only taking place on Tuesday Inoue has already returned to the gym with the intention of getting prepared to face southpaw opponents.
The reason for Inoue wanting to prepare to face southpaws is that now matter who he faces for the WBC Bantamweight title next year, it's almost certainly going to be a southpaw.
The WBC Bantamweight title will be fought for in October between Frenchman Nordine Oubaali (14-0, 11) and American Rau'shee Warren (16-2-0-1, 4). The winner of that bout will then be mandated to defend the title against unbeaten Thai Petch Sor Chitpattana (47-0, 32) [เพชร ซีพีเฟรชมาร์ท] in the first mandatory defense. The winner of that little 3 man series will then have to defend the title against Inoue.
It should be noted that Takuma's older brother Naoya Inoue (16-0, 14) [井上 尚弥] is also preparing to face a southpaw at the moment, as he's set to face Juan Carlos Payano (20-1, 9) in October. It would seem logical for two Inoue's to both the same fighters that come over to prepare for southpaws, which may also explain why Takuma has already returned to the gym. Staying in shape ahead of sparring with the people the Ohashi gym were bringing over for Naoya's bout.
(Image courtesy of Nikkan Sports)
On October 7th fight fans in Yokohama are in for a treat with 3 world title bouts, 2 of which are WBSS bouts, taking place on the same show. One of those is a WBA "regular" Bantamweight title bout, as Naoya Inoue (16-0, 14) [井上 尚弥] begins his WBSS campaign against Juan Carlos Payano (20-1, 9), another the WBSS bout between WBA Light Welterweight champion Kiryl Relikh (22-2, 19) and Eduard Troyanovsky (27-1, 24) and the third is a WBC Light Flyweight title bout between Ken Shiro (13-0, 7) [拳 四朗] and former IBF champion Milan Melindo (37-3, 13).
The show is one of the most anticipated shows in Japan this year and is expected to be a sure fire sell out of the Yokohama Area, which can hold up to around 17,000 people.
So far tickets have only been made available to Ohashi Gym Fan Club members. That however changes this weekend with the tickets becoming available from September 15th!
Earlier this week Mr Ohashi revealed that the tickets would go on general release at 10AM local time on the 15th of September, and would be available through Pia.
The pricing for the tickets has been known about for some time. The most expensive are ¥50,000 (about £345 or $450) whilst the cheapest will be ¥6,000 (approximately £41 or $54).
Earlier today fight fans in Tokyo had the chance to see the unbeaten Japanese Takuma Inoue (12-0, 3) [井上 拓真] score his most significant win to date, coming out with a victory over Mark John Yap (29-13, 14) in a WBC Bantamweight world title eliminator.
That win doesn't mean Inoue is next for the WBC title. In fact the next bout for the vacant title will see Nordine Oubaali (14-0, 11) face off with Rau'shee Warren (16-2-0-1, 4) in October.
Inoue isn't even the mandatory for the winner of that bout. Instead the winner of the title will have to make a mandatory defense against unbeaten Thai Petch Sor Chitpattana (47-0, 32) [เพชร ซีพีเฟรชมาร์ท] before Inoue gets his crack. Essentially the fight today was to set up the second mandatory for the new champion.
On paper that doesn't seem great for Inoue, who will have to wait for a shot, however it seems his promoter Hideyuki Ohashi has got big plans and has worked that delay into his plans.
After Inoue's win today Mr Ohashi told the press that he wanted to have a monopoly on the Bantamweight titles. In fact he wanted that monopoly to be between Takuma and his older brother Naoya Inoue (16-0, 14) [井上 尚弥] who is taking part in the World Boxing Super Series (WBSS). That tournament could see Naoya unifying the WBA, WBO and IBF titles and Ohashi suggested that ideally Naoya's WBSS final could be held on the same show Takuma's eventual world title shot. After all both will take place in 2019.
It is obviously an "ideal situation" to get both those bouts on the same show and to hold a super event for the Inoue brothers. It is however a long way off, and seems to be more of a rough plan for Ohashi rather than something set in stone. If it does come off however it would be something very special for Japanese boxing, and the Bantamweight division. Though sadly it would mean that we probably wouldn't be set for an undisputed champion as the two Inoue's wouldn't fight each other, unlike the Eguchi brothers, Katsuaki Eguchi and Kusuo Eguchi, who battled for the Japanese Minimumweight title in 1993.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
This past weekend we saw Japan's Kazuto Ioka (23-1, 13) [井岡一翔] end his retirement, and return to the ring with a stellar victory over McWilliams Arroyo (17-4, 14) to claim the WBC Silver Super Flyweight title.
On the same card we also saw Donnie Nietes (41-1-5, 23) fight to a draw with Aston Palicte (24-2-1, 20) in a bout for the WBO Super Flyweight world title. As a result of that draw the title remains vacant, which it has been since Naoya Inoue moved to Bantamweight,
Early today Japanese sources have started to report that the plan for Ioka is to return at the end of this year and to face off with Nietes for the vacant WBO Super Flyweight world title. A title both men are chasing to become a 4-weight world champion. The bout seems to be something that Ioka's team are working on, and his win over Arroyo should assure him of a very high WBO ranking. Inoue is looking to become the first ever male fighter to become a 4-weight champion from Japan whilst Nietes wants to become the third 4-weight champion from the Philippines.
From what we have been told the bout could take place in either the Philippines or Japan, likely depending on whether Ioka would have a struggle to get a Japanese license, though would be held in conjunction with a Japanese TV channel, likely TBS.
It's unclear if this would be part of a Kyokugen show on New Year's Eve, though if it is it seems like TBS may end up having a lot of fighters all looking for a place on their broadcast with a triple header already being rumoured for the date. If Ioka is added it could well end up being the first ever Japanese quadruple would title show!
According to the sources the Japanese fighter is then pencilled in to return to fighting Stateside in 2019 on Superfly 4, which is expected to take place in Spring next year. That card is likely to feature the anticipated rematch between WBC Super Flyweight champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (46-4-1, 41) [ศรีสะเกษ นครหลวงโปรโมชั่น] and Mexican challenger Juan Francisco Estrada (37-3, 25) , who won in the main event of this weekend's Superfly card. If Ioka and Nietes do fight in December then the winner of that would probably face Palicte in a WBO title defense on Superfly 4.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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