Earlier today at Korakuen Hall fight fans saw a new Japanese Light Middleweight champion being crowned, as Hironobu Matsunaga (15-1, 9) [松永 宏信] shocked Nobuyuki Shindo (20-5-2, 8) [新藤寛之].
The bout, the final of the 2019 Champion Carnival bouts, looked like a really interesting one on paper. In the end however it was was rather less competitive than most would have assumed.
The opening round saw the lanky Shindo show off his skills and movement. He looked good, fighting to his strengths as the shorty, some what clumsier, Matsunaga came forward looking to apply pressure. In round 2 however Matsunaga began to close the distance with more ease and landed a great right hook late in the round.
With Matsunaga being able to cut the distance he was able to grind down Shindo, who struggled to respond to the pressure. Shindo did have moments of success, when Matsunaga pushed forward, but for the most part it was the challenger who was dictating the tempo of the fight and breaking down the defending champion, who was backed up against the ropes on a regular basis.
After 5 rounds the scores were announced, with the Matsunaga in the lead on all 3 cards, 48-47, twice, and 49-46. Shindo tried to turn it around in round 6, but couldn't stop Matsunaga from coming forward, and by the end of the round Shindo was looking like a clearly beaten man. His team knew it an pulled him out between rounds 6 and 7, saving him from further punishment.
For Shindo this could be the bout that sends that him into retirement, and he has taken a lot of damage in his last few bouts. As for Matsunaga this is a career defining win, and could help set up some very interesting domestic bouts down the line.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Tomorrow Japanese fight fans at Korakuen Hall will see Japanese Light Middleweight champion Nobuyuki Shindo (20-4-2, 8) [新藤寛之] defending his title, for the second time, as he takes on mandatory challenger Hironobu Matsunaga (14-1, 8) [松永 宏信]. The bout is the final bout from the 2019 Champion Carnival and will take place on a stacked card from Yokohama Hikari.
Today the two men involved in that bout took part in their weight in.
On the scales Shindo, the much taller man, was bang on the 154lb weight limit and looked calm and relaxed. He comes into this bout following the insane 2018 draw with Akinori Watanabe, a bout that really deserves to be watched by everyone, and despite not having a reputation for being in great fights has had a string of fun to watch bouts in recent years.
Matsunaga, in what will be his first title fight, hit the scales at 153.7lbs, though was genuinely dwarfed by the champion who looked in a different weight class. It's worth noting that e earned this shot with a win last October against Koshinmaru Saito, in a title challenger decider match, and is riding an impressive 8 fight winning run.
Related-Shindo takes on mandatory challenger Matsunaga
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
On May 10th we'll see an A-Sign Bee card, headlined by a Japanese Light Middleweight title bout, which will see defending champion Nobuyuki Shindo (20-4-2, 8) [新藤寛之] facing mandatory challenger Hironobu Matsunaga (14-1, 8) [松永 宏信].
Earlier today the A-Sign twitter account announced the under-card bouts for the show, and there was one that really stood out.
The stand out supporting bout is a Bantamweight bout between Matcha Nakagawa (13-1-1, 5) [武田航] and Kai Chiba (10-1, 7) [千葉開]. This has the potential too out-shine the main event and should be a very competitive fight between two men each looking to make their mark and move towards a title bout.
Another intriguing fight confirmed for the card is an 8 round bout between the popular Joe Tanooka (15-6-4, 1) [田之岡条] and Naoto Mizutani (5-6-1, 2) [水谷直人]. On paper this doesn't have the same feel as the previously mentioned bout, but Tanooka has lost 3 of his last 4 and will have to work for the win here against the under-rated Mizutani.
One more bout announced will see former Japanese title challenger Masaki Saito (15-13-6, 5) [斉藤正樹] battle against former OPBF title challenger Ryuto Araya (12-7-1, 4) [荒谷龍人] in what looks like a competitive bout on paper.
Earlier this week we were informed that the Japanese Light Middleweight title bout between defending champion Nobuyuki Shindo (20-4-2, 8) [新藤寛之] and mandatory challenger Hironobu Matsunaga (14-1, 8) [松永 宏信], had been delayed.
Originally the bout had been pencilled in for May 1st, along with a Japanese Featherweight title bout between hard hitting champion Taiki Minamoto (16-5, 13) [源大輝] and skilled challenger Reiya Abe (19-2, 9) [阿部 麗也], on what was a very attractive looking Dangan card. Now however the Light Middleweight title bout will be held on May 10th as part of an A-Sign Bee card, which should mean the bout ends up being uploaded to youtube within days of the bout.
This interestingly matches up with another story there may be a big addition to the May 1st card, with multiple sources now confirming that Hinata Maruta (8-1-1, 7) [丸田 陽七太] would be in action on May 1st, though at the time of writing sources haven't been able to confirm whether he will be on the same show as the Minimoto Vs Abe fight.
No clear reason has been given for the delay, though with it only being pushed back by 9 days it seems clear neither man is injured and would seem to be a scheduling issue, or just a feeling that the Dangan card didn't need to be as top heavy as originally announced. Or of course the Maruta fight is on the show and is a big one, time will tell.
Earlier today at the Tokyo Dome Hotel the media were able to attend the press conference to announce the 2019 Champion Carnival bouts, with 13 contests being officially announced.
As previously reported the Minimumweight bout will see defending champion Shin Ono (23-9-3, 6) [小野 心] defending his title against Norihito Tanaka (17-7, 9) [田中教仁] on January 12th at the Korakuen Hall.
The Light Flyweight bout, to fill the recent vacancy left by Tetsuya Hisada (33-9-2, 19) [久田 哲也], will see Kenichi Horikawa (38-15-1, 12) [堀川 謙一] battle against Satoru Todaka (9-2-4, 3) [戸髙達], with this bout set to take place on February 14th, also at the Korakuen Hall.
The Flyweight bout, like the Minimumweight bout, had already been announced and will see Junto Nakatani (17-0, 12) [中谷 潤人] and Naoki Mochizuki (15-3, 8) [望月直樹] fight on February 2nd at the Korakuen Hall. This bout is to fill the vacancy left by Masayuki Kuroda (30-7-3, 16) [黒田 雅之], who like Hisada has stated he intends to fight for a world title in 2019.
The Super Flyweight champion Takayuki Okumoto (21-8-4, 10) [奥本 貴之] will defend his title on April 21st in Osaka, and will see Okumoto battle against Yuta Matsuo (15-3-1, 8) [松尾雄太], in what will be Okumoto's second defense of the title.
The Bantamweight bout will be a unification bout as regular champion Yuta Saito (11-9-3, 8) [齊藤裕太], who has been suffering from illness recently, battling against recently crowned interim champion Hayato Kimura (28-10, 19) [木村隼人]. There is no set date on this bout, but it's expected to take place in Tokyo, with the Korakuen Hall the most likely venue.
The Super Bantamweight title will have it's vacancy filled on January 12th, on the same show as the Ono Vs Tanaka card. Fighting for the title will be Mugicha Nakagawa (24-5-1, 14) [武田勇太] and Ryoichi Tamura (11-3-1, 6) [田村 亮一], who will be looking to follow in the footsteps of former champion Shingo Wake (25-5-2, 17) [和氣 慎吾] who looks to be heading towards a world title fight, like Hisada and Kuroda.
Arguably the best match up for the Champion Carnival is the Featherweight bout, which will pit Taiki Minamoto (16-5, 13) [源大輝] against Reiya Abe (18-2, 9) [阿部 麗也], who will be battling former amateur stand out Daisuke Sugita (4-0, 3) [杉田大祐] in January before facing Minamoto on May 1st at the Korakuen Hall. This is, to us, the stand out bout of the Champion Carnival and is genuinely a mouth watering clash.
The Japanese Super Featherweight champion Masaru Sueyoshi (18-1-1, 11) [末吉 大] will take on Ken Osato (15-2-1, 4) [大里拳], in a rematch of the bout the two men had during the 2018 Champion Carnival. This contest will take place on May 4th at the Korakuen Hall and will see Osato looking to avenge his loss and Sueyoshi looking to repeat his win over Osato.
The unbeaten Shuichiro Yoshino (9-0, 7) [吉野 修一郎] will be making his 4th defense of the Japanese Lightweight title, as he takes on the challenge of Accel Sumiyoshi (11-4-3, 3) [アクセル住吉]. This bout is set to take place on April 11th at the Korakuen Hall.
Another bout that really whets the appetite is the Japanese Light Welterweight title bout. That contest will see champion Valentine Hosokawa (24-6-3, 11) [細川バレンタイン] defending his belt on April 6th at the Korakuen Hall against Koki Inoue (12-0, 10) [浩樹井上] in a mouth watering step up for the challenger.
We'll see attention turn to Osaka for the Welterweight title bout, as Ryota Yada (18-4, 15) [矢田良太] defends his belt against Yuki Nagano (15-2, 11) [永野祐樹]. This bout is set to take place on April 21st, though the specific venue wasn't announced.
The Light Middleweight title bout will see Nobuyuki Shindo (20-4-2, 8) [新藤寛之] defending the title against Hironobu Matsunaga (14-1, 8) [松永 宏信] in what should be a thrilling contest between a very hungry challenger and an under-rated champion. These two will clash at the Korakuen Hall on May 1st, as a double header with the Minamoto Vs Abe bout.
On March 2nd we'll see Japanese Middleweight champion Kazuto Takesako (10-0, 10) [竹迫司登] defending his belt against Shuji Kato (10-1-1, 6) [加藤収二], in what will be Takesako's second defense. This will also be at the Korakuen Hall.
At the moment the full details of who will be showing what bouts is unclear, but we're glad to now have most of the matches set, with dates and venues.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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