This past Friday we saw Hironobu Matsunaga (14-1, 8) [松永 宏信] secure his place in the 2019 Champion Carnival as the mandatory challenger for the Japanese Light Middleweight title. He booked his place there by stopping veteran Koshinmaru Saito (24-10-2, 13) [斉藤伸介] in 4 rounds.
What's unclear is who Matsunaga will be fighting at the Champion Carnival as the Japanese Light Middleweight title is currently split. The regular champion is Nobuyuki Shindo (20-4-1, 8) [新藤寛之], who has been injured since his title win back in May when he damaged his hand. The injury to Shindo has lead to Akinori Watanabe (37-7, 31) [渡部あきのり] becoming the interim champion, thanks to a very impressive performance in August.
We now know that Shindo and Watanabe will duke it out on December 20th to unify the title and book their place as the champion leading into the new year, and to secure themselves a fight against Matsunaga.
The bout will be Shindo's first since his injury, which was a serious hand injury, whilst Watanabe will be fighting for not only the first time since his interim title victory but also the first time since revealing that his daughter is suffering with leukemia, thought he has stated that treatment is going well.
We suspect that the December Dangan card will see at least 1 more big domestic being announced for it, though at the moment details are very scarce.
Back in May fight fans in Japan saw Nobuyuki Shindo (20-4-1, 8) [新藤寛之] become a 2-weight national champion as he defeated Ryosuke Maruki (15-5-1, 10) [丸木 凌介] for the Japanese Light Middleweight title. Sadly the new champion suffered an injury in that bout which is expected to keep him out of the ring for the foreseeable future, as a result the JBC have ordered an interim title fight.
That fight was officially announced today and will see the aforementioned Maruki battle against former Japanese, OPBF and PABA Welterweight champion Akinori Watanabe (36-7, 30) [渡部あきのり].
For Maruki the bout will be his third shot at the tile, after having come up short in incredibly competitive contests against Shindo and Yuki Nonaka. He'll be hoping it's third time lucky, but will know that Watanabe is the biggest puncher he has faced, and poses a very different task to both Shindo and Nonaka, who are both more boxers than punchers, unlike Watanabe who is a pouncher. At just 27 he will likely get another shot if he loses here, but will almost certainly not want to wait any longer to claim the first title of his career.
As for Watanabe this bout will be his first Japanese title fight in over 6 years, following his 2012 win over Kazukaze Yamakawa. Since that win hee has had mixed fortunes, and has gone 3-3 in his last 6, including losses to Toshio Arikawa, Takeshi Inoue and Magomed Kurbanov. Despite those losses he did defeat former OPBF Light Middleweight champion Ratchasai Sithsaithoing last time out.
The bout between the two men will take place on August 24th at the Korakuen Hall on a Dangan card, so will be expected to be featured on Boxingraise. At the time of writing there is no details of any under-card bouts, though they will be revealed in the coming weeks.
Earlier today fight fans at the Korakuen Hall, as well as those on the Boxingraise website, had a chance to see a bout for the Japanese Light Middleweight title, as Nobuyuki Shindo (20-4-1, 8) [新藤寛之] and Ryosuke Maruki (15-5-1, 10) [丸木 凌介] traded blows for the vacant title.
The bout started perfectly for Shindo, a former Japanese Welterweight champion, as he dropped Maruki in the opening round. The experienced former champion continue to have success in the early stages as he used his long rangy arms to fight at range and tie up when Maruki was close. The start was built on by Shindo who really did well to control the early part of the fight and was leading 49-45 on one card and 48-46 on the other two after 5 rounds.
The second half of the fight saw a tiring Shindo put under increasing pressure for the younger Maruki, who was fighting through a swollen right eye. The pressure form Maruki really seemed to trouble Shindo, who had to use his feet a lot. Sadly for Marki however it was too little, and little too wild, to impress the judges who gave the decision to Shindo with scores of 95-94 coming from all 3 judges.
After the bout Shindo seemed to be excited to be a champion again and was looking forward to making his first defense. As for Maruki he has stated he will be back again, and will look to claim the title in the future.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Tomorrow fight fans in Japan will see Nobuyuki Shindo (19-4-1, 8) [新藤寛之] battle against Ryosuke Maruki (15-4-1, 10) [丸木 凌介] in a bout for the Japanese Light Middleweight title, which was vacated earlier this year by Takeshi Inoue [井上 岳志]. Today the two men took part in their weigh in for the contest and both men made weight for the bout.
On the scales the lighter man was Shindo, a former Japanese Welterweight champion who has moved up in weight and will be attempting to become a 2-weight Japanese champion. On the scales Shindo was 153.7lbs, comfortably under the limit. Despite being the man moving up in weight he was the taller man and looked like his frame could easily carry more weight, if he decides to move up again in the future. He sounded like a man looking forward to the bout, and appeared to suggest that he wanted to give fans a show.
Maruki was bang on the divisional of 154lbs, and looked confident for what will be his second shot at the title. He sounded like he had been preparing for Shindo for some time and was looking to force his style on the fight. If he wins he will become his gym's first Japanese champion and rather interestingly this will be his first bout at "The Hall" in around 5 years.
Related - Maruki and Shindo cross paths for vacant JBC crown!
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
We've known for a while that Nobuyuki Shindo (19-4-1, 8) [新藤寛之] would be battling against Ryosuke Maruki (15-4-1, 10) [丸木 凌介] for the vacant Japanese Light Middleweight title on May 15th, at Dangan 212. It's now been announced that that bout won't be the only title bout on the show, as OPBF Light Welterweight champion Rikki Naito (19-2, 7) [内藤 律樹] will also be on the show, defending his title for the first time.
Naito, who won the belt this past January when he stopped Jeffrey Arienza, will be up against tough Filipino challenger Jheritz Chavez (8-2-2, 6) in what looks likely to be a very tough bout for the champion.
Naito originally made his name at Super Featherweight, where he claimed the Japanese title way back in in 2014. He went on to make 3 defenses of the title before losing it, in a technical decision, against Kenichi Ogawa. A rematch with Ogawa saw Naito fail to reclaim the belt before he decided to move up in weight and he has began to make his mark at 140lbs, where he is now 3-0 (2) and looks like a solid fighter at the new weight.
As for Chavez he is very much an under-the-radar fighter who has fought much of his career at Lightweight but is a live throeat at this level. He drew 2 of his first 4 bouts before losing in Russia to the promising Vage Sarukhanyan. He bounced back from that loss with two domestic wins, including one over Al Sabaupan, before losing last year to Hiroki Okada, in his only previous bout in Japan.
The Naito Vs Chavez bout will headline the card with the Shindo Vs Maruki bout acting as the chief support bout and the full card is expected to be made available on Boxingraise for subscribers of that service.
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