Earlier today fight fans at the Korakuen Hall saw former Japanese Light Welterweight champion Koichi Aso (23-8-1, 15) [麻生 興一] battle against domestic rival Noriaki Sato (5-5-1) [佐藤 矩彰].
This bout had originally been organised more than 2 years ago, though Sato failed weight back then and both went their own way, until today's fight. In the interim Aso had won, and lost, the Japanese title whilst Sato's career had seen him going 1-3, with the losses coming in his last 3 bouts.
Sadly for Sato his form didn't change here, and instead Aso showed his desire and hunger as he took a technical decision win.
Sato started well, boxing on the move and and keeping up a high activity, it wasn't long however until Aso began to turn the action around and begin to bring intense pressure. That pressure forced Sato to continue fighting at a higher rate than he'd have wanted, with Aso continually getting in his face. In round 2 Aso's pressure really broke through, as he began to land frequently and Sato began to lose his stance, before being dropped from a crisp left hook.
As the fight went on the two men began to hold their ground and fight up close, with more and more shots being thrown and head clashes as they traded blows. The head clashes left Sato cut around the right eye, a cut that got progressively worse from the intense, phone booth action that Aso forcing into the fight.
In round 6 the referee took a bloodied Sato to the ringside doctor who stopped the bout, taking us to the scorecards, which all favoured Aso with scores of 59-54, twice, an 59-55.
Following the win Aso spoke about fighting for the WBO Asia Pacific Light Welterweight title, and being honest we'd love to see Aso in another title fight. Sadly for Sato it's very hard to see where go now.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Tomorrow's show at the Korakuen Hall will now see only 3 "Strongest Korakuen" bouts with the 140lb bout having to be cancelled today at the weigh in due to the failure to make the weight by Noriaki Sato (4-1-1) [佐藤 矩彰] who came in 2KG's, more than 4lbs, over the 140lb limit,
Although he was well over the limit Sato did like a man who had done his best to lose weight and looked drained at the weigh in. He apologised publicly to fans, his opponent and others for failure to make weight, but given he was more than 2% over the limit there is real questions to be asked about his effort, especially given he failed to lose any weight during a 2 hour grace period before being pulled form the card on medical grounds.
Sato had been set to face Koichi Aso (20-7-1, 13) [麻生 興一] with the two men fighting for the rights to be the mandatory challenger for the Japanese title in 2017, and fight the winner of Hiroki Okada's up coming title bout with Valentine Hosokawa in early November.
As a result of Sato's failure to make weight we will now see Aso get a title fight in 2017, probably against the winner of Okada's bout with Hoskawa though it may for a vacant title if Okada decides to avoid a third bout with Aso, having beaten him twice already, and focus on winning an OPBF title instead.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Earlier today we were informed of the 4 bouts that will make up the 2016 Strongest Korakuen show on October 22nd, with the winners of the 4 bouts becoming the mandatory title challengers for the Japanese national title.
At light Flyweight the bout will see the #1 Japanese ranked fighter Tetsuya Hisada (26-9-2, 16) [久田 哲也] face off with Hayato Yamaguchi (14-6-1, 2) [山口 隼人(]. For Yamaguchi the bout will see him being given an opportunity to earn a third shot at the Japanese title, following losses to Masayuki Kuroda and Yu Kimura whilst Hisada will be looking at this bout as an opportunity to earn his first title bout. Interestingly Hisada enters this bout on a run of 5 straight stoppages!
At Super Bantamweight we again get a #1 Vs #2 scenario as veteran Jonathan Baat (31-7-5, 14) takes on Yusaku Kuga (12-2-1, 8) [久我 勇作] in a really mouth watering bout. Baat is a true veteran and appeares to have been getting better in the last few years with recent wins over Kenta Ono, Takahiro Shigee and Takafumi Nakajima, whilst holding Hikaru Maugame and Rey Megrino to draws. On the other Kuga is one of the division's most under-rated fighters and ran Yasutaka Ishimoto incredibly close at the end of last year, unfortunately however he has only fought once since that draw with the current Japanese champion.
At Super Featherweight we will see the #4 ranked Satoru Sugita (11-3-4, 7) [杉田 聖] battle against the #5 ranked Tsuyoshi Tojo (13-13-5, 2) [東上 剛司]. For Sugita it's a chance to get back on the horse so to speak following this year's loss to Kenichi Ogawa in a title fight, a fight in which he actually impressed before being stopped. As for Tojo it's a chance to earn his first title shot, at the age of 36. It's clear that Sugita will be favoured here but Tojo will certainly be looking to make the most of this opportunity.
The fourth bout will be at Light Welterweight where we again see the #1 and #2 facing off. This bout will see 2-time title challenger Koichi Aso (20-7-1, 13) battle against impressive novice Noriaki Sato (4-1-1) in what looks like a really, really promising bout. Aso will obviouwlt be favoured, and with good reason given his experience and power. However Sato has impressed so far into his career with a draw against Yuya Okazaki and wins against Valentine Hosokawa and Kazuya Ito.
This will be a brilliant show and we wouldn't be surprised to see the card become one of the most exciting domestic Japanese of the year.
On July 12th 2011 Japanese fans saw Kazuya Ito (now 11-5, 6) [伊藤 和也] come up short in a Japanese Light Welterweight fight against Shinya Nagase, losing a split decision. Yesterday, after more than 5 years out of the ring, Ito made his ring return. His first bout since that loss.
Unfortunately for Ito it wasn't a happy return to the ring with the Miyata gym fighter coming up short against the rising Noriaki Sato (4-1-1) [佐藤 矩彰], who was too quick, too fresh and too hungry for the returning veteran.
From the off Sato was too fast for Ito. Ito would try to neutralise that with his timing but that was also effected with the ring rust and long break from the ring and in the end the lesser experienced man dominated the bout, though did look to be weary in the later rounds.
Following the win Sato made his intentions clear and admitted his faults. He admitted his stamina needed work, and that was what he was going to be working on, but also stated his intention was to put his hat into the ring for the Strongest Korakuen event later in the year. A win in that would see Sato in the running for a potential Japanese title fight in 2017.
For Ito this was likely a one and out, with the fighter likely realising that his time has come and gone and won't be returning.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
For a second day running this week Japanese fans at the Korakuen Hall got an upset!
On Tuesday they saw Shintaro Matsumoto (13-4, 9) [松本 晋太郎] claim the OPBF Super Middleweight title with a shock technical decision win over Yuzo Kiyota (29-5-1, 27) [清田 祐三]. Just a day later they saw novice professional Noriaki Sato (3-1-1, [佐藤矩彰] take a decision win over former OPBF Light Welterweight title challenger Valentine Hosokawa (20-5-3, 9) [細川バレンタイン].
Coming in to the bout we were expecting Sato to put up a good effort but come up short against the more experienced man. Instead however Sato looked great from the off. He showed a very sharp jab, moved excellently and seemed to do little things better than Hosokawa did. Hosokawa was competitive but failed to build any real momentum until the middle rounds when the bout began to turn into a slugfest, with both fighting hard in rounds 6 and 7.
By round 8 it seemed like Sato had just done enough to claim the win with the judges agreeing, scoring the bout to the novice with scores of 77-76, twice, and 77-75. With the win we expect to see Sato climb into the Japanese rankings, whilst Hosokawa, who was ranked coming in to the bout, will likely consider his future, given that he turns 35 later this month.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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