Earlier today at the Korakuen Hall fans were given the rare chance to see a double award ceremony, with the award winners of the monthly awards for December and January both being recognised.
The December award winners were Satoshi Shimizu (8-0, 8) [清水 聡], who won the MVP award, Valentine Hosokawa (24-6-3, 11) [細川バレンタイン], who took the fighting spirit award and Taku Kuwahara (3-0, 2) [桑原拓], who was the Newcomer of the Month.
At today's ceremony Shimizu, who has now won the MVP award 3 times, spoke about being pleased at winning the award numerous times and seemed to suggest that he was on the verge of a big fight. It's known that he is eyeing a world title fight, or a world title eliminator, and rumours are suggesting that he may end up with something big in April or May.
The January award winners were Norihito Tanaka (18-7, 10) [田中教仁], who won the the MVP award, Ryoichi Tamura (12-3-1, 6) [田村 亮一], who was the Fighting Spirit award winner, and Naoto Fujimoto (11-9-1, 5) [藤本直人], the New Comer. Tanaka notable shared his thanks to the fans, and admitted that he thought his career would lack the spotlight of winning a title, though now has both a Japanese title and the MVP award.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today the Japanese award winners for January were named, and all 3 winners came from the January 12th Korakune Hall show which was shown on Boxingraise.
The MVP for the month was the newly crowned Japanese Minimumweight champion Norihito Tanaka (18-7, 10) [田中教仁], who stopped Shin Ono (23-10-3, 6) [小野 心] in 8 rounds to become the new champion. The rugged veteran, who had previously come up short in bouts for the JBC and OPBF titles, really did look fantastic here, and made it very easy to forget that he was a 33 year old Minimumweight. It's going to be interesting to see what he does in his first defense, with the domestic scene being a really interesting one right now, but few can complain about him being the MVP.
The Fighting Spirit award was also won by a new champion, with JB Sport Gym warrior Ryoichi Tamura (12-3-1, 6) [田村 亮一] claiming the award for his Japanese Super Bantamweight title win over Mugicha Nakagawa (24-6-1, 14) [武田勇太]. The performance from Tamura was all fighting spirit, marching forward, bringing insane amounts of pressure and work rate, and never allowing Nakagawa to create space. It was a brutally wonderful performance from the tough Tamura.
The Newcomer Award was the strangest of the choices, with Naoto Fujimoto (11-9-1, 5) [藤本直人] take it for his win over charismatic veteran Ken Achiwa (11-15-5, 4) [阿知和賢].
The fighters will be recognised for their achievements in the award ceremony on February 14th at the "Diamond Glove" show which is being held at the Korakuen Hall.
The first Japanese title fight of 2019 was a Minimumweight title bout pitting defending champion Shin Ono (23-10-3, 6) [小野 心] against mandatory challenger Norihito Tanaka (18-7, 10) [田中教仁] at the Korakuen Hall as part of the 2019 Champion Carnival. It also saw the first title change in Japan for the year, with Tanaka breaking down the veteran to become the new champion.
In the opening round the champion used his speed, southpaw jab and reach to keep Tanaka at bay, and the fight seemed rather like it could be easy for the experienced champion, if he could maintain the control of the action like he was doing. In round 2 Tanaka began to come alive, landing clean counter shots and rocking Ono at the end of the round, it was clear that Tanaka saw the opening round as scouting mission and was looking to up the tempo as the bout went on, clearing doing just that in the final 30 seconds of round 2.
Tanaka's success from round 2 rolled into a huge round 3, as his confidence began to grow, and he found more and more holes in Ono's defense, dropping the defending champion on to the seat of his pants early in the round. The knockdown clearly hurt Ono who began to hold and looked like he was trying to survive, more than win. It lead to some messy action, but action that Tanaka was getting the better of.
to his credit Ono made round 4 very competitive, gritting his teeth and battling back at times, though his competitive grit did see him being caught by some very clean shots as he began to take risks. It was short lived competitiveness with Tanaka clearly winning round 5, swelling Ono's right eye in the process.
At the end of round 5 the scores were announced, with Tanaka holding a 49-45 lead on all 3 cards. It was now down to Ono to change the fight and in he looked to do just that as he began to ramp up his aggressiveness, taking the fight to Tanaka. It was a foolish gameplan, full of risks, and one that he began to pay for as Tanaka began to find more and more openings up close, landing clean shots to the head and body. On one hand Ono did land more shots of his own, which he needed to do, but he took a significant amount of harder shots as a result of his aggression.
Ono continued to be the aggressor in round 7, but he really was taking a lot more than he was giving, with Tanaka returning everything with interest. Things went from bad to worse when Ono was deducted a point for holding, something he had been doing numerous times through the fight. He was also looking exhausted, with his 36 year old body, the tempo and the body shots all catching up to him, seemingly at once.
With his body failing him, and the scorecards now well against him, Ono came out for round 8 fast, but Tanaka quickly responded putting him on the back foot. Only moments later Ono's legs went and a follow up sent him down into the corner where the referee waved the bout off, giving Tanaka the TKO win.
For Tanaka this is his career defining win, in what was his third title fight, after losses to Akira Yaegashi and Tsubasa Koura in previous title bouts. He finally won the big one, and looked like a man who could be tricky to dethrone. Sadly for Ono this is probably the end. He has had a hard, long and draining career, and punishment has seemingly caught up with him.
It's fair to say that 2019 has started slowly but we are starting to see more and more things being added to the schedule.
Sadly it wasn't until earlier today that Boxingraise announced their line up for January, which we knew wouldn't be great,
The Japanese streaming and VOD service will only have 2 new cards this month, unless things change, however their card today, January 12th, will be live.
That live card will see Japanese Minimumweight champion Shin Ono (23-9-3, 6) [小野 心] defending his title against mandatory challenger Norihito Tanaka (17-7, 9) [田中教仁] and Mugicha Nakagawa (24-5-1, 14) [武田勇太] battling Ryoichi Tamura (11-3-1, 6) [田村 亮一] for the vacant Japanese Super Bantamweight title, which had been vacated late last year by Shingo Wake (25-5-2, 17) [和氣 慎吾]. The card is expected to start at 18:00 local time and will be the first Japanese show of the new year.
As well as that show Boxingraise will also add the January 31st card from the Koraluen Hall, which is a a card featuring 4 round bouts between novices.
The bigger selling point this month, in some ways, is the fact 4 cards from the Dangan Archive, Dangan 144,145,147 and 149, will be added to the Video on Demand section. Those shows took place in November and December 2015 and feature a good number of notable fights that weren't available in the past, giving subscribers something to look forward to during this quiet month.
(Image courtesy of boxingraise.com)
Tomorrow we see the Champion Carnival kick off with 2 Japanese title bouts at the Korakuen Hall.
One of those will veterans colliding with Shin Ono (23-9-3, 6) [小野 心] defending the Japanese Minimumweight title against Norihito Tanaka (17-7, 9) [田中教仁]. Despite both being veterans, with a combined age of 69, both are still top domestic fighters and both have clearly taken this fight seriously, knowing it could be their last title bout if they come up short.
Today both men took part in their weigh in for the bout, and both men came in right on the limit of 105lbs. Neither of the looked like physical freaks, but both looked in good shape for what is anticipated to be a very competitive contest.
Ono, who turned 36 last month, looked relaxed and spoke about how he had previously sparred with Tanaka and had prepared well for this bout, with an eye clearly on getting another world title fight in the future, after coming up short at world level twice.
Tanaka, who is fighting in his third title bout, appeared strongly motivated by the opportunity. He turns 34 in February and appears to feel he's stronger than ever before.
Related - Ono and Tanaka clash for Japanese title!
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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