Earlier the Korakuen Hall fight fans were able to see the Japanese award winners for June, well 2 of them, at an award ceremony which took part during 's Diamond Glove event.
One of those fighters was the unbeaten Junto Nakatani (19-0, 14) [中谷 潤人], who took the Fight Spirit award for the month. He began the month by blasting out Filipino foe Philip Luis Cuerdo (11-7-1, 4) in impressive fashion, with Cuerdo being a late replacement opponent for Nakatani after original opponent Wolf Nakano was forced out with an injury. Nakatani, who will return to the ring in against former world champion Milan Melindo (37-4, 13), stated he was honoured to receive the prize and seemed pretty excited about his upcoming bout against Melindo.
Nakatani was joined by Suzumi Takayama (2-0, 2) [高山涼深], who impressed near the end of June with a blow out win against Korean foe In Soo Jang (5-2-1) [장인수]. His next bout hasn't been announced, but it does seem like he's aware of when and where it will be, with hints that it has been agreed, potentially for early as part of a bigger Watanabe card. He clearly has ambitions and stated he wasn't satisfied with the award, and stated he is aiming for the top.
Sadly the MVP for the month, Norihito Tanaka (19-7, 10) [田中教仁], was unable to attend due to suffering an injury recently, an injury that has forced a bout he had been scheduled for, to be cancelled. We're hoping that he can have a speedy recovery.
The match up appears to have been why Takahashi wasn't involved in the Japanese Minimumweight title eliminator which was announced recently, and will instead feature Kai Ishizawa (6-0, 6) [石澤開] battling former world title challenger Masataka Taniguchi (11-3, 7) [谷口 将隆].
Given that eliminator, and Tanaka's injury, there is a chance we'll see a Japanese interim title, though it's more likely that we'll see Takahashi pushed down the pecking order and needing to wait for Tanaka to face the winner of the Eliminator before getting a potential shot at the belt in 2020.
Earlier today the East Japan Boxing Association announced the award winners for the month of June, with 3 fighters winning award.
The highest honour, the MVP award, was won by Japanese Minimumweight champion Norihito Tanaka (19-7, 10) [田中教仁]. The veteran managed to record his first defense, when he took a clear decision over Naoya Haruguchi (15-11, 6) [春口直也], and took his second MVP award of the year, after picking up the honour for his title winning performance against Shin Ono in January.
The fighting spirit award was won by fast rising hopeful Junto Nakatani (19-0, 14) [中谷 潤人], who began the month by blasting out Filipino foe Philip Luis Cuerdo (11-7-1, 4). The excellent Nakatani is heading on to big things and whilst a blow out against Cuerdo was somewhat expected the future is incredibly bright for the unbeaten Japanese youngster who will likely get a big bout before the end of 2019.
The Newcomer award was won by the very talented Suzumi Takayama (2-0, 2) [高山涼深], who impressed near the end of the month with a blow out win against Korean foe In Soo Jang (5-2-1) [장인수]. It's now expected that Takayama will take a big step up in class, and he's now got himself an A Class license.
The fighters will be able to accept their awards at a ceremony on August 8th at Korakuen Hall, as part of the Diamond Glove card that same day.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today at Korakuen Hall Japanese fans saw domestic Minimumweight champion Norihito Tanaka (19-7, 10) [田中教仁] record his first defense, as he clearly over-came Naoya Haruguchi (15-11, 6) [春口直也], and avenged one of his defeats.
The two had fought a couple of years ago, with Haruguchi taking a very controversial win over Tanaka. Since that loss Tanaka has rebuilt brilliantly and earlier this year we saw him win the Japanese title with a stoppage win against Shin Ono, in what was a career best win.
Today's performance saw Tanaka again show what he could do, Tanaka settled quickly, using his skills to get in and attack the body of Haruguchi. Haruguchi showed no fear, and seemed to have Tanaka cornered at one point in round 2, but the skills and experience of the champion showed as he escaped, neutralising the threat at the time. Not only did Tanaka's experience help him neutralise the challenger but he would counter him with ease, landing clean hurtful shots and he dropped his man in round 4, securing a big 10-8 round.
Although Haruguchi went down he would get back to his, though struggle to make any inroads into the fight. After 5 rounds he was a long way behind, 49-45, twice and 50-44. Tanaka knew there was still a threat so continued to tag the challenger, landing more body shots and counters, breaking the spirit of Haruguchi.
Going into the final few rounds the bout was a foregone conclusion and Tanaka began to cool the jets, letting Haruguchi take a few consolation rounds and close the scorecards up, though their no threat to the actual result.
After 10 rounds the scores were 96-93 and 97-92, twice.
Rumours have been circulating from Thailand that Tanaka may be next in line for WBC Minimumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin (53-0, 18) [วันเฮง ไก่ย่างห้าดาวยิม], with that bout being rumoured as a potential October fight, though their was no clear indication after the fight that that was next.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Tomorrow fight fans at Korakuen Hall will see Japanese Minimumweight champion Norihito Tanaka (18-7, 10) [田中教仁] make his first, and battle against Naoya Haruguchi (15-10, 6) [春口直也]. This bout will not only see Tanaka looking to only defend his belt but also avenge one of his more recent losses, a very controversial loss to Haruguchi in Kagoshima
Today, ahead of their bout, the two men took part in their weigh in and both fighters made the 105lbs weight limit for the contest.
Tanaka came in on the limit, weighing 105lbs for the bout, and sounded confident of picking up the win thanks to good sparring. He won the title earlier this year, stopping Shin Ono, and looked really good in that career defining win.
Haruguchi on the other hand was comfortably under the limit, weighing in at 104.3lbs, despite being the much taller and bigger looking man. He spoke about about the sparring he's had and seems driven to become the first Japanese champion from the Hashiguchi Boxing Gym.
Related - Tanaka to make first defense, battles Haruguchi
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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