Earlier today Japanese boxing service Boxing Raise released their line up for the month of May and unsurprisingly it's a packed month with an impressive 3 live cards, though one of them was earlier today along with 4 more shows available on demand.
As mentioned one of the three live shows was today. The was the Dangan card from Korakuen Hall, headlined by a brilliant Japanese Featherweight title bout between Taiki Minamoto [源大輝] and Reiya Abe [阿部 麗也]. If you missed this one live it is now available on demand, in fact the entire card is now available.
The next live card will be the next Dangan card, which takes place on May 18th, and will be headlined by a Japanese Super Bantamweight title bout, pitting champion Ryoichi Tamura (12-3-1, 6) [田村 亮一] against former champion Yusaku Kuga (17-3-1, 11) [久我勇作]. This will then be followed a day later by live coverage of Desafio vol 8, which isn't a big card but does feature notable fighters like Satoru Sugita (14-6-1, 9) [杉田聖], Gakuya Furuhashi (24-8-1, 12) [古橋大輔] and Tsubasa Murachi (3-0, 3) [村地翼].
As well as the live cards the service will pick up the next Hiroki Ioka show on May 3rd, the Kadoebi show on May 8th, as well as the WBO Asia Pacific double title show on May 26th from Mutoh gym. Sadly whilst these will be added on tape delay it's unclear when these shows will be added. Sometimes it's the same day, and other times it can be a week after a show takes place.
May 1st 2019 is the start of the Reiwa era of Japanese history. For boxing fans in Japan the first day of the new era was an exciting one, and saw a thrilling Japanese Featherweight title bout between Taiki Minamoto (16-5-1, 13) [源大輝] and Reiya Abe (19-2-1, 9) [阿部 麗也].
On paper the bout was excellent. You had heavy handed champion against skilled challenger. Both men were young enough to know a clean win here would boost their hopes of getting into the world title mix, and both were coming to give all they had.
Amazingly the bout over-came the high expectations many had of it, with great shifts in moment, amazing courage being shown by both and some thrilling action, that saw both needing to dig deep.
It was Minamoto who struck first, landing a right hand really late in the opening round to drop Abe. The challenger wasn't hurt, but the knockdown secured a big round for Minamoto, who dropped Abe again in round 2 with another right hand.
After just 6 minutes of action Abe was in a hole , down 20-16 on all 3 cards. Whilst he was certainly down he was still confident and went on to wins rounds 3 and 4 to get a foot hold in the bout. He was beginning to move around the ring, avoiding the power of Minamoto and controlling the bout. Minamoto, sensing the tide was turning, managed to have a great 5th round, to slow the momentum of the challenger.
When the scores were announced after rounds it was no surprise to see Minamoto in the lead, 48-45 on all 3 cards. Abe was down, but not out, and came back by winning rounds 6 and 7, and actually giving Minamoto a bit of a beating in round 7 as he landed left hands at will. Minamoto came back himself in the 8th round, staggering Abe in one of the few really competitive rounds of the fight, which is an odd thing to say about a bout that really was competitive overall.
Despite being hurt Abe knew he had to continue being the man on the front foot and won rounds 9 and 10 to earn a remarkable draw, with scores of 94-94, twice, and actually took a 95-94 on the third judges card, with that judge scoring round 8 as a 10-10.
After the bout neither man seemed happy at the result. Minamoto, who's left eye was swollen really badly, told reporters "The opponent got stronger in the second half and was frustrated with punches. The draw was a champion's privilege but I was not satisfied," he also hinted at potentially moving up in weight. An equally unhappy Abe was clearly annoyed about the knockdowns, know that if he hadn't been down he'd have won the bout, and he seemed the more eager for a rematch.
For fans wanting to watch this it will be uploaded to Boxing Raise in the coming hours.
If this is how the Reiwa era kicks off we're looking forward to what else the new period in Japan will give us! This was a great fight, and something all fans should make an effort to watch.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Tomorrow fight fans will kick off a new era in Japanese history, with the Heisei era ending and the Reiwa era set to begin. This is huge news, and although it's not directly boxing related it is a significantly day for Japan and of course for Japanese fans.
The change in period is due to the emperor stepping down and being replaced by his son.
Despite the huge significance of the day boxing continues, and their will be a huge card at Korakuen Hall.
The headline bout of tomorrows show will be a Japanese Featherweight title bout, as hard hitting champion Taiki Minamoto (16-5, 13) [源大輝] takes on mandatory challenger Reiya Abe (19-2, 9) [阿部 麗也], in a very highly anticipated match up.
Today those two men took part in their weigh in and both fighters made the Japanese Featherweight limit on their first attempt.
The champion, who has been out of the ring since August when he stopped Tatsuya Otsubo in his first defense, came in pretty much on the limit of 126lbs whilst Abe was 125.6lbs, making the weight with ease. Both men looked in great condition at the weigh in. Minamoto looked more ripped but Abe looked in good shape himself.
It was originally planned for this bout to take place in January, though had to be delayed due to a really bad ankle injury that Minamoto suffered. The champion slipped in November, whilst doing dashes on some steps, and reportedly broke his ankle, though is now 100% recovered. Abe did fight in January, defeating Daisuke Sugita, and certainly made it clear that he wanted to tick over rather than just sit and wait.
For fans wanting to watch this it will be made available on Boxing Raise. Originally it had been planned to be aired live, though as we write this we have heard that the plan may have changed, though either way it will be added to their video on demand section in the coming days.
Related - Minamoto and Abe clash in mouth watering Featherweight title bout!
(Image courtesy of www.sanspo.com/)
Last week we reported that Hinata Maruta (8-1-1, 7) [丸田 陽七太] had been listed as fighting on May 1st , with the Dangan card at the Korakuen Hall seemingly the most obvious show for his bout. At the time there was no opponent named, but confirmation that he would be in action on the date.
Today the Dangan twitter account confirmed Maruta's next bout, and confirmed not only that it was going to be on the May 1st Dangan card but also who Maruta would be facing.
The talented youngster from the Morioka Gym will be up against Coach Hiroto (13-2-2, 4) [小内義人], who will be fighting for the first time since fighting to a draw with Ryo Hino, and the first time since the weight mishap that saw him being forced to cancel a fight with Shohei Omori last March. Following the weight issues for the bout with Omori the Kadobi gym punished Hiroto who has now transferred to the Dangan gym, with this being his first bout as a Dangan fighter.
Interestingly the Dangan twitter account suggest that the winner will be targeting the winner of the show's main event, which is the Japanese Featherweight title bout between Taiki Minamoto (16-5, 13) [源大輝] and Reiya Abe (19-2, 9) [阿部 麗也]. And it we're being hone that would be great, in fact the losers meeting could also make for an interesting match up down the line as well.
Earlier today news broke that the scheduled bout between hard hitting Japanese fighter Masamichi Yabuki (8-3, 8) [佐藤政道] and skilled youngster Ryuto Oho (12-4-1, 4) [大保龍斗] had been rescheduled, from March 21st to May 1st, due to injuries in training suffered by Oho.
According to the excellent @makotookaniwa, who was the match maker in Japan who put this bout together, Oho was injured on March 4th forcing the original bout to be rescheduled. Though with it coming on the May 1st show, where it will now be the chief support bout, it does actually have a high profile, and will be available on Boxing Raise, which is always a good thing!
At the moment we've not had confirmation on the full details, though we're expecting it to still be an 8 round bout at 50KG's.
This bout will now share a card with the highly anticipated Japanese Featherweight title bout between Taiki Minamoto (16-5, 13) [源大輝] and skilled challenger Reiya Abe (19-2, 9) [阿部 麗也]
News! We try and give you the most interesting news stories from the Asian boxing world!