Earlier today at the Korakuen Hall fight fans had the chance to see the unbeaten Ren Sasaki (8-0, 5) [佐々木蓮] continue his perfect start, though he was pushed all the way by the unheralded Kanehiro Nakagawa (5-6, 3) [中川兼玄].
Sasaki, who had won the 2017 Rookie of the Year at Featherweight, seemed the clear favourite for today's bout though it did seem like no one had told Nakagawa who seemed determined to come out on top. The unbeaten youngster, a talented southpaw, looked to box behind his southpaw jab and his foot work, though often got timed by straight right hands from Nakagawa, who refuses back off and spent much of the fight applying constant pressure on Sasaki.
The pressure of Nakagawa had some clear success in round 2, when he had Sasaki backing up almost continually. Sadly for Nakagawa his pressure, whilst successful at times, was slow and a little predictable. This allowed Sasaki to just do enough at times with his smarter, cuter boxing to impress the judges. Despite being the more skilled fighter it did seem like he was being asked more question than he had ever been asked before. It showed there was still a lot of work that he needed to do before thinking about title fights and there was real room for improvements.
In the end Sasaki was the winner, with scores of 58-57 and 58-56 in his favour, whilst the third judge had the bout level at 57-57, but certainly left a lot of questions to answer going forward.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today Japanese fight fans at the Korakuen Hall, and subscribers to the excellent Boxingraise subscription service, had the chance to watch a trio of B class tournaments, all of which were excellent bouts and incredibly competitive bouts.
The first of the three tournament bouts was at Flyweight, as Yasuhiro Tanaka (5-3-2) [田中 康寛] out pointed Satoshi Tanaka (4-5, 1) [田中公士]. The bout was hotly contested, but Yasuhiro Tanaka was just that touch better than his namesake, and got the well deserved win, though did have to work incredibly hard for it. Notably this was Yasuhiro Tanaka's first bout since September 2015, when he was beaten by Tatsuji Kakumoto. With this win Yasuhiro Tanaka has sealed a place in the tournament final against former amateur stand out Rikito Shiba (1-0) [芝力人], in what should be an amazing bout.
The second of the 5 round tournament bouts saw Featherweights trade blows, with 22 year old Kanehiro Nakagawa (5-5, 3) [中川兼玄] claiming a split decision over Tasuku Nakagawa (7-4-1, 3) [中川祐]. This was more hotly contested than the Flyweight bout, and there was very little to seperate the two men who seemed to have been amazingly well matched and we'd love to see these two go at it again, especially given the exciting way the contest finished with the two men trading hard blows. Sadly for Kanehiro Nakagawa he's now got a very tough final against Ren Sasaki (7-0, 5) [佐々木蓮].
On paper it was the third bout that really had us excited as touted teenager Junpei Inamoto (2-0, 1) [稲元 純平] battled against the under-rated Taiga Higashi (5-3, 2) [東大河], and Inamoto was given a real scare when a solid right hook from Higashi landed clean and dropped Inamoto in round 2. The knockdown left Inamoto in trouble through out the round, but he would regroup and use his skills to take the win, and learn some valuable lessons along the way. Whilst this was an excellent win for Inamoto, it does lead him to another tricky fight, as he takes on Seiya Tsutsumi (1-0, 1) [堤聖也] in his final, in what is a truly mouth watering novice match up.
For those wonfering, all the final bouts will take place on September 4th and will, like today's show, be promoted by the Dangan team.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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