Earlier today we got the semi-finals of the inaugural Knockout Dynamite Tournament, with 6 bouts taking place across 3 divisions, with each of the bouts scheduled for 5 rounds. The competition, is designed with financial rewards for scoring early stoppages so is expected to deliver short but exciting fights. We got several of those short thrillers, along with some prolonged action.
The first weight class to be covered was the 60KG one, and began with an all slugfest between OPBF ranked Filipino Marvin Esquierdo (15-2-1, 9) and Japan's very own Koichi Ito (11-8-3, 10) [伊藤弘一]. This bout very much fit the script of what we were expecting from the tournament and from the off the two men just traded bombs in a short but thrilling war. That war came to an end when Ito was dropped, and although he beat the 10 count he was still wobbling when the referee waved it off.
The second bout, also at 60KG's, saw Mongolian novice Tsendsuren Bat-Ireedui (0-1-1) take on 40 year old veteran Ribo Takahata (16-8-1, 6) [高畑里望]. The Mongolian came out swinging, looking to claim the full bonus, whilst Takahata played the longer game. After trying to score a stoppage in the first 2 rounds the Mongolian looked tired and hurt in round 3, as Takahata's body shots began to pay dividends. Tsendsuren would however bounce back in round 4. The best round of the fight was the 5th round with both letting shots go on the inside, in what was a really good round to watch, but neither man could stop the other leading to a decision. After the 5 rounds the judges gave the decision to Takahata, in a decision we're not totally behind, and now he will face Esquierdo in the weight class' final.
The second weight class to be covered was the 56KG one, and began with a bout between the hotly tipped Yuki Yamauchi (4-0, 3) [山内祐希] and veteran Ryuta Wakamatsu (12-15-1, 9) [若松竜太]. The first round was almost a plain boxing round, with neither man going for the bonus money, but the pace did pick up in round 2 and Wakamatsu was dropped and cut midway into the round. The following round saw Yamauchi continue to press and record a 3rd round TKO to pick up his bonus.
The second 56KG semi final saw 2017 Rookie of the Year winner Ren Sasaki (10-0, 6) [佐々木蓮] battle against Morihisa Iju (11-5, 9) [伊集盛尚]. Although not a noted puncher Sasaki went for the opening round KO with some very clean straight left hands as Iju came forward, though was dropped himself towards the end of the opening round. Iju continued to press in round 2, trying to get to Sasaki before the youngster could regain his composure. By the end of the round however Sasaki seemed to have regrouped, despite the continuing pressure from Iju. The pressure continued when Iju jumped all over Sasaki to start round 3. Sasaki took down Iju, in a desperation wrestling move, but only gave Sasaki a short respite before Iju was back on the offensive and refusing to give Sasaki any room to work with.
Round 4 was a better one for Sasaki, as Iju began to run out of steam a little bit, but in round 5 Iju was back full steam ahead and forcing the unbeaten youngster to get on his toes. Remarkably two of the judges gave it to Sasaki, with scores of 48-46, twice in his favour and once against. Meaning two of the judges gave Iju only the first round. For the second time in the card we were left with a very questionable decision, though it does lead to Yamauchi and Sasaki in the final.
The first of the two 65KG bouts saw Mongolian debutant Byambatsogt Tuguldur (1-0) go up against Shusaku Fujinaka (16-12-2, 11) [藤中周作]. This bout was hot from the off, with Tuguldur pressing Fujinaka straight away. Fujinaka was repeatedly backed up and Tuguldur made it very clear he wanted the top bonus for an opening round victory. The second round saw Fujinaka having more success and forcing the Mongolian on to the back foot, though Tuguldur managed to have moments of success himself. At times things got a bit messy as the fight went on, though it was hard not to be impressed by Tuguldur, with this being his debut, he did however show a bit too much of his amateur background and occasionally seemed too negative and too conservative.
When the Mongolian let his hands go he looked really good, but seemed to be happy fiddling his way through things, and was warned for numerous minor fouls through the bout, before leaving Fujinaka with a cut eye, from a head clash. The cut didn't risk an early conclusion to the bout and instead we saw the 5 rounds being complete before Tuguldur got his arm around for the decision win.
Tuguldar's win saw him move into the final, where he will face Vladimir Baez (26-5-2, 24), who took home the maximum bonus for an openign round win over Tatsuya Miyazaki (9-13-1, 9) [宮崎辰也]. Unsurprisingly this turned out to be a total mismatch with Baez all over Miyazaki form the off and dropping him in the opening seconds. Despite being down Miyazaki got up and ended up playing his part in a slugfest, firing back whilst eating heavy leather from Baez. After being dropped a second time Miyazaki was saved by the referee. With this win BAez netted himself a cool bonus, much like Esquierdo did in the first bout of the tournament.
A few weeks ago we saw a number of bouts being announced for the first round of the Knock Out
Dynamite tournament, set to begin on October 19th. Today we saw the poster drop for the card and bring with it some really interesting details, including the names of two of the "foreign fighters" who were set to be announced at a later date.
One of those will be debuting Mongolian fighter Byambatsogt Tuguldur (0-0), who reached the quarter finals of the Asian Youth Championships in Thailand. From what we understand Tuguldur will be up against Shusaku Fujinaka (16-11-2, 11) [藤中周作] and will be the 4th man in the 65KG tournament, which also features Vladimir Baez (25-5-2, 23) and Tatsuya Miyazaki (9-12-1, 9) [宮崎辰也].
Another is fellow Mongolian debutant Tsendsuren Bat-Ireedui (0-0), who appears to have had a short MMA career and has some amateur boxing background. He will be in the 60KG tournament, where he will face veteran Ribo Takahata (15-8-1, 6) [高畑里望] in his first tournament bout. Tsendsuren's amateur career really is hard to find much about, though he appears to have fought in the 2016 Genghis Khan Cup at 49KG's, though he does appear to have a 2-0 MMA record. Sadly it's still unclear who Koichi Ito (11-7-3, 10) [伊藤弘一] will be facing in the other semi final at 60KG's.
Of course the third weight covered here is 56KG, and that had all of it's fighters announced at a previous press conference, with Yuki Yamauchi (3-0, 2) [山内祐希] to face Ryuta Wakamatsu (12-14-1, 9) [若松竜太], and Ren Sasaki (9-0, 6)[佐々木蓮] set to battle with Morihisa Iju (11-4, 9) [伊集盛尚].
Earlier today a press conference was held in Tokyo, featuring former world champions Floyd Mayweather Jr and Takashi Uchiyama, to announce some more of the details for the upcoming Knock Out Dynamite tournament which will begin on October 19th with the first round of matches.
The announcement today revealed some of the fighters involved in the 2-stage tournament, which takes place across 3 weight classes and features a bounty-type prize for scoring KO wins, with larger prizes depending on how quickly a fighter secures a stoppage.
The announcement today saw a number of the bouts being announced, including 3 of the 4 competitors in the 65KG tournament. The men announced here were Vladimir Baez (25-5-2, 23) and Tatsuya Miyazaki (9-12-1, 9) [宮崎辰也], who have been matched against each other, and Shusaku Fujinaka (16-11-2, 11) [藤中周作], who's opponent hasn't been confirmed.
The 60KG tournament saw 2 of the 4 men being named, with Koichi Ito (11-7-3, 10) [伊藤弘一] and Ribo Takahata (15-8-1, 6) [高畑里望], neither of whom had their opponents name.
And the 56KG tournament had all 4 of it's competitors announced. This weight class will see Yuki Yamauchi (3-0, 2) [山内祐希] take on Ryuta Wakamatsu (12-14-1, 9) [若松竜太], and Ren Sasaki (9-0, 6)[佐々木蓮] battle with Morihisa Iju (11-4, 9) [伊集盛尚].
Interestingly the 3 opponents that are yet to be announced are all stated to be "foreigners", though none of them were named.
The event takes it's name from Uchiyama, who is a tournament ambassador, but will be essentially be co-promoted by TMT Japan, a business arm of Mayweather's wider TMT brand. The TMT Japan arm is expected to grow rapidly, with Mayweather talking about opening up integrated resorts in Japan, returning for exhibitions in the country and much more. In fact Mayweather is quoted as saying "I'm planning various projects in Japan. I want to call my friend Justin Bieber to do a concert and take it to the next level."
The plan seems to be to run this style of tournament, which was described as being a "bounty style tournament", on a regular basis in the future with Dangan and TMT Japan potentially working together on future tournaments of a similar style, though of course that would need this upcoming on to be a success and something following up on in the future.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
DEF Promotions, the Hong Kong based outfit that helped make Rex Tso a star, streamed their latest show through their Facebook account and it was an interesting one with a real international flavour thanks to fighters from across Asia.
Although much of the card was low level action it was entertaining and gave us some fantastic action.
The first bout saw 17 year old debutant Zhiqiang Zhuo (1-0) take a 4 round decision win over Chuan Hsun Hong (2-1, 1), with Hone being dropped twice, en route to to the loss. Zhuo would take the decision 38-36 on all 3 cards.
The second bout saw revenge, as Tom Taw (5-1, 2) avenged his 2017 loss to Tsun Yin Jeremy Lee (1-1), with the 4 round decision, in a very entertaining bout. Lee was dropped in round 2, from a series of hooks, and although he saw out the distance it was clear he was second best. A third bout, a rubber bout, between the two, maybe over 6 rounds, could be very worth making.
The third bout saw talented 21 year old local Lennon Tsoi (5-1, 4) bounce back from his first loss to stop Thai visitor Wichet Sengprakhon (8-6, 3). Tsoi dropped his man who retired in the corner between rounds 4 and 5 to give Tsoi the win.
One man who couldn't bounce back from a recent loss was Japan's Shogo Yamamoto (4-4, 1), who suffered a second successive stoppage loss. The Japanese visitor was beaten, bruised, busted open and then dropped by Napalese born Hong Kong based Nibesh Ghale (5-1, 4), with Yamamoto's team stopping the bout during the count. Ghale, who has now reeled off 5 straight wins since losing to Kuok Kun Ng way back in 2013, looked really fun to watch, but he clearly needs to be kept in these lower level bouts for quite some time due to his technical deficiencies.
Filipino Renz Dacquel (2-1, 1) made things worse for the travelling Japanese contingent as she beat 19 year old Nanako Suzuki (3-2, 1) in an entertaining 4 round female bout. Suzuki, who had been one of the focal points of the promotion, came out swinging, but was dropped in the first round and seemed to be under a lot of pressure in the early going. Likely feeling a lot of expectation on her shoulders. In round 4 Suzuki managed to have her best success, hurting Dacquel, but she was unable to drop the Filipino, who earned the win with scores of 39-36. This is a big win for Dacquel but also an excellent learning experience for Suzuki who showed improvement through out the bout, and had it been a 6 rounder may well have dropped Dacquel and managed to pull out a result. A rematch of this, down the line, makes a lot of sense.
The quality then took a huge step up in class, as the talented young Lap Cheong Cheong (6-0, 4), from Macau, faced Indonesian Muhammad Wahid (4-2, 1). Cheong Cheong showed his class in the opening round, showing why he is regarded as a real boxing hope for Macau, but Wahid chose to play spoiler and began making things messy the following round. Round 3 again saw the Indonesian having some great moments but Cheong's skills were still on show and he finished the round with a determined body assault. In round 4 things stepped up massively with the two trading blows towards the end of the round, with Cheong looking like he was determined to see off his man.
The determination of Cheong to stop Wahid was again on show in round 5, as he cornered his man and went to work. By this point Cheong was becoming sloppy, as his work rate was taking a toll on his crispness, but he seemed really hungry to take the Indonesian out and continued pressing hard in round 6, testing Wahid's resolve to the final bell. It was as if Cheong wouldn't accept the win without it coming by stoppage, despite clearly being up on the scorecards. Impressively Wahid survived the 6 rounds, but there was no doubting the result, with all 3 judges scoring the bout 60-54 to Cheong.
The co-feature so unbeaten men colliding, as Japan's Ren Sasaki (9-0, 6) and China's Ge An Ma (6-1, 1) faced off. From the opening bell Ma was the aggressor, trying to march down the 2017 All Japan Rookie of the Year, he had mixed success but was proving to be hungry and aggressive throughout the first 3 minutes. Sadly for Ma his aggression cost him early in round 2, as he charged in and ate counters from the more technically schooled Japanese fighter, though his continued charge through the round saw him hurting Sasaki later in round, in what was a brilliant 3 minutes of action.
Ma continued to be ultra aggressive in round 3, trudging forward behind a tight guard, before unloading with hooks when in range, catching Sasaki from some unorthodox angles. Despite continuing to be aggressive his work rate was slowing and Sasaki was getting a better read on Ma, countering well, and landing the better blows whilst maintaining his range. The exhaustion was getting Ma as the rounds went on, and more and more mistakes were being made by him, whilst his work rate was grinding to a halt. In round 6 Sasaki jump on a mistake, rocking him in the corner and leaving him cut. The referee quickly intervened and stopper the bout, saving Ma and giving Sasaki the TKO win, saving Japanese fighters from a white wash on the show.
In the main event we saw Hong Kong's top prospect Raymond Poon KaiChing (7-2, 4) take on Chinese visitor Xiang Li (7-2-1, 2) for a trio of minor regional titles. Poon,the popular local, brought the pressure to begin with, and did so in a very intelligent manner, though by the end of the round Li was starting to find his range and tagging Poon with love sharp combinations of straight shots out of the southpaw stance.
As the fight went on Li began to stay in the pocket more, and even come forward at times, but never seemed able to budge the naturally stronger Poon. Li was having moments, but they seemed to be out numbered by the more eye catching blows of Poon through the first 4 rounds.
In round 5 Li managed to have his first real break through as he picked up his output and and started to essentially suffocate Poon with his offensive work, not giving Poon any time to catch his breath. Poon would manage to create some space to work in round 6, though Li continued to press, really hammering the body of Poon up close in what was a brilliant 3 minutes of action. The incredible action continued in round 7, a round that swung one way then the other, as both men began to tire. The crowd tried to spur on the local, with a loud "Raymond" chant, but it seemed to inspire Li just as much as Poon.
Despite both having put a lot into the fight neither wanted to just accept a loss and the final rounds saw both fighters getting their second wind. The final 2 rounds were excellent, with both tiredly unloading leather, neither man willing to leave anything in the tank. Poon was the man pressing but Li was working excellently at mid range, unloading and using his speed and straight punches to try and impress the judges in the last moments of the bout.
After 10 rounds it was hard call the winner of the main event. Poon was the local, the crowd favourite and seemed likely to get the close rounds, Li had been the better boxer, landing the high volume if shots and looking the more accomplished boxer. The scores came in, 96-94, 99-91 and 97-93. The second score causing some real confusion, before Li was announced as the winner.
We had Li winning, but it was close, hotly contested and well worth a re-watch. It's one of the hidden gems of the year, and every fan owes it to themselves to give this one a watch before the year is over.
Whilst the card was certainly not a top level show, it was entertaining and DEF HK know how to put on a good lower level card or well matched bouts. Hopefully these continue, despite loss for Poon. Even in defeat his reputation was enhanced.
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)
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