Earlier today at Korakuen Hall fight fans saw an OPBF Middleweight title bout that saw the title change hands. The bout saw the unbeaten Kazuto Takesako (12-0-1, 11) [竹迫司登] take a wide decision win to rip the title from the teak tough Shinobu Charlie Hosokawa (12-5-1, 11) [細川チャーリー忍].
The bout, which no one expected to go the distance, remarkably went 12 rounds with neither man scoring a knockdown.
The bout started in exciting fashion with both men letting big shots go in the first 3 minutes. The challenger quickly established his presence as the one bringing the pressure. Moving forward and cutting the distance to Hosokawa. Hosokawa seemed happy on the backfoot, moving and boxing, but was certainly on the receiving end of the bigger, heavier shots.
As the bout went through the early rounds we saw both men landing solid shots to the other, though the majority of the shots were from Takesako. It was his body shots that were really catching the eye, taking the legs from Hosokawa. The challenger wasn't just landing body shots, but instead he was landing absolutely brutal gut busters to the champion, who some how stood up to shots that looked like would have left many fighters rolling on the floor in agony.
The aggressive start from Takesako saw him take a 40-36 lead after 4 rounds, when the scores were first announced publicly.
The body shots proved to be an excellent long term plan from Takesako, who had used them to take the steam out of Hosokawa's work early on, and by the middle rounds Hosokawa's work rate was dropping markedly. The champion struggled to get any momentum going in the middle stages a the descended into what was slowly becoming a mess. Both men, were becoming tired and there was a lot of smothering, wrestling and clinching. It took the entire tempo out of the bout in the middle stages, and it got worse as both men really only managed to fight in short bursts.
The slower pace didn't help Hosokawa in the slightest, and the bursts of action certainly favoured the heavier and more free flowing combinations of Takesako, who got his shots off then got a chance to catch his breath. These weren't dull rounds, as it felt like any moment could see either man shake the other, but they lost some of the intensity of the earlier rounds.
Takesako was leading 80-72 when the scores were announced for the second time, at the end of round 8, and it was clear he could have taken the easy route and gone ultra negative. Instead he did continue landing the bigger shots, and refused to let Hosokawa get even a toe hold in the contest. When Hosokawa looked like he could be getting some momentum Takesako took the play away with a big combination, just emphasising his control over the contest.
Despite looking tired through the second half both men did keep something in the tank for the final stages, and the tempo increased in the final couple of rounds, with round 12 being the highlight of the second half of the bout. By the the result was already in the bag, with Takesako having an unassailable lead. Despite being comfortably up Takesako still hunted the stoppage, but couldn't get it as Hosokawa proved to be incredibly tough.
After 12 rounds we sent to the scorecards but it was a formality with Takesako take a very clear decision, with scores of 120-108 and 119-109, twice.
Earlier today at Korakuen Hall fans had the chance to see former world title challenger Takeshi Inoue (16-1-1, 10) [井上 岳志] successfully defending the WBO Asia Pacific Light Middleweight title, as he defeated Chinese challenger Cheng Su (14-3-1, 8) [蘇程].
On paper this was expected to be a mismatch, and it lived up to those expectations.
From the opening moments Inoue pressed carefully, looking to establish himself. It was clear Inoue was too quick for Su, though to his credit the Chinese fighter did try to ease himself into the fight. Until he was dropped in the dying seconds of the round by a single right hand.
Su recovered from the knockdown, saw out the end of the opening round and then came out for round 2 more aggressively than he had the opening round. The aggression of Su, given he'd just been dropped was a surprise, though it was clearly a gamble that he felt he had to take. Afterall he'd been cautious and got dropped anyway, so he may as well be aggressive and give it a go. After a mostly solid round, in which he certainly had moments, he was dropped again late in the round, from a pair of solid right hands. Again Su got up and made it to the bell to end the round.
Following the minute's rest between round, Su decided that enough was enough and he retired in his corner, rather than come out for further punishment in round 3.
At the moment it's unclear what the future holds for Inoue, though we would like to see him fighting in the US again perhaps a world title eliminator Stateside, where he suffered his loss to Jamie Munguia a year ago, wouldn't be a bad idea. As for Su he's nowhere near this level, and it was clear very early on that he didn't belong in the ring with Inoue.
At Korakuen Hall earlier today fight fans got the latest in the Dynamic Glove series of shows, shown on G+. The card was billed as a double header, with two title bouts at the top of the card. Despite the title bouts the contest that really ended up delivering the action was actually a supporting bout, which ended up being a chaotic 3 round shoot out.
The bout in question saw the unbeaten Takuma Takahashi (5-0, 5) [高橋拓磨] being given a very, very real scare by Filipino journeyman Leonardo Doronio (17-18-3, 11).
On paper this looked like an easy win for the hard hitting Takahashi. He was a rookie professional, but with over 100 amateurs bouts and wins over fighters like Jonel Dapidran and Sitthidet Banti this wasn't seen as a step up. In many ways it was seen as a bit of a lateral step for Takahashi, who is tipped for big things.
Takahashi came out like a man who expected an easy win but Doronio showed his experience, before landing a warning shot, a clean over hand right about 90 seconds into the contest. Only moments later a left hook from Doronio landed clean and sent the unbeaten prospect down.
Doronio sensed his chance and went all out looking for the finish before Takahashi could recover. Before the round was over Takahashi was dropped for the second time, from a right-left that secured Doronio a 10-7 round. Had those knockdowns been scored by Takahashi there's a chance the bout would have been stopped there and then.
Takahashi did well to rebuild in round 2 getting behind his jab and moving well, using his skills to attack, and trying up before Doronio had a chance to fire back. It was the perfect bounce back round for Takahashi, but it was clear that Doronio was still there, and still very much looking to take out the unbeaten prospect.
Just seconds into round 3 Takahashi began to turn things around, dropping Doronio. Sadly for Takahashi followed it up with several shots onto the downed Filipino, and completely got away with it. This should have been a point deduction at the very least, and it did seem like the referee was considering taking a point. This wasn't a single shot on Doronio when he was down, but a full on combination. After the bout resumed both men came out swinging and Takahashi was shaken to his core. This saw Doronio again going for the kill in some wild back and forth, leaving Takahashi cut over the left eye. The all exchanges were thrilling, though it wasn't long until Doronio was down again. And again took one from Takahashi whilst down.
This time the referee waved the bout off, when he could genuinely have given Doronio 5 minutes to recover, giving Takahashi the 3rd round TKO.
After the bout the cut on Takahashi's eye was tidied up and it looked a legitimate mess. Given this was meant to be an easy win this was a nightmare for the Japanese hopeful, who was dropped twice, badly cut and showed a real dirty side. This is a worrying performance for Takahashi, and despite the win there are a lot of question marks now hanging over him.
As for Doronio he has proven himself as a good, solid test and he against proved he is better than his record suggests. This was a 4th loss in 5 bouts, but he is a danger man, and we suspect we'll see him back in Japan sooner rather than later after this performance.
(Image courtesy of A. McGovern)
Earlier today in Korea there was a rush for gold with a trio of WBA Asia titles on the line in Jeonju. The titles might not mean much in the grand scheme of things, but for many of the fighters fighting for them today they are seen as stepping stones towards bigger bouts, and in Korea any sort of stepping stone towards a bout is significant.
The first of 3 WBA title fights came at Super Bantamweight and pit local fighter Min Jang (10-0-2, 2) [장민] Chinese visitor Junhui Zhao (4-6-2 1).
The 19 year old Jang looked the faster, smoother man from the off and controlled swathes of the bout behind his speed and his movement. To his credit Zhao marched forward through out the bout but was made to look slow and clumsy but the local teenager who piled up the rounds without ever really needing to move into any high gears.
After 10 rounds here there was no questioning the decision, with Jang taking the win on the scorecards and claiming his first international title, having previously held one of the Korean Super Flyweight titles last year. On paper this was a good learning experience for the local, though we do wonder whether he has the power to move up through the levels as he matures.
The second WBA Asia title fight was another victory for the Korean fans to celebrate, with 22 year old Woo Hyun Kim (9-1, 1) [김우현] taking a decision win over former OPBF Flyweight champion Keisuke Nakayama (11-6-2, 5) [中山佳祐] for the WBA Asia Super Flyweight title. This was much more competitive than the Super Bantamweight bout and Nakayama was there to win, having genuine moments through out. Kim though played safe, boxed and moved and racked up the rounds, whilst picking his moments carefully. This was a really mature and level headed performance against a good opponent and it's clear Kim has got the potential to go far.
Sadly at the time of writing this bout between Kim and Nakayama is the only one we have scorecards for, with the judging going with Kim 97-93, twice, and 96-94. Those score did reflect the competitive nature of the bout, and like the judges we felt Kim did enough to take the victory.
The third WBA Asia bout sadly didn't go Korea's way with defending WBA Asia Middleweight champion Min Hyun Yang (9-4, 8) [양현민] being out pointed by skilful Italian born Australian based fighter Danilo Creati (6-0, 1) . The very talented Creati dominated much of the bout with his crisp clean punching, quicker hands and smart footwork.
Creati controlled the distance and tempo through out, and limited Yang's success to flashes. The rugged Yang struggled to move through the gears, and despite the occasional clean and solid shot he could never follow up with Creati regaining control quickly every time Yang seemed ready do build some momentum.
After 10 rounds there was no doubting the decision, with Creati the very worthy winner here.
Earlier today in South Korea we saw two new KBM champions being crowned on a very interesting card from the Grand Hillstone Hotel in Jeonju. For those unable to make it to Korea the card was also shown on SPOTV.
The first of those was Kyrgyzstan born Korean Urmat Amankulov (5-0-2, 4) who scored a stoppage win over the game but over-matched Seung Yoon Shin (4-4-3, 2) [신승윤]. The bout was a genuine exciting one, with Amankulov pressing the action and breaking down Shin who needed saving by the referee after taking some pretty notable punishment.
Shin was brave, but the power, consistency and accuracy of Amankulov was simply too much for the 22 year old who was given every chance before the referee finally stepped in for what was a bit of a mercy stoppage.
With the win Amankulov becomes the new KBM Super Featherweight champion.
The other new champion was former amateur standout Dong Myung Shin (3-0) [신동명], who had to dig deep to take the KBM Super Bantamweight title from exciting teenager Han Bin Suh (5-1-3, 4) [서한빈]. Suh tried to set the pace from the opening moments but credit needs to be given to Shin for avoiding a tear up in the early rounds, relying on his polished footwork and clean accurate punching to take the steam out of Suh's early aggression. As the bout went on both men had real moments of success, with Shin having a very good 3rd and 4th round before the momentum began to swing towards Suh, who came on strong in the middle rounds.
In the final rounds a tired Suh couldn't sustain his trademark aggression, despite landing some solid shots that caught the eye. Shin neutralised a lot of what Suh did with his own work and refused to let Suh build too much with out a response. Thwarting any major assault from the teenager.
After 10 rounds there was no real doubting who deserved the win with Shin getting the well deserved victory, and the KBM title. At 31 this was a must win for Shin, who we expect to go on to more notable bouts whilst Suh has time to rebuild, and it wouldn't be a surprise to Suh bounce back, potentially at Bantamweight, in the near future.
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