Earlier today Japanese fans at the Big Wave in Wakayama saw 2018 All Japan Rookie of the Year winner at Featherweight Yuri Takemoto (7-1-1, 4) [竹本雄利] claim his second win of 2019, as he blew away Indonesian visitor Kiki Marciano (1-4).
The talented Takemoto, one of the most promising fighters in Wakayama, really did as he pleased with Marciano, dropping him very early in the round with shots up top before finishing him with a brutal left to the body. Having gone down from the body shot Marciano had no chance of continuing,
After the fighter Takemoto seemed to suggest that he was wanting to be extended over 8 rounds in the future, and to have experience over that distance, which today's bout was actually scheduled for. The intention now seems to be getting him more experience more of a chance to develop before moving on to bigger and better fights in the coming years.
At just 23 years old there is no need to rush Takemoto, but we would like to see him in with better competition than Marciano.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Last night in Hollywood we saw the professional debut of former Uzbek amateur standout Bektemir Melikuziev (1-0, 1) [Бектемир Мелиқўзиев], though unfortunately it was little more than a cameo for the talented Uzbek.
The debutant was up Argentinian veteran Martin Fidel Rios (23-20-4, 13), and Rios really never looked comfortable with Melikuziev's pressure, with the Uzbek applying very intelligent pressure from the off.
The Uzbek southpaw managed to catch Rios when the Argentinian was trying to close the gap, with an excellent left hand to the body. It seemed the perfect shot, and although Rios was trying to land his own shot at the time he just dropped to the canvas in agony, forcing the referee to wave the bout off.
Although Rios has now lost 9 of his last 10, no one would have expected a 99 second win for the Uzbek, who left a real impression here.
Given how short the bout was, and how little Melikuziev was caught, we're really hoping we'll see him out again sooner rather than later, and there is a very real chance we'll see him in with another "name" opponent, like Rios was.
Yes, Rios has lost his ambition, but that would hardly matter given the shot Melikuziev landed, and hopefully we'll see a lot more of his quality before the end of 2019.
Earlier today at Korakuen Hall fight fans had an interesting card, featuring a former world title challenger in the main event and a Japanese title fight in the co-feature.
The card also had a couple of really interesting under-card bouts.
The first of those saw Ryu Horikawa (1-0, 1) [堀川龍] make his professional debut, and stop Jun Ishimoto (5-7-1, 3) [石本純] in a Dangan B Class Tournament. Horikawa was aggressive from the off, and although he was punished by a good counter from Ishimoto he didn't change his gameplan and eventually forced Ishimoto's corner to save him, part way through round 3.
The other under-card bout of note saw the once beaten Yoshimitsu Kimura (12-1, 7) [木村吉光] score a 5th round TKO win against Filipino Jules Victoriano (9-2, 6). The Filipino visitor had come to win, and put up a good effort in the early rounds, but Kimura's pressure, work rate and aggression was too much for the for the visitor who had to be saved by the referee after being rocked hard from a right hand. Kimura stated that he would like a title fight in the future and it's clear he and his team have big ambitions for his future.
The results from the two man bouts can be found below:
Obara stops Kefi at Korakuen Hall
Tanaka scores first defense of Japanese title!
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Japanese puncher Keita Obara (21-4-1, 19) [小原 佳太] failed to shine earlier this year, when he lost in an IBF world title eliminator against Kudratillo Abdukakhorov (16-0, 6) [Қудратилло Абдуқаҳҳоровдан]. Today he returned to the ring, and got back to winning ways with an easy win at Korakuen Hall.
The talented and heavy handed Obara was in the ring with Indonesian visitor Yosmar Kefi (9-11, 8), in what was a clear confidence boosting match up, and he did exactly what he needed to do.
Obara controlled the pace and distance from the off with his jab, moved well and seemed in total control from the opening bell. Kefi tried to show his toughness but was put under increasing pressure in round 4 and the referee was forced to save the over-matched Indonesian foe.
After the win Obara suggested that he still had hopes of winning a world title, but at 32 it does feel like those hopes are diminishing and it's hard to see the popular Tokyo puncher scoring a win at the top of the sport.
It should be noted that Kefi, who is now 0-5 in Japan, complained about an injured elbow after the bout, though if we're being honest it's unlikely that the injury would have made any difference as he was so far out of his depth.
(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)
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