To close out Dangan 227, which we had the chance to watch live on Boxing Raise, Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Yusaku Kuga (19-3-1, 12) [久我勇作] quickly retained his title, taking out Yosuke Fujihara (18-7, 5) [藤原陽介].
The bout was Kuga's first since reclaiming the title from Ryoichi Tamura in May, in what was a brutal war. It seemed like Fujihara was trying to jump on the champion in the early seconds, and Kuga actually backed up in the early moments. It was long however until Kuga turned the tables, and dropped Fujihara.
The challenger got to his feet, looked relatively unhurt but only moments later he took a huge hook from Kuga and was sent down for the second time in the round. Again he got to his feet, but stumbled in the corner as the referee rushed in and stopped the bout.
After just 95 seconds Kuga had retained his title, recording the first defense of his second reign. Sadly for Fujihara this was his second loss in a Japanese title fight, his third career stoppage loss. With Fujihara celebrating his 33rd birthday tomorrow it wouldn't be a huge surprise to see him announcing his retirement in the not too distant future. This is his 4th loss in 6 and he really didn't look like he belonged anywhere near title level here.
The chief support bout of Dangan 227, which was shown live on Boxing Raise, was a contest for the WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight title and saw Tsubasa Murachi (4-1, 3) [村地翼] and former world title challenger Froilan Saludar (31-3-1, 22) fight for the vacant title.
On paper this promised to be something really entertaining, however the early stages of the bout weren't great as both seemed to be looking to fight at range and land single blows. For Murachi the opening round was about his jab, which speared into Saludar's face a number of times, but wasn't used regularly. For Saludar it was the right hand, that thudded against Murachi's head, but seemed to do little damage. The most notable single punch of the round was, however, a right hand from Murachi, that caught Saludar clean and sent him to the canvas. He wasn't hurt, but did secure Murachi a 10-8 opening round.
The pace remained slow in round 2, though appeared a little more action packed than the previous round with round 3 also feeling slightly better than the second, notably due to a huge 1-2 from Saludar than snapped back the head of Murachi. The real highlight early on however was round 4, a round that saw Saludar let loose, dropping Murachi and really going for him as he seemed to feel he had a big chance at an early win. Murachi seemed more embarrassed than hurt by the knockdown, but the follow up after the bout continued did seem to shake him as Saludar, for the first time, let his shots fly in a something more sustained than just a 2-punch combination.
The main talking point from round 5 was a low blow from Murachi which left Saludar in agony, it was a rare moment of Murachi landing something that had effect on Saludar, despite being an illegal punch.
Saludar stuck to his game plan of boxing and moving, keeping the tempo slow in round 6, as he did little but did more than Murachi. At the end of round 7 Saludar again let his hands go with bad intent and dropped Murachi for the second time in the bout, with just seconds of the round left. This time Murachi was hurt and wobbled to his corner, he looked like a man who needed more than a minute to recover.
Sadly for Murachi he wasn't to be so lucky, and early in round 8 Saludar landed 2 huge rights hands and sent him crashign hard to the canvas. This time the he stayed down, the referee quickly rushed, waving the bout off and Murachi's team, and medical personal, came to assist him, before he was stretchered out of the ring. It seemed more a precaution than a necessity, and it did seem like Murachi was conscious when removed from the ring.
The ending was dramatic, and with 4 total knockdowns the bout had highlights, though overall the bout will not be remembered fondly for much other than the frightening finish.
For Saludar this was a huge win, not only netting him the WBO Asia Pacific title but also keeping his career alive and putting him in the mix for another world title fight. For Murachi we really he has a swift recovery. He looked competitive at times, but was unable to avoid the right hands and took a lot of them clean through the fight. If we see Murachi in action again we really hope his defenses tightens up, or his career will be a very short one.
In the first of 3 major bouts on Boxing Raise today we saw a Japanese Minimumweight title eliminator, as the exciting youngster Kai Ishizawa (6-1, 6) [石澤開] battled former world title challenger Masataka Taniguchi (12-3, 7) [谷口 将隆] in what turned out to be an incredibly, action packed war.
The first round saw both men have some notable success. Taniguchi looked to keep the bout at range, but was dragged inside and rocked as Ishizawa's power proved to be legitimate. To his credit Taniguchi stayed up-right, just, but was clearly hurt for a second. He then showed more respect to the youngster and began to fight at mid-range, and had real success with his straight land and 2-handed combinations that left Ishizawa unable to get inside.
Round 2 was a clear one for Taniguchi, who controlled it through out and he was even more dominant in a brilliant third round that saw him cutting Ishizawa's right eye and hammering him with straight left hands and keeping Ishizawa handcuffed as he set a high work rate. Not everything Taniguchi was thrown with intent, but it kept the youngster at range and prevented Ishizawa from getting inside, where he needed to be.
After really taking a lot of punishment Ishizawa managed to have some success in round 4, as Taniguchi began to get a little too close. Taniguchi was momentarily rocked, but came back, doing enough to win the round and learn his lesson, Ishizawa wasn't done. That lesson would be shown again in round 5, as Ishizawa began to come on strong, and Taniguchi seemed to begin to slow. Late in the round an Ishizawa combination sent Taniguchi down, securing a huge knockdown for the youngster and began a huge momentum shift.
The confidence that Ishizawa's knockdown had injected into his fighting showed up early in round 6 as he amped up the pressure, and began to find Taniguchi's head with clean, hard shots. Taniguchi fought back, bravely, but was now fighting Ishizawa's fight as the two traded on the inside, in what was a disgustingly brutal and beautifully violent round that saw both men being rocked! At one point it seemed Ishizawa was about done, but he roared back in the final moments. The brutality and all action nature of round 6 continued into the 7th, it was less a new round and instead a continuation of what the fight had become. Sadly for Ishizawa it seemed that his energy reserves were running low and Taniguchi took back control, relying on his experience to out box, out punch and out battle the younger man.
Knowing he was behind Ishizawa fought round 8 like a man who knew he had to score a KO. He was taking risks, bringing pressure and letting his hands go. He knew he had to see off Taniguchi to get the win, and he wasn't going to go down without trying. Taniguchi however wasn't going to roll over and instead he stood his ground and played his part in another thrilling round that saw him end the contest with a huge combination. Taniguchi could have ran, could have played safety, but instead he fought like he also wanted a knockout and gave the fans another brilliant round.
As we went to the bell Taniguchi celebrated, knowing he'd done enough whilst Ishizawa went back to his corner, accepting the defeat before it was official. The scores confirmed what we already knew, Taniguchi had won, and secured himself a Japanese title fight in 2020, at the Champion Carnival. The scores were 77-74, twice, and 78-74, all in his favour.
For Taniguchi the win keeps him in the title mix whilst Ishizawa will bounce back from this loss with a lot of questions answered. Sadly Ishizawa's lack of experience showed through, but few can his effort. For both fighters this was a painful war, but one that will have done them no harm at all with fans. A genuine fight of the year contender, and round 6 should be in the conversation as the best round of the year. A truly incredible fight.
Dangan 227 is taking as we speak, and we're now through the rather exciting under-card bouts which were shown live on Boxing Raise.
The show began with an all out thriller between Teiken youngster Kento Matsuoka (1-0-1) [松岡拳人] and 31 year old Suguru Ishikawa (1-1, 1) [石川優]. The opening round saw Ishikawa hurt, and later drop, Matsuoka. The right hand of Ishikawa continued to carry serious danger but Matsuoka dug deep and our worked Ishikawa, leaving him with a bloodied nose in round 3. The final round saw the men fighting to a standstill in truly amazing round of action, with both men being rocked and biting down on their gum shields.
After 4 rounds the judges score-cards were read out, 38-38, and 38-37, twice, to give Matsuoka the majority decision win.
After the thrilling opener we then had a bit of a strange one as Takahiro Araki (12-9, 4) [荒木 貴裕] and Yuji Awata (12-6-1, 5) [粟田 祐之] saw their styles fail to gel.
The two men both adopted counter punching game plans in the opening round, which only really saw 1 notable punch being landed, a shot that forced the referee to give a count to Araki who seemed to be kept up by the ropes. The second was also mostly quiet, with Araki getting the better of it, until he took a risk too many and they two began to exchange. When that happened Araki was dropped, for the second time. He beat the 10 count but the referee seemed to be thinking about his health and waved the bout off.
Whilst Awata will be celebrating the win, especially given he was the under-dog going up against the Japanese ranked Araki, this is not a bout many will be rushing to rewatch.
The third of the under-card bouts, the final bout we're covering in this results article, saw Japanese-Afghan hopeful Kudura Kaneko (11-0, 8) [クドゥラ 金子] continue his ascent up the rankings as he stopped rugged veteran Moon Hyon Yun (18-8-3, 4) [尹 文鉉]. The bout started slowly, with Kaneko establishing total control behind his sharp, straight punches. It wasn't until the final seconds of the opening round that the touch paper seemed to be lit and we got an exchange.
Sadly for Yun he looked old, as if his long and hard career had caught up with him. His high output was none-existent and Kaneko found he was able to stop Yun in his tracks with his jab. In round 2 we found that Kaneko could also beat Yun in Yun's wheel yard, out landing him on the inside., Yun's toughness saw him eat some huge shots to head and body, including a massive uppercut, but towards the end of the round Kaneko put his foot on the gas and dropped Yun just moments before the bell. Yun would beat the count but have the bout waved off, at an official time of 3:09 of round 2
This is another good win for Kaneko and hopefully we see him in the mix for a senior title in 2020. For Yun it's time to retire. We didn't agree with the stoppage, or rather the timing of it, but it was clear that his hard and long career has caught up with him and he should think about hanging them up now, at the age of 35.
Yesterday at the Mandaluyong City Hall Grounds fight fans had the chance to see the fast rising Carl Jammes Martin (14-0, 13) claim his latest win, and the PBF Bantamweight title.
The all action Martin was up against veteran Benezer Alolod (19-13-5, 7) in what was a clear step up for the youngster. Unlike many who have faced Martin Alolod wasn't there to lose, and he was pressing Martin back at times, though like many had no real answer when Martin opened up. It was when Martin let his shots fly that he scored an early knockdown.
Despite being dropped early on Alolod tried to fight his way back into the contest and again applied pressure in round 2. It was clear Alolod had the intention of breaking down Martin, putting the youngster on the back foot and taking away Martin's confidence. Sadly however it came at a cost for Alolod and not only did he struggle to land much clean, but when the tables were turned Martin really went to turn and took the play away.
In round 7 Alolod's resistance finally folded as he was dropped again and the referee immediately waved the bout off. That was despite some complaints from Alolod who looked like he was fine and could go on, but was clearly a long way behind.
For Martin this was exactly what he needed. A real test against someone there to win and tough enough to take some of his shots. This was Martin's longest bout since he took an 8 round decision over Jason Buenaobra in 2017 and this bout really ticked every box the youngster could want ticking. A move to the legitimate regional level should follow, but there's no need to rush the youngster there quite yet.
For Alolod this was a second straight loss and a 5th loss in 7, however his performance was great and he has, again, proven his value as a top domestic gate keeper and a true servant of the Filipino boxing scene.
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