Earlier today fights fans at the Korakuen Hall, and those who subscribe to Boxing Raise, saw the quarter finals of Hajime No Ippo 30th anniversary tournament, with 3 quarter finals taking places to see who joined Filipino veteran Richard Pumicpic (21-10-2, 6) in the final 4.
The first of the quarter finals saw Korean fighter Jae Woo Lee (7-2, 6) [이재우] score a big upset as he stopped local puncher Tsuyoshi Tameda (21-5-2, 19) [溜田剛士] in a fire fight of a bout. From very early on the two men were standing at mid-range and unleashing bombs at each other. The opening round was an intense back and forth tear up as both men looked to prove their toughness, rather than their technical skills.
This was an opening round that would have been raved about had it been shown on UK or US TV and left Tameda with a bloodied nose. the hot action continued in to 2 round, as the men began to mix more body shots into their intense and brutal exchanges. This was wild, entertaining and absolutely sensational stuff from both men, who were showing their will to win and incredible desire. That desire finally began to track in round 3, as the tempo and damage to began to take a toll on both men, with Tameda showing the scars of war, with a huge cut over his left eye. That cut seemed to spur him on and he took more risks, but was dropped hard as a result He got up, now a bloodied mess after an exchange the referee jumped in to save the local. With the 3rd round TKO win for Lee he progresses to the tournament, and given his performance he is going to be a very, very hard man to beat.
In the second bout local fans were given something to celebrate as Shingo Kusano (12-8-1, 5) [草野慎悟] stopped Chinese visitor Qiang Ma (5-2-2, 3) [马强], in an up and down battle. Kusano was dropped in the opening round, twice, as he fell to the wrong end of a 10-7 round. Ma continued to pressure through the round and seemed on the verge of a stoppage win at one point. Sadly for Ma his opportunity slipped away and Kusano managed to settle to his rhythm, and he hurt Ma early in round 5. Ma never really managed to recover, tiring instead as he lost his form and was dropped. Although he got back to his feet Kusano refused to let off and forced the referee in to save an exhausted looking Ma.
The third of the bouts looked the best on paper, but was somewhat under-whelming as Koshin Takeshima (4-0-1, 3) [竹嶋宏心] and Daisuke Watanabe (9-4-2, 6) [渡部大介] saw their bout end in a technical draw. On the paper this had the makings of an excellent bout, but the two men had styles that that never quite gelled, and in the opening round we managed to have a head clash. It was exciting, but always a touch wild and clumsy from both, with the two men seemingly wanting to out-excited the fans who had been on the edge of their seat for the Tameda Vs Lee bout. It only took until round 2 for a time bomb to be put on the fight as Takeshima suffered a cut. The cut didn't force an immediate halt but did worsen as the bout went on and forced the referee to stop the contest in round 4.
With the bout being stopped we went to the scores cards, with scores of 38-38, 37-39 and 39-38 causing a technical draw. Due to the scoring rules of the tournament it was Watanabe, who had the 39-37 card in his favour, that advances to the final 4.
The semi finals for the tournament will take place on February 27th at Korakuen Hall, with the the final set to take place in May at the Sumida Ward General Gymnasium.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier this week we broke the news that Korean fighter Jae Woo Lee (6-2, 5) [이재우] would be participating in the tournament set up to celebrate the 30th anniversary of popular manga Hajime No Ippo. Today the draw for the competition took place, for what will actually be a 7 man, 3 foreign fighters and 4 Japanese ones, tournament spread over 6 months.
The draw, which was done live on youtube earlier today, saw Lee being drawn against Japan's Tsuyoshi Tameda (21-4-2, 19) [溜田剛士], in what looks like a really explosive match up in one of the 3 quarter-finals.
A second quarter-final will see local fighter Shingo Kusano (11-8-1, 4) [草野慎悟] take on Chinese visitor Qiang Ma (5-1-2, 3) [马强], in what looks less interesting than the first, but should be evenly matched given the limitations of both. Ma enters on a 7 fight unbeaten run, and has won the WBO Great China Featherweight title, so he has form, though the 30 year Kusano has lost his last 4 in a row.
The third, and final, quarter final bout will be an all-Japanese bout, as the unbeaten Koshin Takeshima (4-0, 3) [竹嶋宏心] take on the under-rated Daisuke Watanabe (9-4-1, 6) [渡部大介] in a mouth watering match up.
As a result of only 7 men competing a bye has been given to Filipino Richard Pumicpic (21-10-2, 6).
The quarter-final bouts will all take place on November 19th with the winners of the first two quarter-finals will facing off and the winner of the third semi final facing Pumicpic in February next year. The final will then be held in May 2020.
The competition will see all quarter-final bouts being fought over 6 rounds whilst the later stages will be 8 round bouts.
Earlier today in Kumamoto fight fans saw local youngster Musashi Mori (9-0, 5) [森 武蔵] successfully defend the WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight title, as he took a split decision over tough Filipino Richard Pumicpic (21-10-2, 6).
The bout was a rematch of their 2018 contest, which saw Mori claim the title on the back of a technical decision. Thankfully this time around there was no early conclusion due to a clash of heads, though like their first bout, it was razor close, and the judges were split on the winner, with Mori taking the narrow win.
It was the challenger who got off to a great start, winning the first 2 rounds on all 3 cards, and the third round on the couple of the cards. That great start was down to Pumicpic landing his straight right hand and setting the tempo of the bout. Despite the success of Pumicpic, he was forced to take some body shots, and his movement, which had been key in the opening stages, began to slow in round 4. That is where Mori began his charge back in to the fight, taking rounds 4 and 5 to battle his way back into the bout.
Pumicpic refused to roll over though and upped his own tempo in round 6, landing his right hand with worry regularity. That forced Mori to change his gameplan, using his speed and range to fight at range. That proved to be a huge tactical decision that paid dividends with Mori taking rounds 9 and 10 before the two men clashed in center ring and warred, in a thrilling 10th round.
Mori's effort in round 10 took a lot out of him, and Pumicpic would take round 11, though Mori had a great bounce back round in the 12, and final, round, doing enough to take the round.
After 12 rounds the judges turned in scores of 115-113, twice, to Mori and 116-112 to Pumicpic, giving Mori a split decision win to retain the title. This was the toughest bout of his career, but he dug deep and took home the win. Pumicpic will feel disappointed to have not picked up the win, but few can fault his effort, and he will certainly be welcomed back in Japan to fight in the future, as he has once again tested the local and put in an excellent performance.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Tomorrow fight fans in Kumamoto will get the chance to see unbeaten local prospect Musashi Mori (8-0, 5) [森 武蔵] make his first defense of the WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight title as he takes on Richard Pumicpic (21-9-2, 6), the man he took the title from last year.
Today the two men took part in their weigh in for tomorrow's bout, and both men looked in incredible shape for the bout.
On the scales both men were 125lbs for the bout, 1 lbs under the divisional limit.
As mentioned Mori took the title from Pumicpic last year, though did so in inconclusive fashion, with a 5th round technical draw. Both men have come in making it clear they don't want another unclear ending. Mori told the Japanese press "This time it will be clearly black and white." On the other hand Pumicpic stated "I came to return the belt taken in November. Tomorrow, I will fight with full power in all rounds and win by KO".
Sadly for fight fans outside of Kumamoto the bout won't be available to watch, though TKU are showing it live in the region.
Related-Mori and Pumicpic battle again!
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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