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)
We've known for a while that the April 14th card in Kumamoto, headlined by Musashi Mori (8-0, 5) [森 武蔵] defending his WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight title against Richard Pumicpic (21-9-2, 6), would feature a host of exciting prospects. Those prospects now appear to have had their opponents named.
One of our most reliable and trusted sources have reported the opponents for Ginjiro Shigeoka (2-0, 2) [重岡銀次朗], Seiya Tsutsumi (4-0, 3) [堤聖也] and Sora Takeda (4-1,1) [竹田宙].
Shigeoka, who is regarded by many hardcore followers of the Japanese scene as one of the best prospects in the country, is listed as being up against Filipino Joel Lino (10-1-1, 3), in what is a brilliant match up.
Shigeoka, who turned professional last year, has looked sensational so far, but this is a worthwhile step up and sees him up against a man who took Masataka Taniguchi 12 rounds last year in a WBO Asia Pacific title bout. This is a real test, and a really tough bout for Shigeoka, who may be able to open eyes in a big way if he forces another stoppage. For Lino this is a chance to make his mark, but it is a very tough match up against one of the best young fighters on the planet.
Tsutsumi is listed as being up against experienced Filipino tough guy Ryan Rey Ponteras (22-13-3, 11), who has never been stopped in his 38 fight career. Given Tsutsumi's aggressive style and Ponteras's toughness this could be an amazingly exciting bout. Ponteras is no world beater, but is much better than his record suggest, whilst Tsutsumi has been out of the ring for a while, due to an injury that saw him cancel a bout in December.
As for Takeda his bout will see him going up against Thai Sanchai Yotboon (4-2, 4), who was stopped in September by a then debuting Shigeoka. The talented Takeda won the 2018 Rookie of the Year at Minimumweight and he should be far too skilled for the Thai visitor here.
Earlier today saw the announcement of the next Splendid Boxing card, set for April 14th in Kumamoto. The card is a really interesting one, and may be one of the most notable cards for Kumamoto this year.
The main event of the show will see Japanese youngster Musashi Mori (8-0, 5) [森 武蔵] making his first defense of the WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight title, as he takes on the man he beat for the belt, Richard Pumicpic (21-9-2, 6). These two fought last November, with Mori taking a split technical decision over Pumicpic to claim the title. The untimely ending seemed to please neither man, though Mori was obviously happy to have won the title, and the contest very much feels like they have unfinished business.
Whilst the main event is very attractive the under-card is also a rather interesting one, with 3 notable fighters announced for it.
One of those announced for the card is Ginjiro Shigeoka (1-0, 1) [重岡銀次朗], who is set for his first 8 round bout on the card. His opponent hasn't been announced, though he had revealed he wanted to fight a ranked foe on this show, and it's likely dependent on him getting through his February bout with no issues. The Watanabe teenage sensation is known to be chasing title fights in the near future and we wouldn't be surprised by him putting on a showcase here. This is a notable show for Shigeoka as he was actually born in Kumamoto.
Another promising fighter announced for the card is Shigeoka's stablemate Seiya Tsutsumi (4-0, 3) [堤聖也]. His opponent also hasn't been named who will be fighting for the time since October, after suffering an injury that forced him out of a December bout. Tsutsumi, injury aside, had a great 2018. He won a B Class tournament, gained international experience and created a fair bit of buzz, though that buzz has quietened down a little bit in the wake of his injury.
Also on this card Sora Takeda (4-1) [竹田宙], the 2018 Minimumweight Rookie of the Year, who will be fighting for the first time since since his Rookie of the Year win. As with Shigeoka and Tsutsumi his opponent also hasn't been announced.
Also confirmed for this card is Kanako Taniyama (1-0, 1) [谷山佳菜子] who will compete in a 2 round exhibition with Kana Fukuda (3-3-1, 1)[福田香奈].
Interestingly this card will get local TV coverage in Kumamoto, with TVU seemingly to be the channel airing it, though sadly this won't be widely available for fans outside of the local area.
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