Earlier today reliable Korean sources informed us that OPBF Light Welterweight champion Rikki Naito (23-2, 7) [内藤 律樹] will be heading to Korea to make his next defense of the regional title.
The second generation Japanese fighter had apparently been in talks to make his UK debut earlier in the year, but plans have changed and instead Naito is apparently pencilled in to defend his title against Gyu Beon Jeon (9-3-1, 4) [전규범] on August 15th in Korea, though a venue hasn't yet been secured for the bout.
For Naito the bout would be his third defense of the Korean title and see him looking to build on exciting wins over Jhertiz Chavez and Daishi Nagata. It would also be his first bout out of Japan, and potentially his first bout since last October, when he narrowly beat Nagata in a brilliant 12 round contest. Despite the inactivity and the fact he would be travelling for this one, he will still be strongly favoured over the Korean local who hasn't fought close to the level of Naito.
The 26 year old Jeon is currently riding a 5 fight winning run, but the best of those wins is a victory over domestic foe Dong Hee Kim. This is a massive step up for him, but one he and his team appear confident in making.
At the moment this news is doing the rounds in Korea, with many reporting the deal is signed and sealed, and we suspect an official announcement will be made in a few weeks time, after a venue has been secured for the bout.
Just over a week ago we reported that Tsubasa Koura (14-0, 9) [小浦 翼] would be making his next defense of the OPBF Minimumweight title against Filipino challenger Lito Dante (15-10-4, 7) on March 31st in Kanagawa. At the time details on specifics weren't available though now we have seen more information come out about the show.
The bout will indeed be held on a Dangan card, but it's a Dangan and E&J Cassius Gym joint promoted show, with the event being held to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the E&J Cassius Gym, run by Cassius Naito. The venue of the show in Yokohama has also been selected due to it being an historical place of for Japanese boxing, with one of the first gyms being there and other events being held in and around Yokohama back then.
As well Koura's bout it has also been announced that Mirai Naito (6-1, 2) [内藤 未来] will feature in the main supporting bout whilst his older brother Rikki Naito (23-2, 7) [内藤 律樹] will participate in a sparring session. Both Naito and Rikki are son's of promoter Cassius.
A more complete look at the show is expected in the coming weeks, with Mirai Naito's opponent being named and Rikki Naito's sparring partner.
Earlier today Japanese fight fans got a domestic treat the Korakuen Hall as Rikki Naito (23-2, 7) [内藤 律樹] battled against Daishi Nagata (11-2-1, 5) [永田 大士], with Naito looking to make his second defense of the OPBF Light Welterweight title.
The bout had originally been criticised in some circles, given that Nagata had been stopped by Vladimir Baez not too long ago, but that criticism was silenced by a fantastic back and forth war.
Nagata got off to a great start winning the first round on all 3 cards and being on the lead on all 3 cards after 3 rounds. He had managed to quickly establish his jab and find a home for his straight southpaw left hand. Naito however had done enough to be level on all 3 cards when the scores were announced after the 4th round, with all 3 judges scoring the bout at 38-38.
Nagata would have a good round 5 but the middle of the rounds saw little to split the two men, with rounds 6 and 7 both being Naito rounds before Nagata took round 8. This left the two men level on 2 of the scorecards whilst the third favoured Naito 77-75, when the scores were publicly announced for the second time.
Round 9 was a close one though in round 10 Nagata made a statement dropping Naito hard. To his credit Naito got to his feet and survived through the final round before rebounding well the following round to take round 11. Amazingly it went down to the last round, literally with all 3 judges having the bout scored at 104-104. The two fighters knew it was close and they both went all out looking to make a statement in an amazing round that left the decision really in the air.
The final bell rang and lead to the judges being called in, with all three having the bout incredibly close. The first judge favoured Nagata, 114-113, the other two however over-ruled him, scoring it 114-113 to Naito, narrowly retained his title in a second close defense. For Nagata the performance shows he's title quality and he will likely get another title fight in the near future. For Naito the win does little to establish him as the best in Asia, and we wouldn't be surprised to see him being dethroned in 2019, likely by stoppage.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
There's a triple header taking place at the Korakuen Hall tomorrow, with the main event from that card being an OPBF Light Welterweight title bout.
The contest will see Rikki Naito (20-2, 7) [内藤 律樹] making his second defense of the title, as he takes on domestic foe Daishi Nagata (11-1-1, 5) [永田 大士] in what we expect to be a very competitive and exciting contest.
Today the two men took part in their weigh in and both men made the 140lb limit whilst looking in great condition.
Naito spoke about his edge in terms of career experience and skills, and that he wants to show his skills whilst looking for a KO win. He looked very confident, despite having been pushed all the way in his last bout, a razor thin over Filipino foe Jheritz Chavez. Nagata on the other sounded more determined and vowed to take the title. Nagata was a solid amateur and it seems like he'll be relying on his amateur background here. He's clearly the under-dog, but Nagata is a talent and is focused focused on scoring the upset here.
Related - Naito takes on Nagata in next OPBF title defense!
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Back on August 10th we reported that OPBF Light Welterweight champion Rikki Naito (20-2, 7) [内藤 律樹] would be making his next defense on October 11th at the Korakuen Hall against Daishi Nagata (11-1-1, 5) [永田 大士] at a Diamond Glove card.
Following that we reported a second title bout had been a added the October 11th card, making the show a double header. That second title fight was a Japanese Youth Bantamweight title bout between the unbeaten Ryuto Owan (5-0, 3) [大湾硫斗] and the once beaten Tetsu Araki (11-1-1, 2) [荒木哲], in what looks like a great match up, and a chance for the two youngsters to get their first taste of gold.
Now we've been informed the show will actually be a triple header! The third title bout set for this show will see WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight champion Hiroaki Teshigawara (17-2-2, 10) [勅使河原 弘晶] moving up in weight to face off with Filipino Glenn Suminguit (21-3, 11) for the OPBF Super Bantamweight title, which has been vacated by former champion Hidenori Otake.
For the 28 year old Teshigawara the bout will see him return to the Super Bantamweight division, a division that he has flirted with but never really committed to. Despite never being a fully fledged Super Bantamweight he has stated problems making 118lbs in the past and a move up may well bee the best idea for his career going forward.
As for the Filipino he has actually fought as high as Super Featherweight, but achieved his most notable results at Bantamweight, claiming the GAB Bantamweight title in 2016 and making a defense of the title last year. Notably he doesn't appear to have any problems making 118lbs, 130lbs or anything between them.
This is arguably the best of the bouts now set for the show, which will also feature the hard hitting Ryosuke Takami (12-2, 11) [高見 良祐] though his opponent is yet to be announced, and promises to be a thrilling contest.
At the moment it's unclear whether Teshigawara is looking to make the move up in weight permanent, but if he does there is a very possible rush for the WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight title that he'll be leaving behind featuring the likes of Keita Kurihara (12-5, 11) [栗原 慶太], Yusuke Suzuki (9-3, 6) [鈴木悠介] and Kyosuke Sawada (12-2-1, 6) [澤田京介], who would all be very interested in claiming a notable title in the near future.
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