Over the weekend news broke that the Shirai Gushiken Sports Gym (SGS) had lost two of it's more notable fighters, who have transferred to other gyms.
One of those was the popular Kenya Yamashita (13-5, 10) [山下賢哉], who revealed over social media that he had left to join the JB Sports Gym, who will be guiding his career going forward. His first fight with his new gym has yet to be announced, but it will be his first bout since losing in Philippines to John Riel Casimero.
The other is Japanese ranked Welterweight Riku Nagahama (9-2-1, 4) [長濱陸], who has signed with the Kadoebi Gym, who continue their recent talent acquisition spree which has really seen them building a depth in the higher divisions in Japan. There is, obviously, work to do, but it does seem like they want to make a mark in the Welterweight to Middleweight ranks.
Whilst these aren't the biggest names at the SGS gym it does leave question marks about the future of the gym, which is run by Yoko Gushiken.
Earlier today Japanese fans at the Korakuen Hall had the chance to see a Japanese Light Midddleweight title fight, as talented champion Takeshi Inoue (11-0-1, 6) [井上 岳志] recorded his first defense, and stopped #1 ranked contender Riku Nagahama (7-1-1, 3) [長濱 陸].
Nagahama looked relaxed as he began the bout, whilst Inoue looked like a man feeling the pressure of being a champion. The confidence of Nagahama showed early on, as he looked to apply pressure to Inoue, but it didn't take long for Inoue to find his range and use his his skills to gain Nagahama's respect, and build his own confidence.
The challenger had a good second round, pressing the action and landing one or two body shots, but it was clear that Inoue was settling and using his feet to counter the challenger, landing his stiff right hands and looking like a man who was realising he was the champion.
In round 3 it was Inoue who began to up the tempo, and Nagahama was forced to grit his teeth, with the challenger looking to move up a gear himself just to keep up with Inoue. It was something he couldn't do and by the end of 5 Inoue looked in total control, something that was shown on the score-cards which read 50-45, twice, and 49-46 in favour of the champion.
With a comfortable lead behind him Inoue could have turned negative and took an easy decision. Instead he turned vicious, looking not to just win but to make a statement and in round 8 he finally broke through Nagahama's resilience and forced the referee to save the challenger, who was spent and beaten by the time he was saved.
After the bout it was revealed that Inoue would look to fit in one more defense before the end of 2017, whilst it's back to the drawing board for Nagahama, who stepped up massively here, and was found wanting as Inoue was too good, too aggressive and too experienced for the challenger.
(Image coutesy of boxmob.jp)
Tomorrow Japanese fight fans in Tokyo will get the chance to see a Japanese Light Middleweight title bout between defending champion Takeshi Inoue (10-0-1, 5) [井上 岳志], defending his belt for the first time, and #1 ranked contender Riku Nagahama (7-0-1, 3) [長濱 陸]. The bout is a mouth watering one and should be a real highlight for fans at the Japanese Holy ground of boxing.
Today the two fighters took part in their weigh in for the contest and both came in under the divisional limit, and looked in good shape.
A confident champion, who came in at 153.9lbs, seemed to have scourted the challenger but suggested that his speed, skills and power would be too much for Nagahama, whilst promising a victory and his first defense.
The challenger was surprisingly light at 153.2lbs and stated that he had sparred more than 60 rounds for the bout. Whilst confident, claiming he would score a KO, he did admit that he was tense with excitement and suggested that it could be impossible to sleep tonight. He was full of varying emotions but stated that he would take the belt form Inoue.
Inoue looks for first defense in bout against unbeaten Nagahama!
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Last year we saw Heavy handed Japanese Keita Obara (16-2-1, 14) [小原 佳太] come up short in a world title bout at 140lbs against Russian banger Eduard Troyanovsky, since then he has fought just once, beating Indonesian Larry Siwu in a bout at Welterweight.
Today saw the announcement of his second bout since that loss, a bout that will see him fight for his first Welterweight title, and see him try to claim the WBO Asia Pacific Welteweight title. The opponent for the bout will be hard hitting Thai foe Saddam Kietyongyuth (26-2, 21), aka Narong Boonchan, who has won his last 3 and was once dubbed "Da Bomb". With the bout set to take place on August 10th at the Korakuen Hall as part of a Diamond Glove card, meaning Fuji TV will be involved in the card,
On paper Obara Vs Saddam looks a really good one. Both guys are flawed, but both can seriously bang and neither will be there to make up the numbers, though wecan't help but favour the more tested Obara against the older Thai.
The bout has been added to a card which already included a Japanese Light Middleweight title bout between defending champion Takeshi Inoue (10-0-1, 5) [井上 岳志] and #1 ranked domestic challenger Riku Nagahama (7-0-1, 3) [長濱 陸] and the next bout in the promising career of Shuichiro Yoshino (4-0, 2) [吉野 修一郎], who will likely be looking for a title fight himself by the end of 2017.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Earlier today saw the announcement that Japanese Light Middleweight champion Takeshi Inoue (10-0-1, 5) [井上 岳志] would be making his first defense of the title on August 10th, with his challenger set to be #1 ranked domestic challenger Riku Nagahama (7-0-1, 3) [長濱 陸].
Inoue, who won the title back in April when he stopped veteran Koshinmaru Saito for the vacant title, has had a great year already with wins over Saito and Akinori Watanabe and looks like a man with a very bright future ahead of him. This however is a tough first defense against a fellow unbeaten. If Inoue retains than he has a good shout to have had one of the best years of any Japanese domestic level fighter this year.
Nagahama, a member of the Shirai Gushiken gym, began his career with a draw, like Inoue rather strangely, but quickly impressed and won the 2015 Rookie of the Year at Middleweight. In 2016 he moved down in weight and seemed much more suited to the 154lb limit, where he has now scored a trio of stoppages and looked pretty potent.
The bout will headline a Diamond Glove card, which means Fuji TV will show the bout, but as of yet the rest of the card is a mystery with the bout being the only one announced so far.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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