Earlier today at the EDION Arena Osaka fans saw former Japanese title challenger Ryo Kosaka (17-4-1, 8) [小坂遼] record a decision win over domestic foe Jinya Ito (7-5-1, 2).
Kosaka, who is ranked by the JBC and OPBF, started the year in terrible fashion, being blasted out inside a round by the then Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Yusaku Kuga in 133 seconds. That bout was way back in March and he remained out of the ring until today. With around 9 months out of the ring, and just 2 rounds in almost 18 months, he didn't look as sharp as he had done in the past and it was clear there was ring rust on him during the performance.
Ito, who was last seen being stopped inside a round by Takuya Mizuno in July, started well, taking advantages of Kosaka's rustiness and and took the fight to his more accomplished foe to begin with. As the fight went on however Ito began to slow and Kosaka found his timing, range and smoothness, landing some very solid body shots whilst starting to press the action.
Ito knew his good start wasn't enough as the two men went into the 8th round, and Ito picked up the tempo, looking to drop his foe, and turn the bout around. It was however too little too late, with Kosaka taking the unanimous decision, with scores of 78-75 from all 3 judges
Given the early rust it's clear that Kosaka needs to be busier in 2019. For Ito this was a second straight loss, and a 5th loss in 8 which is worrying for his career, though at 23 years old he does have time to rebuild. This performance was promising for Ito, but there is a lot of work to do if he's ever going to make an actual mark on the domestic scene.
Earlier today fight fans at the Korakuen Hall saw Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Yusaka Kuga (16-2-1, 11) [久我勇作] record his second title defense, as be blitzed mandatory challenger Ryo Kosaka (16-4-1, 7) [小坂遼] in just 133 seconds.
Kosaka looked like he was there to win and started looking for body shots, but had no answer to Kuga's power, and was dropped after about 90 seconds. Kosaka got back to his feet but was down again only moments later with a left , forcing the referee to stop the bout with Kosaka back on his feet but lookihookng like a fighter who needed saving before Kuga got the chance to land another bomb.
Having blown away his over-matched challenger Kuga's attention turned towards the future and he's now being linked to his third defense, which is looking likely to take place in Summer and could be against former world title challenger Shingo Wake (23-5-2, 15) [和氣 慎吾]. That bout would essentially act as not only a Japanese title fight but also a worldtitle eliminator, with both men holding a number of world rankings.
Interestingly before Kuga's bout Wake was involved in a public exhibition with another former world title challenger, Shohei Omori (18-2, 13) [大森 将平] who was supposed to fight on the card, before his opponent Coach Hiroto (13-2-2, 4) [小内義人] failed to make weight, resulting in the exhibition bout.
(Image coutesy of boxmob.jp)
Tomorrow fight fans in Japan will get the chance to see Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Yusaka Kuga (15-2-1, 10) [久我勇作] defend his title against mandatory challenger Ryo Kosaka (16-3-1, 7) [小坂遼]. The bout, held at the Korakuen Hall, will be shown on Wednesday on tape delay on TBS and promises to be an explosive clash as Kuga attempts to make a statement and move towards a world title fight.
Today the two men took part in their weigh in for the contest.
On the scales both men were just under the limit, by 100g, or around .2lbs and both looked in good shape.
For Kuga the weight is pretty much the same as he was in his title win, last February against Yasutaka Ishimoto in their second meeting. As for Kosaka the weight is the same as he has been in his last 3 bouts. Kuga looked relaxed through out the weigh in whilst Kosaka looked a big more tense than the champion, though it should be noted than the challenger really is stepping up massively for this bout, and is ony really getting the shot due to Ishimoto retiring, rather than taking on the mandatory position he earned last year.
As mentioned, fans wanting to watch this one won't need to wait long as it will be aired on Wednesday night.
Kuga and Kosaka Clash for Japanese crown!
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Talented Japanese fighter Shohei Omori (18-2, 13) [大森 将平] was last seen in action last April, when he suffered an 11th round TKO loss to Marlon Tapales in a bout for the WBO Bantamweight title. The loss saw Omori suffer a serious facial injury and need surgery to recover from the damage. Today we saw new finally break of Omori's ring return, with both date,venue and opponent all being revealed.
The exciting Woz gym fighter will be moving to Super Bantamweight for his return and will face off with fellow Japanese fighter Coach Hiroto (13-2-2, 4) [小内義人], with the bout scheduled to take place on March 27th at the Korakuen Hall.
The fight will be Omori's first against a domestic opponent since he defended the Japanese Bantamweight title against Hirofumi Mukai way back in September 2015. Following that win he has gone 3-2 (3) against foreign foes, suffering a pair of stoppage losses to Tapales as well as stoppage wins over Espinos Sabu, Edgar Jimenez and Rocky Fuentes. Notably this will be his first bout as a fully fledged Super Bantamweight, though he did dip his toes in the weight class when he fought Fuentes at 121.25lbs.
Hiroto seemed to retire from boxing in 2012, following a loss to Eiji Tsutsumi, but returned last year, after almost 5 years away from the ring, and has since gone 2-0-1 (1). The last of those bouts was in January, when he fought to a draw with the very talented Ryo Hino. He will be looking to continue his unbeaten run since his ring return, and take a huge step towards gwtting a shot at the Japanese title in the process. This is however a huge step up for Hitoro, and he will clearly be the under-dog against the hard hitting Omori.
The bout will act as the chief support contest on a show headlined by a Japanese Super Bantamweight title fight between defending champion Yusaka Kuga (15-2-1, 10) [久我勇作] and mandatory challenger Ryo Kosaka (15-3-1, 7) [小坂遼]. A potential show down between the two winners could be a very mouth watering contest for later in the year.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
One of the key parts of the Japanese boxing calendar is the Champion Carnival, which takes place over the first 6 months of the year and sees the national champions defending their titles against their mandatory challengers.
Today we saw the bouts being announced for the 2018 Champion Carnival at a huge press confeence, and as with every year, there were some brilliant bouts being announced.
At Minimumweight we'll see Ryoki Hirai (10-4-1, 4) [平井亮輝] and Shin Ono (21-9-3, 5) [小野 心] battle for the vacant title, which was given up by Reiya Konishi (15-0, 5) [小西伶弥] a few days ago. The bout will be Hirai's first title bout, whilst the experienced Ono will be getting his 4th shot at a Japanese title, having previously won an OPBF title and having several world title bouts. This bout will take place in Kobe on April 22nd and should be a very, very good match up.
The Light Flyweight bout will see defending champion Tetsuya Hisada (30-9-2, 19) [久田 哲也] make his 3rd defense of the title, as he takes on Koji Itagaki (18-11-3, 7) [板垣幸司]. This looks like a mismatch on paper, but it will be Itagaki's first, and likely last, shot at a domestic title and he sounded determined and confident at today's event. This contest has been pencilled in for April 19th and will take place in Osaka.
Although a number of bouts were announced today, some were already known about. One such bout was the Flyweight contest, which will see Masayuki Kuroda (28-7-3, 16) [黒田 雅之] defending his title against the exciting Katsunori Nagamine (14-1-1, 10) [長嶺克則. This will be Kuroda's third defense of the title, whilst Nagamine will be having his first challenge, and the bout really does have the potential to be a real thriller. As mentioned this bout was already known about, and will take place on March 3rd, as previously reported.
At Super Flyweight we'll be getting a rematch between Hiroyuki Kudaka (25-17-2, 11) [久高寛之] and Go Onaga (28-3-4, 19) [翁長 吾央], who face off following a technical draw in December. The two men will be fighting for the currently vacant title, which was given up by Ryuichi Funai (29-7, 20) [船井 龍一] earlier this week. Sadly at the time of writing this bout has no venue, or set date, but seems likely to be fought in Tokyo on either a Dangan show or an Ohashi one, potentially in April or May.
Interestingly the first Champion Carnival bout comes in just over a week's time, as Ryo Akaho (31-2-2, 20) [赤穂 亮] defends his Bantamweight title against Yusuke Suzuki (9-3, 6) [鈴木悠介] at the Korakuen Hall on January 20th, in a bout set to be televised on G+. For Akaho the bout willbe his second defense, whilst Suzuki gets his first title fight, in what looks like a really exciting way to kick off the 2018 Champion Carnival, and should be a very brutal bout.
At Super Bantamweight we'll see Ryo Kosaka (15-3-1, 7) [小坂遼] challenging champion Yusaka Kuga (15-2-1, 10) [久我勇作], with Kosaka essentially filling in for the injured Yasutaka Ishimoto (31-9, 9) [石本康隆]. The bout is a decent looking one, but it's hard to not expect a win for the champion, who has looked fantastic in a number of recent contests, and could well find himself in the world title mix later this year. This bout is scheduled for March 27th at the Korakuen Hall.
Featherweight champion Takenori Ohashi (15-4-2, 10) [大橋健典] will look to build from his dramatic 2017 win over Kosuke Saka (16-4, 13) [坂晃典] as he defends his title against fellow puncher Taiki Minamoto (14-5, 11) [源大輝]. This bout promises to be explosive, even if both are a bit crude, and Ohashi will be hoping to avoid a similar finish to his title win, where Saka turned away thinking he had heard the bell, and got iced by Ohashi in the final seconds of the round. These two will meet on April 7th at the Korakuen Hall.
In early February we'll see Ken Osato (13-1-1, 4) [大里拳] challenge Super Featherweight champion Masaru Sueyoshi (16-1, 10) [末吉 大]. For Sueyoshi this will be his first defense whilst Osato looks to build on his big 2017 win over Satoru Sugita (13-5-1, 8) [杉田聖]. The talented Sueyoshi has frustrated at times, but does look class when he gets going and should be favoured here for the February 3rd bout, but Osato is in good form and could easily spring the upset, if Sueyoshi is anything less than his best.
At Lightweight we'll see the very talented Shuichiro Yoshino (6-0, 4) [吉野修一郎] defending his title, for the first time, against Masaki Saito (14-12-6, 5) [斉藤正樹]. Yoshino has really shined so far in his short career and looks to be a star of the future for Japanese boxing, though will obviously need to get his first defense under his belt before becoming a star. Saito looks like a limited challenger, though is a very experienced fighter and should be able to give Yoshino some questions. This bout will be taking place on February 8th at the Korakuen Hall.
The Light Welterweight contests looks set to be one of the most exciting, as Valentine Hosokawa (22-6-3, 9) [細川バレンタイン] makes his first defense, and takes on the heavy handed Vladimir Baez (24-3-2-22). This bout looks likely to be a war, and whilst Baez will be the favourite, despite being the challenger, we can't rule out the champion, who hs long been under-rated. Like many this contest will take place at the Korakuen Hall and is set for May 7th.
One of the most explosive bouts on paper will see Welterweight champion Toshio Arikawa (15-4, 13) [有川 稔男] taking on fellow puncher Ryota Yada (14-4, 11) [矢田良太]. The contest might not have a future world champion or potential star in it, but given the power of both men this should be a shoot out, and could be something fvery, very special for the fans, who will be in the Korakuen Hall on April 16th.
At Light Middleweight we'll see triple crown winner Takeshi Inoue (12-0-1, 7) [井上 岳志] take on former Welterweight champion Nobuyuki Shindo (19-4-1, 8) [新藤寛之] in what should be a really good test for Inoue, who will be lookibg at bigger and better things in 2018. Shindo's reign at Welterweight was a short one, and whilst he will be hoping to become a 2-weight champion he is really up against it here against the fantastic Inoue. This bout is set to take place on April 26th at the Korakuen Hall.
The heaviest weight being contested at this year's Champion Carnival is Middleweight, and it may well end up being the best of the bouts, as March 3rd plays host to a contest between defending champion Hikaru Nishida (17-8-1, 8) [西田 光] and the heavy handed Kazuto Takesako (7-0, 7) [竹迫司登]. Nishida is a freakishly strong fighter who brings a lot of pressure, and whilst he can be out boxed he is a tough and aggressive nightmare,. Takesako on the other hand is a really brutish puncher and this will be something very special.
The winners of the bouts will of course be the defending champion, and will also be in the running for a number of prizes, including a notable award for being crowned the MVP of the Champion Carnival, or winning either the Skill or Battle awards.
(Photographs courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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