Earlier today at the Korakuen Hall fans were given the rare chance to see a double award ceremony, with the award winners of the monthly awards for December and January both being recognised.
The December award winners were Satoshi Shimizu (8-0, 8) [清水 聡], who won the MVP award, Valentine Hosokawa (24-6-3, 11) [細川バレンタイン], who took the fighting spirit award and Taku Kuwahara (3-0, 2) [桑原拓], who was the Newcomer of the Month.
At today's ceremony Shimizu, who has now won the MVP award 3 times, spoke about being pleased at winning the award numerous times and seemed to suggest that he was on the verge of a big fight. It's known that he is eyeing a world title fight, or a world title eliminator, and rumours are suggesting that he may end up with something big in April or May.
The January award winners were Norihito Tanaka (18-7, 10) [田中教仁], who won the the MVP award, Ryoichi Tamura (12-3-1, 6) [田村 亮一], who was the Fighting Spirit award winner, and Naoto Fujimoto (11-9-1, 5) [藤本直人], the New Comer. Tanaka notable shared his thanks to the fans, and admitted that he thought his career would lack the spotlight of winning a title, though now has both a Japanese title and the MVP award.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
The main event of today's show at the Korakuen Hall saw OPBF Super Bantamweight champion Hiroaki Teshigawara (19-2-2, 12) [勅使河原 弘晶] successfully retain his title, winning in an exciting battle against the gutsy but over-powered Yuki Iriguchi (10-3-1, 4) [入口裕貴].
The fight started fast as both men looked to set a high pace from the opening moments. Defense was limited during the first stanza as both looked to force their will on the other. Things got worse for Iriguchi in the second round as Teshigawara began to find his range more and more often, using his jab to set up his pressure and left Iriguchi with a bloodied nose. The pace began to slow in round 3, as both looked to counter more often. After 4 rounds Teshigawara was leading on all 3 cards, with scores of 39-37, twice, and 40-36.
Teshigawara began to amp up the pressure in round 5, pushing Iriguchi back more and using his jab and left hook smartly. The clean, hurtful shots, were rare, but he was busting up Irigicuhi, who was beginning to show more and more damage as the rounds went on, despite a gallant fight back in round 7. Teshigawara began to go to the body more in round 8, and part way through the round and the referee finally saved Iriguchi who had shown bravery and guts but taken a lot of punishment through the bout.
Interestingly Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Ryoichi Tamura (12-3-1, 6) [田村 亮一], who was at the venue to be honoured as the Fight Spirit Award winner for January, seemed to be paying particular attention to this bout, and may well look to unify with Teshigawara, who was speaking about facing top domestic fighters after his win.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Earlier today the Japanese award winners for January were named, and all 3 winners came from the January 12th Korakune Hall show which was shown on Boxingraise.
The MVP for the month was the newly crowned Japanese Minimumweight champion Norihito Tanaka (18-7, 10) [田中教仁], who stopped Shin Ono (23-10-3, 6) [小野 心] in 8 rounds to become the new champion. The rugged veteran, who had previously come up short in bouts for the JBC and OPBF titles, really did look fantastic here, and made it very easy to forget that he was a 33 year old Minimumweight. It's going to be interesting to see what he does in his first defense, with the domestic scene being a really interesting one right now, but few can complain about him being the MVP.
The Fighting Spirit award was also won by a new champion, with JB Sport Gym warrior Ryoichi Tamura (12-3-1, 6) [田村 亮一] claiming the award for his Japanese Super Bantamweight title win over Mugicha Nakagawa (24-6-1, 14) [武田勇太]. The performance from Tamura was all fighting spirit, marching forward, bringing insane amounts of pressure and work rate, and never allowing Nakagawa to create space. It was a brutally wonderful performance from the tough Tamura.
The Newcomer Award was the strangest of the choices, with Naoto Fujimoto (11-9-1, 5) [藤本直人] take it for his win over charismatic veteran Ken Achiwa (11-15-5, 4) [阿知和賢].
The fighters will be recognised for their achievements in the award ceremony on February 14th at the "Diamond Glove" show which is being held at the Korakuen Hall.
The second Japanese title fight of 2019 saw the heavy handed Ryoichi Tamura (12-3-1, 6) [田村 亮一] put on an aggressive show case as he defeated Mugicha Nakagawa (24-6-1, 14) [武田勇太] to claim the Japanese Super Bantamweight title that was vacated by Shingo Wake (25-5-2, 17) [和氣 慎吾] late last year.
From the opening round Tamura put his flag in the ground and made it clear he was going to be the aggressive pressure fighting, backing Nakagawa up round after round and making life incredibly difficult for Nakagawa to do anything. The shots of Tamura rarely looked fluid, but they were forceful, hard and incessant, as he continually pressed forward, unloaded and hammered the head and body of Nakagawa. There were moments where Nakagawa responded, and had success with uppercuts in particular, but Tamura walked through them whilst landing his own blows in return.
Through the first 5 rounds it was hard to make a case for anything bu Tamura leading, and the judges agreed scoring it 50-45, 49-48 and 48-47, a bizarrely close card for what was looking like a very easy to close and very dominant 1-sided bout. There was a lot to be said about Nakagawa's heart and toughness, but he was looking out of his depth and uncompetitive with a very driven Tamura.
The crowd had responded to Nakagawa's efforts, him gritting his teeth and fighting back, chanting his name. That however served little help in terms of the action with Tamura continuing to march forward in the second half of the fight, landing solid right hands to head and body and regularly punching through the guard of Nakagawa, who ate progressively more shots as the bout went on.
It was only really round 7 that Tamura slowed down, having a battle of jabs with Nakagawa. In the rounds that followed Tamura again ramped up the pressure, and in rounds 9 and 10 he really did look for a stoppage, bouncing shots off Nakagawa's head. It was incredible to not only see Nakagawa standing up right but also firing off his own shots, he was like a human zombie, though he was taking a beating and wasn't competitive in the slightest.
It was amazing to see Nakagawa survive the 10 rounds, but when the bell came to end the fight it was clear that Tamura had won, with the judges scoring the bout 99-91, twice, and 97-93 giving Tamura the title in what was a brilliant performance.
For Nakagawa this was his second shot at the title, following a 2017 loss to Yusaku Kuga, and he simply had too much of everything for Nakagawa. The loser however, should realise the effort he put up, and his incredible toughness will have made him new fans and many will want to see him get another title opportunity in the near future.
It's fair to say that 2019 has started slowly but we are starting to see more and more things being added to the schedule.
Sadly it wasn't until earlier today that Boxingraise announced their line up for January, which we knew wouldn't be great,
The Japanese streaming and VOD service will only have 2 new cards this month, unless things change, however their card today, January 12th, will be live.
That live card will see Japanese Minimumweight champion Shin Ono (23-9-3, 6) [小野 心] defending his title against mandatory challenger Norihito Tanaka (17-7, 9) [田中教仁] and Mugicha Nakagawa (24-5-1, 14) [武田勇太] battling Ryoichi Tamura (11-3-1, 6) [田村 亮一] for the vacant Japanese Super Bantamweight title, which had been vacated late last year by Shingo Wake (25-5-2, 17) [和氣 慎吾]. The card is expected to start at 18:00 local time and will be the first Japanese show of the new year.
As well as that show Boxingraise will also add the January 31st card from the Koraluen Hall, which is a a card featuring 4 round bouts between novices.
The bigger selling point this month, in some ways, is the fact 4 cards from the Dangan Archive, Dangan 144,145,147 and 149, will be added to the Video on Demand section. Those shows took place in November and December 2015 and feature a good number of notable fights that weren't available in the past, giving subscribers something to look forward to during this quiet month.
(Image courtesy of boxingraise.com)
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