Lats month we reported that former WBO Flyweight champion Sho Kimura (17-2-2, 10) [木村翔] was planning to return to the ring in Spring in China. We have bow seen the OPBF confirmed that news, and also confirm the opponent and title status of the bout.
The OPBF revealed that the exciting Japanese fighter, who is hugely popular in China following his 2017 upset win over Zou Shiming, will be battling for the OPBF Silver Flyweight on March 30th in Shanghai. His opponent will be Thai veteran Pigmy Kokietgym (60-10-2, 24), aka Wicha Phulaikhao, a 37 year old who has been around the block a few times.
For Kimura the bout will be his first since losing the WBO Flyweight title to Kosei Tanaka (12-0, 7) [田中恒成] in September. His career was in doubt following that loss, but recently announced that he would be returning, and if we're honest few will complain about him having an easier bout. It's also worth noting that this will be his third bout on the Chinese mainland, and he's also fought once in Hong Kong.
For Pigmy this will be his first contest in almost a year, last being seen losing in 6 rounds to Masahiro Sakamoto last April. He's been a professional since 1999 and has twice fought for world titles, losing in both of those world title bouts.
It's a disappointing bout if you're a Kimura fan, but an understandable one, an easy comeback contest for the former world champion.
Interestingly this bout will take place on the same show as a number of Japan Vs China bouts, including the very interesting Flyweight contest between Ryota Yamauchi (4-0, 4) [山内涼太] and Wulan Tuolehazi (10-3-1, 5)
Earlier today the Kadoebi Gym took to twitter to announce 2 international bouts that their fighters would be involved in on March 30th in Shanghai, China. And if we're being honest both bouts like like they could be very interesting.
The "lesser" of the bouts will see Yusuke Konno (14-4, 7) [今野裕介] take on Chinese fighter Baishanbo Nasiyiwula (15-2-1, 6) [拜山波] in a 12 round bout at Light Welterweight.
Coming in to that one Konno, the Kaoebi promoted fighter and the under-dog, is riding a 3 fight winning run including upset wins over Kazuya Maruki and Vladimir Baez. Baishanbo on the other hand is entering the contest on the back of his technical decision win against Venezuelan Ernesto Espana. The bout will see Baishanbo risking his WBA International title, and his #14 WBA world ranking, a single place ahead of Uzbek Shakhram Giyasov at the time of writing.
Despite that bout being an interesting one it's the other bout that interests us more, and that will see the very highly regarded Ryota Yamauchi (4-0, 4) [山内涼太] take on Wulan Tuolehazi (10-3-1, 5), who will be risking his WBC and WBO world rankings. This Flyweight bout will also be over 12 rounds, and according to the tweet will also be for a WBA International title which hasn't been fought for since Artem Dalakian defended it in August 2013.
For those unaware Yamauchi is one of the best prospects in Japan and is a 24 year old with insane talent, who already holds wins over Lester Abutan and Yota Hori. This is however a huge step up in class for the fantastic boxer-puncher. Tuolehazi on the other hand is a world ranked Chinese fighter with wins over Kwanthai Sithmorseng and OPBF champion Jayr Raquinel. He's a cruder fighter, but more proven at this point than the Japanese prospect.
It should be noted that there is at least one other notable bout expected to be announced for this card in the coming days, and could be bigger than both of these contests.
Below- The tweet from Kadoebi confirming these two bouts.
Earlier today at the Korakuen Hall fight fans had the chance to see fast rising prospect Ryota Yamauchi (4-0, 4) [山内涼太] extend his perfect record as he took on Indonesian visitor Rio Nainggolan (4-9, 3).
Yamauchi, one of the most talented Japanese novices, had impressed us in recent performances and this looked like a stay busy bout for the prospect rather than a positive move forward. He however refused to over-look Nainggolan and boxed smartly, respecting the Indonesian southpaw and picking him apart in the opening round.
It would have been easy for Yamauchi to get excited and try to take out the visitor quickly, taking risks he didn't have to take. Instead he really used his brain and at the end of the opening round dropped Nainggolan with a brutal straight right hand to the body.
Having dropped Nainggolan in the opening round Yamauchi used round 2 as a round to tune up his jab. It wasn't exciting to see, but it was rather interesting to see the novice show how versatile his jab is and how how intelligent his footwork is.
He finally began to actually try to finish the bout in round 3, the same round that it Nainggolan was stopped by Petch CP Freshmart, Juki Tatsuyoshi and Carlo Caesar Penalosa. This caused the Indonesian to try fighting back but at no point did Yamauchi look bothered. Instead the Japanese fighter looked dangerous, composed and rather spiteful, dropping the visitor near the end of the round.
Sadly Yamauchi was denied a highlight reel finish when Nainggolan pulled out between rounds 3 and 4. Despite the lack of big ginisjh Yamauchi, once again, impressed and we would be really surprised if he doesn't fight for a title in 2019. He is one of the best prospects not just in Japan but in world boxing right now.
On October 1st the Kadobei Houseki Boxing Gym will host their next card under the "Slugfest" banner, "Slugfest 6" at the Korakuen Hall. The main event of that card has been known for a while, and will see former Japanese Featherweight champion Takenori Ohashi (15-5-2, 10) [大橋健典] battle against once beaten teenager Ruito Saeki (7-1, 1) [佐伯瑠壱斗].
Whilst the main event had been known about for weeks what wasn't so well known was the under-card, which had a number of talented Kadoebi prospects scheduled to fight on it, but none of them had their opponents. Thankfully that has changed and now we know a number of the match ups for the card. We have to admit that in some cases the bouts look underwhelming, but it's great to see prospects being active.
One of the prospects in action on the card will be the debuting Yuki Nakajima (0-0) [中嶋 憂輝], the younger brother of Ohashi gym prospect Kazuki Nakajima (5-0, 4) [中嶋一輝]. The touted Nakajima, who went 52-21 in the amateurs, will be facing off with Thai 21 year old Somphon Banyaem (3-1, 3), who's only loss actually came in Japan to then debuting Takamori Kiyama back in May.
Another youngster on this card is the fast rising Ryota Yamauchi (3-0, 3) [山内涼太], who is ranked by both the OPBF and the JBC. Sadly after back-to-back notable opponents Yamauchi will be facing a notable step backwards as he takes on Indonesian visitor Rio Nainggolan (4-8, 3). This is a pretty disappointing contest, given that Yamauchi has stopped Lester Abutan and Yota Hori in his last 2 bouts, but we suspect that the plan will be to move him into title fights next year.
Notably the show will also feature the ring return of Kazuki Saito (5-1, 5) [斎藤一貴], who will be taking on Filipino foe Rey Ramos (8-9-2, 3). This will be Saito's first bout since a shock upset loss earlier this year against Amphol Suriyo, aka Pharanpetch Tor Buamas. The touted Saito had looked excellent at times prior to that loss, but had question marks about his durability, which Amphol certainly answered. It seems clear that this is an easy comeback for Saito, but there will be serious questions hanging over his head going forward, and how he reacts to being tagged, and having a fighter put it on him.
As with the previous Slugfest cards we expect this card will be uploaded to both Boxingraise and to youtube, in full, for fans wanting to watch it.
Over the weekend we saw the news break that former Japanese Featherweight champion Takenori Ohashi (15-5-2, 10) [大橋健典] would be returning to the ring on October 1st, in the headline bout of Slugfest 6.
Ohashi, who lost the Japanese Featherweight title to Taiki Minamoto [源大輝] in April, will be up against once beaten 19 year old Ruito Saeki (7-1, 1) [佐伯瑠壱斗] in what looks like a very interesting 8 round bout. For Ohashi it is a real must win, whilst Saeki is stepping up in class, but will know that a win will open a lot of new doors and essentially secure him a Japanese and OPBF ranking, if he wins.
Others set to take part on this card include super-prospect Ryota Yamauchi (3-0, 3) [山内涼太], who hasn't had his opponent announced but we are aware that he will be in an 8 round Flyweight bout, and given his competition so far we are expecting him to face a notable opponent. And also the debuting Yumaki Nakajima (0-0) [中嶋憂煇], who will be looking to make quick impact in his maiden professional bout. Nakajima will be involved in a 6 round contest against a yet to be announced opponent.
The card will have other notable bouts announced in the coming weeks and will likely be added to youtube by the brilliant team at the Kadoebi gym.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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