Earlier today at the Korakuen Hall fight fans saw former Japanese Super Featherweight champion Seiichi Okada (22-6-1, 13) [岡田誠一] secure his 4th straight victory, as he stopped Takahiro Araki (12-8, 4) [荒木貴裕] in 6 rounds.
The 36 Okada, who is currently going through a career resurgence, struggled when Araki managed to fight at range, and use his jab, but in round 4 he managed get inside and land short shots. Those short shots took a toll on Araki who slowed down, and began to fall apart. As Araki's movement slowed it made things much easier for Okada who turned the screw and forced the referee to save the 31 year old Araki.
Although it's unclear what Okada has left the fact he won his last 4 is a big change to how he was a few years ago, when he went 2-5-1 and his career seemed like it was going to end on a low. He has been matched easily in recent bouts, but it's hard to not see his determination and drive as an inspiration. For Araki this was a 4th career stoppage loss.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
On February 28th we'll get the chance to see the much touted Ryo Matsumoto (21-1, 19) [松本亮] challenge WBA Super Bantamweight champion Daniel Roman (23-2-1, 9) in a bout to be held at the Korakuen Hall. The bout ia a really good one, though rumours are that Fuji TV will not be airing it live but will instead have it as a tape delay broadcast to be aired the following weekend.
Until today a lot of the details of the card were completely unknown, however today saw Ohashi gym release a number of match ups from the under-card, and whilst it's not a stacked card, it does have plenty of notable and interesting names involved on it.
One bout will see Quaye Peter (10-9-2, 6) take on Yuichi Ideta (13-10-1, 7) [出田裕一] in what looks like a real 50-50 style match up and a potentially brilliant bout to put the fans on the edge of their seat. We're not going to suggest that either Peter or Ideta are amazing fighters, but that is part of what makes this bout so interesting, both men have real limitations and should match up well together.
In a less competitive looking contest we'll see Japanese Youth Light Welterweight champion Andy Hiraoka (11-0, 8) [平岡アンディ] battle against the tough Fumisuke Kimura (6-2, 4) [木村文祐]. Although a bit of a mismacth on paper, given that Kimura has gone 1-2 in his last 3 bouts and has only 1 win in the last 5 years, this should test Hiraoka's stamina and mental toughness, with Kimura unlikely to just go away, as some of Hiraoka's other opponents have done.
One other bout announced will see the heavy handed Kazuaki Miyamoto (5-1, 4) [宮本知彰] take on highly experienced veteran Seiichi Okada (20-6-1, 11) [岡田誠一]. The 35 year old Okada, who has now been a professional for close to 13 years, has won his last 2, but he is 4-5-1 in his last 10 and looks to be a fighter well past his best. For Miyamoto however the bout is a chance to give his career a huge shot in the arm and get things moving forward at an increased pace.
Earlier tody Ohashi gym put on their latest show, and although not one of their super packed world title cards it was still a deep show littered with notable fighters.
In one of the shows earlier bouts former Japanese Light Welterweight title challenger Valentine Hosokawa (21-6-3, 9) [細川バレンタイン], who bounced back from his controversial 2016 loss to Hiroki Okada with a dominant decision win over Ohashi's Quaye Peter (9-9-2, 5). Peter, who must have viewed this as a must win, was never able to match Hosokawa and has now suffered 3 straight losses, leaving his career in jeopardy. As for Hosokawa the win ended a 2-fight slide and keeps him in the title mix.
Another fighter picking up a decision win was former Japanese Super Featherweight champion Seiichi Okada (20-6-1, 11) [岡田 誠一] who scored a straight foward win against Kentaro Yamada (8-8-1, 6) [山田 健太郎].
In terms of bouts that didn't go the distance there was a good domestic win for former world title challenger Ryuji Hara (22-2, 12) [原隆二], who took 6 rounds to see off Akiyoshi Kanazawa (14-7-4, 7) [金沢 晃佑]. For Kanazawa the loss saw him being stopped for just the 2nd time in 25 fights but Hara will need to score a tougher win to earn another world title shot.
Int he main support bout fans saw the fast rising Koki Inoue (7-0, 6) [浩樹井上] score a career best win as he destroyed Japanese ranked Light Welterweight Mitsuyoshi Fujita (10-3, 3) [藤田 光良] in 5 rounds. Fujita put up a good fight, and had some moments, but was broken down by Inoue's pressure, power and work rate. Now it seems like Ohashi will push for Inoue to get a title fight in the coming months, and with his style he is very TV friendly.
In the main event Ryo Matsumoto (19-1, 17) [松本 亮] defeated Hideo Sakamoto (17-4-3, 5) [坂本 英生] in less than 2 minutes to make a statement, and begin his hunt for a world title fight.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
We've known for a while that Ohashi would be holding one of their next "small" cards on March 27th at the Korakuen Hall, and last week we saw a number of bouts for that card being announced, including the very interesting match ups between Ryo Matsumoto (18-1, 16) [松本 亮] and Hideo Sakamoto (17-3-3, 5) [坂本 英生] as well the bout between Andy Hiraoka (8-0, 5) [平岡アンディ] and Shogo Yamaguchi (10-2-1, 5) [山口 祥吾].
Today we saw some more bouts from that show announced.
One of those will see Japanese ranked Light Welterweight hopeful Koki Inoue (6-0, 5) [浩樹井上] battle against fellow Japanese ranked Light Welterweight Mitsuyoshi Fujita (10-2, 3) [藤田 光良] in a very good match up, which will boost the winner towards a Japanese title fight later this year. For Inoue this will be a second straight fight against a Japanese ranked foe, following a win over Futoshi Usami back in December. Although not as well known Fujita is a talented southpaw who has run up 8 straight wins and looks to be full of confidence following that run. Despite being in good form Fujita is taking a huge step up in class here.
Another bout announced today will see former Japanese Super Featherweight champion Seiichi Okada (19-6-1, 11) [岡田 誠一] battle against Kentaro Yamada (8-7-1, 6) [山田 健太郎]. Okada was the Japanese champiuon back in 2011, and recorded 3 successful defenses in a career defining year, but has since gone 3-5-1 and his career is clearly winding down. Although Okada is struggling he's doing much better than Yamada, who has lost his last6 and is now more than 4 years removed from his last win.
Earlier this month we reported that Ohashi had announced "Battle Phoenix 59", which would be held on March 27th at the Korakuen Hall. At the time of that announcement a number of notable fighters had been announced for the show but no opponents were named at the time.
Today we saw some of those notable fighters having their opponents named.
One of those notable fighters was former OPBF champion Ryo Matsumoto (18-1, 16) [松本 亮] who we now know will be up against the talented and under-rated Hideo Sakamoto (17-3-3, 5) [坂本 英生], in what looks looks like a genuinely good domestic bout. Although a good match up we suspect Matsumoto will be too good for Sakamoto, but the bout is still a decent fight with Sakamoto more than capable of serving as a good test for a fighter like Matsumoto, who will likely be looking for a world title fight before the end of the year.
Another notable fighter having their opponent named today was former world title challenger Ryuji Hara (21-2, 11) [原隆二], who we now know will be fighting Akiyoshi Kanazawa (14-6-4, 7) [金沢 晃佑]. Hara should be far too good for Kanazawa, however the under-dog can put in good performances and holds a draw with Tatsuya Fukuhara and was competitive with both Myung Ho Lee and Kenichi Horikawa. If Kanazawa turns in a good performance here, he could be a fantastic test for Hara, who will be looking for his second world title bout later this year.
Arguably the most interesting of the bouts announced today was a bout between the unbeaten Andy Hiraoka (8-0, 5) [平岡アンディ] and the 2014 All Japan Lightweight Rookie of the Year Shogo Yamaguchi (10-2-1, 5) [山口 祥吾]. Originally this bout was set to take place in December 2014, but Hiraoka was forced to pull out of the fight with influenza. Since that aborted bout in '14 we've seen Hiraoka sign with the Ohashi Gym and score two stoppages. As for Yamaguchihe has stepped up in class and despite losses to Akihiro Kondo and Genki Maeda last year still has a lot of potential, which he will look to show when he takes on Hiraoka in a bout that is more than 2 years in the making.
At the moment we are yet to hear who the fast rising Koki Inoue (6-0, 5) [浩樹井上] and veteran Seiichi Okada (19-6-1, 11) [岡田 誠一] will be facing, but we expect their opponents to be named in the near future.
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