Earlier today saw the announcement of the next Splendid Boxing card, set for April 14th in Kumamoto. The card is a really interesting one, and may be one of the most notable cards for Kumamoto this year.
The main event of the show will see Japanese youngster Musashi Mori (8-0, 5) [森 武蔵] making his first defense of the WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight title, as he takes on the man he beat for the belt, Richard Pumicpic (21-9-2, 6). These two fought last November, with Mori taking a split technical decision over Pumicpic to claim the title. The untimely ending seemed to please neither man, though Mori was obviously happy to have won the title, and the contest very much feels like they have unfinished business.
Whilst the main event is very attractive the under-card is also a rather interesting one, with 3 notable fighters announced for it.
One of those announced for the card is Ginjiro Shigeoka (1-0, 1) [重岡銀次朗], who is set for his first 8 round bout on the card. His opponent hasn't been announced, though he had revealed he wanted to fight a ranked foe on this show, and it's likely dependent on him getting through his February bout with no issues. The Watanabe teenage sensation is known to be chasing title fights in the near future and we wouldn't be surprised by him putting on a showcase here. This is a notable show for Shigeoka as he was actually born in Kumamoto.
Another promising fighter announced for the card is Shigeoka's stablemate Seiya Tsutsumi (4-0, 3) [堤聖也]. His opponent also hasn't been named who will be fighting for the time since October, after suffering an injury that forced him out of a December bout. Tsutsumi, injury aside, had a great 2018. He won a B Class tournament, gained international experience and created a fair bit of buzz, though that buzz has quietened down a little bit in the wake of his injury.
Also on this card Sora Takeda (4-1) [竹田宙], the 2018 Minimumweight Rookie of the Year, who will be fighting for the first time since since his Rookie of the Year win. As with Shigeoka and Tsutsumi his opponent also hasn't been announced.
Also confirmed for this card is Kanako Taniyama (1-0, 1) [谷山佳菜子] who will compete in a 2 round exhibition with Kana Fukuda (3-3-1, 1)[福田香奈].
Interestingly this card will get local TV coverage in Kumamoto, with TVU seemingly to be the channel airing it, though sadly this won't be widely available for fans outside of the local area.
After being rumoured for months, we have finally had confirmation this morning that Vic Saludar (18-3, 10) will be defending the WBO Minimumweight title against Japan's Masataka Taniguchi (11-2, 7) [谷口 将隆].
We were informed earlier today that the bout is now a done deal for February 26th at the Korakuen Hall in Tokyo.
The contest, which was first mentioned late last year, and originally targeted for New Year's Eve, slipped back and was rumoured for February 25th before today's information on the bout now being done.
For Saludar the bout will be his first defense, following his excellent title win last year, when he defeated Ryuya Yamanaka [山中 竜也] by unanimous decision, whilst Taniguchi will be getting his first world title fight.
The hard hitting champion, who also famously challenged the then champion Kosei Tanaka in 2015, will be fighting in Japan for the third times and has started to become popular with the local fans due to his style, aggression and power. He has proven his qualities in both of his prior Japanese bouts and we're really looking forward to seeing how he performs here.
The challenger on the other hand has lost in a Japanese title bout to Reiya Konishi and an OPBF title bout to Tsubasa Koura, though won the WBO Asia Pacific title bout last year when he defeated Joel Lino, to claim a professional title at the third attempt. It's worth noting that both of his losses were razor close and that with just a tiny bit of luck he would be 13-0.
At the moment the under-card is unconfirmed, though the date does match up for several other Watanabe gym fighters. These include a Japanese Bantamweight title bout between Yuta Saito (11-9-3, 8) [齊藤裕太] and Hayato Kimura (28-10, 19) [木村隼人] as well as the next bout of Ginjiro Shigeoka (1-0, 1) [重岡銀次朗] and potentially also the return of Seiya Tsutsumi (4-0, 3) [堤聖也], so we would expect at least 1 other bout of noting being added to this show when the full card is confirmed.
Earlier today fight fans had the chance to see Japanese prospect Seiya Tsutsumi (4-0, 3) [堤聖也] Jiaqi Yu (0-2)* in a 1-sided 6 round bout that saw Tsutsumi dip his toes at Featherweight.
The bout was put together on short notice though that hardly seemed to matter to Tsutsumi who looked full of energy and continually forced Yu backwards. To his credit the Chinese local really showed fantastic survival instincts but gave little in terms of offense with Tsutsumi continually chasing him.
After 6 rounds credit needed to be given credit for surviving, but was beaten 60-54, twice, and 60-52 on the judges score cards.
Tsutsumi's next bout is currently set for December 1st against with Matcha Nakagawa (13-1-1, 5) [武田航] at the Korakuen Hall, in what will be Tsutsumi's first bout against a Japanese ranked foe and should be a much stiller test than today's win.
*Denotes assumed record.
Earlier this year we saw Seiya Tsutsumi (3-0, 3) [堤聖也] win a B class tournament in Tokyo, stopping Junpei Inamoto [稲元 純平] in the final. Following that bout his next bout was announced as being a December clash with Matcha Nakagawa (13-1-1, 5) [武田航].
It's now being reported that Tsutsumi will have an interim bout this coming weekend, as he fights in China against Jiaqi Yu (0-1)* in a 6 round bout at Featherweight.
We were really impressed by Tsutsumi's win over Inamoto, and suspect that he's travelling to China, on such short notice, to stay busy with a tick over fighter. Especially given that he has the Nakagawa bout set for December 1st. For Yu on the other hand this is a great opportunity to take on one of the top youngsters in Japan.
Interestingly the other 3 bouts on the poster for this show are all-Chinese 4 rounders.
*Assumed record based on a fighter named Jiaqi Yu form China of the same age, though it's unclear if it's the same Jiaqi Yu.
Earlier this year we saw former amateur standout Seiya Tsutsumi (3-0, 3) [堤聖也] score a sensational and action packed win over the touted Junpei Inamoto [稲元 純平] to claim a B Class Tournament win. Following that bout Tsutsumi stated that he wanted to fight a Japanese ranked opponent before the end of 2018.
At the time it seemed plausible, but still very ambitious from the Watanabe gym fighter.
Today however it was confirmed that he's a man of his word and his next bout has been announced for December 1st and will see him taking on Japanese ranked Bantamweight Matcha Nakagawa (13-1-1, 5) [武田航], a former Japanese Youth Bantamweight champion and 2015 Bantamweight Rookie of the Year.
Tsutsumi, pictured above, is an exciting pressure fighter who looks to get in an opponent quickly and is very heavy handed, applying smart pressure to get inside. Although he's untested at this level as a professional it's hard not to imagine him making a mark on the higher echelons of the domestic, at the very least, and we regard him as one of Japan's brightest prospects.
Nakagawa began his career with 9 straight wins, before losing a competitive decision loss to Ryohei Takahashi in October 2016. Since then he has impressed claiming the Japanese Youth crown last year and recording 4 straight wins. The most recent of those was against Filipino foe Marzon Cabillo on G+ in Japan.
The styles of the men should gel well and give us a brilliant match up.
For those interested in watching this bout, it's going to be shown on G+ alongside the return of Yukinori Oguni (19-2-1, 7) [小國 以載] and the Japanese Light Welterweight title bout between Valentine Hosokawa (23-6-3, 10) [細川バレンタイン] and Takashi Inagaki (20-17-2, 9) [稲垣孝].
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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