Fight fans at the Korakuen Hall, and subscribers to Boxingraise, were able to watch a new Japanese "interim" Bantamweight champion being crowned as multi-time title challenger Hayato Kimura (28-10, 19) [木村隼人] and Seizo Kono (19-11-1, 12) [高野誠三] battled for the belt. On paper this looked interesting, with both being flawed, but decent, fighters chasing a potentially career defining win and opening up a bout for the full version of the title in early 2019 against the beatable Yuta Saito (11-9-3, 8) [齊藤裕太], who is currently battling illness.
Sadly for a bout that promised quite a bit, it massively under-delivered with the styles and mentality of both men not really lending it's self to a good fight. Instead it was a rather dull watch, with Kono being far more skilled, but far less aggressive, and Kimura being aggressive but lacking the skills needed to land.
The first round saw Kimura start fast, possibly looking to jump on Kono before he could settle. It wasn't long however until Kono started to control the distance and timing, countering and avoiding the shots of Kimura, who at times looked like a rank novice, flailing at the air. Sadly Kono refused to really let his hands go, even when the openings were there.
Despite landing the better shots, including sharp straight right hands, and clean jabs, Kono seemed to be too focused on his defense which seemed to be responsible for him being down when the open scoring was announced after round 5. Kimura, due to missing so often, dropped his work rate and began to target the body, a smart game plan, and likely part of why he was in the lead.
In round 6 the pace did pick up a bit, and it seemed like Kimura was the man again forcing the action, as the Hall picked up it's volume. The following round saw Kono being dragged into a war, as his defense began to fall apart under the pressure of Kimura, pressure that was becoming significantly more intense. Despite the early successes of Kono's counters he was completely falling apart, unable to back up, or get the respect of, Kimura who was wading in and raining down punches, and having real success with his right hand around the guard.
With Kono having had a nightmare round 7 it seemed like he would have to come out fast for round 8. Sadly though he was tired and being worn down by the aggression of Kimura, which just never relented, forcing the referee to eventually step in and save Kono.
It was clear that Kono was skilled, through the first 5 rounds he looked very talented, and he managed to give Kimura some slight swelling under his right eye. The problem for Kono however was that Kimura's body attack in rounds 4 and 5 began to take slow the reflexes of Kono and the with the increase in pressure in round 6, and particularly round 7, really took everything he had out of the tank and it seemed like a matter of time until the Kono was going to be stopped.
A bout between Kimura and Saito will be pretty stylistically in the new year, with the winner of that mandated to defense against Yusuke Suzuki (9-3, 6) [鈴木悠介]. They should both be fan friendly bouts, but sadly this wasn't, at least not until round 6 when Kimura began to pick up the pace.
Tomorrow fight fans will be able to see Hayato Kimura (27-10, 18) [木村隼人] and Seizo Kono (19-10-1, 12) [高野誠三] battle for the Japanese interim Bantamweight title.
Interestingly the good people at Polish betting website STS have priced the bout up for gamblers in the country.
They have made Kimura the betting favourite, pricing him at 1.25, which is 1/4 or -400, to win the contest. The odds on Kono to win are 3.2, which is 11/5 or +220.
The bout is also expected to go long, with the over/under being set at 7.5 rounds, with odds of 1.30, with is the equivalent or 3/10 or -333, on it going over. The odds on under 7.5 rounds are 2.9, which is the same as 19/10 or +190.
Related-Kimura and Kono battle for interim Japanese title!
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Tomorrow we'll see a new Japanese "interim" Bantamweight champion being crowned, as Hayato Kimura (27-10, 18) [木村隼人] and Seizo Kono (19-10-1, 12) [高野誠三] battle for the title, which has been created due to an illness suffered by regular champion Yuta Saito (11-9-3, 8) [齊藤裕太].
Today Kimura and Kono took part in their weigh in for the contest and both men made the divisional limit of 118lbs on their first attempt, which in it's self has been a struggle for Japanese Bantamweight's this year.
The Japanese Bantamweight title has been a frustrating one in 2018 with various fighters having issues, including medical issues for Saito and Yusuke Suzuki (9-3, 6) [鈴木悠介], or issues on the scales, such as Suguru Muranaka (26-3-1, 8) [村中 優]. Thankfully it appears we'll go into 2019 with the title picture made relatively clear. The winner of Kimura Vs Kono will have to first unify with Saito, before the winner of that unification bout takes on Suzuki in a mandatory.
Kimura, who is getting his third Japanese title fight, seemed to suggest that he had grown physically and that his condition was perfect and that he wanted to win the title to give to his son. Kono on the other hand will be fighting in his first Japanese title fight, having previously lost in an OPBF title bout, and seemed like he a real burning desire to claim his first professional title.
For fans wanting to watch this bout it will be shown live on boxingraise.
Related-Kimura and Kono battle for interim Japanese title!
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
The curse of the Japanese Bantamweight title has been on going saga this year, with 3 fights for the bout cancelled before Yuta Saito (11-9-3, 8) [齊藤裕太] defeated Eita Kikuchi [菊地永太] for the belt back in September.
Saito was pencilled in to defend the belt in a mandatory title fight before the year was over, with Yusuke Suzuki (9-3, 6) [鈴木悠介] his supposed opponent. Sadly that bout has been cancelled before it was even officially announced. Sadly the reason for the cancellation is a pretty serious one.
Saito, who's bout with Suzuki was expected to take place on December 20th, has been diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, a serious chronic condition that could keep him out of the ring for a prolonged time, and prevent him really building on the win over Kikuchi.
As a result of Saito's illness we will instead see Hayato Kimura (27-10, 18) [木村隼人] facing off with Seizo Kono (19-10-1, 12) [高野誠三] for the interim title on December. This bout was originally ordered as a Japanese title decider, but due to the health issues of Saito the JBC have taken the decision to put the interim title on the line.
Suzuki doesn't totally miss out. Instead the long term plan is for him to fight the eventual unified champion. Saito will need to face the interim champion within 4 months of the Kimura Vs Kono bout, to unify the titles, and the winner of the unification bout will need to face Suzuki within 3 months.
Whilst it does lead to an exciting year ahead for the Japanese Bantamweight title we do need to wonder quite why so many health issues have effected people, including Suzuki, linked to the belt since the start of this year. And we also need to wish Saito the best with his medical problem, which can have a significant effect on day to day life for sufferers.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
An important part of the Japanese boxing calendar is the Champion Carnival, which takes place in the first half of the year. The fighters who compete in the Champion Carnival are the national champions and the leading domestic contenders.
In August we a number of bouts to decide the top contenders being announced, with 6 such bouts being set for October 12, on a stacked card at the Korakuen Hall.
For those missed that report those bouts on October 12th will be:
Light Flyweight - Kenichi Horikawa (37-15-1, 11) [堀川 謙一] Vs Koji Itagaki (18-12-3, 7) [板垣幸司]
The Super Flyweight - Yuta Matsuo (14-3-1, 7) [松尾雄太] Vs Rey Orais (20-17-2, 5)
Super Bantamweight - Mugicha Nakagawa (23-5-1, 14) [武田勇太] Vs Naoya Okamoto (13-6-1, 6) [岡本直也].
Super Featherweight - Ken Osato (14-2-1, 4) [大里拳] Vs Satoru Sugita (14-5-1, 9) [杉田聖]
Light Welterweight - Koki Inoue (11-0, 10) [浩樹井上] Vs Marcus Smith (6-0-1, 6)
Light Middleweight Koshinmaru Saito (24-9-2, 13) [斉藤伸介] vs Hironobu Matsunaga (13-1, 7) [松永 宏信]
As well as the October 12th card we also, recently, saw the confirmation that the Flyweight bout would see Junto Nakatani (16-0, 12) [中谷 潤人] battle against Shun Kosaka (15-4, 4) [小坂駿], which that bout now set for October 6th as part of notable Japanese domestic card which is set to be televised on G+.
Today saw the rest of the bouts being announced.
On October 21st we'll have two of them take place in Fukuoka. One of those is the Minimumweight bout, which will see Takumi Sakae (19-2-1, 13) [榮拓海] take on Norihito Tanaka (16-7, 9) [田中教仁], in what could end up being one of the surprise contests from these eliminator style contests. On the same card will be the Welterweight clash between Yuki Beppu (18-0-1, 18) [別府優樹] and Yuki Nagano (14-2, 11) [永野祐樹], in what we are expecting to be a very explosive and exciting encounter between two fighters with very solid power at this level.
A week later, October 28th, we'll get the Lightweight bout, which will see Accel Sumiyoshi (11-4-2, 3) [アクセル住吉] face off with Tatsuya Yanagi (15-5-1, 6) [柳達也]. This bout will take place in Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi prefecture, which should favour Sumiyoshi but given the styles of the two men this has the potential to be very exciting.
On November 7th we'll get the Middleweight bout as former champion Hikaru Nishida (17-9-1, 8) [西田光] takes on Shuji Kato (9-1-1, 6) [加藤収二], with this bout taking place at the Korakuen Hall.
The only bout with out a set date so far is the Bantamweight bout. Despite no set date we do know that Hayato Kimura (27-10, 18) [木村隼人] facing off with Seizo Kono (19-10-1, 12) [高野誠三], in what is a bit of an under-whelming contest given some of the Japanese domestic talent in the division. This bout is expected to have it's date and venue announced in the coming weeks.
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