Over the last few weeks we had been hearing a lot of solid sources reporting that OPBF Light Welterweight title bout between Rikki Naito (23-2, 7) [内藤 律樹] and Korean challenger Gyu Beon Jeon (9-3-1, 4) [전규범] has been postponed from a September date. That has now been confirmed by the KBF who were sanctioning the bout.
The contest, which was pencilled in for early September, is now set to take place on October 9th, with the bout still set for a Korean venue.
Sadly the interesting looking co-feature bout between WBA Asia Super Bantamweight champion Ye Joon Kim (18-1-2, 10) [김예준] and Japanese challenger Shohei Kawashima (17-3-2, 4) [川島翔平] has been cancelled due to Kim suffering an injury to his elbow.
As a result of Kim's injury, and the rescheduling of the show, there will now be a Korean Welterweight title bout, a KBF Bantamweight bout and a Korea Vs China supporting bout.
Unfortunately with this now being something like the 4th date for this bout, and growing tensions between Japan and Korea there is a good chance this may slip to a later date, or be cancelled all together, unless things change.
In June the Dangan team confirmed the long rumoured OPBF Light Welterweight title bout, between champion Rikki Naito (23-2, 7) [内藤 律樹] and Korean challenger Gyu Beon Jeon (9-3-1, 4) [전규범]. Although they announced it for August 15th, it has slipped back to September 5th to be part of a double header card, "Warriors Invitational 005".
We now know the other part of that double header will be another Korea Vs Japan bout, with enigmatic Korean hopeful Ye Joon Kim (18-1-2, 10) [김예준] defending his WBA Asia Super Bantamweight title against Japanese challenger Shohei Kawashima (17-3-2, 4) [川島翔平], who will be looking to bounce back from a March loss in the Philippines to Juan Miguel Elorde.
A poster to promote the bout has been put together by those responsible and the Korean team at the KBF are pushing the bout by sharing the poster image.
For Kim this bout will be his first defense of the title, which he won in May when he stopped Ryo Kosaka in Yesan. The talented Korean, known as Pacquiweather, has now gone 18-0-2 since his sole loss way back in 2012, and will know that another win here takes him one step closer to getting a really big fight. Out of all the male Korean fighters he seems the most likely to be able to pick up wins against world ranked opponents, though that is yet to be seen.
Kawahsima on the other hand will not a new face to Korean fight fans. He made his Korean debut 2016, beating Jin Wook Kim, though has gone 4-3 since then, including the competitive loss to Elorde and a narrow decision loss to Cristian Mijares in Mexico. He's not the natural talent of Kim, but he is still a very well school fighter and could well be a banana skin for Kim.
Sadly the rest of details of this card, other than the double main event, have yet to be announced
Yesterday in Metro Manila fight fans were treat to a brilliantly tactical, competitive and compelling match up, as local star Juan Miguel Elorde (28-1, 15) retained his WBO Asia Pacific title, despite an excellent effort from Japanese challenger Shohei Kawashima (17-3-2, 4) [川島翔平].
For the first round to the last both men showed excellent technical skills, judging distance brilliant and picking the right shots. Despite the bout being a technical chess match, it wasn't one where both constantly waited for the other, and instead both men legitimately pressed the action, in a calculated and intelligent manner.
Through the first 6 rounds or so there was little to separate the men, despite some cheerleading for Elorde from the commentary team, though in the second half Kawashima seemed to pull his nose in front. The action was never one sided, though there was clear rounds each way, and it seemed like the visitor was the one taking the rounds by slim margins, always an issue on the road. The commentary and Elorde himself seemed to realise what was happening in the final rounds, with the commentary, which had been very confident early on, sounding apprehensive whilst Elorde tried to make sure that he gave the judges a reason to score the final round his way.
In the end we had it incredibly close, at 116-112 to Kawashima, but could easily see a wide range of scores, especially given how Elorde was the local favourite and the grandson of Flash Elorde, who's the reason for the Elorde Awards that this bout took place on. Elorde was also the promoters fighter and the man on the verge of a career defining world title fight.
The officials saw it differently to us, scoring it 117-111, twice, and 115-113 all in favour of Elorde. Although the 117-111 cards were very harsh, a win for Elorde was certainly not out of the question and the 115-113 card certainly was well within the realms of reality.
Tomorrow fight fans in the Philippines will get a chance to see regional champion Juan Miguel Elorde (27-1, 15) defending his WBO Asia Pacific title against Japan's Shohei Kawashima (17-2-2, 4) [川島翔平].
Today, ahead of their bout, the two men took part in their weigh in, and both fighters made weight with no issues.
Elorde was 121lbs on the scales, whilst Kawashima was 120lbs.
For Elorde, who is very highly ranked, by the WBO the bout is essentially a must win for him to remain on the verge of a world title fight. For Kawashima however it's a chance to gate crash the rankings and get himself in the mix, in a big way.
Related - Elorde and Kawashima battle for region title!
Earlier today we were informed by sources that Juan Miguel Elorde (27-1, 15) would be returning to the ring on March 25th to take on talented Japanese fighter Shohei Kawashima (17-2-2, 4) [川島翔平] in a bout for the WBO Asia Pacific Super Bantamweight title.
This will be the 4th defense from Elorde, who has used the title to climb to a #2 WBO world ranking and is on the verge of a world title fight if he can keep his current winning run going. The 32 year old Filipino, grandson of Flash Elorde, has won his last 17 in a row and whilst his competition hasn't been the best he has managed to put on some solid performances, including a 2018 stoppage win over Lucky Tor Buamas.
At the age of 27 Kawashima is just coming into his physical prime. He turned professional in 2012 and won the 2014 Rookie of the Year at Super Bantamweight. In recent years he has proven his ability on the road, beating Jim Wook Lim in Korea and running Cristian Mijares close in 2016 in Mexico. He was surprisingly stopped in 2017 by Gaku Aikawa, but has since bounced back with a couple of wins.
We've yet to see any other bouts for this show being announced, though would expect details to be announced in the very near future.
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