Earlier today we were informed that Japanese Middleweight prospect Riku Kunimoto (3-0, 1) [国本陸] will be taking a massive step up in class on April 5th as he takes on the heavy handed Shoma Fukumoto (12-3, 10) [福本祥馬] in an 8 round bout at the Korakuen Hall.
Kunimoto turned professional last year and made his debut in August, when a 6 round decision over Korean foe Kyung Wook Kwon. He would then beat Chinese fighter Huawang Zhang, in Kunming, before returning to Japan to stop Toshihiro Kai in his first 8 round bout. This is however his first bout against a Japanese ranked fighter, a really heavy handed fighter at that.
Notably this might be the ideal time to face Fukumoto, who was stopped last time out in 3 rounds by tough Filipino journeyman Arnel Tinampay, who had also stopped Fukumoto in 6 rounds back in 2013. The loss last year was Fukumoto's second loss in 3 bouts, following a 2017 loss to Kazuto Takesako in a Japanese title eliminator. Despite the losses he is a very hard hitting and exciting fighter, who is a real threat at domestic level.
This bout is pencilled in as the main event of the show, though we are still awaiting details for the under-card.
Earlier today the Kadoebi Gym announced that they had signed former OPBF Middleweight champion Koki Tyson (13-3-2, 11) [太尊 康輝], who has now left the Mutoh and been transferred to the Tokyo based Kadoebi.
The power punching Middleweight hasn't been seen in the ring since losing a controversial bout to Yasuyuki Akiyama [秋山 泰幸] in December 2017.
Tyson's rise through the ranks was an exciting one . Despite drawing on debut and being stopped in his 4th professional bout he would go on to win the 2013 Rookie of the Rookie of the Year, defeat former Japanese champion Sanosuke Sasaki in 2015 and fight for the OPBF and JBC Middleweight titles in 2015. He lost in his first title shot, to Akio Shibata, but learned from that loss and would win the OPBF title in 2016 from Dwight Ritchie, putting on a very mature and accomplished performance. He would defend the title twice before losing the belt last December.
At the moment his ring return hasn't been confirmed, though we would expect it to be no later than March, and could potentially be a lot earlier with Kadoebi looking to keep him busy. It's worth noting that Kadoebi do have another notable Middleweight among their ranks, Shoma Fukumoto (12-3, 10) [福本祥馬], and it could be that this decision has also been taken to guarantee both men good sparring internally as well as giving Tyson a chance to rebuild his career.
It's fair to suggest that Japanese Middleweight hopeful Shoma Fukumoto (12-3, 10) [福本祥馬] has had 12 months that he may want to forget, losing to Kazuto Takesako last November and Arnel Tinampay earlier this year. However he and his team are clearly looking to work on his deficiencies and help lead him to title glory.
Earlier today it was revealed that heavy handed Middleweight form the Kadoebi Gym was having a month long training camp at the Mayweather Gym in Las Vegas, under the guidance of Jeff Mayweather.
The talented Fukumoto has looked destructive at times on the Japanese domestic scene, but has shown defensive faults and durability issues through his career. They have haunted him against both Takesako and Tinampay, who has stopped him twice. Offensively he's solid and heavy handed but it would seem like he, and his team, know where his faults and and know that Mayweather will be one of best trainers to shore his defensive problems.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Over there years we've seen numerous Filipino fighters travel over to Japan to score big upsets. One such fighter is Arnel Tinampay (25-21-1, 11), who has been a thorn in the side of several Japanese fighters, including Shoma Fukumoto (12-3, 10) [福本祥馬].
Back in August 2013 Tinampay stopped a then fast rising Fukumoto in 6 rounds, in what was supposed to be another straigth forward win for Fukumoto, a former amateur stand out.
Today the two men faced off in a rematch, and once again it was the touted Fukumoto who came up short.
The local towered over the Filipino but couldn't make his significant height and reach count for much as Tinampay found his way inside and worked away with huge hooks on to the head and body of Fukumoto. Fukumoto managed to have some moments during the first round, but took a lot more than he gave during a thrilling first 3 minutes.
The second round was slightly more even, though again it did feel like the pressure and physical strength or Tinampay was more telling than the straight shots at range from Fukumoto.
In round 3 Tinampay fought some what off the back foot, slowing his pace slightly and being more selective in his shots. Mid way through the round Tinampay managed to land a huge left, then a right as Fukumoto's legs buckled. A follow up sent the Japanese fighter down. Fukumoto, to his credit, recovered to his feet but a follow up forced the referee to stop the bout and save Fukumoto from further harm.
With this win Tinampay has now scored 2 stoppages over Fukumoto and holds other notable wins over Japanese fighters Koshinmaru Saito and Yosuke Kirima. Sadly for Fukumoto this leaves his career looking in tatters and this is his 2nd stoppage loss in 3 bouts, and his third stoppage defeat in just 15 bouts.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Tomorrow fight fans at the Korakuen Hall will see once touted Middleweight hopeful Shoma Fukumoto (12-2, 10) [福本祥馬] in action. Originally the plan was to have Fukumoto face the unbeaten Mark Lucas (9-0, 3) from Australia but that bout has been cancelled, with Lucas missing out on the fight.
Whilst it's disappointing that Lucas is out it's worth noting that he has been replaced by the teak tough Arnel Tinampay (24-21-1, 10) who inflicted Fukumoto's first loss, back in 2013, and has a reputation as a thorn in the side of Japanese fighters.
Not only does Tinampay have a win over Fukumoto but he has also beaten Yosuke Kirima and Koshinmaru Saito. He also also given Kazukaze Yamakawa and Akinori Watanabe real issues, and is one of the most under-rated Filipino's in the sport today.
Today the two men took part in the weigh in for their rematch. It seemed like both were confident as they weighed in for the bout. Both men made the Middlewieght limit, in fact Fukumoto was slightly under the limit whilst the notably short Tinampay was bang on the 160lb maximum.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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