As we write this the main event of the Korakun Hall show, a WBO Minimumweight title bout between Vic Saludar (18-3, 10) and Masataka Taniguchi (11-2, 7) [谷口 将隆], is just about to start. The chief support bout has however just finished and saw former amateur standout Shu Utsuki (4-0, 3) [宇津木 秀] retain his unbeaten record with a late stoppage over Japanese based Filipino Jerry Castroverde (10-6, 5).
The bout was an exciting one, with both men letting their hands go at mid range from the early stages. On paper Utsuki was the bigger puncher but he he was taking as good as he was giving, and Castroverde was certainly not playing the role of the happy under-dog, instead he was there to win.
As the bout developed Castroverde began to show smart defenses, taking shots on the guard before firing back with counters. It was a tactic that was able to frustrate the Japanese fighter, but not break his rhythm, as continued to come forward and landed a brilliant combination towards the end of round 5.
Utsuki would keep up the aggression, though prove he could fight at range as well began to beat up the Filipino in the later stages, forcing the towel to come in and save Castroverde in the final seconds of the bout.
The official stoppage was at 2:02 of round 8.
Bigger tests are expected for Utsuki in future, though he and his team will be pleased by his stamina here and although he didn't have things all his own way he certainly showed he could fight 8 rounds, at a good pace and looks to be a real prospect to follow.
Tomorrow fight fans at the Korakuen Hall will get the chance to see a number of notable Japanese prospects in action on a stacked under-card for the WBO Minimumweight title bout between Vic Saludar (18-3, 10) and Masataka Taniguchi (11-2, 7) [谷口 将隆].
One of the interesting bouts on that show will see unbeaten Japanese hopeful Shu Utsuki (3-0, 2) [宇津木 秀] battle with Japanese based Filipino Jerry Castroverde (10-5, 5), in an 8 round bout at a contracted 60KG's.
Today the two men took part in their weigh in, and both men looked great.
On the scales Utsuki was 60KG's, 132.277lbs, which was bang on the contracted limit, whilst Castroverde was 59.8KG's, around 131.84lbs.
Sadly it seems unlikely that this bout will be made available to watch, but it is a really interesting bout and a great test for the unbeaten Utsuki, who is tipped as a serious promising Japanese prospect.
(Image courtesy of Watanabe Gym)
At the moment Takayama's opponent hasn't been named, and neither has Shigeoka's, but they are expected to be named shortly.
Just a few short days ago we reported the news that Vic Saludar (18-3, 10) would be defending the WBO Minimumweight title against Japan's Masataka Taniguchi (11-2, 7) [谷口 将隆] on February 26th at the Korakuen Hall. At the time of that announcement there was no details on the under-card. Today however we were informed of a number of fighters on the under-card, including several top prospects from the Watanabe Gym.
As previously predicted we will see teenage sensation Ginjiro Shigeoka (1-0, 1) [重岡銀次朗] in action on the show. He will be involved in a 6 round bout at Minimumweight, though his opponent for the bout hasn't been announced. He's expected to be in the ring in again in April, as part of a show in Fukuoka, so we're not expecting to see this bout be too much of a test for the 19 year old.
In a major supporting bout Shu Utsuki (3-0, 2) [宇津木 秀] will be up against Japanese based Filipino Jerry Castroverde (10-5, 5), who will be fighting under the promotion of Nobuhiro Ishida for the second time, following a loss in December to Tae Il Atsumi. This will be an 8 round bout at a contracted 60KG.
Another big supporting 8 round bout will see the 2017 Rookie of the year Fumiya Fuse (7-0, 1) [富施郁哉] take on Naoto Mizutani (5-5-1, 2) [水谷直人], in an 8 round bout at Bantamweight. We're expecting to see really big things from the 20 year old Fuse this year, and this is a decent way to kick off the year, following an impressive outing in Daejeomn back in October.
We also believe that the show will feature the debut of former amateur stand out Suzumi Takayama (0-0) [高山 涼深], though details on his bout are unclear at the moment, other than being a 6 round contest.
Former Japanese amateur stand out Shu Utsuki (3-0, 2) [宇津木秀] extended his winning run earlier today with an impressive knockout against aggressive, and wild, Chinese foe Da Xu (3-1-1, 1).
The opening moments saw Utsuki looking razor sharp behind his busy and accurate jab. Xu however showed no respect to the skills of Utsuki and got inside, making things messy as he worked the body up close. Xu seemed to realise quickly that his only chance was to get inside and take away the skills and speed of Utsuki and began wrestling, forcing Utsuki to the canvas several times. Although the action was messy Xu, to his credit, was landing some solid shots in the chaos, and it was clear he hadn't travelled to just roll and give Utsuki a win.
To begin round 2 Xu again brought the heat with wild shots that were thrown to disrupt Utsuki from using his skills. That had some success, but left Xu open and he was caught by a bomb about 70 seconds in. The shot sent Xu down, hard, and Xu seemingly had no idea where he was. Technically he got to his feet before the 10 count, but even being upright he didn't seem to have any control of his senses turning his back on the referee and Utsuki before the bout was waved off.
On paper this was a step up for Utsuki, and despite scoring his quickest win to date, he was given a genuine test from Xu, who clearly came to win. Xu was caught by a beauty but we'd love to see more of him. He looks like a nightmare to fight, throwing wild hayemakers that could well have beaten a lesser fighter than the very talented Utsuki.
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