On Monday the East Japan Boxing Association announced their award winners for the month of October, with 3 winners.
The MVP won by Shuichiro Yoshino (11-0, 9) [吉野 修一郎] who became a triple crown champion when he stopped Harmonito Dela Torre (20-3, 12), unifying the Japanese OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific Lightweight titles. The golden man from the Misako Gym is set for big things in 2020 and after this win it's hard to see there being too much for left him to do on the regional scene.
Strange there was two Fighting Spirit Awards decided this month.
The most well known of those two winners was former Japanese Flyweight champion Junto Nakatani (20-0, 15) [中谷 潤人], who claimed a huge win over former Light Flyweight world champion Milan Melindo (37-5, 13). The win for Nakatani wasn't his most impressive performance to date, with Melindo looking past his best, but was, by far, the biggest of his career so far.
The other Fighting Spirit award winner was Yuto Takahashi (11-4, 5) [高橋悠斗], who scored a huge upset win over Kenichi Horikawa (40-16-1, 13) [堀川 謙一] to become the new JBC Light Flyweight champion. This was a genuinely massive win for Takahashi, who dug deep to see out the storm and take his first professional title.
Notably there was no Newcomer award winner.
The winners will be able to attend an award ceremony at Korakuen Hall on December 12th, at the Diamond Glove taking place that day.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today at Korakuen Hall fans had the chance to see the talented and heavy handed Shuichiro Yoshino (11-0, 9) [吉野 修一郎] become a triple crown winner, as he blast out Filipino foe Harmonito Dela Torre (20-3, 12). With the win Yoshino unified his Japanese national title with the previously vacant OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific Lightweight titles.
Dela Torre looked to come forward to begin with but landed on the guard of Yoshino who managed to land a good jab early. Dela Torre wasn't put off by the by the jab off Yoshino and got on the front foot, seemingly landing the better blows and coming forward more aggressively. That was a mistake and a counter left hook connected clean with the Filipino who was dropped. The referee stopped the bout with Dela Torre still down, after just over 2 minutes of the first round.
It's unclear what's next for Yoshino, but it's hard to see him having much competition in the region. A fight with Masayoshi Nakatani would have been interesting, had Nakatani not recently retired. As a result there's very few regional foes who would be worthy of his time, and hopefully he won't look to hold on to the titles too much given he has the ability to go further.
As for Dela Torre this is his 3rd loss in 4 bouts and it's hard to imagine him bouncing back from this type any time soon. It us worth noting however that prior to the finishing blow he looked really up for this, and if he can get some confidence building wins under his belt over the near year or two he could end up getting more regional title shots.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Tomorrow in Tokyo fans will see Shuichiro Yoshino (10-0, 8) [吉野 修一郎] battle against Harmonito Dela Torre (20-2, 12) in a bout for the OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific Lightweight titles, with the winner essentially becoming the undisputed Asian champion at 135lbs.
Today the two men took part in their weigh in and both fighters managed to make weight with no issues at all. In fact both men looked in great shape and both sounded confident of picking up what would be the biggest win of their career.
Yoshino stated that Dela Torre wasn't as tall as expected though still seemed to be aware that the Filipino had long arms and reach. Despite the reach of the Filipino Yoshino sounded very confident and seemed to suggest that he was going to fight his fight. He also revealed that in his preparation for this fight he took part in a US training camp, which had left him with awful jet lag, though that was a few weeks ago and isn't expected to be any kind of an issue for tomorrow's bout.
As for the Filipino he suggested that Yoshino was a good fighter, but was confident he'd pick up the win.
For fans no able to get to Korakuen Hall tomorrow this bout will be aired on tape delay over the weekend on Fuji TV as part of their Diamond Glove series of shows.
Related-Yoshino and Dela Torre battle for regional domination
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Back in August we reported that on October 10th Japan's Shuichiro Yoshino (10-0, 8) [吉野 修一郎] would face Filipino Harmonito Dela Torre (20-2, 12) for the OPBF interim Lightweight title. Now however we have seen two changes to that.
Yesterday it was revealed that Masayoshi Nakatani (18-1, 12) [中谷正義] had vacated the OPBF Lightweight title, meaning the Yoshino Vs Dela Torre bout would be for the full OPBF title and not the interim belt. Today saw further news with sources informing us that the bout will also have the WBO Asia Pacific title on the line, allowing the winner to unify the two major regional crowns.
The WBO Asia Pacific title has previously been held by Kye MacKenzie, who won the belt last October, and prior to that Nihito Arakawa had held it. Sadly neither man defended it with much regularity, however with Yoshino and Dela Torre battling to unify the belts we suspect that both regional titles will be more active than they have been in recent years.
As previously reported that is another title bout set for the October 10th card, with Japanese Light Flyweight champion Kenichi Horikawa (40-15-1, 13) [堀川 謙一] defending his title against Yuto Takahashi (10-4, 5) [高橋悠斗]
Back in July Masayoshi Nakatani (18-1, 12) [中谷正義] made his US debut, and lot in a very competitive bout with the highly regarded Teofimo Lopez in an IBF world title eliminator. Today it's been reported that Nakatani has now vacated the OPBF Lightweight title, after 11 defenses.
It's unclear why Nakatani has made his decision, though it seems likely that he's either moving up in weight, and he is a very big Lightweight, or whether he's going to pursue other bouts out side the Oriental scene, such as more fringe world level bouts.
Given Nakatani's decision it's now assumed that the October 10th bout between Shuichiro Yoshino (10-0, 8) [吉野 修一郎] and Harmonito Dela Torre (20-2, 12) will not be for the OPBF interim title, as previously reported, but instead for the full version of the title that Nakatani held previously.
We'll be really interested in seeing where Nakatani goes next, as he options out there, and his performance against Lopez showed the world he is a really good fighter. However his career has been a frustrating one at times and we wouldn't be surprised to see his losing the momentum from the Lopez bout before facing an other opponent of note.
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