Ealier this year Japanese Middleweight Kazuto Takesako (8-0, 8) [竹迫司登] blasted away the tough Hikaru Nishida (17-9-1, 8) [西田 光] to become the Japanese Middleweight champion. That bout was, sadly, only aired on an obscure regional channel in Japan, meanign that most fans in the country haven't seem Takesako since he stopped Shoma Fukumoto inside a round last year.
Thankfully fans in Japan will get the chance to see the exciting, and very heavy handed, Takesako in the ring in early June as he has been selected to headline the June version of Dynamic Glove on G+.
The hard hitting Takesako won't be defending his title however, instead he will be facing off with Filipino veteran Joel Dela Cruz (20-26-3, 8), who is fighting in his 50th professional bout.
On paper this is a huge mismatch in favour of the Japanese fighter, who has only fought for 3 minutes and 2 seconds, combined, in the last 12 months, but it's great to see that he will be kept active and will be returning to the ring less than 3 months after his title win.
Other fighters on this card include Seiya Tsutsumi (1-0, 1) [堤聖也], who will be up against Kenshin Oshima (3-1-1, 3) [大嶋剣心], the debuts of Jin Minamide (0-0) [南出仁] and Takuma Takahashi (0-0) [高橋拓磨], as well as bouts featuring Spicy Matsushita (17-10-1, 2) [スパイシー松下] and Junki Sasaki (19-3, 7) [佐々木洵樹] in decent domestic tests.
Earlier today Japanese fight fans at the Korakuen Hall saw a Japanese Lightweight title fight, as the unbeaten unbeaten Shuichiro Yoshino (6-0, 4) [吉野修一郎] battled against experienced veteran Spicy Matsushita (17-10-1, 2) [スパイシー松下] for the vacant title.
The bout started quite messily, with Yoshino looking unure of how to cope with the reach of Matsuhita. He did however begin to adapt in round 2 and started to find his rhythm, as soon as he did that it was the left to Matsushita to adapt, which he failed to do.
As Yoshino began to feel more and more relaxed in the ring his pressure started to intensify and he was having more and more success, with Matsushita struggling to really have much go his. The pressure had impressed the judges, who had Yoshino leading 48-47, twice, and 49-46.
Matsushita, knowing he was behind, had a solid round 6, but was unable to keep the momentum going and Yoshino dropped him in round 7, with Matsushita looking exhausted. Soon afterwards the bout had to be stopped, saving the veteran from further punishment.
With the win Yoshino claims his first professional title. His first defense is expected in February whilst Matsushita could now be looking at retirement.
(Image courteys of boxingnews.jp)
Tomorrow Japanese fight fans at the Korakuen Hall will get the chance to see a Japanese Lightweight title fight, asthe unbeaten Shuichiro Yoshino (5-0, 3) [吉野修一郎] faces veteran Spicy Matsushita (17-9-1, 2) [スパイシー松下] for the vacant title.
Today the two men took part in their weigh in for the contest, and both men made weight,as they look to fill the void left by former champion Kazuhiro Nishitani.
At the weigh in both men were under the limit, coming in at at around 134.65lbs, and both looked in good shape, despite neither being ripped to the gills.
The more experienced Matsushita has long fought as a Super Bantamweight, despite having had a stint early in his career at Lightweight. He looked a little undersized in comparison to Yoshino, but it was clear that he had put his all in to preparing for the bout, which could well be his final crack at a title following a loss to Can Xu in a WBA International title fight last year.
As for Yoshino he looked incredibly confident and relaxed. He may lack the professional experience of Matsushita but is a former amateur stand out and he clearly seems to feel he's ready for a title bout, in just his 6th professional contest. He looked in great form and has certainly worked into into good shape, physically and mentally, for this bout.
Sadly the bout doesn't appear to be set for any television coverage, a huge shape given the quality of the bout.
(Yoshino looks to become King as he faces Matsushita!)
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Back in July we saw the announcement of the Japanese Challenger Determination bouts. At Lightweight the bout announced was a contest between the fast rising Shuichiro Yoshino (5-0, 3) [吉野修一郎] and veteran Spicy Matsushita (17-9-1, 2) [スパイシー松下], with the bout to take place on October 21st. Today however we learned that that would no longer be a Japanese title eliminator but instead it would be a bout for the full title.
The bout was confirmed as a title bout after the news that Kazuhiro Nishitani (17-4-1, 9) [西谷 和宏] had officially vacated the title, and the winner of Yoshino Vs Matsushita will end 2017 as the Japanese Lightweight champion.
It's worth noting that Yoshino was in action today, and ticked over with a 2nd round stoppage of a horribly over-matched Thai foe in what really was a stay busy bout for the talented Misako gym prospect, ahead of the bout with Matsushita.
Nishitani vacates Japanese crown, looks to get world title shot!
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Earlier today the JBC announced their replacement of the "Strongest Korakuen" and in all honesty we really like their decision, even if we were fans of the Strongest Korakuen.
For those unaware, the Strongest Korakuen, was a short tournament to decide the mandatory challenger for the Japanese titles the following year, at the Champion Carnival. At one point the tournament was pretty significant, with fighters genuinely vying for a place, but in recent years fighters have been less eager and what was once a tournament format has since dropped to being a straight final between two highly ranked JBC contenders in only a few divisions. A far cry from what the Strongest Korakuen once was.
The solution from the JBC was to have a "Japanese Champion Challenger Decision Battle", not a catchy name we'll admit, between two contenders to decide the mandatory challengers across a number of weight classes. And unlike the past these bouts aren't cramped on a single show but instead allowed to take place over a number of cards and dates. This has allowed the fighters more flexibility, and arguably set up a more interesting end to 2017 for Japanese fight fans, who have a number of big domestic clashes to look forward to on the national stage.
The first of the bouts will take place on August 20th and will come at Minimumweight as WBO world ranked fighter Ryoki Hirai (9-4-1, 4) [平井亮輝] take on Kenta Matsui (8-6, 1) [松井謙太]. On paper this doesn't look an amazing bout but the reality is that it's well matched on paper and give both men a rea reason to fight hard and go for the win, and could potentially see Hirai continue his remarkable career turn around which has seen him rebuild from a 3-3-1 (1) record to a potential title fight.
The second bout will take place on October 8th and will be the Light Flyweight bout, which will pit Koki Ono (12-3, 5) [小野晃輝] against veteran Koji Itagaki (17-11-3, 7) [板垣幸司] in what looks like another of those under-rated match ups that has made the Japanese scene as interesting as it is. On paper Ono will be strongly favoured, however Itagaki ios no joke and his record really doesn't tell the story of his good he is,
Interestingly we'll have 5 of the bouts take place on October 21st.
One of those will be at Flyweight as the always fun to watch Katsunori Nagamine (14-1, 10) [長嶺克則] takes on Akinori Hoshino (13-7-1, 9) [星野晃規]. Whilst this looks likely to be another predictable win, for Nagamine, it's hard to argue with him getting a title shot after the run he's been on since losing to Ken Shiro. Another bout on the same day Eita Kikuchi (21-4-4, 8) [菊地永太] will face off with Yusuke Suzuki (8-3, 5) [鈴木悠介] in a really good looking Bantamweight bout, which pits a veteran against a relative novice in what could be a real thriller.
On the same day we'll also get Featherweight bout which will pit Dai Iwai (21-4-1, 7) [岩井大] against Taiki Minimoto (13-5, 11) [源大輝], in a bout where we see former title challengers face off. We also get the Lightweight bout, which will pit fast rising prospect Shuichiro Yoshino (4-0, 2) [吉野修一郎] against Spicy Matsushita (17-9-1, 2) [スパイシー松下] in a another bout that pits a veteran against a novice, though it's fair to say the novice will be very strongly favoured here. The other bout taking place the same day is a Welterweight bout which will see former title challenger Moon Hyun Yun (18-4-3, 3) [尹文鉉] take on the heavy handed Ryota Yada (13-4, 11) [矢田良太] in a potentially explosive bout.
On November 4th we'll again get a number of bouts. One of those is a juicy looking Super Bantamweight bout between Yuta Nakagawa (21-4-1, 12) [中川勇太] and Yasutaka Ishimoto (30-9, 9) [石本康隆], in what could well be the pick of the bouts given the styles of the two men. Another bout on the same day will see Masaru Sueyoshi (15-1, 10) [末吉大] take on Ribo Takahata (13-7-1, 5) [高畑里望] in a Super Featherweight bout, with Sueyoshi looking ready to move on to title level. A third bout on the same day, and another real cracker on paper, will see Shoma Fukumoto (11-1, 9) [福本祥馬] trade blows with Kazuto Takesako (6-0, 6) [竹迫司登] for the chance to fight for a Middleweight title next year, and we suspect that one will be very explosive.
The Super Flyweight bout will take place on November 11th as Ohashi gym fighter Go Onaga (27-3-3, 18) [翁長吾央] battles against 4-time world title challenger Hiroyuki Hisataka (25-16-1, 11) [久高寛之] in what will almost certainly be a gruelling battle between two veterans of the ring.
At some point in November, though yet to be confirmed, we'll see the Welterweight bout between Nobuyuki Shindo (18-4-1, 7) [新藤寛之] and Cobra Suwa (19-12-2, 11) [コブラ諏訪], in what is a real must for both, who are both struggling at the moment and cannot afford another loss.
The final bout, scheduled for December 8th, will be at 140lbs and see Dominican born Japanese based Vladimir Baez (22-3-21, 20), aka "Destino Japan, take on Kazuyasu Okamoto (14-4, 4) [岡本和泰] in what should be another explsoive match up.
The winners of all the bouts will earn themselves a shot at their respective divisional champion in 2018, meaning the bouts really do matter, not just to the men involved, but also to the Japanese champions and the top domestic contenders.
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