Back in March we saw a massive upset as Lito Dante (16-10-4, 8) scored a huge 12th round TKO win over Japan's previously unbeaten Tsubasa Koura (14-1, 9) [小浦 翼], and ended Koura's reign as the OPBF Minimumweight champion. Since then the talented Koura hasn't been in action, and and has sat over over 6 months.
Today we finally saw news break on what Koura next plan was, with the Cassius Gym fighter now set to fight on the November 9th Dangan card, which will feature the God's Left semi final bouts.
At the moment his opponent hasn't been confirmed by name, though is said to be an Indonesian fighter, who is likely there to help Koura re-establish some confidence following a very damaging and surprising loss.
The card will not only feature the God's Left semi-final bouts but also a Japanese title eliminator between Taiki Minamoto (16-5-1, 13) [源大輝] and Takuya Watanabe (36-9-1, 21) [渡邉卓也], making this a really good card, even if we don't know who Koura will be fighting.
Yesterday we reported that an October 26th card at Korakuen Hall would be playing host to 5 Japanese eliminators as we begin to piece together the 2020 Champion Carnival bouts. Now we've been given a full list of all the eliminators, as we really see the end of the year Japanese boxing calendar take shape.
The first of the bouts will take place on September 13th at Super Bantamweight, and will see former champion Ryoichi Tamura (12-4-1, 6) [田村 亮一] take on experienced veteran Gakuya Furuhashi (25-8-1, 14) [古橋大輔], in what should be a thriller.
The second of the eliminators will take place just a few days later, on September 21st and is another bout that was already known about. This one is the Japanese Minimumweight title eliminator between unbeaten teenager Kai Ishizawa (6-0, 6) [石澤開] and former world title challenger Masataka Taniguchi (11-3, 7) [谷口 将隆].
Following the Minimumweight bout we'll have to wait until October for many of the bouts, with the first of those coming on October 21st and seeing Cristiano Aoqui (14-7-2, 10) [アオキ クリスチャーノ] and Daishi Nagata (13-2-1, 5) [永田大士] clash in an eliminator at 140lbs. On paper this one has explosive action written all over it and could turn out to be the hidden gem of the eliminators.
We then move on to the October 26th card, which features 5 different eliminators. They are the Flyweight eliminator, between Ryota Yamauchi (5-1, 4) [山内涼太] and Seiya Fujikita (13-4, 6) [藤北誠也], the Bantamweight eliminator between Kazuki Tanaka (11-2, 8) [田中一樹] and Kyosuke Sawada (13-2-1, 6) [澤田京介] the Featherweight eliminator, pitting Hinata Maruta (9-1-1, 7) [丸田陽七太] against Takenori Ohashi (17-5-2, 11) [大橋健典], the Lightweight eliminator between Kazuki Saito (7-1, 5) [斎藤一貴] and Izuki Tomioka (6-2-1, 2) [富岡樹] and the Welterweight bout between Keita Obara (21-4-1, 19) [小原 佳太] and Toshiro Tarumi (12-3-3, 6) [垂水稔朗]. This is where the bulk of the bouts are, and is expected to be a sensational card.
The Super Featherweight bout will take place on October 30th and is one of the best match ups. The bout will see former Japanese Featherweight champion Taiki Minamoto (16-5-1, 13) [源大輝] take on Takuya Watanabe (36-9-1, 21) [渡邉卓也]. This pits a huge puncher against a proper tough guy in what could be a very brutal bout.
At Light Middleweight we'll see former champion Nobuyuki Shindo (20-5-2, 8) [新藤寛之] take on Yuto Shimizu (13-4-2, 5) [清水優人] in what looks like a disappointing match up on paper but should prove to be very entertaining. This bout will take place on November 2nd and is expected to be featured on a card that has at least one other noteworthy bout.
The final bout to be scheduled is the Light Flyweight contest, which is set to feature Rikito Shiba (3-0, 2) [芝力人] taking on the big punching Masamichi Yabuki (9-3, 9) [佐藤政道], in another amazing match up. This bout, set to take place in Nagoya on December 15th, is a huge step up for Shiba and a win here would be a huge statement for the youngster.
One bout that has been ordered, but has no set date yet, is the Super Flyweight bout, which will feature former champion Hiroyuki Kudaka (26-18-2, 11) [久高寛之] and Yuta Matsuo (15-4-1, 8) [松尾雄太], in what should be an action packed war, helped by the limitations of the two men involved.
Notably there will be no eliminator at Middleweight and instead Riku Kunimoto (4-0, 2) [国本陸] will get a shot at the belt, likely against current champion Kazuto Takesako (11-0-1, 11) [竹迫司登], in the new year.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Earlier this month we reported that the Japanese Featherweight title had become vacant, with Taiki Minamoto (16-5-1, 13) [源大輝] giving up the title to move up in weight following his draw with Reiya Abe (19-2-1, 9) [阿部 麗也]. That left us wondering who would be fighting who to fill the vacancy.
Today we were informed that Abe would be taking on the in form Ryo Sagawa (7-1, 4) [佐川遼] for the vacant title, and better than just who we now know the where and when of this excellent match up, with the bout taking place at Korakuen Hall on September 13th.
Sharp shooting Abe is unbeaten in his last 12 bouts, dating back more than 4 years, with notable wins over the likes of Tsuyoshi Tameda, Joe Noynay, Satoshi Hosono, Ryo Hino and Daisuke Sugita and the draw with Minamoto from back in May. He's excellent southpaw, who moves around the round well, fires off sharp and hurtful southpaw left hands and controls the ring and tempo excellently, often counter punching and sucking the life out of opponents with accurate shots. Although not a pure puncher he does hit much harder than his record suggests, and is a very smart fighter.
Although less experience Sagawa has gone on excellent run of his own. He lost his second professional bout, being stopped in 2 rounds by Retsu Kosaka, but has since scored 6 wins in a row including wins over Junki Sasaki, Ryo Matsumoto, Shingo Kawamura and Al Toyogon. Like Abe he has proven to be a very skilled fighter, though has also shown he can brawl when he needs to, as he did against Toyogon, and can really press the fight when he's behind.
At the moment no other details of the September card are available, but this is an excellent match up and a fantastic national title fight.
Interestingly Watanabe may find himself moving into a Japanese title eliminator himself, with the former Featherweight champion now being ranked #3 by the JBC at Super Featherweight, with Kazuhiro Nishitani (20-4-1, 12) [西谷和宏] being ranked #1. That is a bout seems to be very possible for later in the year. The reason this bout is being spoken about is that the #2 ranked fighter Shuya Masaki (12-1, 5) [正木脩也] is from the same gym as the current champion Masaru Sueyoshi (19-1-1, 11) [末吉 大]
Back on May 1st we saw a thrilling Japanese Featherweight title bout, as defending champion Taiki Minamoto (16-5-1, 13) [源大輝] just retained his title, fighting to a draw with Reiya Abe (19-2-1, 9) [阿部 麗也]. After the bout their was talk about a rematch, and talk about Minamoto potentially moving up. We'll be honest and admit we wanted to see a rematch, the first really was that good, though today the hope of a rematch was ended.
The decision has been made by Minamoto to abandon the division and begin campaigning at Super Featherweight, due to issues making the 126lb weight limit. Whilst that does ruin hope of a rematch it's not a bad thing for fans who are now set to get another hard hitting in the already stacked Japanese Super Featherweight picture and a number of potentially interesting bouts to fill the title void at Featherweight.
For the vacant title we would expect to see Abe fighting for the belt again next, with likely opponent being highly ranked by the JBC. The #2 ranked fighter, behind Abe, is former world title challenger Genesis Servania (32-2, 15) and we would certainly expect that to be an amazing match up. Others ranked highly by the JBC include Ryo Hino (13-1-2, 8) [日野僚], who would look to avenge a 2015 loss to Abe, the in form Ryo Sagawa (7-1, 4) [佐川遼], former world title challenger Hiroshige Osawa (35-5-4, 21) [大沢宏晋] and super talented youngster Hinata Maruta (9-1-1, 7) [丸田陽七太]. Any of those 5 possible foes against Abe would be great.
With Minamoto moving up he will find himself linked to fights against the likes of Japanese champion Masaru Sueyoshi (19-1-1, 11) [末吉 大] and former world champion Masayuki Ito (25-2-1, 13) [伊藤 雅雪], among others. Though, for now,m he'd be unable to challenge for the OPBF title held by Watanabe gym stablemate Hironori Mishiro (7-0-1, 2) [三代大訓], who defends that title in July.
Whilst it's obviously a shame we won't see Abe and Minamoto run it back with a rematch, the move up in weight for Minamoto is better for his health, and really changes the dynamic on the Japanese scene at both Featherweight and Super Featherweight.
Earlier today Japanese boxing service Boxing Raise released their line up for the month of May and unsurprisingly it's a packed month with an impressive 3 live cards, though one of them was earlier today along with 4 more shows available on demand.
As mentioned one of the three live shows was today. The was the Dangan card from Korakuen Hall, headlined by a brilliant Japanese Featherweight title bout between Taiki Minamoto [源大輝] and Reiya Abe [阿部 麗也]. If you missed this one live it is now available on demand, in fact the entire card is now available.
The next live card will be the next Dangan card, which takes place on May 18th, and will be headlined by a Japanese Super Bantamweight title bout, pitting champion Ryoichi Tamura (12-3-1, 6) [田村 亮一] against former champion Yusaku Kuga (17-3-1, 11) [久我勇作]. This will then be followed a day later by live coverage of Desafio vol 8, which isn't a big card but does feature notable fighters like Satoru Sugita (14-6-1, 9) [杉田聖], Gakuya Furuhashi (24-8-1, 12) [古橋大輔] and Tsubasa Murachi (3-0, 3) [村地翼].
As well as the live cards the service will pick up the next Hiroki Ioka show on May 3rd, the Kadoebi show on May 8th, as well as the WBO Asia Pacific double title show on May 26th from Mutoh gym. Sadly whilst these will be added on tape delay it's unclear when these shows will be added. Sometimes it's the same day, and other times it can be a week after a show takes place.
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