Earlier today fight fans at the Korakuen Hall saw OPBF Bantamweight champion Mark John Yap (29-12, 14) make his third defense as he over-came Takafumi Nakajima (26-10-1, 13) [中嶋 孝文] in a thrilling 12 rounder.
The fight began with Nakajima jabbing well but being backed up by Yap, who looked stronger and landed some eye catching body shots and right hands. The second round was a closer one, and one judge was swayed to Nakajima, as he landed some solid counter shots and stiff jabs, though that wasn't enough to help him build some momentum and the following round Yap too quite clearly, thansk in part to some hard left hooks to the body. Nakajima managed to get his first foothold in the bout in round 4, as he exchanged well with Yap and, despite a good counter from the champion he landed some solid blows of his own.
After 4 rounds two of the judges had the bout a shut out to Yap, whilst the other judge had the bout even at 38-38.
Nakajima put a lot in to round 5, though it was clear that he was unable to hurt Yap who came back into the round, which all 3 judges scored his way, and it actually begane a very credible charge from the challenger who took round 6 on card, round 7 on two and round 8 on two as he began a really credible fight back. Sadly though , for him, his efforts had only closed the gap on the cards with Yap leading 78-74 on two cards and 79-73 on the other.
Nakajima refused to backdown from the fight, knowing this could be his final title bout, and gritted his teeth, impressing in round 9 with combinations, body shots and pushing Yap backwards. With the win in his sails Nakajima came out hot for round 10 and rocked Yap with a big right hand, that forced the champion to back up and take some time to recover. Having hurt his man in round 10 Nakajima continued to pressure and rushed after Yap, who who boxed smartly to avoid a tear up. The clever movement of Yap impressed two of the judges, with the third swaying towards the aggressive Nakajima, who refused to back off in the final round as he further closed the gap on the score cards.
Sadly for Nakajima he was in such a big hole by the time he managed to begin his second half surge that he had simply left himself too much to do, and came up short with scores of 116-112, twice, and 117-111 all in favour of Yap.
This win sees Yap extend his current unbeaten run to 10 fights, including notable wins over Tatsuya Ikemizu, Hiroyuki Kudaka, Takahiro Yamamoto, Kentaro Masuda and now Nakajima whilst Nakajima suffers his 10th defeat, but showed that even at the age of 33 he still has plenty to give the sport going forward.
(Imag courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Tomorrow fight fans at the Korakuen Hall will see OPBF Bantamweight champion Mark John Yap (28-12, 14) defending his title against Takafumi Nakajima (26-9-1, 13) [中嶋 孝文].
Today the two men weighed in for that bout and both fighters managed to make weight for the contest.
On the scales the champion came in under the limit, weighing in at 117.75lbs for the bout, the lightest he's been since his title win over Takahiro Yamamoto back in November 2016. This will be his third defense of the belt, as he looks to build on stoppage wins over Kentaro Masuda and Seizo Kono and notably he's riding a 4 fight stoppage run into this bout as he looks to continue his hunt for a potential world title fight.
Nakajima on the other hand was on the divisional limit of 118lbs. This is lighter than he was last time out, when he beat Jin Miura in a Super Bantamweight bout. Despite making the Bantamweight limit here Nakajima has spent much of his career fighting at much higher weights, and he's a 2-time Japanese Super Bantamweight title challenger having lost to Hidenori Otake in both of those bouts. Despite moving down in weight he looked in great shape and has cut no corners for this bout.
Related-Yap looks for next OPBF defense, takes on veteran Nakajima!
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Yesterday the Mutoh gym announced two titles fights for April, both featuring their regional champions defending their titles.
The first of those bouts will take place on April 1st in Osaka and will see Masahiro Sakamoto (11-1, 7) [坂本 真宏] defending his WBO Asia Pacific Flyweight title gainst Thai veteran Pigmy Kokietgym (60-9-2, 24), a former 2-time world title challenger. The Thai veteran will 36 entering this bout and is likely to know that a loss will be the end of any dreams to win a world title. For Sakamoto the bout is expected to open the door to a rematch with WBO Flyweight world champion Sho Kimura, the only man to have beaten him.
The other will take place on April 4th in Tokyo, and will see OPBF Bantamweight champion Mark John Yap (28-12, 14) defending his title against Takafumi Nakajima (26-9-1, 13) [中嶋 孝文], in a previously reported bout that wasn'tactually announced until yesterday. The hope for Yap is to move towards a world title fight in the near future whilst Nakajima will know that he needs a win to remain relevant at title level.
The first of the shows is expected to be on the Boxingraise website whilst the second will likely be put online via the Asign Boxing youtube account in days after the fight, for fans wanting to watch.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
One of the many surprise stories of the last few years is OPBF Bantamweight champion Mark John Yap (28-12, 14), who has the record of a journeyman but has reeled off 9 straight wins to claim the OPBF title, make several defenses of it and really turn his once faltering career around into one where he is now a world ranked contender.
Today saw the announcement that the Japanese based Filipino would be making his third defense of the OPBF title on April 4th at the Korakuen Hall.
The under-rated Thai, who was been training along side WBC Super Flyweight champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (44-4-1, 40) [ศรีสะเกษ นครหลวงโปรโมชั่น], will be defending his title against veteran Takafumi Nakajima (26-9-1, 13) [中嶋 孝文], who will be getting his 4th career title bout, and his first for an OPBF title, having twice fought Hidenori Otake for a Japanese title and once winning several minor continental titles.
The bout will headline an upcoming "A Sign Bee" branded show, and although other bouts from the card have yet to be announced we're expecting a decent under-card for what is a very enticing and good looking main event at this level. Another win for Yap is likely to see his team campaign to get him a world title fight, whilst an upset win for Nakajima would give his career a huge boost and a real moment of glory.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
We've known for a while that 2017 will end with two big Japanese cards, one on December 30th and the other on December 31st, though details of the under-card for those shows haven't been very widely announced. Thankfully though we have now began to see details emerge for both shows, and both feature some notable names.
We've known for a while that the first show, on December 30th, will be headlined by WBO Super Flyweight champion Naoya Inoue (14-0, 12) [井上 尚弥], who faces French challenger Yoan Boyeaux (41-4, 26). We've also long known that that card is also going to feature Naoya's younger brother Takuma Inoue (9-0, 2) [井上 拓真], who faces former 2-time Japanese Bantamweight champion Kentaro Masuda (27-8, 15). What we didn't know until the last 24 hours was that Koki Inoue (9-0, 8) [浩樹井上] would also feature, meaning all 3 of the Inoue clan will be in action on the show.
Koki will be up against Korean visitor Dong Hee Kim (8-1-2, 3), who has never been stopped, and has gone 10 fights unbeaten following a decision loss. Not only is Kim in good form, but he also managed tofight to a draw with the talent In Duck Seo for the Korean Light Welterweight title.
Other Ohashi gym fighters now confirmed for the card are former amateur standouts Kazuki Nakajima (2-0, 2) [中嶋一輝] and Katsuya Yasuda (1-0, 1) [保田克也]. Nakajima will be up against domestic foe Taiga Higashi (4-1, 1) [東大河] whilst Yasuda will be facing off with a Korean visitor.
On the 31st we get a world title triple header, with the stand out bout being the Light Flyweight title unification bout between WBA champion Ryoichi Taguchi (26-2-2, 12) [田口良一] and IBF champion Milan Melindo (37-2, 13). We now know that along with the three world title bouts the card will also include former world title challenger Shingo Wake (22-5-2, 14) [和氣 慎吾] and recent OPBF title challenger Masataka Taniguchi (8-2, 6) [谷口 将隆]. Both of these men will be facing Thai foes, in what we suspect will be easy wins, but it's clear the plan for bother fighters is to have something big in 2018, and just want to keep ticking over befoe the year comes to an end.
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