Earlier today at the Korakuen Hall fight fans saw former Japanese Super Featherweight champion Seiichi Okada (22-6-1, 13) [岡田誠一] secure his 4th straight victory, as he stopped Takahiro Araki (12-8, 4) [荒木貴裕] in 6 rounds.
The 36 Okada, who is currently going through a career resurgence, struggled when Araki managed to fight at range, and use his jab, but in round 4 he managed get inside and land short shots. Those short shots took a toll on Araki who slowed down, and began to fall apart. As Araki's movement slowed it made things much easier for Okada who turned the screw and forced the referee to save the 31 year old Araki.
Although it's unclear what Okada has left the fact he won his last 4 is a big change to how he was a few years ago, when he went 2-5-1 and his career seemed like it was going to end on a low. He has been matched easily in recent bouts, but it's hard to not see his determination and drive as an inspiration. For Araki this was a 4th career stoppage loss.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Earlier today we saw the Japanese boxing award winners for July being named, and in all honesty this was quite an interesting set of winners with some genuinely notable names.
The MVP for the month was the newly crowned OPBF Flyweight champion Daigo Higa (10-0, 10) [比嘉 大吾], who earned the award and the OPBF title with a sensationally destructive performance against Filipino fighter Ardin Diale. The performance was the best of Higa's young career and came against a man who hadn't just fought in world title bouts but had given Higa's own stablemate Koki Eto absolute hell. To say we were impressed is an understatement, we were amazed by the 20 year old who looks to have one of the brightest futures in boxing.
The Fighting Spirit award was won by another OPBF champion, Super Featherweight Masayuki Ito (19-1-1, 9) [伊藤 雅雪]. Ito retained his title with an 11th round TKO win over Filipino Ernie Sanchez. The win wasn't one of the most spectacular, and we didn't really agree with the stoppage, but the win was solid all round and will continue to see Ito move towards a potential world title fight, with murmurs suggesting he could be back in December against a notable opponent.
The State of the Art award Takahiro Araki (9-5, 4) [荒木 貴裕] who scored a genuinely huge upset on July 25th as he out pointed former Japanese title challenger Yuki Ogata [緒方 勇希]. Araki looked much better than his more experienced opponent and although it wasn't a flawless performance it was still an impressive one by a fighter who still has a long way to go, despite his less than flattering record.
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