Over the last 24 hours or so we saw Japanese Light Welterweight champion Koki Inoue (13-0, 10) [浩樹井上] reveal his first defense.
The unbeaten Ohashi gym fighter, the cousin of Naoya and Takuma Inoue, revealed he would be defending his title on July 1st at Korakuen Hall against Ryuji Ikeda (14-5-3, 9) [池田竜司]. The bout will see Inoue look to build on his impressive title win against Valentine Hosokawa (24-7-3, 11) [細川バレンタイン] back in April and he has suggest that this will be a more exciting fight than that one, where he seemed happy to box and move.
For Ikeda this will be his first Japanese title fight, though he did fight for a regional title in 2017, losing to Darragh Foley in Australia. Although he enters as the #8 ranked Japanese challenger it should be noted that he hasn't really shined on the domestic stage, going 1-1-1 in his last 3 bouts in Japan.
The card has had a number of notable fighters pencilled in for it. These include former world title challenger Ryo Matsumoto (22-3, 20) [松本亮], Japanese Youth title holder Andy Hiraoka (13-0, 9) [平岡アンディ], the very highly regarded Taku Kuwahara (4-0, 3) [桑原拓], the exciting Tsuyoshi Tameda (19-4-2, 17) [溜田剛士] and unbeaten prospect Katsuya Yasuda (3-0, 2) [保田克也]. At the time of writing none of these fighters have had their opponents announced.
Earlier today fight fans in Tokyo had the chance to see a number of notable Ohashi Gym fighters in action at Korakuen Hall. That included 3 bright youngsters, all looking to move forward with their career, two of whom had suffered recent set backs.
One of those looking to rebuild from a recent loss was Ryo Matsumoto (22-3, 20) [松本亮], who had actually lost his last 2 bouts. He made relatively light work of Indonesian visitor Carlos Obisuru (5-2-1, 1), scoring a stoppage in round 2.
Another man rebuilding from a loss was the once touted Sho Nakazawa (12-3, 6) [中澤奨], who scored a much needed win after losing 3 of his last 6. Nakazawa scored a 3rd round win over Jio Alfriando (5-8, 2), in what really was nothing more than a confidence building win for the Japanese fighter.
Arguably the most interesting of the youngsters on this card was Taku Kuwahara (4-0, 3) [桑原拓], who scored a 3rd round win over Aprilianto Rumahpasal (1-4, 1). Kuwahara is one of the many talented Japanese fighters breaking through the ranks at 108lbs and he looked incredibly sharp here, a real one to watch!
Sadly a planned bout between Andy Hiraoka (13-0, 9) [平岡アンディ] and Atchariya Wirojanasunobol (12-0, 5) fell through when the Thai was arrested, though Hiraoka did participate in a spar with Kaiki Yuba (4-0-1, 2) [湯場海樹].
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today we were informed that Ohashi would be putting on their next show on April 8th at the Korakuen Hall. The full hasn't been announced, but plenty of details from the show have been revealed, including the names of many fighters from the card.
The headline attraction is former 3 weight world champion Akira Yaegashi (27-6, 15) [八重樫 東], who will be fighting for the first time since his 2018 war with Hirofumi Mukai. At the moment Yaegashi's opponent hasn't been announced for the contest, though it's not expected to be anyone too testing for the hugely popular warrior.
The most exciting bout that has been confirmed for the show will see Andy Hiraoka (13-0, 9) [平岡アンディ] take on unbeaten Thai Atchariya Wirojanasunobol (12-0, 5), in a really fantastic bout. It's rare we see two unbeaten fighters fighting at this point in their careers, with both heading towards bigger fights, so to see both taking this type of risk is fantastic, and something to get really excited about.
Another bout confirmed for the show will see former Japanese Super Featherweight champion Seiichi Okada (22-6-1, 13) [岡田誠一] take on Nakagawa Kanehiro (6-6, 4) [中川兼玄]. Okada has won his last 4 bouts coming into this, and will be looking to continue his good run of form.
Looking to bounce back from recent defeats will be former world title challenger Ryo Matsumoto (21-3, 19) [松本亮] and the once touted Sho Nakazawa (11-3, 5) [中澤奨], who both suffered stoppage losses late last year. Neither man has had their opponent named, but neither is expected to be up against anyone too testing, given their recent stoppage losses.
One other fighter on this card is fast tracked prospect Taku Kuwahara (3-0, 2) [桑原拓], who will be in his second 8 round bout. He also lacks an opponent, though could end up against someone of some note given how Ohashi seem to view him as a very special talent.
Full bouts are expected to be announced by the middle of March, though it's nice to see that the card already has some notable names on it, and the excellent Hiraoka Vs Atchariya bout.
Earlier today at the Korakuen Hall fans were given the rare chance to see a double award ceremony, with the award winners of the monthly awards for December and January both being recognised.
The December award winners were Satoshi Shimizu (8-0, 8) [清水 聡], who won the MVP award, Valentine Hosokawa (24-6-3, 11) [細川バレンタイン], who took the fighting spirit award and Taku Kuwahara (3-0, 2) [桑原拓], who was the Newcomer of the Month.
At today's ceremony Shimizu, who has now won the MVP award 3 times, spoke about being pleased at winning the award numerous times and seemed to suggest that he was on the verge of a big fight. It's known that he is eyeing a world title fight, or a world title eliminator, and rumours are suggesting that he may end up with something big in April or May.
The January award winners were Norihito Tanaka (18-7, 10) [田中教仁], who won the the MVP award, Ryoichi Tamura (12-3-1, 6) [田村 亮一], who was the Fighting Spirit award winner, and Naoto Fujimoto (11-9-1, 5) [藤本直人], the New Comer. Tanaka notable shared his thanks to the fans, and admitted that he thought his career would lack the spotlight of winning a title, though now has both a Japanese title and the MVP award.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today the East Japan Boxing Association announced their monthly award winners for December 2018.
The MVP for the month was OPBF Featherweight champion Satoshi Shimizu (8-0, 8) [清水 聡], who stopped Takuya Uehara (16-1, 10) [上原 拓哉] in 3 rounds to record his 4th defense. The unbeaten 2012 Olympic Bronze medal winner is now a 2-time MVP and is expected to challenge for a world title in 2019.
The Fighting Spirit award winner was Japanese Light Welterweight champion Valentine Hosokawa (24-6-3, 11) [細川バレンタイン], who retained his title with an opening round win over Takashi Inagaki (20-12-2, 9) [稲垣孝].
The Newcomer Award was won by Shimizu's stablemate at the Ohashi gym, Taku Kuwahara (3-0, 2) [桑原拓] following his excellent win over Takamori Kiyama (2-1, 2) [木山鷹守], which really showed how good not only Kuwahara is but also Kiyama.
The 3 winners will be honoured at a ceremony on February 14th at the Korakuen Hall, as part of the Diamond Glove show.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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