. Today fight fans at the legendary Korakuen Hall had the chance to see two super-prospects face off, as Taku Kuwahara (3-0, 2) [桑原拓] and Takamori Kiyama (2-1, 2) risked their unbeaten records against each other in an 8 round bout.
The two youngsters, who are both tipped for major success in the future, showed their willing to face tests by going up against each other so early in their career's and showed off their well polished skills.
Kiyama started aggressively, boxing sharply behind his southpaw stance and landing his straight left and right hook. It wasn't long however until Kuwahara figured out how effective his uppercut was. The skills of both were excellent from the opening round, but it didn't take long until Kuwahara's boxing brain started to take over.
In the second half of the bout Kuwahara began to have more and more success, repeatedly landing his right hand over the guard of Kiyama. Despite being tagged Kiyama continued to be aggressive but was struggling to break through the defenses of Kuwahara, who had clearly taken the win by the final bell.
At the end we went to the scorecards, which favoured Kuwahara 79-74, 78-74 and 79-73. The win for Kuwahara will put him on the fast track and we'd be surprised if he doesn't fight for a title next year. Despite the loss Kiyama's aggression, style and toughness impressed, and we suspect he'll bounce back brilliantly from this loss, he's too skilled not to.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Earlier today Ohashi gym held a press conference to announce the next defense of the OPBF Featherweight title by Satoshi Shimizu (7-0, 7) [清水 聡].
The 2012 Olympic bronze medal winner was flanked by Ohashi gym president Hideyuki Ohashi and trainer Koji Matsumoto at the press conference as they announced Shimizu's next bout.
The fighter will return to the ring on December 3rd to face off with fellow unbeaten Takuya Uehara (16-0, 10) [上原 拓哉] , who held a press conference of his own at the Apollo Gym in Osaka to announce the contest.
For Shimizu the bout will serve as his 4th title defense, and is expected to be his final bout before on wards to a world title fight in early 2019. For Uehara the bout is his first at this level, though he is a former WBC Youth and Japanese Youth champion.
With this announcement we now know that the show, which will be the "66th Phoenix Battle", will be a double header with the card also featuring the mouth watering match up between Hinata Maruta (7-1-1, 6) [丸田 陽七太] and Tsuyoshi Tameda (18-3-2, 16) [溜田剛士]. We also know that the card will feature Kazuki Nakajima (5-0, 4) [中嶋一輝] battling Yoshihiro Utsumi (15-8-3, 10) [宇津見義広] and bouts involving Sho Nakazawa (11-2, 5) [中澤奨] and Taku Kuwahara (2-0, 2) [桑原拓].
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today at the Korakuen Hall Japanese fight fans got a pretty interesting card, with a world title eliminator, a youth title fight and several notable prospects.
Two of those prospects faced off with Indonesian visitors and they made very light work of the visiting fighter, who were both taken out by the local professional novices.
The first of the locals to shine was the very highly touted Taku Kuwahara (2-0, 2) [桑原拓], who needed just 46 seconds to see off Ardi Tefa (6-8-1, 4).
The talented Kuwahara dropped his man early on and although Tefa showed some heart to try and beat the count he was deemed unfit to continue by the time the referee counted to 10. It's worth noting that this is the 7th time Tefa has been stopped, but he had taken Tetsuya Hisada 5 rounds in 2016 and had gone into round 6 with Filipino prospect KJ Cataraja back in 2015, and he had never been stopped this quickly.
The other local prospect was Katsuya Yasuda (3-0, 2) [保田克也], who had a better work out as he was taken into round 3 before stopping Anshori Anhar Pitulay (9-17-2, 6). The promising Yasuda showed off his body punching here, using Pitulay's midsection for target practice until the Indonesian could take no more. By the time the bout had ended he had really taken his lumps and had shown his bravery to pull himself off the canvas to keep fighting, but was sent back down which caused the stoppage
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Back in June we saw the official announcement of a WBC Bantamweight world title eliminator between Takuma Inoue (11-0, 3) [井上 拓真], the younger brother of Japanese sensation Naoya Inoue [井上 尚弥] and OPBF Bantamweight champion Mark John Yap (29-12, 14). The announcement of the bout sadly gave us little detail about the under-card for the show though we've now had the Ohashi gym announce several bouts for the card, and release the poster for the show.
The poster is a pretty decent looking one, making Inoue look like the star, but also feature Yap in a prominent position with both in front of the WBC title.
The poster also features Japanese Youth Light Welterweight champion Andy Hiraoka (12-0, 8) [平岡アンディ], who will be defending his title against Ukyo Yoshigai (6-2, 5) [吉開右京]. These two fought last August, with Hiraoka stopping Yoshigai in a qualifying bout for the Japanese Youth title, a title that Hiraoka would win 3 months later when he stopped Takahiko Kobayashi. Since their first bout Hiraoka has not only won the Japanese Youth crown but also scored an 8 round decision win over Fumisuke Kimura Yoshigai on the other hand has fought just once, stopping Takuya Matsusaka in 68 seconds.
Another fighter on the poster is recent world title challenger Ryo Matsumoto's (21-2, 19) [松本亮], who looks to bounce back from his February loss to Danny Roman in a WBA Super Bantamweight title fight. Matsumoto will be up against domestic foe Ryo Sagawa (4-1, 2) [佐川遼] in a bout at Featherweight, with Matsumoto stepping up in weight. This looks like a mismatch on paper, though Sagawa did really impress last time out, when he defeated Junki Sasaki and he was a very accomplished amateur before turning professional.
Also set to be on this show are former amateur stand outs Katsuya Yasuda (2-0, 1) [保田克也] and Taku Kuwahara (1-0, 1) [桑原拓] among others.
On May 25th we'll see Japanese star Naoya Inoue (15-0, 13) [井上 尚弥] battle against WBA "regular" Bantamweight champion Jamie McDonnell (29-2-1-1, 13), with Inoue looking to become a 3-weight champion and join a small group of Japanese fighters to have achieved that feat. The bout has long vbeen known about, with the announcement coming in early March. That bout was quickly joined on the card by a WBC Light Flyweight title bout between Ken Shiro (12-0, 6) [拳 四朗] former champion Ganigan Lopez (28-7, 17), in a rematch of their 2017 battle.
After those two bouts little was actually known about the under-card until today.
What we did know previously was that Taku Kuwabara (0-0) [桑原拓] would be debuting on the card, something that was revealed after he passed his pro-test earlier this month. The former stand out didn't have his opponent announced until today, with it being revealed that he would face Indonesian Mochamad Sholimin (3-6, 3), who has a record of 0-2 in Japan having lost decisions to Rikito Hatori and Daiki Tomita. This bout will be a 6 rounder fought just above the Flyweight limit.
We also knew that Tsuyoshi Tameda (16-3-2, 14) [溜田 剛士] would be on the card, with the fighter revealing the news on Twitter. Sadly his opponent is currently unknown, though it is assumed that he will be facing an imported fighter in a stay busy contest before a potential title fight later in the year.
What we didn't know until today was that Naoya's younger brother Takuma Inoue (10-0, 2) [井上 拓真] would be involved in the card. The former OPBF Super Flyweight champion will be fighting at a contracted 54.5KG's and will be taking on Indonesian journeyman Waldo Sabu (12-11, 2). Sabu was once a promising Indonesian fighter, claiming the IBC Super Flyweight and Bantamweight titles, but has seen his career fall apart since suffering a 5th round KO loss to Shingo Wake, and since that loss he has gone 5-8, with all 8 losses coming when he has ventured away from home. We don't see that trend ending here against Inoue, who looks to be fighting at a career heaviest weight.
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