Earlier today news broke of the next Ohashi promoted show, "Phoenix Battle 71", which will take place on March 16th at Korakuen Hall and will feature not only a Champion Carnival bout but also a number notable Japanese hopefuls.
The main event will see Japanese Light Welterweight champion Koki Inoue (15-0, 12) [浩樹井上] defending his title against mandatory challenger Daishi Nagata (15-2-1, 5) [永田大士]. The unbeaten champion will be looking to make his second defense, after winning the belt last April, and if he wins the expectation is that he will likely vacated in pursuit of a world title fight down the line. As for Nagata he's gotten this shot following a decision win over Cristiano Aoqui back in October.
The chief support bout will see fast rising Japanese prospect Taku Kuwahara (7-0, 4) [桑原拓] take a a really good step up in class to take on rugged Filipino foe Jaysever Abcede (20-9, 12). This will be the third straight Filipino fighter that Kuwahara will be up against and is a good quality of opponent form the youngster. As for Abcede this will be his third visit to Japan in 5 fights, after a win over Seigo Yuri Akui in October 2018 and a very competitive loss to Kento Hatanaka last August. A win here should put Kuwahara in line for a big fight later in the year, but a win is certainly not a given.
Another supporting bout will see former world title challenger Ryo Matsumoto (23-3, 21) [松本亮] take on unbeaten Japanese fighter Koshin Takeshima (4-0-1, 3) [竹嶋宏心]. On paper this is a mismatch, but Matsumoto is still rebuilding after a disastrous 2018 and a bout like this will certainly be a step up from his recent bouts.
One other fighter announced for this card is 2019 All Japan Rookie of the Year winner Katsuki Mori (6-0,1) [森且貴], who looks to kick off his 2020 campaign and build on an excellent year. The 19 year old shined through out the Rookie of the Year and looks like the skilled type of fighter who could go a very, very long way with Ohashi's guidance and backing. A genuine one to watch.
Earlier today at Korakuen Hall fight fans were given an interesting card, with a very notable under-card, featuring a former world title challenger and two talented youngsters expected to make a lot of noise in 2020.
One of the youngsters was Japanese ranked Flyweight Taku Kuwahara (7-0, 4) [桑原拓], who impressed once again. The unbeaten fighter, dubbed "Ioka II" in some circles of the Japanese press, did everything but stop Filipino visitor Ricardo Sueno (10-4-4, 3), in a very 1 sided contest.
From the opening bell Kuwahara was too sharp, too crisp and too skilled for the visitor, who struggled to ever get going. Kuwahara fought like a man who wanted a KO win, and wanted to earn it with his boxing, however Sueno's toughness kept him fighting back, even after being dropped. This wasn't competitive, and was a 1-sided beating, but credit to Sueno for lasting the 8 rounds en route to a very clear loss.
Another bout on the card saw former world title challenger Ryo Matsumoto (23-3, 21) [松本亮] get the stoppage against the game, but out matched, Jinya Ito (8-6-1, 3) [伊藤 仁也]. This was a a lot more entertaining than the records would suggest and Ito came for the upset, fighting tooth and nail with Matsumoto at times. Sadly for Ito he was unable to hurt Matsumoto who's power, and crisper punching proved to be the difference, and in round 4 the referee saved a bloodied and shaken Ito from further punishment.
In a much less competitive bout, the well touted Katsuya Yasuda (6-0, 4) [保田 克也] battered Indonesian visitor Rengga Rengga (8-5, 2) in 2 rounds. This was a mismatch from the moment it was signed and Rengga was downed twice as the local picked up his latest win.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Back in September we reported that Japanese Light Welterweight champion Koki Inoue (14-0, 11) [浩樹井上] would be back in the ring in December, when he faces hard hitting Filipino Jheritz Chavez (9-3-2, 7) for the WBO Asia Pacific Light Welterweight title. At the time no under-card bouts for the show were announced, and in fact no one was even announced for the under-card.
Today that changed and we saw a number of bouts for the card, set for December 4th at Korakuen Hall, being announced.
The chief support bout has been confirmed as being an 8 round Flyweight bout between Japanese ranked Flyweight Taku Kuwahara (6-0, 4) [桑原拓] and Filipino visitor Ricardo Sueno (10-3-4, 3). On paper this looks good, and another test for Kuwahara who scored a fantastic win earlier this year against Jonathan Refugio, however it does need ton be noted that Sueno was blasted out in a round last time he fought in Japan, being stopped by Thai teenager Thanongsak Simsri in just 66 seconds. We suspect this will be seen as little more than a stay busy fight for the excellent Kuwahara.
Another supporting bout will see former world title challenger Ryo Matsumoto (22-3, 20) [松本亮] take on Jinya Ito (8-5-1, 3) [伊藤 仁也] in an 8 round bout at Featherweight. For Matsumoto this will be his second bout since being stopped by Ryo Segawa in 2018, as he looks to rebuild from that loss and get his career back on track. For Ito the bout is almost a reward for an opening round win, in July, over Matsumoto's stablemate Sho Nakazawa. It should be noted however that Ito has lost 2 of his last 3 and is clearly being picked as someone Matsumoto can score a win against.
Also on the card in an 8 rounder is the touted Katsuya Yasuda (5-0, 3) [保田 克也], who will also be in an 8 rounder at Featherweight, though his opponent is yet to be confirmed.
It might not be a stacked under-card, but it does give fans a real reason to come in well before the main event, with the chance to see 3 very talented Ohashi gym fighters who are all going to be in mix for titles over the coming years.
Fast rising Japanese youngster Taku Kuwahara (6-0, 4) [桑原拓] scored his career best win today as he dominated experienced Filipino foe Jonathan Refugio (21-7-5, 7) in an 8 round bout at the Korakuen Hall.
The naturally bigger Kuwahara took control with his speed in the opening stages and kept Refugio on the defensive, whilst looking to create openings. From there on he had the foundation to build on and began to move through the gears, landing more and more punishing blows through rounds 2 and 3 as he strengthened his early grip on the bout.
To his credit Refugio showed no quit, and did try to make a fight of things, but was often handcuffed by the speed and accuracy of Kuwahara. Kuwahara's shots never hurt the Filipino, but they were stopping Refugio from ever getting momentum of his own.
In round 7 Kuwahara finally got a break through, putting Refugio down, though the Filipino claimed it was a slip. It was as close as Kuwahara got to stopping Refugio who toughed out the final stages.
After 8 rounds all 3 judges had the bout 80-71 to Kuwahara, who looked totally unmarked at the final bell.
Kuwahara later revealed he is scheduled to fight again in December, in another bout at Flyweight, and is hoping to fight for a title, of some kind, next year.
Refugio suggested that Kuwahara had the potential to become a world champion, though did also hint that he's lacking a bit of power. He also added that he would like to return to Japan, where he is now win-less in 3, for a bout, though would like to fight at his more natural Minimumweight next time he fights in the country.
(Image courtesy boxmob.jp)
Tomorrow Japanese youngster Taku Kuwahara (5-0, 4) [桑原拓] will take his first major step up in class, as he battles against Filipino foe Jonathan Refugio (21-6-5, 7) at Korakuen Hall. Today, ahead of that bout, the two men took part in their weigh in for the contest.
The bout, which is being fought at a contracted 51KG's, around 112.4lbs, saw both men make weight.
On the scales Kuwahara came in on the contracted limit whilst the naturally smaller Refugio came in well under the limit, hitting the scales at 110.2lbs..
Not only was Kuwahara the heavier man but also looked like the much bigger fighter in terms of natural weight, towering over the Filipino visitor.
Kuwahara spoke about this was a step up and suggested it would be a more technical bout than his other contests. Despite the step up he sounded very confident, and spoke about the sparring he's had to prepare for Refugio, which included sparring with Junto Nakatani. For Refugio this will be his third bout in Japan but he's still seeking his first win on Japanese soil.
Related - Kuwahara takes big step up to face off with Refugio!
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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