Today saw the shortlists being released from the Japanese Boxing Commission and the Tokyo Sports Press Club for the annual Japanese boxing awards, celebrating the best of Japanese boxing in 2019.
Unsurprisingly Ryota Murata, Kazuto Ioka, Kosei Tanaka, Kenshiro Teraji and Naoya Inoue were in multiple categories following a solid for all 5 men.
Below are the short lists for this years awards, ahead of the annual ceremony, which will take place on February 7th in Tokyo.
Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16) [井上 尚弥]
Kazuto Ioka (25-2, 14) [井岡一翔]
Ryota Murata (16-2, 13) [村田 諒太]
Kosei Tanaka (15-0, 9) [田中恒成]
Kenshiro Teraji (17-0, 10) [寺地 拳四朗]
Ryosuke Iwasa (27-3, 17) [岩佐 亮佑]
Keita Kurihara (15-5, 13) [栗原 慶太]
Shuichiro Yoshino (11-0, 9) [吉野 修一郎]
Hiroaki Teshigawara (21-2-2, 14) [勅使河原 弘晶]
Ginjiro Shigeoka (5-0, 4) [重岡銀次朗]
Koki Inoue (15-0, 12) [浩樹井上]
Junto Nakatani (20-0, 15) [中谷 潤人]
Yuki Nonaka (33-11-3, 10) [野中 悠樹]
Akinori Watanabe (39-7-1, 33) [渡部あきのり]
Yuki Nagano (17-2, 13) [永野祐樹]
Norihito Tanaka (19-7, 10) [田中教仁]
Best Fight of the Year (World title Bout)
Naoya Inoue Vs Nonito Donaire
Naoya Inoue Vs Emanuel Rodriguez
Kazuto Ioka Vs Aston Palicte
Ryota Murata Vs Rob Brant II
Best Fight of the Year (Non-world title)
Kazuto Takesako Vs Shuji Kato 加藤収二]
Yuki Beppu [別府優樹] Vs Ryota Yada [矢田良太]
Toshiya Ishii [石井渡士也] Vs Haruki Ishikawa [石川春樹]
Tenkai Tsunami (27-12-1, 16) [天海 ツナミ]
Kasumi Saeki (4-0, 3) [佐伯霞]
Miyo Yoshida (14-1) [吉田 実代]
Female Fight of the Year
Naoko Fujioka [藤岡 奈穂子] Vs Tenkai Tsunami
Kasumi Saeki Vs Elizabeth Lopez
Monseratt Alcaron Vs Ayaka Miyao [宮尾 綾香]
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Whilst male boxing in Asia, across Asia, has been on a high in 2019 female boxing really hasn't been. In fact almost all the top female names in the sport only fought once. The likes Naoko Fujioka, Etsuko Tada, Hyun Mi Choi, Saemi Hanagata, Yuki Kuroki and Kasumi Saeki had a year where they were so inactive that we were assuming missing posters were sent out across Asia, along with milk cartons trying to find the fighters.
The lack of activity for so many meant that, in the end, the award here was almost given by default to Tenkai Tsunami.
The 35 year old was inactive for the first 6 months of the year herself, before moving up in weight and fighting Naoko Fujioka in July for the WBA female Flyweight title. The bout was highly anticipated and lived up to the expectations, but resulted in an inconclusive outcome, with the two fighting to a draw. Had a rematch happened later in the year, that winner would have been the one who took this award.
Sadly the draw didn't have an immediate rematch, with Fujioka not fighting in the remainder of the year. Tsunami however returned to the ring 5 months later, squeezing in her second fight of the year. In that bout she dropped back down to her natural weight and stopped Filipino fighter Jessebelle Pagaduan to retain the WBO female Light Flyweight title.
Not only did Tsunami stop Pagaduan but with that bout she also brought boxing back to Kimotsuki, in Kagoshima. According to boxrec that was the first event there. It was also, according to Japanese sources, the first world title fight in Kagoshima in 43 years!
It's a shame that 2019 was the year where female boxing in Asia seem to go off the boil, just as globally it's began to get attention with the likes of Cecilia Braekhus, Katie Taylor, Claressa Shields and Amanda Serrano leading the charge in the west. Fingers crossed 2020 is a better year for female boxing throughout Asia.
Although Tsunami took the honour, there is a need to add that Miyo Yoshida is an honourable mention. She squeezed 3 fights in to the year, won the WBO female Super Flyweight title in the middle of the year, beating Casey Morton, and defended it against Li Ping Shi. An impressive year though we feel Tsunami's draw with Fujioka is actually a more valuable result than Yoshida's wins. We do however have our fingers crossed that Yoshida can build on her success in 2020.
Tomorrow in Kagoshima fans will see WBO female Light Flyweight champion Tenkai Tsunami (26-12-1, 15) [天海 ツナミ] defending her title against Filipino challenger Jessebelle Pagaduan (12-1-1, 5).
Today the two fighters took part in their weigh in and both fighters made the 108lb limit with no issues at all.
On the scales the defending champion was 107.75lbs whilst the champion was 107.5lbs, showing that neither was even close to struggling to make the limit.
Notably the bout will take place in Tsunami's home town and she seemed to suggest that she was wanting to give fans a show due to the home support, with 1,200 fans expected to fill out the Uchinoura Ginga Arena.
Related - Tsunami and Pagaduan clash in WBO world title fight!
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier this month we reported that WBO female Light Flyweight champion Tenkai Tsunami (26-12-1, 15) [天海 ツナミ] would be defending her title in December against a then un-named opponent. At the time we had the when, December 14th, and the where, Kagoshima, but not the who.
Today that changed with sources informing us that Tsunami's opponent for the bout would be 2-time world title challenger Jessebelle Pagaduan (12-1-1, 5) from the Philippines.
The 35 year old Pagaduan has twice failed in world title challenges in Japan, losing widely to the then WBO Atomweight champion Nao Ikeyama in 2014 and suffering a technical draw against Kumiko Seeser Ikehara in a WBO female Minimumweight title bout in 2015. Those two set backs aside she's 12-0 though has been picking up wins against mostly abject opposition.
Although her competition hasn't been great Pagaduan does enter this bout unbeaten in 7, and riding a 5 fight winning run, which has included wins over domestic foes Aisah Alico and Charimae Salvador.
For Tsunami this will be her second defense of the title, as she looks to build on a July 2018 win over Gretchen Abaniel. The Japanese veteran was last seen in the ring fighting to a split decision draw in a 10 round thriller against Naoko Fujioka this past July in a bout for Fujioka's WBA female Flyweight title, though will be moving back down in weight for this bout at 108lbs.
As well as the world title fight the show will also see 30 year old Japanese stalwart Naoya Haruguchi (15-11, 6) [春口直也] take on Thai foe Sanchai Yotboon (6-3, 6) and 2018 Rookie of the Year Sora Takeda (5-1, 1) [竹田宙] will be up against unbeaten Thai teenager Phanuwit Siriwong (7-0, 6)
Yesterday we were informed that WBO female Light Flyweight champion Tenkai Tsunami (26-12-1, 15) [天海 ツナミ] is now scheduled to defend her title in December, against a yet to be named opponent.
The Japanese veteran was last seen in the ring this past July, when she moved up in weight and fought to a draw in a great bout with Naoko Fujioka for the WBA female Flyweight title. She's now moving back to her more natural weight class to make her second defense of the WBO title she won in March 2018, when she stopped Chaoz Minowa.
Although no opponent has yet been confirmed for the bout we do know that Tsunami's contest is set to take place December 14th in Kagoshima and will be promoted by Hashiguchi Gym.
As Tsunami isn't an Hashiguchi fighter herself we're expecting the card to be filled with local talent from the Hashiguchi gym, and with Tsunami to headline against a less than elite level challenger, though potentially still a very good opponent,
More details regarding the show, which will be under the "KAGOSHIMA SOUL BOX" banner, are expected in the next week or so as the card continues to get put together and the bouts slowly get confirmed.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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