Back in April we reported that Japanese legend Shinsuke Yamanaka [山中慎介] had began to work with Danagn on an special Bantamweight tournament, set to begin in July.
Today the draw for that tournament took place, as well as the reveal of who would be involved, and who the men would be facing.
The original plan seemed to be for 8 fighters to compete, though only 7 have actually been selected, allowing one fighter to have a bye into the final 4. The fighter getting the bye is 23 year old Seiya Tsutsumi (5-0, 4) [堤聖也], who has been given a seeding position and will skip the quarter finals as a result.
Tsutsumi is a really exciting fighter from the Watanabe gym who made his debut in March 2018 and impressed last September when he won a B Class tournament, dismantling Junpei Inamoto in the final. More recently he stopped tough Filipino Ryan Rey Ponteras, back in April, and has been strongly tipped as one to watch.
Tsutsumi's opponent in the semi-final will be either Gaku Aikawa (9-7-1, 3) [相川 学己] or Kenya Yamashita (13-5, 10) [山下賢哉].
Aikawa, from the Misako gym, is a 25 year old who has lost 3 of his last 4, but has been fighting mostly at Super Bantamweight and not Bantamweight. At his best he's a tough guy to discourage, but will be regarded as one of the big under-dogs in the tournament. Interestingly he reached the 2013 All Japan Rookie of the Year, losing to Bunta Mitaka in the final.
Yamashita on the other hand is a well liked, aggressive fighter who was one tipped to be a force on the domestic scene. He brings intense action, but can be out boxed, as we've seen recently against John Riel Casimero. He's explosive, exciting and comes to fight, but has suffered 4 stoppage losses, and at the age of 22 it already feels like his all action style is catching up with him. Notably this will be his first fight since joining up with the JB Sports Gym. As with Aikawa he will be regarded as a betting outsider.
Another of the semi-final bouts will see Ohashi gym's unbeaten hopeful Kazuki Nakajima (6-0, 5) [中嶋一輝] take on Kenichi Watanabe (8-4-1, 4) [渡辺健一]. On paper this looks like a bit of a mismatch, but should be a good chance to see if Nakajima is as good as some suggest.
Nakajima is a 26 year old former amateur stand out who made his debut in 2017 and already holds solid wins over Taiga Higashi and Yoshihiro Utsumi. He has been groomed for success following his long amateur career, where he went 72-15 (30) and is expected to become another of the top guys under the guidance of Hideyuki Ohashi.
Watanabe on the other hand is from the little known Dream Boxing Gym and at 32 years old is clearly the oldest man in the tournament. He debuted more than a decade ago, but has had a stop-start career which has struggled to get going. During his time in the sport he has shared the ring with Koki Eto, Akinori Hoshino and Hiroaki Teshigawara, though those bigger names have all beat him. Another of the tournaments outsiders.
The remaining quarter final is the best of the bunch will see another of the tournaments favourites in action, in fact even the bout's under-dog will be regarded as the best of the under-dogs. In one corner will be unbeaten puncher Jin Minamide (3-0, 3) [南出仁] and in the other will be once beaten Japanese Youth champion Tetsu Araki (14-1-1, 2) [荒木哲], in what is easily the best of the match ups in the first round.
The 24 year old Minamide was a notable amateur, going 43-22 (15) before turning professional with Celes Kobayashi at the Kobayashi gym. Since debuting, in June 2018, he has fought just 5 rounds but taken out some impressive competition, including Marjun Pantilgan. His opponents combined record so far is 33-12-1, yet he has sliced through them with complete ease and looked ready for much bigger things.
As mentioned Araki the the Japanese Youth champion, and is also 24 years old. He debuted in 2014 and lost in the 2015 Rookie of the Year tournament to Tenta Kiyose, since then however he has reeled off 10 straight wins including notable victories over Yuto Nakamura, Ryuto Owan, Morihisa Iju and Atsushi Takada. As far as under-dogs go he's the most likely to over come the unbeaten men, all of whom were top, top amateurs.
Thee tournament officially begins on July 23rd, with the quarter final bouts. The semi-final bouts will take place on October 31st with the final pencilled in for January 2020. The winner will receive a large financial prize
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today in Okayama fight fans saw local hopeful Seigo Yuri Akui (13-2-1, 9) [阿久井政悟] put on a short but thrilling performance, taking out Yoshiki Minato (8-2, 3) [湊義生] inside the opening round.
The bout started fast, and never slowed down, with both men looking to take the other out straight off. The high octane start suited Akui, who is the bigger puncher and the man more suited to that type of fight.
Despite being more suited to a high tempo war Akui was actually dropped early on, though recovered brilliantly and hurt Minato as the two continued to trade after the bout resumed, dropping Minato only moments later. Minato would recover to his feet but was quickly stopped by Akui, who scored a second knockdown and soon afterwards forced the referee to stop the contest, with Akui scoring 8th opening round stoppage.
The fight was hectic, lasting less than 3 minutes, but was brutally exciting, and had more action than most bouts have in significantly more time.
Also on this card was a Japanese Youth Bantamweight title bout, between Tetsu Araki (14-1-1, 2) [荒木哲] and Atsushi Takada (6-1-3, 3) [高田篤志]. The bout saw the skilled Araki From the early stages it was clear that Araki was too sharp, and too technically good for Takada. The skills of Araki saw him landing with speed, then getting out of range, and continuing to do that through the 8 rounds, whilst never really being under any serious pressure. The only really tough time he had was when he stood in the pocket a little too long, and even then he seemed to be getting the better of it.
After 8 rounds there was no debating the winner, with Araki winning 80-72, 80-72 and 79-73 to retain his title and make his first defense of the belt. For Takada this was his first loss, but will serve as a very clear learning experience for the 21 year old.
Earlier today Boxing Raise updated the schedule of shows they will have for this month. Sadly there is only a single live card, though there is 4 different shows to be added on Video on Demand (VOD).
The first show which is set to be added is Gouken 15, which took place earlier today in Sakai city, the card features Daiki Tomita [冨田大樹], former world title challengers Jeffrey Galero and Hiroshige Osawa [大沢宏晋] and the hard matched Daisuke Watanabe [渡部大介].
The second show to be added will be the April 14th card from Mie, headlined by Japanese Youth Super Flyweight champion Yuto Nakamura (9-5, 7) [中村祐斗] defending his title against Toma Kondo (7-4, 1) [近藤冬真] and also featuring former OPBF Super Bantamweight champion Roli Gasca (24-8-1, 8) battling against once beaten Shuma Sugawara (6-1, 4) [菅原秀馬].
The live show comes on April 14th, when we get the long awaited Japanese Bantamweight title unification bout between Yuta Saito (11-9-3, 8) [齊藤裕太] and Hayato Kimura (28-10, 19) [木村隼人]. Although this is live, it will later become available on demand for those unable to watch the show live next Sunday.
On the 20th of April we'll see the Harada promoted card on demand. This card is headlined by an excellent match up between Kosuke Saka (18-4, 15) [坂晃典] and Japanese-Filipino Joe Noynay (16-2-1, 5) who will battle for the WBO Asia Pacific Super Featherweight title. Also on this card will be Tetsuya Hisada (33-9-2, 19) [久田 哲也].
The final card to be added to the service this month will be the April 28th card from Okayama, Japan. This card will be headlined by Seigo Yuri Akui (12-2-1, 8) [阿久井政悟] and Yoshiki Minato (8-1, 3) [湊義生] with a mouth watering support bout between Tetsu Araki (13-1-1, 2) [荒木哲] and Atsushi Takada (6-0-3, 3) [高田篤志], who battle for the Japanese Youth Bantamweight title.
Earlier today at the Korakuen Hall fight fans saw a title triple header. One of those bouts was for the Japanese Youth Bantamweight title, with former amateur standout Ryuto Owan (5-1, 3) [大湾硫斗] taking on Tetsu Araki (12-1-1, 2) [荒木哲].
The bout looked really interesting on paper and proved to be just as good in the ring. To start with Araki attempted to set the pace early by using his jab but Owan landed the more eye catching shots and took early lead.
In round 4 Araki upped the pace and worked brilliantly in the pocket to out work and battle Owan, who was unable to match the tempo of his foe, who really dug in hard to the body further slowing Owan as he tried to respond.
The change in tempo from Araki and his high work rate proved to be the difference with Araki taking the unanimous decision with scores of 77-75, 78-75 and 78-74 to claim his first title. Sadly this is Owan's first loss, though we suspect he'll bounce back well and we wouldn't be surprised to see these two fighting again down the line.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Tomorrow at the Korakuen Hall fans will be able to see a Japanese Youth Bantamweight title bout, as the unbeaten Ryuto Owan (5-0, 3) [大湾硫斗] and the once beaten Tetsu Araki (11-1-1, 2) [荒木哲] fight for the vacant title.
Today the two men took part in their weigh in for the bout and both of the youngsters made weight.
The weigh saw both men look confident and speak excitedly about the bout, which will the first title bout for both men.
Araki will be making his Korakuen Hall debut and he said he was more looking forward to that aspect of tomorrow's fight rather than the title aspect of the match up. He revealed he was confident and looking to control the bout.
Owan on the other hand will be fighting at the Korakuen Hall for the third time and spoke highly of his coming opponent, but seemed to say if he remained calm and didn't panic he should win, and continue the interesting rise of boxers from Okinawa, along with Shawn Oda and Yoshimitsu Kimura.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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