Earlier today Japaese fight fans at the Korakuen Hall got an absolute treat of a fight as Hikaru Nishida (16-8-1, 7) [西田 光] and Tomohiro Ebisu (17-5, 17) [胡 朋宏] traded blows to unify the Japanese Middleweight throne.
Coming in to the bout Nishida was the "regular" champion but had been out of the ring for around 11 months following an injury he suffered preparing for a bout in September whilst Ebisu was the interim champion, having won the belt whilst Nishida was recovering. With both men looking to prove they were the champion, and they were the better man it was clear that this bout had potential to be very special.
The first round started fast, with Nishida looking to get up close and Ebisu looking to use his jab to maintain the distance. It was a round that two judges gave to Ebisu, but one that saw Nishida look like a fighter in there to prove a point. It was the need to prove a point that helped spur on Nishida who went on to win the next 3 rounds and put Ebisu under the intense pressure that Nishida is known for.
Ebisu seemed to realise he was needing to change things and in round 5 he upped the ante, putting his foot on the gas and moved up a gear. It was a round that was easy to score for him and helpd close the gap on the scores, which were announced after 5 rounds favoured ebisu 48-47, twice, and 49-46.
Knowing he was behind Ebisu would have loved to have built on his success from round 5 but he began to look tired and Nishida seemed to feel it as he pressed the bigger puncher backwards. Ebisu wasn't going to fold though and fought back bravely in round 7 as both men began to show signs of tiredness. Despite the arm weariness Nishida took rounds 8 and 9 essentially forcing Ebisu to go all out in the final round. Ebisu, knowing he had to score a KO to win, really did go for it, but Nishida refused to go down and gritted his teeth whilst battling to the bell.
At the final bell all 3 judges had the same winner, with Nishida favoured by all 3. However all 3 judges had marginally difference scores with Nishida winning 96-94, 97-94 and 97-93.
The bout lived up to the expectation and saw the titles being unified in a genuinely brilliant battle. After the bout both men were looked battered and bruised but their no disputing the winner and it's clear that the Middleweight division in Japan is an interesting one right now, with both Nishida possibly set for bouts against Shoma Fukumoto and Koki Tyson later in the year.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Tomorrow Japanese fight fans at the Korakuen Hall, as well as those who use the Asign service, will get the chance to watch a fantastic looking Japanese Middleweight title bout as Hikaru Nishida (15-8-1, 7) [西田 光] defends his "regular" title against "interim" champion Tomohiro Ebisu (17-4, 17) [胡 朋宏].
Today the two men took part in their weigh in and both made weight for the bout.
On the scales Nishida, the shorter man, was 159.6lbs, and looked in great shape. Although in fantastic condition this will be his first bout in around 11 months, and his first since suffering an out of the ring injury, that forced him to pull out of a September bout against Makoto Fuchigami. Despite that lay off he sounded confident and like a man determined to come out on top.
Ebisu was the slightly heavier man coming in at around the divisional limit, and looked in great shape himself, whilst also boasting a couple of inches height advantage over Nishida. Like Nishida he was confident and sounded like he had scouited Nishida and his style well, coming with a well prepared game plan.
Hikaru Nishida and Tomohiro Ebisu battle to unify the Middleweight crown!
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
On May 1st we get the chance to see a brilliant Japanese Middleweight title bout as Hikaru Nishida (15-8-1, 7) [西田 光] defends his "regular" title against "interim" champion Tomohiro Ebisu (17-4, 17) [胡 朋宏], in what has the potential to be a very exciting and thrilling back and forth war between a pressure fighter a huge puncher. The bout will see Ebisu hunting a win to become a 2-time national champion whilst Nishida will be looking to return from what was a pretty bad injury suffered out of the ring last year.
Today, ahead of the bout, A-Sign boxing put up a hype video for the bout whilst confirming that they would be hosting the card, as a Video on Demand, on their website.
For fans interested in the card it will cost ¥500, with 5 bouts apparently being included, and although it's not the biggest card the main event has enough appeal to be worth a purchase, especially given that the price is about £3.50 of about $4.50.
For those interested in the hype video that can be seen below, though with both men speaking through the video it may not be the most interesting for those unable to speak Japanese. Saying that however the bout it's self should be something very special and of course in the ring we all speak the same language!
Hikaru Nishida and Tomohiro Ebisu battle to unify the Middleweight crown!
Earlier today saw a notable event take place in Japan as the 13 Champion Carnival boutsfor 2017 were announced, with each division from Minimumweight to Middleweight having had bouts ordered.
At Minimumweight we get a really brilliant fight as the unbeaten pairing of Masataka Taniguchi (6-0, 4) [谷口 将隆] and Reiya Konishi (12-0, 5) [小西 伶弥] fight for the vacant title. The bout will take place on April 3rd in Kobe, giving Konishi the home advantage but Taniguchi does look liek the more proven fighter, despite being less experienced.
At Light Flyweight we'll see Ken Shiro (9-0, 5) [拳 四朗] defending his title against veteran Tetsuya Hisada (27-9-2, 17) [久田 哲也]. The bout hasn't yet gota set date but willtake place in Osaka, and is likely to be Ken Shiro's final defence before going after a world title later in the year. For Hisada this will be his first shot at a title.
The Flyweight division will see Masayuki Kuroda (25-7-3, 15) [黒田 雅之] battle against Yuta Matsuo (12-2-1, 6) [ユータ松尾] for the interim title. The interim title has been made available here as current champion Takuya Kogawa (28-4, 13) [粉川 拓也] is recovering from an injury he suffered last year, and he will be mandated to face the winner of this bout. For Matsuo it's a first title bout whilst Kuroda will be looking to claim a Japanese Flyweight title at his third attempt.
Super Flyweight champion Kenta Nakagawa (13-2-1, 9) [中川 健太] will make his first defence as he takes on Ryuichi Funai (26-7, 18) [船井 龍一]. This bout is pencilled in for the Korakuen Hall on March 22nd and will see Funai getting his third shot at a title, his second for the Japanese crown.
The vacant Bantamweight title will be up for grabs in a bout between Ryo Akaho (29-2-2, 19) [赤穂 亮] and Yushi Tanaka (19-1-3, 13) [田中 裕士]. Akaho, a former world title challenger, is fighting in his second Japanese title fight following a draw in a 2009 fight with Daigo Nakahiro for the Japanese Super Flyweight title. For Tanaka it's a second shot at the Bantamweight crown following a defeat last year to Kentaro Masuda. These two will face off on March 10th at the Korakuen Hall.
We've long known about the Super Bantamweight title bout which will take place on February 4th and see Yasutaka Ishimoto (29-8, 8) [石本 康隆] facing the heavy handed Yusaku Kuga (13-2-1, 9) [久我 勇作]. This is a rematch between these two men who had a great fight in 2015, with Ishimoto claiming a narrow but thrilling decision win.
At Featherweight we'll see Shota Hayashi (28-5-1, 17) [林 翔太] make his secon defence as he battles against the hard hitting Kosuke Saka (15-3, 12) [坂晃典]. For Hayashi this bout will be a chance to build on a big 2016 but he's up against a real dangerman in Saka, who has stopped his last 7 opponents including Ryuto Kyoguchi, Tetsuya Nishinaga, Burning Ishii and Takafumi Nakajima. This bout is set to take place in either March or May in Nagaoya and could well come with the next bout of Kosei Tanaka.
In the Super Featherweight division we get a rematch as reigning chanmpion Kenichi Ogawa (20-1, 16) [尾川 堅一] battles against Satoru Sugita (12-3-4, 7) [杉田 聖], in a rematch of a bout from last year's Charmpion Carnival. The bout will be Ogawa's 4th defence and he will be looking for a better performance than he had last time against Sugita, whilst the challenger will be seeking an upset here. This bout is expected to take place in March at the Korakune Hall.
As reported yesterday Lightweight champion Shuhei Tsuchiya (22-4, 18) [土屋 修平] will be defending his title against Kazuhiro Nishitani (16-4-1, 8) [西谷 和宏] on March 4th. The bout will be Tsuchiya's first defence whilst Nishitani will be getting his second shot at a title following a 2015 bout with Kota Tokunaga.
Another bout we've known about for sometime is the Light Welterweight clash between Koichi Aso (20-7-1, 13) [麻生 興一] and Kazuki Matsuyama (13-7-1, 7) [松山 和樹], who will face off on February 9th at the Korakuen Hall. The bout will see Aso getting a third shot at the title, following two losses to Hiroki Okada, whilst Matsuyama will get his first title fight.
At Welterweight we'll see heavy handed champion Toshio Arikawa (14-4, 12) [有川 稔男] battle against Daisuke Sakamoto (13-8-3, 8), who actually holds a win over the champion. Arikawa will be seeking his second defence here and looking to continue a destructive run but Sakamoto will feel confident of repeating his previous win over the champion. This bout is pencilled in for April 17th at the Korakuen Hall.
The Light Middleweight title bout will see defending champion Yuki Nonaka (31-8-3, 10) [野中 悠樹] defending his title in Osaka against fellow veteran Koshinmaru Saito (23-8-2, 13) [斉藤 幸伸丸]. The bout will take place in March or April and see Nonaka seek a 7th defence whilst Saito will be looking to claim a title in his 8th title shot!
The Middleweight bout sees a unification taking place as Hikaru Nishida (15-8-1, 7) [西田 光] returns from injury to defend his "regular" title against "interim" champion Tomohiro Ebisu (17-4, 17) [胡 朋宏]. Ebisu won the interim title back on December 24th as he stopped Makoto Fuchigami in a late Japanese FOTY contender, when Nishida was out of action due to injury. For Nishida the bout is a tough ask on his return but should be a thriller with two men who have styles that should gel brilliantly. This bout will take place May 1st at the Korakuen Hall.
As well the fact there are 13 Japanese titles up for grabs their will also be financial rewards. The MVP will earn a bonus of ¥300,000 whilst the winner of the Skills and Fighting awards will net themselves ¥100,000 each.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
As a boxing fan we get fights we look forward to, expecting real excitement, we get other fights that just seem to come out of nowhere and deliver something extra special. Today we had a fight from that second category as Tomohiro Ebisu (17-4, 17) [胡 朋宏] claimed the “interim” Japanese Middleweight title and won an all out war with Makoto Fuchigami (23-12, 13) [淵上 誠]. The bout was expected to be fun, but nothing close to the incredible war that we had, a war that could well be the best Middleweight bout of 2016.
Before the men had gotten into the ring it seemed that both had the bout as a “must win” in their minds. Neither could really afford another set back, and both would know that another loss could well be the end of their career as a notable fighter, even on the talent thin Japanese Middleweight scene.
With in the opening minute both men made their intentions well known, they were both hunting a stoppage. They weren't just firing bombs from the off, but when they were in range they were letting the rockets fly with Ebisu's shots in the opening round all sounding painful to take. Fuchigami rode a number of them well but he seemed to eat a number flush, including a huge body shot from Ebisu.
Whilst the opening round wasn't a feeling out round it didn't give us any clue as to what was to come with round 2 being a genuine contender for round of the year. From the opening seconds Ebisu was unloading, looking to disconnect Fuchigami from his sense, Fuchigami on the other hand began to land counters as the two men stood and traded, taking turns in an incredible round of back and forth action. Head shots, body shots and combinations were thrown with reckless abandon as the Korakuen Hall exploded into a cacophony of noise and excitement. In the final seconds of the round the power of Ebisu took it's toll dropping Fuchigami, though it was unable to finish him off.
Round 3 was fought in a similar manner to round 2, with both men teeing off with bombs and traded toe-to-toe in another brilliant round of the year contender. At several points it looked like one man was going to hit the canvas before they fired back, with Fuchigami's legs completely losing themselves at one point. Although it seemed like both men were taking bombs they both refused to back down from the fight and at times it resembled, if not surpassed, the stunning bout between Fuchigami and Koji Sato.
The action continued to be hot in round 4, though it seemed clear that the pace of the bout was having an affect on both men as they both seemed to slow, though they were both unloading bombs in another stellar round of action. Unfortunately for Fuchigami it almost seemed like his shots bounced off Ebisu whilst Ebisu looked like a physical bully, and his body shots looked particularly eye watering. By the end of the round both men looked like they'd be fighting to a stand still.
In round 5 the bout began to take a different tone, with Ebisu moving more, trading less and making every shot count that little bit more. Fuchigami continued to try and force a fight, presumably hoping to empty Ebisu's tank, but due to his approach he was leaving himself more open to heavy head shots which Ebisu picked brilliantly. The movement of Ebisu continued in rounds 5, 6 and 7and it seemed that he was more comfortable with the change in tempo, despite Fuchigami trying to keep the bout up close, and having some success when the two men were together. Even though the paced had slowed from the incredible early rounds the action continued to be hot and was brilliant to end round 7 as Fuchigami took some huge bombs and continued to march forward.
Sadly for Fuchigami his hopes were put to the sword in round 8 as Ebisu's power finally broke through his will and Fuchigami was dropped twice. The first of the knockdowns came following a powerful left hand, after Fuchigami's senses were scrambled from a series of hard head shots, the second, only moments later, came as Ebisu chased the stoppage against a still hurt Fuchigami and dropped him with a monstrous right hand on the jaw, forcing the referee to wave the fight off immediately.
For Fuchigami this loss will likely send him into retirement. This was his 6th stoppage loss and the third time he'd been stopped in his last 5 fights, and at 33 he has had a long and hard career, with wars against top Japanese domestic fighters. As for Ebisu it opens the door for a bout with regular champion Hikaru Nishida next year, in what should be a Japanese FOTY contender.
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