Over the last couple of hours we have looked at some individual award winners at today's Japanese boxing awards, held in the amazing Tokyo Dome Hotel. For those who just want to see the winners in a list here we go:
The MVP was:
Naoya Inoue (17-0, 15) [井上 尚弥]
The Skills Award was won by:
Kosei Tanaka (12-0, 7) [田中恒成]
The KO Award was won by:
Naoya Inoue (17-0, 15) [井上 尚弥]
Special Award was won by:
Masayuki Ito (25-1-1, 13) [伊藤 雅雪]
The Effort Award was won by:
Masayoshi Nakatani (18-0, 12) [中谷正義]
The Newcomer Award was won by:
Kazuto Takesako (10-0, 10) [竹迫司登]
The Best World title Fight:
Sho Kimura [木村翔] Vs Kosei Tanaka [田中恒成]
The Best Japanese Domestic fight:
Yusaku Kuga [久我勇作] Vs Shingo Wake [和氣 慎吾]
Female fighter of the year was:
Tenkai Tsunami (26-12, 15) [天海 ツナミ]
Female Fight of the Year was:
Kayoko Ebata [江畑佳代子] Vs Etsuko Tada [多田悦子]
Trainer of the Year was:
Shingo Inoue [井上真吾]
A Special Achievement Award was won by:
Shinsuke Yamanaka [山中慎介]
Special Prizes were given to:
Toshiyuki Igarashi [五十嵐 俊幸]
Naoko Shibata [柴田 直子]
Nana Yoshikawa [好川 菜々]
Ryuya Yamanaka [山中 竜也]
And Momo Koseki [小関 桃]
A social Contribution prize was given too:
Naoko Fujioka (17-2, 7) [藤岡 奈穂子]
JBC Service Achievements were won by
Akira Tabata, who has served as a timekeeper, and Hiroyuki Tokuzaki, a referee who sadly passed away in October.
Several other officials earned awards for their roles in the sport as well, as did Atsushi Sato, a producer at WOWOW.
It's also worth noting that every male fighter who held a world title at some point during the year won an Outstanding Fighter Award, this is a normal thing to recognise all champions. We won't list them all here though they obviously included Kenshiro [拳四朗] and Hiroto Kyoguchi [京口 紘人] among others.
As for amateur awards, the best male fighter was:
Daisuke Narimatsu [成松大介]
and the best female fighter was:
Tsukimi Namiki [並木月海]
(Image courtesy of Boxingnews.jp)
It's fair to say that 2017 was a mixed bag for Teiken, with notable losses for Shinsuke Yamanaka (27-1-2, 19) [山中慎介], Yoshihiro Kamegai (27-4-2, 24) [亀海喜寛] and Toshiyuki Igarashi (23-3-3 12) [五十嵐 俊幸] at world level, and big wins for the likes of Kenichi Ogawa (23-1, 17) [尾川 堅一] and Ryota Murata (13-1, 10) [村田 諒太], who claimed the IBF Super Bantamweight and WBA Middleweight titles respectively.
Today we saw Murata and Ogawa head off to Okinawa to begin a special training camp, along with former 2-weight world champion Takahiro Ao (27-3-1-1, 12) [粟生 隆寛].
Ahead of the camp Murata spoke to the media and stated that the camp is to help prepare for his first defense, and it seems like the plan is for the 2012 Olympic gold medal winner to defend his title in April.
The comments didn't come with too much information about the actual contest, but that this camp was laying the foundations for that bout, following a busy end of 2017.
Murata, who turns 32 on January 12th, will be away for his birthday but aknowledged that he is getting old and at 32 he doesn't have time in his career to waste. Instead training needs to come first due to how little is left of his time as a boxer.
As for Ogawa he stated that he hasn't done a lot of gym work since winning the IBF title last December. He stated he was looking to fight 3 times this year, but would have to get in to top condition for a schedule like that.
Interestingly Murata has, today, been linked to a fight with 38 year old Italian Emanuele Felice Blandamura (27-2, 5). On paper it doesn't look like a great defense, given other Middleweight options, but it could be a straight forward first defense before Murata looks for bigger and better fights in the summer. Currently Italian media are reporting that this bout is in negotiations,and could be confirmed after Murata returns from this training camp, which ends on January 18th.
(Image courtesy of daily.co.jp)
Barnes had eyed up Shiming, a former amateur rival who twice beat Barnes in Olympic semi-finals, from early in his professional career, but Shiming's loss to Kimura essentially scuppered that bout. It hasn't however dampened Barnes's wish to win a world title, and it seems he has now decided to chase the conqueror of his former amateur nemesis.
At the moment Kimura hasn't got any mandatory obligations and is free to negotiate his next fight with any WBO ranked fight. The popular view seems to be that Kimura will pursue a bout with countryman Kosei Tanaka (10-0, 6) [田中恒成], who is seeking a third weight world title, but Barnes does give the champion an alternative, and a chance to face a third straight Olympian. It could be a very compelling option if Tanaka's team can't provide a worthwhile offer for the champion, who is expected to make his ring return in late Spring or early Summer.
On December 31st we saw Sho Kimura (16-1-2, 9) [木村翔] successfully defend the WBO Flyweight title, as he stopped Toshiyuki Igarashi (23-3-3 12) [五十嵐 俊幸] in an exciting and memorable first defense.
Following that fight it did seem like Igarashi had made up his mind about his future, but it wasn't until he took part in a press conference that he fianlly confirmed that his career was over, and that he was retiring.
After the fight Igarashi's blog was updated saying thanks to those who have supported him over his long career. It was then stated that Igarashi had considered retirement a number of times, mainly due to the injuries that he has suffered in recent years.
At the press conference Taguchi spoke about feeling the will power of Kimura and that nothing he did really worked. He stated he had no regrets about his career and seemed happy to have ended his career on the big stage of a world title fight.
During his career Igarashi claimed the Japanese Flyweight title, the WBC Flyweight and the Linear title. He wasa highly regarded amateur prior to making his professional debut and one of the key figures of the Teiken gym, though at 33 his career was likely coming to an end based on age on retirements, even if he had managed to some how beat Kimura.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
One of three world title fights takign place tomorrow will see Sho Kimura (15-1-2, 8) [木村翔] defending the WBO Flyweight title against countryman Toshiyuki Igarashi (23-2-3 12) [五十嵐 俊幸]. For the champion this is a very tough first defense and comes against a former WBC and Linear champion champion, who has long chased a chance to become a 2-time champion.
Today the two men weighed in for the bout and both fighters made weight.
On the scales the champion, form the relatively obscure Aoki boxing gym, was 111.8lbs and was the lighter man. The weight is slightly lighter than he was against Zou Shiming in July, but not significantly and would suggest that he has trained just as hard for his first defense as he did for his title win.
The challenger was bang on the 112lb limit for the bout. The weight is one that Igarashi has regularly made and it seems clear that his experiment at Super Flyweight wasn't the best idea, with the division's top fighters likely to have been too big, too straong and too powerful for the Teiken man, who is a natural Flyweight and would have been made to look tiny by the monsters at 115lbs.
Related - Kimura and Igarashi battle for WBO Flyweight crown
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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