The Boxing Raise service, which we love despite it's sometimes awkward scheduling, have announced that in November they will be picking up 4 cards, including 2 very exciting live tournament shows and 2 tape delay recorded shows.
The first of the shows will be this Saturday's God's Left Bantamweight tournament show, featuring the God's Left semi final bouts between Seiya Tsutsumi (5-0, 4) [堤聖也] and Kenya Yamashita (14-5, 11) [山下賢哉], and Kazuki Nakajima (7-0, 6) [中嶋一輝] against Jin Minamide (4-0, 3) [南出仁]. The card also includes a Japanese title eliminator between Taiki Minamoto (16-5-1, 13) [源大輝] and Takuya Watanabe (36-9-1, 21) [渡邉卓也], and the ring return of former OPBF Minimumweight champion Tsubasa Koura (14-1, 9) [小浦 翼].
The service will also live stream November 19th Hajime No Ippo 30th anniversary tournament on November 19th. This show will feature quarter final bouts for a Featherweight tournament as Jae Woo Lee (6-2, 5) [이재우] takes on Japan's Tsuyoshi Tameda (21-4-2, 19) [溜田剛士], Shingo Kusano (11-8-1, 4) [草野慎悟] meets Chinese visitor Qiang Ma (5-1-2, 3) [马强] and we get an excellent all Japanese bout between Koshin Takeshima (4-0, 3) [竹嶋宏心] and Daisuke Watanabe (9-4-1, 6) [渡部大介]. This card will also feature Masahiro Suzuki (3-0, 2) [鈴木雅弘] against Hokuto Matsumoto (5-2, 1) [松本北斗].
As for the delay cards, Boxing Raise will be showing the November 17th and November 22nd cards.
The first of those two cards will see Eruka Hiromoto (5-0) [廣本江留香], defending her OPBF female Minimumweight title against Sana Hazuki (7-4-1, 2) [葉月さな], whilst the second will feature former Japanese Light Welterweight champion Valentine Hosokawa (24-7-3, 11) [細川繁] battling against Kosuke Arioka (9-4-1, 8) [有岡康輔]
Earlier this week we reported that former OPBF Minimumweight champion Tsubasa Koura (14-1, 9) [小浦 翼] would be returning to the ring on on November 9th, in what will be his first since suffering a TKO12 loss to Filipino Lito Dante (16-10-4, 8). At the time we knew the where and the when of that bout, but we weren't informed of his opponent.
Today that changed with Koura's opponent being named Indonesian journeyman Silem Serang (15-20-2, 2).
The Japanese fighter was tipped to have a huge 2019. The bout with Dante was supposed to be his 4th title defense, and it was then assumed he would move on to world level, with rumours of bouts against WBC world champion Wanheng Menayothin. Instead he was battered, beaten and stopped by the under-rated Dante, putting the breaks on his rise in a big way.
The bout with Serang is, obviously, a confidence building fight for Koura but Serang can be a frustrating fighter to face at times and went the 6 round distance with Wanheng in 2016, in a non-title bout and has also gone 6 rounds with Panya Pradabsri. He's very much a fighter who can stick around, if he's feeling up for it, though has been stopped in 12 of his 20 defeats.
The bout will share a place on an exciting card with the God's Left semi final bouts and a Japanese world title eliminator, making this a solid show from Reason Promotions, even if Koura's opponent isn't up to much.
Back in March we saw a massive upset as Lito Dante (16-10-4, 8) scored a huge 12th round TKO win over Japan's previously unbeaten Tsubasa Koura (14-1, 9) [小浦 翼], and ended Koura's reign as the OPBF Minimumweight champion. Since then the talented Koura hasn't been in action, and and has sat over over 6 months.
Today we finally saw news break on what Koura next plan was, with the Cassius Gym fighter now set to fight on the November 9th Dangan card, which will feature the God's Left semi final bouts.
At the moment his opponent hasn't been confirmed by name, though is said to be an Indonesian fighter, who is likely there to help Koura re-establish some confidence following a very damaging and surprising loss.
The card will not only feature the God's Left semi-final bouts but also a Japanese title eliminator between Taiki Minamoto (16-5-1, 13) [源大輝] and Takuya Watanabe (36-9-1, 21) [渡邉卓也], making this a really good card, even if we don't know who Koura will be fighting.
Last week we saw WBC Minimumweight champion Wanheng Menayothin (53-0, 18) [วันเฮง ไก่ย่างห้าดาวยิม] score his 11th defense, as he took a technical decision win over former WBO king Tatsuya Fukuhara (21-7-6, 7) [福原 辰弥].
That bout was supposed to be Wanheng's final defense before making a mandatory defense against South African challenger Simpiwe Konkco (19-5-0-1, 7), though Thai sources are now reporting that a deal may be in the works for the mandatory defense to be pushed back.
The sources, including SiamSport, have reported that a member of the Watanabe Gym was at ringside for the Menayothin Vs Fukuhara bout last week, and looking at getting Wanheng to fight in Japan in October in a voluntary defense, pushing back the mandatory. It also appears that Konkco's team are likely to allow the bout, for a step aside fee.
Whilst Wanehng fighting outside of Thailand would be big, it does leave to two different lines of thought. Firstly who would he be fighting? And secondly haven't we heard this before?
The Watanabe gym does have a number of Minimumweights, including world title challenger Masataka Taniguchi (11-3, 7) [谷口 将隆], former multi-time world title challenger Shin Ono (23-11-3, 6) [小野 心] and fast rising youngster Ginjiro Shigeoka (3-0, 2) [重岡銀次朗], none of whom would be suitable for an October bout with Wanheng. In theory the gym could be looking to work on behalf of another promoter, and perhaps looking to secure a shot for someone like Norihito Tanaka (18-7, 10) [田中教仁] or Tsubasa Koura (14-1, 9) [小浦 翼], but it would be a rather strange plan from the gym.
What needs to be remembered is that Wanheng was repeatedly linked to a fight in Japan last year, and nothing ever came of it. This could be the same as that, where plans don't come to fruition, or it could be a sign that Watanabe gym have some huge plans between now and October, and we may hear more about the in the coming weeks.
It should also be noted that Watanabe gym's Hiroto Kyoguchi (12-0, 9) [京口 紘人], the current WBA "super" Light Flyweight champion, will be defending his title against unbeaten Thai fighter Satanmuanglek CP Freshmart (11-0, 5), aka Tanawat Nakoon, on June 19th and we may hear more about these plans around there.
It's fair to say that 2019 has been a year of upsets, and just moments ago we got another, as highly touted Japanese hopeful Tsubasa Koura (14-1, 9) [小浦 翼] was dethroned of the OPBF Minimumweight title by determined and rugged Filipino challenger Lito Dante (16-10-4, 8).
On paper this looked like a stay busy defense for Koura, who was ranked #3 by the WBC, and was likely expected to be an easy work out for a man many, including ourselves, had tipped as a future world champion. Instead however the bout was a rough, hard, war from the opening moments.
The fight started with Dante applying pressure. In the opening round Koura countered that pressure well, relying on his movement, speed and skills. After that opening round however Dante began to force his fight, forcing Koura into exchanges on the inside and creating a war. Koura had moments, using his more rounded boxing skills, but all too often it felt like Dante was the man forcing the style of fight, making Koura fight his fight.
Through 4 rounds there was little to split the men on the scores cards, with scores of 38-38, 38-38 and 37-39, in favour of the challenger. Knowing he was behind it seemed like Koura decided to try and hurt his man, a tactic that seemed foolish given Dante's reputation as a granite chinned warrior. It was a tactic that proved to be futile when Dante began to land an ever increasing number of shots to the head of Koura. What also didn't help the champion was a couple of cuts caused by head clashes. He tried to fight back, rather than box, and it was the wrong gameplan.
By the end of the 8th round the momentum seemed to be firmly with the challenger, who was leading on all 3 cards, 75-77, 75-77 and 74-78. It was Koura who needed to make big changes, but he was tiring, getting caught by bigger shots and his own moments were few and far between, and becoming less regular. Instead of being able to fight back Koura was seemingly caught in two minds, whether he was going to counter Dante or press the Filipino. Neither tactic seemed to work, he was too tired and damaged to use either gameplan effectively and took eye catching combinations from Dante.
Going into the final round it was clear that Koura was going to need a knockout to win, but he was looking a weary man and Dante was hungry. That hunger showed when the challenger hurt the unbeaten Japanese fighter, following up with a series of unanswered shots in Koura's own corner until the referee called a halt to the action at the 1:18 mark of round 12.
With the win Dante, despite his record, puts himself in the mix for a world title fight, and potentially a third shown down with Vic Saludar, whilst Koura will have to go back to the drawing board. Figure out what he is as a boxer and maybe even move up in weight. This wasn't the flowing Koura we'd seen in recent bouts. Maybe he had over-looked Dante, not trained properly, struggled to make weight or something else. Whatever the reason this was poor from Koura and Dante took his opportunity to score one of the biggest upsets of 2019!
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