Earlier today at the Korakuen Hall fight fans got an absolute treat of a show thanks to several brilliant match ups. The card, shown on G+, won't get rave reviews in the West but we do tip our hats to the promoter for the quality of bouts and the excellent match making through the show.
The card had a number of excellent bouts on it, starting with a 6 round war between Rookie of the Year runner up Aso Ishiwaki (5-2-1, 3) [石脇麻生] and the hard hitting Yoji Saito (1-1-1, 1) [齊藤陽ニ]. On paper this wasn't going to be a bout that got many talking unless you followed the Japanese scene, but it was arguably the bout of the card, as both men gave their all. Saito started brilliantly, getting inside and working hard shots up close. It seemed like he would break Ishiwaki down, but instead he began to flag heavily in round 3 as Ishiwaki really began to take the fight to him, and it was Ishiwaki who seemed to do enough to deserve the win after out working Saito over the final 4 rounds. In the end however the judges had the bout a split draw, with scores of 58-56 to Iwshiwaki, 58-57 to Saito and 57-57. We really do need to wonder about the 58-57 card, which we can't come to any defense of, though 57-57 was fair enough, as Saito may have done just enough to edge round 5.
A second notable bout saw 2017 Rookie of the Year winner Hironori Shigeta (6-1-1, 3) [重田裕紀] take a clear decision win over the limited but game Mitsumasa Takahashi (9-6-1, 3) [高橋光政]. The once beaten Shigeta dropped his man in the opening round and put on a bit of a show case of ring control as he easily won the bout, though showed a few flaws that we expect fighters will take advantage of in the future. Although clearly too skilled, too fast and too smart for Takahashi, who constantly brought the pressure, Shigeta does seem like a very lead hand focused southpaw, and does waste movement. Though there is a real talent for his team mould. He won this one 60-54, 60-53 and 59-54.
In a Japanese youth Light Flyweight title eliminator, as Tsuyoshi Sato (9-1-1, 5) [佐藤剛] pressured and broke hard hitting Tetsuya Tomioka (5-4, 5) [富岡哲也]. Tomioka, who has never heard the final bell, was under pressure from the off and after being dropped in round 2 he really had no answer, and was saved by the referee as Sato went to work. Sato is an absolute nightmare to fight and looks like he will clearly be in the mix for titles well beyond youth level in the coming years. He will face the winner of the April 11th bout between Rikito Shiba (2-0, 1) [芝力人] and Hizuki Saso (10-5-1, 3) [佐宗緋月].
The only bout that was actually poor saw Cristiano Aoqui (14-7-2, 10) [アオキ クリスチャーノ] struggle to get going against Filipino Anthony Marcial (24-4-1, 22). This was a disappointing and messy affair, though it did end in very impressive fashion, with Aoqui landing a sensational left hand to knock out Marcial in round 5. It was a highlight to an other forgettable match up.
A second sensational finish came only a few minutes later when hard hitting Middleweight Koki Tyson (14-3-2, 12) [太尊 康輝] took out Thai visitor Chaiwat Mueanphong (4-4, 2) in the second round, with a brutal left hand. Tyson, who was fighting for the first time since joining the Kadoebi gym, impressed here and we're going to look forward to what he does next.
Earlier today saw the announcement of 3 Japanese Youth title eliminator bouts, as the JBC title pictures at Light Flyweight and Super Bantamweight get sorted out.
The Super Bantamweight division had one eliminator announced, a bout between Arashi Iimi (7-1, 7) [飯見嵐], the 2017 East Japan Rookie of the Year winner, and Kenta Nomura (5-2, 2) [野村健太]. These two youngsters will battle on April 1st at the Diamond Glove show. The winner of this match up will then face Toshiki Shimomachi (9-1-2, 5) [下町俊貴] for the vacant title later in the year.
The Light Flyweight division will have two bouts taking place, in what are essentially tournament semi-final bouts for the vacant title, with the winners fighting for the belt later in the year.
One of those bouts will take place on the April 11th Diamond glove card, and will see Rikito Shiba (2-0, 1) [芝力人] battle Hizuki Saso (10-5-1, 3) [佐宗緋月], in a really interesting contest. Shiba was a former amateur standout, who has really exciting since turning professional Saso is much more experienced, and comes into this bout on the back of solid wins over Jeffrey Galero and Desierto Nagaike.
The other Light Flyweight semi-final bout will see the exciting Tsuyoshi Sato (8-1-1, 4) [佐藤剛] take on the big punching Tetsuya Tomioka (5-3, 5) [富岡哲也] in what should be a real war. Sato has a really fun, aggressive style whilst Tomioka is a stop or be stopped fighter, who has only lost to highly regarded fighters in the form of Junto Nakatani, Katsunori Nagamine and Ryuto Oho. This bout will be held on April 6th.
Both of these bouts at 108lbs are really hard to call, though any combination in the final should give us something really special.
Earlier this month we reported that Koki Tyson (13-3-2, 11) [太尊 康輝] would be returning to the ring on April 6th at the next "Slugfest" card, and would be up against a Thai foe. We now know who that Thai will be, and if we're being honest we're actually expecting this to be a solid work out for the favoured Japanese puncher.
Tyson, who hasn't fought since a loss in December 2017 to Yasayuki Akiyama, will be up against the durable Chaiwat Mueanphong (4-3, 2). On paper it's a mismatch, but Chaiwat has given Japanese champion Kazuto Takesako [竹迫司登] his toughest bout, by far, and will be expected to give Tyson a genuine test here, given the long break Tyson's had.
Also confirmed for the card now is a Japanese youth Light Flyweight title eliminator, as Tsuyoshi Sato (8-1-1, 4) [佐藤剛] takes on the hard hitting Tetsuya Tomioka (5-3, 5) [富岡哲也] and the return to the ring of the exciting Cristiano Aoqui (13-7-2, 9) [アオキ クリスチャーノ], following a hand injury he suffered last year.
These bouts fill out a card that will be headlined by Japanese Light Welterweight champion Valentine Hosokawa (24-6-3, 11) [細川バレンタイン] defending his title against mandatory challenger Koki Inoue (12-0, 10) [浩樹井上] and will also feature an excellent contest between Aso Ishiwaki (5-2, 3) [石脇麻生] and Yoji Saito (1-1, 1) [齊藤陽ニ].
For fans wanting to watch this card but can't get to Tokyo, it will be aired live on G+.
Last year we had the chance to see Japanese youngster Tsuyoshi Sato (8-1-1, 4) [佐藤剛] claim the Rookie of the Year crown at Light Flyweight. This year he has remained busy and today he took a notable step up in class to face off with fellow 21 year old Toma Kondo (7-4, 1) [近藤冬真].
To begin the fight Kondo came out aggressively, as if he wanted to jump on his man. Sato seemed willing to fight fire with fire and quickly turned the tables, pressing Kondo backwards. Kondo continued to land some eye catching shots on the back foot but it was clear that that Sato was the one who was landing the more telling shots, including a straight left hand early in round 2 that dropped Kondo.
Although Kondo recovered from the knockdown Sato was beginning to bully him and it seemed Kondo was struggling with pressure, power and tempo of Sato. What didn't help Kondo was the fact Sato just walked through his shots whilst bringing the heat with solid body shots and a spiteful left hands to the head of his foe.
In round 5 the pressure would eventually become too much for Kondo who was sent down to the canvas. Although he got to his feet the referee refused to let him go on, rightfully stopping the bout at 1 minute 55 seconds into the 5th round, of a scheduled 8 rounder.
This was Kondo's first stoppage loss whilst Sato extends his winning run to 7 straight wins and we'll be honest we're really excited to see where Sato goes from here. He quickly impressed us and we see him having a very bright and exciting future.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today former Japanese "interim" Welterweight champion Daisuke Sakamoto (14-9-3, 8) [坂本大輔] took to his blog to announce his next bout. In his blog post Sakamoto revealed that he would be returning on July 9th as part of a Kadoebi promoted "Sugfest 5" card.
The 36 year old Sakamoto, who turned professional back in 2007, announced that his opponent for the bout would be Koki Koshikawa (6-1, 4) [越川孝紀], who turned professional with high expectations but has so far failed to deliver.
Sakamoto stated the bout would be the final one of his career, and comes after a notable break from action, with the Kadoebi man last fighting in November 2017. That bout saw him lose in a bout to unify the Japanese and Japanese "interim" Welterweight titles, with Toshio Arikawa stopping him in 5 rounds.
Whilst not well known outside of Japan Sakamoto has had a pretty interesting career at hime, fighting a domestic who's who of the Light Welterweight and Welterweight diviison. He has shared the ring with Yasuhiro Okawa, Moon Hyon Yun, Cobra Suwa, Nobuyuki Shindo, Toshio Arikawa and Makoto Kawasaki.
As an amateur Koshikawa shined before signing with the Celes gym. Sadly his professional career which began back in 2014, has been a frustrating one. He looked to be on the fast track before losing in 2015 to Koshinmaru Saito. Following that loss he would be away from the ring for over 2 years before returning in August, and beating 2 over-matched Thai foes.
Also set to be on this card are Japanese ranked fighters Yusuke Konno (12-4, 6) [今野裕介], Cristiano Aoqui (12-7-2, 8) and Tsuyoshi Sato (6-1-1, 2) [佐藤剛], though none of them have had confirmed opponents announce for the card as of yet.
(Image courtesy of Sakamoto's blog)
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