On January 10th the JBC, along with members of the Tokyo Boxing Press, announced the nominations for the 2018 Japanese boxing awards.
The highest award is the Best Fighter, or MVP, award. The nominations for this award are:
Naoya Inoue (17-0, 15) [井上 尚弥] - The current WBA "regular" Bantamweight champion
Kosei Tanaka (12-0, 7) [田中恒成] - The current WBO Flyweight champion
Kenshiro (15-0, 8) [拳四朗] - The current WBC Flyweight champion
and Masayuki Ito (25-1-1, 13) [伊藤 雅雪] - The current WBO Super Featherweight champion
The Skills Award again includes Kenshiro and Tanaka but also:
Tomoki Kameda (36-2, 20) [亀田和毅] - The current WBC "interim" Super Bantamweight champion
Hiroto Kyoguchi (12-0, 9) [京口 紘人] - The current WBC Light Flyweight champion
and Jorge Linares (45-4, 28)
The Special award sees Ito and Tanaka being nominated
The KO award see's Naoya Inoue being joined by:
Satoshi Shimizu (8-0, 8) [清水 聡] - The current OPBF Featherweight champion
and Kazuto Takesako (10-0, 10) [竹迫司登] - The current Japanese Middleweight champion
The Newcomer award has seen a nice number of candidates, the nominees here are, Takesako along with:
Tsubasa Koura (14-0, 9) [小浦 翼] - The current OPBF Minimumweight champion
Hiroaki Teshigawara (18-2-2, 11) [勅使河原 弘晶] - The current OPBF Super Bantamweight champion
Shuichiro Yoshino (9-0, 7) [吉野 修一郎] - The current Japanese Lightweight champion
Ryota Yada (18-4, 15) [矢田良太] - The current Japanese Welterweight champion
The "strive", which appears to be an achievement type of award, has seen the following nominations:
Masayoshi Nakatani (18-0, 12) [中谷正義] - The current OPBF Lightweight champion
Valentine Hosokawa (24-6-3, 11) [細川バレンタイン] - The current Japanese Light Welterweight champion
Masayuki Kuroda (30-7-3, 16) [黒田 雅之] - The former Japanese Flyweight champion
and Tetsuya Hisada (33-9-2, 19) [久田 哲也] - The former Japanese Light Flyweight champion
The best fight, at world level has seen 3 bouts being nominated:
Sho Kimura [木村翔] Vs Kosei Tanaka [田中恒成] - WBO Flyweight title fight
Jorge Linares Vs Vasyl Lomachneko - WBA "super" Lightweight title fight
and Naoya Inoue [井上 尚弥] Vs Juan Carlos Payano - WBA "Regular" Bantamweight title fight
The best fight that wasn't at world level has 4 nominations:
Yusaku Kuga [久我勇作] Vs Shingo Wake [和氣 慎吾] - Japanese Super Bantamweight title fight
Valentine Hosokawa [細川バレンタイン] Vs Vladimir Baez - Japanese Light Welterweight title fight
Hironori Mishiro [三代大訓] Vs Masaru Sueyoshi [末吉 大] - OPBF / JBA Super Featherweight unification bout
Hikaru Nishida [西田 光] vs Kazuto Takesako [竹迫司登] - Japanese Middleweight title fight
The female Fighter of the Year nominations are:
Tenkai Tsunami (26-12, 15) [天海 ツナミ] - The current WBO female Light Welterweight champion
Etsuko Tada (18-3-2, 5) [多田悦子] - The current WBO female Minimumweight champion
Naoko Fujioka (18-2, 7) [藤岡 奈穂子] - The current WBA female Flyweight champion
The female Fight of the Year nominations were:
Tenkai Tsunami [天海 ツナミ] Vs Chaoz Minowa [チャオズ箕輪]- WBO female Light Flyweight title fight
Nao Ikeyama [池山直] Vs Mika Iwakawa [岩川美花] - WBO Atomweight title fight
Naoko Fujioka [藤岡 奈穂子] Vs Irma Sanchez - WBA female Flyweight title fight
Kayoko Ebata [江畑佳代子] Vs Etsuko Tada [多田悦子] - WBO female Minimumweight title fight
Voting will take place in January with the winners being awarded at a ceremony on February 8th.
In the chief support bout of a card at the Korakuen Hall today, Japanese fight fans had the chance to see Yusuke Konno (14-4, 7) [今野裕介] battle Vladimir Baez (24-5-2, 22), aka Destino Japan, in what looked like a must win contest for both men, who had both come up short in recent Japanese title fights.
The fight started at an deliberate and controlled tempo, with both men feeling like their power was going to be the key to victory, and in round 2 it seemed like both men were, momentarily, hurt. The action slowly picked up in round 3, as Konno began to dictate the action behind his heavy and accurate jab. The power of Konno wasn't being all put into the shot, but it was keeping Baez at range and taking it's toll on the Japanese based Dominican.
In round 4 Baez finally found a home for his power shots and rocked Konno, who immediately responded by trading with Baez, as a war broke out. It was thrilling stuff before both men seemed to realise that it wasn't the best idea. It was however something that showed Konno could stand up to the power of Baez who was beginning to look tired.
In round 5 Konno continued to press behind his jab but started to mix more variation into his work, landing a number of solid body shots, including one late on the belt that lead to a knockdown only moments later. Baez about the knockdown, but was looking like a tired fighter who's 34 year old legs weren't quite as strong as they had been earlier in the fight. Baez's exhaustion continued to worsen, as did his frustration, and in round 6 he was deducted a point for leading with the head, something he had been warned about twice in round 5.
Things went from bad to worse for Baez who was dropped only seconds after the point deduction, suffering a 10-7 round. The knockdown was a flash one from a counter shot, but still counted in a round that was already bad for him
Konno came out looking to close the show in round 7, and unloaded some huge shots in the first 30 seconds of the round. Baez saw off the heavy shots from Konno and tried to come back as the round went on, having some late success of his own. Sadly for Baez however his shots never really did the damage that he would have wanted.
The final round saw Baez needing a KO, but he looked too tired to really go for it, shaking his arms out and trying to get the blood slowing. The tired recklessness of Baez saw him take a shot very low whilst leaping in, giving him a few moments to catch his breath. Sadly for Baez it wasn't long enough, and he came out throwing wild shots on the restart, that missed in hilarious fashion. The final 30 seconds saw Baez being rocked before he put it all on the line and the two began to trade. By then it was far too little, far too late.
All 3 judges scored the bout to Konno, with scores of 77-74, 78-72 ans 77-72.
Sadly for Baez this is a second straight loss, following a defeat in a Japanese title bout to Valentine Hosokawa, Konno on the other hand has now reeled off good domestic wins against Kazuya Maruki, Takashi Inagaki and now Baez to put himself on the verge of a second title shot.
Earlier today fight fans at the Korakuen Hall saw a thrilling Japanese Light Welterweight title fight, as Japanese champion Valentine Hosokawa (23-6-3, 10) [細川バレンタイン] battled against hard hitting mandatory challenger Vladimir Baez (24-4-2-22).
The bout was Hosokawa's first since his thrilling title win over Koichi Aso last year and saw him taking on a man who had looked throughly destructive in recent bouts, with Baez stopping his last 3 opponents and being made to look like a genuine monster on the Japanese domestic scene.
Given the styles of the men, with Hosokawa being a high tempo grinder and Baez being a big punching slugger, this always promised a lot, but over-delivered with the fans being treat to something very special.
Hosokawa set off with the clear intention of taking the fight to Baez, who fights under the name Destino Japan, and the high output of the champion saw him establish the early control, and put Baez on to the back foot.
Baez didn't really come into the bout until round 3, when he finally had something of a break throughas he began to let his shots go and upped the pace. The success of Destino grew in round 4 as he dropped Hosokawa, who returned the favour in one of the Japanese rounds of the year. The round served as not only an indicator that both fighters could hurt each other, but also that the bout meant so much to both fighters.
Baez, who had look shaken towards the end of round 4, looked the fresher man in round 5 as he closed the gap on the score cards, which were announced as 49-46 and 48-47 to Hosokawa, and 48-48, giving Hosokawa a lead as we went into round 6. Those scored forced Baez into chasing the fight a little bit more but allowed hosokawa to sit on his shots, look to counter and in round 7 one of those counters paid off, as he rocked, and then dropped Baez who failed to beat the 10 count.
With this win Hosokawa successfully retains his title and makes his first defense. As for Baez this is a major seet back, but he has some interesting domestic options out there if he looks to continue his career in Japan.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Tomorrow fight fans at the Korakuen Hall will see Valentine Hosokawa (22-6-3, 9) [細川バレンタイン] make his first defense of the Japanese Light Welterweight title, as he takes on mandatory challenger Vladimir Baez (24-3-2-22).
Today the two men took part in their weigh in for the contest, and both men came in comfortably under the limit, with both men weighing in around 139.4lbs for the bout.
For Hosokawa the bout will see him defending the title that he won last year, when he took a narrow victory over close friend Koichi Aso. He seemed to feel liek this bout was another big challenge for himseld and he is fully aware that the challenger is a strong fighter. He's stated that he's prepared well, but he is seen by many as the under-dog given that he is now 37 and has had a long and damaging career.
Baez also seemed confident stating that he had been practicing a lot and despite having a lot of respect for Hosokawa hesounded like he was very confident of coming out on top and adding the Japanese title to a reign as the Dominican champion. He's coming in to this bout on the back of 3 straight stoppage wins, including victories over Daishi Nagata and Kazuyasu Okamoto.
Hosokawa defends belt against hard hitting Baez
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Japanese, OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific unified Heavyweight champion Kyotaro Fujimoto (18-1, 10) [藤本 京太郎] hasn't fought since November 4th, when he stopped Randall Raymart to defend his two regional titles. That was his third bout of 2017 and saw him build on other wins over Willie Nasio and Herman Ene Purcell as he solidified his position as a fringe world contender.
There was no sign of when he would return until recently with various Japanese sources now reporting that he will be back in the ring on May 7th, as part of a Kadoebi card at the Korakuen Hall.
At the moment the details are scarce, though it seems like the bout will be a 12 round contest, like Fujimoto's last 3. At the moment there is no opponent set for the bout, and with no opponent it's unclear whether he will, or won't, be defending his titles.
Until recently it was assumed the main event for the card would be Valentine Hosokawa (22-6-3, 9) [細川バレンタイン] defending the Japanese Light Welterweight title against Vladimir Baez (24-3-2-22). That however has now been relegated to the show's chief support slot.
Interestingly for such a notable card there has been no confirmation, yet, of television or online distribution coverage. We'd assume some of the bouts will be shown, but up to now there has been nothing announced or confirmed in that regard.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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