After weeks of hearing that unbeaten Korean fighter Hyun Mi Choi (15-0-1, 4) [최현미] was in talks to defend her title in late June we can now confirm all the details of her bout, including the date, location and opponent.
The unbeaten WBA female Super Featherweight champion will be making her 7th defense of the title on June 29th in Incheon, at the Dongin Women's Junior High School, and will be up against Japanese challenger Wakako Fujiwara (7-2-2, 2) [藤原芽子].
Choi, a refugee from North Korea who as fought in South Korea for her entire professional career, is best known for winning a world title on debut and is enjoying a reign in her second division, having began her career at Featherweight. Sadly, given her talent, she is frustratingly inactive, with just 8 fights in the last 5 years, including just a single bout in 2018. She's got star potential, but the KBA, for whom she fights under, simply don't put on enough shows to keep her busy.
Fujiwara on the other hand is a former JBC and OPBF unified champion at Featherweight, who vacated the Japanese title earlier this year to continue her OPBF reign. She's talented, and is riding a 8 fight unbeaten run, though this is a major step for her and isn't just her first world title bout but also her first bout outside of Japan.
We've been told that along with this main event there will also be a KBA title fight on the show in the chief support bout, though we've not been given the full details of that bout at the time of writing.
Earlier today it was announced that Japanese female fighter had vacated the JBC female Featherweight champion Wakako Fujiwara (7-2-2, 2) [藤原芽子], though would continue as the OPBF champion whilst hunting a world title fight.
The 37 year old from the Shinsei Gym had won botht he JBC female and OPBF titles last year, unifying the belts with a win over veteran Kimika Miyoshi in July, and then defending the OPBF belt in a rematch against Miyoshi in December.
Fujiwara's bout is yet to be announced, though speculation is that she will be added to the yet to be officially announced April 27th Shinsei show, and will be defending the OPBF title on this show.
The vacancy is expected to be filled by a bout between Asami Jinnari (6-3-1, 3) [神成麻美] and Miki Mitsuda (4-5, 3) [満田美紀], who fought last year with Jinnari stopping Mitsuda in 3 rounds. These are the #1 and #2 ranked fighters with the JBC, and should make for the best bout on paper.
Earlier today 4 champions from the Shinsei Gym took part in a public interview to speak about their futures, and their recent bouts, which all took place on December 1st.
The event wasn't a massive press conference, but was notable, as the Shinsei Gym is essentially the biggest in Hyogo and with 4 title holders currently there the future is a bright one for the gym, especially as we head into what could be a massive 2019 for them. The gym isn't as well known as their Tokyo counterparts but is still a very major gym in Japan.
The most senior of the champions at today's event was Etsuko Tada (18-3-2, 5) [多田悦子], who recently won the WBO female Minimumweight title to become a 3-time champion. Tada, who has now won the WBA, IBF and WBO titles during her long career made it known that she wants to win another. It seems plausible that she would want the WBC title, currently held by German Tina Rupprecht (8-0, 3), to complete the "grandslam", but she didn't explicitly state and there has been talk of a third bout with WBA champion Anabel Ortiz (28-3, 4), who she has lost two close decisions to.
The one male at the event was former world title challenger Reiya Konishi (17-1, 7) [小西伶弥], who retained the WBO Asia Pacific Light Flyweight title at the start of the month. Konishi stated that this year, 2018, has been a big one for him. He lost in his first world title bout, coming up short against Carlos Canizales, but won and defended the WBO Asia Pacific title. He's looking to get a second world title fight in the new year, but seemed like he's willing another defense of his regional title fight to prepare for a world champion.
Japanese and OPBF female Featherweight champion Wakako Fujiwara (7-2-2, 2) [藤原芽子] didn't talk too much about her plans, but did state she had learned from her recent bout with Kimika Miyoshi [三好喜美佳], and clearly understands that she had major issues in that bout with stamina, something she'll work on before her next bout.
The unbeaten Kasumi Saeki (3-0, 2) [佐伯霞], who claimed the WBO Asia Pacific female Minimumweight title at the start of the month, spoke about moving up through the classes and fighting for a world title in the new year. Saeki seems like the type of fighter who needs to be tested, and we suspect that Shinsei know she needs better opponents, which given her amateur background she should be able to deal with without too many problems.
It's unclear when Shinsei will be holding their first show of 2019 but we would expect to see at least one of these fighters on that card with the others having big bouts through the year.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier this year Wakako Fujiwara (7-2-2, 2) [藤原芽子] scored her biggest win, claiming the OPBF female Featherweight title with a decision win over Kimika Miyoshi (13-12-1, 5) [三好喜美佳].
Today the two fighters stepped in the ring together again, with Fujiwara looking to make her first defense of the belt, and Miyoshi looking to reclaim the title.
The bout was competitive through out, with looking to set the early pace, and forcing Fujiwara to fire back. Whilst the activity seemed to be with the challenger the quality was certainly coming from the champion, who landed solid hooks and fought exceptionally well at range. It was the quality that was impressing the judges, with 2 judges having Fujiwara up, 29-27, after 4 rounds. The third judge had the bout level at 38-38.
In the second half of the bout the intensity grew, with both fighters knowing how close the bout was neither could afford to back down, and it made for some sloppy but exciting action.
Sadly for the challenger the better work continued to come from the champion, who narrow took the win, with scores of 77-76, twice, and 77-75.
After the bout Masato Yamashita, the president of the Shinsei gym which promotes Fujiwara suggested that he would be trying to get his charge a world title fight in the new year. She would probably be the underdog against any world champion at 130lbs, but she does have the heart and desire to make life difficult for almost anyone at the weight.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Tomorrow at the EDION Arena Osaka, in Osaka city, fight fans will get the chance to see the rematch between veterans Kimika Miyoshi (13-11-1, 5) [三好喜美佳] and Wakako Fujiwara (6-2-2, 2) [藤原芽子].
The bout will see Fujiwara defending the OPBF female Featherweight title that she took from Miyoshi earlier this year. It's clear both have trained hard for this contest, with Miyoshi looking to avenge her loss and Fujiwara looking to repeat the win over the former world title challenger.
At today's weigh in for the bout Fujiwara was the heavier fighter, weighing in around 125.7lbs whilst Miyoshi, who physically looked the much smaller fighter, was 125.2lbs. It naturally seemed clear that Miyoshi was the smaller fighter, but she is, surprisingly, the younger fighter with her 35th birthday coming next month whilst Fujiwara turns 38 in February, and also the more experienced.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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