One of the many stories that we've missed in recent weeks was the retirement of former Japanese Super Flyweight champion Yohei Tobe (13-3-1, 9) [戸部洋平], who took to social media on Christmas Eve to announce that he was hanging up the gloves.
The, now former, fighter revealed that he had had eye problems for several years He stated that he suffered an injury 4 years ago and had cases of double vision since, explaining it was like looking through a "kaleidoscope". Tobe stated that he had 5 surgeries on the eye and whilst it wasn't going to be a problem for day to day life it was making it hard to judge distance in relation to opponents. He also said that he felt the limitations during his final bout, a loss to Francisco Rodriguez Jr.
On his blog Tobe thanked the fans and supporters for being behind on in his career and will continue in a new career.
During his 17 fight in ring career Tobe beat Wandee Singwancha, Kohei Kono, Taiki Eto and Luzuko Siyo, whilst losing to Ryo Akaho, Sho Ishida and the aforementioned Rodriguez Jr.
We would like to wish Tobe all the best in the future. It was clear there was really high expectations on his shoulders and although he failed to meet those expectations learning he had fought half his career with eye problems really does show how talented he was, and also shows just how much a career can be destroyed by an injury.
Good luck in the future Mr Tobe.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Back in 2011 when Yohei Tobe (13-3-1, 9) [戸部洋平] made his professional debut he was immediately tipped for big things, with a solid amateur pedigree and big hopes. The belief his team had in him was obvious from the off and on debut he took on South Korean Super Flyweight champion Jin Ki Jung. An opeening round over Jung was followed by a stoppage over former 2-time WBC interim Minimumweight champion Wandee Singwancha. That was then followed by an 8 round decision over Kohei Kono, and by then he had quickly become one of the most promising fighters in Japan.
Sadly since that great start things haven't been great for Tobe, who's most notable achievements since then have been a 4 month reign as the Japanese Super Flyweight champion, having won the vacant against Taki Eto and losing it to Sho Ishida, as well as a victory for the WBA International Super Flyweight champion. Those success have come along with setbacks from injury, losses to not only Ishida but also Ryo Akaho and a draw with Richard Pumicpic.
Late on Saturday Tobe suffered his third career defeat, suffering a second round stoppage to former WBO and IBF Minimumweight champion Francisco Rodriguez Jr (28-4-1, 20) in a very short but very thrilling all action contest.
Tobe looked good early on, and clearly went into the ring with the intention of stopping Rodriguez, something he had stated before the bout. Sadly that saw him come out ultra-aggressive, ignoring his solid boxing fundementals and looking to back Rodriguez up, rather than using his size, skills, timing and ring IQ. It made for some thrilling action, but always left Tobe looking uncomfortable when Rodriguez landed his own shots.
The first round was nip and tuck, with Tobe looking the more aggressive and Rodriguez looking the more comfortable. That comfortable nature of Rodriguez's was the difference in the second round as the Mexican fighter countered the aggression of Tobe, landing some crunching body shots and counters on the Japanese fighter, who was dropped twice in the round. The second of those knockdowns left Tobe in agony and forced his corner to throw in the towel.
The loss almost certainly ends Tobe's dream of fighting for a world title, though does give Rodriguez a big boost as a Super Flyweight, and could well help boost his chances of getting a world title fight at 115lbs in the near future.
This coming weekend fans will be able to see former Japanese Super Flyweight champion Yohei Tobe (13-2-1, 9) [戸部洋平] battle against former WBO and IBF Minimumweight champion Francisco Rodriguez Jr (27-4-1, 19) in Mexico. The bout will be the biggest contest of Tobe's career, and a chance for the once touted Misako gym fight to break into the world rankings.
Today the Japanese fighter set off for Mexico, giving himself very little time to adapt to Mexican conditions ahead of the fight this Saturday.
Although we tend to feel fighters are better off spending a week or so on foreign soil this type of thing has worked for Tobe in the past. He has fought outside of Japan once, travelling to South Africa in 2016 to stop Luzuko Siyo in 7 rounds. That bout also saw Tobe arrive in South Africa quite late, and the late arrival seemed to just piss him off, and he showed that anger in the ring against Siyo.
Tobe will travel as the under-dog but is a very live under-dog here and will be fully aware that a win will be career changing. He'll be well aware of Rodriguez's ability, given that the Mexican had a 2014 FOTY contender against Katsunari Takayama, but will be naturally bigger and stronger than the Mexican, who of course made his name at 105lbs, not the 115lbs that this bout will be taking place at.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today Japanese sources reported that former Japanese Super Flyweight champion Yohei Tobe (13-2-1, 9) [戸部洋平] would be returning to the ring on June 9th in what will be his second fight outside of Japan. The talented Misako gym fighter will be fighting in Monterrey to take on former WBO and IBF Minimumweight champion Francisco Rodriguez Jr (27-4-1, 19), who is known to Japanese fans for his amazing 2014 bout against Katsunari Takayama.
Tobe has been one of the most frustrating fighters in Japan in some ways. He made his debut in 2011 and looked like a special fighter with earlier career wins over Jin Ki Jung, Wandee Singwancha and Kohei Kono in his first 3 bouts. Sadly though his career would be slowed by a loss to Ryo Akaho and a draw with Richard Pumipic as well as injuries. In 2014 he claimed the Japanese Super Flyweight title. with a stoppage win against Taiki Eto, but his reign would last only 4 months before losing the belt to Sho Ishida. Since losing to Ishida in August 2014 Tobe has gone 5-0 (4), including a win in South Africa against Luzuko Siyo, with inactivity due to injuries meaning he has had 2 breaks of over 12 months.
As for Rodriguez he started his career with a string of stoppage wins and would first come to the attention of hard core fans in 2013, when he stopped Manuel Vargas and soon afterwards lost to Roman Gonzalez. The loss to Gonzalez was a notable set back in some ways, but showed that Gonzalez was a credible fighter and in 2014 he scored back-to-back wins over Merlito Sabillo and Takayama to unify the WBO and IBf titles at 105lbs.
After uifying titles at 105lbs Rodriguez would move up in weight but struggled to really make his mark at 108lbs, losing to Donnie Nietes and Moises Fuentes. A further move up has seen Rodriguez have a new lease of life, and since losing to Fuentes in December 2015 Roriguez has gone 8-0 (6) with wins over Ramoon Garcia Hirales, Hajime Nagai and Pablo Carrillo.
This bout really could be a great match up and a chance for the winner to shoot up towards a world title fight. It could be Tobe last chance to live up to his early potential, or a chance for Rodriguez to score his third win against a Japanese fighter.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today Japanese fight fans at the Korakuen Hall got thelatest in the Dynamic Glove series of shows, which was aired across Japan on G+.
On that card was a number of notable fighters, including former Japanese Super Flyweight champion Yohei Tobe (13-2-1, 9) [戸部洋平], who put on a fantastic performance to remind everyone why he was so touted early in his career. The Misako gym fighter, who entered ranked #7 by the JBC, was battling #10 ranked Hajime Nagai (15-10-2, 5) [長井一] and really dominated the bout.
Nagai was dropped in the opening round, and despite putting on a gusty effort never looked like he could get into the bout against the sharop Tobe, who would drop him again in rounds 4 and 5, before the referee saved him. For Tobe this was the type of performance he needed to make a statement, and he has got the talent to collect more silverware before his career is over. Sadly at the age of 30 and with injuries mounting it could well be now or never for the very talented Tobe.
Another notable name on the card was former WBA interim Flyweight champion Koki Eto (22-4-1, 17) [江藤光喜] took on Filipino foe Marzon Cabilla (16-16-1, 5). The all action Eto looked ring rusty at times, but managed to drop Cabilla in round 2 with a body shot, before seeing his man off in round 3, a round that saw Cabilla being dropped twice. The bout was a thrilling action bout with a lot of leather traded, and Eto even bleeding, from a head clash. It was exciting, but always seemed like a foregone conclusion.
Eto seems like a fighter on the downside, but may well have one more big performance in him, and strangely a bout between Eto and Tobe would certainly be an interesting one, even if it's an unlikely bout with both men expected to look for big fights away from each other.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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