One of the best things about the Japanese domestic scene is the fact that hungry youngsters get the chance to prove themselves early in their careers. Unlike some countries where an unbeaten record, and a long line of wins, is key Japan doesn't really punish fighters for losing.
Losing is part of a fighters development, and if fighters fight tough competition they expect losses to happen, with the key being what they do after a loss, how they bounce back, and how hungry they are to carve out their on careers.
Today in Kariya local fans saw two youngster have lost battle in a very interesting match up. Both knew they were risking another defeat, but both wanted to advance their career, and the risk was worth it.
The match up in question saw 20 year old Yuga Inoue (9-1-1, 1) [井上夕雅] take on Katsuya Murakami (8-2-1, 2) [村上勝也] in a brilliant little match up, that was easy to over-look if you didn't follow the Japanese domestic scene. Those who did follow it in detail however knew that this was one to care about.
Inoue had made his name in 2017, when he won the Rookie of the Year. Despite a loss in 2018, to Kai Ishizawa, there was still a lot of potential with the youngster, and that was shown in August this year when he defeated Daiki Kameyama. Murakami on the other hand had only been beaten in the 2016 West Japan Rookie of the Year final, losing to Kota Fujimoto in a Super Flyweight bout.
Although Murakami was fighting at home Inoue boxed wonderfully through out the 8 round bout, and in the later stages of the bout Inoue's clean accurate punching took it's toll on his foe. Murakami was hurt in round 7 and dropped in round 8, as Inoue put the decision beyond doubt, and took a comfortable win.
After 8 rounds it was Inoue who came out with the decision win and continued to build on the success from the win over Kameyama. As for Murakami he'll be back, and clearly has areas to work on from today's losses.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Last year we saw the very skilled Yuga Inoue (8-1-1, 1) [井上夕雅] suffer his first professional loss, coming undone against hard hitting Kai Ishizawa in a fantastic bout for the Japanese Youth Minimumweight title. Today he moved up in weight to take on Daiki Kameyama (7-4-1, 2) [亀山大輝], a man who last seen suffering a decision loss to Shokichi Iwata, at Light Flyweight.
On paper this wasn't a bout for those with just a passing interest in Japanese boxing, but it was one that hardcore fans of the scene would have been really interested in. It featured two very skilled youngsters battling, each looking to get back to winning ways and each looking to re-establish themselves.
Even for fans inside Japan it was also pretty well hidden away, taking place at the Incubation Center in Amagasaki. It was the first time Kameyama had fought outside of Tokyo, and the venue is essentially Inoue's home venue, with this being his 4th bout there.
We mention the venue as that home advantage may well have played a major part in what was a really engaging nip and tuck battle between two men who were incredibly well matched.
From the opening round there was little between the two men, with Kameyama perhaps having the better start, before Inoue began to get into his groove in round 3, as be he began to intensify his body attack. The game plan was a smart one from Inoue, hoping to slow the incredibly quick Kameyama, but it didn't work and Kameyama seemed to keep his speed through the 6 rounds.
Through the 6 rounds it was really a hard one to call, and that was shown on 2 of the scorecards, which had the bout 58-57 in favour of Inoue. They were enough to get him the split decision, with the third judge seeing the bout 59-56 to Kameyama.
Had this been in Tokyo, there's a good chance Kameyama would have got the win, but such a close bout in Amagasaki wasn't going to go against Inoue. A rematch in Tokyo in the future is something we'd love to see, on a bigger profile card, and given the fact both are very young there's a good chance we'll see that down the line!
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
The first of two Japanese youth title fights at the Korakuen Hall today saw 2017 All Japan Rookie of the Year winner Yuga Inoue (7-1-1, 1) [井上夕雅] take on the big punching Kai Ishizawa (5-0, 5) [石澤開] for the Japanese Youth Minimumweight title, in a bout that looked genuinely mouth watering on paper and turned out to be even better in the ring.
We had a huge anticipation for this fight, having been impressed by both men in earlier bouts, and they delivered, big time, with a thrilling, high tempo and high skilled bout that was regularly fought in the pocket.
The bout started with Inoue being respectful towards Ishizawa's power, and boxing on the move, establishing his jab and making Ishizawa take risks to get inside. The jab was used to set everything up, including some gorgeous body shots that Ishizawa really couldn't defend against. Ishizawa himself cam out for round 2 fighting on a new gear, upping his work rate and his foot speed to drag Inoue into his fight. Inoue responded by holding his own on the inside, with his crisper shots often landing cleaner, despite some solid shots landing from Ishizawa. It then seemed like Inoue found a new belief, a belief that Ishizawa couldn't actually hurt him.
Feeling more confident in his own toughness Inoue began to fight back on the inside with more regularity, and did more than just hold his own with the shorter man in rounds 3 and 4, with Ishizawa losing many of the exchanges in the pocket. Inoue wasn't just landing more shots, and the cleaner shots, but also slipping more and making Ishizawa pay when he missed with some amazing counters, whilst mixing the head and body shots up brilliantly.
To his credit Ishizawa refused to go away and continued to pile on the pressure, strongly believing his power and physicality would wear Inoue out, sooner or later. He also had his own notable success with combinations, they were however just being out numbered by Inoue's longer and more sustained success. Whilst Ishizawa wasn't landing as frequently he was landing harder and in round 5 he inflicted a cut around Inoue's left eye, and it was a bad one.
Seeing the blood at the start of round 6 seemed to reinvigorate Ishizawa who came out hunting, whilst Inoue looked like he had lost his confidence. Ishizawa piled on the pressure and quickly hurt Inoue, dropping him hard just moments into round 6 and forcing the referee to wave the bout off.
With the 6th round stoppage Ishizawa becomes the first Japanese Minimumweight champion, and if we're being honest both of these young men look like incredibly talented fighters who will almost certainly go on to bigger and better things as they age, develop and grow. This was an amazing fight, and we can't wait to see where both fighters go in the future.
Tomorrow the Korakuen Hall will play host to a title triple header. Among those bouts is a bout for the currently vacant Japanese Youth Minimumweight title. The bout to fill the vacancy will see 2017 Rookie of the Year Yuga Inoue (7-0-1, 1) [井上夕雅] take on the big punching Kai Ishizawa (4-0, 4) [石澤開] in a mouth watering match up between two talented and unbeaten men.
Today the two fighters took part in their weigh in for the contest, and both men managed to make the 105lb limit, with room to spare.
On the scales the short, but more powerful, Ishizawa was around 104.9lbs, and looked very confident and very power, as he has through his career so far. Inoue, who had a significant height advantage, was around 104.2lbs and looked in good shape, but not as strong at the weigh as Ishizawa. Despite looking less strong he was confident and seemed to know that this was a great chance to get his first title.
For fans wanting to watch this but can't make it to the venue, the bout will be live on subscription service Boxingraise.
Related - Ishizawa and Inoue battle for Japanese youth title!
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today the brilliant Boxingraise revealed their scheduled for November, which will include 7 shows in total, one of which will be live.
The live show will be on November 10th and is a really good show headlined by Ryuichi Funai (30-7, 21) [船井 龍一] fighting in an IBF Super Flyweight world title eliminator against Mexican fighter Victor Olivo (15-2-1, 7). As well as that bout the card will also feature a strong support including Shuya Masaki (10-1, 5) [正木脩也] against Izuki Tomioka (5-1-1, 1) [富岡樹], a Japanese Youth Lightweight title bout between Shawn Oda (9-0, 8) [小田翔夢] would face off with Seiryu Toshikawa (10-4, 6) [利川聖隆] and a Japanese Youth Minimumweight title bout between Yuga Inoue (7-0-1, 1) [井上夕雅] and Kai Ishizawa (4-0, 4) [石澤開].
The tape delay cards, which are usually put up 1 to 7 days after they take place, will include the November 16th card headlined by Japanese Light Flyweight champion Tetsuya Hisada (32-9-2, 19) [久田 哲也], defending against Akihiro Toya(8-4, 1) [戸谷彰宏]. The November 20th card "Victoriva Vol 3", which is headlined by Ayaka Miyao (22-7-1, 6) [宮尾 綾香] having her third bout with Nao Ikeyama (18-4-3, 5) [森脇恵子], for the WBA "interim" Atomweight title, and the November 25th show, headlined by Richard Pumicpic (21-8-2, 6) defending the WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight against unbeaten teenager Musashi Mori (7-0, 5) [森 武蔵].
Whilst none of these shows are the jaw dropping things that the end of year cards are set to be, they are solid shows for what is a genuinely busy month in Japan!
(Image courtesy of boxingreaise.com)
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