An important part of the Japanese boxing calendar is the Champion Carnival, which takes place in the first half of the year. The fighters who compete in the Champion Carnival are the national champions and the leading domestic contenders.
In August we a number of bouts to decide the top contenders being announced, with 6 such bouts being set for October 12, on a stacked card at the Korakuen Hall.
For those missed that report those bouts on October 12th will be:
Light Flyweight - Kenichi Horikawa (37-15-1, 11) [堀川 謙一] Vs Koji Itagaki (18-12-3, 7) [板垣幸司]
The Super Flyweight - Yuta Matsuo (14-3-1, 7) [松尾雄太] Vs Rey Orais (20-17-2, 5)
Super Bantamweight - Mugicha Nakagawa (23-5-1, 14) [武田勇太] Vs Naoya Okamoto (13-6-1, 6) [岡本直也].
Super Featherweight - Ken Osato (14-2-1, 4) [大里拳] Vs Satoru Sugita (14-5-1, 9) [杉田聖]
Light Welterweight - Koki Inoue (11-0, 10) [浩樹井上] Vs Marcus Smith (6-0-1, 6)
Light Middleweight Koshinmaru Saito (24-9-2, 13) [斉藤伸介] vs Hironobu Matsunaga (13-1, 7) [松永 宏信]
As well as the October 12th card we also, recently, saw the confirmation that the Flyweight bout would see Junto Nakatani (16-0, 12) [中谷 潤人] battle against Shun Kosaka (15-4, 4) [小坂駿], which that bout now set for October 6th as part of notable Japanese domestic card which is set to be televised on G+.
Today saw the rest of the bouts being announced.
On October 21st we'll have two of them take place in Fukuoka. One of those is the Minimumweight bout, which will see Takumi Sakae (19-2-1, 13) [榮拓海] take on Norihito Tanaka (16-7, 9) [田中教仁], in what could end up being one of the surprise contests from these eliminator style contests. On the same card will be the Welterweight clash between Yuki Beppu (18-0-1, 18) [別府優樹] and Yuki Nagano (14-2, 11) [永野祐樹], in what we are expecting to be a very explosive and exciting encounter between two fighters with very solid power at this level.
A week later, October 28th, we'll get the Lightweight bout, which will see Accel Sumiyoshi (11-4-2, 3) [アクセル住吉] face off with Tatsuya Yanagi (15-5-1, 6) [柳達也]. This bout will take place in Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi prefecture, which should favour Sumiyoshi but given the styles of the two men this has the potential to be very exciting.
On November 7th we'll get the Middleweight bout as former champion Hikaru Nishida (17-9-1, 8) [西田光] takes on Shuji Kato (9-1-1, 6) [加藤収二], with this bout taking place at the Korakuen Hall.
The only bout with out a set date so far is the Bantamweight bout. Despite no set date we do know that Hayato Kimura (27-10, 18) [木村隼人] facing off with Seizo Kono (19-10-1, 12) [高野誠三], in what is a bit of an under-whelming contest given some of the Japanese domestic talent in the division. This bout is expected to have it's date and venue announced in the coming weeks.
Yesterday fight fans at Korakuen Hall had the chance to see Welterweight puncher Yuki Beppu (18-0-1, 18) [別府 優樹] take part in a small cameo as he continued his pursuit of a Japanese title fight.
The unbeaten 27 year old was headlining a Dynamic Young Fight card and faced off with Thai visitor Phongsathon Sompol (8-4, 5). The Thai, who was making his Japanese debut, looked to come forward early on. This created opportunities for Beppu who boxed well beforre landing a brutal body shot that dropped the Thai for the 10 count.
Following the bout it was revealed that Beppu will now return to the ring on October 21st to fight in a Japanese title eliminator bout. His opponent for that bout is expected to be Yuki Nagano (14-2, 11) [永野祐樹], who is riding a 12 fight winning run coming into the bout. The winner of this will then become the mandatory challenger for the Japanese champion at the start of 2019, as part of the Champion Carnival.
Also on this card was a split decision win for Desierto Nagaike (11-3-2, 2) [長池拓], who narrowly over-came Masayuki Ichikawa (7-6-1, 2) [市川雅之]. This was a rematch of a bout from November 2015, which was also won by Nagaike, and was a really well fought and competitive match, just liek their first one.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Today at the Korakuen Hall fight fans got a treat as they had the chance to see an all out war for the Japanese Welterweight title.
The bout saw the in form Toshio Arikawa (15-5, 13) [有川 稔男] enter as the defending champion as he took on mandatory challenger Ryota Yada (15-4, 12) [矢田良太] in a bout that had excitement written all over it. That excitement proved to be the case as soon as the two men stepped in the ring.
The challenger started fast. He looked like he was there to make a statement Arikawa was forced to respond and did so with power, but couldn't match Yada's tempo. Yada's tempo continued to dictate the tempo in round 2 and 3 to help him build a lead that Arikawa tried to real back in the following rounds. Although he stepped up the tempo Arikawa was behind when the scores were announced after 5 rounds, 48-47 across the board.
Going in to the second half of the fight it looked like Arikawa was shifting the momentum in his favour, thanks in part to some big body shots in round 5.
Arikawa continued to grow in round 6, as Yada slowed down, but it wans't long until Yada showed there was stiff life in his legs with a thrilling back and forth in round 7. That back and forth continued in round 8 until a brutal combination dropped Arikawa in round 8. He recovered to his feet but was stopped soon afterwards.
After the bout Yada stated that his win was down to the intense training he's been doing recently, 10 hours a day. It was clear that he had to grit his teeth through out the bout and really battle his way through some very serious scares. As for Arikawa he seemed unsure on his future, and it does now seem like retirement is on his mind.
It now seems likely that Yada will be defending his title later this year against another puncher, Yuki Beppu (17-0-1, 17) [別府 優樹], who was in the crowd for this bout and spoke highly of Yada, but showed confidence that he could beat the new champion.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Earlier today Japanese fight fans at the Korakuen Hall saw heavy handed Welterweight hopeful Yuki Beppu (17-0-1, 17) [別府 優樹] kick off his 2018, as he took on Thai visitor Charnsuk Lookmuangpong (0-1) in a very brief cameo appearance.
The hard hitting Beppu dropped the Thai early in the bout, with a huge left hook right onto the chin of the Thai. The fighting mentality of Charnsuk managed to be enough for him to get up, but it was only moments later that a follow up forced the Thai down again, and this time was the end with the towel coming in as he was being counted out.
The bout, which lasted just 91 seconds, saw Beppu score a third straight knockout, following his 2017 draw with Charles Bellamy, and looks to be back to his destructive best. Sadly though little can be said about the Thai, who looked out of his depth from the off.
After the bout Beppu stated his intention was to fight for a title later this year, and if he can't secure that he will be looking to secure a place in the Japanese challenger decision bout.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
We've seen a really slow start to 2018, however you want to look at it the action just, simply, has not been there. Thankfully over the coming days we are, slowly, kicking the year off.
Tomorrow we see the first Japanese show of 2018, and that card will be headlined by big punching Welterweight Yuki Beppu (16-0-1, 16) [別府 優樹], who takes on a Thai visitor in the headline contest.
Today the two men took part in their weight in, and both made the Welterweight limit.
On the scales Beppu came in around the limit whilst the Thai, who towered over Beppu, was well under the limit, at 145.75lbs.
Also on the card will be a very interesting looking clash between Tatsuya Takahashi (27-7-5, 20) [高橋竜也] and Keita Nakano (14-12-6, 6) [中野敬太]. These two both came in slightly under their contracted weight, and both looked in good shape, for what could well be the show stealing contest, between limited but well matched domestic foes.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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