Earlier today fight fans at Korakuen Hall saw an excellent match up in a B class tournament final bout as standout amateurs faced off in a 6 rounder.
On paper the bout won't have attracted too much attention, but to hardcore fans of the Japanese scene the match up betwee Ryu Horikawa (2-0, 1) [堀川龍] and Yuki Nakajima (2-1, 2) [中嶋憂輝] had the hall marks of something very, very special. Both were legitimately well regarded prospects, following their days in the unpaid ranks and both had shown a lot of promise in their short professional careers so far.
Horikawa started the bout fighting well behind the jab, it was crisp and sharp and allowed him to open up his arsenal, landing some good body shots including a solid left hook. Despite being on the back foot Nakajima wasn't overwhelmed by the pressure and landed a really good rigfht uppercut on the inside as Horikawa took the first round. The second round saw Nakajima having success with his own left hook, but again the jab, and speed, of Horikawa caught the eye.
Horikawa continued to shine through rounds 3 and 4 as he moved even well ahead on the score cards, before Nakajima moved through the gears in an attempt to turn things his way from round 5. By then it was too little too late and Horikawa managed to avoid a tear up, whilst still having some notable moments of success. Horikawa's movement again kept him safe in the final round as he took the decision, with scores of 58-56 from all 3 judges to progress to the next round of the tournament.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
The Japanese scene has a lot of brothers involved, some of them are well known like the Inoue brothers, Naoya and Takuma, and some of them are less well known, like the 3 boxing Tomioka brothers. What the country didn't have, until, was a brother-sister partnership in the professional ranks. That changed today when Ayato Hiromoto [廣本 彩刀] took part in his B license test, signifying that he was joining his sister Eruka Hiromoto (5-0) [廣本江留香], the current OPBF female Minimumweight champion.
Not only is Ayato the brother of a talented female fighter but he is, himself, a former solid amateur. He went 31-17 in the unpaid ranks and fought for his university team. Whilst that record isn't a mind blowing one the University league in Japan is an incredibly tough one and losses are to be expected there, with youngsters getting serious experience at a young age.
The 22 year old Super Flyweight hopeful spared 3 rounds with Yuki Nakajima (2-0, 2) [中嶋憂輝], who himself has a boxing brother, as part of his B license test today and looked very talented through out the spar. Notably he has signed his professional papers with the same gym as Nakajima, the Kadoebi Gym in Tokyo. Given Kadoebi's willingness to match their prospects aggressively this should mean we see him in meaningful fights sooner rather than later.
Although he will technically have to wait until tomorrow to be a licensed fighter Ayato has got his first two bouts pencilled in. The first of those will take place on September 20th with his second bout scheduled for November. Sadly though opponents for neither bout have been announced for the youngster.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
The Kadoebi Gym may not have had great performance from some of their most notable fighters today, but a trio of their prospects did shine picking up wins on their latest "Slugfest" card.
One of those was the very exciting Yuki Nakajima (2-0, 2) [中嶋憂輝], who scored a 4th round TKO win against Manop Audomphanawari (1-2, 1). The Thai had come to win, pressing Nakajima, letting his hands go and having some success in round 4 as Nakajima began to soak up the pressure. Sadly for him however when Nakajima turned things around he hurt the Thai and forced the referee to save the visitor.
Another who picked up a stoppage was the hard hitting Ryoji Fukunaga (11-4, 11) [福永亮次], who needed less than a round to take out Thai visitor Kittipong Jareonroy (3-3). This is pretty pretty given that Kittipong had gone 3 rounds with Teiru Kinoshita and saw the final bell, albeit in a very 1-sided bout, with Kenta Nakagawa. The ending came when Fukunaga dropped the Thai with a massive body shot and left him in absolute agony on the canvas.
The only prospect who didn't really shine was the talented Yuichiro Kasuya (12-2-1, 3) [粕谷雄一郎], who could only manage a narrow majority decision over Toru Kiyota (9-3, 7) [清田亨]. On paper Kasuya had the toughest task of the three Kadoebi hopefuls, but was still expected to win without too many problems, given how Ren Sasaki had stopped Kiyota back in 2017. Still getting the win was the key for Kasuya, who had fought only 3 rounds since the start of 2018.
Earlier today the Kadoebi Gym announced their next big show, "Slugfest 9", which will take place on May 8th at the Korakuen Hall.
The main event of the card will see former IBF Super Bantamweight world champion Yukinori Oguni (20-2-1, 8) [小國以載] battle in a 10 round bout. The bout will be Oguni's second contest since returning to the ring last year, with a win over Arega Yunian, having been out of the ring for almost 15 months following the loss to Ryosuke Iwasa in September 2017. His opponent hasn't been announced but we'd expect a big step up from Yunian.
The chief support bout will be an 8 round bout featuring former Japanese Flyweight and OPBF Super Flyweight champion Takuya Kogawa (29-5-1, 13) [粉川拓也], who fights for the first time as a Kadoebi Gym fighter, and Hideyuki Watanabe (8-11-3, 6) [渡邉秀行]. This isn't just Kogawa's first bout as a Kadoebi fighter, but also only his second bout since the start of 2018. This should be a relatively safe bout for the veteran given that Watanabe has gone 0-5 since the start of 2015.
Another former Japanese champion confirmed for this card is Takenori Ohashi (16-5-2, 10) [大橋健典], who gets a tough assignment as he takes on Shun Wakabayashi (9-3, 2) [若林駿] in an 8 round bout. This will be Ohashi's second bout since he lost the Japanese Featherweight title to Taiki Minamoto last April, whilst Wakabayashi will be looking to score a 6th straight win, building on victories over Taichi Ueno and Xian Qian Wei.
Others now confirmed for this show include the hard hitting Ryoji Fukunaga (10-4, 10) [福永亮次], the talented Yuichiro Kasuya (11-2-1, 3) [粕谷雄一郎] and very promising prospect Yuki Nakajima (1-0, 1) [中嶋憂輝].
Earlier today Japanese fight fans at the Korakuen Hall got their first chance to see Yuki Nakajima (1-0, 1) [中嶋 憂輝], fight as a professional, as he took on 21 year old Thai Somphon Banyaem (3-2, 3).
Despite being a debutant the expectations were high for Nakajima following a notable amateur career which saw him go 52-21. Those skills he had from the amateurs were on show immediately with the youngster showing really crisp movement and sharp offense, with his jab being a thing of beauty.
The Thai, who looked naturally smaller, was often left swinging at the air thanks to Nakajima's movement and struggled to avoid the jabs heading his way.
In the final seconds of the opening round Somphon was dropped from a perfect left hook up top. The Thai got up and saw off the round but it was clear that he was out of his depth.
Nakajima continued to impress in round 2 as he started the round by patiently chipping away at the Thai with sharp jabs. Later in the round however he opened up, showing there was significantly more in his arsenal as he stopped the Thai. The visitor was put down hard from a gorgeous left hook to the body and stayed down in agony.
Despite this being a relatively straight forward debut it's clear that Kadoebi have a very gifted young fighter on their hands with Nakajima and his future is very bright. Sadly for Somphon he really didn't stand a chance against a very special young fighter.
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