Earlier today in Japan a press conference was held announcing that WBO Asia Pacific Middleweight champion Yuki Nonaka (33-11-3, 10) [野中 悠樹] had signed a 3 year deal with US promoter GCP.
Nonaka is the first Asian fighter to sign with GCP, or Greg Cohen Promotions, and is expected to continue his career in the US, with his next bout now looking likely to take place in early 2020.
At today's event Nonaka told the press:
“It's almost a miracle that a Japanese can sign a contract with an American promoter at this age. I am really grateful for this promotional contract with myself, and I will do my best to be recognized by real American fans so that I can give back the results! " [Translated]
At the age of 41, and with his 42nd birthday taking place in December, Nonaka is certainly a veteran of the ring. Given his age however, it's hard to imagine him completing the 3 year deal but it'll be great to see the talented Osakan in a US ring following this deal!
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
One thing we know about Korean fighters is that they come to win, no matte how big of an under-dog they are they won't step in the ring to just accept a loss.
That was seen earlier today in Osaka when the unheralded South Korean puncher Yang Hyun Min (8-3, 7) [양현민] challenged WBO Asia Pacific Middleweight champion Yuki Nonaka (33-11-3, 10) [野中 悠樹]. On paper this was a mismatch, an easy first defense for Nonaka. But nobody told Min he was there to lose.
The bout started slowly, with Nonaka looking to ease his way into the bout and control the distance. It wasn't long before Min began to find success for his own shots, and in round 2 he began to land heavy shots on Nonaka, who struggled to stamp his authority on the action. Nonaka was becoming wary of Min's hard right hand counters and although the Japanese veteran was doing enough to keep Min honest, and keep his nose in the lead, he wasn't controlling the bout as many, including ourselves, had expected.
Nonaka had success with the right hook in round 5, but the following round he suffered a nasty cut to the bridge of his nose from a straight right hand. The shot seemed to rip a hole in the middle of Nonaka's face and it got worse the following round, as Min began to build some moment and drag Nonaka into his fight.
The bout became an even bigger blood bath the following round when Min was cut from a clash of heads, and the fight quickly became a mess, with regularly head clashes between the two men, who were fighting up close. It wasn't the clean action we'd often seen from Nonaka, through his career, but it was compelling, with both men leaking claret all over the ring.
It was tough for Nonaka, but became even tougher in round 9 when he was deducted a point for low blows. Thankfully for Nonaka Min's lack of experience in the later stages of a fight began to show as both men tired. As the tempo slowed Nonaka's jab began to land with regularity, which allowed him to take some of the later rounds and tighten his grip on the bout.
After 12 rounds both men were a bloody mess, Nonaka cut on the nose, swollen on the left eye and bruised around the chest, whilst Min sported huge cuts over both eyes. Despite the messy action Nonaka retained his title with a split decision, thanks to scores of 117-111 and 115-112 in his favour, and a card of 115-112 to Min.
After the bout Min suggested the bout should have been stopped due to Nonaka's cut, and made it clear he was wanting a rematch. Nonaka however showed little interest in going again, stating that he was wanting a world title fight as soon as possible, admitting that his career hasn't got long left. Nonaka isn't going to be seen as a major threat at world level, but he and his team are clearly chasing one big bout. Interestingly that may come in December, if WBA "regular" champion Ryota Murata is in need for dance partner following Jeff Horn's recent loss.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Tomorrow we'll see WBO Asia Pacific Middleweight champion Yuki Nonaka (33-10-3, 10) [野中 悠樹] make his first defense of the title title, as he takes on South Korean puncher Yang Hyun Min (8-2, 7) [양현민].
Today the two fighters took part in their weigh in for the contest and both men made the 160lb Middleweight limit.
On the scales Nonaka came in at around 159.6lbs, and looked strong and powerful on the scales. Min was much lighter, at 158.1lbs.
At the weigh in both fighters spoke about winning, though it's clear that Nonaka enters a big favourite. Despite being the wrong side of 40 Nonaka has the edge in skills, experience and still looks much better than many younger fighters. The move up in weight, from Light Middleweight to Middleweight, is also likely to have given Nonaka's career some extra legs, even after 46 bouts many of which have been at national or regional title level.
Related - Preview - Yuki Nonaka Vs Yang Hyun Min
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
In August Boxing Raise, sadly, under-delivered. For September however it looks like they are looking to make up for that a poor month with 9 cards in total being added to their service, including 4 that are going to be made free to none member and 5 that are members only, with 1 card being live.
The first of the cards will be the September 12th Victoriva 5 show, featuring 2 female world title fights. The service will then get 5 of the cards from from September 15th and 16th. On paper those cards aren't amazing, but 2 of them are Rookie of the Year cards, which will be available for free, another is headlined by Masanori Rikiishi (6-1, 4) [佐藤政法] battling Freddy Fonseca (27-3-1, 18) and another will be headlined by WBO Asia Pacific Middleweight champion Yuki Nonaka (33-10-3, 10) [野中 悠樹] defending against South Korean puncher Yang Hyun Min (8-2, 7) [양현민].
Those shows are expected to be posted through the month, despite all taking place in such a limited amount of time.
We get the one live card for the month on September 21st and it's a cracker. It will feature a Japanese Super Bantamweight title bout, pitting champion Yusaku Kuga (18-3-1, 11) [久我勇作] against Yosuke Fujihara (18-6, 5) [藤原陽介], a WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight title fight between Tsubasa Murachi (4-0, 3) [村地翼] and former world title challenger Froilan Saludar (30-3-1, 21), and an excellent Japanese title eliminator between Kai Ishizawa (6-0, 6) [石澤開] and former world title challenger Masataka Taniguchi (11-3, 7) [谷口 将隆]. This is a great card, and we're incredibly grateful for the fact it will be streamed live.
We then end the month with two more Rookie shows, that will be made free to view, likely in early October.
This is a great month to be a subscriber, and a great month even if your not, thanks to all the free content the service is making available!
Back on August 8th we reported that WBO Asia Pacific Middleweight champion Yuki Nonaka (33-10-3, 10) [野中 悠樹] would be making his first defense on September 16th against South Korean Korean puncher Yang Hyun Min (8-2, 7) [양현민].
Today that bout was officially announced at Nonaka held a press conference to announce the contest.
The 41 year old Japanese fighter won the belt earlier this year, when he also won the OPBF title with a decision win over Shinobu Charlie Hosokawa in February, setting a record for the oldest Japanese male to win a notable title. Nonaka's win saw him beating the record that had been set by Yoshinori Nishizawa, who won the OPBF Light Heavyweight title in 2006 when he was 40.
The plan had been for Nonaka to vacate the OPBF title hoping to get a world ranking with the WBO thanks to their regional title. That appears to have failed so now he's scheduled his first defense, albeit against a relative unknown.
At today's event Nonaka revealed that he is working out incredibly hard for the bout, and is determined to not only take home the win when he faces the Korean in the hope of securing a WBO ranking and a world title fight, even at such and advanced age. Against Min he's planning to use his footwork and show the skills that has given his career such longevity.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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