Back on December 24th Keita Kurihara (13-5, 11) [栗原 慶太] took a narrow decision win over Yuki Strong Kobayashi (14-8, 8) [小林佑樹] to become the OPBF Bantamweight champion. The bout turned out to be a very controversial one, not because of the scoring but because of the time keeper, who made who made 3 different mistakes.
He gave an interval of 76 seconds, between rounds 5 and 6, allowed round 6 to last 4 minutes and allowed a break of 2 minutes and 2 seconds between rounds 6 and 7.
Today the JBC made their ruling on punishments, and have announced that the time keeper Mr Koshijima, has had his time keeper license indefinitely suspended due to his errors.
The time keeper wasn't the only official to be reprimanded. JBC Supervisor Yukihiro Koike, has been suspended, for the time being and Nobuyoshi Uraya, who is highly ranked in the Kansai boxing scene, has also been "strictly cautioned".
The JBC have also issued an apology for the errors, though seem to have not punished Kurihara or made the bout a no-contest, which had been mentioned as a possibility earlier in the year.
Earlier today we were informed that the JBC may be set to order a rematch between Keita Kurihara (13-5, 11) [栗原 慶太] and Yuki Strong Kobayashi (14-8, 8) [小林佑樹], after their December 24th bout for the OPBF Bantamweight title fight, saw numerous time keeping errors potentially effecting the outcome of the bout.
The errors included a 1 minute 16 second break between rounds at one point, a 2 minute break between rounds at one point and a long 4 minute round.
Strangely at least 1 of those errors clearly helped out the eventual loser, Kobayashi, who was given a few extra seconds to recover following a knockdown at the end of round 5, a round that saw him being dropped badly on the bell. It could well have been a mistake caused by how late in the round the knockdown came. Notably however the 6th round went on for 4 minutes, rather than 3.
There is serious talk that the bout will be declared a No Contest upon review and the two men will have a rematch. On the other hand another option is that the result, a unanimous decision for Kurihara, with scores of 113-111 from all 3 judges, stands and the men will just have an immediate rematch.
Amazingly the bout saw Kobayashi being dropped 4 times, once each in rounds 1,2,5 and 12 with the final knockdown essentially deciding the bout.
Earlier today in Osaka fight fans had the chance to catch an OPBF Bantamweight title fight, that saw the heavy handed Keita Kurihara (13-5, 11) [栗原 慶太] claim his first title, over-coming the gutsy Yuki Strong Kobayashi (14-8, 8) [小林佑樹].
Kurihara got off to a dream start, and quickly found out his power was the key to victory. He would drop Kobayashi in the opening right, and again in the second round, securing back to back 10-8 rounds to start the fight. Those rounds were key to him having a 38-36 lead on the scorecards when they were announced after 4 rounds.
Kobayashi showed his grittiness by refusing to just accept a loss winning rounds 3 and 4, but those were essentially a wasted effort when he was dropped again in round 5, as Kurihara's power proved to be his key to victory.
Kurihara was dangerous but looked technically the lesser fighter, and Kobayashi took advantage of that in rounds 6,7 and 8 as he really got down to business closed the huge gap on the score cards. Despite being dropped 3 times Kobayashi was only down 74-75 when the scores were announced for the second time, after round 8.
The success of Kobayashi was slowed in round 9, as he lost the round, the only round he actually lost without being dropped. This was prove to be a guy round for the fight, as Kobayashi went on to take rounds 10 and 11. Sadly though Kobayashi's effort in battling back from 3 knockdowns came for nought as he was dropped in the dying seconds of the final round, securing a 4th 10-8 round. That late knockdown lead to a Kurihara win, with scores of 113-111 on all 3 cards.
Remarkably all 3 score cards were identical, something we rarely see, and despite being down 4 different times Kobayashi came incredibly close to earning a draw.
Kurihara admitted he was technically lacking, and will need to practice more, adding more variation to his work going forward. It was later revealed that he had had limited sparring for this bout due to a rib injury and his team are now looking for him to defend the title in, or around, March. Kobayashi on the other hand seemed to regret his performance, but credit needs to be given to his incredible effort to battle through despite the numerous knockdowns against him.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Tomorrow in Osaka fight fans will be able to see a new OPBF Bantamweight champion being crowned, as Yuki Strong Kobayashi (14-7, 8) [小林佑樹] and Keita Kurihara (12-5, 11) [栗原 慶太] battle for the vacant title.
Today the two men took part in their weigh in, and both fighters made the 118lbs limit, weighing in dead on the division's limit.
Kobayashi, fighting in his third title bout, seemed to admit that Kurihara was taller than expected, but he stated he was determined to win tomorrow. Kurihara, who is fighting in his first title bout, suggested he would overwhelm Kobayashi and will use his experience of previously fighting in Kansai to help him here.
Both spoke about having a good fight and it seems like the styles of both will make for an exciting fight.
Related - Kurihara and Kobayashi battle for OPBF title in Christmas Eve treat!
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier this month the Mutoh Gym confirmed their December 24th show, headlined by an OPBF Bantamweight title fight between Yuki Strong Kobayashi (14-7, 8) [小林佑樹] and Keita Kurihara (12-5, 11) [栗原 慶太] .
Today we had another bout for that card revealed, with 4-time world title challenger, and former Japanese national champion Hiroyuki Kudaka (26-18-2, 11) [久高寛之] being added to the card in the show's chief support bout.
The veteran, from the Nakazato gym, was last seen losing the Japanese Super Flyweight title to Takayuki Okumoto in August. It was assumed he would retire after that loss, but instead he'll be out in action on Christmas Eve to take on Filipino journeyman Jayar Estremos (11-14, 4), who will be fighting for the first time as a Mutoh Gym fighter.
On paper this should be an easy win for Kudaka, but the Japanese fighter had had a reputation for making life much harder for himself than he really needs to. We suspect he'll win, but will make this a lot harder than it needs to be.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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