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)
Earlier this month we reported that Keita Kurihara (12-5, 11) [栗原 慶太] would be returning to the ring on December 24th to face off with Yuki Strong Kobayashi (14-7, 8) [小林佑樹] in a bout for the vacant OPBF Bantamweight title at the EDION Arena Osaka.
Today that bout was officially confirmed, with the Mutoh Boxing gym not just announcing the bout but also the rest of their show for Christmas Eve, a show that will feature bouts involving two hotly tipped prospects as well as the OPBF title bout.
The OPBF title became vacant recently when Mark John Yap (29-13, 14) decided to retire, following a close loss to Takuma Inoue (12-0, 3) [井上 拓真] in a WBC Bantamweight world title eliminator.
According to Takashi Edagawa, the head of the Mutoh gym, Yap retired after the loss and went back to the Philippines, hence vacating the title, in what a really surprising move from the Filipino given that he had seemingly secured his status as a top contender. We suspect that Yap will return from retirement down the line, but if not it's a shame his career ended so abruptly after such a close loss and it appears that even Mr Edagawa was surprised by the decision.
Update - On Social Media Yap himself has stated that he's not retired but that his contract with Mutoh gym has expired and that he has returned to the Philippines for the next chapter of his career. His parents are ill and he will be in Cagayan de oro City. It would seem like there is some miscommunication between the two, as the Japanese promoter doesn't seem to be aware that the contract has expired and stated that Yap had complained about neck pain, told he he was returning to the Philippines and retiring.
At the press conference along with Kobayashi and Mr Edagawa was Rio Kuwabata (1-0, 1) [桑畑凜生], who has sent a request to change his ring name to a rather unique one. Kuwabata, who debuted in China back in September, will be up against 34 year old Yosuke Taniguchi (7-5-1, 2) [谷口陽祐] in an interesting 6 round contest.
One other highly regarded prospect on this card is Middleweight hopeful Riku Kunimoto (2-0) [国本陸], who is stepping up to 8 round bouts to face off with Toshihiro Kai (6-10-2, 2) [甲斐斗志広].
The card, dubbed "You will be the Champion 9", seems almost certain to be the final Japanese card before Christmas.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
in 2016 to Ye Joon Kim. Despite losing 4 out of 6 bouts at one point we've seen Kobayashi get his career back on track with 4 wins, including a notable one in Malaysia against Vincent Astrolabio.
At the moment it's unclear what other bouts are taking place on this show, but it's another big bout confirmed for an already stacked pre-Christmas period.
Today at the atthe Sangyo Shinko Center in Sakai fight fans had two cards, one of which was a Mutoh promoted card with several notable names involved.
One of thoise was former world title challenger Warlito Parrenas (25-7-1, 22), who made his first outing since December 2015 when he was stopped by Naoya Inoue. The Filipino easily over-came a badly over-matched Thai foe and really did what was expected in picking up an opening round victory. The big punching Parrenas is currently a member of staff at the Morioka gym and it looks like he's been bit by the bug again, and will likely be back in the ring in early 2018.
Another fighter claiming a straight forward win over a Thai foe was Tatsuya Ikemizu (17-2, 7) [池水達也], who recorded his 4th straigth win with an 80-73 decision over a limited visitor.
The main bout was much more competitive than the above two, and saw former OPBF title challenger Yuki Strong Kobayashi (12-7, 6) [小林佑樹] battle against the light punching Noboru Osato (8-6-4, 1) [大里登]. The two fought toe-to-toe for the most part, with Kobayashi really not managing to take over the bout until the final stages, clearly taking round 7 and and digging in to win an action packed 8th. In the end there was little between them, with Kobayashi taking the decision 77-76, 78-76 and 78-75.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Earlier today fight fans in Osaka saw a must win contest as Yuki Strong Kobayashi (11-7, 6) [ストロング小林佑樹] took on Satoshi Ozawa (13-8-1, 2) [小澤サトシ] in the second meeting between the two fighters, who had previously fought in September 2013.
In their first meeting Ozawa managed to take a split decison but this time there was no doubting who had won, with Kobayashi closing the show in round 2 with a brutal right hand that forced Ozawa's to the canvas and his corner threw in the towel after he rose, and looked dazed.
The opening round had been relatively competitive, with the two fighters looking to control the fight at range. That however was quickly forgotten with when Kobayashi landed the shot to put Ozawa down.
For Ozawa this was a second successive stoppage loss, following a defeat in December to Kentaro Masuda in a Japanese title fight, and is his 4th stoppage loss in 8 bouts, suggesting he is pretty much done. Aged 29 Ozawa has had a hard career and now has 6 career stoppage losses. For Kobayashi this win ends a 2-fight losing run, though he is now 3-4 in his last 7, and can't avoid another loss any time soon.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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