Back in May Yuki Strong Kobayashi (15-8, 9) [小林佑樹] scored a shock upset win over talented Filipino fighter Ben Mananquil (17-2-3, 4) to claim the WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight crown. Today he got to show off his shiny title to a local mayor.
The event in Yao City, Osaka, saw the fighter being flanked by his trainer and his promoter, Takashi Edagawa.
Their seemed to be real respect between the fighter and the mayor, though it was clearly a huge honour for Kobayashi, giving so many set backs earlier in his career.
It was at the event today that Kobayashi's team revealed his first defense is planned for December, though specific details about his opponent or a set date haven't yet been revealed.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
This past weekend in Osaka fight fans had the chance to see the Mutoh Gym put on their latest show, with two notable regional title bouts.
Those bouts ended in mixed fashion for the Gym's fighters, with one fighter picking up a huge win, whilst the suffered a big loss.
Today the team at the Mutoh gym held a press conference and spoke, in part, about those bouts at the weekend, as well as introducing their newest signing, a former top amateur fighter.
At the press conference Yuki Strong Kobayashi (15-8, 9) [小林佑樹] was presented with a sizable financial reward for his shock win over Filipino fighter Ben Mananquil (17-2-3, 4) to claim the WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight crown. Kobayashi had been the big under-dog but actually secured himself a stoppage of the the Filipino, and really did earn the financial reward with his performance and result.
Sadly new was less good when it came to former world title challenger Masahiro Sakamoto (13-3, 9) [坂本真宏], who has reportedly retired following his TKO loss to Yusuke Sakashita (18-8-3, 13) [阪下優友] in a bout for the WBO Asia Pacific Flyweight title. That bout ended with Sakanmoto's face a swollen bloodied mess, for the second fight in a row, and we did suspect that Sakamoto would walk away from the sport.
Today's press conference also saw the Mutoh gym introduce Yusuke Mine [峯 佑輔], who ran up an impressive 51-10 (12) amateur record and has won international tournaments. The 23 year old will take his pro-test on July 7th with his debut expected later in the month, and is said to have had some amateur training under former world champion Nobuo Nashiro, himself a former fighter at the Mutoh gym.
(Imagge courteys of boxingnews.jp)
Earlier today fight fans in Osaka saw a new WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight champion being crowned, as Filipino Ben Mananquil (17-2-3, 4) had the title ripped from his hands, by an inspired Yuki Strong Kobayashi (15-8, 9) [小林佑樹], who secured the biggest win of his career, by far.
On paper this looked like a straight forward first defense for Mananquil, who had won the title in Japan earlier this year and had looked like a talented, tricky, skilled fighter. That title win had also followed a draw, albeit a controversial one at home, against Hinata Maruta, in which Mananquil had shown smart defense and a good boxing brain against one of the sports brightest young prospects. After all Kobayashi had suffered 8 losses,a number by stoppage, and had been dropped 4 times in his most recent bout, a decision loss to Keita Kurihara.
Kobayashi however failed to read the script, He marched forward like a man with a point to prove and worked the body of Mananquil, realising the Filipino couldn't hit hard enough to hurt him, or back him up. Even when Mananquil landed clean he struggled to get respect from Kobayashi who marched forward looking to resume his body assault and grind down the Filipino.
By round 6 Mananquil was being forced to fight Kobayashi's fight, though showed great resolve in not going down, gritting his teeth and fighting back. It was a brave, but a mistake and Mananquil would continue getting ground out by the pressure and body shots of Kobayashi.
With his gas tanking running low Mananquil was stopped in the 10th round, with the referee saving him from further punishment.
After a Saturday night of disappointment for Japanese fighters this win is a good way to begin Sunday's boxing, and a great testament to Kobayashi's desire, having previously lost in 2 OPBF title fights. Sadly for Mananquil this could be a hard loss to to bounce back from, and may set the gameplan for others who face him going forward. The body shots were killer, the pressure was too much and although Mananquil proved to be game he was simply ground to a halt. The bout may also make Mananquil question whether he has the size and strength to compete at 118lbs going forward.
Tomorrow fight fans in Osaka will see WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight champion Ben Mananquil (17-1-3, 4) defending his title against Yuki Strong Kobayashi (14-8, 8) [小林佑樹], in what looks like a pretty interesting match up at this level.
Today the two men weighed in for the bout, and both weight.
On the scales Mananquil, the shorter man, made weight by coming in on the 118lb limit. He looked the much, much smaller fighter.
Kobayashi was slightly lighter, coming in around 117.7lbs for the bout. Although the under-dog, he will be the home fighter and will also boast a clear size advantage. It should be noted that whilst he does have a lesser record, his issues have been with punchers and Mananquil is certainly not a puncher, though the Filipino is incredibly skilled and comes into this bout following his title win in Himeji back in February.
Related - Mananquil looks to defend regional crown against Kobayashi!
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Back in December Keita Kurihara (14-5, 12) [栗原 慶太] claimed the OPBF Bantamweight title, with a narrow decision win over Yuki Strong Kobayashi (14-8, 8) [小林佑樹]. That bout saw Kurihara go the distance for the first time in over 4 years, despite dropping Kobayashi 4 times.
Today Kurihara made his first defense of the OPBF title, taking on former world title challenger Warlito Parrenas (26-10-1, 23), in a bout that promised to be a shoot out for as long as it lasted.
The thing with a shoot out is that they are hard to predict. They could last a few rounds, as both show their toughness to fight through fire. Or they could be over in the blink of an eye. And today's was over very, very quickly.
Kurihara looked to set an incredible pace from the off, firing off bombs before Parrenas had a chance to settle. The champion was clearly there for a shoot out, and was making sure to get his shots off before Parrenas could.
After around 20 seconds a hook from Kurihara connected clean and sent down the challenger, who failed to beat the 10 count, and was officially counted out after just 35 seconds.
Following the incredibly short bout Kurihara spoke about wanting to face Japanese champion Yuta Saito (12-9-3, 9) [齊藤裕太], former Japanese interim champion Hayato Kimura (28-11, 19) [木村隼人] or Kenya Yamashita (13-5, 10) [山下賢哉]. All 3 of those bouts would be very fan friendly and all would be expected to last longer than today's bout.
Unsurprisingly this bout is the shortest ever OPBF Bantamweight title bout, smashing the previous record of 90 seconds, for the 2012 bout between Rolly Matsushita and Ji-Hwan Lee.
Parrenas is now expected to call it a day, for good, and end his long career, which has had some real ups and downs.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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