Earlier today we saw the first Japanese card of 2020 and whilst it wasn't a sensational card, it did featuring some interesting match ups, and notable fighters.
Prior to the first punches being thrown the Korakuen Hall hosted a ceremonial pray, for the safety and success of the fighters. After that the card began to get under way.
The opening couple of bouts didn't feature anyone too notable, with the first notable names being former Japanese Lightweight champion Shuhei Tsuchiya (23-5, 18) [土屋 修平] and current OPBF, WBO Asia Pacific and Japanese Lightweight champion Shuichiro Yoshino (11-0, 9) [吉野 修一郎], who took part in a 2 round spar. This exhibition, which was put together at late notice against Tsuchiya's original opponent failed to secure a visa in time.
After that we saw former world title challenger Shohei Omori (21-3, 16) [大森 将平] stop Filipino Danny Tampipi (9-11-2, 5) in the 5th round. This was expected to be a blow out, but credit to Tampipi who took his shots like a champion and stayed in their until the final round. He was punished by the much bigger Omori but showed how game he was until the referee had finally seen enough.
We then moved onto the main section of the show, the Knock Out Dynamite Tournament finals.
Unfortunately the first of the finals had been cancelled, when Yuki Yamauchi (4-0, 3) [山内祐希] pulled out of his bout with Ren Sasaki (10-0, 6) [佐々木蓮]. Sasaki became the winner by default and collected his award in the ring.
We then got the first of two tournament finals, and action suddenly heated up. The final, at 60KG's, saw Filipino slugger Marvin Esquierdo (16-2-1, 10) stop Japanese veteran Ribo Takahata (16-9-1, 6) [高畑里望]. in the 4th round. Takahata had been dropped hard in round 2, but had fought back well until going down a second time late in round 4, and forcing the referee to wave off the bout. This win netted Esquierdo a very nice bonus for scoring a stoppage.
The final bout was less explosive, but even more interesting as Mongolian novice Tuguldur Byambatsogt (2-0) defeated Japanese based Dominican Vladimir Baez (26-6-2, 24) in the 65KG final. Byambatsogt out boxed Baez easily in the first 3 rounds, fighting behind his jab and footwork, but seemed to slow down in the 4th round as Baez began to mount something of a comeback. Baez's comeback was however short lived with Byambatsogt showing a more aggressive side in round 5, dropping Baez to secure a clear decision win. The young Mongolian looks like a real potential star, and has shown he can box and fight, but he will need to temper his negativity if he's to become a big name. Despite the negativity Byambatsogt has the talent to go a very long way.
Give that financial bonuses were on the card for early stoppages this wasn't the explosive event we were hoping to see. Despite that there was enough to take away from the card to be entertained, with out being thrilled. Fingers crossed next weekend's Dynamic Glove card is a little bit more explosive and exciting than this was.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Back in November former Japanese Lightweight champion Shuhei Tsuchiya (23-5, 18) [土屋 修平] announced that he would be returning to the ring, ending a retirement that followed a 2017 bout against Shota Suito [水藤 翔太]. Sadly however his return bout was cancelled earlier today.
The plan had been for Tsuchiya to take on Chinese fighter Yangyang Li (8-1-2) as part of the January 12th Knock Out Dynamite Tournament final, the first Japanese show of 2020.
Sadly however Li has been unable to secure a visa in time for the bout, forcing it to be cancelled.
At the moment it's unclear what the plan is for Tsuchiya, who may fight in an exhibition on the card or may delay or even cancel his comeback all together.
Unfortunately this cancellation is the second on the card, which has also seen a bout between Yuki Yamauchi (4-0, 3) [山内祐希] and Ren Sasaki (10-0, 6) [佐々木蓮] being cancelled, as Yamauchi pulled out of the contest several weeks ago. It's also worth noting that a third bout on this card, Shohei Omori (20-3, 15) [大森 将平] facing off with Leshan Li (16-4-2, 9) [黎乐善], had to be changed when Li was stopped in late 2019, and has been replaced by Danny Tampipi (9-10-2, 5).
Earlier today we got the semi-finals of the inaugural Knockout Dynamite Tournament, with 6 bouts taking place across 3 divisions, with each of the bouts scheduled for 5 rounds. The competition, is designed with financial rewards for scoring early stoppages so is expected to deliver short but exciting fights. We got several of those short thrillers, along with some prolonged action.
The first weight class to be covered was the 60KG one, and began with an all slugfest between OPBF ranked Filipino Marvin Esquierdo (15-2-1, 9) and Japan's very own Koichi Ito (11-8-3, 10) [伊藤弘一]. This bout very much fit the script of what we were expecting from the tournament and from the off the two men just traded bombs in a short but thrilling war. That war came to an end when Ito was dropped, and although he beat the 10 count he was still wobbling when the referee waved it off.
The second bout, also at 60KG's, saw Mongolian novice Tsendsuren Bat-Ireedui (0-1-1) take on 40 year old veteran Ribo Takahata (16-8-1, 6) [高畑里望]. The Mongolian came out swinging, looking to claim the full bonus, whilst Takahata played the longer game. After trying to score a stoppage in the first 2 rounds the Mongolian looked tired and hurt in round 3, as Takahata's body shots began to pay dividends. Tsendsuren would however bounce back in round 4. The best round of the fight was the 5th round with both letting shots go on the inside, in what was a really good round to watch, but neither man could stop the other leading to a decision. After the 5 rounds the judges gave the decision to Takahata, in a decision we're not totally behind, and now he will face Esquierdo in the weight class' final.
The second weight class to be covered was the 56KG one, and began with a bout between the hotly tipped Yuki Yamauchi (4-0, 3) [山内祐希] and veteran Ryuta Wakamatsu (12-15-1, 9) [若松竜太]. The first round was almost a plain boxing round, with neither man going for the bonus money, but the pace did pick up in round 2 and Wakamatsu was dropped and cut midway into the round. The following round saw Yamauchi continue to press and record a 3rd round TKO to pick up his bonus.
The second 56KG semi final saw 2017 Rookie of the Year winner Ren Sasaki (10-0, 6) [佐々木蓮] battle against Morihisa Iju (11-5, 9) [伊集盛尚]. Although not a noted puncher Sasaki went for the opening round KO with some very clean straight left hands as Iju came forward, though was dropped himself towards the end of the opening round. Iju continued to press in round 2, trying to get to Sasaki before the youngster could regain his composure. By the end of the round however Sasaki seemed to have regrouped, despite the continuing pressure from Iju. The pressure continued when Iju jumped all over Sasaki to start round 3. Sasaki took down Iju, in a desperation wrestling move, but only gave Sasaki a short respite before Iju was back on the offensive and refusing to give Sasaki any room to work with.
Round 4 was a better one for Sasaki, as Iju began to run out of steam a little bit, but in round 5 Iju was back full steam ahead and forcing the unbeaten youngster to get on his toes. Remarkably two of the judges gave it to Sasaki, with scores of 48-46, twice in his favour and once against. Meaning two of the judges gave Iju only the first round. For the second time in the card we were left with a very questionable decision, though it does lead to Yamauchi and Sasaki in the final.
The first of the two 65KG bouts saw Mongolian debutant Byambatsogt Tuguldur (1-0) go up against Shusaku Fujinaka (16-12-2, 11) [藤中周作]. This bout was hot from the off, with Tuguldur pressing Fujinaka straight away. Fujinaka was repeatedly backed up and Tuguldur made it very clear he wanted the top bonus for an opening round victory. The second round saw Fujinaka having more success and forcing the Mongolian on to the back foot, though Tuguldur managed to have moments of success himself. At times things got a bit messy as the fight went on, though it was hard not to be impressed by Tuguldur, with this being his debut, he did however show a bit too much of his amateur background and occasionally seemed too negative and too conservative.
When the Mongolian let his hands go he looked really good, but seemed to be happy fiddling his way through things, and was warned for numerous minor fouls through the bout, before leaving Fujinaka with a cut eye, from a head clash. The cut didn't risk an early conclusion to the bout and instead we saw the 5 rounds being complete before Tuguldur got his arm around for the decision win.
Tuguldar's win saw him move into the final, where he will face Vladimir Baez (26-5-2, 24), who took home the maximum bonus for an openign round win over Tatsuya Miyazaki (9-13-1, 9) [宮崎辰也]. Unsurprisingly this turned out to be a total mismatch with Baez all over Miyazaki form the off and dropping him in the opening seconds. Despite being down Miyazaki got up and ended up playing his part in a slugfest, firing back whilst eating heavy leather from Baez. After being dropped a second time Miyazaki was saved by the referee. With this win BAez netted himself a cool bonus, much like Esquierdo did in the first bout of the tournament.
A few weeks ago we saw a number of bouts being announced for the first round of the Knock Out
Dynamite tournament, set to begin on October 19th. Today we saw the poster drop for the card and bring with it some really interesting details, including the names of two of the "foreign fighters" who were set to be announced at a later date.
One of those will be debuting Mongolian fighter Byambatsogt Tuguldur (0-0), who reached the quarter finals of the Asian Youth Championships in Thailand. From what we understand Tuguldur will be up against Shusaku Fujinaka (16-11-2, 11) [藤中周作] and will be the 4th man in the 65KG tournament, which also features Vladimir Baez (25-5-2, 23) and Tatsuya Miyazaki (9-12-1, 9) [宮崎辰也].
Another is fellow Mongolian debutant Tsendsuren Bat-Ireedui (0-0), who appears to have had a short MMA career and has some amateur boxing background. He will be in the 60KG tournament, where he will face veteran Ribo Takahata (15-8-1, 6) [高畑里望] in his first tournament bout. Tsendsuren's amateur career really is hard to find much about, though he appears to have fought in the 2016 Genghis Khan Cup at 49KG's, though he does appear to have a 2-0 MMA record. Sadly it's still unclear who Koichi Ito (11-7-3, 10) [伊藤弘一] will be facing in the other semi final at 60KG's.
Of course the third weight covered here is 56KG, and that had all of it's fighters announced at a previous press conference, with Yuki Yamauchi (3-0, 2) [山内祐希] to face Ryuta Wakamatsu (12-14-1, 9) [若松竜太], and Ren Sasaki (9-0, 6)[佐々木蓮] set to battle with Morihisa Iju (11-4, 9) [伊集盛尚].
Earlier today a press conference was held in Tokyo, featuring former world champions Floyd Mayweather Jr and Takashi Uchiyama, to announce some more of the details for the upcoming Knock Out Dynamite tournament which will begin on October 19th with the first round of matches.
The announcement today revealed some of the fighters involved in the 2-stage tournament, which takes place across 3 weight classes and features a bounty-type prize for scoring KO wins, with larger prizes depending on how quickly a fighter secures a stoppage.
The announcement today saw a number of the bouts being announced, including 3 of the 4 competitors in the 65KG tournament. The men announced here were Vladimir Baez (25-5-2, 23) and Tatsuya Miyazaki (9-12-1, 9) [宮崎辰也], who have been matched against each other, and Shusaku Fujinaka (16-11-2, 11) [藤中周作], who's opponent hasn't been confirmed.
The 60KG tournament saw 2 of the 4 men being named, with Koichi Ito (11-7-3, 10) [伊藤弘一] and Ribo Takahata (15-8-1, 6) [高畑里望], neither of whom had their opponents name.
And the 56KG tournament had all 4 of it's competitors announced. This weight class will see Yuki Yamauchi (3-0, 2) [山内祐希] take on Ryuta Wakamatsu (12-14-1, 9) [若松竜太], and Ren Sasaki (9-0, 6)[佐々木蓮] battle with Morihisa Iju (11-4, 9) [伊集盛尚].
Interestingly the 3 opponents that are yet to be announced are all stated to be "foreigners", though none of them were named.
The event takes it's name from Uchiyama, who is a tournament ambassador, but will be essentially be co-promoted by TMT Japan, a business arm of Mayweather's wider TMT brand. The TMT Japan arm is expected to grow rapidly, with Mayweather talking about opening up integrated resorts in Japan, returning for exhibitions in the country and much more. In fact Mayweather is quoted as saying "I'm planning various projects in Japan. I want to call my friend Justin Bieber to do a concert and take it to the next level."
The plan seems to be to run this style of tournament, which was described as being a "bounty style tournament", on a regular basis in the future with Dangan and TMT Japan potentially working together on future tournaments of a similar style, though of course that would need this upcoming on to be a success and something following up on in the future.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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