Today at the KBS Hall fight fans saw former world champions collide, as former WBC female Minimumweight champion Yuko Kuroki (17-6-2, 8) [黒木優子] battled former WBO Atomweight champion Nao Ikeyama (18-5-4, 5) [森脇恵子].
On paper this bout was a must win if either wanted to remain in the world title mix, though may it was actually more of "can't lose" rather than a "must win". If that was the case, then both will be relieved as they walked away from the bout with a split decision draw, in what was an ultra competitive 8 round battle.
From the opening round both women had their moments, but they were immediately cancelled out by the other fighter, in what was a really hard to score, bout. Kuroki's right jab was neutralised by Ikeyama's straight right, and the action, regularly fought at a high tempo.
Given the back and forth nature the bout was always going to be close on the cards and that showed, with the judges scoring it 77-75, Ikeyama, 77-76 Kuroki and 77-77 a draw.
After the bout both fighters seemed disappointed in their performance, and Ikeyama, who's now 49, did suggest she would be consulting people before considering her next step, which certainly could be retirement. Given how she performed today however retirement isn't a given for the veteran, and she hung with a naturally bigger and younger fighter.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Tomorrow Japanese fight fans in Kyoto see a must win all-Female clash, as former world champions collide.
The bout in question will see former WBC female Minimumweight champion Yuko Kuroki (17-6-1, 8) [黒木優子] battle against former WBO Atomweight champion Nao Ikeyama (18-5-3, 5) [森脇恵子], with both having suffered recent losses.
Today the two fighters took part in their weigh in, for a bout that's taking place at Atomweight.
On the scales Kuroki made the 102lb limit dead on, whilst the 49 year old Ikeyama was 101.4lbs.
Related -Kuroki and Ikeyama battle in must win bout!
Earlier today we were informed that the next "To the Future" show had been confirmed for April 14th at the KBS Hall in Kyoto.
The full card hasn't been officially announced as of yet, though the main event has been, and it's a genuine doozy for fans of female boxing.
The bout in question will see former WBC female Minimumweight champion Yuko Kuroki (17-6-1, 8) [黒木優子] take on former WBO Atomweight champion Nao Ikeyama (18-5-3, 5) [森脇恵子] in what is a must win bout for both fighters, who both suffered 2 recent losses.
Kuroki, who had held the WBC Minmumweight title from 2014 to 2017, lost the belt on December 17th 2017 when she was out pointed by Momo Koseki. She would fail in an attempt to claim the IBF Atomweight title in September, losing in her third bout to Saemi Hanagata.
Ikeyama on the other hand has suffered back to back losses. She would lose the WBO Atomweight title in July 2018, losing to Mika Iwakawa by split decision, before losing in a WBA "interim" Atomweight title bout to Ayaka Miyao in November. At 49 years old this really is a must win if she is intending to keep her career alive.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
One of the best things in Asian boxing right now is the development of streaming service Boxingraise, which have given fighters a bigger window to show their talent to a wider audience. In the past if a fight wasn't televised we had to hope that fan cam footage would be released, whilst we now have Boxingraise to show fights.
Sadly Boxingraise does keep many of it's fights behind a paywall, including the 2018 Asian Boxing female fight of the Year.
The bout in question was the third meeting between Saemi Hanagata and Yuko Kuroki, which was a bout for the IBF Atomweight title. It was an exceptional 10 round, high tempo and exciting war, with Hanagata narrowly out working and out punching the more technical Kuroki, who was hurt badly before fighting back. It was an amazingly competitive bout, and although it was fought at a lower skill level to Sho Kimura's FOTY with Kosei Tanaka it had a similar back and forth, with neither managing to establish themselves as the dominant fighter for long.
If you have boxingraise we suggest you give this one a watch.
A close contender in this category was the December 1st bout between Kayoko Ebata and Etsuko Tada for the WBO Female Minimumweight title. That bout is also available on boxingraise.
News! We try and give you the most interesting news stories from the Asian boxing world!