Earlier today fight fans at the Korakuen Hall had a notable show with several solid bouts taking place on it.
One of the many talking points from the show was actually a bout that was announced during an intermission.
That is a rematch between Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Ryoichi Tamura (12-3-1, 6) [田村 亮一] and former champion Yusaku Kuga (17-3-1, 11) [久我勇作].
The two men took to the ring today to announce their bout, and we'll admit they got us very excited.
These two fought back in July 2017, with Kuga taking a narrow decision win over Tamura. Since then Kuga has gone 2-1 (2), with a notable loss to Shingo Wake whilst Tamura has won the title that Wake vacated at the end of last year, beating Mugicha Nakagawa in a thriller back in January.
This bout this bout will take place on May 18th at the Korakuen Hall, in the main event of Dangan 224.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Over the last couple of hours we have looked at some individual award winners at today's Japanese boxing awards, held in the amazing Tokyo Dome Hotel. For those who just want to see the winners in a list here we go:
The MVP was:
Naoya Inoue (17-0, 15) [井上 尚弥]
The Skills Award was won by:
Kosei Tanaka (12-0, 7) [田中恒成]
The KO Award was won by:
Naoya Inoue (17-0, 15) [井上 尚弥]
Special Award was won by:
Masayuki Ito (25-1-1, 13) [伊藤 雅雪]
The Effort Award was won by:
Masayoshi Nakatani (18-0, 12) [中谷正義]
The Newcomer Award was won by:
Kazuto Takesako (10-0, 10) [竹迫司登]
The Best World title Fight:
Sho Kimura [木村翔] Vs Kosei Tanaka [田中恒成]
The Best Japanese Domestic fight:
Yusaku Kuga [久我勇作] Vs Shingo Wake [和氣 慎吾]
Female fighter of the year was:
Tenkai Tsunami (26-12, 15) [天海 ツナミ]
Female Fight of the Year was:
Kayoko Ebata [江畑佳代子] Vs Etsuko Tada [多田悦子]
Trainer of the Year was:
Shingo Inoue [井上真吾]
A Special Achievement Award was won by:
Shinsuke Yamanaka [山中慎介]
Special Prizes were given to:
Toshiyuki Igarashi [五十嵐 俊幸]
Naoko Shibata [柴田 直子]
Nana Yoshikawa [好川 菜々]
Ryuya Yamanaka [山中 竜也]
And Momo Koseki [小関 桃]
A social Contribution prize was given too:
Naoko Fujioka (17-2, 7) [藤岡 奈穂子]
JBC Service Achievements were won by
Akira Tabata, who has served as a timekeeper, and Hiroyuki Tokuzaki, a referee who sadly passed away in October.
Several other officials earned awards for their roles in the sport as well, as did Atsushi Sato, a producer at WOWOW.
It's also worth noting that every male fighter who held a world title at some point during the year won an Outstanding Fighter Award, this is a normal thing to recognise all champions. We won't list them all here though they obviously included Kenshiro [拳四朗] and Hiroto Kyoguchi [京口 紘人] among others.
As for amateur awards, the best male fighter was:
Daisuke Narimatsu [成松大介]
and the best female fighter was:
Tsukimi Namiki [並木月海]
(Image courtesy of Boxingnews.jp)
On January 10th the JBC, along with members of the Tokyo Boxing Press, announced the nominations for the 2018 Japanese boxing awards.
The highest award is the Best Fighter, or MVP, award. The nominations for this award are:
Naoya Inoue (17-0, 15) [井上 尚弥] - The current WBA "regular" Bantamweight champion
Kosei Tanaka (12-0, 7) [田中恒成] - The current WBO Flyweight champion
Kenshiro (15-0, 8) [拳四朗] - The current WBC Flyweight champion
and Masayuki Ito (25-1-1, 13) [伊藤 雅雪] - The current WBO Super Featherweight champion
The Skills Award again includes Kenshiro and Tanaka but also:
Tomoki Kameda (36-2, 20) [亀田和毅] - The current WBC "interim" Super Bantamweight champion
Hiroto Kyoguchi (12-0, 9) [京口 紘人] - The current WBC Light Flyweight champion
and Jorge Linares (45-4, 28)
The Special award sees Ito and Tanaka being nominated
The KO award see's Naoya Inoue being joined by:
Satoshi Shimizu (8-0, 8) [清水 聡] - The current OPBF Featherweight champion
and Kazuto Takesako (10-0, 10) [竹迫司登] - The current Japanese Middleweight champion
The Newcomer award has seen a nice number of candidates, the nominees here are, Takesako along with:
Tsubasa Koura (14-0, 9) [小浦 翼] - The current OPBF Minimumweight champion
Hiroaki Teshigawara (18-2-2, 11) [勅使河原 弘晶] - The current OPBF Super Bantamweight champion
Shuichiro Yoshino (9-0, 7) [吉野 修一郎] - The current Japanese Lightweight champion
Ryota Yada (18-4, 15) [矢田良太] - The current Japanese Welterweight champion
The "strive", which appears to be an achievement type of award, has seen the following nominations:
Masayoshi Nakatani (18-0, 12) [中谷正義] - The current OPBF Lightweight champion
Valentine Hosokawa (24-6-3, 11) [細川バレンタイン] - The current Japanese Light Welterweight champion
Masayuki Kuroda (30-7-3, 16) [黒田 雅之] - The former Japanese Flyweight champion
and Tetsuya Hisada (33-9-2, 19) [久田 哲也] - The former Japanese Light Flyweight champion
The best fight, at world level has seen 3 bouts being nominated:
Sho Kimura [木村翔] Vs Kosei Tanaka [田中恒成] - WBO Flyweight title fight
Jorge Linares Vs Vasyl Lomachneko - WBA "super" Lightweight title fight
and Naoya Inoue [井上 尚弥] Vs Juan Carlos Payano - WBA "Regular" Bantamweight title fight
The best fight that wasn't at world level has 4 nominations:
Yusaku Kuga [久我勇作] Vs Shingo Wake [和氣 慎吾] - Japanese Super Bantamweight title fight
Valentine Hosokawa [細川バレンタイン] Vs Vladimir Baez - Japanese Light Welterweight title fight
Hironori Mishiro [三代大訓] Vs Masaru Sueyoshi [末吉 大] - OPBF / JBA Super Featherweight unification bout
Hikaru Nishida [西田 光] vs Kazuto Takesako [竹迫司登] - Japanese Middleweight title fight
The female Fighter of the Year nominations are:
Tenkai Tsunami (26-12, 15) [天海 ツナミ] - The current WBO female Light Welterweight champion
Etsuko Tada (18-3-2, 5) [多田悦子] - The current WBO female Minimumweight champion
Naoko Fujioka (18-2, 7) [藤岡 奈穂子] - The current WBA female Flyweight champion
The female Fight of the Year nominations were:
Tenkai Tsunami [天海 ツナミ] Vs Chaoz Minowa [チャオズ箕輪]- WBO female Light Flyweight title fight
Nao Ikeyama [池山直] Vs Mika Iwakawa [岩川美花] - WBO Atomweight title fight
Naoko Fujioka [藤岡 奈穂子] Vs Irma Sanchez - WBA female Flyweight title fight
Kayoko Ebata [江畑佳代子] Vs Etsuko Tada [多田悦子] - WBO female Minimumweight title fight
Voting will take place in January with the winners being awarded at a ceremony on February 8th.
Earlier today fight fans were able to see former Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Yusaku Kuga (17-3-1, 12) [久我勇作] fight for the first time since losing the national title to Shingo Wake in July. The hard hitting Kuga was up against the experienced but limited Filipino fighter John Mark Apolinario (20-13-3, 5).
On paper the bout was a mismatch, with Apolinario being the naturally smaller man and the less talented man, but it was a mismatch with the intention of rebuilding Kuga's confidence in what would have been viewed as a straight forward win given that Kenya Yamashita stopped Apolinario not too long ago.
Kuga, as expected, came forward from the opening bell, looking to take Apolinario out early on. To his credit the Filipino showed his defensive skills by surviving the attacks of Kuga, and even landing some shots off the back foot, but was being bullied around the ring by the very physically strong Kuga. The skills that Apolinario had saw him taking advantage of the crudeness of Kuga, but his moments were few and far between with Kuga really bossing things despite struggling to land a clean blow.
In round 4 Kuga finally began to break through the defenses of Apolinario, dropping him 3 times during the round. The Filipino didn't seem hurt at any point, but was being physically ground down, and the referee seemed to realise that Apolinario was being out classed and beaten up, waving off the bout after the third knockdown.
The win wasn't quite as easy as expected, but was straight forward, and it's clear that Kuga really just needed a work out and he got one here.
Back in July we saw Yusaku Kuga's (16-3-1, 11) [久我勇作] reign as the Japanese Super Bantamweight champion come to an end, as he was stopped by Shingo Wake [和氣 慎吾] in the 10th round of their bout at the Korakuen Hall. Since then Kuga hasn't fought, though has had a bout pencilled in for December 20th.
Until today his opponent for that bout hadn't be revealed. Today however we saw the name of his opponent being announced as Filipino fighter John Mark Apolinario (20-12-3, 5), who was last seen in Japan being stopped by Kenya Yamashita.
If we're being honest it's a disappointing match up, at this point, for Kuga, though we do understand that he's wanting a confidence building win after essentially being schooled by Wake. Sadly Apolinario is 4-10-2 in his last 16 bouts and is not a natural Super Bantamweight. Suggesting this will be a very easy win for the hard hitting Kuga.
(Image of Kuga courtesy of Watanabe Gym)
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