Yesterday we reported two bouts set for Dangan 226.on July 27th, today we can talk about a third,and a bout that looks likely to be the show's main event.
The bout in question will see OPBF Super Featherweight champion Hironori Mishiro (7-0-1, 2) [三代大訓] defending his belt against former OPBF Featherweight champion Ryo Takenaka (18-4-1, 11) [竹中 良], in what looks like a tough by clearly winnable defense for the champion.
The champion won the title last June, when he narrowly over-come Carlo Magali with a 12 round split decision. Since then he has defended the belt twice, taking a draw against Japanese champion Masaru Sueyoshi and a clear decision against Takuya Watanabe, to move towards a future world title fight. He's still some way from a shot at the top, but is on the rise and with just 8 professional bouts to his name his rise has been a very quick one, and one that seems likely to not slow down any time soon.
Takenaka on the other hand is best known for his OPBF reign 4lbs south. He's a technical boxer-puncher with under-rated skills, solid power and a good work rate, but at 126lbs his chin was generally his weakness, and he was stopped stopped by the likes of Ryol Li Lee, Hisashi Amagasa and Sah Myung Noh As the OPBF champion he won the belt in August 2015, stopping Vinvin Rufino, and made 3 defenses before losing the belt to Noh in 207. Since then he has gone 2-1, with a notable loss last time our, in China to Ukrainian teenager Heorhii Lashko, in an IBF Silk Road tournament bout.
For Takenaka another loss, especially in the wake of the one to Lashko, would spell the end of his career whilst a win would be a career saver. For Mishiro a win takes him one more step towards a potential world title fight, and would be another solid defense of his title.
As mentioned this is the third bout of note to be confirmed for the show. This announcement follows announcements of a Japanese Bantamweight title bout, between Yuta Saito (12-9-3, 9) [齊藤裕太] and mandatory challenger Yusuke Suzuki (10-3, 7) [鈴木悠介], and a Japanese Youth Light Flyweight title fight, between Rikito Shiba (3-0, 2) [芝力人] and Tsuyoshi Sato (9-1-1, 5) [佐藤剛].
We've known for a while that we would be seeing a Japanese Youth Light Flyweight title bout later in the year between Rikito Shiba (3-0, 2) [芝力人] and Tsuyoshi Sato (9-1-1, 5) [佐藤剛], who both won qualifying bouts to set up their contest. Today we finally saw the date of that bout being announced, with Dangan revealing it would be on Dangan 226 on July 27th.
For those who haven't seen the youngsters in action the two men have highly contracting styles, which should gel.
Shiba is a technically boxer-puncher, with solid snap on his shots, whilst Sato is an all out offensive machine, mowing opponents down with intense pressure. So we'd expect to see Sato look to force his will and Shiba attempt to gain his respect, in what should be an amazing clash.
This bout has been named as one of the main supporting bouts for the previously reported Japanese Bantamweight title fight between defending champion Yuta Saito (12-9-3, 9) [齊藤裕太] and mandatory challenger Yusuke Suzuki (10-3, 7) [鈴木悠介], more about that here Saito and Suzuki to battle for title on July 27th!, making this already look like a fantastic double header for fans in Tokyo, and those who subscribe to Boxing Raise.
Earlier today the Twitter account of Dangan boxing announced that Japanese Bantamweight champion Yuta Saito (12-9-3, 9) [齊藤裕太] will make his next defense on July 27th as he takes on mandatory challenger Yusuke Suzuki (10-3, 7) [鈴木悠介], on what will be Dangan 226.
For Saito this will be his second defense, following his stoppage win over the now retired Hayato Kimura (28-11, 19) [木村隼人] in a regular/interim title unification bout. Given how Saito has looked in his two bouts, winning and defending the belt with stoppages, he will likely enter as the slight favourite, though that takes nothing away from Suzuki who is getting his first shot at a national title and is a very dangerous challenger.
Suzuki has had a really tough career, and his losses so far have come to the likes of Yusaku Kuga, Ryoichi Tamura and Jeffrey Francisco, all in close fights. He's coming in riding a 4 fight winning run, though did have a wasted 2018 when he had to recover from injuries, and saw several bouts fall through due to health reasons, either his own or those of his opponents.
As with all Dangan cards this show will be featured on Boxing Raise. At the moment there have been no other bouts confirmed for the show, though this is a brilliant main event, and pits two hard hitting domestic fighters against each other in what should be a very explosive and exciting contest.
Earlier today fight fans at Korakuen Hall, and subscribers to the Boxing Raise service, had the chance to see the Japanese Bantamweight title becoming unified once again, as regular champion Yuta Saito (12-9-3, 9) [齊藤裕太] faced off with interim champion Hayato Kimura (28-11, 19) [木村隼人].
On paper the bout didn't look amazing, however the bout delivered in what was a thrilling, back and forth war of attrition.
Before we look at the bout, and break down the result, lets just quickly explain how we ended up here, as it's worth reminding ourselves just how much of a mess the Japanese Bantamweight scene has been over the last 16 months or so.
In January 2018 Ryo Akaho [赤穂 亮] was supposed to defend the title against Yusuke Suzuki [鈴木悠介]. Akaho had to vacate, due to health issues and weight problems, and a planned bout between Suzuki and Suguru Muranaka [村中 優] was then scheduled. Suzuki would suffer an injury with Muranaka then being scheduled to face Saito, before failing to make weight.
The title was vacant from when Akaho vacated all the way up to September 1st, when Saito would stop Eita Kikuchi [菊地永太] for the vacant title. He would then fall foul to illness and Kimura would battle for the interim title, stopping Seizo Kono [高野誠三]. That brought us to today, with Saito and Kimura battling to tidy up some of the mess of the division.
The bout it's self was hotly contested. Kimura was looking to use his legs to get in and out, making the most of his edge in speed. Kimura's speed looked good but Saito seemed to take his blows well whilst trying to bring his pressure into play, and make the most of his heavier hands. By the end of round 3 the bout was becoming a gradual war on the inside, with Kimura's speed going head to head with Saito's power, the two men taking it in turns to turns to strike.
In round 4 the intensity picked up again, giving us one of the most action packed rounds in a Japanese ring this year. Sadly for Kimura the heavy hands of Saito was starting to take it's toll on his face, and his eye was swelling. With the swelling getting worse Kimura knew he had to go out and try to turn things around in round 5, though unfortunately that lead him to fighting with more risk and that cost him.
With the two men trading it was Kimura who was stunned and Saito went to work, forcing Kimura's team to throw in the towel and save their man.
Following the bout Saito stated that he would want to be involved in the recently announced Shinsuke Yamanaka Bantamweight tournament, and go on to fight in the world level. That might be a bit too far, but it was great to see Saito back in action after his health issues at the end of last year.
Interestingly Yusuke Suzuki (10-3, 7) [鈴木悠介], who lost out on a title fight in 2019 due to Akaho's weight issues and then his own injury, stopped Indonesian Kichang Kim (9-8-1, 2) on the under-card today and is now set to face Saito for the Japanese title later in 2019.
Fight fans at the Korakuen Hall, and subscribers to Boxingraise, were able to watch a new Japanese "interim" Bantamweight champion being crowned as multi-time title challenger Hayato Kimura (28-10, 19) [木村隼人] and Seizo Kono (19-11-1, 12) [高野誠三] battled for the belt. On paper this looked interesting, with both being flawed, but decent, fighters chasing a potentially career defining win and opening up a bout for the full version of the title in early 2019 against the beatable Yuta Saito (11-9-3, 8) [齊藤裕太], who is currently battling illness.
Sadly for a bout that promised quite a bit, it massively under-delivered with the styles and mentality of both men not really lending it's self to a good fight. Instead it was a rather dull watch, with Kono being far more skilled, but far less aggressive, and Kimura being aggressive but lacking the skills needed to land.
The first round saw Kimura start fast, possibly looking to jump on Kono before he could settle. It wasn't long however until Kono started to control the distance and timing, countering and avoiding the shots of Kimura, who at times looked like a rank novice, flailing at the air. Sadly Kono refused to really let his hands go, even when the openings were there.
Despite landing the better shots, including sharp straight right hands, and clean jabs, Kono seemed to be too focused on his defense which seemed to be responsible for him being down when the open scoring was announced after round 5. Kimura, due to missing so often, dropped his work rate and began to target the body, a smart game plan, and likely part of why he was in the lead.
In round 6 the pace did pick up a bit, and it seemed like Kimura was the man again forcing the action, as the Hall picked up it's volume. The following round saw Kono being dragged into a war, as his defense began to fall apart under the pressure of Kimura, pressure that was becoming significantly more intense. Despite the early successes of Kono's counters he was completely falling apart, unable to back up, or get the respect of, Kimura who was wading in and raining down punches, and having real success with his right hand around the guard.
With Kono having had a nightmare round 7 it seemed like he would have to come out fast for round 8. Sadly though he was tired and being worn down by the aggression of Kimura, which just never relented, forcing the referee to eventually step in and save Kono.
It was clear that Kono was skilled, through the first 5 rounds he looked very talented, and he managed to give Kimura some slight swelling under his right eye. The problem for Kono however was that Kimura's body attack in rounds 4 and 5 began to take slow the reflexes of Kono and the with the increase in pressure in round 6, and particularly round 7, really took everything he had out of the tank and it seemed like a matter of time until the Kono was going to be stopped.
A bout between Kimura and Saito will take place in the new year, with the winner of that mandated to defend against Yusuke Suzuki (9-3, 6) [鈴木悠介]. They should both be fan friendly bouts, but sadly this wasn't, at least not until round 6 when Kimura began to pick up the pace.
News! We try and give you the most interesting news stories from the Asian boxing world!