Earlier today fight fans on boxingraise, and those at the Korakuen Hall, saw Yuta Matsuo (15-3-1, 8) [松尾雄太] and Rey Orais (20-18-2, 5) fight in a a Japanese Super Flyweight eliminator.
On paper it was easy to favour Matsuo, who had the better record and was the younger and more active fighter. Orais however started well, behind intelligently and using his tight guard and body shots to get off to a good to a good start and the early lead.
Sadly for Orais it seemed like Matsuo picked up the pace in round 3, and the veteran was dropped twice in round 4 as Matsuo totally took over the fight. To his credit Orais returned form the knockdowns by taking the fight to Matsuo, but it seemed more out of desperation than real self belief and he couldn't break through the guard of the harder hitting Matsuo.
In round 5 Orais was dropped again, and this time took the 10 count, as Matsuo secured himself a shot at the Japanese belt at the 2019 Champion Carnival. Sadly for Orais this will almost certainly end his in ring career, though he will likely continue in his role as a trainer at the Flare Yamagami Gym.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Tomorrow fight fans in Tokyo will get the chance to see Yuta Matsuo (14-3-1, 7) [松尾雄太] take on Japanese based Filipino veteran Rey Orais (20-17-2, 5) in a Japanese Super Flyweight title eliminator.
Today the two fighters took part in their weigh in and both men made weight with no issues at all, in fact both were massively under the limit.
On the scales Matsuo came in at 114.2lbs and he was the heavier man, with Orais weighing in at 113.8lbs.
For those interested this bout will be streamed live on Boxingraise for subscribers for that service.
Related - Matsuo and Orais battle for shot at Super Flyweight gold!
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
An important part of the Japanese boxing calendar is the Champion Carnival, which takes place in the first half of the year. The fighters who compete in the Champion Carnival are the national champions and the leading domestic contenders.
In August we a number of bouts to decide the top contenders being announced, with 6 such bouts being set for October 12, on a stacked card at the Korakuen Hall.
For those missed that report those bouts on October 12th will be:
Light Flyweight - Kenichi Horikawa (37-15-1, 11) [堀川 謙一] Vs Koji Itagaki (18-12-3, 7) [板垣幸司]
The Super Flyweight - Yuta Matsuo (14-3-1, 7) [松尾雄太] Vs Rey Orais (20-17-2, 5)
Super Bantamweight - Mugicha Nakagawa (23-5-1, 14) [武田勇太] Vs Naoya Okamoto (13-6-1, 6) [岡本直也].
Super Featherweight - Ken Osato (14-2-1, 4) [大里拳] Vs Satoru Sugita (14-5-1, 9) [杉田聖]
Light Welterweight - Koki Inoue (11-0, 10) [浩樹井上] Vs Marcus Smith (6-0-1, 6)
Light Middleweight Koshinmaru Saito (24-9-2, 13) [斉藤伸介] vs Hironobu Matsunaga (13-1, 7) [松永 宏信]
As well as the October 12th card we also, recently, saw the confirmation that the Flyweight bout would see Junto Nakatani (16-0, 12) [中谷 潤人] battle against Shun Kosaka (15-4, 4) [小坂駿], which that bout now set for October 6th as part of notable Japanese domestic card which is set to be televised on G+.
Today saw the rest of the bouts being announced.
On October 21st we'll have two of them take place in Fukuoka. One of those is the Minimumweight bout, which will see Takumi Sakae (19-2-1, 13) [榮拓海] take on Norihito Tanaka (16-7, 9) [田中教仁], in what could end up being one of the surprise contests from these eliminator style contests. On the same card will be the Welterweight clash between Yuki Beppu (18-0-1, 18) [別府優樹] and Yuki Nagano (14-2, 11) [永野祐樹], in what we are expecting to be a very explosive and exciting encounter between two fighters with very solid power at this level.
A week later, October 28th, we'll get the Lightweight bout, which will see Accel Sumiyoshi (11-4-2, 3) [アクセル住吉] face off with Tatsuya Yanagi (15-5-1, 6) [柳達也]. This bout will take place in Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi prefecture, which should favour Sumiyoshi but given the styles of the two men this has the potential to be very exciting.
On November 7th we'll get the Middleweight bout as former champion Hikaru Nishida (17-9-1, 8) [西田光] takes on Shuji Kato (9-1-1, 6) [加藤収二], with this bout taking place at the Korakuen Hall.
The only bout with out a set date so far is the Bantamweight bout. Despite no set date we do know that Hayato Kimura (27-10, 18) [木村隼人] facing off with Seizo Kono (19-10-1, 12) [高野誠三], in what is a bit of an under-whelming contest given some of the Japanese domestic talent in the division. This bout is expected to have it's date and venue announced in the coming weeks.
The Champion Carnival is one of the many long traditions in Japanese boxing, and sees the Japanese champions defending their belts against the top contenders to begin the new year. The challengers are often decided by winning a challenger decision bout, or an eliminator for our Western fans, and we now have 6 such bouts set for an October 12th show at the Korakuen Hall, with those bouts taking place from Light Flyweight to Light Middleweight.
The Light Flyweight bout will see former champion Kenichi Horikawa (37-15-1, 11) [堀川 謙一] battle against former foe Koji Itagaki (18-12-3, 7) [板垣幸司]. Horikawa is 2-1 against current Japanese champion Tetsuya Hisada [久田 哲也] and will be looking to get one more bout with Hisada in 2019, unless Hisada finally lands a world title fight. Horikawa holds a notable win over Itagaki from a WBO Asia Pacific title bout back in 2017, but that will only serve as for Itagaki who himself lost in a competitive bout with Hisada earlier this year. With Horikawa now 38 and Itagaki 35 both men are coming to the end of their careers so this really is a must win for both men.
The Super Flyweight bout will see Yuta Matsuo (14-3-1, 7) [松尾雄太] battle against Japanese based Filipino veteran Rey Orais (20-17-2, 5). Coming into this Matsuo is on a good run, following a 2017 loss to Masayuki Kuroda, with recent wins over Kazuto Nakane and Ryoji Fukunaga, and certainly has moment on his side coming into this bout. Orais on the other hand has fought just once in the last 10 years, beating Ken Achiwa this past May, those has mixed with good company including Denkaosan Kaovichit and Oleydong Sithsamerchai. Orais has next to no momentum but has got significantly more experience than the Japanese local.
At Super Bantamweight we'll see Mugicha Nakagawa (23-5-1, 14) [武田勇太] face off with Naoya Okamoto (13-6-1, 6) [岡本直也]. The 29 year old Nakagawa fought in the Champion Carnival challenger decision bout last year, losing a very competitive bout to the popular Yasutaka Ishimoto, and since then has stopped Markquil Slvana and Ricky Manufoe to rebuild some momentum. Nakagawa is a real talent and although he's not in among the very elite in Japan, like Ryosuke Iwasa and Shingo Wake, he's a very good domestic fighter. Okamoto Okamoto on the other hand is currently on a nice run, with recent wins over Gaku Aikawa, Daisuke Watanabe and Yuta Saito, who fights for the Japanese Bantamweight title in September. The winner of this will a have a bout with Wake lined up, but the reality seems to be that Wake will vacate, to chase a world title fight, and the winner of this bout will get a shot at a vacant title.
The Super Featherweight bout will be a rematch between Ken Osato (14-2-1, 4) [大里拳] and Satoru Sugita (14-5-1, 9) [杉田聖], who fight in a similar challenger bout last year, with Osato narrowly defeating Sugita. Osato's win lead to a fight with Masaru Sueyoshi earlier this year, which he lost, and he is clearly hunting a rematch with Sueyoshi. Sugita on the other hand has twice challenged for the Japanese title, losing to Kenichi Ogawa twice, and will be looking to make it third time lucky. Given the Japanese talent at 130lbs, it's a bit of a shame that we're getting a rematch here, but it's hard to argue with the quality of the men in the bout, and given how competitive their first bout was this could be very interesting.
Arguably the pick of the bouts, at least on paper, comes at 140lbs as Koki Inoue (11-0, 10) [浩樹井上], the cousin of Naoya Inoue [井上 尚弥] and Takuma Inoue (11-0, 3) [井上 拓真], takes on Rookie of the Year winner Marcus Smith (5-0-1, 5). Inoue has genuinely destructive since making his debut and has looked more than ready for a title fight, though doesn't seem to have found a champion willing to fight him, a win here however will force their hand and guarantee him a shot at the belt next year. Smith, a Japanese based American fighter, will be stepping up massively for this bout, but a win will give his career a huge shot in the arm and not only get him the title shot, but also the biggest win of his career, by far.
The final bout confirmed for this show will be at 154lbs and see 39 year old veteran Koshinmaru Saito (24-9-2, 13) [斉藤伸介] battle against the in form Hironobu Matsunaga (13-1, 7) [松永 宏信]. Saito, who has come up short regularly in title fights will likely know that a win here will open up one more shot, almost certainly a final shot, following losses in title bouts against the likes of Takeshi Inoue, Yuki Nonaka, Suyon Takayama and Akinori Watanabe. A win however is not assured for Saito and Matsunaga has proven his quality in recent wins against the likes of Hisao Narita, Sanosuke Sasaki, Je Ni Ma and Patomsuk Pathompothong.
Earlier today fight fans in Japan, and subscibers to Boxingraise, got a total treat of a show as they got "Dangan 176". The main event of that card saw "Dangan 176", will saw Masayuki Kuroda (26-7-3, 15) [黒田 雅之] to to war with Yuta Matsuo (12-3-1, 6) [ユータ松尾] in a bout over the Japanese "interim" Flyweight title.
The bout, which was put together for the Champion Carnival due to the injury to Takuya Kogawa, was arguably the best fight on Japanese soil so far this year and was a thriller form the opening round to the final bell.
The bout started hot with both men landing some heavy leather to both the head and body. The great start didn't feel like an opening round, but it ended up serving as a warm up for a war that seemed to just get better and better.
Kuroda's extra class, and higher level experience, seemed to be the difference maker at times but Matsuo refused to back down and found a home for some devastating body shots and brutal right hands up top. The work of Matsuo to keep him in the bout in the first half of the contest, with the open scoring after round 5 showing the competitive nature of the fight, with the judges having the contest 48-48、49-46 and 48-47.
From the first half of the fight the high point was round 4 when the two men engaged in a round of phone booth action which seemed to show just how much the contest meant to both fighters. It seemed to be one of Matsuo's best rounds but essentially saw him being unable to hurt Kuroda no matter what he seemed to land.
We had a few more toe-to-toe rounds, though it seemed like Kuroda's control of the bout picked up between round 6 and 8 as Matsuo began to slow and his experience over the 10 rounds started to show. It wasn't ever like Matsuo looked close to being stopped, but Kuroda did began to man handle him a bit more frequently than he had in the earlier stages. Despite having fallen well behind Matsuo seemed to get a second wind in round 9 as he continued to keep the war going, whilst Kuroda tried to box a bit more, and keep something in the tank for the final round.
That final round ended up being something very special, as the two men put it all on the line and spent almost the entire 3 minutes trading blows around the ring up close. The shots they landed seemed to be constant and although neither man looked particularly hurt you could hear the shots above the chanting crowd in what will likely be one of the best rounds in a Japanese ring during 2017.
Sadly for Matuso his great effort was in vain as Kuroda took a decision with scores of 97-94, twice, and 96-94. He was a worthy winner and will now likely move on to a rematch with regular champion Takuya Kogawa, who beat him last year, later in the year. For Matsuo the loss was such a valiant one that he comes out with an enhanced reputation, and we'll admit we'd love to see him again, potentially in a second meeting with Kuroda given just how exaciting and action packed this bout was.
(Image courtesy of daily.co.jp)
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