Over the last few days we've seen a lot of Japanese title bouts being revealed as part of the Champion Carnival. Earlier today those bouts were set in stone as the Champion Carnival presentation took place, confirming the contests we'd reported and getting all the champions and challengers in one event.
The first of the bouts will take place on February 1st at the Dynamic Glove show, and will see Japanese Welterweight champion Yuki Nagano (17-2, 13) [永野祐樹] defending his title against mandatory challenger Keita Obara (22-4-1, 20) [小原 佳太]. This bout has been known about for weeks and is an exciting, and potentially very explosive, way to kick off the Champion Vs Challenger series. This bout will be at Korakuen Hall, where most of the title bouts will actually take place.
The second bout will take on February 13th, when Lightweight champion Shuichiro Yoshino (11-0, 9) [吉野 修一郎] defends his belt against Izuki Tomioka (7-2-1, 2) [富岡樹]. This is expected to bee a match up showing a lot of skills, from both men, though the power and physical edges with the champion does make him the favourite. This is another bout at Korakuen Hall.
It's then almost a month later until we get the next bout in the series. That'll be on March 7th, on the March Dynamic Glove, when Light Middleweight champion Hironobu Matsunaga (16-1, 10) [松永 宏信] defends his belt against Yuto Shimizu (14-4-2, 5) [清水優人] in a potentially enthralling bout. The champion will be seeking his second defense whilst Shimizu will be getting his first title fight. This will be the third successive bout at Tokyo's Korakuen Hall.
Just one day later, March 8th, we get the Flyweight bout with the heavy handed Seigo Yuri Akui (14-2-1, 10) [阿久井政悟] defending his title against Seiya Fujikita (13-4, 6) [藤北誠也]. Given Akui's style this should be an explosive bout, and one to look forward to. This was announced way back at the start of the year and will take place at the Aeon Mall mall in Okayama City, the first of the bouts outside of Tokyo.
Just a week later, March 15th, action turns to the Aioi Hall in Kariya as Light Flyweight champion Yuto Takahashi (11-4, 5) [高橋悠斗] defends against hard hitting challenger Masamichi Yabuki (10-3, 10) [佐藤政道]. This will be the first title defnense for Takahashi, and will see him entering enemy territory.
The following day, March 16th, Light Welterweight champion Koki Inoue (15-0, 12) [浩樹井上] will take on Daishi Nagata (15-2-1, 5) [永田大士] in the main event of a card at Korakuen Hall from Ohashi. This is one of the few shows where under-card details have been revealed, and it makes for a very decent looking card overall.
After a slew of fights in March we then have a bit of a break before returning on April 9th for a double header at Korakuen Hall. One of the bouts here will see Bantamweight champion Yusuke Suzuki (11-3, 7) [鈴木悠介] make his first defense, as he goes up against Kyosuke Sawada (14-2-1, 6) [澤田京介] in a rematch of a bout both men had back in 2013. The other bout on this card will see Featherweight champion Ryo Sagawa (9-1, 4) [佐川遼] make his second defense as he takes on Hinata Maruta (10-1-1, 8) [丸田陽七太], in what we feel is the standout bout from this year's Carnival.
On April 28th Super Bantamweight champion Yusaku Kuga (19-4-1, 13) [久我勇作] will defend his title against Gakuya Furuhashi (26-8-1, 14) [古橋大輔]. This bout will be Kuga's first defense since reclaiming the title last year and will be Furuhashi's third shot, at a third different champion. This bout is also set to be at Korakuen Hall.
Interestingly the Super Featherweight bout between hard hitting champion Kosuke Saka (20-5, 17) [坂晃典] and teak tough challenger Takuya Watanabe (37-9-1, 21) [渡邉卓也] is pencilled in for April in Osaka, though no date or specific venue was confirmed at today's event.
On May 16th we'll see the Super Flyweight title bout as defending champion Kenta Nakagawa (18-3-1, 12) [中川 健太] takes on Yuta Matsuo (15-4-2, 8) [松尾雄太] at the Sumida City Gymnasium in Tokyo.
No those who are eagle eyed will be aware there were some division's missing.
Firstly the Minimumweight bout hasn't yet been decided. The title is currently vacant, after Norihito Tanaka (19-7, 10) [田中教仁] returned the belt earlier this year. What we do know is that Masataka Taniguchi (12-3, 7) [谷口 将隆] will be involved in the title bout, though there is currently no opponent, date or venue for the bout.
The Middleweight title bout will see the hard hitting Kazuto Takesako (11-0-1, 11) [竹迫司登] defending his belt against Riku Kunimoto (4-0, 2) [国本陸] but this bout has no date or location set. This bout is likely to be scheduled following Takesako's bout this coming weekend against OPBF champion Shinobu Charlie Hosokawa (12-4-1, 11) [細川チャーリー忍].
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Earlier today we were informed that Japanese Super Flyweight champion Kenta Nakagawa (18-3-1, 12) [中川 健太] has got his first defense set, as he takes on mandatory challenger Yuta Matsuo (15-4-2, 8) [松尾雄太] as part of the Champion Carnival, on May 16th
For Nakagawa this will be his first defense of his second reign, after he reclaimed the title last year from Takayuki Okumoto, taking a clear decision over Okumoto in Osaka. His first reign was a short one, lasting only 5 months before he lost the title to Ryuichi Funai in his first defense. He'll be hoping for a more meaningful reign this time around.
On the other hand Matsuo is fighting in his third title fight, after having previously fought for the Japanese "interim" Flyweight title and the Japanese Super Flyweight title, losing to Okumoto last year. He earned his shot thanks to a draw with Hiroyuki Kudaka back in December.
Given the styles of the two men involved this should be a very fan friendly bout, even if neither of the men are particularly big names.
The bout is set to take place at the Sumida City Gymnasium in Tokyo. At the time of writing no under-card details have been released, though with the bout set for mid-May we're not expecting many more details on this one any time soon.
Earlier today at the EDION Arena Osaka fans had the chance to see the final Japanese title eliminator of the year, to decide who would challenge for the Japanese Super Flyweight title at the 2020 Champion Carnival.
The bout matched veteran Hiroyuki Kudaka (26-18-3, 11) [久高寛之] against Yuta Matsuo (15-4-2, 8) [松尾雄太] in what looked like a compelling match up, even if the records didn't suggest either was any sort of special fighter. What fans ended up getting was compelling, competitive and evenly matched. A little too evenly matched.
The early stages saw the men trading body shots, and through the fight they seemed to trade rounds, with neither man able to get much of a foot hold in the contest. Every time one man had a round go their way, the other would come back and claw it back. It was close through out and the final round, which was a back and forth brawl, did little to make anything clear, and with the right judges could have been a 10-10 round in it's self.
After 8 rounds the scores came in, 77-75 to Kudaka, the same to Matsuo and then a 76-76 draw.
Due to the draw rules Matsuo will be treated as the winner and get the title shot at the newly crowned champion Kenta Nakagawa (18-3-1, 12) [中川 健太].
Tomorrow in Osaka, at the EDION Arena Osaka, fight fans will get the final Japanese title eliminator of 2019, with Hiroyuki Kudaka (26-18-2, 11) [久高寛之] and Yuta Matsuo (15-4-1, 8) [松尾雄太] clashing to decide the mandatory challenger for the Japanese Super Flyweight title.
Today, ahead of their bout, the fighters took part in their weigh in, and both men made the 115lb limit with no issues at all, with both weighing in around 114.4lbs for the bout.
Not only did both make weight with ease but both also looked in great shape for what promises to be an excellent match up between men who should put on a genuine show.
At the weigh in Kudaka spoke about how significant the fight is to him, explaining that it was his first bout in a year and that that it was important to win and become the mandatory challenger. Matsuo, who lost in a Japanese title fight earlier this year, spoke about how he was grateful for another chance and that he was predicting a good fight.
The winner of this will fight for the Japanese Super Flyweight title next year at the 2020 Champion Carnival.
For fans unable to make their way to Osaka the bout will be made available on the Boxing Raise service, albeit on delay.
Related - Kudaka and Matsuo to clash in final Japanese eliminator of 2019!
(Image - Boxmob.jp)
Back in August when the Japanese title eliminators were announced to find the challengers for the 2020 Champion Carnival bouts there was one bout that came with only the names of the fighters and no set date. Today we finally found the date of that bout, with World Sports Boxing gym posting up the date and venue of the contest.
The bout, between 4 time world title challenger Hiroyuki Kudaka (26-18-2, 11) [久高寛之] and World Sport's very own Yuta Matsuo (15-4-1, 8) [松尾雄太], is now set to take place at the EDION Arena Osaka on December 22nd.
Interestingly the show for the bout is seemingly yet to be announced it's self, though takes place in Osaka on the same day as the recently announced "You Will Be The Champion 10" card, headlined by an WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight title fight. That card though is scheduled to be at the Sumiyoshi Ward Center, and not the EDION Arena, suggesting two notable cards in Osaka on the same day.
Although details of the overall show are certainly scarce, and it's unlikely that World Sports Boxing will be promoting it, there is a chance that it could be an Hiroki Ioka promoted card, with Ioka often promoting a show in December.
Whether it's Ioka or not we're expecting details of this show to be revealed in the coming weeks as the December schedule for the Japanese fans continues to become more and more stacked.
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