A few days ago, April 27th, the JBC released their updated national rankings and we saw a wide number of changes across various weights includes movers, shakers, retirements and new champions.
We'll our look at the Minimumweight division which really seem some interesting developments.
Firstly the number of ranked fighters has dropped from 10 in March to just 8 in April. This was partly because Ryuji Hara (previously #2) went on to win the OPBF Minimumweight title and partly because Takuma Inoue changed weights moving to the Light Flyweight division.
The removal of Ryuji Hara has had a knock on effect with Kosei Tanaka (#2) moving up a place from #3 and many are predicting he will fight for the national title by the end of the year.
As with the Minimumweight division we've also seen a bit of a change at 108lbs though the big talking point is that Takuma Inoue (#4) appears here ahead of Ryo Miyazaki. Inoue is ranked behind Ryoichi Taguchi, Shin Ono and Yuki Chinen though this is set to change with Ono about to fight for the IBF Minimumweight world title against reigning champion Katsunari Takayama and Chinen set to fight Yu Kimura for the Japanese title, effectively these results could push Inoue to the #2 slot and allow him to come good on his promise of winning a Japanese title in his third fight.
With the Japanese record standing at 4 fights to win a national title it's amazing to think we could have two men breaking the record in the coming months. At the moment the record is jointly held by James Callaghan, Modesty Napunyi, Akinobu Hiranaka, Joichiro Tatsuyoshi and Naoya Inoue.
In the 112lb Flyweight division Kazuto Ioka sits as the #1 contender, though he'll not be acting on it as he has a world title fight lined up. He has moved the rankings due to Masayuki Kuroda's (now #5) loss to Suguru Muranaka in a title fight earlier this month. Another interesting change is that Jo Tanooka's (#15) has been moved in to the rankings following his victory over Ryuto Oho.
At Super Flyweight Yohei Tobe is the new champion following his excellent victory over Taiki Eto (now #5). Eto's loss has seen him dropping behind former world champions Daiki Kameda (#1) and Koki Kameda (#2) as well as the highly talented Sho Ishida (#3) and current world title contender Teiru Kinoshita (#4).
We are still awaiting to here about Kinoshita's IBF world title fight though we expect details to emerge of that in the coming days.
At Bantamweight, as with Super Flyweight, we saw a new champion crowned as Kentaro Masuda beat Yu Kawaguchi (now #5) in a battle for the vacant title. Another change here saw former champion Kohei Oba (now #4) dropping a place following his loss to Randy Caballero. These changes have allowed former world title challengers Konosuke Tomiyama (#1) and Ryo Akaho (#2) to both move up.
In the Super Bantamweight division we've seen Hozumi Hasegawa (#3) drop from the top place following his loss in an IBF world title fight with Kiko Martinez. This leaves Yasutaka Ishimoto (#1) as the new top contender, despite his upcoming fight with Chris Avalos, and former OPBF champion Yukinori Oguni (#2) in a great place to challenger for the belt. Another interesting change is that Naoto Uebayashi (#13) has moved in to the rankings following his string of solid victories.
Yet another new champion was crowned in the Featherweight division as Satoshi Hosono won the previously vacant belt. Hosono defeated Yuki Ogata (#5) who has dropped significantly as a result of his loss. The top contenders now are Rikiya Fukuhara (#1) and Akifumi Shimoda (#2) who was last seen getting knocked out hard by Marvin Sonsona.
In the 130lbs division we've seen some small shake ups with the most notable of those being Masao Nakamura's (#5) move up 2 places whilst Masayuki Ito (#7) has moved up 4 places. The champion, Rikki Naito, will be fighting the #2 ranked contender Kyohei Tamakoshi on June 9th whilst former champion Daiki Kaneko (#1) will make his return to the ring a few days earlier.
In the Lightweight division we've seen a few changes low down the rankings but at the top everything is as it was, with Yoshitaka Kato as the champion. Kato will defend his belt later today against #1 ranked challenger Yuhei Suzuki (#1) who sits above a trio of well known names in the form of Jorge Linares (#2), Takahiro Ao (#3) and Nihito Arakawa (#4) whilst Kazuhiro Nishitani (#5) has managed to climb one place.
The Light Welterweight division as seen Keita Obara removed from the rankings following his OPBF title victory earlier in the month, this has helped future title challenger Shamgar Koichi (#2) move up two places. In the top position is former champion Shinya Iwabuchi (#1) who is currently world ranked by the WBO following his victory over Jimrex Jaca.
The major change at Welterweight has seen the emergence of Daisuke Sakamoto (#8) following his shock victory over Toshio Arikawa (#12). The loss for Arikawa has sent him tumbling down the rankings from #7, in all honesty it's a loss that tells us more about Arikawa than Sakamoto. Although the rankings haven't changed much we are aware that Suyon Takayama's next defence will come against Koshinmaru Saito (#2) in July.
Amazingly we've not seen a single change at the 154lb Light Middleweight division though we have got news that Charlie Ota (#1) will be fighting in Canada on May 24th against Jermell Charlo. A win for Ota there would likely open doors for him to fight in a world title fight, though we do admit it's a hard bout for him to win.
In the Middleweight division we've seen just a single change as Shoma Fukumoto (#8) moves into the rankings extending the Middleweight rankings from 8 to 9 as a result. With Ryota Murata (#1) fighting around the world we dare say he won't actually be looking for a Japanese or OPBF title fight before challenging for a world title.
Poor Shintaro Matsumoto (#1) is left all alone with the only ranked position here. Other than another bout with Yuzo Kiyota or a possible clash with a Middleweight Matsumoto may find himself frozen out in the cold.
Light Heavyweight and Cruiserweight
There are no ranked fighters in either the Light Heavyweight or Cruiserweight divisions
These are exactly as they were. Kyotaro Fujimoto, who fights Nobuhiro Ishida later today, is the champion whilst Takehara Kotatsu (#1) and Okello Peter (#2) are the only ranked fighters in the division.
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