Earlier today Japanese fans in Osaka had the chance to see Rookie of the West finals for 2016, with the winners set to return in December in the All Japan Rookie of the year Finals.
At Minimumweight we saw the unbeaten 18 year old Daiki Tomita (7-0, 1) [冨田 大樹] extend his perfect start with a 4 round shut out win over fellow teenager Nagare Mizutani (2-2) [水谷 流]. Mizutani tried but was unable to match the skills of Tomita who looks like a really promising youngster with a lot of promise, even if he does lack that physical strength and power that he'll need when he moves into title level.
The Light Flyweight bout saw Akihiro Toya (5-2, 1) [戸谷 彰宏] score his first stoppage win, as he forced a 4th round TKO win over Kenta Sakata (5-3-1) [坂田 健太]. Toya forced the stoppage at the very end of round, in a bout scheduled for 5 rounds. Despite the win we don't see Toya having huge potential if we're being honestly.
At Flyweight fans saw the heavy handed Masamichi Yabuki (3-0, 3) [矢吹 政道] take just 64 seconds to defeat Ryosuke Nasu (6-2-2, 1) [那須 亮祐]. Nasu was down twice in around a minute with his corner throwing in the towel to save him. Amazingly this was Yabuki's third straigth opening round stoppage win and the youngster has fought less than 6 minutes as a professional since his debut less than 8 months ago.
At Super Flyweight Kota Fujimoto (6-0, 2) [藤本 耕太] extended his unbeaten record with a 2nd round TKO win over the previously unbeaten Katsuya Murakami (4-1-1, 1) [村上 勝也] who was saved by the referee in the second round. Fujimoto, aged 18, looks like a youngster with promise, and go on to big things, but shouldn't be rushed if he does go on to win the Rookie of the Year next month.
In an ultra-competitive bout at Bantamweight we saw Hibiki Jogo (4-0, 3) [城後 響] take a split decision win over fellow puncher Yuto Nakamura (6-3, 5) [中村 祐斗]. On paper this was the bout that stood out as being something special and it lived up to the expectation with the Ioka man just doing enough to maintain his unbeaten record. Given the depth at Bantamweight in Japan we may not see either of these two become stars in the future, but they should be in some intriguing domestic bouts in the years to come.
At Super BantamweightAnother bout that stood out on paper was the Super Bantamweight bout that saw Bunta Okamoto (5-0, 2) [岡本 文太] take a competitive and well fought decision win over Ruito Saeki (4-1) [佐伯 瑠壱斗]. Essentially a knockdown in round 3 separated the two men, though it's clear that both have potential to make a mark on the domestic scene in the future.
In a minor surprise Tsuyoshi Sawai (2-1-1, 2) [澤井 剛志] scored a 4th round stoppage over Yudai Imada (5-2-2, 3) [今田 雄大] to progress as the West Japan representative at the All Japan final, where he will almost certainly be the under-dog.
One of the most competitive bouts was at Super Featherweight, where the unbeaten Ryuji Ueda (7-0, 1) [上田 隆司] took a very competitive split decision win over Eiichiro Ninomiya (4-2-2, 2) [二宮 栄一朗]. The competitive nature of this bout will do Ueda a lot of good going forward and he should feel great to have gotten through such a good test.
At Lightweight punchers collided and saw Sean Oda (4-0, 4) [小田 翔夢] keep his run going as he scored an opening round win over Yoshiki Takahashi (1-1, 1) [高橋 良季], who was stopped after being cut and dropped.
The Light Welterweight representative will be unbeaten 19 year old Ukyo Yoshigai (4-0, 3) [嶋川 雄哉] who maintained his unbeaten record with a 4 round decision win against Yuya Shimakawa (3-3, 1) [吉開 右京].
At Welterweight we saw a genuine shock as Naritsugu Nishihara (2-1-1) [西原 成紀] took a unanimous decision win over the previously unbeaten Change Hamashima (8-1-2, 2) [チェンジ濱島]. Nishihara set off aggressively and refused to back off with his aggression and output being enough to get the judges on side.
At Middleweight we had an ultra-competitive bout that ended with a split decision win for Akihiro Asahara (5-3-2, 1) [浅原 亮弘] who narrowly saw off Daisuke Nishimura (1-1, 1) [西村 大助] in bout that probably came a little too early for Nishimura.
The winners form these bouts will face the Eastern Japanese representatives on December 23rd at the Korakuen Hall, with those Eastern representatives being decided on November 13th.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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