It's nice to see how wide ranging the Japanese scene is, and whilst much of the focus is on fighters from Tokyo, Kanagawa or Osaka there are other places that are providing great talent at the moment, and the Chubu region is one of those with a great crop of youngsters coming through at once. Of course that charge is lead by Kosei Tanaka but below him are fighters like Kento Hatanaka and, the man we want to talk about here, Koshin Takeshima (2-0, 2) [竹嶋宏心], who is a Featherweight fighting out of the historic Matsuda gym in Nagoya.
The Matsuda gym isn't a hugely well known one in the west, and it would be easy to walk past it on the street without know it's historic place in Japanese boxing, but it has developed two world champions, Kiyoshi Hatanaka and Yasuei Yakushiji, several domestic and regional champions and 7 All Japan Rookie of the Year winners. It's a traditional gym, set up in 1943, and is now the basis for several very talented young fighters. Including Takeshima.
Takeshima was a standout amateur. In the unpaid ranks he went 82-19 and placed in the top 3 of numerous notable national competitions, whilst also captaining his University team. He didn't managed to make a mark internationally, but with over 100 amateur bouts in Japan he was certainly an experience and accomplished fighter before deciding to turn professional.
Having decided to turn professional in 2018 Takeshima would make his debut as the Aioi Hall in Kariya when he took on Indonesian fighter Yohanis Tatul. The bout, which is available on Boxing Raise, saw Takeshima look crisp, sharp and a natural in the ring. He looked razor sharp from the opening bell, with lighting quick combinations, a laser guided southpaw left hand and not only had the punches in his arsenal but also the footwork, getting in and out of range with ease. Tatul was an awful opponent though he was good enough to allow Takeshima to show a bit of everything, from body punching to counter punching before Takeshima secured a 3rd round TKO.
Takeshima's second bout came in September, when he was on the under-card for Kosei Tanaka's bout with Sho Kimura. He was again up against an over-matched Indonesian foe, this time Kiki Marciano, who was stopped in the 2nd round of the bout. Sadly footage of this isn't available, though we have been informed that Marciano was put down hard from a solid body shot that left him in agony. The bout was nostly a show case for Takeshima's body shots, and even prior to the knockout he had dropped Marciano with body shots.
Takeshima's next bout is pencilled in for March 16th, as part of the Kosei Tanaka Vs Ryoichi Taguchi card, and will see him take on Chinese visitor Jian Wang (7-1-1, 2). Wang isn't an amazing fighter, but he does have a good work rate, he's tough and he's a very clear step up for Takeshima. Wang was involved in a 10 round thriller with Seong Yeong Yang back in January and we're really looking forward to seeing how Takeshima deals with Wang in an 8 round contest.
If Takeshima, as expected, defeats Wang it's almost certain that he will be Japanese and OPBF rankings by the end of the year, with a potential title fight in 2020 or 2021.
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