Some wins are more fulfilling than others and it's fair to say that WBO Atomweight champion Nao Ikeyama (18-3-2, 5) [池山 直] will have been unfulfilled by her most recent win, a win that saw her scoring a 5th round TKO victory over former WBA champion Ayaka Miyao (21-7-1, 5) [宮尾 綾香], and despite it being the best win of Ikeyama's career it will also be one that will leave her the most empty.
The bout, which promised so much given the action styles of both women, was seen as a real treat for both fans at the Korakuen Hall and fans who use subscription service Boxingraise. It was the chief-support bout for Dangan Ladies 3 and was one of two world title bouts that were set to help ignite the Atomweight division. Instead it left fans feeling under-whelmed, and despite getting 4 rounds of action it wans't the bout that many had hoped for.
The bout started well with both fighters showing their skills and aggression early on, Miyao tried to her jab whilst the 47 year old Ikeyama managed to work her way in and out. In the second round Miyao seemed to begin taking over, getting her engine going and giving the champion some real worries. It was clear that Miyao had the ability to really let loose with her high work rate and could give Ikeyama, a more aggressive fighter, some real problems.
Rounds 3 and 4 were nip and took affairs with neither fighter really getting the best of it, though Miyao did seem to land a really notable shot towards the end of round 4 which looked like it could have sewed the seeds for a future break through. Sadly for Miyao the break through never came and instead it seemed that Ikeyama was fired up, taking the fight to Miyao hard in round 5.
In round 6 Miyao hit the canvas, with her right knee looking like it was the cause of her falling. The brave challenger recovered to her fight but was in incredible pain and a follow up by Ikeyama sent the challenger down to the canvas again, this time forcing the end.
Some have suggested that Miyao's injury could be a very serious ligament issue, and could potentially threaten her career, with the fighter being stretchered out of the ring and looking in pure agony.
For Ikeyama the win was a huge one on paper though one that she won't have felt too pleased by, and her face as her arm was raised seemed to be one of discontent rather than jubilation, showing the concern to her fighting sister.
(Image courtesy of boxnob.jp)
Many boxing fans tend to ignore two things. Female boxing, and boxing at the lower weights. Despite that Japanese fans on Thursday got a genuinely brilliant treat as females fighters at 102lbs, the Atomweight limit, fought in a thrilling contest to unify the WBC and WBA titles. The bout, the first unification bout in the divisions history, turned out to be probably the best fight the division has ever seen and a fight that really did sum up everything great about our fantastic sport.
From the first round to the last we saw high level competition as long reigning WBC queen Momo Koseki (21-2-1, 7) took on the fearless Ayaka Miyao (20-6-1, 4), who unfortunately lost her WBA belt despite the performance o a life time.
The fight started fast, neither had great power but they had the fire and will to win that drove them immediately to action. The pace was intense and hectic and although neither was hurt Miyao did score a knockdown in the openign round, albeit one that appeared to be a slip. The knaockdown encouraged the fighters to really go for it and in round 2 Koseki began to bleed from her nose. It was the perfect start for Miyao.
In round 3 it Koseki who began to have the momentum swing her way and by the end of round 5, when the scores were publicly announced, the early knockdown had been cancelled out with the two women being all level at 47-47, on all 3 cards.
Unfortunately for Miyao that was as good as it got as an aggressive Koseki brought the pressure and forced Miyao on to the retreat, where she was less effective than she had been earlier on. Whilst Miyao did have her successes they were out numbered by those of Koseki who did enough in the second half to secure a clear, but very hard fought, win.
The win, which saw the judges turning in cards of 96-96, twice and 95-94, was one of the toughest of Koseki's career and saw both fighters coming away with real credit and if a rematch occurred in early 2016, after a good rest for both fighters, we'd certainly not complain.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Earlier today Ohashi gym fighter Ayaka Miyao (19-5-1, 4) successfully retained her WBA Atomweight title with 10th round stoppage of compatriot Satomi Nishimura (7-2, 1). This was Miyao's 5th defense of the title and, rather shockingly, her 3rd successive stoppage following previous victories over both Buangern Onesongchaigym, in a title defense, and Yokfah Mor Krungthepthonburi in a stay busy fight.
Miyao, a hard working though relatively light puncher, was fighting in Nagano for the first time in more than 9 years and although she clearly felt the pressure of fighting "back home", as it were, she was still her usual busy and hard working self as she over-came a determined but much more limited challenger though it did seem, at times, like the pressure got to her slightly in the early rounds.
By the middle of the fight Miyao had found her rhythm and was in full flow attacking a quickly tiring Nishimura like a swarm of bees intent on destroying the target. For Nishmura this meant hell.
Miyao success grew and grew and in the final rounds and in round 10 she went for the kill eventually taking out the game Nishimura who was dropped in the dying seconds of the bout and unable to continue as the referee counted 10, although she had showed great heart to get to her feet before the count was over.
This win for Miyao continues her her reign as a world champion though she certainly struggled in this one. For Nishimura the loss will be a hard one, especially given that she was stopped just 2 seconds before the final bell, but she can take a lot from this bout given that she pushed Miyao so close in an outstanding effort from the challenger.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Whilst the dominant Momo Koseki recorded the 13th defense of her WBC Atomweight title her compatriot, and WBA Atomweight champion, Ayaka Miyao (17-5-1, 2) was also in fine form.
Miyao, defending her title for the 4th time, faced Buangern Onesongchaigym (10-5-1, 1) and looked in control from the opening bell as the the Challenger failed to keep up with anything she did.
Miyao, known for her impressive output, took control of the bout early with her speed and combinations putting Buangern on the back foot. Although the shots didn't have thunderous power in them they were coming from all angles with Miyao showing amazing movement as well as great work rate. The shots were simply too much for Buangern to cope with and the Thai was really unable to land much on the Japanese fighter.
The skills of the champion was making the bout look thoroughly one sided and the challenger was looking completely helpless against the skills of Miyao. The only thing saving Buangern from serious harm was the fact Miyao doesn't have thunderous power in her hands.
Despite the lack of power from the champion the shots were simply too frequent and too clean with every shot landing on the challenger. The accumulative effect of the shots were breaking down the challenger who was clearly out of her depth.
The shots were taking their toll and in round 5 Buangern went down. She was a beaten fighter and although her heart wanted to continue she was unable to beat the count, probably a good thing in all honesty as Buangern was seriously taking a shellacking.
Rather interestingly this was Miyao's first stoppage in 7 bouts and just the second in her career. Whilst we wouldn't suggest that Miyao is developing serious power she did seem to have genuine snap on her shots and they were hurting Buangern from the early stages. Whilst we know that Buangern isn't the toughest fighter and was stopped by Su-Yun Hong we didn't expect Miyao to stop her.
This impressive performance from the WBA champion will lead to fans calling for the much wanted Miyao/Koseki unification bout. Sadly we believe that fight isn't on the agenda of either fighter, a real shame considering that it looks a natural match up from where we are sat.
(Picture courtesy of http://boxingnews.jp/)
The Atomweight division may be boxing's smallest professional division but what the fighters lack in stature they make up form in action. We saw that earlier today as WBA champion Ayaka Miyao (16-5-1, 1) successfully retained her title and made the third defense of her title.
Fighting against Filipino challenger Gretchen Abaniel (13-5, 4) the champion was given an incredibly tough nights work. The fight started in a very close manner with Abaniel counter punching well and more than holding her own as Miyao's reign was put under real threat by the Filipino.
Fortunately for Miyao her engine and work rate came to her savior in the second half of the fight as a tiring Abaniel was battled backwards and no longer able to time Miyao or fight back as she had done early on.
Although brave and refusing to be stopped Abaniel did look like the loser after the final bell. The judges had it close with scores of 97-93 (twice) and 96-94 which reflected the closeness of the contest though the judges did, thankfully, get it right.
We're now hoping the promoters get together and make the only Atomweight contest fans really want. Miyao against Momo Koseki in a WBA/WBC unification bout, it's a bout that makes too much sense to let it go by and it's a bout for supreme domination of the 102lb division. Come on folks, lets have this fight in 2014!
Note-This bout headlined the "47th Phoenix Battle".