Earlier today Japanese fight fans in Kyoto saw the WBO Atomweight title change hands, as veteran Nao Ikeyama (18-4-3, 5) [池山直] was dethroned by the unheralded Mika Iwakawa (8-5-1, 3) [岩川美花] in a thrilling 10 round war.
The 48 year old champion, who had held the title for more than 4 years, was expected to secure her 7th defense and score her second win over Iwakawa. Instead however Iwakawa came out on top of a pulsating back and forth battle that left fans knowing the two fighters had given their all.
Iwakawa got off to a good start, taking the opening round with her work rate, in the second Ikeyama came back managing to control the distance slightly better before the fight just became an all out, tit-for-tat battle of attrition.
The difference between the two seemed to be the variation of Iwakawa, who effectively switched her stances in round 4, and gave Ikeyama a lot to think about then showed her defense a few rounds later when Ikeyama tried to take control of the action, and she did rock Iwakawa who bounced back and recovered amazingly well
With neither giving an inch the crowd were on their feet in the final round as the two fighters delivered the grandstand finale. Sadly for Ikeyama however it wasn't to be enough, with Iwakawa taking a split decision, with two cards of 96-94 in her favour whilst the dissenting judge had it 96-94 in favour of Ikeyama.
After the bout Ikeyama made it clear she would be retiring, but wanted to stay involved in the sport making it sound like she would either work at, or set up, a gym. As for the new champion she spoke about wanting to unify titles and inherit the strength of Ikeyama, who's late career surge really was impressive.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today in Okinawa fight fans saw WBO female Light Flyweight champion Tenkai Tsunami (26-12, 15) [天海 ツナミ] successfully defend her title for the first time.
The champion, who won the belt earlier this year when she stopped Chaoz Minowa, was going up against Filipino challenger Gretchen Abaniel (18-10, 6) and the size difference between the two was obvious at the weigh in.
The first round was a good one from Abanilel, who looked busy and fast whilst Tsunami walked forward looking to cut the disrance. Sadly though for the challenger her success was short lived and in round 2 Tsunami managed to cut the distance and land some damaging body shots which started to take their toll on the challenger, who slowed round by round.
After becoming less and less fluid in rounds 2 and 3 Abaniel was starting to hold her feet more and struggled to get away. In round 4 she ended up trapped against the ropes and Tsunami began to unload until the referee stepped in and saved the challenger.
Abaniel really lacked the size and strength to cope with Tsunami and it was clear that he claim of moving into a better division was wrong. For her the future must be at either 102lbs or 105lbs. For Tsunami however this was a great win and great showing for the local fans in Okinawa, where Tsunami hadn't fought in years.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today in Korea fight fans had the chance to see WBA female Super -Featherweight Hyun Mi Choi (16-0-1, 4) [최현미] record her 6th defense, as she easily out-boxed Argentinian challenger Mayra Alejandra Gomez (18-8, 4).
Choi, who boasted a 7cm reach advantage, boxed on the outside and made the most of her sharp jab and accurate straight right hands. The shots from Choi began to take their toll on the challenger as early as the third round with Gomez's face beginning to bruise and swell.
What made things even easier tor Choi was the style of Gomez, which seemed to be based on creating space, the same space that Choi could use to make the most of her natural size advantages. Whilst Gome was struggling to land, and looking really uncomfortably Choi looked happy, smiling at times in the corner and looked incredibly relaxed.
As the bout went on Choi picked up her work rate whilst Gomez became more and more apprehensive, looking to avoided trading shots. It made for a really poor challenge from the Argentinian but Choi couldn't have asked for a more straightward win as she seemed to comfortably win every round.
After the bout a sporting Gomez paraded Choi to the crowd, knowing the local had been the better fighter, before randomly climbing the corner and celebrating, likely patting herself on the back for lasting the 10 round distance.
Choi, who won a WBA female Featherweight title on debut, won't enhance her reputation with this win, but will continue her reign and will likely be asking her team to get her a more serious test for next time out. For Gomez this is her third straight loss, and sees her fall to 0-3 in world title fights.
Last night in Germany fight fan saw Japan's Tamao Ozawa (13-5, 5) [小澤瑶生] put on a stirring performance, but come up agonisingly short against German veteran Raja Amasheh (21-1-1-1, 4) in a bout for the vacant WBO female Super Flyweight title.
The details from the contest are scarce but officially the bout was scored 96-94 to Amasheh by all 3 judges, in what sounds like a very debabteable decision.
From what we understand Ozawa was aggressive through out, and took the fight to Amasheh, though with the crowd behind the local fighter it wasn't to be for the visitor, who is now 0-2 in world title bouts, having previously lost to Su Yun Hong in a Light Flyweight title fight. As for Amasheh the bout sees her secure a career defining win, though it would like her reign will e a short lived one, given she only just managed to get the win here.
Ozawa will clearly go back to the drawing board wnd will likely look for another world title fight, though the former OPBF female champion will know that she won't get many more shots following two recent losses at the top level, even though both were very close decisions on the score cards.
(Image courtesy of Futur Gym)
Earlier today Japanese fight fans at the Korakuen Hall saw WBO female Minimumweight champion Kayoko Ebata (12-7, 6) [江畑 佳代子] successfully record her first defense of the title, as she over-came Korean veteran Ji Hyun Park (22-3, 6), in a very close and competitive bout.
The Korean, who hadn't fought in well over 2 years, came to win and put the 42 year old champion under pressure almost immediately. To her credit Ebata used her feet really well as she looked to get in and out, but it was the pressure of the Korean challenger that caught the eye in the early going. The champion took the pressure from the challenger well and fought back whilst making Park look inaccurate at times. It was a good counter punching performance from Ebata, and one that seemed to impress the impress the judges, two of which gave her 3 of the first 4 rounds.
Park refused to be put on the back foot for long, and she seemed to impress the judges in the middle rounds and made things really close going into the final rounds. Ebata's experience, and relative lack of ring rust, proved to be the difference with Ebata managing to narrowly secure the win with her clean counters in the final rounds, taking a decision with scores of 95-95, 96-94 and 97-93, to take a majority decision.
Ebata admitted that after hearing the 95-95 score-card she expected to be on the losing end of the decision, but with the win she intends to return to the ring and continue her reign. As for Park, who looked very frustrated by the decision, she has called for a rematch and made no secret of the fact she feels she deserved the win.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today fight fans at the Korakuen Hall saw former Japanese amateur standout Chaoz Minowa (5-1, 4) [チャオズ箕輪] take a huge step up in class, as she took on former WBA female Super Flyweight champion Tenkai Tsunami (25-12, 14) [天海 ツナミ], and found herself floundering in a bout for the WBO female Light Flyweight title.
The novice was aggressive form the opening bell, something she has typically been since starting her professional career. The aggression was effective early on, and caught the judges' eyes in the first two rounds but as she began to slow the experience of Tsunami began to show, as she moved around the ring and picked Minowa off with good counters.
The shots of Tsunami megan to land with more damaging intentions and she would give Minowa a nasty cut over her right eye in the middle of the fight. It wasn't a fight ending cut, but it was one that Minowa never really recovered from. Instead Tsunami stepped up her work rate, landing jabs and straights at will and making Minowa look like a novice as she chased her foe around the ring, only to get tagged.
After a really 1-sided 8th round in favour of Tsunami the decision was made in Minowa's corner to pull their fighter from the contest. It was an admission of defeat, and humbling one for Minowa, who had promised much but really look out of her depth. For Tsunami the win see's her becoming a 2-weight world champion and she is now looking to further establish her career, which sh may well have saved with today's win,
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Late on Saturday fight fans in Argentina saw Japan's Terumi Nuki (9-3, 6) [ぬき てるみ] challenge IBF female Super Flyweight champion Debora Anahi Dionicius (27-0, 6), with the local easily retaining her title with a wide decision.
The Japanese fighter, fighting in her second world title bout, looked hungry and had travelled as a fighter with a lot of belief. Tha belief was shown in the way she fought, but unfortunately she lacked the skills and speed to neutralise the champion, who was too quick, too sharp and too good.
Nuki came out looking for a fight but the footwork of Dionicius was too smart and she she managed the distance brilliantly, getting in and out and letting her shots go with ease. There were moments where Nuki had some success, but those moments were few and far between with the local really just doing things at her tempo.
At the end there was no arguing about the winner, with Dionicius taking the decision 99-91, 99-91 and 98-92.
For Nuki this was her second set back in a world title fight, following a previous loss to WBC female Bantamweight champion Mariana Juarez last year. As for Dioinicus this was her 11th successful defense of the title.
(Image courtesy of Hiroki Ioka Gym)
Earlier today fight fans in Fukuoka got the chance to see Atomweight great Momo Koseki (24-2-1, 9) [小関 桃] show how great she is as she claimed her third world title, and became the WBC female Minimumweight champion, out pointing the talented Yuko Kuroki (17-5-1, 8) [黒木 優子].
The bout looked a great one on paper, with Koseki moving up in weight to take on a fighter who had been regarded as one of the best female Minimumweights on the planet. The competitiveness that we expected was seen in the early stages, with Kuroki having some good moments early on. The ability of Kuroki saw her claiming the opening round on one card, claiming the second on another and the 4th on two cards. From then however it was almost all Koseki.
The challenger had set the early pace, pressing the action and forcing the pressure. This caused Kuorki some real issues, but the champion did manage to land a number of counters and did enough to keep Koseki honest. Despite the counters the scoring was heavily favouring the aggressive Koseki with scores of 39-37 on two cards, and 38-38 on the third.
Through the middle portion of the fight Koseki really poured it on and extended her lead, to the point where she was leading 69-64, 68-65 and 67-66 after 7 rounds. By then it really was all Koseki and Kuroki was struggling to really put up much of a fight back as she was simply out worked, out fought and struggled to ever get off through the shots of Koseki.
Round 8 was a rare good one for Kuroki, who took the round on all 3 cards, but the final 2 rounds were both Koseki rounds as she easily took the decision, with scores of 98-92, 97-93 and a bizarrely close 96-94.
After the bout Koseki revealed she would be taking a break before deciding her next move, whilst Kuroki accepted that she was a fighter who was going to have to rebuild, but still has dreams of becoming a unified champion.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
In the last couple of years we've seen an increase in the profile of female boxing. The rise of fighters like Nicola Adams, Claressa Shields and Katie Taylor has helped set the tone for the next generation of female boxing. Despite their notable names, and the view that they maybe the stars of a new golden era in female boxing, it's hard to ignore some of the fighters who came before them, that includes Japan's Naoko Fujioka (17-2, 7) [藤岡 奈穂子].
Today Fujioka cemeted her place as one of the top female fighters on the planet, as she claimed a world title in a 5th weight class, adding the WBO female Light Flyweight title to a collection that already included a WBC title at Minimumweight, a WBA title at Super Flyweight, a WBO title at Bantamweight and a WBA title at Flyweight.
The Japanese boxing queen was up against unbeaten Costa Rican Yokasta Valle (13-1, 6), who had previously won the IBF Atomweight title, and despite a slow start was in charge through out.
Valle won the first round, using her youth and size to keep Fujioka from forcing the fight. The visitor looked like she could pose problems but Fujioka managed to up the pressure in the following round, and from then on it was a struggle to find rounds to give Valle, who looked game but out of her depth.
At the end of 10 rounds there was little doubting the winner, with Fujioka taking the decision with scores of 99-91, 98-92 and a surprisingly close 96-94.
At the moment it's unclear what Fujioka's future holds but bouts in the US have been mentioned, along with contests against Tenkai Tsunami (24-12, 13) [天海 ツナミ] or Chaoz Minowa (4-0, 3) [チャオズ箕輪], showing that she has a lot of options, despite now being 42 years old.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today fight fans in Korea saw WBA female Super Featherweight champion Hyun Mi Choi (15-0-1, 4) [최현미] record her 5th defense, as she narrowly over-came Mexican challenger Jessica "La Magnifica" Gonzalez (7-4-2-3, 1) with a technical majority decision, in what was a tough bout, marred by a huge fight ending head clash.
From the opening seconds it was clear that Gonzalez had travelled with the intent of taking the title home, and she immediatelytook the fight to Choi, forcing the Korean to cover up and retreat. It was an incredible work rate from he challenger that forced the champion into her shell and made it hard for Choi to to get her shots off. There were moments where the champion managed to land an eye caching counter, but for the most part it was Gonzalez who looked the early boss.
As the bout went on Gonzalez's attacks seemed to be getting read by Choi, who slowly began to have more and more moments and she seemed to get her range more as the rounds went on. Despite Choi getting more success she was never looking the boss, as Gonzalez refused to back off and continually press forward looking for an inside ward.
Mid way through round 6 the two fighters clashed heads in the center of the ring. The head clash drew an immediate scream from one fighter with Gonzalez's head instantly showing the effect of the headclash, a huge gaping wound on top of her left eye. The cut was an instant bleeder and after a prolonged inspection by the ringside doctor the bout was stopped.
Due to the cut coming from a clash of heads the bout went to the cards for a 6th round technical decision, and the cards were 59-56, 57-56 and 57-57, giving he champion a razor thin decision to retain her title, and continue to be the only Korean world champion.
(Image courtesy of Yonhapnews)