Boxing in Kyoto hasn't been particularly big in recent years. It's a shame but the country really hasn't developed a genuine scene of it's own. That however will forgotten this coming Wednesday when Kyoto based fans get a genuinely brilliant show featuring two local champions who are both hoping to retain their titles and continue their development
In the main event we'll see the fast rising Shohei Omori (14-0, 9) defending his Japanese Bantamweight title for the first time. Omori, who destroyed Kentaro Musada earlier this year, will be putting his belt, unbeaten record, and world ranking on the line as he faces former 2-time world title challenger Hirofumi Mukai (11-3-2, 1). On paper this looks like an easy win for Omori, and if he's as good as we suspect, then he'll impress, however Mukai has faced more established fighters than Omori and this could prove to be a tricky first defense for the man dubbed “Yamanaka II”. If Omori does win, as expected, there is serious talk that he could be fighting for a world in the next 12 months.
Another title fight on this card will see Japanese Lightweight champion Kota Tokunaga (15-2, 10) defending his title against fellow puncher Yuhei Suzuki (16-4, 12). For Tokunaga this is a genuinely difficult first defense against a heavy handed fighter. For Suzuki this is his third shot at the title, after coming up short against Yoshitaka Kato, twice. This one could be very explosive and with both men having stoppages again them it could turn in to a shoot out!
In the chief supporting bout Shun Kosaka (9-2) will face win-less Thai Petchmai Sor Praithong (0-4) in a 8 round bout. Kosaka, who has lost his last 2, will be hoping to score his first win since November 2014. Although not a great fighter Kosaka did show promise last year and should pick up a win here.
In another supporting bout Japan's Tamao Ozawa (8-2, 2), the OPBF female Super Flyweight champion, will battle Filipino visitor Carleans Rivas (4-2-3). This 6 round bout will be a non-title contest though it does seem possible that Ozawa will be moved into a world title bout if she puts in an impressive performance here.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
For a second day running Japanese fans get the chance to see a trio of domestically ranked fighter in action. This time around however we feel the over-all show is better with 4 noteworthy bouts on a show that actually only features 6 bouts in total.
The first of the bouts of note sees Bantamweight hopeful Ryotaro Kawabata (10-2-1, 4) battle against Ryuta Wakamatsu (10-11, 7). On paper this does look like a bit of a mismatch however we're really unsure on how good Kawabata is and his best win to date hasn't come at a very notable level. In all honesty Kawabata's most notable bout was his 4th as he was clearly out pointed by the then 2-0 Shohei Omori, and we now know how good Omori is. As for Wakamatsu he has solid enough power to hurt fighters like Kawabata but unfortunately he has 7 stoppage losses against his name and seemingly can't take it as well as he hands it out. On paper a mismatch in reality however this could be a great test for Kawabata.
The second of the notable bouts is the first to feature a ranked contender as Japanese ranked 140lb fighter Shohei Okuda (11-1, 4) attempts to bounce back form a 3rd round TKO loss to Ryusei Yoshida. Up against Okuda here will be the experienced Kosuke Iwashita (14-17-2, 8). Although experienced Iwashita has won just once in his last 8 bouts, and that win came against a very poor Thai import. This should be easy for Okuda though we of course need to see how he bounces back from his first loss.
One the most recognisable fighters on this card is ranked Light Flyweight Tetsuya Hisada (21-8-2, 11) who looks to put back-to-back draws behind him as he battles the light punching Kenta Sugimoto (8-7-1, 1), who incidentally comes into this bout with a 2-fight winning streak. We have to favour Yamada though again this bout could tell us a lot about his psyche given his poor form recently.
In the main event fans will get the chance to see former Japanese Lightweight title challenger Yuhei Suzuki (15-4, 11) battle against Junki Oura (6-5, 2) in what should be a mismatch. Suzuki, who is stilled ranked in the top 10 at Lightweight by the JBC, will be seeking his second win since being stopped by Yoshitaka Kato last April. For Oura this bout will see him trying to secure a 3rd straight win, however a win here would be the best result of his career, by far.
As well as the 4 bouts there will also be a public sparring session between former Japanese Bantamweight champion Kohei Oba, who will be taking part in his retirement ceremony, and former 2-weight world champion Hozumi Hasegawa, who will be in the ring in public for the first time since he was stopped by Kiko Martinez last year.
Notably this show will also feature music from Korean pop group LPG who look set to do a live performance at the show.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
April 30th-Ishida makes Heavyweight debut against Fujimoto whilst Kato defends Lightweight title against suzuki
T end April we get a show that appears to have gotten more attention outside of Japan than inside of Japan despite being in Tokyo, featuring a Japanese title fight and featuring one of the most interesting domestic bouts we've seen in a long, long time.
"Kamikaze 3", as the show is known, has managed to interest our readers, especially ones from the US. It has managed to have fans showing a real interest in a bout that appeared, just 6 months ago, as unlikely as seeing Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao square off, though it's now upon.
That bout in question is a Japanese Heavyweight bout between former Light Middleweight Nobuhiro Ishida (25-9-2, 10) and Japanese Heavyweight champion Kyotaro Fujimoto (8-1, 5). The interest from the US is clear and it's pretty easy to explain, the fans want to see the guy that stopped James Kirkland.
Unfortunately for Ishida the shock upset over Kirkland, a Ring magazine Upset of the Year, has made Ishida more well known in the US than Japan, ironically meaning that whilst he does have fans at home his US popularity seems to be more significant than his domestic popularity. Unfortunately this means the fight won't be televised live, though we hope it will shown on tape delay over the coming days.
Oddly despite being the main event the Ishida/Fujimoto bout is only scheduled for 8 rounds and features no title, though it's a bout with significant interest from ourselves.
Of course whilst the Heavyweight bout is the big attention grabber it's not the only bout on the show, far from it in fact. As well as the Heavyweight we also have a brilliant Japanese Lightweight clash between defending champion Yoshitaka Kato (26-5-1, 7) and the big punching Yuhei Suzuki (14-3, 11). For Suzuki this is a chance to avenge his most recent loss, for Kato it's a chance to get back to winning ways after losing his OPBF title to Masayoshi Nakatani last time out.
There are two other bouts of note on this card. One of those sees the once touted Kenji Kubo (3-2-1, 1) taking on Atsushi Hosogai (6-7) whilst the other will see Japanese ranked Yusuke Sakashita (11-4-2, 7) battle against Hideyuki Watanabe (7-5-2, 5).
(Image courtesy of http://www.kadoebi.com/)