October 3rd 1998-Tokyo, Japan
Kengo Nagashima (11-1-1, 8) vs Nobutoshi Hiranaka (17-3-1, 11)
In 1998 Japanese fans saw the then OPBF Super Featherweight champion Kengo Nagashima [長嶋 建吾] battle Nobutoshi Hiranaka [平仲 信敏] , the younger brother of one time world champion Akinobu Hiranaka.
June 8th 1998-Tokyo, Japan
Yamato Mitani (12-3, 9) Vs Kengo Nagashima (10-1-1, 8)
In 1998 Japanese saw the teak tough Yamato Mitani [三谷大和], a former 2-time world title challenger, fight for the final time. The bout saw Mitani face fellow Japanese fighter Kengo Nagashima [長嶋建吾] in a bout for Mitani's OPBF Super Featherweight title. Notably Nagashima would later challenge for the WBC title at Super Featherweight.
August 24th 2002-Kokugikan, Tokyo, Japan
Sirimongkol Singwancha (39-1, 22) v Kengo Nagashima (21-1-1, 12)
In 2002 Japanese fans saw Sirimongkol Singwancha [ศิริมงคล สิงห์วังชา] return to the country where he had lost an absolute thriller against Joichiro Tatsuyoshi around 5 years previous. This time Sirimongkol was fighting at 130lb and was facing off Kengo Nagashima [健吾長島] for the vacant WBC world title.
If you missed Singwancha Vs Tatsuyoshi that bout is here, and it really is an amazing fight.
This past Sunday saw Japanese fans at the Sumiyoshi Ward Center get the chance to see local hero Yuki Nonaka become a 2-time Japanese champion as he re-claimed the Japanese Light Middleweight title that he held between 2008-2009.
Nonaka, one of Japan's best "pure boxers" took on the feared Kengo Nagashima and put on a bit of a master class with sharp shots, lovely combinations, and intelligent movement, and despite not being much of a puncher he did seem to rock Nagashima several times. In fact despite losing his gum shield at one poin Nonaka fought on regardless.
The bout may not be one of the super high level contests but it does show just how good Nonaka is as a fighter and how under-rated his skills are. It's just a shame he lacks the power and youth to really make a name on the international stage, though we do expect him to challenge for the OPBF title in the next 12 months to try and re-unify a crown he first unified back in 2009.
(We would like to thank nov K for this footage)
When we talk about "domestic legends" every country has it's own. One of the Japanese domestic legends, at least one of the few active ones, is Tadashi Yuba who has won titles from Lightweight to Middleweight, becoming the first, and so far only, Japanese fighter to claim 5 divisional titles.
Prior to winning the Light Middleweight title in 2013 Yuba had a couple of bouts to help him prepare for the 154lb division. One of them saw him battled against the limited but tough and heavy handed Kengo Nagashima. On paper it was a mismatch to help Yuba get used to the weight. In reality it turned out to be a fairly tough bout for Yuba.
In the opening round Yuba dropped Nagashima who was up before 2. From then on it never really looked like Yuba's power troubled the tough Nagashima who had Yuba on the back foot continually. Unfortunately for Nagashima he lacked the skills to really make the taller, faster and more talented Yuba pay for his negativity.
Just a fight later Yuba claimed the Japanese title at 154lbs with an opening blow out against Yosuke Kirima to claim a 5th divisional title. Nagashima however recorded a pair of wins and will be in his first ever title fight on August 10th as he battles Yuki Nonaka, incidentally that bout will be for the now vacant Japanese Light Middleweight title.
(We are very sorry for the poor quality of this video though need to thank 5412380 for uploading it)
The development of Keita Obara from promising former amateur star to OPBF champion has been a really interesting one. On his debut he was thrown in too deep by being matched with Kazuyoshi Kumano, a very experienced fighter who wore down and stopped Obara. In his second bout he was put in with a limited southpaw to get a relatively easy win before being matched with Daichi Sakoda, a teak tough southpaw.
Rather than letting Obara pick up cheap and easy wins his team continued to match him hard and in his 4th bout he was put in with another very durable fighter in Kota Oguchi. Oguchi was supposed to take Obara rounds whilst being a safe opponent with little in terms of punch power, Oguchi however failed to survive the power of Obara.
Obara followed up the bout with Oguchi by fighting another durable opponent in the form of Kengo Nagashima. Unlike Oguchi however Nagashima could punch, in fact Nagashima was arguably the heaviest handed fighter on the Japanese domestic scene and had a record of 10-6-2 (9) with 2 of his losses coming very early in his career. He wasn't in the ring to take Obara rounds, he was in there take behead Obara and employed tactics similar to what Kumano did in Obara's debut.
Unfortunately for Nagashima he was fighting an improved Obara and it showed when he coped with the pressure and countered it before dropping and then stopping Nagashima in round 2.
Since this bout Obara has claimed both Oriental and Japanese titles at Light Welterweight proving his class. Nagashima however hasn't faded away either and the dangerous puncher will be getting a chance to claim the Japanese Light Middleweight title on August 10th when he battles Yuki Nonaka in a very interesting bout.
Here we include some of the best, most interesting, most exciting or most eye catching videos from around the Asian boxing world.