It's fair to say that the last few months have been interesting for unbeaten Kazakh Janibek Alimkhanuly (11-0, 7) [Жанибек Алимханулы], who was ordered to face WBO Middleweight champion Demetrius Andrade (31-0, 19) back in December, before Andrade decided to test the water at 168lbs. He was then ordered to face former WBO Light Middleweight champion Jaime Munguia (39-0, 31), before Munguia took a different option, leaving the WBO ordering Alimkhanuly to begin negotiations with Danny Dignum (14-0-1, 8).
Yesterday it was reported that a deal had finally been struck for the Alimkhanuly Vs Dignum fight, which is set to take place on May 21st in the US on an ESPN broadcast, being promoted by Top Rank.
The bout is set to be for the WBO "interim" Middleweight title, which is expected to be upgraded if Andrade vacates the belt later in the year. If Andrade decides to return to 160lbs, then the winner of this bout will face Andrade for the world title.
On April 9th we'll see a major Middleweight unification bout, as IBF Middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin (41-1-1, 36) [Геннадий Геннадьевич Головкин] clashes with WBA "Super" Middleweight champion Ryota Murata (16-2, 13) [村田 諒太]. Today, ahead of that clash, Golovkin arrived in Japan, landing at the Haneda Airport, from America.
The once beaten Kazakh fighter gave comments to the media after arriving in Japan, and state that he was happy, he was in good physical condition, and relieved to finally be in Japan after the issues with this bout.
The bout between the two men was originally scheduled for last December, before it was postponed due to the the emergence of the Omicron variant of Covid19. The postponement saw the bout being delayed, and delayed again, resulting in both men having something of a stop-start training camp for the bout.
As well as explaining that he was in great shape Golovkin also spoke highly of Murata, explaining:
"Murata is an Olympic gold medalist and has been a world champion twice. There must be good reason for that. He's a great fighter. I have a lot of respect for what he's done and his talent.
As he is such a player, the day of the upcoming match should be an exciting night for the fans and for him and himself. My focus is to do everything I've practiced in the camp perfectly and in perfect shape. He wants you to see what kind of match he will play with him. "
He also added "I think Murata is a very smart and strong player. I think he's done some tough and hard training, so I think he's a dangerous opponent."
Earlier today the Japan Boxing Commission (JBC) held a council meeting to announce that the commission would begin to dissolve it's self due to significant financial difficulties.
The Commission's president, Yuhei Nagata, reported that the JBC had a deficit of ¥30 million in 2020. This has coupled by the fact that the Net Assets of the JBC are below ¥3 million for a second year running, which reportedly violates rules of a General Incorporated Foundation in Japan, meaning it needs to dissolve, if it cannot raise it's net assets above the ¥3 million make within the settlement period, of a maximum 1 year.
At the meeting it was explained that a major cause of the financial situation was Covid19, which led to fewer shows, and as a result less income for the Commission.
Notably it's also been reported that the directors and council members have resigned as of today
Despite the current situation the JBC have got a year to wind up their current operations, and will not be cancelling any currently scheduled bouts in Japan. They will also look to turn things around, and will be seeking sponsorships to try and revive it's financial well being within the settlement period. They are also, potentially, going to increase the fees for things like licenses and match approvals. If they fail to turn things around financially they will wind down, with plans to revive the Commission in the future.
Sadly for the JBC this news is the latest in a number of major issues to hit it in recent years. That includes the recent ¥100 million compensation payment due to Koki Kameda, as well as the issues with the drug testing of Kazuto Ioka in 2020, and the issues that followed the first bout between Kenshiro Teraji and Masamichi Yabuki last year.
The Commission, in it's current form, has been around since 1952, has been almost unchallenged in it's control of Japanese boxing for 70 years, with the short lived IBF-Japan being the only notable threat to the JBC's monopoly in Japan. Sadly if the financial situations can't be rectified this will be a dark time for Japanese boxing, and could see the reputation the JBC has crafted for boxing in Japan, where fairness has been key, begin to fall apart.
Earlier today there was huge press conference in Japan to announce the much anticipated rematch between Japanese star Naoya Inoue (22-0, 19) [井上 尚弥] and Filipino legend Nonito Donaire (41-6, 27), in a bout to unify the WBA "Super", IBF and WBC Bantamweight titles.
The bout will take place on June 7th at the Saitama Super Arena, the same venue that hosted the first bout between the two men, back in the WBSS Bantamweight Final in 2019, a bout dubbed the "Drama in Saitama", and will see Amazon Prime Video show casing the bout in Japan, with the broadcast set to be their second world title bout in the country, following on from the April 9th clash between IBF Middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin (41-1-1, 36) [Геннадий Геннадьевич Головкин] and WBA "Super" Middleweight champion Ryota Murata (16-2, 13) [村田 諒太]. Interestingly it was reported back in January that Amazon Prime were interested in the bout, and it seems they are committed to showcasing the biggest names in Japanese boxing, though at the moment no international broadcasters have been announced. It could be that Amazon Prime will look to retain all rights and broadcast it internationally, which would be a huge statement of intent by the service to get involved in boxing, or we could see Sky Sports in the UK and ESPN in the US showing the fight.
At the press conference today Inoue was join in attendance by promoter Hideyuki Ohashi and his trainer, and father, Shingo Inoue.
At the event Inoue explained that he wasn't focused on the WBC title, a title currently held by Donaire, but instead on defeating Donaire. And also added that he's potentially going to move up in weight after this bout. Originally the hope was to secure a showdown with WBO champion Johnriel Casimero, though with Casimero needing to fulfil mandatory obligations, it now looks highly unlikely that that bout will ever take place, at least at Bantamweight.
Although wasn't at the event in person he was still there in spirit, delivering a video message as part of it and swore revenge for the result of their first bout, adding that he wanted to "Hunt the monster". He also spoke about how his speed and power have returned and that the first bout with Inoue was a big lesson, and that he had learned from that loss.
Interesting Inoue also revealed some details of his training came, which will begin in the second half of April. Among the more interesting details were the fact he named the two guys he's going to be sparring with to prepare for Donaire. One of those is Genesis Servania (34-3, 16) whilst the other will be Japanese Youth Super Bantamweight champion Ryuya Tsugawa (9-1, 5) [津川 龍也].
Earlier today news broke from Japan that Japanese Welterweight champion Keita Obara's (25-4-1, 22) [小原 佳太] has had to pull out of his April 12th bout against former champion Yuki Nagano (19-3, 15) [永野祐樹].
The hard hitting Obara has reportedly suffered an injury to his right leg during training and been forced out of the bout at short notice.
Obara's team, the Misako Gym, have apologised to fans, Nagano and Teiken Gym, for the late withdrawal.
At the moment it's unclear whether the bout will be re-arranged for when Obara recover, or whether the men will be going in different directions. One thing that is known however, is that the show will still go ahead, headlined by a mouth watering clash between former Japanese Featherweight champion Ryo Sagawa (11-2, 6) [佐川遼] and former WBA Super Bantamweight world champion Shun Kubo (15-2, 10) [久保隼].
News! We try and give you the most interesting news stories from the Asian boxing world!