Back in May we saw Masayuki Ito (25-2-1, 13) [伊藤 雅雪] lose the WBO Super Featherweight title to American challenger Jamel Herring (20-2, 10), in what was Ito's second attempted defense of the belt.
Sadly for Ito the losses ended his reign in a fashion that really was disappointing, with even the fighter himself admitting that he he was sorry for the fans and wasn't good at fighting southpaws, like Herring.
Now, according to Nikkan Sports, Ito is considering a move up to Lightweight in the future, in the hope of becoming a 2-weight world champion.
It does seem like Ito isn't killing himself to make Super Featherweight, being open to continuing his career at the weight, but the Nikkan Times have got him quoted as stating he would also like to Fight at 135lbs if there's a chance, suggesting he would move up for a world title fight.
Although Ito's performance against Herring was disappointing, it's clear that the loss could be a major point in his career and help him to really change how he fights against southpaws. He struggled to cut the distance, failed to make the most of his jab and lacked variety in his output. The loss could, and really should, help him become a better fighter.
At the moment his return to the ring is unknown, but we're really looking forward to more from Ito, and seeing him begin his next charge towards a potential world title.
Boxing is full of weird stories, and we get a weird bout announced almost monthly now a days.
The latest of those was announced today, and will see little known Indian fighter Neeraj Goyat (11-3-2, 2) take on British-Pakistani fighter Amir Khan (33-5, 20), in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
The bout came a little bit out of the blue, though is a major bout, and the latest sporting chapter in the often intense India Vs Pakistan sporting rivalry, that has been dominated by cricket.
Khan is the much, much, much more well known fighter. He is a 2000 Olympic silver medal winner, a multi-time world champion a fighter who has faced a who's who, including Terence Crawford, Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, Zab Judah, Devon Alexander, Danny Garcia, Marcos Maidana and Marco Antonio Barrera. At his best he a fantastic fighter, though he was dominated last time out by Terence Crawford, back in March and is 2-2 in his last 4. At 32 years old he is seen as a fighter very much on the slide.
Goyat on the other hand is one of the more notable professional fighters from India, with experience of fighting in China, Thailand, India, Korea, Mexico and Canada. Although of of the biggest names in Indian boxing he hasn't managed to really become a star, and is well behind the popularity of Vijender Singh, Vikas Krishan and amateurs stars like Amit Panghal. At the age of 27 however there is time for him to break out, and a win over Khan would seriously put him on the map.
Interestingly this bout is slated to be for the WBC Pearl title, a belt that appears to have been made just so the WBC can claim another sanctioning fee in a bout worth millions, in fact Khan is said to be getting around £7,000,000 for the bout. The bout will take place at the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah, will explain the huge purse for Khan, for taking on such an unknown foe,
Earlier today it was revealed that unbeaten Kazakh Kanat Islam (25-0, 20) [Ислам Канат] would be moving up in weight for his long awaited ring return on July 5th.
The full details of Islam's bout, his first since September 2017, haven't been announced yet but we have started to get more and more details in the last few days.
The details that have emerged so far are not only that it will be on July 5th, and that it will be a Middleweight bout, in Almaty, but also that it will be for a minor WBO title. The opponent hasn't been confirmed, but Islam is said to be targeting a top 10 WBO ranked Middleweight. Looking at the current rankings that could mean a bout with someone like Steven Butler (27-1-1, 23), Alantez Fox (25-1-1, 12), Luke Keeler (16-2-1, 5) or Patrice Volny (14-0, 9), all of whom would make for very tough opponents for Islam on his return after such a long break from the ring.
(Image courteys of Boxer's team)
Tomorrow fight fans at Korakuen Hall will see Japanese Flyweight champion Junto Nakatani (18-0, 13) [中谷 潤人] battle against Filipino foe Philip Luis Cuerdo (11-6-1, 4), who is a late replacement for the injured Wolf Nakano who was supposed to battle for Nakatani's title in what would have been Nakatani's first defense.
Due to Nakano's injury what was originally planned as a Japanese Flyweight title defense became a non-title fight at Super Flyweight, and today both Nakatani an Cuerdo took part in their weigh in for the bout.
On the scales Nakatani was 114.4lbs for the bout, and he looked in good shape. He looked comfortable, though was clearly not boiling down as much as usual for the bout, weighing in almost 2.5lbs heavier than usual. Cuerdo, the much shorter man, came in at the same weight as Nakatani, but looked much, much smaller than the Japanese fighter.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Back in December former Japanese Super Flyweight champion Yohei Tobe (13-3-1, 9) [戸部洋平] announced that he had retired form professional boxing, citing issues with his eyes. Today he returned to the ring, for a special retirement ceremony at Korakuen Hall.
The well liked Tobe was brought a bouquet of flows by former Misako gym stable mate Keita Obara before the head of the Misako gym spoke about Tobe. The comments given towards Tobe, who had once looked like a star in the making, were clearly from the heart.
Tobe himself took the microphone and spoke to the fans, , revealing that he remembers his debut bout like it was yesterday and that his Japanese title win, with fans cheering, is something he will treasure for a life time. He also went on to reveal he is planning to remain in sport, and contribute to the local community in a sporting position, allowing youngsters to feed from his experience as a fighter.
The ceremony was ended with a 10 bell salute.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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