Earlir this year Japanese Welterweight champion Toshio Arikawa (14-4, 12) [有川 稔男] suffered a nasty injury in training, forcing him to cancel a title defense against Daisuke Sakamoto (14-8-3, 8) [坂本 大輔]. The result of Arikawa's injury was that Sakamoto was made to face off with domestic foe Makoto Kawasaki (9-5-1, 2) [川崎真琴] in a bout for the intereim Japanese Welterweight crown.
That bout took place today and was a genuinely thrilling contest with both men giving their all in a bout that showed what hunger means, especially when both men are starving.
From the off Sakamoto looked like the aggressive fighter, and certainly did his best to force the pace of the bout. That did leave Kawasaki with some counter opportunities, but in the end Sakamoto's all out aggression and relentless work rate was simply too much for the light hitting Kawasaki, who never really hurt Sakamoto. Although cut, from a headclash early on, Sakamoto seemed to refuse to back from his foe.
After 5 rounds two of the judges had Sakamoto up, 49-46, whilst the other had Kawasaki leading 48-47. In the second half of the fight Kawasaki really struggled to have any success with Sakamoto doing enough to take a clear decision win, with scores of97-93, twice, and 97-94, and move towards a showdown with Arikawa, in what will be a Japanese title unfiication bout likely taking place later this year.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today Japanese fight fans at the Korakuen Hlal saw former Japanese Light Welterweight champion Hiroki Okada (16-0, 11) [岡田 博喜] extend his unbeaten record, as he put on an excellent performance against dangerous Filipino Jheritz Chavez (7-2-2, 5) en route to taking a wide decision.
The talented Okada has been less than impressive in recent bouts but looked in control throughout this bout, using his skills to rack up the points against a strong and awkward Okada.
Okada's skills were the key, but he was kept on his toys and everytime he made a mistake Chavez managed to land telling hooks, with both hands. Those shots left Okada's face looking swollen and cut after the 10 round contest, but the damage never looked like stopping the local favourite, with Okada taking the decision with scores of 100-90, 100-91 and 99-93.
Despite the win Okada will have to take some notable time out of the ring whilst a nasty cut on his right eye heals. That's likely to slow his move to Oriental, WBO Asia Pacific and potentially world title fights, but today's contest was certainly a better showing than his other recent ones, and it looks like he needs a test before he fights to the best of his ability.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today Japanese fans at the Korakuen Hall saw former Japanese Lightweight Shuhei Tsuchiya (23-5, 18) [土屋 修平] struggle to take a victory over the game, but feather fisted, Shota Suito (11-7-1, 1) [水藤 翔太].
The bout was expected to be a fun fight and lived up to those expectations with Tsuhciya looking to make the most of his power and Suito trying to force the fight to be fight at close range, neutralising the power of the the former champion. Not only did the tactics of Suito make life really tricky for Tushciya but they also saw him claim a number of rounds as he pushed Tsuhciya all the way in a wonderfully competitive contest.
In the end the power of Tsuchiya was just enough to impress the judges, with the scores reading 77-76, 77-75 and 78-74 in favour of the former champion, though some fans did feel he had been lucky and got the win, at least slightly, on reputation rather than merit.
Following the win Tsuhciya, who looked unhappy at his performance, announced that he was retiring from boxing, and seemed to feel disappointed that he let the fans down, and wasn't able to perform as he had in the past.
Although it's unclear if this was a "heat of the moment" retirement or an actual, "done and dusted" retirement, it's clear that the exciting Tsuchiya is unhappy with his performance. We'd love to see him back in action, but if he is retiring for good, we want to say thank you for so many exciting fights during his career. It really is domo arigato from us.
Whilst the post fight stories were all about Tsuchiya it does need to be said that Suito fought out of his skin and deserves to get another notable bout on the back of this performance.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
It's been a while since we last mentioned former Japanese boxer Iwao Hakamada (16-11-2, 1) but he's come to the attention of Japanese boxing circles again today with the JPBA releasing a video in support of the former Death Row in-mate, who still has a retrial hanging over his head.
The "Japanese Rubin Carter", as he has been referred to in some Western media, is expected to be retried for the murder of 4 people, more than 50 years ago. That's despite incredibly flimsy evidence which actually forced Mr Hakamada to spend much of his life behind bars, before being released on a few years ago.
Mr Hakamada, who holds the world record for longest time spent on death row, has long had the support of Japanese boxing, who helped him get his original conviction quashed, and they continue to push for him to be totally exonerated of all crimes. That was seen in the video they JPBA released, which features a number of notable faces from the world of Japanese boxing.
Whilst we understand fight fans around the world not being fully aware of the story of Hakamada it is regarded as being a giant human rights violation, and has seen Amnesty International run a massive campaign to get Hakamada his freedom. And they have done a number of really good pieces on the whole story, which are well worth a read for those wanting to understand why Hakamada's story is such a big one for boxing, and for justing.
For those interesting the recent video we have featured it below.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp, video courtesy of the JPBA)
Tomorrow Japanese fight fans at the Korakuen Hall will get the chance to see Kenichi Ogawa (21-1, 16) [尾川 堅一] defending his Japanese Super Featherweight title against the highly experienced Hirotsugu Yamamoto (20-13-3, 4) [山元 浩嗣]. The bout, which will be aired on delay in Japan on G+, will see Ogawa seek his 5th defense of the title and potentially take a huge step towards securing a long awaited world title bout.
Today Ogawa and Yamamoto weighed in for their contest and both made weight, coming in at the limit of 130lbs.
The challenger is regarded as a major under-dog but sounded like a truly hungry and determined fighter at the weigh in, talking about how he has really committed his life to boxing in recent times and has been working incredibly hard to prepare for this bout in the Philippines. He knows this could be his only shot at a Japanese title and it's clear that he hasn't come to just roll over for Ogawa.
As for Ogawa he seems to be aware that his recent performances haven't been as good as people had been expecting, but he knows he's on the verge of a world title bout and really needs to put it together to make Teiken really push for him to get a shot at one of the world champions.
Related-Ogawa defends crown against veteran Yamamoto!
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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