Earlier today Korakeun Hall played host to the latest Ohashi Promoted event, which featured a number of notable bouts, including two title bouts, the debut of a former amateur stand out and the latest bout of a highly touted young prospect.
The first of the notable bouts on the show saw talented former amateur standout Taiga Imanaga (1-0, 1) [今永 虎雅] make a successful debut, as he stopped Takahiro Hamazaki (4-9-3, 1) [浜崎 隆広] in 2 rounds. Imanaga, who won 10 amateur titles before making his debut, looked razor sharp in the opening round, setting a good pace in the opening round, before increasing the pressure in round 2 and scoring 2 knockdowns before Hamazaki's saved their man. It's early days for Imanaga, but on the back of this performance he is a special talent, who can go a very, very long way.
After the expected win from Imanaga we then got a notable upset as 36 year old Hisashi Kato (11-10-2, 7) [加藤 寿] scored a shock 2nd round TKO win over Rikuto Adachi (16-4, 12) [安達 陸虎]. Coming in Adachi was ranked #6 by the JB, but that ranking looked very over inflated early in round 2, when he was dropped from a straight left hand. He recovered to his feet, by was down again just moments later as with the bout being stopped. Notably this win will earn Kato a Japanese ranking, and allow him to continue his career past the typical Japanese retirement age of 37, with the win essentially saving his career.
After back to back blow outs there was hope we would see a bout go some rounds. No one 22 year old Keisuke Matsumoto (5-0, 5) [松本 圭佑], who took just 42 seconds to blast out Thai visitor Nakharin Hangyu (4-2, 2). The Thai was put in to the corner early in the round, and took a beating there until the referee finally stepped in and waved off the bout.
The first of the show's two title bouts saw Yasuhiro Kanzaki (8-2-1, 2) [神崎靖浩] scores his biggest win to date, as he took an 8 round decision over Yoshiki Minato (10-6, 5)[湊義生] to claim the Japanese Youth Super Flyweight title. The bout saw Minato start aggressively and try to pressure Kanzaki, who fought well as a counter puncher, putting together some really nice shots through the guard of Minato. Minato seemed to become more determined to press after that, but continued to be countered by the cleaner, more accurate and sharp shots of Kanzaki, who seemed the smarter more polished fighter through the bout. After 8 rounds we went to the scorecards, which were 78-74, 78-74 and 77-75 to Kanzaki, who claims his first professional title.
The main event saw former 3 weight world champion Kosei Tanaka (17-1, 10) [田中恒成] score an impressive win and claim the WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight title, as he stopped Masayoshi Hashizume (19-1-2, 11) [橋詰 将義] in 5 rounds. Hashizume has some success early on, whilst Tanaka looked to get a read on what was in front of him. After 2 rounds it seemed that Tanaka fully understood what he was up against, and in round 3 he began to press forward more, letting his lands go late in the round. The offensive work of Tanaka grew in round 4, as he intelligently pressed and pressured Hashizume, landing good body shots through the round. It was clear Tanaka was in control and Hashizume was levels below Tanaka, and in round started to really put it on his man, cutting him around the right eye, with a hard straight left hand, before pinning him on the ropes and unloading until the referee stepped in and waved off the bout.
After the contest Tanaka revealed that he is looking to target bouts for either the WBO or the IBF Super Flyweight titles, though his promoter admitted that such a bout might not happen until next year.
Just a few short weeks ago we saw Japanese sensation Naoya Inoue (23-0, 20) [井上 尚弥] unify the WBA "Super", IBF, WBC and Ring Magazine Bantamweight titles as he stopped Nonito Donaire (41-7, 27) in 2 rounds. Since then talk of his future has focused on facing WBO champion Paul Butler (34-2, 15) to unify all of the Bantamweight world titles.
Today Inoue took part in a public work out, and an event with the Japanese media,at the Ohashi Gym along with promoter Hideyuki Ohashi.
The event saw Ohashi talk business, and explain that the purse money for Inoue's next bout will be the "highest amount in history", though it seems that's in regards to Inoue's personal pay as opposed to the highest amount in boxing history, though it may related to the highest in the history of the Bantamweight division. Inoue, talking about money, explained that he wanted the money to give his children a dream, and it was a rare case of a Japanese fighter talking about money, which is something we very rarely see in Japan.
At the event it was also revealed that negotiations are underway for the Inoue Vs Butler bout, with the plan being for the contest to take place towards the end of the year. Though at the moment there isn't a deal set for the bout, with talks of the bout potentially taking place in Japan, the US or the UK. To prepare for the bout Ohashi is planning to bring in European sparring partners for Inoue, though they won't be brought over until the bout has been decided.
The only venue ruled out for the bout is the Tokyo Dome, though Ohashi did state he was wanting Inoue to fight in the iconic venue, that last held boxing back in 1990, for Mike Tyson's bout with James "Buster" Douglas.
On the subject of preparing for the bout, Inoue explained that he is looking to find challenges in training, and maintain his weight. Notably he has been doing physical training with former 3 weight world Akira Yaegashi, who is working to develop Inoue to become even more of a monster.
As for his work out today, it was around 40 minutes in front of the media, with Inoue shadow boxing, hitting the mitts and hitting the heavy bag.
Tomorrow at Korakuen Hall we'll see former 3 weight world champion Kosei Tanaka (16-1, 9) [田中恒成] return to the ring as he challenges Masayoshi Hashizume (19-0-2, 11) [橋詰 将義], for the WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight title. Today, ahead of their bout the two men took part in their weigh in for the contest.
On the scales Tanaka was 114.8lbs and looked in great shape, in fact he said it was the best he'd been in, and explained that he wanted to show that people who are world champions have different abilities, as if he was going to completely dominate the defending regional champion. He also suggested that this will be his final bout before getting another world title fight, as he looks to become a 4-weight world champion later in the year.
As for Hashizume, he was bang on the 115lb weight limit, and he looked the bigger man, though that should be little surprise given he's a natural Super Flyweight whilst Tanaka is a former Light Flyweight. He spoke like a man determined to retain his title and move towards bigger and better bouts of his own in the future.
A second title bout on this card will see Yasuhiro Kanzaki (7-2-1, 2) [神崎靖浩] and Yoshiki Minato (10-5, 5)[湊義生] clash for the Japanese Youth Super Flyweight title. On the scales Minato came in at 114.8lbs, whilst Kanzaki was exactly 115lbs.
Tanaka challenges regional champion Hashizume!
Minato and Kanzaki battle for Japanese Youth title
Back in May the Midori Gym announced that former WBC Light Flyweight champion Masamichi Yabuki (13-4, 12) [佐藤政道] would be returning in August, to take on Thanongsak Simsri (23-0, 21) in Kariya City. Today however we were informed that plans had changed, and that return for Yabuki would no longer be taking place in August or Kariya.
Instead the plan now is for Yabuki to face Simsri in Mie Prefecture on September 10th.
Whilst the bout has been delayed, and scheduled for a whole different city, it seems there is some logic to the madness, with the bout now set to be aired on local TV with, Mie Television now being set to carry the bout. Certainly an improvement from no TV airing it
Back in March we saw former WBO Minimumweight world champion Ryuya Yamanaka (16-3, 5) [山中 竜也] return to the ring after more than 3 years out, due to a brain bleed, and score a 5th round TKO win over Daisuke Sudo. The win was an impressive performance from the former champion, and it seemed likely he would slowly build on that win, with progressively tougher opponents.
Today we saw Yamanaka's next bout being announced, and instead of a slightly better domestic opponent in a 6 or 8 rounder, the 27 year old will instead be returning against a former multi-time world title challenger, in the form of Filipino banger Jonathan Taconing (29-4-1, 22), who is currently world ranked by the WBC, on August 14th in Kobe ins a scheduled 10 rounds.
At his best Yamanaka was a slippery boxer, with a high boxing IQ and smart skills, with under-rated power. He scores notable wins over Merlito Sabillo, to win the OPBF Minimumweight title, Tatsuya Fukuhara, to win the WBO world title, and Moises Calleros, to defend the WBO title, all in in the space of a year and a half, before his loss to Saludar in 2018. That loss looked likely to permanently end his career, though a change in Japanese rules, and an ambition to return lead to Yamanaka being back against Sudo in March.
As for Taconing, the heavy handed Filipino is a 3 time world title challenger, with his most recently world title shot coming in July 2019 when he lost to Kenshiro Teraji. The hard hitting Filipino is now 35, and has slowed down from his prime, which included wins over Ramon Garcia, Vergilio Silvano, Warlito Parrenas and a hugely controversial technical decision loss to Kompayak Porpramook. Despite that he will be the bigger, stronger and more powerful man against Yamanaka, in what could be a battle between skills and power.
The fight, which will will headline Real Spirits Vol 81, is one of a number of Japan Vs Philippines bouts on the card. Another will see the fun to watch Takahiro Tai (3-1, 3) [田井宜広] battle the hard hitting Jun Blazo (16-6-3, 12) in an 8 rounder that should provide some serious fireworks. One of the others will see 22 year old prospect Kazuki Anaguchi (2-0, 2) [穴口一輝] take a huge step up in class to face Ranelio Quizo (10-2, 3), also in an 8 rounder. Another will be a 6 rounder between the debuting Shunpei Odagiri (0-0) [小田切駿平] and Jonathan Almacen (7-5-3, 2), with Odagiri looking to build on a 28-9 amateur record here.
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