Although there is yet to be a concrete announcement about when WBA and IBF Bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16) [井上 尚弥] will return to the ring, other than a vague suggestion of "November", the fighter himself isn't sitting still. Instead he's actually gone off for a special 3-day training camp in Nagano Prefecture.
The camp, which is pretty much an annual thing for him, is based around improving his body and mind, to help not only get into physical shape but also sharpening his mind.
At the moment the plan seems to be for Inoue to face Jason Moloney (21-1, 18) in the US in November, but that hasn't yet been announced. The hope will be that this training camp will be followed by an official announcement of that bout soon afterwards.
Sadly Inoue hasn't been seen in the ring since his WBSS final win over Nonito Donaire, and plans for a unification bout with WBO Bantamweight champion John Riel Casimero (29-4, 20) have been put on the back burner due to the on going global situation. Thankfully though he has been remaining busy and looks in great shape. He has recently worked to develop a new sweat suit for the SIXPAD brand, has been seen ringside at recent Ohashi shows, supporting his stablemates in Tokyo, and obviously this training camp.
Earlier today Olamsports reported that unbeaten Lightweight prospect Elnur Abduraimov (5-0, 5) [Элнур Абдураимов] had returned to the US to begin his latest training camp.
At the moment it's unclear who Abduraimov will be facing, and when, but it's great to see that his return is being planned, and it seems likely that announcements of who, and when, will be made shortly.
The former amateur standout made his belated debut in September 2018 and fought 3 times by the end of the year. As we headed into 2019 we were really exciting by his potential and activity.
Sadly though momentum was lost in Abduraimov's career in 2019, with the talented youngster fighting just twice as a professional during the year, with the most recent of those bouts coming in May 2019.
Despite not fighting as a professional since May 2019 Abduraimov's not actually been inactive. In fact he's been very busy, fighting in the amateur ranks. He actually qualified for the Tokyo Olympics, winning the Asia/Oceania qualifying competition this past March in Amman, Jordan. It seems likely that the Olympics will be his focus in 2021, but rather than sit on the side he will fight again in the pro ranks to tick over this year, with a US bout part of that process.
Jamshid Nazari the undefeated Norwegian Jnr Welterweight has signed a management deal with Tony Tolj’s Dragon Fire Boxing.
The Afghanistan born, Norwegian based fighter is 7-0 and is looking forward to jump back in the ring and resume his boxing career. Nazari trains with Henning Lillejord and Nils Kapstad at the Aik-Lund boxing club
“It means a lot to me and my career. I trust Tony and have seen his great work with his other boxers over these many years. He takes care of his boxers and improve them in world ranks and really cares for his boxers, that means a lot to me and us fighter.
I want to get to the top in world rankings and be a good role model for the new generation.
I know I have joined a great team and training harder than ever. I looking forward to get back in the ring and do what I love to do.”
Nazari a top amateur, with over 100 amateur fights which included 3-time Norwegian Champion, Nordic Champion, multiple international Gold Medallist, Haringey box cup gold medallist, Athlete of the year 2015
Oceania Manager of the year Tony Tolj added: "I am delighted to be working with Nazari now he's got the backing of Dragon Fire Boxing, I am confident we can take Nazari to the next level and build on his success."
Earlier today we had the first show in the "First Raight Presents A-Sign Boxing" series, which was the first time A-Sign had had a show sponsored by First Raight.
Between the chief support bout and the main event we had a short interlude that saw former WBO Super Featherweight champion Masayuki Ito (26-2-1, 14) [伊藤 雅雪] announce his next bout as he, and OPBF Super Featherweight champion Hironori Mishiro (9-0-1, 3) [三代大訓] took to the ring together.
Together the two men announced they they would be clashing on November 5th at the Sumida City Gymnasium.
Interestingly this will not be for Mishiro's OPBF title, instead the two men will both be dipping their toes at Lightweight in a 10 round bout at 135lbs.
The two men spoke highly of each other, with Ito thanking Mishiro for facing him, and spoke about their previous spars together, speaking very highly about the ability of the unbeaten OPBF champion.
That respect from Ito was repaid by Mishiro, who had previously admitted that Ito was the man he most wanted to face. He vowed to win, and show that his admiration of Ito wasn't just admiration for his countryman.
At the moment no details of the under-card for this show are available, but the fact it has a brilliant main event, and has the wonderful mind of Ichitaro Ishii behind it, means we should expect another fantastic card under the A-Sign banner with well matched contests through out.
Earlier today A-Sign boxing presented their latest show, live on YouTube, with the show featuring 6 bouts in total. The event wasn't a massive one, but was a notable one, and one that delivered good action, for the most part. It had Rookie of the Year action, some notable prospects and the Japanese debut of a man who's career, so far, had fought entirely away from the country of his birth.
With that said lets look at how the bouts went.
Sadly the show began with a rare stinker as a Rookie of the Year bout between the talented Kosuke Tomioka (3-0, 2) [富岡浩介] and the timid Shota Hara (2-3-1) [原翔太] never got going. Tomioka controlled the bout from the opening round with his speed and jab and Hara did little to try and win. This really was an underwhelming way to start the show, and it seemed it even annoyed Tomioka who tried to wave in Hara, who declined. After 4 rounds there was no doubting the result.
The second bout on the show saw significantly better action as Ryugo Ushijima (4-1-2, 2) [牛島 龍吾] over-came Ryukyu Oho (6-4, 3) [大保 龍球] in a bout that saw more action in the opening round than the entire first fight. The round saw Oho come out fast, so fast in fact that he ended up slipping in one of his first offensive charges. Later in the round Oho did drop Ushijima, but was down himself towards the end of the round. Ushijima also scored a second knockdown in round 2.
After Ushijima scored his second knockdown he did seem to become a little too safety conscious, and held too much for our liking, but when forced to dig in he did respond as we got some brilliant little exchanges. Ono continually pressed forward, but failing to have any sustained success, and simply didn't let his hands go enough to bother Ushijima.
After 6 rounds the scores we went to the scorecards, which were 58-56, twice and 59-54 all in favour of Ushijima.
Sadly Ken Koibuchi (6-4, 5) [鯉渕 健] didn't feel in the need to help cult hero Takuya Yamaguchi (4-12-2, 2) [山口拓也] build on his growing profile. Yamaguchi came out ultra aggressive early on, but ran out of steam quickly and in round 2 Koibuchi dropped him twice to force the finish. Sadly for the 35 year old Yamaguchi this is probably the end, but it is a great story he's had in recent months, and his success in terms of crowd funding, and telling his story with the team from A-Sign has been amazing. We really hope that he remain in the sport, even if it's just as a mentor, or a commentator.
As for Koibuchi, the big bully, this is a much needed win after losses in 3 of his last 4.
In the fourth bout of the show we saw Hyoga Taniguchi (4-2-2, 1) [谷口 彪賀] face off with Yoshiki Tatsukami (4-7-1) [山本佳輝], in what was Taniguchi's first bout since winning the 2019 Rookie of the Year. To begin with Taniguchi looked very timid, but as the rounds went on he settled, found his range and began to land his left hand with growing frequency. Sadly whilst Taniguchi did take the clear win it was clear there the bout lacked drama and excitement, but was a good learning experience for Taniguchi.
After 6 rounds we went to the scorecards and there no real doubting the result, with scores of 58-56, twice, and 59-55 for Taniguchi.
We do like Taniguchi, but do feel he's years away from being the complete product, and we suspect he will need a lot more bouts like this before being in the title mix.
In the most impressive performance of the show the touted Jin Sasaki (8-0, 7) [佐々木 尽] wasted no time in blowing out Japanese ranked foe Shun Akaiwa (5-2-1, 3) inside a minute. Akaiwa was dropped from a left hook, and despite beating the count the referee knew he was in no fit state to continue. This was a real statement from Sasaki, who will find himself in the Japanese rankings at 140lbs when the rankings are update. A sensational result.
The final bout of the show saw "reimported boxer" Shoki Sakai (24-11-2, 12) [坂井 祥記] make his Japanese debut in what was a genuine cracking bout against 2017 All Japan Rookie of the Year winner Hironori Shigeta (6-2-1, 3) [重田裕紀]. This started with Shigeta boxing well, but as the rounds went on Sakai made the fight an inside battle, and stopped Shigeta using the ring. When that happened, there was only going to be one winner.
Shigeta always tried, he always had moments, and repeatedly landed some massive single shots, but Sakai had consistency, used his experience well, blocked plenty that came his way and landed some brutal shots through the 8 round contest.
This one was real fun, and saw both men landing monstrous shots, but it was clear that Sakai was doing the better work. This was shown not just in the ring, but also on the faces of the two men, with Shigeta being bruised early on, and the score-cards, which all turned in identical scored of 78-74 to Sakai.
Although the show was a low profile one it was a solid one and had a nice mix of things, from the skills of Tomioka and Taniguchi, the explosive power of Sasaki and the vicious war to end the show. The pacing of the event was good through out and the only real break came between the co-feature and main event. Even that wasn't a waste of time however as it was used to announce the next bout of former WBO Super Featherweight champion Masayuki Ito (26-2-1, 14) [伊藤 雅雪], who we now know will return on November 5th to face off with OPBF Super Featherweight champion Hironori Mishiro (9-0-1, 3) [三代大訓].
One again A-Sign, and Ichitaro Ishii especially, have delivered a brilliant show and it's great to see them having solid bouts across multiple levels of the sport. Fingers crossed they continue to provide live streams like this, as this was fantastic.
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