Earlier today Korakuen Hall played host to the latest Diamond Glove show, which was shown live on Fuji's FOD service. The show wasn't a massive one, but was a notable one with two title bouts and two fighters featuring notable hopefuls.
The first of the notable bouts on the card saw something of an upset as former amateur standout Ryusei Baba (1-1) [馬場龍成] was stopped in 3 rounds by hard hitting 27 year old Shugo Namura (6-1, 6) [苗村修悟]. Baba looked good in the opening round, but in round 3 the power of Namura proved it's self as he rocked Baba with a right hand. A follow up saw Baba being wobbled hard from a brutal left hook with the referee stepping in to save the former amateur star.
The second notable bout on the show saw Go Hosaka (6-1, 3) [保坂 剛] defeat Japanese ranked Super Featherweight Kazuma Sanpei (20-8, 9) [三瓶 数馬], and record the biggest win of his career. The bout saw both men looking to control the action early on, but the crisp skills and more polished technical abilities saw Hosaka landing the more meaningful blows. Sanpei was looking to land his own shots in the first 3 rounds, but in round 4 a series of jabs and a solid right hook, left Sanpei looking hurt and forced the referee to jump in and save him.
The first of the two title bouts on the show saw Koichi Aso (25-10-1, 16) [麻生 興一] suffer a surprisingly early loss to Akihiro Kondo (33-11-2, 18) [近藤 明広], with Kondo claiming the OPBF title from Aso as a result. On paper this bout promised a lot, given the styles and mentalities of the two men, and it delivered, albeit in a very abridged fashion. From the off both men were looking to get close and go to work, though it was the cleaner, more accurate shots of Kondo that caught the eye, and in round 2 those clean shots sent Aso down. Aso got to his feet but never seemed to recover with Kondo stopping him just moments later to claim the OPBF title. Sadly for Aso this ends a very short reign that began when he upset Rikki Naito last year, and it's likely to be a reign that is quickly forgotten due to how easily he lost the belt here.
The other title bout saw Japanese Lightweight champion Shu Utsuki (11-0, 9) [宇津木秀] record his first defense, as he stopped the tricky and quick Izuki Tomioka (7-6-1, 2) [富岡 樹]. Tomioka, as expected, had success early in the bout using his footwork, sharp boxing skills and speed to take advantage of Utsuki's slow footwork. Utsuki looked to pressure his challenger, but early on he struggled with tying his man down, and after 5 rounds Tomioka was leading on all 3 cards. Sadly for Tomioka however as his feet slowed, notably in round 5, Utsuki began to get more and more success, attacking the body well and taking the legs away from Tomioka. In round 8 the power of Utsuki hurt Tomioka, who was forced to retreat to the corner, but he continued taking shots until the referee stepped in and save him from further punishment.
Tomorrow we'll get a title double header from Korakuen Hall, with a potentially mouth watering OPBF title fight and a really intriguing Japanese title bout. Today, ahead of that show, the fighters on the event took part in their weigh in.
The OPBF title bout will see defending Light Welterweight champion Koichi Aso (25-9-1, 16) [麻生 興一] make his first defense, as he takes on veteran Akihiro Kondo (33-10-2, 18) [近藤 明広].
On the scales the champion was around 139.5lbs, comfortably under the limit. Despite being the champion Aso downplayed himself, and almost seemed to suggest that he was the under-dog given Kondo has previous competed in a world title bout. As for Kondo he was slightly heavier, at 139.7lbs, and he explained that he was able to make weight without draining.
Interestingly both of those men made their debuts way back in 2006, and despite often competing in and around the same weight classes, and both fighting regularly at Korakuen Hall, this will be the first time they've fought.
The other title bout on this show, and the nominal main event, will see Japanese Lightweight champion Shu Utsuki (10-0, 8) [宇津木秀] make his first defense, as he goes up against the tricky and quick Izuki Tomioka (7-5-1, 2) [富岡 樹].
On the scales Utsuki, a stablemate of Hiroto Kyoguchi's at the Watanabe Gym, came in comfortably under the limit at 134.8lbs, and stated he was inspired by Kyoguchi's recent win, but was under some pressure to succeed in his first defense. As for Tomioka he came in bang on the 135lb weight limit for the bout, which will be his third title shot having previously come up short against Masayoshi Nakatani and Shuichiro Yoshino.
OPBF king Aso takes on tough veteran Kondo!
Utsuki seeks first defense of Japanese title as he takes on Tomioka
Earlier today Misako Gym announced that OPBF Light Welterweight champion Koichi Aso (25-9-1, 16) [麻生 興一] would be making his first defense of the title on June 14th at Korakuen Hall, as he takes on Akihiro Kondo (33-10-2, 18) [近藤 明広], in a clash between two highly experienced fighters.
Aso won the title last year, when he scored a huge upset win over Rikki Naito (25-3, 8) [内藤 律樹], ending Naito's reign as the OPBF champion. That win saw Aso scoring one of, if not the, biggest win of his career despite being 35 years old. Despite that win it's hard to know what the well-respected, and always entertaining, warrior has left in the tank.
Kondo on the other hand, now aged 37, is looking to add one more title to a collection that already includes the Japanese Lightweight title and the WBO Asia Pacific Light Welterweight title. Despite his success at home, he is best known, internationally, for his 2017 bout against Sergey Lipinets. Since then, he has gone 4-3-1 and another loss here will likely spell the end of his career.
This bout will serve as the chief support bout on a card that is set to be headlined by Lightweight champion Shu Utsuki (10-0, 8) [宇津木秀] defending his title against Izuki Tomioka (7-5-1, 2) [富岡 樹].
Earlier today at Korakuen Hall fight fans had the chance to see Japanese Light Welterweight champion Daishi Nagata (15-2-2, 6) [永田大士] make his first defense of the title he won earlier this year, when he stopped Koki Inoue. In the opposite corner to the champion was veteran Akihiro Kondo (32-9-2, 18) [近藤 明広], who seemed to be entering the bout in a must win situation.
On paper this all seemed set up for Nagata and to look good in, against a rugged but slow, battle worn veteran with some name value. Sadly however things didn't go as expected for Nagata who was left a bloodied mess, with a brutal cut on his left eye, which forced an early conclusion to the contest.
Nagata started well an won the opening round, fighting aggressively and setting a high pace, moving in and out and letting his punches flow. It seemed the ideal game plan, to rack up points and make the most of the very clear speed difference between the two men. Kondo battled back in round 2 but Nagata's tempo didn't slow and he seemed to establish a very clear lead through the first 5 rounds, using his energy, speed, aggression and skills.
Kondo fought more conservatively, countering well and biding his timing, though was losing the rounds and after 5 rounds we got the open scoring, which had Nagata up 48-47, twice, and 49-46.
Then we got drama in round 6 as Kondo began to come forward more and a clash of heads came as a result, leaving Nagata's left eye badly damaged. The bout continued regardless until a doctor's inspection in round 7 ruled him unfit to continue and took us to the scorecards partway through the 7th, which was scored.
When the scores were tallied two cards had the bout even, 67-67, whilst the third had it 67-66 to Nagata giving us a majority draw. A disappointing outcome for both.
After the bout Nagata admitted that he was disappointed, and wished he could have done more, been smart, busier and deal with Kondo's head movement. He seemed to a potential rematch but seemed disappointed in himself.
Kondo also seemed unhappy and admitted that he didn't want the bout to be stopped when it was, knowing that he was coming on strong and that his gameplan was based around the bout going long, and racking up rounds after the mid-way point. He also seemed to suggest that this wasn't the end of his career and that he would be back.
For fans wanting to watch this one, it will be shown on tape delay on Fuji TV this coming weekend.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Tomorrow at Korakuen Hall fight fans in Japan will be able to see Daishi Nagata (15-2-1, 6) [永田大士] make his first defense of the Japanese Light Welterweight title, as he takes on veteran Akihiro Kondo (32-9-1, 18) [近藤 明広], who is looking to add the title to his collection of titles.
Today the two men took part in their weigh in for the bout and both men made the 140lb limit with no issues, with both men hitting the scales at 139.8lb and looking in fantastic condition.
At the weigh in Nagata, who is coming in to this fight on the back of a career best win over Koki Inoue, looked in incredible shape. He spoke like a man who had a point to prove, and the same determination that he had when he was challenging for the belt. He spoke about wanting to make a meaningful bout for the fans and it seems very much like he's coming into the bout with a lot of excitement and the confidence of the Misako Gym, which has been on a great in recent years.
Kondo on the other hand spoke about how he'd prepared for the contest by losing weight earlier than usual, and as a result was in perfect shape. He seemed to suggest he had improved his strength and stamina from recent contests and had a lot of respect for Nagata. Interesting he also spoke about his experienced, citing that this his 43rd professional bout and that he had had 43 amateur bouts, with that being more than 80 bouts of experience to rely on here.
For fans wanting to watch the bout and can't make it to Korakuen Hall, it will be shown on tape delay on Fuji TV this coming weekend.
Related - Nagata seeks first defense as he goes up against tough guy Kondo
(Image credit - Misako Gym)
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