Today Japan had it's third show since resuming boxing after the hiatus on the sport. Today's show was the first in Okinawa and was the first to see fans in the venue, though it was only a scattering, for an event promoted by Akinobu Hiranaka and the Hiranaka Boxing School.
The event, held at the Ishikawa Multipurpose Dome in Uruma, Okinawa, saw the arena very sparsely attended with 350 fans in the venue. That's 350 fans, in a venue that is capable of seating around 3,500. Like the previous two events in Japan things were set up in a way to limit potential issues regarding the "on going global situation".
Despite the return of fans to boxing the show was, understandably, a small one. It featured 4 bouts in total.
The first of those bouts finished part way through round 3 as the Hiranaka promoted Kenta Nakazato (3-1-1, 3) [仲里 健太] stopped Daichi Watanabe (3-6-1, 1) [渡邊 大将]. Watanabe was dropped in round 3, and although he recovered to his feet the bout was waved off, making Nakazato the first man to win in front of a crowd since being returned to Japan a week ago.
The under-rated Taiga Higashi (6-3, 2) [東 大河] returned to the ring after more than 2 years away as he defeated Takahiro Hamasaki (2-6-1, 1) [浜崎 隆広] with a 4 round decision. Although Higashi isn't a notable name he is actually a very solid fighter who lost competitive bouts to Kazuki Nakajima and Junpei Inamoto and we're really glad to see him return to the sport. To his credit Hamasaki wasn't looking to just make up the numbers and made things very awkward at times, but this was a clear win for Higashi, and hopefully we won't need to wait this long to see him back in action.
The most well matched bout on the card saw Hokuto Matsumoto (6-3, 1) [松本 北斗] take a majority decision over local fighter Ryosei Niguma (5-3-1, 3) [二熊 亮成]. The bout started with Matsumoto making a very good start but Niguma came back well in the second half of the fight and made things competitive, but it seemed a clear win for Matsumoto. Although no world beater Matsumoto is one of those fighters who looks to be better than his record suggests, and he gave the touted Masahiro Suzuki real issues last November.
The main event saw Thunder Teruya (7-7-1, 4) [サンダー照屋] score a TKO over Ikemen Atsushi (7-6-2, 2) [イケメン淳] in round 2. Teruya pressed early on and dropped Atsushi early in round 2. Although Atsushi got to his feet the bout was waved off with Teruya giving the local fans something to celebrate during this rather testing times.
Image below, courtesy of Boxmob, shows just how empty the arena was and how the venue had been laid out to keep the ring somewhat isolated from everywhere else
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