Earlier today the Muto Gym, the Japanese partner of MTK Global in their "MTK Japan" expansion, held a press conference in Osaka to announce five bouts.
From the bouts two were already known about, but the other three weren't, and were completely new announcements.
The most notable of the bouts mentioned today was actually one that was revealed yesterday.
That was the Japanese Middleweight title bout between Kazuto Takesako (12-0-1, 11) [竹迫司登] and mandatory challenger Riku Kunimoto (4-0, 2) [国本陸]. Kunimoto, a Muto Gym fighter, will be getting his shot at the Japanese title on May 2nd as part of a Dynamic Glove card at Korakuen Hall, but he will be up against it as he takes on a dominant and heavy handed champion and it's clear he will be the under-dog.
Another bout that was known about before this press conference was a bout between Muto fighter Yusuke Mine (3-0, 1) [峯 佑輔] and former world title challenger Masayuki Kuroda (30-8-3, 16) [黒田 雅之], which was announced earlier in the day. This bout will take place on March 30th at Korakuen Hall, and again it's the Muto fighter who will be regarded as the under-dog.
One of the bouts are set to take place on April 12th, and will see Tulio Kuwabata (3-1, 2) [桑畑凜生], also known as Dekanarudo Torio, look to bounce back from a December loss to Filipino puncher Ken Jordan (9-1-2, 8) as he takes on Japanese ranked fighter Kazuki Tanaka (11-3, 8) [田中一樹], who is looking to bounce back from a loss to Kyosuke Sawada (14-2-1, 6) [澤田京介] in a Japanese title eliminator. This looks like a ridiculous match up, at this point, for Kuwabata, who is talented but deserves an easy win after being blown out by Jordan. This is yet another case of the Muto fighter being the under-dog.
The two remaining bouts are both set for April 19th, and both look more competitive than the other three.
One of those will see Akio Furutani (8-4, 3) [古谷 昭男] take on Chikato Sumida (9-3, 1) [住田愛斗], in what is set to be an 8 round bout at Super Flyweight on "You Will Be the Champion 11". This looked really even on paper and Furutani, the Mutoh fighter, is probably the slight favourite.
The other bout, on the same card, will see Ryosuke Nishida (2-0, 1) [西田凌佑] taking a massive step up in class as he is set to take on Matcha Nakagawa (13-2-1, 5) [武田航], in another 8 rounder, in what looks like a mouth watering match up. Although taking a huge step up Nishida does look like a special fighter and he maybe has the best chance of notching an upset.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Whilst many of today's bouts at the Korakuen Hall went the way everyone expected there was one standout upset.
That upset saw former OPBF Flyweight champion Keisuke Nakayama (11-5-2, 5) [中山佳祐] coming up on the losing end of a majority decision against the unheralded Akio Furutani (8-4, 3) [古谷昭男].
The fight started well for Furutani, who got behind his jab in the opening round and found some space for his straight right hand. Nakayama managed to get going in round 2, but met real resistance from Furutani, who landed some eye catching body body blows.
As the bout went in to the middle rounds we saw more from Nakayama, but he always struggled to get Furutani's respect, as Furutani bound forward, looking to set the pace. The aggression of Furutani saw him walking onto some big head shots, but Nakayama rarely followed up after landing clean and was regularly forced to give ground.
Although looking the better pure boxer it wasn't until late in the bout that Nakayama managed to make that pay off, and by then he was in a bit of a hole, needing to do more than he was able to do. It was in the later stages that his experience over 12 rounds began to show, but it really was too little too late for the talented yet frustrating Nakayama.
After 8 rounders the judges scored this 77-75, twice, in favour of Furutani and one score of 76-76.
For Nakayama this sees him sliding to 1-3-1 over his last 5 bouts whilst Furutani has now reeled of 4 straight wins since a split decision loss to Yoshiki Minato in the 2018 Rookie of the Year .
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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