After more than a decade away from the Korakuen Hall Venezuelan icon Jorge Linares (46-5, 28) returned to the Holy Land of Japanese boxing to take on Filipino foe Al Toyogon (10-5-1, 6) in a scheduled 10 round bout.
In the eyes of many in the west this was a mismatch, a waste of time for Linares against a naturally smaller, less experience young Filipino. For a domestic Japanese audience however this was a special occasion, and a chance to see Jorge return to his boxing "home"
From the off Toyogon didn't seem like a man who was respecting Linares's reputation, and instead he took the fight to Linares, getting on the front foot as often as possible. It was likely a game plan based on Linares's loss to Pablo Cesar Cano, who jumped on Linares, hurt him and never let him recover. Despite the game plan from the Filipino it was the skills of Linares that were catching the eye, with his variety, hand speed and combinations impressing and neutralising the pressure of Toyogon and digging shots to his ribcage.
The pressure from Toyogon has some legitimate success and in round 4 he seemed to hurt Linares who backed off and needed a few moments to clear his head. Toyogon tried to follow up but Linares managed to see off the storm, and the moment for the Filipino slipped. Later that same round the Toyogon seemed to be shaken for a moment.
After a thrilling 4th round the pace did slow down in round 5, something that suited Linares who had more time to pick his spots and let his blazing combinations go before getting away. The 5th also saw Toyogon being deducted a point for use of the head, making it a 10-8 to Linares.
By round 6 the aggression and pressure of Toyogon had dropped off, likely a result of Linares whipping in vicious body shots. As Toyogon slowed things became progressively easier for Linares, who controlled the tempo much easier. There was however moments where Toyogon did get close, and caught Linares with wild hooks in exchanges, likely knowing that was his best chance. Those exchanges were, however, rather rare and the more common thing was Linares landing a combination and getting away before a counter could land.
In round 8 Toyogon seemed to realise trading in combinations wasn't the best idea and instead tried to time Linares when he let his shots go, and that worked really early in the round with a huge counter left hook that seemed to momentarily bother Linares. That was about the only highlight in the round for Toyogon, who was on the receiving end for most of the round.
The 9th round was one of Toyogon's better ones, as Linares went into his shell a bit and Toyogon was able to press the action more than he had in the previous few rounds. His success was limited, but he seemed to be the man out working Linares. The round did however see Linares land a vicious body shot, that would have caught the eye with just seconds of the round left, a shot that could easily have swayed the judges if they were unsure.
Knowing he was behind, by a mile, Toyogon really needed to go for it in the final round. He had however taken a lot through the previous 9 and and given a lot. He tried to up the ante but Linares responded with some sensational stuff of his own, including a gorgeous uppercut that landed clean.
After 10 rounds Linares knew he'd been in a fight, but was the clear winner with scores of 100-89, 100-90 and 99-90. Those scores make it look like it was easy for Linares but it really wasn't, and credit to Toyogon for making Linares work for the win. This was a third straight loss for the Filipino but he is certainly going to stay in demand on the regional scene as a test for prospect, and we wouldn't be surprised to see him back in Japan in the near future.
For Linares surely retirement looms. He showed touches of what he can do, but seemed very much like a fighter who had lost his top gear and seemed to worry every time Toyogon landed a clean counter shot. He's still a better boxer than most on the planet, but he's not close to the fighter he once was and as he ages we're getting closer and closer to the point where his speed and reactions will falter.
Tomorrow at the legendary Korakuen Hall fight fans will see Jorge Linares (45-5, 28) and Al Toyogon (10-4-1, 6) battle in a 10 round bout a contracted 137lbs. Today the two men took part in their weigh in for that bout, and both fighters made the contracted limited with no issues at all.
On the scales Linares was 137lbs dead on whilst Toyogon, who has typically fought as a Featherweight or Super Featherweight, was 135.5lbs.
With both men making weight the bigger talking point was that this was Linares's return to a Japanese ring for the first time in over 4 years and his first bout at the holy land since a February 2007 win over Ramiro Lara. The long break from Korakuen Hall wasn't lost on Linares who explained that it was good to return to Japan and that the Hall was like a house to him, describing it as the best.
Of course with Linares being such a star, a genuine star, Toyogon also seemed rather happy that Linares was back in Japan, stating that he was happy with facing a star like Linares on his second visit to Japan. He will clearly be the under-dog but it's obvious that he'd rather face Linares than some typical domestic level fighter.
For fans wanting to watch the bout will be aired live on G+ tomorrow as part of their Dynamic Glove show, which begins at 17:45 local time.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
One of the most frustrating things about Japanese boxing in 2019 has been the lack of live televised cards, with many of the G+ "Dynamic Glove" cards being aired on tape delay, rather than a live broadcast.
Thankfully we are set to see that chance in September with G+ airing Dynamic Glove 588 live on Saturday 7th September, as well as replays set for September 11th and 24th.
The broadcast is set to begin airing at 17:00 local time and be shown until 22:00 local time.
This card is a pretty notable one with Yuki Nagano (16-2, 12) [永野祐樹] Japanese Welterweight title against veteran challenger Makoto Kawasaki (11-7-1, 2) [川崎真琴] and Jorge Linares (45-5, 28) returning to a Japanese ring for the first time in almost 5 years, to take on Filipino youngster Al Toyogon (10-4-1, 6).
The rest of the card isn't hugely notable but those two bouts alone do deserve some attention, and it's great to actually be excited about a live G+ card after months of tape delay broadcasts.
Back in July we reported that the popular Jorge Linares (45-5, 28) would be returning to a Japanese ring in September, as he takes part on the September 7th Dynamic Glove show at Korakuen Hall.
What wasn't known was who he would be facing on the card, that was until today when his opponent for the show as announced as Filipino youngster Al Toyogon (10-4-1, 6) who returns to the Korakuen Hall for his second bout there, coming just weeks after losing in July to Shuya Masaki.
For Linares, a 3-weight world champion, this will be his first bout in Japan since stopping Francisco Javier Prieto on December 30th 2014. Despite the long break from a Japanese ring this will actually be his 24th bout in the country. Interestingly he is 22-1 in Japan, though his career does seem to be coming to an end and he was blown out last time out by Pablo Cesar Cano in New York, suffering his second loss in 3 bouts.
Whilst Linares' career is coming to an end Toyogon is in his early 20's and has a lot of potential. Sadly though he has lost his last 2, losing to Masaki in July and to Ryo Sagawa back in July. Those loses ended a 5 fight winning run for Toyogon however a win against Linares would be the biggest of his career, by far.
The bout between Linares and Toyogon will be the chief support bout to a Japanese Welterweight title bout between defending champion Yuki Nagano (16-2, 12) [永野祐樹] and veteran challenger Makoto Kawasaki (11-7-1, 2) [川崎真琴].
Please note - Today's show from the Korakuen Hall won't be televised until this coming week, when G+ will televise the card "as live". As a result of not wanting to ruin the broadcast for those wanting to watch we'll be leaving this disclaimer in and begin with out results article from the third paragraph. We will, also, be uploading the videos after the show is broadcast in mid-week. So again, for those wanting to watch the fights as live in video section, do not read beyond this paragraph.
Today at the Korakuen Hall Teiken put on the next show under the long established Dynamic Glove banner, and it was one with a number of prospects in action and a few good match ups on paper. It was however one with a weak main event that was put together on later notice due to a fight being ruled off as a visiting fighter from South Africa was unable to secure a visa in time., and was certainly open to criticism given the fact that the late replacement hadn't been able to put up much of a fight in 4 previous visits to Japan.
So lets begin by talking about that main event bout which saw Kenichi Ogawa (24-1-0-1, 18) [尾川 堅一] easily over-come Filipino visitor Glenn Medura (10-6-1, 6), who was a late replacement for South African Azinga Fuzile (14-0, 8). Medura was dropped twice before retiring in his corner at the end of round 4, and had posed very little threat for Ogawa, who will now face Fuzile in September in an IBF world title eliminator.
The main support bout saw Shuya Masaki (13-1, 5) [正木脩也] take a shut out 10 round win over Filipino youngster Al Toyogon (10-4-1, 6), in what will go down as one of Masaki's best wins. Earlier in the year with saw Toyogon ask some questions of Ryo Sagawa but here he looked very poor against a red hot Masaki, who himself showed improvements from a couple of frustrating recent bouts. Masaki will clearly be hunting a title bout in the near future, and a rematch with Hironori Mishiro, the current OPBF champion, is a bout that makes a lot of sense for the Teiken fighter. Mishiro however, may, have different plans.
In a Japanese Welterweight bout Riku Nagahama (10-2-1, 4) [長濱陸] managed to take a decision win over Masaya Tamayama (12-2, 6) [玉山将也], in what is among the very best wins for Nagahama. This was a hotly contested bout with Nagahama taking the narrow decision, 77-75, twice, and 77-76, and kicking off with a win following his recent move to the Kadoebi gym. Another close 8 round bout saw the touted Hayate Kaji (13-0, 9) [梶颯] squeak a win over Japanese based Filipino veteran Rey Orais (20-19-2, 5) with a split decision. Kaji, who came through the Rookie of the Year a few years ago and looked like a star in the making, struggled to hurt Orais who showed his veteran experience and perhaps deserved the upset here. Kaji really needs to get his career sorted as this is not the first time he has come close to suffering a defeat and it seems only a matter of time before he comes up short.
In a really interesting test former amateur stand out Kuntae Lee (2-0, 1) [李 健太] was forced to work for a win over the previously unbeaten Filipino Marlon Paniamogan (9-1-1, 5). Lee looked to always be in control, though Paniamogan refused to go away and was certainly the type of test Lee deserved after his debut, which saw his opponent really look out of of his depth. Lee showed off good technical boxing, sharp punching, but still, clearly, needs time to develop his professional style, and a bout like this will serve as a major tool in shaping him and correcting his flaws.
It was a much easier day for fellow amateur stand out Mikito Nakano (3-0, 3) [中野幹士], who blitzed Arvin Yurong (12-4, 3) in 2 rounds, in a very impressive performance. Young had been stopped 3 times prior to this, but had managed to ask questions last time of Xiang Li and in China. Today however Young was taken out mid-way through round 2 from a pair of Nakano right hooks. This was the sort of test Nakano needed and the sort that saw him stamp what he can do in the mind of fans.
To begin the show Takayoshi Suzuki (4-1-1, 1) [鈴木敬祥] scored an opening round win over Tsuyoshi Naito (4-5-4, 2) [内藤 剛], with Naito retiring at the end of the round.
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