Earlier today at Korakuen Hall Kadoebi and Dangan put on a rather small but notable show with 7 bouts in total, including a double title bout in the main event and several other noteworthy bouts featuring professional novices. For fans not at Korakuen Hall, the event was streamed online through the excellent Boxing Raise service.
The event kicked off with a 4 rounder between Temple Kamihara (3-1) [テンプル神原] and Kaito Itai (2-2, 1) [板井 海都]. Kamihara got off to the ideal start, dropping his man in the opening round, and controlled the bout through out, taking a clear and wide 4 round decision, 40-35, twice, and 39-36.
The second bout, also a 4 rounder, was a much closer contest which ended in a majority decision win for Daisuke Sumita (3-1, 1) [墨田 大祐], who over-came Fuki Ishigaki (3-3, 2) [石垣 芙季]. Sumita, returning almost almost 5 years away from the ring, looked to take control of the range and managed to ease himself into the bout. As the rounds went on the pace, from both, picked up, with Ishigaki trying to fight his way into the bout, giving us a thrilling finish. After 4 rounds this was 39-37, twice, and 38-38.
A planned 6 rounder between female fighters Megumi Hosoda (3-2) [細田めぐみ] and Honoka Kano (3-0-1, 2) [狩野ほのか] was supposed to be next, before it was cancelled in the build up to the show. As a result the third bout on the card was between Masaki Kobayashi (6-2, 3) [小林 柾貴] and Kojiro Nishikawa (5-3-1, 2) [西川 宏次郎], which saw Kobayashi taking a clear 6 round decision. Kobayashi boxed well here, countered well, and deserved the victory, his first since September 2019. The judges for this one turned in cards of 58-56, twice, and 59-55, all to Kobayashi.
The first of the standout novices to compete on this show was Josuke Nagata (1-0) [永田 丈晶] who took a 6 round decision win over Koji Tsurumi (5-4-1, 2) [鶴海 高士]. The talented Nagata, who had around 60 bouts as an amateur, started well, looked sharp and his jab seemed to land well early on, and he even dropped his man in round 3. Tsurumi however wasn't there to just make up the numbers and instead he fought like a man who was determined to score the upset and he dug deep, making Nagata work hard through the 6 round distance. In the end Nagata earned the win, with scored of 59-54, twice, and 58-55.
In a peculiar 5 round bout Ryo Shintomi (6-6-1) [新冨 凌] took a split decision over Kengo Hatsushika (3-5-2, 2) [初鹿 健吾]. This was hotly contested through out, with an exciting exchange almost at the opening bell. From there it was hard to split the two men, with Hatsushika landing some great shots up top and Shintomi attacking the body well. In the end it was the pressure and work rate of Shintomi that was just enough to earn him the decision, but this was one that could easily have swung the other way. A very tight, well fought, and well matched bout.
In the chief support bout we saw the talented Jukiya Iimura (2-0, 1) [飯村 樹輝弥] take a very hotly contest decision over former amateur stand out Tomoki Kawasaki (0-1) [川崎 智輝], who was unsuccessful on his professional debut. This was high level boxing from both from the opening moments. both men showed solid understanding of the ring, and the sport, using their jabs well, setting traps and fighting at mid range. Despite boxing well at mid-distance Kawasaki fell behind, with Iimura landing the better shots, and in the later stages Kawasaki began to take more risks, getting close, and pressing more. Despite that pressure he couldn't do enough to turn the bout around, and after 6 rounds all 3 judges had this 58-56 to Iimura. Although Kawasaki lost here he has a very bright future ahead of him, and Iimura is someone we were impressed by in his debut. Keep an eye out for both of these men going forward.
In the main event we saw Ryoji Fukunaga (14-4, 14) [福永亮次] retain his WBO Asia Pacific and JBC Super Flyweight titles as he stopped the under-sized Takahiro Fujii (12-7-1, 3) [藤井貴博]. From the off this was a case of seeing how much Fujii could withstand, and credit to him for trying to fight the much bigger, better, stronger Fukunaga. Sadly however Fujii's resistance couldn't last forever and in round 8 the power shots of Fukunaga took their toll, dropping him hard with a brutal 1-2. The referee needed no time to stop this one, waving the bout off before Fujii began to get medical help.
Although the main event was a mismatch, it was actually good to see Fukunaga in a bout where he didn't have to walk through fire to pick up a win, and given his last two bouts were punishing wars it's hard to complain about him getting an easy amd less punishing bout here.
Tomorrow at Korakuen Hall fight fans will see the unified, JBC, OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight champion Ryoji Fukunaga (13-4, 13) [福永亮次] defending his WBO Asia Pacific and JBC titles against Takahiro Fujii (12-6-1, 3) [藤井貴博].
Today, ahead of their bout, the two men took part in their weigh in and both men made the 115lb weight limit with no issues at all. Despite both making the Super Flyweight division they looked several weight classes apart.
The taller, much bigger, champion hit the scales bang on the 115lb limit and had no issues at all in making weight. Fujii also had no issues, and came in at around 114.6lbs, though looked like a blown up Light Flyweight next to Fukunaga.
At the weigh Fukunaga revealed that Fujii was even smaller than he had expected. And it's fair to say he looked like a young child, or even a fan compared to the champion.
Interestingly Fujii revealed to Boxmob that he was on the limit at his home but ended up losing more weight through sweat on his way to the venue, and came in under the limit was a result.
For fans wanting to watch this one, it will be made available via Boxing Raise for Japanese fans unable to attend the show at the Korakuen Hall
Related - Fukunaga defends two titles as he takes on Fujii!
Just moments ago in El Paso Texas we got an Upset of the Year and KO of the Year contender as Uzbekistani fighter Bektemir Melikuziev (7-1, 6) [Бектемир Мелиқўзиев] was taken out by former world title challenger Gabriel Rosado (26-13-1, 15) in sensational fashion!
The fight started incredibly tamely with Melikuziev applying intelligent pressure, but neither man landing anything of real note for around 100 seconds. The first real shot of note was a left from Melikuziev and soon afterwards he hurt Rosado with a body shot, which hurt the veteran. Rosado began to back off and Melikuziev could smell blood, chasing his man and then sending him down with burst of shots to the mid section. Rosado beat the count, getting up at 9 before the bell ended the round.
In rounds 2 and 3 it seemed that Melikuziev was building on his good opening round, pressing and smashing Rosado to the body. It seemed that the "Bully" was going to break down Roasdo, who looked in agony at times in round 3 whilst Melikuziev was getting more and more confident. Sadly for the Uzbekistani fighter that confidence became over-confidence and as he pressed forward he left an opening, which Rosado took with a perfectly timed over-hand right. The shot landed perfectly, and sent Melikuziev down face first with one of the most eye catching and brutal KO's of the year so far.
Earlier today Mike Coppinger reported that the planned WBO Bantamweight title bout between John Riel Casimero (30-4, 21) and Guillermo Rigondeaux (20-1-0-1, 13) was off, with Rigondeaux having been replaced by WBC Bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire (41-6, 27), in the first unification bout between Filipino fighters in the 4-title era!
According to Coppinger, writing for TheAthletic, Rigondeaux was asked to step aside and allow the Donaire Vs Casimero bout to take place, with the Cuban waiting in the wings for the eventual winner. Along with a WBC mandatory and a likely WBO mandatory also set to be waiting for the winner.
In all honesty this promises a lot more fireworks than the previously planned bout, which had the potential to be a stinker with the 40 year old Rigondeaux being the antithesis of a TV friendly fighter, whilst Casimero and Donaire both love to look for a big KO punch. It also ties up two of the world titles, which would make a potential unification bout with the winner of tonight's bout between Naoya Inoue (20-0, 17) [井上 尚弥] and Michael Dasmarinas (30-2-1, 20) would be for all 4 titles.
For the two Filipino fighters it was also be an historic bout, being the first unification between two Filipino fighters, and would see the winner getting bragging rights over the other man. For Filipino fans this will be a huge contest, and for fans of the lower weights this one promises so much, and has a real air of unpredictability.
As for Rigondeaux it does leave him waiting for a shot, and sadly for him, it could end up seeing him aging out of contention, given he is already the wrong side of 40.
The fight is set for August 14th in Carson, California, and will be aired on Showtime in the US.
By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
CEBU,PHILIPPINES- John Paul Gabunilas and Maurino Agum engaged in an entertaining bout that capped the seven bout card held at the Cosonsa compound in Mandaue City,Cebu.
Agum was cut on the left eyelid in the early going. But he managed to surprise and drop Gabunillas. They would go on to trade heavy shots.
At the start of the second, Gabunilas stormed back and knocked down Agum. Heavy exchanges continued but Gabunilas was the more accurate fighter. In the third, Gabunillas’ jab targeted Agum’s cut.Agum swung for the fences but could not connect.
In the fourth round, a right to the ribs sent Agum down again. He got up but with his left eyelid bleeding,this time due to a second cut,the fight was stopped.
Gabunilas is now 4-1,3KO’s,Agum suffered his first loss at 2-1,1KO.
April Jay Abne (6-0,3KO’s) remained unbeaten when he stopped Royder Lloyd Borbon (6-10-1,6KO’s) in the third round with a body punch. Referee Nic Banal signaled the end at the 36 second mark.
Rexcar Auxilio spoiled the pro debut of Zandro Librador by scoring the unanimous decision victory. Scores by the judges- Edgar Olalo-40-36, Raffy Osumo-39-37, Edward Ligas – 39-37.
For the rest of the card -Ian Abne knocked out Marvin Campo in the opening round, Rodex Piala beat Vicente Casido by majority decision, Yeroge Gura won by unanimous decision over Steven Noblefranca and Christopher Caburog beat Arniel Cañete by split decision,scores- Raffy Osumo-39-37 for Canete, Edwin Barrientos and Edgar Olalo had it 39-37 for Caburog.
This card was the debut presentation of ARQ Promotions.
Photo from Saturday afternoon’s action in Mandaue.
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