Yesterday the board of directors of the East Japan Boxing Association held a meeting and announced a number of things.
One of those announcements was that the Ambition GYM, which promotes WBO Super Flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka (26-2, 15) [井岡一翔] and former WBC Flyweight champion Daigo Higa (17-2-1, 17) [比 嘉 大吾]. The Gym will now be known as the Shisei Boxing Gym, with the name change coming in to effect from July 15th. The gym will also relocate to Shimomeguro, Meguro-ku.
A second announcement was that the Noda Star Boxing Gym has withdrawn from the East Japan Boxing Association.
A more notable announcement was that a ¥20,000 subsidy would be paid to the promoter for each fighter, and that charges shouldn't be made to the Gym or Fighter for the PCR tests and the hotel for isolation. This is clearly to help promoters and gyms during the on going situation, which has still seen reduced crowds attended Japanese events.
Earlier today on former WBC Flyweight champion Daigo Higa (16-1, 16) [比嘉 大吾] held a virtual press conference to announce the next stage of his career, announcing which gym he would be signing to following him leaving the Shirai Gushiken Gym earlier this year.
At the press conference Higa announce that he would be joining the newly named Ambition Gym, which is being lead by WBO Super Flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka (25-2, 14) [井岡一翔].
Higa had been linked to the gym around 2 weeks ago, before the gym had changed it's name from the Ozaki Boxing Gym, with the move essentially being an open secret in Japanese boxing circles.
Not only did Higa confirm the move to the Ambition gym but he also confirmed that he would continue working with trainer Joji Nogi, who Higa has been trained by in the past. Nogi actually joined Higa on the call, and explained that Higa told him he wanted to continue, and it seems the relationship between the two is part of why Higa is continuing his career in the ring.
At the press conference Higa also stated that he wanted to be a world champion again, and that he wanted Nogi to be beside him when that happens. It was also made clear that he will be campaigning at Bantamweight going forward. That's the same division as Japanese star Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16) [井上 尚弥], though sadly it doesn't seem likely we'll see that bout as it appears Higa will become a TBS fighter whilst Inoue will remain a Fuji TV fighter.
Although it's currently unclear when Higa will be back in the ring, though rumours have swirled that a September date is likely, he admitted that he would ideally like to fight twice more before the end of the year. We would expect the first to be another tune up before a bigger bout, potentially in December, as he begins his climb to a second world title.
We've known since early in the year that WBO Super Flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka (25-2, 14) [井岡一翔] was set to run his own gym, leaving the DANGAN set up to take more control over his career and put together a stable of his own. Today Ioka's transfer to gym was made official and with the fighter himself announce the change.
Ioka, through his team, announced that he had transferred to what will now be known as the Ambition Gym.
The gym was previously known as the Ozaki Boxing Gym, and had Takuya Kiya as the Chairman. Kiya will continue to chair the gym going forward with Ioka as it's biggest star.
According to a number of Japanese reports the gym is also set to announce the signing of former WBC Flyweight champion Daigo Higa (16-1, 16) [比嘉 大吾] in the coming days with both men expected to be training their and linking the gym with Japanese broadcaster TBS.
Reportedly Higa will make his return with the Gym at some point in September, against a yet to be named opponents, whilst Ioka is expected to return in a mandatory title defense against Kosei Tanaka (15-0, 9) [田中恒成], though it's not totally clear when that bout will be held with September and December both being seen as possibilities.
News! We try and give you the most interesting news stories from the Asian boxing world!