Last week talented Japanese fighter Masahiro Suzuki (6-0, 4) [鈴木 雅弘] scored a career best win as he stopped Daishi Nagata (15-3-2, 6) [永田大士] and claimed the Japanese Light Welterweight title by the unbeaten. Today it's been announced that his reign is already over, with Suzuki vacating the title less than a week after winning it!
Suzuki is vacating the title to return to his natural Lightweight division, the division that he was ranked in at the start of the year, and the division that better suits his rather small frame. It seems like the plan is for Suzuki to begin pursuing a shot at triple crown Lightweight champion Shuichiro Yoshino (13-0, 10) [吉野 修一郎], who will be defending his Japanese title on August 12th.
Due to Suzuki's decision we now expect to see Andy Hiraoka (17-0, 12) [平岡アンディ] fight for the vacant title later in the year, against a yet to be announced opponent.
Yesterday Hideyuki Ohashi, the head of the Ohashi Gym, announced that his unbeaten charge Andy Hiraoka (17-0, 12) [å¹³å²¡ã¢ã³ãã£] would be getting a shot at newly crowned Japanese 140lb champion Masahiro Suzuki (6-0, 4) [é´æ¨ é å¼], who defeated Daishi Nagata (15-3-2, 6) [æ°¸ç°å¤§å£«] yesterday to win the title.
In the instagram post, above, Mr Ohashi states:
"Andy Hiraoka, 8th in the IBF World Super Light Weight, who was scheduled for the match on September 9, will be nominated by Masahiro Suzuki (Kadoebi), who became the new champion yesterday, within 4 months according to the JBC rules. Please note that the match schedule may change."
Given this post it seems likely that Hiraoka's scheduled September bout will be cancelled, with him instead focusing on facing Suzuki at the earliest opportunity, and within the next 4 months. With that in mind it seems likely that we'll see the men collide in October, though no date has yet been set for the bout
Earlier today we say Ohashi Gym release some details of the September edition of "Phoenix Battle", a show that will be the 80th event under that banner. Whilst not all details for the event were announced we did see some information annouced, inclduing the date, venue, one promising 140lb prospect fighter and one bout being confirmed a little bit lower down the weights.
The show will take at Korakuen Hall on September 9th and is expected to be headlined by unbeaten prospect Andy Hiraoka (17-0, 12) [平岡アンディ]. His opponent for the show hasn't yet been decided, but he's expected to compete in an 8 round bout as he continues to move towards his first professional title. Fingers crossed a title bout will come either at the very end of 2021 or very early in 2022.
Although Hiraoka hasn't had his opponent announced here, we do know that former K-1 champion Yoshiki Takei (1-0, 1) [武居由樹] will be in action against hard hitting Azusa Takeda (5-0, 5) [竹田梓], who is returning to the ring for the first time since July 2019.
The talented Takei impressed in his professional boxing debut, following notable success in K-1, and seems likely to be groomed as a major star for the Ohashi gym, where he's training under the eye of Akira Yaegashi. Takeda on the other hand reached the East Japan Rookie of the Year semi final in 2019 before injury forced him to pull out of the tournament. With his injury now healed up he'll be looking to make a statement, but is in deep against a genuinely talented fighter.
The show will be aired on Fuji TV and several other promising Ohashi Gym fighters are expected to be confirmed for the show over the coming weeks.
Earlier today fight fans at Korakuen Hall had the latest show in the Ohashi promoted Phoenix Battle series of shows, which will be aired this coming weekend on Fuji TV. The card featured 5 bouts in total, a Japanese Youth Welterweight title bout between Rikuto Adachi and Takeru Kobata, a the professional boxing debut of Yoshiki Takei and an interesting match up between Taku Kuwahara and Yoshiki Minato.
For those wanting to watch this, as live, over the weekend we please note that spoilers will begin in the next paragraph, starting with the the first under-card bout, which is unlikely to be televised at all, and then moving on through the other bouts on the show. If you wish to avoid those spoilers, please stop reading now.
The opening bout on the show saw teenage hopeful Yushin Uchida (2-1, 2) [内田 勇心] score an opening round win over Shunsei Sawada (0-1) [澤田 春聖]. This bout, which lasted 161 seconds, saw Uchida drop his man twice to secure the victory.
Amazing the Japanese Youth Welterweight title bout lasted even less time than the opening bout on the show, and this ended with an upset! The much unfancied Takeru Kobata (9-5-1, 4) [小畑武尊] managed to destroy the once touted Rikuto Adachi (14-3, 11) [安達陸仁] in just 123 seconds! Adachi landed the first shot of note, a good body shot, but that seemed to kick start Kobata who pressured afterwards and landed a huge straight left. The shot dropped Adachi an the referee quickly waved off the bout.
For Kobata this is a massive win, a huge upset, and a career defining result up to this point in his career. As for Adachi, it's a second stoppage loss in 4 bouts, and not the return to the ring he would have wanted after more than a year out of the ring.
The third bout on the card ended up being the most competitive, though that wasn't saying a lot. That saw unbeaten hopeful Taku Kuwahara (8-0, 4) [桑原拓] take a wide 8 round decision over Yoshiki Minato (9-4, 4) [湊義生]. From the off Kuwahara was too quick, too sharp, too accurate and too good for Minato who gave a solid effort, but was second best in every facet of his game.
After 8 rounds the scores here were 80-72, twice, and 79-73 to Kuwahara. To his credit the winner did give Minato props, stating that he was strong and good at closing the distance, though the bout was still a clear win for the talented Ohashi gym prospect.
The chief support bout saw former K-1 champion Yoshiki Takei (1-0, 1) [武居由樹] begin his professional career, and do so in impressive fashion as he took out Kazunori Takai (6-8-3, 3) [高井一憲] in the shortest bout on the show. In fact this one lasted just 103 seconds! Takei pressed from the off and backed Takai on to the ropes, where he landed a good right hook and then brilliant combination to drop his man. Takai got back to his feet but was dropped again from a straight left hand just moments later. After the win Takei stated that he wanted to "become a fighter who can carry Japan on my back" an on the back of this performance he may well be able to do just that.
As a K-1 kickboxer Takei was a star and it seems like he has the tools to be a big star in boxing, having been responsible for a huge number of ticket sales on this event. That crossover appeal, added to his clear talent, makes him one of the most interesting prospects in Japan right now, and someone we suspect will be fast tracked.
In the main event fans saw unbeaten hopeful Andy Hiraoka (17-0, 12) [平岡アンディ] take a 3rd round TKO win over Fumisuke Kimura (9-7-1, 6) [木村 文祐], in what was a second bout between the two men. Hiraoka, who hadn't fought in Japan for well over a year, was in charge from the off, pressing the action and backing up Kimura. To his credit Kimura showed his toughness in the first 2 rounds, but in round 3 the referee had seen enough and stepped in, saving Kimura from further punishment.
Interestingly these two men fought back in 2018, and Kimura managed to last 8 rounds with Hiraoka, so this result was an improvement from the youngster. It was also his first main event, and the first time a show has been sold around him. It is however a clear sign that Hiraoka needs to step up now, and title bouts should be sooner rather than later. There's no reason for his team to hold him back, and Japanese, OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific title fights should be on his radar for later in the year.
Tomorrow fight fans at Korakuen Hall will get the chance to see unbeaten hopeful Andy Hiraoka (16-0, 11) [平岡アンディ] fight in a Japanese ring for the first time in well over a year, as he takes on Fumisuke Kimura (9-6-1, 6) [木村 文祐]. The bout between the two men, the main event of an Ohashi promoted show, is being fought over 8 rounds at a contracted 65.2Kg's (143.74lbs) and today the two men took part in their weigh in for the contest.
On the scales Hiraoka came in at 65KG's, or around 143.3lbs, and was the heavier man. He was also the taller man and the man who looked in the much, much better physical condition. Kimura on the other hand was 64.4KG's, just under under 142lbs, and looked older and more battle worn than Hiraoka.
Notably this is a second bout between these two men who originally clashed more than 3 years ago, in February 2018. In their first bout Hiraoka dominated the bout but failed to stop Kimura, needing to accept a wide 8 round decision. Since then Hiraoka has gone 4-0 (3) and scored two wins in the US, whilst linking up with American promotional stable Top Rank. As for Kimura he he has gone 3-3-1 (2) since the first bout with Hiraoka, though is winless in his last 3. That poor recent form has seen him lose all the momentum he had from an upset win over Giraffe Kirin Kanda, from back in April 2019.
At the weigh in Hiraoka referred to their first first bout, and stated that he was looking for a KO here and was hoping to put in a performance that fans will remember.
For fans unable to see this at the venue, the bout will be shown on Fuji TV this coming weekend.
(Image credit - Ohashi Gym)
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