Back in September news broke that the historic Aoki gym, was going to be closed before the start of 2020. That actually happened yesterday, December 26th, with Aoki announcing on social media that their doors were closing.
Of course this is boxing, and nothing is as straight forward as it seems and the gym is less "closing down" and more "transferring", if you will.
Rather than permanently closing it doors, like the legendary Yonekura gym, the Aoki gym will instead re-open in the new year as DANGAN Aoki on January 6th, keeping not only the Aoki fighters but also the Dangan ones.
From what we understand it seems like the current reason Taiki gym could be closed, and everyone could end up under the new DANGAN Aoki banner, with the gym regarded as a better gym overall for things like training. However this wasn't confirmed at the time.
This leads us to believe that the now rumoured bout between former WBO Flyweight champion Sho Kimura (18-3-2, 11) [木村翔] and former WBO Minimumweight champion Merlito Sabillo (27-7-1, 13) would be taking place with Kimura fighting out of the new DANGAN Aoki gym. It would also likely continue to promote Takuya Watanabe (37-9-1, 21) [渡邉卓也], ahead of his Japanese Super Featherweight title fight with Kosuke Saka (20-5, 17) [坂晃典] at the 2020 Champion Carnival.
Earlier today news broke that the Aoki Gym in Tokyo, would be closing due before the started of 2020 due to issues with compliance.
The full issues haven't been totally disclosed, but appear to be of a financial nature. and was described as being an issue of power harassment, and social irresponsible.
The gym isn't a huge one, but is known for having several notable fighters. One of those was female star Momo Koseki (24-2-1, 9) [小関 桃], who retired in 2018, former WBO Flyweight Sho Kimura (18-3-2, 11) [木村翔] and Takuya Watanabe (36-9-1, 21) [渡邉卓也].
Whilst Koseki has retired, Kimura is still worl ranked, and only lost his world title a year. More notably Watanabe has a big bout planned for October 30th against former Japanese Featherweight champion Taiki Minamoto (16-5-1, 13) [源大輝], in what will be a Japanese Featherweight title eliminator.
The gym is still open, but the fighters such as Kimura and Watanabe, will need to transfer before it closes it's doors. There is no set date for the closure, but those fighters will still need to be transferred, with their licenses before it does close.
The gym has started that not only will it be closed by January 1st 2020, and fighters will be transferred, where appropriate, but that that the directors will also retire by the date it closes.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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