Earlier this week A-Sign Boxing announced that they would be running an online Salon for the next 2 months as they look to promote their fighters and their August 31st show, running the Salon facility for 2 months.
The idea of the service seems to be as premium service to allow fans additional virtual access to the fighters with things like exclusive discussions videos and sparring as well as news from both Japan and international boxing scenes. It will also involve some major players from Japan including Ichitaro Ishii-the Chairman of Yokohama Hikari Gym, Issei Nakaya-the Chairman of the Hachioji Nakaya, the brilliant writer Daisuke Sugiura and legendary photographer Naoki Fukuda.
Whilst we do like the idea in principle it should be noted that the service is a premium service and will be part of a crowd funding campaign to help support the fighters involved on the August 31st show.
The service costs ¥2,980 (approx £22/ $28), and will see those who make a payment getting an email with how to join the private groups.
Although the idea really is a good on the price point does seem incredibly steep given the cost of the Boxing Raise service, which is ¥980 (approx £7.30/$9). If this is a one off then it might be a success, but longer term it does feel like their pricing will need to come more in line with what Raise is offering if it's to be a long term success.
In saying that however the August 31st show is still set to be streamed for free on YouTube so it does feel like this package is aimed at the hardcore of the hardcore of Japanese fans and those wanting to help the fighters directly, rather being focused on just watching the fights.
We have all been waiting for live boxing to return for weeks, though we all understand why the sport hasn't been taking place on any sort of regular basis. Now it appears that there are events being lined up for the next few months.
It appears that one of those events will be streamed live on the A-Sign boxing YouTube Channel, who had been hoping to stream events back in March but will now need to wait until August to have their live feeds.
Originally the channel, which has provided so amazing fights on delay, was hoping to stream some Rookie of the Year cards as part of the "Save Japanese Boxing" campaign. It's now unclear if they will be able to stream them when they get re-arranged. However the channel are planning to show an event on August 31st from the Shinjuku FACE, which isn't expected to have fans attending.
With no fans attending there is a plan to bring in a tipping system for fans to financially aid the fighters for their bouts.
The event is set to be headlined by the Japanese debut of Shoki Sakai (23-11-2, 12) [坂井 祥記], who has fought his entire career so far in the West. His opponent hasn't yet been named.
Other bouts announced for this show includes a match up between Ken Koubuchi (5-4, 4) [鯉渕 健] and cult hero Takuya Yamaguchi (4-11-2, 2) [山口拓也], as well as a bout between Ryugo Ushijima (3-1-2, 2) [牛島 龍吾] and Ryukyu Oho (6-3, 3) [大保 龍球]. Whilst not amazing bout
Others announced for this show include promising teenager Jin Sasaki (7-0, 6) [佐々木 尽] and 2019 Rookie of the Year winner Hyoga Taniguchi (3-2-2, 1) [谷口 彪賀], who are both currently without an announced opponent.
Back September we reported that former OPBF and JBC champion Ryo Akaho (32-2-2, 21) [赤穂亮] would be back in the ring on November 19th for his next bout as part of an upcoming A-Sign Bee card. At the time however his opponent wasn't named.
Today we can report that Akaho's opponent for that bout will be the rather disappointing Naoto Mizutani (5-4-1, 2) [水谷直人], who is 1-1-1 in his last 3 and is taking a monstrous step up in class. The bout will be an 8 round contest at Super Bantamweight and will be Mizutani's first since an upset win over Mirai Imagawa in September, the only win Mizutani has had over a domestic opponent in 3 years. For Akaho this will be his second bout of 2018, and sees him looking to build on an opening round win over Robert Udtohan.
Another bout of note confirmed for this card is a Japanese Youth Light Flyweight title bout, with Ryuto Oho (11-4-1, 3) [大保龍斗] defending his title against Yuta Nakayama (6-1-1, 3) [中山祐太]. Originally Oho was supposed to defend the belt in August against Hiroki Inamine but that bout fell though due to Inamine pulling out, so this will be Oho's first defense of the title he won in April, when he stopped Tetsuya Tomioka. For Nakayama the bout will see him coming into the ring in search of a 6th straight win.
As with all A-Sign shows we do expect this to make it's way to Youtube, though it may be drip fed to the online video website.
On May 1st we get the chance to see a brilliant Japanese Middleweight title bout as Hikaru Nishida (15-8-1, 7) [西田 光] defends his "regular" title against "interim" champion Tomohiro Ebisu (17-4, 17) [胡 朋宏], in what has the potential to be a very exciting and thrilling back and forth war between a pressure fighter a huge puncher. The bout will see Ebisu hunting a win to become a 2-time national champion whilst Nishida will be looking to return from what was a pretty bad injury suffered out of the ring last year.
Today, ahead of the bout, A-Sign boxing put up a hype video for the bout whilst confirming that they would be hosting the card, as a Video on Demand, on their website.
For fans interested in the card it will cost ¥500, with 5 bouts apparently being included, and although it's not the biggest card the main event has enough appeal to be worth a purchase, especially given that the price is about £3.50 of about $4.50.
For those interested in the hype video that can be seen below, though with both men speaking through the video it may not be the most interesting for those unable to speak Japanese. Saying that however the bout it's self should be something very special and of course in the ring we all speak the same language!
Hikaru Nishida and Tomohiro Ebisu battle to unify the Middleweight crown!
It's fair to say that 2017 hasn't been a great year for video website Asign Boxing, with their first show of the year losing it's main event on the day before the card and their second show being less than enticing. Despite the slow start to the year it does look like they are set for some March madness with two big shows taking place in the space of a few days.
The first of those shows, Asign Bee 1, takes place on March 10th and the second, creatively named Asign Bee 2, takes place on March 13th.
The first of those shows features a host of notable names. The main event will see former world title challenger Ryo Akaho (29-2-2, 19) [赤穂 亮] battle Yushi Tanaka (19-1-3, 13) [田中 裕士] for the Japanese Bantamweight titlewhilst supporting bouts will see former world champion Tomoki Kameda (32-2, 20) [亀田和毅] face Thaland's Mike Tawatchai (42-9-1, 25) [ไมค์เกษตรพัฒนา] and Hisashi Amagasa (31-6-2, 20) [天笠 尚] take on veteran professional Kinshiro Usui (27-4, 11) [臼井 欽士郎].
The second of the shows will be headlined by Naoko Fujioka (15-2, 6) [藤岡 奈穂子] battling against Australian Louisa Hawton (7-0, 3) for the WBO female Light Flyweight title. That card has several notable suporting boutsof it's own, though not quite as good as the first show.
Asign have offered the two cards for sale at ￥700 each, about £5.00 or $6.20, however they also sell the two shows together for a really good value ￥1000,about £7 or $8.80. Although pracier than a month of Boxingraise their is real value here in paying for both shows together!
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