Yesterday the East Japan Boxing Association announced the award winners for the month of August, a month that really didn't have the quantity of fights we usually see during a summer month in Japan.
The MVP for the month was Lightweight triple crown champion Shuichiro Yoshino (14-0, 11) [吉野 修一郎] who scored his latest defense of the Japanese national title, when he stopped Shuma Nakazato (10-2-3, 7) [仲里周磨] on August 12th. Whilst the performance wasn't one of Yoshino's best, and it did show he still has work to do before fighting for a world title, it was clearly one of the most important wins for a Japanese fighter during the month.
The Fighting Spirit award was won by Gakuya Furuhashi (28-8-1, 16) [古橋大輔], who won the award for his Japanese Super Bantamweight title defense against Seigo Hanamori (7-4, 5) [花森 成吾] on August 2nd, in what was a brilliantly entertaining war. Hanamori, to his credit, played his role in the fight, but was no real challenge for Furuhashi, who ground him down in a spectacularly entertaining, though short, bout.
The Newcomer award was won by the newly crowned Japanese Youth Minimumweight champion Shunsuke Isa (9-3-1, 1) [伊佐 春輔] took a razor thin split decision over Yuni Takada (8-8-2, 3) [高田 勇仁] early in the month.
Earlier today the latest winners of the monthly East Japan Boxing Association Monthly awards were named, with three men picking up awards for what they did in July.
The MVP for the month was named as former WBO Super Featherweight champion Masayuki Ito (27-3-1, 15) [伊藤 雅雪], who dominated former Japanese 140lb champion Valentine Hosokawa (25-9-3, 12) [細川 バレンタイン] very early in the month. Ito, who was essentially fighting to save his career, really battered the tough Hosokawa, who took a legitimate beating until he was finally saved in round 8, having shown little more than fighting spirit and toughness. Following the bout Hosokawa announced his retirement, which is a good decision, but Ito still looked fantastic and deserves this MVP award.
The Fighting Spirit award was won by Ginjiro Shigeoka (6-0, 5) [重岡銀次朗], who successfully defended the WBO Asia Pacific Minimumweight title with an early win over the previously unbeaten Toshiki Kawamitsu (6-1, 3) [川満俊輝]. The bout was Shigeoka's first since the end of 2019, though he looked just as impressive he had before his long lay off. After the win he vacated the title, and it's clear he now wants a world title bout, something it seems likely that he will get sooner rather than later.
The third award was was the Newcomer award, which was won by the heavy handed Suzumi Takayama (4-0, 4) [高山 涼深], who blitzed Kosuke Tomioka (4-2, 3) [富岡 浩介] inside a round to show what he was capable of. This was a major set back for the talented and enigmatic Tomioka, but a real break out performance for Takayama, who we expect to see fighting for senior titles in the next 12 months or so. He is something special, and yet still flying under the radar.
Earlier today the East Japan Boxing Association announced the award winners for the month of March, naming 3 award winners for the month, though strangely one of the regular awards didn't actually have a winner.
The Fighting Spirit award winner was Katsuya Fukui (3-0, 2) [福井勝也], who earned the award for his impressive performance on March 25th, when he defeated Hiroki Hanabusa (8-2-3, 3) [英洸貴] in a very good 8 rounder. Although not a fight of the year contender, it was a really good bout, and Fukui really did show very good tools for a man fighting in just his third professional bout.
Interestingly there were two winners of the Newcomer award for the month.
One of those was former K-1 champion Yoshiki Takei (1-0, 1) [武居由樹], who kicked off his professional career back on March 11th with an eye catching performance against Kazunori Takai (6-8-3, 3) [高井一憲]. Takei showed off what he could do in stopping his man inside 2 minutes, and making a real statement of intent about his future in the sport. Fingers crossed his next opponent will be more testing, but this was still a very good performance.
The other winner was former amateur standout Kenji Fujita (1-0, 1) [藤田健児], who scored a 6th round TKO win on March 25th against Motosuke Kimura (3-6-2, 1) [木村元祐]. Hw showed composure and poise here and it's clear he has a lot to give the sport, though will clearly need to face bigger and better tests than Kimura in the near future. He has so much potential, and looked so good as an amateur, that there really is no need to hold him on a leash. Instead Teiken should be looking to move him very quickly.
Strangely there was no MVP for the month, which is a bit strange, though in fairness there was very, very little action in Japan last month, likely explaining why no fighter was picked here.
Earlier today saw the announcements of the East Japan Professional Boxing Association monthly award winners for February 2021 being named. Notably there was only 2 winners announced this month, though in part that was due to a lack of action in Japan during February, where there was very, very few shows.
As a result of the lack of action there was actually no MVP announced for the month. As a result we only saw winners named for the Newcomer Award and the Fighting Spirit Award.
The Fighting Spirit Award was won by Japanese Youth Light Flyweight champion Yudai Shigeoka (3-0, 2) [重岡優大], who won the title and the award for his stoppage win over talented youngster Ryu Horikawa (3-1-1, 1) [堀川 龍]. The bout, held on February 11th, was a barn burning bout and saw the exciting Shigeoka break down the gutsy Horikawa for the title in an exciting bout.
The Newcomer Award was won by the hard hitting Tsubasa Narai (7-0, 6) [奈良井 翼] for his victory over Seika Fukuda (5-1, 1) [福田 星河], in the All Japan Rookie of the Year Super Featherweight final. The heavy handed Narai came out like a fighter with a point to prove, stopping Fukuda inside the opening round. This was as eye catching of a performance as we had at the Rookie finals, and saw Narai really impressing.
The two men will be honoured at a later date via a remote ceremony.
Earlier today the East Japan Boxing Association announced their monthly award winners for the month of January, with 3 winners being announced.
The MVP for the month was the newly crowned OPBF Bantamweight champion Takuma Inoue (14-1, 3) [井上拓真] who earned the award for his technical decision win against Keita Kurihara (15-6, 13) [栗原慶太] back on January 14th. During the bout Inoue looked in control through out, and showed his speed, movement and boxing IQ in one of, if not the, best performance of his career.
The Fighting Spirit award was also won by a new champion, with Gakuya Furuhashi (27-8-1, 15) [古橋大輔] picking up the award for his amazing win over Yusaku Kuga (19-5-1, 13) [久我勇作], which saw him claim the Japanese Super Bantamweight title. The bout was Furuhashi's third for the title and he really did show incredible fighting spirit to take a 9th round TKO win over Kuga back on January 22nd.
The Newcomer award was won by the hard hitting Seigo Hanamori (7-3, 5) [花森 成吾], who recorded an impressive win over #7 JBC ranked Super Bantamweight Naoto Mizutani (7-7-2, 2) [水谷 直人], in what was the most meaningful win of his career, by far.
As we've seen in recent months there will not be a physical award ceremony, due to the ongoing pandemic, but the fighters will be able to take part in a online ceremony.
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