Earlier today saw the announcement of an Atomweight world title double header set for February 25th at Korakuen Hall, as the main bouts for Victoriva Vol 8.
One of the title bouts will see 38 year old veteran Ayaka Miyao (24-9-2, 6) [宮尾綾香] battle against professional novice Eri Matsuda (4-0-1, 1) [松田恵里], in a bout for the vacant IBF Atomweight title.
For Miyao the bout will see her looking to become a 2-time world champion. The veteran is a former WBA champion, who has, sadly, come up short a number of times in recent years, including a 2015 loss in a unification bout with Momo Koseki, a WBO title fight in 2016 with Nao Ikeyama, a WBA title fight with Montserrat Alarcon in 2019, and a loss and a draw to Etsuko Tada in WBO title bouts in 2020. Despite those set backs she has shown she belongs at the world level, and with her experience, skill and style she is still very much a handful for anyone in the division.
As for Matsuda, this will be her second world title bout, following a draw with the then IBF champion Saemi Hanagata back in March, in what was Hanagata's final bout before she retired. That was a great bout, and showed that Matsuda belonged at this level, even if she was denied by the judges, who had the bout a majority draw.
The other title bout will see WBO champion Mika Iwakawa (10-5-1, 3) [岩川 美花] take on Nanae Suzuki (10-4-1, 1) [鈴木菜々江], in a bout that was supposed to take place in October 15th but was cancelled when Iwakawa suffered an injury whilst training.
These two have fought before, with Iwakawa narrowly defending her title in 2020, when she took a split decision over Suzuki, and she will be seeking her second defense here, whilst Suzuki will be looking to win a world title in her second shot at a major belt.
Whilst a lot of focus on Japanese boxing tomorrow will be on Kyoto, there is actually a smaller card in Tokyo, thanks to Dangan. The scheduled main event for the card was supposed to be a bout between former Japanese Featherweight champion Taiki Minamoto (16-7-1, 13) [源大輝] and the under-rated Shingo Kusano (13-9-1, 5) [草野慎悟], in what looked like a mouth watering match up.
Sadly that match up was cancelled earlier today, when Shingo Kusano tested positive for Covid19 with a PCR test taken around the time of the weigh in.
Thankfully this bout is being rescheduled, and has been pencilled in for December 2nd, with Minamoto taking part in a public sparring session tomorrow at Korakuen Hall due to Kusano's test.
Sadly this wasn't the only issue with this show, and wasn't originally scheduled in as the main event. That was a planned bout between Hironori Mishiro (10-0-1, 3) [三代大訓] and Kazuhiro Nishitani (21-5-1, 12) [西谷和宏], which was cancelled when it was clear Mishiro wouldn't be fit for the contest, several weeks ago. As result of two notable bouts being cancelled for his show, we are now left with a main event between Ayaka Miyao (23-9-2, 6) [宮尾綾香] and Kaori Nagai (6-2-3, 2) [長井香織].
Earlier this month the list of nominees for the Japanese annual boxing awards were announced, with the Japanese Boxing Commission working alongside the JBC and Tokyo Athletic Press Club Boxing Subcommittee, to decide the shortlists for the various awards. Today the winners of those awards were all announced.
The MVP for the year was unified WBA "super" and IBF Bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue (20-0, 17) [井上 尚弥], who now taken the award 5 times during his career, in fact he's taken the award 4 years in a row now showing just how much he has dominated Japanese boxing in recent years.
The Skill Award was won by WBO Super Flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka (25-2, 14) [井岡一翔], who won the award for the second year running. Inoue also won the KO award.
The Special Merit award went to WBO Flyweight champion Junto Nakatani (21-0, 16) [中谷 潤人]
The Effort/Fighting award was a share award, won by Ryoji Fukunaga (13-4, 13) [福永亮次] and Kenichi Horikawa (41-16-1, 14) [堀川 謙一]. Fukunaga had a great year, unifying the JBC, OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight titles, whilst Horikawa claimed the OPBF Light Flyweight title in an excellent performance in July.
The Newcomer Award was won by OPBF Super Featherweight champion Hironori Mishiro (10-0-1, 3) [三代大訓]
The best world title bout bout of the year was the brilliant WBO Super Flyweight title bout between Kazuto Ioka and Kosei Tanaka (15-1, 9) [田中恒成], which took place on New Year's Eve and delivered a truly brilliant battle.
The best non-world title bout was the dramatic clash between Masayoshi Nakatani (19-1, 13) [中谷正義] and Felix Verdejo, who fought for the WBO Intercontinental Lightweight title.
The female MVP for the year was WBO female Minimumweight champion Etsuko Tada (20-3-3, 7) [多田悦子], who actually had a clean sweep as her bout with Ayaka Miyao [宮尾 綾香] also won the female fight of the year.
There was also Special awards for former world champions Takahiro Ao [粟生 隆寛] and Akira Yaegashi [八重樫 東].
Sadly there wasn't a ceremony like usual for the awards, given the on going pandemic.
Earlier this week a letter from the WBO explained that a planned bout between WBO female Minimumweight champion Etsuko Tada (20-3-3, 7) [多田悦子] and Vietnamese fighter Thi Thu Nhi Nguyen (4-0, 1), set for February 27th, has had to be postponed.
The bout, which was agreed to take place in Vietnam on a Cocky Buffalo promoted show, has been nixed due to issues with Japanese fighters leaving the country.
At the moment the JBC (Japan Boxing Commission) will not be certified to compete away from home due to the travel restrictions caused by the on going pandemic. As a result the bout has been postponed for the foreseeable future.
The bout is now expected to be taking in place in April, though there is still no guarantee that an April date will be possible given the on going developments of Covid19.
Originally Nguyen was supposed to face Ayaka Miyao [宮尾 綾香] for the then vacant title in September. Covid19 scuppered that bout, with Miyao facing Tada for the title, and Tada stopping Miyao with one of the best female KO's we've ever seen, to claim the belt. That bout took place with the understanding that the winner was expected to defend against Nguyen. As seen by the WBO letter the unbeaten Vietnamese fighter is waiting in the wings, and will be expecting her shot sooner rather than later.
Earlier today the nominations for the JBC and Tokyo Athletic Press Club Boxing Subcommittee annual awards were announced, with the media being able to vote on the winners, who will be announced later this month. Unlike usual there will not be a big event ceremony, due to the ongoing Covid19 situation.
Sadly Covid19 really did destroy the boxing calendar in Japan and only a handful of top Japanese fighters managed to squeeze a fight into the year. In fact only 3 of the 7 current male world champions managed to fight, and that include a man who won his world title late year.
The fighters nominated for the "Best Fighter" award were those 3 champions that manage to fight last year:
They were WBO Super Flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka (25-2, 14) [井岡一翔]
WBO Flyweight champion Junto Nakatani (21-0, 16) [中谷 潤人]
And unified WBA "super" and IBF Bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue (20-0, 17) [井上 尚弥]
Those 3 champions are also up in the running for the "Skill Award".
The "Special Merit" award sees Junto Nakatani in the running alongside:
Masayoshi Nakatani (19-1, 13) [中谷正義]
and Hironori Mishiro (10-0-1, 3) [三代大訓]
The Effort/Fighting Award short list is
Ryoji Fukunaga (13-4, 13) [福永亮次]
and Kenichi Horikawa (41-16-1, 14) [堀川 謙一]
The KO award has 4 nominees, with Inoue, Ioka, and both Junto and Masayoshi Nakatani.
The newcomer award sees Mishiro up against:
Daishi Nagata (15-2-2, 6) [永田大士]
and Masamichi Yabuki (12-3, 11) [佐藤政道]
The best bout of the year has been split into two categories, as it has been for a while.
The world title bouts up for the award are:
Kazuto Ioka Vs Kosei Tanaka (15-1, 9) [田中恒成]
Naoya Inoue Vs Jason Moloney
Junto Nakatani Vs Giemel Magramo
As for the none world title bouts, the fights nominated here are:
Riku Nagahama [長濱 陸] Vs Kudura Kaneko [クドゥラ 金子]- For the OPBF Welterweight title
Kenichi Ogawa [尾川 堅一] Vs Kazuhiro Nishitani [西谷和宏] - Non title bout
Masayoshi Nakatani Vs Felix Verdejo - WBO Intercontinental Lightweight title
Ryoji Fukunaga Vs Kenta Nakagawa [中川 健太] - WBO Asia Pacific, JBC and OPBF triple title bout
and Hironori Mishiro Vs Masayuki Ito [伊藤 雅雪] - Non title bout
As for the female awards, the MVP nominess are:
WBO Atomweight champion Mika Iwakawa (10-5-1, 3) [岩川 美花]
WBO female Minimumweight champion Etsuko Tada (20-3-3, 7) [多田悦子]
and WBO female Super Flyweight champion Tomoko Okuda (7-2-2, 1) [奥田朋子]
The best bouts for female boxing are:
Mika Iwakawa Vs Nanae Suzuki [鈴木菜々江]
Etsuko Tada Vs Ayaka Miyao [宮尾 綾香]
and Tomoko Okuda Vs Miyo Yoshida [吉田 実代]
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