Earlier today Dangan put on their latest show at Korakuen Hall, and sadly it was a card gutted by late pull outs, which saw a 5 bout card reduced to a 3 bout show. Thankfully however what we got was all competitive with 3 ultra close, hard fought and entertaining bouts.
The first of the three bouts to take place saw Seiya Yamaguchi (3-7-3, 2) [山口 成也] fight to a 6 round draw with Takahiro Nakatsuka (3-3-3) [中塚 貴大], in a Featherweight bout. From the off this was back and forth, but what made it really good was the fact the tempo of the bout just got faster and faster as the rounds went on with rounds 5 and 6 being particularly thrilling.
The second bout was an 8 rounder at Bantamweight, which saw Ayato Hiromoto (5-1, 2) [廣本 彩刀] take a split decision over Wataru Ikegami (9-7-1, 5) [池上 渉], in what was a super close and competitive bout. The under-rated Ikegami started well, and showed that his record really doesn't reflect his ability, but as the bout got going Hiromoto began to find his flow, and create distance, really managing to fight his way into the bout in the middle and later rounds. Given the strong start by Ikegami this was always going to be close, and all 3 judges turned in scorecards of 77-75, with two of them edging to Hiromoto.
The third bout, and the most notable by far, saw former WBO Flyweight champion Sho Kimura (19-3-3, 12) [木村翔] being held to a very unexpected draw against talented youngster Ryu Horikawa (3-1-2, 1) [堀川龍]. The bout was Kimura first in Japan for the better part of 4 years, and his first boxing bout in more than 2 years, but he was still expected to be too much for Horikawa. Instead we saw Horikawa putting in a truly unexpected performance using his amateur skills, his speed and his energy to establish himself early on behind a crisp jab. Kimura looked the stronger, bigger man, and was applying pressure, but he looked a touch rusty and slower than his foe and as the early rounds went on Horikawa began to look more and more comfortable against the former champion.
Sadly for Horikawa he lacked the power to get Kimura's respect and through the bout Kimura always looked the stronger, tougher fighter, taking what was thrown his way and coming back with the more eye catching single shots. That was despite Horikawa trying to push and bully the former champion around, which made for a genuinely thrilling war in the later stages. The desire of both resulted in the judges struggling to split them, with scores of 76-76 from two of the judges, and 77-75 to Horikawa from the third judge.
After the bout Kimura seemed quite blunt about about his own performance, and seemed to feel he wasn't at his best. He admitted he just couldn't show what he wanted to do, and it seemed clearly there was something missing. He seemed to acknowledged that there was something not right, and almost hinted that if his hunger doesn't return there's no point carrying on in the sport. Perhaps retirement looms.
As for Horikawa he seemed to suggest that his performance was good, though we can't help but feel the result was not what he was hoping for. Despite that a draw against a former world champion, this early in his career, should serve as a great sign of what Horikawa can become in the future, and allow him to put a loss to Yudai Shigeoka behind him. This was a more mature Horikawa, and the youngster shouldn't be written off for having a 3-1-2 record after his first 6 bouts.
Earlier today it was reported that former WBO Flyweight champion Sho Kimura (19-3-2, 12) [木村翔] would be returning to the ring on May 9th, has the main event of DANGAN 249, where he will be facing talented youngster Ryu Horikawa (3-1-1, 1) [堀川龍], in a scheduled 8 round Flyweight bout.
The bout will be Kimura's first professional boxing contest since he stopped Merlito Sabillo in 2 rounds back in February 2020. Since then he has taken part in some exhibitions, including one in China where he was dropped on his head in a weird display that really went all against the ideas of what an exhibition is.
As for Horikawa it will be his first bout since February 2021, when he was stopped in a Japanese Youth Light Flyweight title bout against Yudai Shigeoka. The talented former amateur standout is only 21, and this is a huge step up in class, but a win here would potentially see him secure a regional ranking. He will feel he has the speed, youth and sharpness to take the fight to the 33 year old Kimua, but he will, clearly, be the under-dog.
Also set for this card are bouts featuring former Japanese title challenger Ryoichi Tamura (14-6-1, 7) [田村亮一], talented prospect Ayato Hiromoto (4-2, 1) [廣本彩刀] and the incredibly fun to watch Seigo Hanamori (7-4, 5) [花森成吾]
Earlier today Kadoebi held their latest show under the solid "Slugfest" banner, and although not a monster show, or one of the deepest "Slugfest" events it was certainly a notable one, with 4 bouts taking place including a regional title bout and two bouts featuring very promising and talented prospects.
The show began with a 4 rounder that saw a genuine upset as Shota Ogawa (4-3-1, 3) [小川 将太] stopped 2019 All Japan Rookie of the Year winner Kantaro Nakanishi (3-1-1) [中西 寛多郎] in a Bantamweight clash. Nakanishi, who hadn't fought in over a year, landed some nice shots in the opening round, but in round 2 the fight became a fire fight with Ogawa dropping his man early in the round. Nakanishi beat the count but was under pressure at the restart forcing the referee to save him at the 1:03 mark of round 2.
The second bout saw the touted Jun Ikegawa (2-0) [池側 純] take a 6 round decision win over Ryuya Nihei (5-2-1, 1) [二瓶 竜弥]. Nihei showed some ambition and hunger early on here, but he was repeatedly out foxed, and out though by the talented Ikegawa, who controlled range really well, and left his man cut. The boxing brain of Ikegawa was on show through out here, as he landed and got out of range before Nihei could land counters, and it was a good show case of the youngster's boxing ability. After 6 rounds this was 60-54, twice, and 59-55, and despite a very good win, we do get the feeling there is a lot, lot more to come from Ikegawa in the future.
In the chief support bout we saw the highly regarded Ayato Hiromoto (4-0, 2) [廣本 彩刀] put in one of his best performances as he scored a 7th round TKO win over veteran Hiroki Yajima (9-10-3, 4) [矢島 大樹], who had never previously been stopped. Hiromoto controlled the action behind his left hand early on, using his jabs and hooks to dictate the action. Yajima tried to fight back, but when he took risks he was punished, notable in round 5. In round 7 Hiromoto managed to drop his man, who returned to his feet and came back swinging before being dropped a second time by a hard right hand, forcing the stoppage.
In the main event we saw WBO Asia Pacific Flyweight champion Ryota Yamauchi (8-1, 7) [山内涼太] successfully defending his title as he stopped the over-matched Yuta Nakayama (8-4-1, 5) [中山祐太]. Nakayama was game from the off, and showed some good speed, a nice jab and some real ambition. Sadly for him however Yamauchi wasn't worried and began to slowly break down his man with pressure and body shots, dropping Nakayama with a body shot in round 2. Nakayama was down again in round 5, though managed to again get to his feet and try to fight back. In round 7 however a third knockdown was enough to force a stoppage and get Yamauchi his first defense of the title.
Just over 2 weeks ago we reported that Kyonosuke Kameda (5-2-1, 4) [亀田京之介], the cousin of former world champion Koki, Daiki and Tomoki Kameda, had transferred to the Harada Gym. He had left the Hanagata Gym, who stepped in at the last minute last year to let him fight in the All Japan Rookie of the Year, and had signed up with a gym that he had previously trained when he was a youngster.
Today the next step in Kameda's career was announced as the twice beaten youngster confirmed his next bout.
The promising Kameda, who's still only 22 years old, will be back in the ring on November 28th as he fighters on an edition of "Fighting Beat Boxing" at the EDION Arena Osaka, in Osaka.
The youngster's opponent has been named as the debuting 31 year old Daiki Asai (0-0) [浅井 大貴], who was a very solid amateur with a 61-16 (33) amateur record and a former All Japan Amateur champion.
The bout looks set to be the main event of the show and will be a 6 rounder.
Notably there will also be a very interesting 8 rounder on this show with Ayato Hiromoto (2-0, 1) [廣本彩刀], who was originally planned to face former 2-time world title challenger Masayuki Kuroda (30-8-3, 16) [黒田雅之] before Kuroda's recent surgery, taking on JBC ranked foe Ryosuke Nasu (12-5-3, 2) [那須 亮祐]. This is a mouth watering Super Flyweight bout and a great chance to see what Hiromoto is made off at this very early stage in his career.
Earlier today the Kawasaki Nitta Gym announced that the planned November 28th bout between former 2-time world title challenger Masayuki Kuroda (30-8-3, 16) [黒田雅之] and unbeaten prospect Ayato Hiromoto (2-0, 1) [廣本彩刀] has had to be cancelled.
Sadly during sparring Kuroda tore a tendon in his left arm. The injury worsened and following an MRI it was decided that they would cancel the bout and give Kuroda time to recover.
At the moment the injury seems a pretty bad one, worse than expected. The injury may require surgery, though it's not been decided on yet, and Kuroda's next bout is now looking unlikely to take place before March 2021. That will be close to 2 years after his last bout, a loss to Moruti Mthalane. Although he'll still only be 34 we do wonder if this is a sign that hanging them up and retiring will be better for his longer term health.
The bout, which was originally set for earlier in November before being pushed to late November, was set to be one of the major bouts on an Ohashi promoted "Phoenix Battle" card. Thankfully it appears the card it's self will still go ahead, with WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight champion Musashi Mori (11-0, 6) [森 武蔵] defending his title against Tsuyoshi Tameda (21-5-2, 19) [溜田剛士] in the main event.
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