Back in January we reported that former Japanese Light Welterweight champion Hiroki Okada (19-2, 13) [岡田 博喜] would be returning to the ring on March 26th at Korakuen Hall, in an 8 round bout against Korean fighter Hwang Kil Kim (11-2, 5) [김황길]. Today that bout was confirmed, with Kadoebi going further than just confirming the bout, but giving the full line up of the show, which will be SLUGFEST 14.
The card, which will feature only 8 round bouts, is a really interesting one, not just due to it being Okada's first bout in Japan in almost 2 years, but because several of the bouts are very well matched, or feature notable names.
The chief support bout will see former world title challenger Takuya Kogawa (30-6-1, 13) [粉川拓也] look to bounce back from a heavy KO defeat to Jay-R Raquinel last year. Kogawa will be up against Japanese ranked Light Flyweight Hayato Yamaguchi (15-8-1, 2) [山口隼人], in what should be a relatively safe fight for Kogawa's health, but not a gimme at all, given that Yamaguchi is a talented fighter but a light hitting one. Whilst this isn't a gimme, it is a must win for Kogawa, who turns 35 in April.
Another notable fighter on this show is OPBF Light Middleweight champion Akinori Watanabe (39-7-1, 33) [渡部あきのり], who fights in a non-title bout against Panturak Namtong (13-5-1, 9), in what looks like a stay busy bout for the Oriental champion.
In terms of more interesting fights we'll see Japanese-Brazilian Cristiano Aoqui (14-9-2, 10) [アオキ クリスチャーノ] face off with Fumisuke Kimura (9-5-1, 6) [木村文祐], in what should be a very explosive 140lb bout, between two men who are limited, but can punch. An equally interesting match up will see Yoji Saito (1-1-2, 1) [齊藤陽ニ] take on Takahiro Araki (12-9, 2) [荒木貴裕], in what should be a very brutal match up, given the styles of the two men involved.
Arguable the most interesting of the bouts will see the highly regarded Ayato Hiromoto (2-0, 1) [廣本彩刀] fight in his first 8 rounder as he takes on 2018 Rookie of the Year winner Yoshiki Minato (8-3, 3) [湊義生], in a very good looking step up for Hiromoto.
Related - Hiroki Okada to face Hwang Kil Kim
Earlier today during Kadoebi's "Slugfest 12" show there was a number of fighters announcing their next bouts, set for Slugfest 13 on February 17th.
The main event will see Filipino power puncher Froilan Saludar (31-3-1, 22) return to Japan to make his first defense of the WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight title. In the opposite corner to Saludar will be fellow puncher Ryoji Fukunaga (11-4, 11) [福永亮次], in what looks likely to be a very explosive encounter.
Saludar made a splash in September when he won the title with a brutal KO win over Tsubasa Murachi, and extended his winning run to 3 bouts following a 2018 loss to Sho Kimura in a WBO Flyweight world title bout in China. It was an impressive performance from Saludar after many had written him due to the Kimura loss, ourselves included, and the win has genuinely kept his career alive.
Fukunaga on the other hand is a hard man to get a solid read on. He won the 2016 Rookie of the Year, but has gone 4-2 since then with his wins come against very poor opponents and his losses coming to solid, but unspectacular, foes. He can certainly bang but it's hard to know what he'll offer against a fighter of Saludar's ability and experience.
Also confirmed for this show, though currently opponent-less, Ryota Yamauchi (5-1, 4) [山内涼太], who looks to build on Augusts's win over Alphoe Dagayloan, and Ayato Hiromoto (2-0, 1) [廣本彩刀], who competes in his first 8 rounder.
One other thing to note is that Japanese veteran Takuya Kogawa (30-6-1, 13) [粉川拓也] is looking to make his return on the following "Slugfest" card, pencilled in for March. The details here are less fleshed out however and we suspect he'll be in a supporting bout against a limited visiting opponent.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Back in September Ayato Hiromoto (2-0, 1) [廣本 彩刀] mad a successful debut against a limited Thai foe. today he returned to the ring for a notable step up in class, and picked up his second win with a very good performance belied his lack of professional experienced.
The Japanese novice was up against experienced Filipino foe Romel Oliveros (10-6-1, 4), a massive step up in class from Suriyo Chonlathan, and despite the edge in difference in experience Hiromoto dominated his foe.
From the early going Hiromoto established his distance and smartly used his speed and his reach to keep Oliveros at range. The Filipino always looked like he was dangerous, but simply couldn't get going, and was rocked himself in round 3 as Hirimoto stuck to a smart and well thought out gameplan.
The one moment of real success for Oliveros came in round 5, when he caught Hirimoto with a straight right hand, but was unable to land any sort of follow up blow as Hiromoto got back to what had brought him the early success, and saw out the distance with no issues at all.
After 6 rounds the judges turned in scores of 60-54, 59-55 and 59-56 all in favour of Hiromoto, who genuinely impressed with a very polished performance.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
The Japanese scene has a lot of brothers involved, some of them are well known like the Inoue brothers, Naoya and Takuma, and some of them are less well known, like the 3 boxing Tomioka brothers. What the country didn't have, until, was a brother-sister partnership in the professional ranks. That changed today when Ayato Hiromoto [廣本 彩刀] took part in his B license test, signifying that he was joining his sister Eruka Hiromoto (5-0) [廣本江留香], the current OPBF female Minimumweight champion.
Not only is Ayato the brother of a talented female fighter but he is, himself, a former solid amateur. He went 31-17 in the unpaid ranks and fought for his university team. Whilst that record isn't a mind blowing one the University league in Japan is an incredibly tough one and losses are to be expected there, with youngsters getting serious experience at a young age.
The 22 year old Super Flyweight hopeful spared 3 rounds with Yuki Nakajima (2-0, 2) [中嶋憂輝], who himself has a boxing brother, as part of his B license test today and looked very talented through out the spar. Notably he has signed his professional papers with the same gym as Nakajima, the Kadoebi Gym in Tokyo. Given Kadoebi's willingness to match their prospects aggressively this should mean we see him in meaningful fights sooner rather than later.
Although he will technically have to wait until tomorrow to be a licensed fighter Ayato has got his first two bouts pencilled in. The first of those will take place on September 20th with his second bout scheduled for November. Sadly though opponents for neither bout have been announced for the youngster.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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