Earlier today at Korakuen Hall we got the latest show from the Ohashi Gym and it's was a much anticipated one with several notable bouts on the show including a Japanese Youth Super Flyweight title bout, a bout between two Rookie of the Year winners, a bout with a destructive Japanese ranked Featherweight and a Japanese Youth champion in action.
The card began with two low key 4 round bouts. The first of those saw Fubuki Sakata (1-0) [酒田 風吹] take a 4 round decision win over Hideaki Kobayashi (0-3-1) [小林 英明], and the bout was a pretty one sided one with Sakata pretty much winning every minute, of every round, of the 4 rounder.
The second 4 rounder almost went the distance, but ended when Rei Atsuchi (1-0, 1) [厚地 嶺] poured on the pressure late in round 4, forcing the referee to save Yuki Kajitani (2-3, 2) [梶谷 有樹], with just over 30 seconds of the bout left.
The first of the really interesting match ups pit the 2019 All Japan Minimumweight Rookie of the year against the 2020 winner as Katsuki Mori (9-0, 2) [森 且貴] clashed with Ren Kojima (6-2-2) [小島 蓮]. Through the early stages the men were relatively even, but that changed when Mori began to find a home for his left hand to the body of Kojima late in round 2. From there on Mori really did a number of Kojima's body, which weakened Kojima for head shots later in the bout. In round 5 Kojima was being used for target practice, with Mori not closing the show until the final minute of the bout. The polished performance from Mori was very good and this is the first time he's stopped someone since scoring a stoppage in his debut.
In another notable bout Japanese Youth Welterweight champion Takeru Kobata (10-5-1, 4) [小畑 武尊] defeated Tetsuya Kondo (6-3, 4) [近藤 哲哉] in a very competitive 8 rounder. Kobata, who wasn't defending his title here, seemed to settle into the bout well, but Kondo managed to get his man's attention towards the end of round 1, and again in round 3, leaving Kobata feeling a bit worse for wear. From there on it was a battle of attrition, with Kondo running out of stamina down the stretch. To his credit Kondo gave everything he had left in the final round, but it wasn't enough and Kobata took the 8 round decision.
In the chief support bout the huge punching Tsuyoshi Tameda (22-6-2, 20) [溜田 剛士] got back to winning ways as he destroyed Soreike Taichi (7-5, 5) [それいけ太一] in the second round. The first round was a good one for Tameda, who dropped his man, who recovered to his feet. In round 2 however a huge counter right hand from Tameda absolutely detonated on Taichi, send him down hard and forcing the referee to wave the bout off.
We then get on to the main event, which was a Japanese Youth Super Flyweight title bout between former amateur standout Ryutaro Nakagaki (2-0-1, 2) [中垣龍汰朗] and hard hitting teenager Ayumu Hanada (6-0-1, 4) [花田 歩夢]. This bout had massive expectations on it going in, but exceeded those expectations in what was a brilliant 8 rounder that saw both men showing what was in their arsenal.
The first round was a scouting mission for both, but from then on the bout picked up, with Nakagaki finding his range in round 2 and Hanada finding room for his right hand in round 3. They they began to showcase sensational boxing skills, with quick sharp jabs, excellent defensive skills and counter boxing. Then we got to the middle of the fight and the pace from both began to increase, and increase giving us a brilliant final couple of rounds the moment shifted back and forth. Hanada managed to land several big right hands up top and lefts to the body, slowing Nakagaki down, before Nakagaki ended up getting a second wind in the final round.
After 8 rounds this was scored 78-74, Nakagaki, and 76-76, twice, resulting in a majority draw. A draw that leaves the title vacant and leaves both men unbeaten and both men seemed to be aware that they had areas to work on. Fingers crossed that down the line we'll get a second chapter in this rivalry between two of the brightest hopefuls in Japanese boxing.
Tomorrow at Korakuen Hall fight fans will be able to see a Japanese Youth Super Flyweight title bout as amateur standout Ryutaro Nakagaki (2-0, 2) [中垣龍汰朗] faces explosive teenager Ayumu Hanada (6-0, 4) [花田 歩夢] for the vacant title. The bout is a genuinely brilliant match up, and the type of fight the Japanese Youth title has been responsible for in recent years.
Today, ahead of their bout, the two men took part in their weigh in, and both men made the 115lb limit without any real issues, coming in bang on the divisional limit whilst looking in genuinely amazing condition.
After making weight the two men spoke to the media giving some comments about the bout and their preparation.
Notably Nakagaki has prepared for this bout by sparring with Ohashi gym stablemate Keisuke Matsumoto (3-0, 3) [松本圭佑] Nakagaki explained that they are similar in terms of size and style, but he explained that he will focus on using his speed and technique, controlling the pace of the bout and will focus on winning without being flashy.
Hanada on the other hand explained that he wanted to win early, and was going to look on showing some of the tools he learned when training in Mexico, specifically the Mexican style body shots. He explained that he sees this bout as a mountain that needs to be climbed on route to something bigger.
For fans wanting to watch the bout, it will be shown live on Hikari TV in Japan and will then be broadcast on tape delay on Fuji TV this coming weekend.
Related - Unbeaten Youngsters Nakagaki and Hanada face off for Youth title!
Earlier tpoday Ohashi Gym announced their next Phoenix Battle show, Phoenix Battle 78, which will take place on July 8th at Korakuen Hall and it's a brilliant card with two Japanese Youth title bouts, as well as several other notable fighters on the lower end of the show.
The main event of the card will be a Japanese Youth Super Flyweight bout pitting two of the hottest young talented in Japan against each other, with former amateur standout Ryutaro Nakagaki (2-0, 2) [中垣龍汰朗] taking on explosive teenager Ayumu Hanada (6-0, 4) [花田 歩夢] for the vacant title, in what should be a genuinely spectacular contest.
For those who haven't seen these two Nakagaki is a brilliant pure boxer, who had issues with power in the amateurs but appears to have adapted to the professional ranks really well and is looking like a solid puncher, and a very special boxer. He was a stellar amateur and appears to be set for the hyper fast track to the top, and with his ability few can blame him for wanting to win titles as early as possible. Hanada on the other hand began his career in Mexico, where he looked exciting and talented, but incredibly young. He returned to Japan in 2019 and made his JBC debut in 2020, with an excellent performance against Ryukyu Nagamine. Hanada returned to the ring this past April, and although he wasn't punch perfect he over-came the very dangerous Mammoth Kazunori.
Whilst the men might only have 8 bouts between them this is a genuinely brilliant match up and he sort of thing that the Japanese Youth title has been giving us over the last few years.
The other Japanese Youth title bout will see Takeru Kobata (9-5-1, 4) [小畑武尊] make his first defense of the Japanese Youth Welterweight title, as he takes on Tetsuya Kondo (6-2, 4) in what should be an explosive enounter.
The under-rated Kobata won the title in March, with a big upset win against Rikuto Adachi, and will be looking to build on that win here as he returns to Korakuen Hall for just the third time in his career. A win for him would show that his victory over Adachi wasn't a fluke and was instead a sign that he's a legitimate prospect and someone to keep an eye on, despite his 5 losses. Kondo on the other hand will be getting his first title bout and continues to rebuil his career following an opening round TKO loss in 2019 to the destructive Jin Sasaki. That loss aside Kondo hasn't been stopped before but is expected to be giving natural size to Kobata.
Lower down the show we'll see hard hitting Japanese ranked Featherweight Tsuyoshi Tameda (21-6-2, 19) [溜田剛士].battle against Soreike Taichi (7-4, 5) [木村太一], as both men desperately look to bounce back from recent back to back stoppage defeats. We'll also see Japanese ranked Minimumweights collide as Katsuki Mori (8-0, 1) [森且貴] clashes with Ren Kojima (6-1-2) [小島 蓮], in a battle between two men who have won the All Japan Rookie of the Year, with Mori winning in 2019 and Kojima winning in the latest edition of the tournament.
Although not a monster card, set to get massive international attention this is an incredibly good domestic card, with a number of really good bouts and a chance for the young talent in Japan to shine. The main event is a genuinely amazing bout, the co-feature should be exciting, Tameda and Taichi should be explosive and it's always a job to see Mori and Kojima in action. This is a fantastic line up from Ohashi and we really hope nothing forces any changes to what looks set to be a strong domestic card.
Earlier today we had a big card, promoted by Shinsei, at the EDION Arena Osaka. The card was headlined by WBC Light Flyweight champion Kenshiro Teraji [寺地 拳四朗] battling against Tetsuya Hisada [久田 哲也] (our full write up of that one can be read here), whilst the main event deserved a lot of the attention there was also plenty to talk about from the under-card.
First the original show opener, between Yuta Nakatsuji (1-1, 1) [中逵 友太] Hayato Nishimine (2-0, 1) [西峯 勇人], was cancelled this morning after a positive PCR test. The two men made weigth yesterday but sadly a positive test left the bout being scrapped.
Due to the PCR test we then saw the event kick off, on a free stream provided by Shinsei Promotions, with a match up between Daiki Asai (1-1, 1) [浅井 大貴] and Yu Konomura (10-10-2, 4) [此村 勇]. The bout was a real must win for Asai, who turned professional last year and was stopped Kyonosuke Kameda, and he shone.
Konomura wasn't there to roll over, he never has been, but he was unable to compete with the sharpness of Asai, who looked too good through out the bout. Asai controlled much of the bout with his solid skills, but was always forced to work. In round 6 the clean shots started to accumulate, with Asai rocking Konomura and then forcing the referee to step in. After the bout Asai was over-come by emotion and was seen crying in the ring, in what seemed to be a hugely cathartic moment for him and his career.
The second bout saw the touted Kantaro Juri (3-0, 2) [重里 侃太朗] score a brutal 6th round KO win over Toma Kondo (8-7-1, 1) [近藤 冬真] in what was a really entertaining bout. Through the first few rounds Juri looked sensational, picking some great punches and landing some brilliant combinations. He really looked like something special. And then it seemed like he ran his gas tank down, and in rounds 4 and 5 he looked really gassed, and like a man who was struggling with the tempo he had chosen to set. With Juri slowing Kondo began to turn the fight around, applying pressure and really giving a tired looking Juri a test. Sadly for Kondo his great effort came to an end in round 6, when he took a huge counter right hook that sent him down hard. The referee didn't issue a count. He didn't need to. Kondo was done.
In the final under-card bout we got a thriller as talented teenager Ayumu Hanada (6-0, 4) [花田 歩夢] narrowly over-came the heavy handed Mammoth Kazunori (6-4-1, 6) [マンモス和則] in a 6 rounder that is worth checking out.
Early on Hanada looked fantastic. He was sharp, he was accurate, and he was boxing smart. He picked his shots well, dropped Kazunori and looked the absolute boss. He seemed to be completely in charge through the first 3 rounds and even seemed like he could score a stoppage if he chose to put his foot on the gas. But then things changed. Kazunori, knowing he was a long way behind, stopped trying to box with Hanada and instead started looking for a KO. With every shot. He was turning this into a shoot out and it made for some amazing action as Kazunori launched big shot after big shot, and Hanada had to survive, than fire back. For the final 3 rounds this was incredible.
In the end the knockdown, scored by Hanada early on, proved vital, with Hanada winning via scores of 57-56, twice, and 58-55. Without the knockdown this would have been a majority draw.
Earlier today it was announced, at a press conference in Osaka, that WBC Light Flyweight champion Kenshiro Teraji (17-0, 10) [寺地 拳四朗] would be facing fellow Japanese fighter Tetsuya Hisada (34-10-2, 20) [久田 哲也] on April 24th, with the bout being Kenshiro's 8th defense of the WBC title and Hisada's second world title shot.
The bout has a long history, that dates back around 4 years, though hasn't been delayed for the usual "marinating" reasons given by promoters in the west. Instead it's been on the docket twice and cancelled twice.
Originally the bout was supposed to take place in Spring 2017 when Kenshiro was the Japanese Light Flyweight champion and was supposed to defend the title against Hisada in a mandatory title fight, as part of the Champion Carnival. That bout was cancelled when Kenshiro was able to secure a WBC world title fight against Ganigan Lopez, and instead we saw Kenshiro claim the WBC title whilst Hisada went on to beat Kenichi Horikawa for the Japanese title.
The bout was then set to take place in late 2020, before the baby faced Kenshiro was suspended after issues outside of the ring, where he drunkenly damaged someone's vehicle. That suspension lasted 3 months, from the start of December, and saw him also being being made to pay a fine and do some 48 hours of social activities to try and make amends. That social activity saw Kenshiro spending time watching students at elementary school in Kyoto and then helping pick up trash in Tokyo, working at a nursing, helping with harvesting vegetables cleaning shrines and helping with boxing lessons.
At today's press conference Kenshiro apologised for the issues last year, apologising to Hisada and the gym, as well as the people affected by his suspension. He seemed hungry to make amends in the ring as well as his out of the ring activity.
As for Hisada, who famously fought WBA "super" champion Hiroto Kyoguchi in 2019, he explained he was getting older due to waiting for this bout, but that he had a lot of time to prepare and that he's actually seen that as a positive, explaining his chances of winning have increased. It's worth noting this is a particularly important bout for him as it would see him becoming the first world champion from the Hisada gym, who's former chairman passed away last year.
Whilst no TV has been confirmed for the bout, the poster for the event does have the BOXING REAL logo on it, and it has been confirmed that the bout will be live streamed on YouTube by the BOXING REAL channel!
Other details that have been confirmed the event will take place at the EDION Osaka, fans will be in attendance, and the under-card will feature a number of interesting bouts. The best among those are an 8 round Super Flyweight bout between Japanese ranked Isao Aoyama (12-8-1, 3) [青山功] and the once touted Tetsuro Ohashi (7-2-1, 2) [大橋哲朗] and a mouth watering Flyweight bout between 18 year old Ayumu Hanada (6-0, 5)* [花田歩夢] and Mammoth Kazunori (6-3-1, 6) [中山和則], which should be incredibly explosive.
*Hanada has a bout not recognised by Boxrec or the JBC.
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