Celes Kobayashi announced as the next chairman of the East Japan Boxing Association
Earlier today the East Japan Boxing Association held a general meeting in Tokyo, where they officially announced former world champion Shoji "Celes" Kobayashi, as the new chairman of the the Association.
Kobayashi, who will begin his 3 year term on April 1st, was ear marked for the role earlier this year, and ran unopposed, with current chairman Susumu Hanagata announcing he wouldn't run for a second term and essentially stating that Kobayashi was his choice as a successor.
Hanagata appears likely to act as a mentor for Kobayashi and there is several aims for Kobayashi in his new role, they are:
1-More training for kids
2-Expanding the the sport, and enhancing 4 and 6 round bouts
3-Co-operating with the Japan Boxing Federation, who control amateur boxing in Japan, to better promote boxing as an Olympic sport
4-Building better relations with the Japan Boxing Commission (JBC).
How successful Kobayashi will be is yet to be seen, but it's great to see aims that help to promote the future of the sport, and to build on both the professional and amateur sides of boxing
Earlier today it was announced that 75 year old former world champion Susumu Hanagata would be stepping down as the president of the East Japan Boxing Association at the end of his first team, rather than running for a second term, revealing that his age was a concern and that he wanted to leave the role to a younger man.
Interestingly he also named his preferred successor to the role as fellow former world champion Shoji "Celes" Kobayashi, the current head of the Celes Kobayashi Boxing gym and a very popular figure within Japanese boxing circles.
At the time of writing Kobayashi is the only man in the running for the role, though other could join him up to the deadline of February 17th. If no one else is put forward he will be confirmed as the new chairman on February 25th. If however someone does run against him, there will be a vote by the 125 members of the Association, to decide who takes over from Hanagata.
From what we understand Kobayashi is likely to run unopposed.
Yesterday we, finally, saw the official announcement that unified Super Bantamweight champion Murodjon Akhmadaliev (8-0, 6) [Муроджон Ахмадалиев] would be facing off with mandatory challenger Ryosuke Iwasa (27-3, 17) [岩佐 亮佑] on April 3rd at the Humo Arena in Tashkent.
Today, following that announcement, Iwasa and promoter Celes Kobayashi held an online press conference to talk about the contest and their plans.
Iwasa explained that he managed to endure the wait, and made it clear that waiting well over a year to fight was frustrating and that he had lost motivation during some of the wait. That was notable when a scheduled date in November vanished. Since February however he has found his hunger and been sparring at the Teiken Gym against the likes of Yamato Hata (11-1, 10) [波田 大和], Mikito Nakano (5-0, 4) [中野幹士], Kenji Fujita [藤田健児] and Subaru Murata [村田昴]. He explained the reason for sparring those 3 in particular was their speed and their styles. When sparring stops he will be training alongside Celes gym stablemate Jin Minamide (4-1, 3) [南出仁], with the two focusing on weight loss and staying sharp.
Talking about the contest Iwasa openly stated "I have a special feeling. It will be the biggest match in my boxing life so far." He also explained that he has no anxiety about fighting away from home, something he's done several times now, with bouts in the UK and the US.
In regards to his approach to the bout, Iwasa stated "I won't let my opponent get into the rhythm." Kobayashi added that the key was to start fast and not lose the early rounds against Akhmadaliev, who they seem to see as a momentum fighter, and they need to stop the momentum from forming early on in the bout.
If he wins Iwasa has his "Eagle Eye" on one man, and that's a bout with WBC Super Bantamweight champion Luis Nery, who he wants to face due to Nery's two wins over Shinsuke Yamanaka. He added that Nery had to be "blown away".
Interesting more TV details regarding the fight became available. It was known that DAZN would be airing the bout, and will be in Japan as well, but for those in Japan without DAZN the bout will be shown on Tape Delay on BS NTV, though the date of that replaying airing wasn't announced.
This past weekend we saw Ryosuke Iwasa (27-3, 17) [岩佐 亮佑] put together one of his best performances, as he stopped former WBO Bantamweight champion Marlon Tapales (33-3, 16) to claim the IBF "interim" Super Bantamweight title. Today he returned to Japan and spoke to the press about his performance, the experience of his second fight in the US and future plans.
Iwasa seemed to have had a bit of a frustrating time in the build up, with the weighing not done on time and his wraps not being allowed, but despite that he performed brilliantly.
Iwasa spoke about how Tapales had scary uppercuts and a powerful, compact right hook, but also added that his stamina was good whilst Tapales seemed to tire, and it appears that he was very much in the zone through the fight. Iwasa admitted that he wasn't looking for the KO, but that he had some luck, and that the shot looked good.
The focus now for Iwasa is IBF and WBA unified champion Danny Roman (27-2-1, 10). At the moment it's unclear when Roman will fight again, though Celes Kobayashi suggested it would be in January, and Iwasa said that he would be attending the fight, which is likely to be a WBA mandatory title defense for the American against Uzbek Murodjon Akhmadaliev (7-0, 6) [Ахмадалиев, Муроджон Кахарович]. Iwasa will then be first in line to face the winner.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
On December 7th we'll see an IBF "interim" Super Bantamweight title bout between Marlon Tapales (33-2, 16) and Ryosuke Iwasa (26-3, 16) [岩佐 亮佑].
Today, ahead of that bout, Iwasa was out in front of the media in Japan taking part in a public work out with promoter, and former world champion, Celes Kobayashi.
Prior to the physical work out the two men spoke to the media, explaining their training and the the plans they have as they finish preparing for the fight.
At today's event Iwasa stated that he was able to finish hard sparring with no injuries and revealed that they would be leaving Japan shortly,with the plan being to arrive on December and put finishing touches to things like weight whilst in the US.
To prepare for the bout it was revealed that Iwasa has been sparring with stiff competition, including Michael Dasmarinas, Mark Anthony Gerraldo and Reiya Abe, who have been selected to help Iwasa prepare form the southpaw stance of Tapales. That is something that is very significant here, as all 3 of Iwasa's professional losses have come to southpaws,
The southpaw preparations continued today when Iwasa sparred 2 rounds with Japanese ranked Bantamweight Ikuro Sadatsune (10-4-3, 3) [定常育郎], before he worked the mitts with Mr Kobayashi.
Iwasa also spoke about Luis Nery, and and revealed that he is hoping Tapales won't copy what Nery did last weekend and miss weight, something Tapales actually did when fought in Japan back in 2017. In that bout Tapales was stripped of the WBO Bantamweight title, for weighing in at 120lbs ahead of facing Shohei Omori in what was the second bout between the two men.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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