Earlier today on former WBC Flyweight champion Daigo Higa (16-1, 16) [比嘉 大吾] held a virtual press conference to announce the next stage of his career, announcing which gym he would be signing to following him leaving the Shirai Gushiken Gym earlier this year.
At the press conference Higa announce that he would be joining the newly named Ambition Gym, which is being lead by WBO Super Flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka (25-2, 14) [井岡一翔].
Higa had been linked to the gym around 2 weeks ago, before the gym had changed it's name from the Ozaki Boxing Gym, with the move essentially being an open secret in Japanese boxing circles.
Not only did Higa confirm the move to the Ambition gym but he also confirmed that he would continue working with trainer Joji Nogi, who Higa has been trained by in the past. Nogi actually joined Higa on the call, and explained that Higa told him he wanted to continue, and it seems the relationship between the two is part of why Higa is continuing his career in the ring.
At the press conference Higa also stated that he wanted to be a world champion again, and that he wanted Nogi to be beside him when that happens. It was also made clear that he will be campaigning at Bantamweight going forward. That's the same division as Japanese star Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16) [井上 尚弥], though sadly it doesn't seem likely we'll see that bout as it appears Higa will become a TBS fighter whilst Inoue will remain a Fuji TV fighter.
Although it's currently unclear when Higa will be back in the ring, though rumours have swirled that a September date is likely, he admitted that he would ideally like to fight twice more before the end of the year. We would expect the first to be another tune up before a bigger bout, potentially in December, as he begins his climb to a second world title.
Earlier today Japanese management group TLA Rock Entertainment Co Ltd revealed that they had signed a professional contract with former WBC Flyweight champion Daigo Higa (16-1, 16) [比嘉 大吾], to help support him in his domestic and overseas activities. That's despite the fact Higa is, currently, with out a boxing gym.
A few weeks ago rumours in Japan circulated that Higa would be joining the gym that WBO Super Flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka (25-2, 14) [井岡一翔] will be running. This week Ioka has been confirmed as transferring to the gym, now known as the AMBITION Gym having been renamed from the Ozaki Boxing Gym.
At the moment Higa's transfer to the gym hasn't been confirmed, but this deal to TLA Rock seems to strength the rumour of Higa joining Ioka at the AMBITION Gym. That's because TLA also work with Ioka, and former WBC Flyweight champion Daisuke Naito.
Higa is now expected to announce his future plans on June 30th, with many expecting him to confirm his move to the AMBITION Gym and to potentially announce a date for his next bout, which is rumoured to be in September and on TBS.
We've known since early in the year that WBO Super Flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka (25-2, 14) [井岡一翔] was set to run his own gym, leaving the DANGAN set up to take more control over his career and put together a stable of his own. Today Ioka's transfer to gym was made official and with the fighter himself announce the change.
Ioka, through his team, announced that he had transferred to what will now be known as the Ambition Gym.
The gym was previously known as the Ozaki Boxing Gym, and had Takuya Kiya as the Chairman. Kiya will continue to chair the gym going forward with Ioka as it's biggest star.
According to a number of Japanese reports the gym is also set to announce the signing of former WBC Flyweight champion Daigo Higa (16-1, 16) [比嘉 大吾] in the coming days with both men expected to be training their and linking the gym with Japanese broadcaster TBS.
Reportedly Higa will make his return with the Gym at some point in September, against a yet to be named opponents, whilst Ioka is expected to return in a mandatory title defense against Kosei Tanaka (15-0, 9) [田中恒成], though it's not totally clear when that bout will be held with September and December both being seen as possibilities.
According to Chunichi Sports the future of former WBC Flyweight champion Daigo Higa (16-1, 16) [比嘉 大吾] has been decided and surprisingly he will not be signing with the Ohashi Gym, as many had expected!
Instead Chunichi Sports have reported that Higa will be heading to the gym that Kazuto Ioka (25-2, 14) [井岡一翔] will be opening later this year.
The gym, which will taking over the license of the Ozaki Boxing Gym, will have Takuya Kiya acting as the chairman and is expected to open in the near future. The gym was announced earlier in the year with reports explaining that Ioka wanted more control over his career than he was getting with Dangan, now Dangan Aoki.
Higa, who left the Shirai Gushiken Sports Gym earlier this year, had been expected to sign with Ohashi and continue his strong relationship with broadcaster Fuji TV though this association with Ioka will likely see him joining forces with rival TV channel TBS. TBS not only work with Ioka but also the Watanabe Gym fighters, including WBA Light Flyweight "Super" champion Hiroto Kyoguchi (14-0, 9) [京口 紘人], and work in close association with CBC, who are the TV channel linked to Kosei Tanaka (15-0, 9) [田中恒成].
Although the gym that Ioka, and now Higa, will be part of is currently the Ozaki gym it is expected to receive a name change when it opens. What is known is that it will be in Tokyo.
So far both men have been training independently of the gym, in question though it's expected that both men will be continue to have members in their team that they've worked with in the past. For example Joji Nogi is expected to continue working with Higa.
The report also states that Higa's next bout is likely to be in September, whilst Ioka is still planning to defend his WBO Super Flyweight title against Kosei Tanaka.
Earlier today news broke from Japan that the Shirai Gushiken boxing gym would close at the end of July, with a statement, quoted below, being released from Yoko Gushiken regarding the closure, which will happen on July 31st.
The gym was set up in 1995 by former world champions Yoshio Shirai, who was essentially an honorary partner, and Yoko Gushiken, who has essentially been the face of the gym. After Shirai's passing Gushiken has lead the gym through some of it's biggest successes.
They have included Naoko Yamaguchi's reign as the WBA female Super Flyweight champion, Koki Eto's reign as the WBA "interim" Flyweight champion and the brilliant rise of Daigo Higa, the former WBC Flyweight champion.
Although it's a bit of a shock to see the gym closing, it shouldn't be seen as a major surprise as rumours have circulated for a while that the gym had problems. They included the morale of Daigo Higa, the gym's most recent star, who had been unhappy there before leaving the gym earlier this year, when he chose not to renew his contract.
The statement makes it clear that the gym will be helping fighters transfer to new gym's and we expect to see an announcement on where those fighters. It also seems like Gushiken will remain involved in the sport himself, perhaps as a mentor or working in the media side of the sport.
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