Earlier today at the Capio in Tsukuba we had the latest show from Yamamguchi Tsuchiura Promotions. The card wasn't a huge one but did feature several fighters of note on it, including a former Japanese title challenger, one of the best young prospects in the sport and a very entertaining, though much more limited fighter.
The first bout of note on thus show saw Ryu Horikawa (3-0-1, 1) [堀川 龍] take a unanimous decision win over Daiki Kameyama (7-5-1, 2) [亀山 大輝], in a competitive and solid test for the 20 year old Horikawa. The bout started with Kameyama coming forward and being aggressive, but it wasn't long until Horikawa began to control the distance, and land quick shots at range. Kameyama began to struggle with the movement and clean, effective, punching of Horikawa, who countered well when he needed to. Although always game Kameyama failed to turn things around in the later stages, with Horikawa taking the decision with scores of 59-56, 58-57 and 58-56.
Horikawa and Kameyama showing some good boxing skills we then got a bout featuring the limited but always entertaining Yuta Ashina (5-2) [足名 優太], who took a close decision over Yuya Nemoto (6-9-3, 1) [根本 裕也]. Unlike most Ashina bouts this one didn't really shine like his usual contests. Ashina, who reached the All Japan Rookie of the Year final last year, showed uncharacteristic calmness in the first round, and continually struggled to get going. What we saw was Nemoto using his experience to control portions of the action, despite being cut from a headclash early on, and what action we got was mostly slow paced, at mid range. A bit of a stinker, sadly, after a string of great bouts for Ashina. Despite the disappointing action Ashina took the win via majority decision with scores of 59-55, 58-56 and 57-57.
The main event saw the tough and rugged Tatsuya Takahashi (32-9-6, 21) [高橋 竜也] take a decision win over Hibiki Jogo (10-3, 5) [城後 響], with Takahashi moving one step close to another title fight. The bout saw Jogo look to use his speed advantage over the taller, longer Takahashi, but the clumsiness of both men saw heads come together, leaving Takahashi with a damaged eye. In round 2 Takahashi began to find his groove, using his 1-2's well at range and then began to work more on the inside in rounds 3 and 4. With the bout slipping away from him Jogo changed tactics and in round 5 he began to find the range for his straight shots and he started a fight back, the fight back was a relative short one though with Takahashi taking control back in round 7 before the two men went to an inside war in the final round.
After 8 rounds the scorecards came in, 78-74, 77-75 and 77-76 all in favour of Takahashi.
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One of the many young Japanese fighters that really impressed us last year was the Misako promoted Ryu Horikawa (2-0-1, 1) [堀川龍]. He looked excellent on debut, beating Jun Ishimoto, and even better just weeks later when he defeated Yuki Nakajima in a Dangan B Class Tournament.
Despite a brilliant start to his professional career Horikawa was unfortunately denied a victory in his third bout when he travelled over to China and could only "earn" a draw in a 10 round bout with Xiang Li. The result marked up Horikawa's record and saw Li narrowly retain the WBO Youth Light Flyweight title. And we really do mean narrowly.
Sadly Horikawa hasn't been seen in the ring since that draw with Li.
Thankfully we now seem to know when he will be back in the ring, with Watanabe Gym listing an 8 round bout between Horikawa and their fighter Daiki Kameyama (7-4-1, 2) [亀山大輝], for October 17th in Tsukuba City.
For, the now 20 year old, Horikawa the bout is a very interesting match up, and a chance to see what he looks like against a solid Japanese domestic fighter. We suspect his speed, and ring IQ will be the difference here by Kameyama is now push over.
The 23 year old Kameyama, who turns 24 just days after this scheduled bout, won the Rookie of the Year in 2018 but has since lost back to back bouts. Whilst one of those was a clear loss, to the sensational Shokichi Iwata, the other was a razor thing, and hotly contested, defeat to Yuga Inoue. For him a bout with Horikawa is certainly one that he will see as being winnable.
Of course all bouts are subject to change, especially in this current global climate, but we really hope this one does hold on and the two youngsters clash in what appears to be a very good bout for mid October.
Last year we saw the very skilled Yuga Inoue (8-1-1, 1) [井上夕雅] suffer his first professional loss, coming undone against hard hitting Kai Ishizawa in a fantastic bout for the Japanese Youth Minimumweight title. Today he moved up in weight to take on Daiki Kameyama (7-4-1, 2) [亀山大輝], a man who last seen suffering a decision loss to Shokichi Iwata, at Light Flyweight.
On paper this wasn't a bout for those with just a passing interest in Japanese boxing, but it was one that hardcore fans of the scene would have been really interested in. It featured two very skilled youngsters battling, each looking to get back to winning ways and each looking to re-establish themselves.
Even for fans inside Japan it was also pretty well hidden away, taking place at the Incubation Center in Amagasaki. It was the first time Kameyama had fought outside of Tokyo, and the venue is essentially Inoue's home venue, with this being his 4th bout there.
We mention the venue as that home advantage may well have played a major part in what was a really engaging nip and tuck battle between two men who were incredibly well matched.
From the opening round there was little between the two men, with Kameyama perhaps having the better start, before Inoue began to get into his groove in round 3, as be he began to intensify his body attack. The game plan was a smart one from Inoue, hoping to slow the incredibly quick Kameyama, but it didn't work and Kameyama seemed to keep his speed through the 6 rounds.
Through the 6 rounds it was really a hard one to call, and that was shown on 2 of the scorecards, which had the bout 58-57 in favour of Inoue. They were enough to get him the split decision, with the third judge seeing the bout 59-56 to Kameyama.
Had this been in Tokyo, there's a good chance Kameyama would have got the win, but such a close bout in Amagasaki wasn't going to go against Inoue. A rematch in Tokyo in the future is something we'd love to see, on a bigger profile card, and given the fact both are very young there's a good chance we'll see that down the line!
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today at Korakuen Hall fight fans saw the Japanese debut of touted youngster Shokichi Iwata (2-0, 1) [岩田翔吉], who debuted in the US last year defeating Joel Bermudez.
Today's bout was a tough one on paper for Iwata, who took on southpaw foe Daiki Kameyama (7-3-1, 2) [亀山大輝], who had won the 2018 Rookie of the Year at Light Flyweight and had proven to be a very good southpaw hopeful.
Despite looking like an interesting test Iwata made things look relatively straight forward as he took a clear win over Kameyama.
Iwata took the first round, looking quick on his feet and sharp with his left hook which helped neutralise Kamayama's southpaw stance. Not only was the left hook landing well, but so was the right hand, which landed cleanly at the end of the round. Kameyama bounced back well in the second round, using his own speed and right hook, but he was caught by hooks himself and was dropped in round 3, as Iwata landed a great right hand. Kameyama got up from the knockdown, but it put him in a hole, and left him needing to really chase the fight.
Kameyama, knowing he was behind, tried to up the tempo in round 4, but Iwata moved around the ring, using his speed and footwork to avoid the pressure of Kameyama. The footwork from Iwata continued in the final rounds as he landed on Kameyama and got out of range, showing a good boxing brain, great speed and fantastic ring control.
After the 6th and final round there was no debating the winner, with Iwata taking the bout on all 3 scorecards. Two of the judges had it 59-54 to Iwata whilst the other judge had it 58-56.
With this win it's clear Iwata can be moved quicker than most prospects and we're going to look forward to see what's next for him.
Last December fight fan had the chance to see Japanese youngster Shokichi Iwata (1-0, 1) [岩田翔吉] make his professional debut, doing so in the US where he defeated novice Joel Bermudez. Since then the youngster has acquired a B class Japanese license and revealed that his second professional bout would be in his native Japan.
Over the weekend we were informed of all the details of his Japanese debut, which we can confirm will take place at the Korakuen Hall in May.
The youngster is set to be part of the May Dynamic Glove card, on May 4th, a show that will be headlined by Super Featherweight champion Masaru Sueyoshi (18-1-1, 11) [末吉 大] defending his title against Ken Osato (15-2-1, 4) [大里拳]. Iwata's opponent for the bout will be domestic foe Watanabe gym's Daiki Kameyama (7-2-1, 2) [亀山大輝], who won the 2018 Rookie of the Year and will be looking to build on his his own success from last year.
On paper the Iwata Vs Kameyama bout is a really hard one to call, and should be a test of fire for the two men involved, both of who will have ambitions of doing big things in 2019.
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