Earlier today the Japan Professional Boxing Association announced the Strongest Korakuen bouts, which will take place later this year to decide the mandatory challengers for the Japanese titles in the new year, with 10 bouts being announced.
The Minimumweight bout will see WBO Asia Pacific champion Yudai Shigeoka (5-0, 3) [重岡優大] take on Tatsuro Nakashima (11-3-1, 7) [仲島辰郎], with the winner getting a show at the Japanese title, currently held by Yudai's younger brother Ginjiro Shigeoka (8-0, 6) [重岡銀次朗], who actually beat Nakashima for the title. This bout is set to take place at Korakuen Hall on November 17th.
The Light Flyweight eliminator will see Daiki Tomita (18-2, 6) [冨田大樹] battle Rikito Shiba (6-2, 3) [芝力人], though no date or venue has been announced for this bout.
At Super Flyweight we also have no date or venue set, but a mouth watering bout as Ryusei Kawaura (9-1, 6) [川浦龍生] battles Suzumi Takayama (5-0, 4) [高山涼深], in what is potentially the best looking of the bouts announced.
The Bantamweight bout bout will see Jin Minamide (6-2, 5) [南出仁] battle against Yuki Yonaha (11-3-1, 8) [与那覇勇気], in what could prove to be a very explosive bout between two flawed but hard hitting.
On the subject of interesting bouts we'll have a potentially thrilling war at Super Bantamweight as former champions Ryoichi Tamura (14-6-1, 7) [田村亮一] takes on Gakuya Furuhashi (28-9-2, 16) [古橋大輔]. Interestingly these two men also met in a Japanese title eliminator back in 2019, with Furuhashi taking a razor win over Tamura, before winning the title with a sensational battle just 4 months later.
At Featherweight former champion Ryo Sagawa (12-2, 7) [佐川遼] faces off with Daisuke Watanabe (12-5-2, 7) [渡部大介].
At Super Featherweight the hard hitting Yamato Hata (12-1, 11) [波田大和] will face Yuna Hara (11-2-1, 6) [原優奈], with this bout set to take place on October 1st at Korakuen Hall.
On paper one of the more underwhelming bouts is set to take place at Lightweight, as Shuma Nakazato (11-2-3, 7) [仲里周磨] takes on the hard hitting Ken Koibuchi (8-4-1, 7) [鯉淵健], in what might be an bout that's easy to over-look but is very likely to be an explosive encounter.
At Welterweight we're in for a treat as we get a rematch between Hironori Shigeta (8-2-1, 5) [重田裕紀] and Shoki Sakai (26-13-2, 14) [坂井祥紀], who gave us a very fan friendly bout back in 2020 with Sakai taking a clear but hard fought decision win. This bout is set to take place on October 22nd at Korakuen Hall.
At 154lbs Rei Nakajima (5-1) [中島玲] will face Koki Koshikawa (9-6, 6) [越川孝紀]. For Koshikawa he's looking to land his third shot at the Japanese 154lb title whilst Nakajima will be looking to secure his second shot at the title.
Notably there is no bout set for Flyweight, Light Welterweight or Middleweight. At the time of writing it's been reported that former world title challenger Ryota Yamauchi (8-2, 7) [山内涼太] will be getting a shot at Flyweight Cristiano Aoqui (16-9-2, 11), will get a shot at 140lbs and unfortunately there won't be a mandatory challenger for the Champion Carnival at Middleweight.
Earlier today at Korakuen Hall fight fans had the chance to see the latest show in the Dangan series of cards, and it was an excellent one on paper with two major Japanese Featherweight bouts.
The first of those two bouts as a Japanese title eliminator between former 2-time title challenger Reiya Abe (22-3-1, 10) [阿部麗也] and the often under-rated Daisuke Watanabe (12-5-2, 7) [渡部大介]. These two had fought before, with Abe taking an 8 round decision, but it was expected that they would give us an interesting and competitive bout this time around, with Watanabe really going on a solid run since their first bout.
Sadly rather than an interesting bout we saw an underwhelming one.
The bout saw Watanabe trying to come forward whilst Abe looked to using his excellent footwork and smart boxing. This lead to some interesting moments, but it seemed that every time Watanabe landed, Abe would come back with something of his own, and that resulted in Watanabe being cut from a counter left hand in round 2. Abe would also land telling blows in round 3, leaving Watanabe with a swollen right eye, that forced his team to retire their man at the end of the round. This resulted in Abe picking up a TKO3 win, and securing himself a shot at the Japanese title in the new year, against the winner of the main event of the show.
That main event saw Japanese Featherweight champion Hinata Maruta (12-1-1, 9) [丸田陽七太] successfully make his first defense as he beat Ryo Hino (14-3-2, 9) [日野僚], taking a wide and clear decision over the challenger.
Hino got off to a good start, using his boxing skills well and he seemed to just about edge the first two rounds, by sneaking inside and using his southpaw stance well against the taller, faster Maruta. It was a good start for him, but one that seemed to force Maruta to plan B, and it was plan B tat saw Maruta having success and dropping Hino with a solid right hand. Hino, realising Maruta was quicker, sharper and more powerful, tried to play the counter puncher in round 4 but it wasn't hugely successful and in round 5 Maruta scored a second knockdown, this time from a gorgeous burst of clean accurate punches.
With the two knockdowns in his favour Maruta was in a comfortable lead when the scores were announced at the end of round 5, with Maruta leading 48-45, twice, and 49-44.
Hino tried to turn things around in the second half of the fight, particularly in round 7, but Maruta sniffed things out, kept it long before deciding to try and take out Hino in rounds 8 and 9. To his credit Hino saw out some torrid moments, before trying to turn things around in round 10, only for Maruta to respond with some big shots of his own as we went to the bell.
After 10 rounds there was no denying Maruta was the clear and worthy winner, taking the decision 97-91, twice, and 96-92, to set up a compelling bout with Abe, in 2022. That bout may end up being a double title bout, with the Japanese and the now vacant WBO Asia Pacific titles potentially both being on the line for the bout.
Maruta, Hino, Abe and Watanabe make weight for Japanese title fight and eliminator
Tomorrow at Korakuen Hall fight fans will get an interesting card, with 4 of the top Featherweights in Japan in action, with a Japanese title bout, and a Japanese title eliminator both taking place on the same card. Today those 4 men all took part in their weigh in, and all 4 made weight with no issues at all.
The Japanese title eliminator will see former 2-time title challenger Reiya Abe (21-3-1, 9) [阿部麗也] battle against Daisuke Watanabe (12-4-2, 7) [渡部大介], with the men clashing to secure a shot next year during the Champion Carnival. These two have fought before, with Abe taking a decision over Watanabe, but that was more than 3 years ago and Watanabe has come a long way since then whilst Abe has failed to live up to the potential he clearly has.
At the weigh in both men came in comfortably under the 126lb limit, weighing in at an identical 125.66lbs. They both looked in great shape, though it did seem like Abe was the naturally bigger man, being several inches taller than Watanabe.
Interestingly Watanabe did mention that he was wanting to fight small here, and he'll be aggressive, whilst swearing that will avenge his loss to Abe. Abe on the other hand seemed to be focused on using his footwork and counter punching here to take the win, and secure his third shot at the Japanese title.
In the main event of the show we'll see Japanese Featherweight champion Hinata Maruta (11-1-1, 9) [丸田陽七太] make his first defense as he takes on Ryo Hino (14-2-2, 9) [日野僚], in what is expected to be a very technical match up. At the weigh in these two men also hit the scales at 125.66lbs.
After the making weight Maruta ate to some rice balls, to help recover from the weight loss, before admitting he was happy to have the press around for the fight. Notably this was the first show that reporters were allowed to do face to face interviews with fighters after weigh ins, something that had been stopped due to the pandemic. To prepare for the bout he explained that he had done a lot of sparring with southpaws and wasn't worried about the fact Hino is a lefty.
As for Hino, he seemed less confident and it appears that he knows a won against Maruta would be a big ask. Despite that it's clear he's not going in to the ring tomorrow to roll over and lose, so he could end up putting up a good effort here, in what is his second shot at the Japanese Featherweight title.
Related - Touted genius Maruta takes on Hino in first Japanese title defense!
Hinata Maruta to defend against Ryo Hino in November, Abe Vs Watanabe to face off in eliminator!
Earlier today it was announced that Japanese Featherweight champion Hinata Maruta (11-1-1, 9) [丸田陽七太] would be back in the ring on November 27th, at Korakuen Hall, to make his first defense of the Japanese title. In the opposite corner to the brilliantly talented champion will be the often over-looked Ryo Hino (14-2-2, 9) [日野僚] , with the two men clashing at Dangan 246.
Maruta, who attended an online press conference earlier today, was extremely confident, stated that he is already well prepared and that he would win, no matter what. In fairness however he should be confident after his brilliant title winning performance earlier this year against Ryo Sagawa, in what was a career best outing for Maruta.
Interestingly Hino has also faced Sagawa, actually losing to Sagawa in late 2019 when Sagawa still held the title and was making his first defense.
Of course it wasn't just Maruta at today's press conference but also his promoter Kazunori Morioka, of the Morioka Gym, who seemed very impressed by Maruta's development since his title win. He explained that Maruta is stronger than ever and that his punching power has improved since his title win.
As well as the main event it was also confirmed that this should have a brilliant chief support bout as we get a much anticipated rematch between Reiya Abe (21-3-1, 9) [阿部麗也] and Daisuke Watanabe (12-4-2, 7) [渡部大介], with Abe having taken a clear decision over Watanabe in their first bout. Notably the winner of this will face the winner of the main event for the Japanese title in 2022.
Earlier today at Korakuen Hall fans were able to attend the latest show in the "Dynamic Young Fight" series of shows from Yamaguchi Tsuchiura Promotions.
The card was originally planned to have 5 bouts, but a contest featuring veteran Tatsuya Takahashi (32-9-6, 21) [高橋 竜也] was scrapped earlier this month, leaving us with just 4 contests in total. The reason for the cancellation was never made public, though it is worth noting that Takahashi's original opponent had been replaced before the bout was scrapped.
The first bout on the show was a blink and you miss it affair, as Masaya Suga (1-0, 1) [須賀 将哉] got rid of Tatsuhiko Kumada (0-1) [熊田 龍彦] in just 27 seconds. Despite this being a super short bout, Suga dropped Kumada twice in 27 seconds, with the referee waving off the bout after the second knockdown.
The second bout saw the unbeaten Shingo Koyasu (2-0, 2) [小安 愼悟] score his second professional win, as he stopped the debuting Rikita Negishi (0-1) [根岸 力太] in the second round. Koyasu made the most of a 15cm height advantage early on, using his his reach an range well in the opening round. In the second round Negishi managed to get close and tried to force a war up and neutralise the the reach of Koyasu. Sadly being for Negishi that back fired, and uppercut from Koyasu dropped his man. Negishi beat the count but was under pressure straight away as Koyasu forced the stoppage.
The penultimate bout on the show saw 23 year old hopeful Tetsuya Kondo (6-2, 4) score his latest win, as he knocked out Yuya Nemoto (6-10-3, 1) in the second round. Kondo dropped his man just before the end of the opening round, after landing some solid shots through the round. Nemoto tried to get a foot hold in the bout in round 2, but was dropped from a right hook late in the round, and he failed to beat the count.
The main event saw two Japanese ranked Featherweights clash as Daisuke Watanabe (12-4-2, 7) [渡部大介] battled against Yosuke Kawano (14-10-2, 8) [河野洋佑] in a scheduled 8 rounder. This started at a good pace at mid range, before Watanabe started to close the distance in round 2, breaking Kawano down with body shots. To his credit Kawano tried to respond with right hands and had moments of his own, but seemed to be taking more than he was giving. In round 7 however Watanabe put a close to the bout, as he rocked Kawano with a right hand, then followed up whilst Kawano was retreating.
For Watanbe, who entered tanked #3 by the JBC, this is another good win in an 8 fight unbeaten run which has seen him over-come Dai Iwai, Richard Pumicpic and Shingo Kusano, as well as winning the Hajime No Ippo 30th Anniversary tournament. That winning run has very much left him banging on the door for his first title fight, and in fairness he deserves one, despite having 4 losses to his name. As for Kawano he will likely find himself dropping out of the JBC rankings.
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