Earlier today it was announced that triple crown Lightweight champion Shuichiro Yoshino (13-0, 10) [吉野 修一郎] would be returning to the ring on August 12th to make his next defense of the Japanese Lightweight title, on a "Diamond Glove" show.
The bout, which will take place at Korakuen Hall, will see Yoshino taking on the once beaten Shuma Nakazato (10-1-3, 7) [仲里周磨] in a very, very interesting match up.
Yoshino has, arguably, been the best Lightweight in Japan over the last few years, and has gone on to unify the Japanese, OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific titles during his career. Not only has he unified all 3 titles but he has also been picking up a string of notable wins including victories over Yoshitaka Kato, Harmonito Dela Torre and Valentine Hosokawa, and has shown both lights out power and solid rounded boxing skills. Sadly however he hasn't really kicked on, on been able to make any mark beyond on the Oriental scene, so far.
Nakazato on the other hand is a second generation fighter, following in the footsteps of former fighter Shigeru Nakazato, who fought for a world title and would win the OPBF Super Bantamweight title during his career. Although he has got some marks on his record they include a close loss to Hironori Mishiro in 2017, and draws against the then 6-0 Teppei Kayunuma and Yoshimitsu Kimura, as well as an opening round technical draw with Virgil Puton.
As well as the main event there have been other bouts confirmed for this card, including the return of former Japanese Featherweight champion Ryo Sagawa (10-2, 5) [佐川遼] who will take on Retsu Kosaka (10-6, 4) [小坂烈]. On paper this might not seem like a hugely notably match up, but it does give Sagawa a chance to avenge his first professional loss, and get revenge for a 2017 defeat to Kosaka, in what was Sagawa's second professional bout.
As with all Diamond Glove shows, this will be aired on Fuji TV, on some form of tape delay.
Earlier today we reported that highly touted prospect Rentaro Kimura (3-0, 3) [木村蓮太朗] would be back in the ring on June 10th, for a bout against Hikaru Fukunaga (8-1, 5) [福永輝] as part of a Diamond Glove show at Korakuen Hall. Whilst a great match up that bout isn't going to be the main event of the card, but instead one of the main support bouts. The main event will instead be a Japanese title fight, and a really good on as well!
That title bout will see Japanese Light Welterweight champion Daishi Nagata (15-2-2, 6) [永田大士] making his second defense of the title, which he won last year against Koki Inoue, as he takes on unbeaten 25 year old challenger Masahiro Suzuki (5-0, 3) [鈴木 雅弘].
On paper this looks like a mismatch, but in reality we suspect this could be a very, very compelling bout between two men with a point to prove.
Nagata won his title, as mentioned, in a massive upset win against Koki Inoue, the cousin of Naoya and Takuma Inoue. That win was a massive shock for Nagata who had shown plenty of promise but wasn't expected to be a real test for the then unbeaten Inoue. He was however very under-whelming in his first defense, as head clashes marred a bout with veteran Akihiro Kondo, resulting in a 7th round technical draw last December.
Although a talented fighter Nagata is the sort of fighter who can blow hot and cold. As his best he's a fantastic fighter, as we saw against Inoue and previously against Rikki Naito. At other times it can seem like he's trying too hard to impress and looks poor as a result, such as the draw against Kondo and his 2019 win over Min Ho Jung, which saw him being what fortunate to escape with the victory. If he boxes to his strengths, and avoids letting his heart over rule his brain, he could make this look easy, but with the wrong game plan he could end up slipping on a major banana skin.
Suzuki turned professional in 2018 and immediately impressed ups with an excellent performance against Antonio Siesmundo. It was a performance that instantly seemed to ear mark him as a special talent, capable of racing through the ranks. Sadly his performances after that bout were under-whelming. He was hurt against Kosuke Arioka in his third bout, and narrowly took a victory in his 4th bout, against Hokuto Matsumoto. Those performances saw doubt creep into his potential, though it's fair to say that a step up like this might get the best from him.
For fans wanting to watch this, it will be aired on tape delay by Fuji TV as part of their Diamond Glove series.
Related - Rentaro Kimura to return to the ring on June 10th!
Earlier today Danji Suruga announced the next bout for his star prospect Rentaro Kimura (3-0, 3) [木村蓮太朗], who we now know will return to the ring on June 10th, as he takes on 2020 West Japan Rookie of the Year winner Hikaru Fukunaga (8-1, 5) [福永輝] in a mouth watering 6 rounder at Korakuen Hall.
The talented Kimura made his debut last year, following an excellent amateur career, and he has been hugely impressive since beginning his professional career. In just 3 bouts he has climbed into the WBO Asia Pacific rankings at Featherweight, holding a #15 ranking, and has made it clear that he is chasing title fights as soon as possible. During his first 3 bouts he has shown a lot to be excited about, with his debut KO over Yuya Azuma being one of the most knockouts of 2020., but is still clearly a work in progress and a bout like this will help him develop as he takes on a hungry young fighter with a point to prove.
At 22 years old Fukunaga is genuinely a young fighter, and one who has shown a lot of potential. He made his debut in 2018 and shone in the 2019 Rookie of the Year, until losing a decision to eventual All Japan champion Jinki Maeda. He returned to the Rookie of the Year tournament in 2020 and managed to reach the final, but had to pull out of his bout due to a positive PCR test ahead of a scheduled bout with Kazunori Hirano (4-0, 4) [平野和憲].
On paper this is a genuine step up for both men. Fukunaga is easily the most ambitious opponent that Kimura will have faced so far as a professional, and Kimura is leagues above anyone Fukunaga has faced so far.
If Kimura wins, something he'll be favoured to do, the expectation is that he'll look to secure his first title fight later in the year. Interestingly the bouts comes just 2 days before his 24th birthday and it's clear he, and his team, will not want to waste time with too many bouts like this one. As for Fukunaga he'll want to make a splash after missing out on the Rookie of the Year finals.
Interestingly Mr Suruga explained why it's been so long since Kimura fought, explaining on his blog that "Originally, the plan was to participate in Diamond Globe at Korakuen Hall on April 8th, but we couldn't find an opponent", suggesting that fighters aren't in a rush to face the fast rising Kimura.
The bout will be part of the June edition of "Diamond Glove", and is expected to be shown, in some form, on Fuji TV as the channel continues to back the talented Kimura, having shown two of his first 3 bouts.
Earlier today fight fans at Korakuen Hall had the latest show in the Diamond Glove series of shows, which will be aired this coming weekend on Fuji TV. The card featured 4 bouts in total, including a highly anticipated Japanese Featherweight title bout featuring champion Ryo Sagawa taking on mandatory challenger Hinata Maruta and a very, very interesting co-feature for the Japanese Youth Light Flyweight title
For those wanting to watch this, as live, over the weekend we please note that spoilers will begin in the next paragraph, starting with the the first under-card bout, which is unlikely to be televised at all, and then moving on through the other bouts on the show. If you wish to avoid those spoilers, please stop reading now.
The show began with a 4 rounder between Kosuke Kumazawa (2-1) [熊澤公佑] and Hiroki Sakakubo (1-3, 1) [坂久保 拓紀]. The bout was a cautious one in the early stages and little happened in the first 3 rounds, with Kumazawa controlling things at range and Sakakubo taking few risks to try and chancge things. In round 4 fans finally got some action, but by then it was too little, too late for Sakakubo who lost a clear decision in a bit of a stinker.
Thankfully the second bout on the show was a big improvement as the often fun to watch Shota Ogasawara (6-3, 3) [小笠原梢太] battled against Shinnosuke Kimoto (6-5, 2) [木元紳之輔], and the two men delivered a real fun 6 rounder. This was a hotly contested battle from the off, and both of them tried to out battle, out work, and tough the other in a very entertaining contest. In round 3 Ogasawara scored the only knockdown of the fight, putting Kimoto down with a left hook. After the knockdown Kimoto struggled in round 4 but tried to turn the fight around in round 5 as his desire to win drove him him on. Kimoto was rocked in round 6, but made it to the bell, taking us to the scorecards. The knockdown proved vital with the judges with Ogasawara taking a narrow decision. The scores here were 57-56, twice, and 58-55. Without the knockdown this would likely have been a draw.
The first of two title bouts saw a new Japanese Youth Light Flyweight champion being crowned as Yudai Shigeoka (3-0, 2) [重岡優大] scored the biggest win of his professional career and stopped talented youngster Ryu Horikawa (3-1-1, 1) [堀川 龍] in 5 rounds. The younger Horikawa started well, using his speed well, and tagged Shigeoka to the body in the opening round, whilst Shigeoka himself looked to land hard left hands. The success of Horikawa continued in round 2 where he continued to look just a touch quicker than Shigeoka, but Shigeoka began to come alive in round 3 and and attacked the body of Horikawa well. Eventually the power of Shigeoka broke through and he dropped Horikawa in round 4 with a 1-2. In round 5 round Horikawa found himself downed for a second time. His fighting heart saw him get up, but he was stopped soon afterwards, with Shigeoka picking up the 5th round TKO and the Youth title.
The main event of the show was the now long delayed Champion Carnival bout for the Japanese Featherweight title, with defending champion Ryo Sagawa (10-2, 5) [佐川遼] battling his mandatory challenger Hinata Maruta (11-1-1, 9) [丸田陽七太] in a highly anticipated bout. A bout that had been scheduled for early 2020 before being delayed due to the pandemic.
Early on Maruta looked to control behind his sharp right jab, using his speed and reach well, whilst Sagawa tried to load up on counter right hands. Maruta then moved through the gears, throwing right hands along with his jabs in round 2 as he began to control the early going, despite taking one or two clean counter rights himself. Sagawa managed to build some success of his own in round 3, with his left hook, but took a big right hand later on and it was clear that Sagawa needed to do more. To his credit the champion changed tactics in round 4, becoming more aggressive and pressing the action more, likely realising he was in a hole, and that aggression continued in to round 5 as Sagawa closed the gap.
After 5 rounds the open scoring kicked in and Maruta was leading on all 3 cards, 48-47 from one judge and 49-47 from the other two. Despite being behind Sagawa seemed to have the momentum and looked to continue to build on that in round 6, pressing again. In round 7 however Sagawa good work was wiped out as he was dropped from a right hand that took him down. Sagawa got back to his feet but Maruta smelled blood and went for the kill, forcing a stoppage at an official time of 2:57 in round 7 to become the new champion.
Yesterday Misako Boxing Gym announced that they would be holding a Diamond Glove card on February 11th at Korakuen Hall. Not only did they announce the when and where, but they also announced two truly fantastic match ups for the card, which should both be brilliant bouts.
The "lesser" of the bouts will see youngsters colliding as Yudai Shigeoka (2-0, 1) [重岡優大], the older brother of the very highly regarded Ginjiro Shigeoka, takes on Ryu Horikawa (3-0-1, 1) [堀川 龍] in a bout for the Japanese Youth Light Flyweight title.
For those unaware both of these men are tipped for major success over the coming years. In just 2 fights Shigeoka is already ranked #2 by the OPBF, #15 by the JBC and #17 by the WBC, thanks in part to an excellent win over Lito Dante last time out. The 23 year old is regarded as being a lesser talent than his more well known brother, but he is still tipped as a youngster with the potential to win world titles.
Horikawa on the other hand is 20 years old, went 37-8 in the amateurs, impressed almost immediately as a professional, winning a Dangan B Class tournament in his second bout, and was very unlucky last year in China when he was held to a draw in a bout for the WBO Youth Light Flyweight title.
Despite having just 6 professional bouts between them this is expected to be a sensational contest, between two high level and very advanced youngsters.
The other bout, the main event, will see Japanese Featherweight champion Ryo Sagawa (10-1, 5) [佐川遼] make a mandatory defense of his title against Hinata Maruta (10-1-1, 8) [丸田陽七太]. This bout was supposed to take place in 2020 as part of the Champion Carnival, but got delayed due to covid19. Thankfully the bout wasn't totally scrapped but just delayed, giving us something to look forward to in February.
For Sagawa this will be his third defense of the title he won in September 2019, when he out pointed Reiya Abe. Despite the loss to his name he has gone unbeaten in his last 9 bouts and has scored notable wins against the likes of Junki Saski, Ryo Matsumoto, Al Toyogon, Abe, Ryo Hino and, most recently, Yuri Takemoto. Those wins have helped him get into the top 15 with the WBO, IBF and WBC, and he'll know an impressive performance here could help secure him a world title fight down the line.
Maruta on the other hand is a 23 year old who turned professional to great fanfare and showed some sensational skills early on before a set back in 2017, when he lost a competitive decision to veteran Hidenori Otake for the OPBF Super Bantamweight title. That lass was a notable stumble, but since then he has improved, becoming more aggressive, and is unlucky not to have won all 6 bouts since that loss, with a controversial draw against Ben Mananquil marking up his record. His last 3 bouts have seen him beat Tsuyoshi Tameda, Coach Hiroto and Takenori Ohashi, and he looks very much ready for this second title fight.
As with all Diamond Glove bouts this will be getting shown on Fuji TV, though sadly it seems they will be shown on tape delay.
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