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.
Tomorrow at Korakuen Hall fight fans in Japan will be able to see Daishi Nagata (15-2-1, 6) [永田大士] make his first defense of the Japanese Light Welterweight title, as he takes on veteran Akihiro Kondo (32-9-1, 18) [近藤 明広], who is looking to add the title to his collection of titles.
Today the two men took part in their weigh in for the bout and both men made the 140lb limit with no issues, with both men hitting the scales at 139.8lb and looking in fantastic condition.
At the weigh in Nagata, who is coming in to this fight on the back of a career best win over Koki Inoue, looked in incredible shape. He spoke like a man who had a point to prove, and the same determination that he had when he was challenging for the belt. He spoke about wanting to make a meaningful bout for the fans and it seems very much like he's coming into the bout with a lot of excitement and the confidence of the Misako Gym, which has been on a great in recent years.
Kondo on the other hand spoke about how he'd prepared for the contest by losing weight earlier than usual, and as a result was in perfect shape. He seemed to suggest he had improved his strength and stamina from recent contests and had a lot of respect for Nagata. Interesting he also spoke about his experienced, citing that this his 43rd professional bout and that he had had 43 amateur bouts, with that being more than 80 bouts of experience to rely on here.
For fans wanting to watch the bout and can't make it to Korakuen Hall, it will be shown on tape delay on Fuji TV this coming weekend.
Related - Nagata seeks first defense as he goes up against tough guy Kondo
(Image credit - Misako Gym)
We've known for a couple of weeks that fast rising Japanese star Rentaro Kimura (2-0, 2) [木村蓮太朗] would be returning to the ring on December 10th for an 8 round bout at Korakuen Hall. What wasn't known, until today, were the other details regarding the bout.
What we now know is that that bout will see the talented youngster take on Thunder Teruya (7-7-1, 4) [照屋雄太].
On paper this doesn't look anything great, in fact given Teruya's record this looks really poor, however his record doesn't show all the facts. In fact it misses off the fact that Teruya has really turned things around. He was once 2-6-1 (1) and seemed to be going absolutely no where. In his last 6 fights however he has gone 5-1 (3) and appears to have some momentum behind him.
Whilst Teruya is better than his record suggests he will still clearly be the under-dog against the excellent Kimura, who is tipped to be the first world champion from a Shizuoka gym. He has looked sensational since turning professional and has shown all the tools needed to rise, rapidly, through the ranks. This is likely to be one of his final bouts before facing a Japanese ranked opponent and beginning his rise towards a title fight.
One other thing to note is that this bout will be part of December's "Diamond Glove" show, and will be featured on Fuji TV, who appear to be getting behind Kimura. They showed his debut in July and recently featured some footage from his September bout. They appear to see him as a new potential star and if they get behind him they really could have another sensational fighter to build their boxing content around.
For those who haven't seen Kimura before we have included his most recent bout, in full, below, thanks to his promoter, Suruga Boys.
Earlier today it was announced that the December edition of "Diamond Glove" would be headlined by Japanese Light Welterweight champion Daishi Nagata (15-2-1, 6) [永田大士] making his first defense. The champion, who dethroned Koki Inoue in a notable upset back in the Summer, will be in the ring on December 10th as he takes on veteran Akihiro Kondo (32-9-1, 18) [近藤 明広], who is now in the must win stage of his career.
Nagata had entered the bout with Inoue as the mandatory challenger, and forced a TKO win over the previously unbeaten Inoue, who announced his retirement after the bout. That was Nagata's second title fight, having previously come up short in an OPBF title fight against Rikki Naito, and it showed he genuinely belonged among the best Japanese fighters at 140lbs. He's aggressive, exciting, a smart fighter who uses pressure and under-rated boxing skills.
A win here for Nagata would likely see him enter 2021 with as the champion as we head into next year's Champion Carnival.
As for Kondo he really is in need of a win. He is best known internationally for his 2017 bout against Sergey Lipinets in the US for the IBF 140lb title. Since then he has gone 3-2, with a huge KO loss to Downua Ruawaiking, in a world title eliminator, and to youngster Andy Hiraoka. A loss here will likely see the 35 year old hanging up the gloves and walking away from the sport, ending a career that saw him debut as a professional way back in 2006.
As is typical with Diamond Glove shows this will be held at Korakuen Hall and will be shown on tape delay on Fuji TV.
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