Earlier today it was announced that IBF Atomweight champion Saemi Hanagata (16-7-4, 7) [田中冴美] would be making her second defense on February 26th at the Korakuen Hall on a Dangan promoted event. In the opposite corner to the world champion will be former amateur Eri Matsuda (4-0, 1) [松田恵里], a former Japanese and OPBF champion
The aggressive Hanagata won the IBF title in September 2018, when she out pointed Yuko Kuroki for the previously vacant title, in what was their third bout together. That win came in Hanagata's 5th shot at a world title and is very much a career defining win for the protege of former WBA Flyweight champion Susumu Hanagata. She made her first defense almost a year later, when she took a split decision win over Nao Ikeyama, to end their trilogy of razor thin bouts.
Having been a professional since 2008 Hanagata has genuine faced a who's who of female boxing, with 3 bouts against Kuroki and 3 against Ikeyama, as well as bouts against Momo Koseki, Kumiko Seeser Ikehara and Naoko Shibata. Through her entire career she has proven to be rugged, aggressive, tough and a solid puncher.
Matsuda on the other hand turned professional in 2018 following a 33 fight amateur career. She was fast tracked like few others in the sport, winning an OPBF title in her second bout and unifying that with the Japanese title just 3 months later. She made a single defense of the Japanese title in 2019, stopping Mont Blanc Miki, but sadly hasn't fought since September 2019.
In the ring Matsuda is very much a textbook boxer, looking to get behind her jab, establish range and use her foot work. Although not a puncher she hits hard enough to get respect, and with against Sana Hazuki, Nanae Suzuki and Mont Blanc Miki have shown that she can cope with aggressive fighters.
Although yet to be confirmed, it seems likely this will be shown on Boxing Raise.
Earlier today at Korakuen Hall fight fans had the chance to see fast rising female fighter Eri Matsuda (4-0, 1) [松田恵里] record her first defense of the Japanese Atomweight title.
The talented Matsuda was taking on the brave Mont Blanc Miki (4-3-1, 1) [田中美樹], and was surprisingly forced to work hard for the win, though did record her first stoppage win.
Matsuda's southpaw jab looked sharp from the off, but Miki had it scouted well and found a home for her straight right hand as a counter. The success of Miki's right hand managed to neutralise Matsuda's jab, and forced Matsuda to depend more on her right hook and straight left hand. Those shots had real success for Matsuda who managed to leave Miki with a swollen right eye.
With Miki having a target on her eye Matsuda began to load up more, and allowed Miki to force the fight that she wanted, with Miki making the bout a brawl. The brawling took away Matsuda's key technical advantages, and she seemed to be over eager in targeting the swelling.
Miki's aggression really impressed in round 4 and got her back to even in the fight. The aggression however came at a risk of being caught by a counter and towards the end of round 5 the challenger was dropped. She recovered to her feet but a follow up attack forced the referee to save Miki and give Matsuda her first stoppage victory.
Following the bout Matsuda seemed relieved to have defended her title, and likely realised that her strength isn't brawling and going toe to toe. She's a talented boxer and doesn't need to be involved in those types of fights. Miki on the other hand suggested it was a fun fight, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see her fight for the title again, after Matsuda vacates in pursuit of world honours.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Tomorrow at the Korakuen Hall fans will get the chance to see Eri Matsuda (3-0) [松田恵里] make her first defense of the Japanese Atomweight title, as she takes on Mont Blanc Miki (4-2-1, 1) [田中美樹], who will be competing in her first title fight.
Today the two fighters took part in their weigh in, and both came in comfortably under the 102lb Atomweight limit.
On the scales Matsuda, who has already unified the Japanese female and OPBF titles, was just under 101lbs and looked confident, calm and like a fighter fully aware she's a special talent. She said she had been working on her speed and the general view is that she will be fighting for a world title sooner rather than later.
Miki was slightly heavier on the scales, weighing in around 101l5lbs, but was still well under the limit. She seemed confident, and was aware of Matsuda's strengths, with the champion being a speedy southpaw, but was still confident that she could defeat the champion.
Related - Matsuda seeks first Japanese title defense! [Preview]
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier this week we learned that the Victoriva Vol 5 main event would be the WBA Atomweight unification bout between "interim" champion Ayaka Miyao (23-7-1, 6) [宮尾 綾香] and WBA's regular champion Monseratt Alcaron (12-4-2). The bout was the second title bout announced for the September 12th show, following the IBF Atomweight title bout between Saemi Hanagata (15-7-4, 7) [田中冴美] and Nao Ikeyama (18-5-4, 5) [森脇恵子].
Today we saw a third bout being confirmed for the card, with the fast rising Eri Matsuda (3-0) [松田恵里] defending her Japanese title on the show against Mont Blanc Miki (4-2-1, 1) [田中美樹].
For Matsuda this will be her first defense of the Japanese title though strange it seems that Matsuda's OPBF Atomweight will not be on the line here.
The Victoriva cards do tend to be pretty stacked and with 3 title bouts, including 2 world title bouts, it's clear that this card is well worth some attention if you follow female boxing, especially given that there so much Atomweight talent on show for this card, with all 3 announced title bouts taking place at 102lbs. We may well see at least some of winners facing off in the near future.
Earlier today at Korakuen Hall the fans were able to see the award ceremony for the East Japan Boxing Association award winners for March.
The award winners, who were announced back on April 8th, were OPBF Super Featherweight champion Hironori Mishiro (7-0-1, 2) [三代大訓], who was the MVP, Shuji Kato (10-1-2, 6) [加藤収二], the Fighting Spirit award winner, and OPBF and JBC Atomweight champion Eri Matsuda (3-0) [松田恵里], who was the "New Comer" award winner.
At today's ceremony the 3 fighters all spoke to the fans in attendance.
Mishiro revealed that it was a special award for him, and not something he expected, especially given he's only been a professional for around 2 years. He then added "I will continue to work hard and practice, and I will return to here as an MVP, defeating strong opponents".
Kato, who will get a second shot at Japanese Middleweight champion Kazuto Takesako (10-0-1, 10) [竹迫司登] on August 3rd following their draw in March, sounded determined to take the Japanese title later in the year, "I will do my best to win this time and to receive such an award again."
Interestingly Matsuda actually broke some news with her comments and revealed "the defense fight is scheduled for September", with the champion expected to defend her OPBF and JBC titles before moving onto a world title fight.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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