In just over 24 hours we'll see WBO Super Flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka (25-2, 14) [井岡一翔] defending his title against unbeaten challenger Kosei Tanaka (15-0, 9) [田中恒成], in one of the mostly highly anticipated bouts of 2020.
The fight, which is being aired globally thanks to the likes of TBS, Boxnation, ESPN2 in Latin America and Fox Sports in Australia, is a rare Japanese fight that has genuinely caught the attention of a worldwide audience, all wanting to see something special to end a torrid 2020.
Today the two fighters took part in their weigh in for the contest, and both men made the 115lbs weight limit with no issues at all. In fact both came bang on the 115lb limit and looked in excellent physical condition.
Ioka, sporting the cornrows he showed off at the pre-fight medical yesterday, oozed confidence at the weigh in. He seemed like a man who really did believe his words, and seemed to feel that Tanaka wasn't on his level, and that he had done much more than the challenger.
After the weigh in he stated that he would be eating a meal made by his wife whilst isolating at a hotel. In regards to his condition he explained "I'm glad I was able to finish the weighing and play tomorrow with the support of my family and camp." When asked his views on the fight he was, again, scathing towards Tanaka, saying "I will prove who is the champion. I will show the difference in the rank and the level of boxing." and went on to add "I'm not looking down, but I don't care about the existence."
Before getting into the ring tomorrow Ioka plans on putting on between 4KG (8.8lbs) and 4.5KG's (9.9lbs).
As for Tanaka he seemed confidence, but like a man with a burning desire to prove a point. This wasn't the relaxed calmness of Ioka, the self assured, almost dismissive champion. Instead it was a challenger who has done all he can to prepare for a fight which, if he wins, will almost certainly make him the third biggest star in Japanese boxing. He looked incredibly on the scales, and knows it, telling interviewers that he was "in very good shape".
Like he has through the build up, he spoke about the bout being a generational change, as if he knows this is his chance to rip the torch from Ioka, and become a national star. Although well known among boxing fans, particularly those in the West where he has connected brilliantly with fans, he is still not quite the national boxing star that some suspect he is in Japan. A win here would change that, and he knows it.
On the subject of a generational shift Tanaka stated "I think the level of boxing in Japan is very high, so I want to win the 4th class and lead the boxing world. A new era of super talented people. I am prepared to lead it."
As well as both men making the 115lb weight limit, we can also report that both men had negative results in their PCR tests, which were taken yesterday.
As you're all probably aware by now the fight will be shown live around the world through through channels like TBS in Japan, Boxnation in the UK, Fox Sports in Australia and ESPN channels in Latin America, though sadly it wasn't picked up by a US TV channel.
For those in America wanting to watch we suggest a 3 day trial account with Isakura should be ordered today (December 30th) as it can take up to 12 hours to get the details sent through. More details about Isakura can be found here.
Related-The end of year clash - Kazuto Ioka Vs Kosei Tanaka
(Image courtesy of Ambition Gym)
This coming Sunday Japanese fight fans will be able to see a major card thanks to Fuji TV who are showing a card from the Ota City General Gymnasium.
For those wanting to watch the card on Fuji TV the broadcast is set to being at 7PM local time, which is 10AM in the UK and is set to show two bouts live.
The first of those live bouts will be the WBC "interim" Bantamweight bout between Takuma Inoue (12-0, 3) [井上 拓真] and Petch Sor Chitpattana (48-0, 33) [เพชร ซีพีเฟรชมาร์ท], with Takuma looking to join brother Naoya Inoue as a world champion.
The second live bout will see WBO Super Featherweight champion Masayuki Ito (24-1-1, 12) [伊藤 雅雪] defending his belt for the first time, and taking on mandatory challenger Evgeny Chuprakov (20-0, 10). This is the main event of the show and is a really exciting match up, especially given that the Super Featherweight division is one with a number of notable names in it.
Unfortunate the WBC Light Flyweight bout between Kenshiro (14-0, 8) [拳四朗] and Saul Juarez (24-8-2, 13) is not set to be shown live, though could be used to fill time in the event of early finishes in the other two bouts. For fans in the venue this will be the first of the three world title fights on the show, so the result will likely be out there before the broadcast is shown.
Despite not being shown live the Kenshiro Vs Juarez bout is expected to be shown in full in 2019 on a Fuji or Fuji BS broadcast. The Kenshiro bout is also expected to be squeezed on the ESPN+ broadcast, if the other two bouts finish early. That ESPN+ broadcast is set to begin at 5AM ET.
Related- Masayuki Ito faces mandatory Evgeny Chuprakov
Petch Sor Chitpattana and Takuma Inoue clash for WBC interim title!
Kenshiro seeks 5th defense, takes on Baby Juarez
(Image courtesy of Fuji TV)
Over the past 24 hours ESPN+ have confirmed that they will be showing some of the December 30th action from Japan, starting at 5 a.m. ET.
The channel is now schedule to broadcast the WBO Super Featherweight title bout between Masayuki Ito (24-1-1, 12) [伊藤 雅雪] and mandatory challenger Evgeny Chuprakov (20-0, 10), in what is Ito's first defense of the title.
It should be noted that Ito has expressed his desire to unify with WBC champion Miguel Berchelt (35-1, 31), and this bout with Chuprakov could be used to help build hype for that bout, if ESPN do their job properly.
Along with the main event the channel will also broadcast the WBC interim Bantamweight title fight between Takuma Inoue (12-0, 3) [井上 拓真] and Petch Sor Chitpattana (48-0, 33) [เพชร ซีพีเฟรชมาร์ท], aka Tassana Salapat, live. The winner of this is expected to fight for the full title in the new year, and ESPN will almost certainly be wanting to cover that future bout as well as this one.
If the main finish early there is a chance that ESPN will get tape delay coverage of the WBC Light Flyweight title bout between the fantastic Kenshiro (14-0, 8) [拳四朗] and Mexican veteran Saul Juarez (24-8-2, 13). This bout however is in doubt for TV coverage in both Japan and the US due to scheduling, with Fuji expected to broadcast the bout on tape delay in the new year.
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