On Thursday at Korakuen Hall fight fans will get an interesting card under the Diamond Glove banner.
The main event of the card will see OPBF, WBO Asia Pacific and Japanese Lightweight champion Shuichiro Yoshino (11-0, 9) [吉野 修一郎] defending his national title in a mandatory defense against Izuki Tomioka (7-2-1, 2) [富岡樹] as part of the 2020 Champion Carnival. The main event isn't the only bout of note however, with former WBC Flyweight champion Daigo Higa (15-1, 15) [比嘉 大吾] battling Jason Buenaobra (7-4-3, 3) in the chief support bout.
Sadly for those not at Korakuen Hall the show won't be televised live, however the delay for the broadcast won't be massive, with Fuji TV confirming the bouts will be broadcast, on delay, on Saturday in Japan.
The broadcast is scheduled to take place at 26:15 to 27:20 local time, or from 2:15am Sunday morning to 3:20 if you rather.
The broadcast is likely to show edited versions of both fights, as we typically see with Diamond Glove broadcasts, which is sort of disappointing but better than nothing.
Yoshino defends against mandatory Tomioka!
Higa returns, but can he over-come the rugged Buenaobra?
Back on January 13th Sponichi Annex reported that Bob Arum was in talks for his Japanese Middleweight star Ryota Murata (16-2, 13) [村田 諒太] was in talks to face off with Saul "Canelo" Alvarez (53-1-2, 36) in May for a bout at the Tokyo dome.
The report suggested that Arum has stated "If it does take place, it will take place on Sunday afternoon in Japan time and will be broadcast during prime time in the United States."
At the time the story seemed to fall apart when looking at the schedule for the Tokyo Dome, which is packed every Sunday through May. The first 2 weekends in May are booked with baseball games featuring Yomiuri Giants, on both Saturdays and Sundays. To put it into some context the Yomiuri Giants are Japan's version of the New York Yankees.
The following weekends are then booked up with concerts from RADWIMPS and GLAY, with concerts on both Saturday and Sunday.
This seemed to completely rule out the Sponichi article about the fight taking place in Japan in May...that was until today when Chris Mannix reported that a Canelo Vs Murata fight in Japan, in the Spring was in serious talks.
But the Tokyo dome is booked right?
Looking through the Tokyo Dome schedule the venue is busy most weekends, though it would be available the first weekend in March or either of the first 2 weekends in June. It's unlikely these dates would work for the fight but they are there.
Of course the Tokyo Dome isn't the only venue that would be suitable. An alternative dome would be the 36,000 seating Kyocera Dome in Osaka, that also appears to be booked every Sunday in May.
Outside of the two domes there are, obviously, other massive venues that could, potentially, host the fight, such as the Shin kokuritsu kyōgijō, which held the 2019 Emperor's Cup final earlier this month. This venue will be used for the Olympics, and is much bigger than the two domes, The Nissan Stadium would also be potentially suitable as would the Saitama Stadium 2002. Those 3 are however soccer stadiums, and none of that trio have ever held boxing before.
Interesting there is a potential dome date available for May 3rd, albeit in the Nagoya Dome, which is booked for the Saturday but RADWIMP and on the Monday, for baseball, is available on the Sunday. In fact the Nagoya dome is available on May 3rd, 10th and 17th and is similar in size to both the Kyocera Dome and the Tokyo dome and is only 2 hours from Tokyo.
Broadcasting could be tricky right?
Broadcasting could get very complicated here, but they wouldn't need to be.
Firstly, as mentioned above, the plan would be for "Sunday afternoon in Japan time and will be broadcast during prime time in the United States." This would suit a solid viewing figure in Japan, though not a prime time one, however it would be suitable for the US and Mexico, making it suitable for Canelo's fans.
Fuji TV have backed Murata and have a contract with him, to broadcast his fights in Japan. Fuji TV are backed by the extremely powerful Fuji News Network, and in theory give a nationwide audience base for any fight in Japan, if they broadcast it across their entire network. In Tokyo alone the they have a a regular audience in the multi-million figure for Murata fights. It is however, worth noting that the last Murata fight wasn't exclusive to Fuji in Japan, with it being shown on NHK-8BS, in glorious 8K. In fact that was only the second time, in history, a bout had ever been broadcast in 8K anywhere in the world.
NHK have made it known they are looking to get back into the boxing after years away and their 8K coverage gives them a USP no one else can match, and allows them to work along with Fuji to bring fights out in 8K, something they also did for the Naoya Inoue Vs Nonito Donaire bout.
Of course Canelo has a contract with DAZN, which has heavily bankrolled his fights in the US in recent years. The DAZN rights are thought to be global and would, in theory, extend to this bout being aired to the 2,000,000 or so Japanese subscribers to DAZN. A decent number if they could get them all, though the reality is that boxing on DAZN in Japan is pretty niche, and most big bouts are on terrestrial TV where viewing numbers are much bigger.
DAZN have yet to actually broadcast a Japanese boxing show of any kind, and their boxing content, so far, has been entirely imported. For them to have a fight of this magnitude might help them boost their numbers, but would be unlikely to get anywhere near the figures of a Fuji broadcast. Also DAZN JP will likely have their two biggest sports on during the proposed dates for these, with NPB (Japanese Baseball) and J League (Japanese soccer) series both running through May. If You're a DAZN subscriber odds are these are what you have the service for and adding boxing wouldn't actually help their viewership, especially not by taking it off free TV to do so.
In principle there is actually NO REASON why these contracts can't actually run in agreement with each other. There are other events in Japan which are shown on both terrestrial TV, such as Fuji TV, and another service. For example RIZIN is broadcast on both Fuji TV and GYAO, whilst fights on TBS are also occasionally shown on Paravi.
In theory DAZN would be able to keep the global streaming rights, Fuji the terrestrial TV rights and BS8 would be able to have their slice of the pie with an 8K broadcast. It would, incidentally, be the same 3 companies that worked on the Inoue Vs Donaire bout, and each would have their own selling point.
For DAZN they would be able to showcase the full under-card, something Fuji won't do, for Fuji the terrestrial coverage would be huge, whilst BS8 will only show to a small number of people who have already adopted 8K technology.
One other thing to note is that in Japanese reports the suggestion was that Fuji TV would potentially be getting the rights to essentially cover DAZN financially. Several reports from Japan stated that both Canelo, and Gennady Golovkin (40-1-1, 35), were costing too much. Hence the service showing a willingness to send fighters off abroad, with both men being linked to Murata, where purses could essentially be funded in part by Fuji TV.
So could this really take place in Japan in Spring?
This has long been in the works as a possibility, with Bob Arum talking about the bout way back on December 23rd, the day that Murata beat Steven Butler. (Murata targets Canelo and Golovkin at the Tokyo Dome in 2020!) With GGG now looking set to make a mandatory defense of his title it leaves Canelo as the only target for Arum and Co that is worth paying the big money for.
Finding the right venue in time would be a key issue that needs solving, but as we've seen there are dates available for the Domes, but maybe not the dates they want.
Something you'd like to add?
Well, yes! Whilst Bob Arum did suggest a Sunday it is worth noting that the the first week of May falls in what is termed the "Golden Week" in Japan, where there's a bundle of holidays that all take place together. These include April 29th, May 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th. The big day for Mexican fans in May 5th.
A wild card suggesting is that the bout actually takes place in Japan on Wednesday May 6th in the early afternoon, or Tuesday May 5th, in the early afternoon. This would make the most of the Japanese holidays and potentially work for a Mexican viewing fan base, with public schools in Mexico closed on May 5th.
May 5th is also celebrated, as Cinco de Mayo, in Japan.
Another possibility is that it takes place on a Monday afternoon in Japan. This is notable as May 4th is a Japanese holiday, and it would work for a large American audience on a Sunday night, especially given that there appears to be no major US sporting event on May 4th with NBA taking a break, no WWE and no NFL. This would be an interesting work around but brings the Tokyo Dome into the fold once again.
Of course this isn't the first name we've seen linked to Canelo for a May 2020 date, and there's a chance we'll see another name linked to him soon as well. It is however interesting to see how long this has been in the works for, if we're to trust Bob Arum, and why the Tokyo Dome is maybe not the most likely venue....unless the bout comes on a weekday.
(Images courtesy of Boxmob, Fuji TV, Tokyo-Dome.co.jp, Boxingnews.jp)
On December 2nd Japanese Light Welterweight champion Koki Inoue (14-0, 11) [浩樹井上] will face off with hard hitting Filipino Jheritz Chavez (9-3-2, 7) in a bout for the vacant WBO Asia Pacific Light Welterweight title.
Originally it was unclear whether the bout would receive any TV exposure, with some notable Phoenix Battle shows lacking TV coverage recently.
Today we were informed that Fuji TV would be airing the bout, albeit on tape delay, next weekend.
The bout will be broadcast as part of a Phoenix Battle broadcast On December 7th starting at 3:20 am, with a 1 hour time slot set aside for the show.
Not only will the broadcast air the fight, along with selected highlights from the rest of the show, but it will also give us some more details in regards to the upcoming WBA "regular" Middleweight title bout between Ryota Murata (15-2, 12) [村田 諒太] and Steven Butler (28-1-1, 24), with some training footage expected to be shown.
Related - Koki Inoue takes on Jhertiz Chavez for regional title!
We are now just over a week away from the highly anticipated WBSS Bantamweight Japanese star Naoya Inoue (18-0, 16) [井上 尚弥] and Filipino icon Nonito Donaire (40-5, 26), who will battle for the Muhammad Ali trophy, the WBA "super", IBF and Ring Magazine titles.
As well as the brilliant main event the show will also feature a WBC Bantamweight title bout between Takuma Inoue (13-0, 3) [井上 拓真] and current WBC Bantamweight champion Nordine Oubaali (16-0, 12).
Over the last few days Fuji TV have revealed the TV details for the card.
The event is set to begin it's broadcast at 19:57 local time, with around 2 hours put aside for show, which will feature both world title bouts.
Of course for fans around the world title times will need to be adjusted, so for British fans wanting to watch the show will begin around 11AM UK time. Of course DAZN in the US will also show the event, and will need to be relied upon to present their own schedule, which we suspect will match up very accurately with Fuji, who are the lead broadcaster for the event.
Whilst it's a shame for an international audience that it's on a "work day", we suspect the number of viewers Fuji will be getting will genuinely be huge, and with over 20,000 tickets sold for the bout the mid-week scheduling has done no harm at all to the expected attendance for the bout.
After weeks of rumour and speculation we finally got the announcement of Fuji's huge end of year card today. And it was much bigger and more exciting than any of us had anticipated.
As had been previously reported the card will take place on December 23rd in Japan will not only feature one world title bout, but 3! Including an amazing world title eliminator and a chance for a modern legend to get one final big win, before potentially ending his career. It also leaves the door open to a notable under-card return.
The one bout that was well known about before hand was the WBA "regular" Middleweight championship bout between Ryota Murata (15-2, 12) [村田 諒太] to and once beaten Canadian Steven Butler (28-1-1, 24). This was announced as the show's main event and will see Murata make his first defense of his second reign in what looks like an excellent match up on paper. Butler might not be a huge name, but as a match up on paper this should sell it's self.
The legend in action is former 3-weight world champion Akira Yaegashi (28-6, 16) [八重樫 東]. The hugely popular Yaegashi had been public about hoping to get a Super Flyweight world title bout. He's failed to do that, but he has managed to land a different world title bout, as he shares the ring with IBF Flyweight champion Moruti Mthalane (38-2, 25), in an attempt to become a 2-time Flyweight champion. For Mthalane this will be his third successive bout against a Japanese opponent following wins over Masahiro Sakamoto, on December 31st last year, and Masayuki Kuroda, earlier this year.
The third of the world title bouts, and the one we are the most excited about, will see WBC Light Flyweight champion Kenshiro (16-0, 9) [拳四朗] defending his title in a unification bout with IBF champion Felix Alvarado (35-2, 30). Through the year we have seen Kenshiro and WBA "super" champion Hiroto Kyoguchi both speak about unification bouts, to see one of the two men landing a bout at this level is great, even better when it features a high risk and power punching fighter like Alvarado. This bout really will strengthen the winner's claim the be #1 in the division and will be Alvarado's second successive bout against a Japanese fighter following a win earlier this year against Reiya Konishi.
Although not announced this is also expected to be the show where we will see the return of former WBC Flyweight champion Daigo Higa (15-1, 15) [比嘉 大吾], with an announcement about that set to come later this year!
For those wanting to attend the event it will take place at the Yokohama Arena.
Fuji are ending the year big, and by big we mean huge with this amazing show, and without a doubt a contender for card of the year.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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