We are slowly seeing the boxing calendar for July and August filling up and the latest news from Japan regarding August 22nd's Hajime No Ippo 30th Anniversary tournament final.
The final will see Shingo Kusano (13-8-1, 5) [草野慎悟] and Daisuke Watanabe (10-4-2, 6) [渡部大介] battle for the tournament prize, ending the 7 man knockout competition that began last year. Originally the plan had been for the tournament to end in mid-May but due to the on going global situation the final has been pushed back and will be the headline bout of Dangan's show on August 22nd.
The under-card has now been confirmed and will feature an excellent match up between former world title challenger Shingo Wake (26-6-2, 18) [和氣 慎吾] and the talented but light punching Shohei Kawashima (18-4-2, 4) [川島翔平]. This will be Wake's first bout since being upset by Jhunriel Ramonal last year, in a massive set back.
Another of the under-card bouts will see former Japanese Lightweight champion Shuhei Tsuchiya (23-6, 18) [土屋 修平] look to salvage his career as he battles 2018 All Japan Rookie of the Year winner George Tachibana (8-4, 2) [橘ジョージ]. Coming in to this the 33 year old Tsuchiya has won just one of his last 3 fights and was shockingly upset in February against Shogo Yamaguchi.
Whilst it's great to see under-cards with notable fighters on them the best bit of news regarding the card is that the event will be able to have fans attending it! Tickets will be limited, but fans will be allowed in attendance with the show likely to be the first Dangan promoted card to have fans upon the boxing's restart in Japan.
The 2018 All Japan Rookie of the Year final at Lightweight saw the popular George Tachibana (7-3, 2) [橘ジョージ] take on 19 year old Aso Ishiwaki (5-2, 3) [石脇麻生], in what proved to be a highly entertaining 5 round brawl.
Early on it looked like Tachibana was going to have things mostly his own way. He seemed to start fast and was landing clean shots through much of the first round, with the stubborn Ishiwaki firing back being typically coming off second best. Tachibana would again seem to be in charge in round 2, thanks especially to his body shots, which he landed time and time again.
From round 3 the momentum began to change, with Ishiwaki being more than just stubborn, but actually being hungry and taking the fight to Tachibana. Ishiwaki's charge struggled through round 4, as Tachibana did all he could to try and slow the younger man down but he couldn't discourage the tough youngster. In fact it seemed like Tachibana took as much out of himself as he took out of Ishiwaki, who had a huge final round, likely feeling he needed to score at least a knockdown to win.
After 5 rounds we went to the scorecards, with the judges scoring it 48-47 Tachibana, 48-47 Ishiwaki and....48-47 to Tachibana who took the win by a narrow margin.
Despite losing we were really impressed by Ishiwaki who seems to have a big future ahead of him, given his age, toughness, energy and desire we are really excited to see where his career goes from this loss.
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