Earlier today the nominations for the JBC and Tokyo Athletic Press Club Boxing Subcommittee annual awards were announced, with the media being able to vote on the winners, who will be announced later this month. Unlike usual there will not be a big event ceremony, due to the ongoing Covid19 situation.
Sadly Covid19 really did destroy the boxing calendar in Japan and only a handful of top Japanese fighters managed to squeeze a fight into the year. In fact only 3 of the 7 current male world champions managed to fight, and that include a man who won his world title late year.
The fighters nominated for the "Best Fighter" award were those 3 champions that manage to fight last year:
They were WBO Super Flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka (25-2, 14) [井岡一翔]
WBO Flyweight champion Junto Nakatani (21-0, 16) [中谷 潤人]
And unified WBA "super" and IBF Bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue (20-0, 17) [井上 尚弥]
Those 3 champions are also up in the running for the "Skill Award".
The "Special Merit" award sees Junto Nakatani in the running alongside:
Masayoshi Nakatani (19-1, 13) [中谷正義]
and Hironori Mishiro (10-0-1, 3) [三代大訓]
The Effort/Fighting Award short list is
Ryoji Fukunaga (13-4, 13) [福永亮次]
and Kenichi Horikawa (41-16-1, 14) [堀川 謙一]
The KO award has 4 nominees, with Inoue, Ioka, and both Junto and Masayoshi Nakatani.
The newcomer award sees Mishiro up against:
Daishi Nagata (15-2-2, 6) [永田大士]
and Masamichi Yabuki (12-3, 11) [佐藤政道]
The best bout of the year has been split into two categories, as it has been for a while.
The world title bouts up for the award are:
Kazuto Ioka Vs Kosei Tanaka (15-1, 9) [田中恒成]
Naoya Inoue Vs Jason Moloney
Junto Nakatani Vs Giemel Magramo
As for the none world title bouts, the fights nominated here are:
Riku Nagahama [長濱 陸] Vs Kudura Kaneko [クドゥラ 金子]- For the OPBF Welterweight title
Kenichi Ogawa [尾川 堅一] Vs Kazuhiro Nishitani [西谷和宏] - Non title bout
Masayoshi Nakatani Vs Felix Verdejo - WBO Intercontinental Lighweight title
Ryoji Fukunaga Vs Kenta Nakagawa [中川 健太] - WBO Asia Pacific, JBC and OPBF triple title bout
and Hironori Mishiro Vs Masayuki Ito [伊藤 雅雪] - Non title bout
As for the female awards, the MVP nominess are:
WBO Atomweight champion Mika Iwakawa (9-5-1, 3) [岩川 美花]
WBO female Minimumweight champion Etsuko Tada (20-3-3, 7) [多田悦子]
and WBO female Super Flyweight champion Tomoko Okuda (7-2-2, 1) [奥田朋子]
The best bouts for female boxing are:
Mika Iwakawa Vs Nanae Suzuki [鈴木菜々江]
Etsuko Tada Vs Ayaka Miyao [宮尾 綾香]
and Tomoko Okuda Vs Miyo Yoshida [吉田 実代]
Yesterday we saw the birth of a new Japanese star as Junto Nakatani (21-0, 16) [中谷 潤人] claimed the WBO Flyweight title, stopping Giemel Magramo (24-2, 20) in the 8th round. The victory saw Nakatani become the first the first Japanese man to win a world title since the country entered the Reiwa era, and it also came exactly 9 years after Shinsuke Yamanaka defeated Christian Esquivel for the WBC Bantamweight title.
Today he took part in a virtual press conference, along with his nice, new WBO Flyweight title.
Nakatani was asked about what he wants to do next in the ring, and he spoke about valuing a champion a champion who defends a title, and that he wants to defend the belt he won yesterday. At the moment it's unclear who he will face, though it is worth noting that Angel Acosta is in the running, and will likely be ordered by the WBO at some point.
As for what's next in life Nakatani has revealed he wants to relax, after waiting almost a year for this title fight. He'll be relaxing and has mentioned that he likes fishing.
It's worth noting that yesterday, after his win, he was praised pretty much universally with Celes Kobayashi being particularly complimentary of the new champion, and added that he wanted to see Nakatani unify and fight overseas. In regards to overseas bouts it wouldn't be a huge surprise to see Nakatani fight in the US in the future, given that Nakatani has spent numerous training camps Stateside during his career.
Whilst the praise has gone in for Nakatani it's worth noting that his foe was unhappy. Magramo stated that he had a lack of preparation time, and that he wanted revenge for this loss and to become a world champion. In reality however it's hard to imagine him ever being able to defeat Nakatani based on what we saw yesterday.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Later today at Korakuen Hall we'll see Junto Nakatani (20-0, 15) [中谷 潤人] and Giemel Magramo (24-1, 20) battle for the vacant WBO Flyweight title, in a highly anticipated bout between two young and talented fighters each looking to leave their mark at the highest level.
Prior to that bout there is a 4 fight under-card split essentially into 2 parts. That under-card features 3 low level bouts, shown exclusively on G+, and then a more notable bout shown on both G+ and BS NTV.
As we write this the first part of that under-card is over, and really didn't last very long leaving a lengthy break in the broadcast, that G+ have decided to fill with highlights from Nakatani's bouts.
The show kicked off with an East Japan Rookie of the Year semi-final bout at Middleweight, with Teiken promoted Kenji Yoshino (2-1, 2) [吉野 健二] taking a 2nd round TKO win over Taiga Ito (3-2) [伊藤 大賀], with the two men meeting for the second time. In their first bout Ito had beaten Yoshino and today Yoshino got revenge, landing a sensational left hook towards the end of the second round.
A second Rookie of the Year bout was at Lightweight, where the hard hitting Hiromasa Urakawa (6-1, 4) [浦川 大将] took a technical decision in a very sloppy fight with Toshiki Tanaka (2-3) [田中 利樹]. This was messy from the off, and ended early in round 3 with Urakawa suffering a nasty cut from a head clash. He won on all 3 cards, but things were easy for him.
The third, and final bout of the first part of the show saw Junpei Tsujimoto (7-2-3, 5) [辻本 純兵] defeat Daiki Ogura (4-4-1, 4) [小倉 大樹] in a 2 round thriller. Ogura couldn't miss with his left hook, and seemed to take the first round, before dropping Tsujimoto in round 2. Tsujimoto was all over the place following the knockdown down as Ogura went for the kill and continued to land left hooks over and over. He seemed on the verge of a stoppage, and then got blasted himself by a huge right hand that seemed to be thrown in desperation by Tsujimoto. This was dramatic, exciting, and such a huge turn around. This was the one bout of the under-card that was actually worth watching.
As we write this we're set to get the second part of the under-card, which will see Juiki Tatsuyoshi (13-0, 9) [辰吉寿以輝] battle Kazuhiro Imamura (2-0, 1) [今村和寛] in a very interesting looking 8 round bout.
Tomorrow in Tokyo we'll see Junto Nakatani (20-0, 15) [中谷 潤人] and Giemel Magramo (24-1, 20) battle for the vacant WBO Flyweight title, with the two men battling at Korakuen Hall for the title that was vacated earlier this year by Kosei Tanaka (15-0, 9) [田中恒成].
For us this is very much a 50-50 bout, but notably the bookies don't see it the same as us. In fact they have a pretty clear cut favourite.
The bookmakers have got the unbeaten Nakatani as a 1/2 favourite to win the bout and become the new champion. We do wonder if this is done to home advantage and the advantages of the officials, all of whom are from Japan to try and limit the issues that have arisen due to Covid19. It's also worth noting that Magramo will have had his training interrupted by spending 2 weeks in isolation in Japan.
As for Magramo he is priced at 15/8 to take the upset, and he is a legitimately live under-dog here. Notably he has faced better competition, overall, than Nakatani but he is in his opponents back yard and will be fighting in Japan for the first time.
The draw is best priced at 20/1.
As well as the "To win" market there is also a "Method of Victory" market, which is a really interesting market here. The most likely outcome, in the eyes of the bookies, is a decision for Nakatani, with odds of 7/5 being available. This is an interesting price, given all 3 judges are Japanese, but both men have suggested they will be looking for a KO. The odds on Nakatani to take home the early victory is 5/2 whilst Magramo is 5/1 too take home a stoppage victory. A decision for Magramo is best best priced at 3/1.
Despite both men predicting a stoppage win, the bout isn't expected to have an early conclusion. It's 8/15 to go the scheduled 12 and 6/4 to end within the distance. For those looking for a little bit more value the bout is 13/8 to go more than 10.5 rounds and 4/9 to not reach the mid-way point of round 11.
Related - Old fashioned fine tuning and the quick study: Giemel Magramo versus Junto Nakatani (preview)
Tomorrow in Tokyo we'll see a new WBO Flyweight champion being crowned as Junto Nakatani (20-0, 15) [中谷 潤人] and Giemel Magramo (24-1, 20) battle for the title vacated earlier this year by Kosei Tanaka (15-0, 9) [田中恒成].
Today, ahead of tomorrow's bout, the two men took part on their weigh in and both managed to make the 112lb limit with no issues.
On the scales Nakatani was 50.7KG's, which is pretty much 111.75lbs, comfortably under the limit. The long and rangy unbeaten Japanese fighter looked good on the scales and although he's a very big guy at the weight he didn't look particularly drained or anything in making weight.
Magramo was lighter on the scales than Nakatani, coming in at 50.6KG's, or around 111.5lbs. Like Nakatani he looked good on the scales, and in all honesty he probably looked a little bit better than the local man.
After making weight both men took part on some online interview, with Nakatani revealing that he "I was able to drop it without any problems", in regards to making weight. He also went on to explain that he was going to fight to his strengths and that he was looking to create chances to get a KO, but would be fighting to a gameplan around keeping things at range.
Magramo came across as incredibly full of self belief. He said stated that his adjustments in Japan have gone well, he's ready to fight and that he's confident of beating Nakatani. Prior to today he had spent 2 weeks in quarantine in Japan whilst waiting to get in the ring, and we do wonder how that has effected his training and mind set here. The conditions certainly aren't the best for training, but they could be the sort of sacrifice that can solidify a fighter's mind set coming into a fight like this.
For those wanting to watch the bout will be shown live on G+ and BS NTV, and will be shown on tape delay on NTV. The broadcast on BS NTV, starts at 19:00 with that broadcast ending at 20:54, whilst the G+ broadcast begins at at 17:45 and runs to 22:00 local time, featuring more of the under-card. The delay broadcast on NTV will begin at 27:19 local time, so 3:19 on November 7th.
Related - Old fashioned fine tuning and the quick study: Giemel Magramo versus Junto Nakatani (preview)
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