Results from Korakuen Hall!
Earlier today Korakuen Hall played host to the latest Diamond Glove show, which was shown live on Fuji's FOD service. The show wasn't a massive one, but was a notable one with two title bouts and two fighters featuring notable hopefuls.
The first of the notable bouts on the card saw something of an upset as former amateur standout Ryusei Baba (1-1) [馬場龍成] was stopped in 3 rounds by hard hitting 27 year old Shugo Namura (6-1, 6) [苗村修悟]. Baba looked good in the opening round, but in round 3 the power of Namura proved it's self as he rocked Baba with a right hand. A follow up saw Baba being wobbled hard from a brutal left hook with the referee stepping in to save the former amateur star.
The second notable bout on the show saw Go Hosaka (6-1, 3) [保坂 剛] defeat Japanese ranked Super Featherweight Kazuma Sanpei (20-8, 9) [三瓶 数馬], and record the biggest win of his career. The bout saw both men looking to control the action early on, but the crisp skills and more polished technical abilities saw Hosaka landing the more meaningful blows. Sanpei was looking to land his own shots in the first 3 rounds, but in round 4 a series of jabs and a solid right hook, left Sanpei looking hurt and forced the referee to jump in and save him.
The first of the two title bouts on the show saw Koichi Aso (25-10-1, 16) [麻生 興一] suffer a surprisingly early loss to Akihiro Kondo (33-11-2, 18) [近藤 明広], with Kondo claiming the OPBF title from Aso as a result. On paper this bout promised a lot, given the styles and mentalities of the two men, and it delivered, albeit in a very abridged fashion. From the off both men were looking to get close and go to work, though it was the cleaner, more accurate shots of Kondo that caught the eye, and in round 2 those clean shots sent Aso down. Aso got to his feet but never seemed to recover with Kondo stopping him just moments later to claim the OPBF title. Sadly for Aso this ends a very short reign that began when he upset Rikki Naito last year, and it's likely to be a reign that is quickly forgotten due to how easily he lost the belt here.
The other title bout saw Japanese Lightweight champion Shu Utsuki (11-0, 9) [宇津木秀] record his first defense, as he stopped the tricky and quick Izuki Tomioka (7-6-1, 2) [富岡 樹]. Tomioka, as expected, had success early in the bout using his footwork, sharp boxing skills and speed to take advantage of Utsuki's slow footwork. Utsuki looked to pressure his challenger, but early on he struggled with tying his man down, and after 5 rounds Tomioka was leading on all 3 cards. Sadly for Tomioka however as his feet slowed, notably in round 5, Utsuki began to get more and more success, attacking the body well and taking the legs away from Tomioka. In round 8 the power of Utsuki hurt Tomioka, who was forced to retreat to the corner, but he continued taking shots until the referee stepped in and save him from further punishment.
Results from Korakuen Hall
Earlier today at Korakuen Hall fight fans had the chance to enjoy the latest show under the Diamond Glove banner, and the show really was one worthy of attention thanks to three great bouts at the top of the card.
The first of the notable bouts was a clash between prospects as 23 year old Ryo Nakai (3-1-1, 1) [中井 龍] took on touted 25 year old Go Hosaka (5-1, 3) [保坂 剛] in an 8 rounder at Super Featherweight. On Hoaka was the favourite, entering the bout as an unbeaten fighter, though in many was Nakai was the more proven professional, having shown what he could do in a very competitive bout with Shu Utsuki not too long ago.
From the off the two men battled jabs, with little to separate them, though Nakai did seem to land one or two more eye catching shots, thanks to his left hand. Hosaka tried to change the tempo after the opening round, but that lead to Nakai landing some cracking uppercuts with his left hand, punishing Hosaka for his aggression.
In the later rounds Hosaka's pressure did manage to to have success, and he forced some brilliant exchanges in the final rounds as Nakai looked to get his respect. After 8, very competitive and well fought rounds, the judges all turned in cards of 77-75 in favour of Nakai. Nakai will obvious look to build on this win, and despite the loss we certainly wouldn't write Hosaka off.
The second of those three bouts was a Japanese title eliminator at 130lbs, as Kanehiro Nakagawa (11-6, 5) [中川 兼玄] clashed with Shinnosuke Hasegawa (13-3-1, 9) [長谷川 慎之介], and the two men put on a show!
Early on Hasegawa had real success, using his southpaw stance and making the most of Nakagawa's slow feet. It seemed, for the first round or two, that Hasegawa was simply going to be too good, and have a style that Nakagawa couldn't deal with. However as the rounds went on Nakagawa began to find his time, creating his own success, and in round 5 dropped Hasegawa, turning the bout around.
Following the knockdown we ended up with a war, as both men landed numerous big shots, trying to impress the judges and the crowd. It was a thrilling ending, and one that, thankfully for Nakagawa, was his style of fight, leading to him taking a razor thin split decision. With the win Nakagawa sets up a potential FOTY candidate in 2022 with Kosuke Saka, in one that is certainly worth getting very excited about.
The main event saw former Japanese Featherweight champion Ryo Sagawa (11-2, 6) [佐川遼] take on Retsu Kosaka (10-7, 4) [小坂烈]. These two had met before, with Kosaka giving Sagawa his first professional loss back in 2017, and it was clear that Sagawa wanted to avenge that defeat.
From the early going Sagawa looked levels better than Kosaka, though he had in their first bout until Kosaka caught him with a bomb and forced a stoppage. Unlike their first bout however Sagawa managed to show improved defense, avoiding the power of Kosaka, and picking away at his man with straight shots whilst remaining composed when Kosaka did let his shots go. By the final round Kosaka had gotten into a hole and was desperate, trying to turn things around, that left him open at times, and mid way through round 8 Sagawa landed a great right hand before going to work and forcing the referee to save Kosaka with 97 seconds of the bout left.
Earlier today fight fans at Korakuen Hall had the latest show in the Misako promoted series of Diamond Glove shows, which will be aired this coming weekend on Fuji TV. The card featured several bouts of note, including a Japanese Welterweight title bout, between Keita Obara and Shoki Sakai as well as the Japanese debut of Go Hosaka.
For those wanting to watch this, as live, over the weekend we please note that spoilers will begin in the next paragraph, starting with the the first under-card bout, which is unlikely to be televised at all, and then moving on through the other bouts on the show. If you wish to avoid those spoilers, please stop reading now.
The show began with a 4 rounder between Koki Nakagawa (1-1-1, 1) [中川 光輝] and Seitaro Suzuki (0-1) [鈴木 誠太郎], which Nakagawa won by TKO in the 4th round. As with many 4 rounders in Japan this was well matched, fought at a great pace and was brutal, with both men taking some solid shots as they beat the fight out of each other. With just over a minute of the bout left the referee jumped in saving a damaged Suzuki from any more punishment. Whilst Western shows often kick off the events with a squash match for the local star, Japan has a knack of throwing us a fun, fan friendly war to kick things off, and this was certainly the case here.
The second bout saw something of a surprise as Yasutaka Fujita (7-1, 6) [藤田 裕崇] went the distance for the first time in his career, albeit in a winning effort as he out pointed Shun Akaiwa (5-3-1, 3) [赤岩 俊]. The exciting and explosive Fujita had made his name in 2019, reaching the All Japan Rookie of the Year final, before moving over to the Misako gym in 2020. This was just his second bout since moving gyms and he showed some genuine improvement, he picked his shots well, certainly calmed down from being the hyper aggressive fighter he once was, and even switched stances later in the bout. After 6 rounds Fujita won a clear 6 round decision and this is exactly the performance he and his team would have wanted to prove he could pace a high action bout, and could his brain as well as his brawn.
In the main support bout was saw unbeaten 24 year old Go Hosaka (5-0, 3) make his Japanese debut, having previously been fighting in the Philippines. He was given a genuine test here by Kanta Fukui (7-4-1, 5), who came into the ring as a big under-dog but came to win. From the off these two boxed at a nice range, and fought a pretty technical bout to begin with. As the bout went on Fukui made it clear he wasn't here to roll over to the talented former amateur stand out. From round 4 Fukui began to press the action more intently, using his jab really well to probe, and keep Hosaka on his toes. He then stepped up his game in rounds 5 and 6 as he really gave Hosaka problems.
Thankfully for Hosaka he still had something in the tank and pressured with more vigour in the final 2 rounds, doing just enough to secure a split decision. Judges scored this 78-74 and 77-75, in Hosaka's favour, and 77-75 to Fukui, who really gave a very good effort.
Despite the win Hosaka wasn't a happy chappy, and stated "Honestly, it was a terrible match. I regret it. There are many challenges. My goal is to remake boxing from scratch so that I can win the Japanese title."
In the main event Japanese Welterweight champion Keita Obara (24-4-1, 21) [小原 佳太] narrowly retained his title with a close win over Shoki Sakai (25-12-2, 12) [坂井 祥記]. Coming in there was a feelign this could be something a bit special, and proved to be just that.
Early on Obara tried to make an impression behind his solid jab, but Sakai used a tight guard to try and neutralise the jab whilst walking forward, pressuring Obara and trying to get up close, where he could work the body of the champion. Obara tried to turn up the tempo in round 2 but Sakai went with him, increasing his own tempo in round 3, landing some of his best shots. It really was a back and forth fight through the first 5 rounds as the two men tried to force their style on the bout, and tried to dictate the distance of the bout, with Obara wanting it at mid to long range and Sakai desperate to get inside.
After 5 rounds the judges all had this 48-47, with two favouring Obara and the other having Sakai in the lead.
Sakai's style seemed likely to have more success the longer the bout went, with his pressure expected to grind down Obara and his gas tank. It seemed that was the case in round 6 as he had some real success, however Obara wasn't there to hand over his title and he showed his class in round 8, whilst also avoiding Sakai's taunts to come and have a fight. The class of Obara continued to be the difference maker in the final rounds, as he used his reach and range to land body shots and not get involved in the wrong type of fight.
After 10 rounds we went to the judges and all 3 judges had this to Obara 96-94.
After the bout Obara stated "I'm relieved to win. I have a lot of KOs to win, so I tried to do that, but Sakai got along well and got the pace. Unfortunately, I have no choice but to expect the next KO. I've been in the best condition these days. My power and Sakai's power were in competition."
Keita Obara to defend Japanese title against Shoki Sakai, Go Hosaka to make Japanese debut!
Earlier today Misako announced the details of a show set for April 8th under the Diamond Glove banner, and although 3 bouts have been announced all 3 of those bouts are very interesting ones worthy attention.
The main event of the show will see Japanese Welterweight champion Keita Obara (23-4-1, 21) [小原 佳太] making his first defense of the title, which he won last year when he stopped Yuki Nagano. In the opposite corner to the former world title challenger will be "reimported boxer" Shoki Sakai (25-11-2, 12) [坂井 祥記], who will be fighting in Japan for the third time.
Of the two men Obara is the more well known. He's a former Japanese and OPBF champion at 140lbs, where he also challenged for the IBF world title, who also made his name on the regional scene at Welterweight, where he has won the WBO Asia Pacific and Japanese titles. At the age of 34 however there is a feeling his best years are behind him, and he was easily out-pointed in 2019 by Uzbek fighter Kudratillo Abdukakhorov in an IBF world title eliminator. Despite that loss he has bounced back with 3 wins, all by stoppage, including his TKO win over Nagano for the title in February 2020.
Sakai on the other hand has fought much of his career in Mexico and the US, before making his Japanese debut last August, with a win over Hironori Shigeta, and ended the year with a win over Takeru Kobata, in December. For him this will be his first bout for a Japanese national title, though he has previously fought for a variety of titles, and even won the WBC Youth title at 140lbs. Despite his record having double figure losses on it he has never been stopped and has shared the ring with some very names, including Gor Yeritsyan, Alexis Rocha and Eddie Gomez. His toughness should see him testing Obara, in what could be a very interesting match up.
In the chief support bout we'll see the Japanese debut of Go Hosaka (4-0, 3) [保坂 剛], who has fought his entire professional career in the Philippines. The talented 24 year old Hosaka will be up against Kanta Fukui (7-3-1, 5) [福井 貫太] in an 8 round bout.
Hosaka is one of those fighters who hasn't had the attention he deserves. He was with ALA Gym until it closed, and sadly was one of the fighters who ALA let down in some ways, despite the clear potential and talent he had. Before turning professional he had amassed a 50-13 amateur record and was viewed as someone to keep an eye on, but was out of the ring for the entire of 2020. Since ALA closed he has signed with the well established Misako Gym in Japan and this will be his first bout as a Misako Gym fighter. As for Fukui this will be his first bout since beating Mikado Konishi last August, and Fukui should serve as a solid test for Hosaka here.
The third bout announced for this show will see 2019 All Japan Rookie of the Year runner up Yasutaka Fujita (6-1, 6) [藤田裕崇] take on Shun Akaiwa (5-2-1, 3) [赤岩 俊] in what should be an explosive encounter. Although Fujita isn't the most polished fighter he is a destructive and exciting force, and a must watch fighter, who throws bomb after bomb after bomb. Akaiwa on the other hand will be looking to bounce back from a 45 second blow out to Jin Sasaki. With that loss for Akaiwa in mind and the exciting style of Fujita this might be a "blink and you miss it" bout.
In one of the biggest Filipino boxing related news stories ever, promotional giant ALA Boxing have announced that they are closing as a promotional company and boxing gym, with the shutters being pulled on ALA Promotions and ALA Gym after 35 years.
In recent times ALA boxing had faltered somewhat and the last few years have been frustrating ones for Filipino fans, who have failed to see prospects kick on and have sat watching Donnie Nietes (42-1-5, 23) waste what could have been the final years of his career. The stable had also seen fighters like Mark Magsayo (20-0, 14)leave in the pursuit of opportunities that ALA were unable to deliver and had seen it's big hopes falling short on their way up.
Whilst it had faltered the assumption was that it would rebuild, come back and be strong once again. Those hopes were dashed earlier this year with a combination of the current global situation as well as things closer to home, with ABS-CBN being forced to close due to political reasons.
The gym have released a statement regarding the closure, which can be read below, which includes thanking the support of fighters, staff, fans, media, sponsors and boxing organisations.
We want to say thank you to ALA for all the great memories and time they have brought us over the years. This is a huge loss for Filipino boxing, even with the recent down turn in success that ALA have had. They have been integral to the success of Filipino boxing for decades and them bowing out will leave a huge hole in the sport in the country, that may take years to fill.
The one positive, if we can say that, is that ALA have released all their fighters who are now free agents and able to sign with any other promoters. This means the likes of KJ Cataraja (11-0 9), Go Hosaka (4-0, 3), Albert Pagara (32-1, 23), Melvin Jerusalem (15-2, 9), Esneth Domingo (13-1, 7)and even Donnie Nietes, if he does return to the ring, have no issues standing in their way when it comes to signing with a new promotional outfit. Fingers crossed that those fighters do get opportunities sooner rather than later and other promoters do pick them up, as there really is some incredible free agents no on the market.
With boxing's return to the Philippines still uncertain this really is dreadful news for fighters, fans, and everyone concerned with the Filipino boxing scene.
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