Earlier this year news broke in regards to a match up between former WBO Flyweight champion Sho Kimura (18-3-2, 11) [木村翔] and former WBO Minimumweight champion Merlito Sabillo (27-7-1, 13). At the time there was a problem for Kimura in regards to his license for the fight, following the closure of the Aoki gym at the start of the year.
This morning it was announced that Kimura is now in possession of a JBC license having inked a temporary deal with the Hanagata gym, for a 1 fight only agreement.
The agreement sees Kimura secure a Japanese licenses through affiliation with the Hanagata for the Kimura bout, something that was needed due to an agreement between Japanese and the Philippines. It will however leave Kimura free to work with a different promoter afterwards. Without a gym affiliation for the bout Kimura wouldn't have been allowed to fight at all on the show.
This is very similar to what the Hanagata gym, lead by Susumu Hanagata [花形進], also did for Kyonosuke Kameda [亀田京之介] and Takeshi Takehara [竹原毅] ahead of the All Japan Rookie of the Year finals late last year, after the Kyoei gym closed.
It seems obvious that Mr Hanagata doesn't want fighters missing out due to the way gyms are running, and it's great to see the Hanagata gym doing things like this.
Longer term it seems unclear what Kimura will be doing in regards to his gym affiliation, but there are going to be options out there, and it wouldn't be a massive surprise to see him linking up with Dangan Aoki, who were seen as the favourite to sign him, later in the year.
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