Back in January we reported that former Japanese Light Welterweight champion Hiroki Okada (19-2, 13) [岡田 博喜] would be returning to the ring on March 26th at Korakuen Hall, in an 8 round bout against Korean fighter Hwang Kil Kim (11-2, 5) [김황길]. Today that bout was confirmed, with Kadoebi going further than just confirming the bout, but giving the full line up of the show, which will be SLUGFEST 14.
The card, which will feature only 8 round bouts, is a really interesting one, not just due to it being Okada's first bout in Japan in almost 2 years, but because several of the bouts are very well matched, or feature notable names.
The chief support bout will see former world title challenger Takuya Kogawa (30-6-1, 13) [粉川拓也] look to bounce back from a heavy KO defeat to Jay-R Raquinel last year. Kogawa will be up against Japanese ranked Light Flyweight Hayato Yamaguchi (15-8-1, 2) [山口隼人], in what should be a relatively safe fight for Kogawa's health, but not a gimme at all, given that Yamaguchi is a talented fighter but a light hitting one. Whilst this isn't a gimme, it is a must win for Kogawa, who turns 35 in April.
Another notable fighter on this show is OPBF Light Middleweight champion Akinori Watanabe (39-7-1, 33) [渡部あきのり], who fights in a non-title bout against Panturak Namtong (13-5-1, 9), in what looks like a stay busy bout for the Oriental champion.
In terms of more interesting fights we'll see Japanese-Brazilian Cristiano Aoqui (14-9-2, 10) [アオキ クリスチャーノ] face off with Fumisuke Kimura (9-5-1, 6) [木村文祐], in what should be a very explosive 140lb bout, between two men who are limited, but can punch. An equally interesting match up will see Yoji Saito (1-1-2, 1) [齊藤陽ニ] take on Takahiro Araki (12-9, 2) [荒木貴裕], in what should be a very brutal match up, given the styles of the two men involved.
Arguable the most interesting of the bouts will see the highly regarded Ayato Hiromoto (2-0, 1) [廣本彩刀] fight in his first 8 rounder as he takes on 2018 Rookie of the Year winner Yoshiki Minato (8-3, 3) [湊義生], in a very good looking step up for Hiromoto.
Related - Hiroki Okada to face Hwang Kil Kim
Right now there are so many fantastic young Japanese fighters making a name for themselves in the lower weights that it can be easy to over-look some of them.
One fighter who was perhaps getting over-looked a little was Daiki Tomita (14-1, 5) [冨田 大樹], who hadn't received much attention since losing in an OPBF title fight to Tsubasa Koura last year. Today however Tomita reminded people what a talent he was, as he became the new WBO Asia Pacific Light Flyweight champion, beating Hayato Yamaguchi (15-8-1, 2) [山口 隼人] in Sakai City.
The talented Tomita took control of the bout early on, using a sharp jab to control the bout at range. Yamaguchi tried to apply pressure, fighting behind his own jab, but he struggled to have any sustained success due to Tomita's educated lead hand. Even when Yamaguchi did get close, with the intention of landing body shots, his success was quickly neutralised, with Tomita landing solid shots to Yamaguchi's mid-section.
As the bout went on the head shots of Tomita began to take their toll on the face of Yamaguchi, who was swollen and cut in the middle rounds. Yamguchi showed no quit, despite the marking on his face getting worse, and he actually had his best success in the middle rounds as the bout began more of a gruelling inside battle. It was however a draining effort for the veteran who became desperate, but also slowed from the body shots he'd taken through the bout.
After 12 rounds there was no doubting the result with Tomita taking the unanimous decision, via scores of 118-110, 117-112 and 115-113.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Tomorrow fight fans in Sakai City will see a new WBO Asia Pacific Light Flyweight champion being crowned, as Daiki Tomita (13-1, 5) [冨田 大樹] and Hayato Yamaguchi (15-7-1, 2) [山口 隼人] battle for the vacant title, which was last held by Reiya Konishi who dropped the title due to getting a second world title fight earlier this year..
Today, ahead of tomorrow's fight, Tomita and Yamaguchi took part in their weigh in, and both made 108lb limit with no issues at all.
On the scales Tomita was 107.6lbs, making the Light Flyweight limit with room to play with. He seemed confident and was in great condition, and almost like a man who has grown into the Light Flyweight division after starting his career at Minimumweight. For Tomita this will be his second title bout, with his sole loss coming to Tsubasa Koura in an OPBF Minimumweight title fight a year ago.
Yamaguchi on the other hand came in on the 108lb limit and seemed to suggest his game plan was to come on strong in the second half of the fight. Of the two men it is Yamaguchi who has a clear edge in experience. Not only does he have more fights than Tomita, but he has also fought at a higher level, including 2 Japanese title bouts against Masayuki Kuorda and Yu Kimura, and was also stopped 2 fights ago by Tetsuya Hisada.
Related-Tomita and Yamaguchi face off for WBO Asia Pacific title!
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
In June we reported that Daiki Tomita (13-1, 5) [冨田 大樹] and Hayato Yamaguchi (15-7-1, 2) [山口 隼人] would be battling for the WBO Asia Pacific Light Flyweight title on September 16th in Sakai City. It's now been revealed however that that bout will be one of 2 title bouts on a surprisingly interesting looking card.
The other title bout, which was actually announced today, will see a new Japanese female Bantamweight champion being crowned. The title, which was recent vacated by Miyo Yoshida, will end up in the hands of Kanako Taniyama (2-0, 1) [谷山 佳菜子] or Tomoko Okuda (5-2-1, 1) [奥田朋子], who will face off in a fantastic match up.
Taniyama is a former top class kick boxer, who turned to boxing due to a knee injury and has picked up two decent wins over Thai visitors since making her debut in December. Aged 32 Taniyama is old for a fighter in just her third bout, but given her kick boxing pedigree she is certainly able to be fast tracked. Okuda on the other hand is a 36 year old who has gone 1-1-1 in her last 3, but did run Yoshie Wakasa razor close in a loss last year and will know that this could, potentially, be her only chance at title glory.
The card will also include a Japanese Youth Featherweight title eliminator bout among other contests.
One other thing to note about this card is the rumour that Sun TV, may be showing portions of it. Sadly Sun TV isn't widely available, though it is good to see a channel from JAITS airing boxing on the local scene, and hopefully more JAITS channels will join in in the future.
*JAITS is the Japanese Association of Independent Television Stations, a group of independent channels not affiliated with the major networks, and have no connection to a major national news network. They are very much local TV channels, who work on an ad hoc basis with each other and do have more flexibility. Sun TV are a JAITS channel based in Kobe, similar to Television Kanagawa in Kanagawa, who recently aired Masayuki Kuroda's bout with Moruti Mthalane.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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