We've known for a while that the Ohashi Gym would be holding an event at Korakuen Hall on March 11th but until today many of the bouts on that card were unknown.
There were 3 bouts that were known. One of those was a clash between Taku Kuwahara (7-0, 4) [桑原拓] and Yoshiki Minato (9-3, 4) [湊義生], which was originally planned for January before needing to be postponed due to Kuwahara being injured. Another was a Japanese Youth Bantamweight title bout between champion Toshiya Ishii (3-1, 2) [石井渡士也] and Kaito Takeshima (6-3-1, 1) [竹嶋海刀]. The third was a bout between former world title challenger Ryo Matsumoto (24-3, 21) [松本亮] and Takashi Igarashi (13-5, 5) [五十嵐嵩視], in what is expected to be an easy win for Matsumoto, who is looking to rebuild his confidence.
Other fighters named for the card were the world ranked 140lb hopeful Andy Hiraoka (16-0, 11) [平岡アンディ], the promising Rikuto Adachi (14-2, 11) [安達陸仁] and former K-1 champion Yoshiki Takei (0-0) [武居由樹], none of whom had had their opponents named until today.
Now we know that that the 24 year old Hiraoka, who is ranked #12 by the IBF, will take on Fumisuke Kimura (9-6-1, 6) [木村 文祐] in an 8 round bout. On paper this shouldn't be a test for Hiraoka, but the reality is that it keeps him busy and sees him fight in Japan for the first time since July 2019. It seems likely that when he returns to the US, for another bout on a Top Rank show, he'll take on a more notable opponent.
We also now know that Adachi will battle against Takeru Kobata (8-5-1, 3) [小畑武尊] in an 8 rounder for the vacant Japanese Youth Welterweight title, making this show a double Youth title event. Adachi will be favoured here, though it is worth noting that he's fought since December 2019 and this will be his Ohashi Gym. Kobata on the other hand fought last December, losing a decision to Shoki Sakai on December 26th.
As for the debuting Takei, he will be up against Kazunori Takai (6-7-3, 3) [高井一憲]. On paper this looks to be somewhat underwhelming for Takei, who has looked very good in K-1 and looked very impressive in a recent spar with Tsuyoshi Tameda (21-6-2, 19) [溜田剛士]. Takai, who's a 34 year old southpaw is 0-5-1 in his last 6 dating back more than 3 years, including 2 stoppage losses.
One other bout on this card will see 18 year old Yushin Uchida (1-1, 1) [内田勇心] battle the debuting Shunsei Sawada (0-0) [澤田春聖] in a 4 rounder.
Earlier today Hideyuki Ohashi promoted an event at Korakuen Hall, headlined by an OPBF title bout between OPBF Bantamweight champion Keita Kurihara [栗原慶太] and Takuma Inoue [井上拓真].
One of the spectators at the event was Japanese star Naoya Inoue (20-0, 17) [井上 尚弥], the current WBA "Super" and IBF Bantamweight champion, who has had many fans asking when he'll be fighting again and who against.
Today those questions as to what is next for the "Monster" ended up being asked of Ohashi who explained, that the next bout would be a mandatory defense for Inoue against Michael Dasmarinas (30-2-1, 20), a bout the IBF have now ordered.
Although Ohashi only revealed who was likely for Inoue the details regarding "where" were released by Teiken head honcho Akihiko Honda, who revealed that it was likely to be held in Japan, with Sanspo.com reporting that the bout is now "expected to be after this spring", meaning a potential early Summer bout for Inoue.
Part of the reason for the delay is the on going global situation, and travel into Japan at the moment is difficult, which is why it's expected to be summer before the bout can actually be staged.
If this bout is indeed in Japan this will be Inoue's first bout at home since his November 2019 win over Nonito Donaire in the WBSS Bantamweight final.
Rather notably Dasmarinas was in the Ohashi gym himself in 2019, where he sparred with Takuma Inoue ahead of Takuma's bout with Nordine Oubaali, a bout that served as the chief support for Naoya's bout with Donaire. That would have given Naoya and his team a good chance to get a read on Dasmarinas ahead of a potential showdown with Naoya.
As for Dasmarinas he's been out of the ring since October 2019, though that was, in part, due to the on going pandemic.
On Friday the official blog of Hideyuki Ohashi announced that 21 year old amateur stand out Kaiyu Toyoshima [豊嶋海優] had decided to turn professional and would do so at the Ohashi Gym, following a very impressive run as an amateur.
Although not one of the biggest names in amateur boxing in Japan Toyoshima competed in numerous notable tournaments, he was the captain of the Toyo University team and even featured on some of the posters used to market some of the university league shows.
At the moment it's unclear when he will begin his professional journey, with the date of his debut yet to be decided, though it's expected that he will begin climbing up the professional ranks before the end of 2021.
Interestingly the amateur boxing record site on Strefa sadly only has 1 recorded bout for him, and incidentally that's a loss against Ryutaro Nakagaki (1-0, 1) [中垣龍汰朗] in the 2018 Japanese National Championships. Going forward the two men will now be Ohashi Gym stablemates and it'll be interesting to see if that bout plays as something of a factor in the two youngsters trying to out do each now they are both professional fighters.
Notably that fight between Toyoshima and Nakagaki can be seen below thanks to the brilliant
sakana 1976, who uploaded the bout after it took place in 2018, and who should be subscribed to by every fan who wants to get an insight in the Japanese amateur scene. For those wanting to watch Toyoshima is in red and Nakagaki is in blue.
Earlier today former K-1 champion Yoshiki Takei (0-0) [武居由樹] took part in his pro-license test and passed, securing himself a B-class license, allowing him to compete in 6 round bouts when he finally debuts.
The test, which took place at the Ohashi Gym, saw Takei passing both the written test and the practical skills test, which included a 2 round spar with Japanese ranked Featherweight Tsuyoshi Tameda (21-6-2, 19) [溜田剛士], who challenged for a regional title late last year.
Following the test Takei spoke about the event, explaining "I was really grateful that I took the protest in such a state of emergency right after I retired from K-1. I thought that it would be postponed for a moment. Now I am on the start line as a boxer. I've set it up. I'd like to have the Yaegashi train me so that I can get as close as possible to the gym people who are all amazing fighters."
The state of emergency mentioned is one affect 3 prefectures in Japan as well as the Tokyo metropolitan area. It was also why his protest took place at the Ohashi Gym rather than the Korakuen Hall, which is usually the home for these types of tests.
When it came to discussing his debut he explain that he is just beginning as a professional, but that he would like to make his name as a boxer one fight at a time, and mark a mark on the sport like he did in K-1.
Of course Takei wasn't the only one to comment after the event with promoter Hideyuki Ohashi stating "When I saw sparring and saw Takei pushing the top players in the upper ranks with power, I felt the high potential again. Now that there are many dark topics, Takei is likely to become a bright topic with ability."
And trainer Akira Yaegashi, himself a former 3 weight world champion explaining they are working on his style as a boxer, and will focus on Takei, rather than his opponent. They want to improve everything by the time Takei debuts and are aiming to win a world title.
Earlier today Japanese star Naoya Inoue (20-0, 17) [井上 尚弥] returned to Japan after successfully defending his WBA "Super", IBF and Ring Magazine Bantamweight titles against Australian challenger Jason Moloney (21-2, 18) over the weekend.
The fighter arrived at Narita airport today and spoke to local press, along with promoter Hideyuki Ohashi. Between them the two men revealed quite a few interesting things.
Talking about the victory Inoue revealed:
"First of all , I want to thank you for being able to play in the situation of Corona, and I think I was able to do everything I could. The finish punch is 100 points out of 100". He also admitted that the punch that finished off Moloney was one they had been practicing in the build up to this fight, likely spotting a flaw with Moloney for him to capitalise on.
Ohashi mentioned that he had spoke to Bob Arum about wants to do next and that Arum was excited about Inoue's next bout. Sadly however it appears that there could be disappointing news for those looking forward to a unification bout next time out. It now seems likely that both Inoue and WBO champion John riel Casimero (30-4, 21) may end up having to have mandatory defenses, though of course that's not really what either fighter wants. In regards to unifying Inoue added "I think we have to unify the four groups in this bantamweight class, so I want to work toward that."
If those mandatories are forced, like Ohashi seemed to suggest, then it would be great if they were held on a show featuring both Inoue and Casimero to help build towards their potential super fight down the line.
One other thing that Inoue seemingly wants to work on is his English. Sports Hochi in Japan have quoted Inoue as admitting "English is all that is needed", suggesting that when the "Monster" learns English he will become an even bigger star in the West. That seemed to be something that was agreed with Arum, who seems to realise the importance of language with his international fighters. It is worth noting however that Inoue's cheekiness did show in clips from his interview with Mark Kreigel, and whilst English would certainly help him connect with a Western fanbase directly we do hope it won't come at the expense of that humour.
(All Quotes - Translated from Japanese to English)
News! We try and give you the most interesting news stories from the Asian boxing world!