Earlier today sports wear brand Bodymaker announced a new of new models for their brand, and among those was a notable Japanese fighter.
We'll get on to the fighter in question in a moment, but before then we thought we'd take a moment to very briefly speak about Bodymaker.
The company really aren't well known outside of Japan their branding and name will ring a bell with international fans who follow the Japanese scene. They are probably best known internationally for owning the naming rights to the Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium, which they re-named the Bodymaker Colosseum for 3 years. A venue that really did have a striking and eye-catching name. Sadly though that name no longer exists, and the venue is now known as the "EDION Arena Osaka", a less exciting name.
In Japan the company have been around since 1999 and are certainly a well known brand even if their international impact hasn't really been made yet.
So now on to the boxing!
The fighter in question is Japanese Featherweight champion Hinata Maruta (11-1-1, 9) [丸田陽七太] who was announced as a model in a press release and a twitter statement from Bodymaker.
The talented Maruta will feature on the Bodymaker website and in their catalogues this year, modelling the companies sportswear and hopefully bringing Bodymaker and boxing back together, as we saw from 2012 to 2015 with the Bodymaker Colosseum.
Earlier today fight fans at Korakuen Hall had the latest show in the Diamond Glove series of shows, which will be aired this coming weekend on Fuji TV. The card featured 4 bouts in total, including a highly anticipated Japanese Featherweight title bout featuring champion Ryo Sagawa taking on mandatory challenger Hinata Maruta and a very, very interesting co-feature for the Japanese Youth Light Flyweight title
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 Kosuke Kumazawa (2-1) [熊澤公佑] and Hiroki Sakakubo (1-3, 1) [坂久保 拓紀]. The bout was a cautious one in the early stages and little happened in the first 3 rounds, with Kumazawa controlling things at range and Sakakubo taking few risks to try and chancge things. In round 4 fans finally got some action, but by then it was too little, too late for Sakakubo who lost a clear decision in a bit of a stinker.
Thankfully the second bout on the show was a big improvement as the often fun to watch Shota Ogasawara (6-3, 3) [小笠原梢太] battled against Shinnosuke Kimoto (6-5, 2) [木元紳之輔], and the two men delivered a real fun 6 rounder. This was a hotly contested battle from the off, and both of them tried to out battle, out work, and tough the other in a very entertaining contest. In round 3 Ogasawara scored the only knockdown of the fight, putting Kimoto down with a left hook. After the knockdown Kimoto struggled in round 4 but tried to turn the fight around in round 5 as his desire to win drove him him on. Kimoto was rocked in round 6, but made it to the bell, taking us to the scorecards. The knockdown proved vital with the judges with Ogasawara taking a narrow decision. The scores here were 57-56, twice, and 58-55. Without the knockdown this would likely have been a draw.
The first of two title bouts saw a new Japanese Youth Light Flyweight champion being crowned as Yudai Shigeoka (3-0, 2) [重岡優大] scored the biggest win of his professional career and stopped talented youngster Ryu Horikawa (3-1-1, 1) [堀川 龍] in 5 rounds. The younger Horikawa started well, using his speed well, and tagged Shigeoka to the body in the opening round, whilst Shigeoka himself looked to land hard left hands. The success of Horikawa continued in round 2 where he continued to look just a touch quicker than Shigeoka, but Shigeoka began to come alive in round 3 and and attacked the body of Horikawa well. Eventually the power of Shigeoka broke through and he dropped Horikawa in round 4 with a 1-2. In round 5 round Horikawa found himself downed for a second time. His fighting heart saw him get up, but he was stopped soon afterwards, with Shigeoka picking up the 5th round TKO and the Youth title.
The main event of the show was the now long delayed Champion Carnival bout for the Japanese Featherweight title, with defending champion Ryo Sagawa (10-2, 5) [佐川遼] battling his mandatory challenger Hinata Maruta (11-1-1, 9) [丸田陽七太] in a highly anticipated bout. A bout that had been scheduled for early 2020 before being delayed due to the pandemic.
Early on Maruta looked to control behind his sharp right jab, using his speed and reach well, whilst Sagawa tried to load up on counter right hands. Maruta then moved through the gears, throwing right hands along with his jabs in round 2 as he began to control the early going, despite taking one or two clean counter rights himself. Sagawa managed to build some success of his own in round 3, with his left hook, but took a big right hand later on and it was clear that Sagawa needed to do more. To his credit the champion changed tactics in round 4, becoming more aggressive and pressing the action more, likely realising he was in a hole, and that aggression continued in to round 5 as Sagawa closed the gap.
After 5 rounds the open scoring kicked in and Maruta was leading on all 3 cards, 48-47 from one judge and 49-47 from the other two. Despite being behind Sagawa seemed to have the momentum and looked to continue to build on that in round 6, pressing again. In round 7 however Sagawa good work was wiped out as he was dropped from a right hand that took him down. Sagawa got back to his feet but Maruta smelled blood and went for the kill, forcing a stoppage at an official time of 2:57 in round 7 to become the new champion.
Tomorrow at Korakuen Hall we get one of the very, very few Japanese shows for the month. The event is headlined by a mouth watering Japanese Featherweight title bout, as defending champion Ryo Sagawa (10-1, 5) [佐川遼] takes on mandatory challenger Hinata Maruta (10-1-1, 8) [丸田陽七太] in a bout that was originally scheduled for last year.
Interestingly the bout is the latest Japanese bout that fight fans in Poland can gamble on, with STS.PL listing the bout on their service, but sadly not their international sites.
The bout, which is regarded by many as a very competitive match up, has seen the Polish bookmakers price up Sagawa as the favourite, with odds of 1.65 in his favour whilst Maruta is priced at 2.1.
Interestingly the most likely outcome, according to STS.PL, is a decision win for Sagawa, with that outcome priced at 2.25. A stoppage win for the champion is priced at 5.0.
As for Maruta fans he is 4.0 to win by decision and the same price to score a stoppage.
Given that neither man is fancied to win inside the distance it should come as little surprise to hear that the Polish betting website expect this one to go long. They have set the length of bout market at over/under 7.5 rounds. The over is 1.4 and the under has been priced at 2.7.
Interestingly Boxmob's poll for the bout has somewhat matched up with these odds.
Sagawa is favoured to win with 57% of the overall vote, whilst Maruta has 41% and there is 1% draw (with some margin of error for rounding). The overall vote has seen 29% vote for Sagawa by decision, 28% vote for Sagawa by stoppage, 25% going with a Maruta stoppage win and 16% going with a Marute decision win.
Whatever the outcome we are expecting a sensational bout here between two fantastically talented fighters and it's one of the bouts we're most looking forward to during the month of February, even if we do need to wait until the weekend for it to be televised.
Related - Sagawa and Maruta clash at last, in Japanese title bout!
(Image credit - Misako Gym)
Tomorrow at Korakuen Hall Japanese Featherweight champion Ryo Sagawa (10-1, 5) [佐川遼] will be defending his title against mandatory challenger Hinata Maruta (10-1-1, 8) [丸田陽七太] in a mouth watering Japanese title fight.
Today, ahead of their fight, the two men took part in their weight in, and both men came in comfortably under the divisional limit.
On the scales the champion was well under the limit, weighing in at 125.2lb. On the scales he looked in great shape and seemed very confident of securing his 3rd defense of the title. Although confident he did speak well about Maruta, explaining that he thought the bout was creating due to how highly Maruta is regarded, and that he wanted to win in a way that left an impact. He also explained that he has been working on counter measures to neutralise the fact Maruta is taller than him.
Maruta was also comfortably under the limit himself, coming in at around 125.4lbs, and explained that this was the best weight loss he's had so far. It seems clear that he's a natural Featherweight, and he is tall for the weight, and it's potentially going to be a year or two before he fully fills out his frame. Interestingly he has been working on his physical strength since he was last in the ring, way back in 2019, and has been sparring with Japanese Super Featherweight champion Kosuke Saka.
For fans wanting to watch this one it will be shown on Fuji TV this coming weekend, with a late night time slot as part of the Diamond Glove series, and is one of the very, very few cards taking place in Japan this month.
Related - Sagawa and Maruta clash at last, in Japanese title bout!
(Image credit - Misako Gym)
Yesterday Misako Boxing Gym announced that they would be holding a Diamond Glove card on February 11th at Korakuen Hall. Not only did they announce the when and where, but they also announced two truly fantastic match ups for the card, which should both be brilliant bouts.
The "lesser" of the bouts will see youngsters colliding as Yudai Shigeoka (2-0, 1) [重岡優大], the older brother of the very highly regarded Ginjiro Shigeoka, takes on Ryu Horikawa (3-0-1, 1) [堀川 龍] in a bout for the Japanese Youth Light Flyweight title.
For those unaware both of these men are tipped for major success over the coming years. In just 2 fights Shigeoka is already ranked #2 by the OPBF, #15 by the JBC and #17 by the WBC, thanks in part to an excellent win over Lito Dante last time out. The 23 year old is regarded as being a lesser talent than his more well known brother, but he is still tipped as a youngster with the potential to win world titles.
Horikawa on the other hand is 20 years old, went 37-8 in the amateurs, impressed almost immediately as a professional, winning a Dangan B Class tournament in his second bout, and was very unlucky last year in China when he was held to a draw in a bout for the WBO Youth Light Flyweight title.
Despite having just 6 professional bouts between them this is expected to be a sensational contest, between two high level and very advanced youngsters.
The other bout, the main event, will see Japanese Featherweight champion Ryo Sagawa (10-1, 5) [佐川遼] make a mandatory defense of his title against Hinata Maruta (10-1-1, 8) [丸田陽七太]. This bout was supposed to take place in 2020 as part of the Champion Carnival, but got delayed due to covid19. Thankfully the bout wasn't totally scrapped but just delayed, giving us something to look forward to in February.
For Sagawa this will be his third defense of the title he won in September 2019, when he out pointed Reiya Abe. Despite the loss to his name he has gone unbeaten in his last 9 bouts and has scored notable wins against the likes of Junki Saski, Ryo Matsumoto, Al Toyogon, Abe, Ryo Hino and, most recently, Yuri Takemoto. Those wins have helped him get into the top 15 with the WBO, IBF and WBC, and he'll know an impressive performance here could help secure him a world title fight down the line.
Maruta on the other hand is a 23 year old who turned professional to great fanfare and showed some sensational skills early on before a set back in 2017, when he lost a competitive decision to veteran Hidenori Otake for the OPBF Super Bantamweight title. That lass was a notable stumble, but since then he has improved, becoming more aggressive, and is unlucky not to have won all 6 bouts since that loss, with a controversial draw against Ben Mananquil marking up his record. His last 3 bouts have seen him beat Tsuyoshi Tameda, Coach Hiroto and Takenori Ohashi, and he looks very much ready for this second title fight.
As with all Diamond Glove bouts this will be getting shown on Fuji TV, though sadly it seems they will be shown on tape delay.
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