Results from Sumida City Gymnasium
Earlier today the Sumida City Gymnasium in Tokyo played host to the latest Dangan card, which featured a trio of interesting looking title bouts.
The first of the title bouts saw unbeaten OPBF female Minimumweight champion Mizuki Chimoto (4-0, 1) [千本瑞規] score her first defense as she out pointed Kaori Nagai (6-3-3, 2) [長井香織] over 8 rounds. The challenger started well,m and looked to attack the body early on. Chimoto however got going in round 2, using her jab well to control the action and range of the bout, and after 4 rounds she was leading on all 3 cards, 40-36 and 39-37, twice. In the second half Nagai tried to turn it around, continuing to attack the body of Chimoto, but she couldn't slow Chimoto down, with Chimoto responding to everything thrown her way.
After 8 rounds the scores here were 78-74, twice, and 77-75. After the bout Nagai seemed to suggest that her work in the early rounds had been ignored by the judges, whilst Chimoto spoke well off her challenger, and how she used her own jab to control the action.
The second title bout on the show saw the talented Masanori Rikiishi (11-1, 6) [力石 政法] claim his first title, as he out boxed veteran Takuya Watanabe (38-11-1, 22) [渡邉 卓也] and became the new OPBF Super Featherweight champion, with a career best performance. From the opening round this was the Rikiishi show, as he took control at mid-range and never let the highly experience Watanabe get into the bout. From the off Rikiiishi was too quick, too sharp, too accurate and too busy for Watanabe. To his credit Watanabe always tried to make his way into the bout, but he struggled in every minute of the fight to build any momentum. The few moments of success the veteran had were fleeting with Rikiishi re-establishing control soon afterwards. After 12 rounds Rikiishi had won everything, taking a 120-108 shut out over Watanabe, with the only disappointment for the new champion being that he couldn't drop his man.
After the bout Rikiishi spoke about the success of his body shots and uppercuts, and explained that he was going to make a mandatory defense of his title next. As for Watanabe, he seemed really dejected by the outcome, adding that he tried his best, but that's his ability. Almost accepting he wasn't even close to good enough. Given his long career we do wonder if this is the end for Watanabe.
The third title bout on the card saw something of an upset as the defending Japanese Featherweight champion Hinata Maruta (12-2-1, 9) [丸田陽七太] was dethroned by mandatory challenger Reiya Abe (23-3-1, 10) [阿部麗也], in what was Abe's third shot at the belt. Not only did Abe capture the Japanese title, but also the WBO Asia Pacific title with the win.
This started in a really interesting manner with both men battling to dictate the range of the bout. For Maruta the key was to keep it long whilst Abe wanted to close the distance more and land his powerful single left hands. Through the first 3 rounds it seemed Abe's experience and boxing brain were key as he landed straight land hands, however he took punishment himself and ended up with a swollen right eye as Maruta's hard right hands took their toll on the challenger. After 5 rounds Abe was up on all 3 cards, 48-47, twice, and 49-46.
It was really in the middle of the bout that Abe took complete control of the action, as he seemed to respond with interest to every bit of success Maruta had, and the most notable part of the bout was a hard left hand up top that dropped Maruta in round 7, and left Maruta unable to see out of his left eye. It took Maruta a while to get any success after that as Abe continued to control the action, with his good footwork and boxing brain, though Maruta did show his heart and gave a huge effort in the final 3 rounds.
After 12 rounds the judges had this 118-109, 116-111 and 115-112, a particular close score. After the bout Abe seemed really proud of his performance, and his development over the last few years. He also stated that he was wanting to aim for more titles, likely a suggestion that he wants to fight for a world title. As for Maruta he apologised to his team for the loss, and explained that he would come back stronger from the bout.
Tomorrow fight fans in Sumida Ward will get the chance to see Japanese Featherweight champion Hinata Maruta (12-1-1, 9) [丸田陽七太] take on mandatory challenger Reiya Abe (22-3-1, 10) [阿部麗也], in a bout which will also see the men battle for the WBO Asia Pacific title. Today, ahead of that bout, the two men took part in their weigh in for the contest, and both men made weight with no issues at all.
On the scales the champion came in well under the limit, at around 125.25lbs. Despite being so much under the limit, he looked in incredible shape, and seemed confident, calm and relaxed whilst also being notably taller than Abe. He spoke about wanting to enjoy boxing, and although he stated he was getting stronger, he didn't want to rely on that aspect, and instead it seemed like he was wanting to focus on boxing, rather than power.
As for Abe he heavier on the scales, but still comfortably under the limit, at 125.6lbs. Speaking to the media at the weigh in he suggested that he's at a disadvantage here, but, stated "of course I'm going to win", whilst also explaining that he wanted to have fun. He also explained that he had to control the distance, which is really going to be the key against the taller, longer, rangier and smoother Maruta.
For those wanting to watch the bout it will be broadcast on the ABEMA Fighting Channel for free.
Related - Japanese champion Maruta faces Abe in mouth watering clash!
Last November we saw Japanese Featherweight champion Hinata Maruta (12-1-1, 9) [丸田陽七太] retain his title with a wide decision win over Ryo Hino (14-3-2, 9) [日野僚] at Korakuen Hall. On the same show we also saw Reiya Abe (22-3-1, 10) [阿部麗也]become the mandatory challenger for Maruta's title, with a win over Daisuke Watanabe (12-5-2, 7) [渡部大介].
Today we finally found out the details of when Maruta and Abe would clash, with the men now pencilled in to fight on a Dangan promoted show on May 15th at Sumida Ward General Gymnasium. And not only would Maruta be defending his Japanese title, but there would also be a second title on the line, with the two men also looking to capture the WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight title.
The two men took part in a press conference today to announce the bout, with Maruta coming across as confident following his title winning bout against Ryo Sagawa (11-2, 6) [佐川遼], who had himself beaten Abe in 2019. He spoke about not just winning, but actually stopping Abe, who's never been stopped thus far into his career, and doing so in the first half of their bout.
Abe was also confident and suggested he was quicker and the more powerful puncher. He spoke as if he had real belief of beating Maruta, getting his carer back on track after some set backs in recent years, including the loss to Sagawa.
At the moment no other bouts for this card have been announced, though we'll be expecting to see at least one other notable domestic bout, along with some lower level bouts featuring novices.
Earlier today at Korakuen Hall fight fans had the chance to see the latest show in the Dangan series of cards, and it was an excellent one on paper with two major Japanese Featherweight bouts.
The first of those two bouts as a Japanese title eliminator between former 2-time title challenger Reiya Abe (22-3-1, 10) [阿部麗也] and the often under-rated Daisuke Watanabe (12-5-2, 7) [渡部大介]. These two had fought before, with Abe taking an 8 round decision, but it was expected that they would give us an interesting and competitive bout this time around, with Watanabe really going on a solid run since their first bout.
Sadly rather than an interesting bout we saw an underwhelming one.
The bout saw Watanabe trying to come forward whilst Abe looked to using his excellent footwork and smart boxing. This lead to some interesting moments, but it seemed that every time Watanabe landed, Abe would come back with something of his own, and that resulted in Watanabe being cut from a counter left hand in round 2. Abe would also land telling blows in round 3, leaving Watanabe with a swollen right eye, that forced his team to retire their man at the end of the round. This resulted in Abe picking up a TKO3 win, and securing himself a shot at the Japanese title in the new year, against the winner of the main event of the show.
That main event saw Japanese Featherweight champion Hinata Maruta (12-1-1, 9) [丸田陽七太] successfully make his first defense as he beat Ryo Hino (14-3-2, 9) [日野僚], taking a wide and clear decision over the challenger.
Hino got off to a good start, using his boxing skills well and he seemed to just about edge the first two rounds, by sneaking inside and using his southpaw stance well against the taller, faster Maruta. It was a good start for him, but one that seemed to force Maruta to plan B, and it was plan B tat saw Maruta having success and dropping Hino with a solid right hand. Hino, realising Maruta was quicker, sharper and more powerful, tried to play the counter puncher in round 4 but it wasn't hugely successful and in round 5 Maruta scored a second knockdown, this time from a gorgeous burst of clean accurate punches.
With the two knockdowns in his favour Maruta was in a comfortable lead when the scores were announced at the end of round 5, with Maruta leading 48-45, twice, and 49-44.
Hino tried to turn things around in the second half of the fight, particularly in round 7, but Maruta sniffed things out, kept it long before deciding to try and take out Hino in rounds 8 and 9. To his credit Hino saw out some torrid moments, before trying to turn things around in round 10, only for Maruta to respond with some big shots of his own as we went to the bell.
After 10 rounds there was no denying Maruta was the clear and worthy winner, taking the decision 97-91, twice, and 96-92, to set up a compelling bout with Abe, in 2022. That bout may end up being a double title bout, with the Japanese and the now vacant WBO Asia Pacific titles potentially both being on the line for the bout.
Maruta, Hino, Abe and Watanabe make weight for Japanese title fight and eliminator
Tomorrow at Korakuen Hall fight fans will get an interesting card, with 4 of the top Featherweights in Japan in action, with a Japanese title bout, and a Japanese title eliminator both taking place on the same card. Today those 4 men all took part in their weigh in, and all 4 made weight with no issues at all.
The Japanese title eliminator will see former 2-time title challenger Reiya Abe (21-3-1, 9) [阿部麗也] battle against Daisuke Watanabe (12-4-2, 7) [渡部大介], with the men clashing to secure a shot next year during the Champion Carnival. These two have fought before, with Abe taking a decision over Watanabe, but that was more than 3 years ago and Watanabe has come a long way since then whilst Abe has failed to live up to the potential he clearly has.
At the weigh in both men came in comfortably under the 126lb limit, weighing in at an identical 125.66lbs. They both looked in great shape, though it did seem like Abe was the naturally bigger man, being several inches taller than Watanabe.
Interestingly Watanabe did mention that he was wanting to fight small here, and he'll be aggressive, whilst swearing that will avenge his loss to Abe. Abe on the other hand seemed to be focused on using his footwork and counter punching here to take the win, and secure his third shot at the Japanese title.
In the main event of the show we'll see Japanese Featherweight champion Hinata Maruta (11-1-1, 9) [丸田陽七太] make his first defense as he takes on Ryo Hino (14-2-2, 9) [日野僚], in what is expected to be a very technical match up. At the weigh in these two men also hit the scales at 125.66lbs.
After the making weight Maruta ate to some rice balls, to help recover from the weight loss, before admitting he was happy to have the press around for the fight. Notably this was the first show that reporters were allowed to do face to face interviews with fighters after weigh ins, something that had been stopped due to the pandemic. To prepare for the bout he explained that he had done a lot of sparring with southpaws and wasn't worried about the fact Hino is a lefty.
As for Hino, he seemed less confident and it appears that he knows a won against Maruta would be a big ask. Despite that it's clear he's not going in to the ring tomorrow to roll over and lose, so he could end up putting up a good effort here, in what is his second shot at the Japanese Featherweight title.
Related - Touted genius Maruta takes on Hino in first Japanese title defense!
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