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.
Earlier today it was revealed that WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight champion Musashi Mori (11-0, 6) [森 武蔵] had been part-taking in a training camp in Yamaga Citya, Kumamoto. The camp was only a short one, running from August 16th to August 18th, with the focus being on strength and conditioning for the 20 year old regional champion.
Speaking to Boxmob after the camp completed Mori revealed
"I'm tired right now, but I think I can feel the effect (of running) when sparring begins" [Translated]
and added "I don't practice interpersonal training right now, but I'm building a body that allows me to move as I want when I start sparring," [Translated]
In total Mori did 120KM of running, with 40KM a day, with the focus of the camp being on his stamina and physicality. Interestingly he was training from 6am to 4pm to try and avoid the heat.
Back in July talk had been raised about a potential regional title unification bout between Mori and OPBF champion Satoshi Shimizu (9-1, 9) [清水 聡]. Although that bout hasn't been ruled outit now seems like Mori is open to a bout with JBC champion Ryo Sagawa (10-1, 5) [佐川遼], explaining to Boxmob:
"(Sagawa) has a champion carnival, but after that, I would like to try a unified battle with the Japanese throne eventually." [Translated]
Regarding that Champion Carnival situation Sagawa is mandated to defend the Japanese Featherweight title against Hinata Maruta (10-1-1, 8) [丸田陽七太], though at the moment it's unclear when that bout will be taking place.
Due to the fact some fans will not be wanting to know the result of today's Japanese Featherweight title bout between Ryo Sagawa [佐川遼] and Yuri Takemoto [竹本雄利] we will begin this with a paragraph of text to act as a spoiler warning. Please be aware this is a 1-off paragraph designed to not ruin the bout for those who have accidentally stumbled on this page ahead of the TV broadcast of the bout this coming weekend on Fuji TV. This is something we are only going to be doing when we know that a bout will be televised on delay and will only ever be a 1 paragraph thing, with the idea of allowing fans to watch events as live. With that in mind we'd just like to remind everyone this bout will be aired on Sunday night/Monday morning in Japan and can be watched as live as part of the Diamond Glove event.
With that now said we'll now bring you the result for the main event of today's show at Korakuen Hall.
For the first time since February fans were able to attend a boxing show at Korakuen Hall. Fans have been back, in various capacities, around Japan but this was the first time the legendary Korakuen Hall had hosted fans, and they did so for a small, but notable Misako promoted card headlined by Japanese Featherweight champion Ryo Sagawa (10-1, 5) [佐川遼]. The champion, defending the belt for the second time, managed to show what he could do as he stopped the 2018 Rookie of the Year winner Yuri Takemoto (8-2-1, 4) [竹本雄利] at the very end of round 6.
The challenger started well, and had success in the first two rounds, before Sagawa began to get going in round 3. The start from the challenger was better than many had expected, and he showed he was up for this opportunity, despite lacking the natural ability of the champion. Sagawa was left with a bloodied nose, but be was calm, collected, and began landing with both hands in round 3. The success of Sagawa began to grow and in round 4 he landed a big right hand on the challenger, who seemed to starting to run out of ideas as we entered round 5 and Sagawa began to show the skills, and fluid punching that has seen him winning the title.
After 5 rounds the good start of Takemoto was forgotten. The scorecards were all in favour of Sagawa, though two judges did have the bout very close.
Sadly for Takemoto things were set to get worse and very late in the round he took a big body shot that sent him to the canvas. Takemoto tried to beat the count but stumbled as the bout was officially called at an official time of 3:09 of round 6.
With the win Sagawa retains his title and moves one step closer to a world title bout. Before that happens we expect we'll see him take on mandatory challenger Hinata Maruta (10-1-1, 8) [丸田陽七太], who was originally supposed to faced Sagawa earlier this year. Issues relating to the on going global situation prevented that bout from taking place and Takemoto got the call for this contest. As a result Maruta is still the mandatory, though may end up waiting until 2021 for his shot at the now very truncated Champion Carnival.
As for Takemoto the loss showed the level he was competing at. He was game, he came to win, but there is still a lot of work that the youngster needs to do if he's to ever become a champion, even at national level. He was gutsy but outclassed, and was totally unable to compete when Sagawa went through the gears.
Just over 10 days ago we reported that we would see Japanese Featherweight champion Ryo Sagawa (9-1, 4) [佐川遼] defending his title against 2018 Rookie of the Year winner Yuri Takemoto (8-1-1, 4) [竹本雄利], with tickets for the bouts being on sale through Pia.
Now we can confirm that that bout has officially been announced, for August 13th, and that the number of tickets available has been confirmed. What has also been confirmed is that the event will be the first fan attend boxing show in Tokyo.
Although fans have been in some boxing events in Japan already they have been a long way from the capital, with a small fan attended show in Okinawa and one in Aichi. This however will be the first in the capital, and will have just 700 fans in attendance, just a fraction of what the venue can hold.
For those unable to make it to the venue the bout is now confirmed to be the headlined contest of a Diamond Glove show, meaning it will be aired, on delay, on Fuji TV.
Sadly for those wanting to see Sagawa defending against Hinata Maruta (10-1-1, 8) [丸田陽七太], like we were, that's now provisionally pushed back to 2021. Say that though it may still fall off the radar if one of the two men chooses to take a different path, for example if Sagawa gets a world title fight.
Whilst it's a huge shame that we aren't going to be getting Sagawa Vs Maruta in 2020 it's great too see fans returning to Tokyo, and hopefully this will open the door to more fan attended events in the "Holy Land" of Japanese boxing.
It's fair to say that 2020 has been a very, very strange year. Whilst we're not going to go through what's happened outside of boxing, the issues going on has forced a lot of changes to the boxing calendar.
The changes have really messed up the annual Champion Carnival, which would have been completed by now and would have seen all the Japanese champions making a mandatory defense of their titles.
With all that is going on we've seen some bouts totally cancelled, some posted and some are still up in their air as to what will happen to them.
One bout that now appears to be, at the very least, getting pushed back to late in the year, if not being cancelled all together, is the Japanese Featherweight title bout between defending champion Ryo Sagawa (9-1, 4) [佐川遼] and Hinata Maruta (10-1-1, 8) [丸田陽七太].
Originally the bout was set for April 9th, as part of a double header, though it now seems the men are going in a different direction.
At the moment ticketing website t.pia.jp are selling tickets for a bout between Sagawa and 2018 Rookie of the Year winner Yuri Takemoto (8-1-1, 4) [竹本雄利], rather than Sagawa and Maruta. The show is the only boxing event Pia are currently selling tickets for, with the event set for August 13th, at Korakuen Hall as part of the Diamond Glove series, which get broadcast on delay on Fuji TV.
Whilst we do understand changes being made it does seem this is a bit of a strange one, and a rather underwhelming one. Sagawa is a fantastic fighter, who surely has eyes set on bigger things in the future, and to have seen him clash with Maruta would have been one of the highest of the Champion Carnival. Takemoto on the other hand has done little since winning the Rookie of the Year in December 2018 and appears to be leaping up in levels.
We're not massively annoyed at the bout, but it does seem an underwhelming replacement bout for what we had been looking forward to.
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