Earlier today the East Japan Boxing Association held their latest meeting, doing so online, and announced that they had approved the transfer of the Koichi Wajima gym.
The gym, which was set up by and run by veteran Koichi Wajima [輪島 功一], has been transferred from Koichi himself to his second son, Hirokazu Wajima.
Prior to setting up the gym, in 1987, Koichi was a sensational fighter and a multi-time world champion. He fought from 1968 to 1977 and was one of the most popular and exciting fighters of the time, with a reputation for wars, and a unique "Frog Punching" style. During his career Koichi fought a who's who of the 154lb weight class from the era and compiled an impressive record of 31-6-1 (25)
Interestingly Hirokazu is also a former fighter, having debuted in 2008 and running up a 4-4-1 (2) record before retiring in 2012 to become a trainer at his father's gym. And now the chairman of the gym.
Although the gym is not a huge one it has been a notable one, and was responsible for the rise of Super Bantamweight contender Hiroaki Teshigawara (22-2-2, 15) [勅使河原 弘晶].
Earlier today at the 3150 Fight Club in Osaka there was a press conference held by gym chairman Koki Kameda [亀田 興毅], alongside his younger brother Tomoki Kameda (36-3, 20) [亀田和毅].
At the press conference Tomoki confirmed that he would become a member of the gym, allowing him to compete in Japan. He spoke about how he has been out of the ring for 18 months, and was now glad he can return to action, stating that he was enthusiastic about his return.
Koki seemed to suggest that Tomoki's return will be sooner rather than later and explained that he wanted Tomoki to be on a show in Spring. Not only that but he was promising a good purse for his brother, explaining that he wanted to be a promoter who can pay good payments to fighters, and the figure of "10 million yen" was referenced, which seems a ridiculously high figure for what will be a non-title fight.
Interestingly it was explained that the lengthy run of inactivity from Tomoki wasn't planned, though like many things last year it was a result of Covid19. He had planned a bout in April in the US, which was cancelled due to the pandemic. He then his son was born and he returned to Japan, where he has been training since August. He is now based in Osaka, where the gym is, and it seems like Japan will be his base for the foreseeable future.
In regards to Tomoki's future he is planning to remain at Super Bantamweight, despite the WBA ranking him at Featherweight.
Given how much of a problem international transport into Japan is right now the expectation is that Tomoki's return will be against a Japanese fighter, and if we're being honest that's not a bad thing given the incredibly competitive Japanese scene at 122lbs. In fact another Japanese fighter at the weight looking for a contest is Shingo Wake (27-6-2, 19) [和氣 慎吾], who had a planned bout for April cancelled when former IBF Super Bantamweight champion Yukinori Oguni (21-2-1, 8) [小國以載] suffered an injury. Another interesting option would be Hiroaki Teshigawara (22-2-2, 15) [勅使河原 弘晶],though we suspect Kameda is looking at a safer, easier, option than those two given his lengthy absence from the ring.
Back in February we reported that Murodjon Akhmadaliev (8-0, 6) [Ахмадалиев, Муроджон Кахарович] had been hoping to defend his IBF and WBA Super Bantamweight titles against IBF "interim" champion Ryosuke Iwasa (27-3, 17) [岩佐 亮佑] in Uzbekistan in Summer. Sadly 2020 hasn't gone to plan, for anyone, and those plans were put on ice due to the on going global situation. A situation that essentially put a stop to any boxing in summer, and is still causing problems for fights with fighters from different countries.
Now it appears that those plans aren't off all together, but were merely postponed.
Earlier today Olamsports, a brilliant website for Uzbek sporting news, reported an interview with Akhmadaliev from Uzbek TV in which he states:
"God willing, we are planning to hold the fight on November 28 at the Humo Arena in Tashkent.
An opponent? We are currently studying a Japanese boxer who is a contender for the IBF. He is tall and slender. We work on ourselves with coaches. I will try to work with twice as much force as in the last battle, ”
Although he didn't explicitly name Iwasa he is one of only 3 potential Japanese options from the IBF rankings. The others are Hiroaki Teshigawara (22-2-2, 15) [勅使河原 弘晶] and Ryo Akaho (35-2-2, 23) [赤穂亮].
Akaho, who is ranked #13 with the IBF, isn't a "tall and slender" fighter, he stands at 5'6" and is a rather short and stubby fighter.
Teshigawara is stands at 5'7", and is taller and rangier than Akaho, though has just fought this past week and it would be a quick turn around for him to be ready for November 28th. It should, however, be noted that he has hit the gym straight after his last bout, and although it's a quick turn around it is a possible one given that he didn't really take any punishment in his last bout. Interestingly he is ranked #3 by the IBF and has recently transferred to the Misako gym in an attempt to secure a world title fight.
Iwasa, however, is the most likely option and he's the tallest of the trio, standing at 5′ 7½″. He's also the IBF mandatory challenger and the man most likely to get the fight. He has been out of the ring since December 2019, when he won the IBF "interim" title with a TKO win over Marlon Tapales, in one of his best performances to date.
The interview can be seen below about 16 minutes into the video.
Once again we need to say a huge thanks to the fantastic @JalolAkhmedov for bringing this to our attention.
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 OPBF Super Bantamweight title bout featuring champion Hiroaki Teshigawara taking on Shingo Kawamura and a very, very interesting co-feature between two Japanese ranked Super Featherweights.
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 Super Featherweight bout and then moving on to the main event. If you wish to avoid those spoilers, please stop reading now.
The chief support bout saw former Japanese Featherweight champion Taiki Minamoto (16-7-1, 13) [源大輝] take on the criminally under-rated Kanehiro Nakagawa (10-6, 5) [中川兼玄] in a bout between two men who were ranked by the JBC.
On paper it seemed Minamoto would have been favoured here, but it was Nakagawa who really bossed the action. Nakagawa blocked a lot of Minamoto's early shots, whilst landing his own solid blows, especially with his straight right hand. That was the key to his game plan and Minamoto never found an answer for it. By the mid way point Nakagawa was in a comfortable lead, though did begin to slow down and Minamoto finally began to have success in round 5, as he dug deep. Minamoto also had success in round 6, and it seemed the fight back was on, before Nakagawa got his second wind, and traded shots up close.
After 8 rounds the judges had this one 79-73, and 78-74, twice, all in favour of Nakagawa. After the bout Nakagawa stated that he was now aiming for a Japanese title fight.
In the main event fans saw OPBF Super Bantamweight champion Hiroaki Teshigawara (22-2-2, 15) [勅使河原 弘晶] record his 4th defense, as he stopped Shingo Kawamura (16-6-4, 8) [河村真吾] in the 6th round.
The defending champion, who is very highly ranked by the IBF, looked calm, relaxed and in control from the opening moments. He moved well, found his range and was landing at ease. Kawamura had one or two moments, but every time he had any success Teshigawara got out of range, regrouped and completely destroyed any momentum Kawamura seemed to be building.
After 4 rounds the open scoring kicked in, with Teshigawara leading 40-36, on all 3 cards. He continued to control the action and put his foot on the gas in round 6, dropping Kawamura. Kawamura got to his feet but he was done and the bout was stopped soon afterwards.
After the bout it seemed to be suggested that Misako Gym were trying to secure Teshigawara a world title fight in the deep and really interesting Super Bantamweight division. It seems hard to imagine him getting a shot, given the politics of boxing, though he is currently ranked by the IBF and WBC and would make for a very interesting challenger, even if he's not a big international name.
Tomorrow fight fans at Korakuen Hall will get the chance to see OPBF Super Bantamweight champion Hiroaki Teshigawara (21-2-2, 14) [勅使河原 弘晶] defending his title against Shingo Kawamura (16-5-4, 8) [河村真吾].
Today, ahead of their bout, the two men took part in their weigh in, and both men came in bang on the 122lbs Super Bantamweight limit.
At the weigh in Teshigawara sounded confident, stating "I'm strong now because I've been practicing for a long time". It also sounds like his recent move to the Misako gym, is going well, with Teshigawara telling Boxmob that his new trainer "He is teaching me from the perspective of making me a world champion." It also seems like he is benefitting from working along side Kenshiro Teraji "I'm inspired by the fact that the players who catch the world are practicing like this."
Kawamura on the other hand sounded determined to not let another chance pass him by. He explained he "will patiently stick to my boxing and find a win. It doesn't have to be an interesting match. I will win tomorrow," and also stated that weight loss wasn't an issue for him, despite the fact he has, typically, been fighting at Featherweight. There is a real chance that his physical power and strength could be a big advantage, though he is, rightfully, the under-dog here.
For fans wanting to watch this one, and aren't able to get to Korakuen Hall tomorrow the bout will be aired on Fuji TV this coming weekend as part of their Diamond Glove series, with the broadcast set to begin at 26:00 Sunday night local time.
Related - World ranked Teshigawara takes on Kawamura in next OPBF title defense!
News! We try and give you the most interesting news stories from the Asian boxing world!