Earlier today fight fans around the globe had the chance to see rising youngster Hiroki Hanabusa (8-0-3, 3) [が英洸貴] score his latest win, as he took out Sorawit Bamrungrai (6-3, 3), in just over 70 seconds to kick off 2020 with a brilliant body shot KO.
As reported earlier in the year was essentially a tune up for Hanabusa, who's focus now shifts to his scheduled bout against Japanese Youth Super Bantamweight champion Toshiki Shimomachi (10-1-2, 6) [下町俊貴], which will take place on April 12th in Osaka.
After today's win Hanabusa spoke to some of the Japanese media and revealed that he's not going to take much of a break after today's win, and explained that he's going to resume training right away and will be working on counter measures for a tall southpaw, like Shimomachi.
For Hanabusa the bout with Shimomachi will be his first title bout, and will be biggest bout since the 2018 All Japan Rookie of the Year final whilst Shimomachi will be finally making his first defense of the belt, after winning the belt last August, against Kenta Nomura. He had been scheduled to defend the belt in December, but no available opponent was available at the time for the bout.
If we're being honest this ins't a huge by any stretch, but is one of the most intriguing match ups out there between two very talented young fighters, who are both going to have their eye on winning much bigger titles than the Japanese youth title before they finish their career. It's not a huge bout, but it is a compelling match up all the same.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
WBC Youth Flyweight champion Kento Hatanaka (11-0, 9) [畑中 建人] might have been the star of today's Soul Fighting card, which was streamed globally by CBC, but he also ended up having more questioned asked of him than anyone would have anticipated.
The exciting youngster, the son of former world champion Kiyoshi Hatanaka, was expected to have a relatively easy time with Filipino challenger Roland Jay Biendima (15-6-1, 8). He was supposed to shine after being given a real tough test by rugged veteran Jaysever Abcede last year. Instead of shining and dominating Hatanaka again found himself in a tough, testing, damaging war that was a lot more competitive than the score-cards suggested.
The first round went with the script, with Hatanaka looking too good, too crisp, too sharp and too busy for the Filipino. As it turned out however Biendima was merely playing possum and in round 2 he started to come alive, although he was only really winging in wild punches during the second round it was clear he wasn't there to just make up the numbers.
From round 3 the bout began to turn into a genuine war, with the two men trading blows on the inside and Hatanaka being left bloodied around the nose. The Japanese fighter was still doing enough to pick up the rounds, but he was suddenly needing to work hard for them, and that hard work just got harder, and harder as Biendima moved began to put his foot on the gas.
As is typical in Japan for WBC Youth title bouts the scores were announced after 4 rounds, and Hatanaka was in a comfortable lead, 40-36, twice, and 39-37. The action continued to be tough, gruelling stuff through the middle rounds, with Biendima's toughness shining through as he continued to try and force an inside fire fight. That inside battling ended up with Hatanaka suffering a nasty cut over his left eye, from an accidental headclash, which along with his nose was certainly more damage than he'd have anticipated when the bell went to start the bout.
After 8 rounds Hatanaka was in a very comfortable lead on the official cards, 79-72, twice, and 78-73, but was certainly under pressure from Biendima in round 9, as the Filipino got through Hatanaka's sloppy defense regularly. The challenger would have been aware that he was behind, and likely needed a KO, despite having had moments in every round apart from the first one. The effort from the challenger wasn't able to be replicated in the final round as both men looked tired, as we went to the final bell.
After 10 rounds, of almost constant head to head battling and teeing off with power shots, we went to the score cards which had Hatanaka comfortably in the lead with scores of 99-90, twice, and 98-91.
Despite the win Hatanaka had to work for this, and the scorecards really don't tell the full extent of how competitive this was. Hatanaka certainly deserved the win, but he had to work hard and fight through adversity in one of the best fights we've seen this year. Sadly for someone with his natural gifts he does seem too willing to give up his size, speed and reach, preferring to have a war, rather than use his boxing skills. Finger crossed, for his longevity in the sport, that he does begin to tweak his tactics, and begin boxing and move more, rather than having too many of these types of wars.
As for Biendima we suspect he did enough here to get invited back to Japan to take on some of the other rising prospects from the country. He acquitted himself well, and despite losing, wide, he showed a lot more than we'd expected of him.
As for the under-card the real standout was Hiroki Hanabusa (8-0-3, 3) [英洸貴], who blasted out Thai foe Sorawit Bamrungrai (6-3, 3) with a brutal left hook to the body, in one of the best body shots we've seen this year. The 2018 Rookie of the Year winner will be in tough bouts than this later in the year, but a shot like the one he landed would put anyone on their knees. An absolute beauty of a shot.
Back in December was saw Takayuki Okumoto (23-9-4, 11) [奥本貴之] lose the Japanese Super Flyweight title to Kenta Nakagawa (18-3-1, 12) [中川 健太], and suffer some pretty nasty cuts. It was unclear on what his future held at the time, but now we know that he's going to continue on in the sport, and has a date set for his return.
The fun to watch battler from the Green Tsuda gym will be involved on the April version of "Crash Boxing" on April 12th at the EDION Arena Osaka, though at the moment no opponent has been named.
Whilst Okumoto is the biggest name set for the show, he's not the only fighter confirmed for the event at the moment.
We also know that Japanese Youth Super Bantamweight champion Toshiki Shimomachi (10-1-2, 6) [下町俊貴] will be in action, as he defends his title against Hiroki Hanabusa (7-0-3, 2) [が英洸貴], as long as Hanabusa gets through his February 11th bout against Sorawit Bamrungrai without any issues.
One other man confirmed for the show, but without an opponent, is Japanese ranked Bantamweight fighter Kazuki Tanaka (11-3, 8) [田中一樹]
Earlier today unbeaten Japanese fighter Hiroki Hanabusa (6-0-3, 2) [英洸貴] posted an image showing a list of bouts set to take place on December 15th in Japan. Not only was Hanabusa included on the list, in the chief support bout, but saw was a very interesting 10 round main event.
The 20 year year old Hanabusa is scheduled to fight in an 8 round contest on the card against Chinese fighter Baolin Kang (6-2, 1) in a Super Bantamweight bout. This will see Kang dropping back down in weight, after bouts at and above the Featherweight limit, whilst Hanabusa, who was last seen fighting in China in October, will remain at his natural weight class.
In another support bout Japanese based Venezuelan Omrri Bolivar (8-2, 3), aka Piccolo Bolivar, will take on Chinese fighter A Fu Bai (8-3, 5), in an 8 round bout at a contracted 136lbs. This looks like a really good match up and a very even looking one.
The main event is, however, the big talking point and will see former world title challenger Genesis Servania (33-2, 16) battle former world champion Pungluang Sor Singyu (53-7, 35), aka Panya Uthok, in a 10 round bout at a contracted 127lbs. This will be Servania's second bout since losing to Carlos Castro in the US back in February, whilst Pungluang will be looking to avoid a 5th loss in 6 bouts, and will be hoping to bounce back following a loss in August to Mark Magsayo.
The card, for those interested in attending, will take place at the Ishikawa Industrial Exhibition Hall.
A huge things to Hiroki Hanabusa for sharing this list!
Earlier today we saw confirmation of a Chinese card set for October 17th in Shanghai, China. The card isn't a huge one, but is a very interesting one with several bouts of note featuring at least one fighter who is worthy of attention.
The main event will see world ranked Chinese Flyweight Wulan Tuolehazi (12-3-1, 5) [乌兰] battle against Satoshi Tanaka (7-5, 1) [田中公士].
Tuolehazi, dubbed the "Tianshan Snow Leopard", will be making his second defense of the WBA International Flyweight title that he won back in March in a bout against Ryota Yamauchi. As for Tanaka this will be his first bout outside of Japan and first title bout, and obvious he enters as the big under-dog against a man who is ranked in the top 5 by the WBA and the top 15 by the WBO.
Another significant bout will see WBO Youth Light Flyweight champion Xiang Li (7-2-1, 2) [李翔] take on excellent Japanese challenger Ryu Horikawa (2-0, 1) [堀川龍] in a truly mouth watering match up.
Li won his title back in May, when he defeated Raymong Poon KaiChing in Hong Kong, claiming a number of minor titles including the one he will defend against Horikawa. He has looked promising but this looks like a major step up for him, given that Horikawa was a standout amateur who recently scored a fantastic win over Yuki Nakajima and is tipped to race to the top.
Another bout of interest here will see unbeaten Japanese fighter Hiroki Hanabusa (6-0-2, 2) [英洸貴] take on 23 year old Chinese fighter Ayati Sailike (7-8-2-1, 2) in an 8 round bout. There isn't much to say about the Chinese fighter however Hanabusa won the 2018 All Japan Rookie of the Year and should be regarded as a genuine prospect. A win for Hanabusa on Chinese soil would be a major boost to his fledgling career.
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