Earlier today on former WBC Flyweight champion Daigo Higa (16-1, 16) [比嘉 大吾] held a virtual press conference to announce the next stage of his career, announcing which gym he would be signing to following him leaving the Shirai Gushiken Gym earlier this year.
At the press conference Higa announce that he would be joining the newly named Ambition Gym, which is being lead by WBO Super Flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka (25-2, 14) [井岡一翔].
Higa had been linked to the gym around 2 weeks ago, before the gym had changed it's name from the Ozaki Boxing Gym, with the move essentially being an open secret in Japanese boxing circles.
Not only did Higa confirm the move to the Ambition gym but he also confirmed that he would continue working with trainer Joji Nogi, who Higa has been trained by in the past. Nogi actually joined Higa on the call, and explained that Higa told him he wanted to continue, and it seems the relationship between the two is part of why Higa is continuing his career in the ring.
At the press conference Higa also stated that he wanted to be a world champion again, and that he wanted Nogi to be beside him when that happens. It was also made clear that he will be campaigning at Bantamweight going forward. That's the same division as Japanese star Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16) [井上 尚弥], though sadly it doesn't seem likely we'll see that bout as it appears Higa will become a TBS fighter whilst Inoue will remain a Fuji TV fighter.
Although it's currently unclear when Higa will be back in the ring, though rumours have swirled that a September date is likely, he admitted that he would ideally like to fight twice more before the end of the year. We would expect the first to be another tune up before a bigger bout, potentially in December, as he begins his climb to a second world title.
Earlier today it was announced that Masato Yamashita, the head of the Shinsei Gym, would be the next chairman of the West Japan Boxing Association, narrowly beating out Takashi Edagawa, 31 votes to 26. With a single abstained vote.
Yamashita will take over from Hiroki Ioka, who has lead for the last 6 years, serving his maximum 2 terms in charge.
After the vote Mr Yamashita extended what seemed a clear olive branch to Mr Edagawa, who heads up the Mutoh Gym, suggesting they will be working together to improve things.
Yamashita's campaign had been run on 3 pillars, one of which was sorting out the finances and cutting the running costs of the association. That appears to be something that Mr Edagawa also intended to do. There is also plans to increasing the relationship between the West Japan Association and the Japanese Boxing Commission.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today saw the announcement of Mugen 9, set to take place on August 4th in Okinawa. The show will feature a pair of title fights, a female OPBF title bout and a Japanese Youth title bout.
The Japanese Youth title bout will take place at Light Flyweight and will see Ryuto Oho (11-4-1, 3) [大保龍斗] defending his title against Hiroki Inamine (2-1, 2) [稲嶺光紀]. On paper this is an outstanding fight, with Oho looking to build on a brilliant win over Tetsuya Tomioka earlier this year and make his first defense of the title.
As for Inamine, who was a very solid amateur, this bout will see him looking to bounce back from from a May defeat to former amateur stand out Rikito Shiba, in a hotly contested 6 round decision loss.
The other title fight will see OPBF female Bantamweight champion Yuko Henzan (6-6-4, 2) [平安山裕子] make her first defense of the title that she won back in April. She will be taking on unbeaten Chinese challenger Fan Yin (3-0, 1), who is taking a notable step up in class for her first title bout.
Also on this card will be Seita Ogido (11-3-3, 3) [荻堂 盛太], in a notable supporting bout.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today Japanese teenager Riku Kano (10-1-1, 5) [加納陸] took part in a public training session ahead of his August 20th bout with Katsunari Takayama (30-8-0-1, 12) [高山 勝成] for the
WBO Minimumweight world title.
The practice session was a chance to Kano to talk to the media, show his skills, and more importantly publicly speak to Hiroki Ioka, a man who's record Kano is actively chasing when he gets into the ring in August.
Ioka, a former 2 weight world champion and the uncle of Kazuto Ioka, is the current holder of the "youngest Japanese world champion" crown. He achieved that feat back on October 18th 1987 when he was 18 years, 9 months and 10 days old. If Kano wins the title on August 20th he will have broken the 29 year old record by, around, a month.
At the actual practice session Kano spent time sparring with stablemate Futa Akizuki for 3 rounds, before hitting the mitts and the heavy bag whilst working up a sweat. All under the watchful eye of Mr Ioka who seemed to wish Kano the best of luck for the August 20th bout with Takayama, in fact it almost seemed to make Ioka proud that someone was wanting to break his long standing record.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today the West Japan Boxing Association had a vote to decide their President for the next 3 years. The votes saw former world champion Hiroki Ioka [井岡 弘樹] win the election, with a margin of 42 votes against 19 won by Eijiro Murata, for the second time.
Mr Ioka, who won the presidency back in 2013, had originally won by a very slim margin 3 years ago but this time won the vote with an over whelming majority, showing that the voters have been won over by his presidency, which has helped to bring the Association along in a big way.
The term of the presidency begins on April 1st and will see the former 2 weight world champion, and the uncle of current world champion Kazuto Ioka [井岡 一翔], continue to develop the boxing in the West of Japan and it seems that one of his aims is to help retired fighters find something gainful to do after their careers are over. It's something that a number of former fighters have began to try and develop and it seems to have been one of the keys to Mr Ioka's campaign.
(Image courtesy of daily.co.jp)
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