Back in January we reported that former Japanese Light Welterweight champion Hiroki Okada (19-2, 13) [岡田 博喜] would be returning to the ring on March 26th at Korakuen Hall, in an 8 round bout against Korean fighter Hwang Kil Kim (11-2, 5) [김황길]. Today that bout was confirmed, with Kadoebi going further than just confirming the bout, but giving the full line up of the show, which will be SLUGFEST 14.
The card, which will feature only 8 round bouts, is a really interesting one, not just due to it being Okada's first bout in Japan in almost 2 years, but because several of the bouts are very well matched, or feature notable names.
The chief support bout will see former world title challenger Takuya Kogawa (30-6-1, 13) [粉川拓也] look to bounce back from a heavy KO defeat to Jay-R Raquinel last year. Kogawa will be up against Japanese ranked Light Flyweight Hayato Yamaguchi (15-8-1, 2) [山口隼人], in what should be a relatively safe fight for Kogawa's health, but not a gimme at all, given that Yamaguchi is a talented fighter but a light hitting one. Whilst this isn't a gimme, it is a must win for Kogawa, who turns 35 in April.
Another notable fighter on this show is OPBF Light Middleweight champion Akinori Watanabe (39-7-1, 33) [渡部あきのり], who fights in a non-title bout against Panturak Namtong (13-5-1, 9), in what looks like a stay busy bout for the Oriental champion.
In terms of more interesting fights we'll see Japanese-Brazilian Cristiano Aoqui (14-9-2, 10) [アオキ クリスチャーノ] face off with Fumisuke Kimura (9-5-1, 6) [木村文祐], in what should be a very explosive 140lb bout, between two men who are limited, but can punch. An equally interesting match up will see Yoji Saito (1-1-2, 1) [齊藤陽ニ] take on Takahiro Araki (12-9, 2) [荒木貴裕], in what should be a very brutal match up, given the styles of the two men involved.
Arguable the most interesting of the bouts will see the highly regarded Ayato Hiromoto (2-0, 1) [廣本彩刀] fight in his first 8 rounder as he takes on 2018 Rookie of the Year winner Yoshiki Minato (8-3, 3) [湊義生], in a very good looking step up for Hiromoto.
Related - Hiroki Okada to face Hwang Kil Kim
Earlier today our Korean sources reported that former Japanese Light Welterweight champion Hiroki Okada (19-2, 13) [岡田 博喜] had had his next bout confirmed.
The sources report that Okada will be back in the ring on March 26th at Korakuen Hall, in an 8 round bout at 140lbs against Korean fighter Hwang Kil Kim (11-2, 5) [김황길].
For Okada this will be his first bout in Japan since May 2018, before he signed a deal with Top Rank. Since then he has fought 3 times, all in the US. Coming in to this he has been stopped in his last 2 bouts, losing in 9 rounds to Raymundo Beltran last February and to Javier Molina in November. On paper this is a much easier bout for him than those bouts, but there are now real questions over chin and confidence.
Although relatively unknown outside of Korea Kim has had some notable bouts, and had a very interesting 2019. He began the year by stopping Attanon Kunlawong, aka Kongthara KKP, to claim the WBA Asia Lightweight title, which he then defended twice. He moved up in weight late in the year and lost a decision in Australia to Liam Paro, though showed enough to think that the move up may not be a bad one for him going forward.
At the moment the other details in regards to the card in general are unknown, though it would appear likely to be on the March edition of Kadoebi's "Slugfest" show, which is also expected to have Takuya Kogawa (30-6-1, 13) [粉川拓也] on it.
On Saturday night in California fans saw Hiroki Okada (19-2, 13) [岡田 博喜] have the worst night of his professional career, as he was blown out by former Olympian Javier Molina (21-2, 9), in just over a minute.
Okada, who had won his first 19 pro bouts, won a Japanese and regional title and had been highly ranked by the world title bodies, had looked on the verge of a world title fight just over a year ago. Earlier this year he entered a world title eliminator, losing in 9 rounds to Ray Beltran in a bit of a forgotten classic, and knew that a win today would put him back in the mix. Sadly he has now been removed completely from the mix.
The two men traded very early on and a big shot by Molina dropped Okada hard. Okada would get up, but still be shaken as Molina moved in for the finish, unloading until dropping Okada for a second time. With Okada down the referee waved off the bout, at an official time of 1 minute 5 seconds.
With Molina having not scored a stoppage win in over 4 years this opening round blow out was a surprise, though likely shows just how far Okada is gone from the fighter he once was. Molina is a fantastic talent, but it seemed that if he was going to win, it would have been a clear decision, not a quick blow out.
In Caliornia later today, Saturday, fight fans will see Japan's Hiroki Okada (19-1, 13) [岡田 博喜] take on former Olympian Javier Molina (20-2, 8). On paper this is a bout neither can afford to lose, with Okada losing last time out to Raymundo Beltran and Molina only just creating some career momentum after losses and a lay off.
Yesterday the two men weighed in for the bout, which was agreed at a contracted 141lbs, and both men made the weight with no issue.
On the scales Okada was 140.8lbs, the heavier of the two men, and looked in good shape without being shredded. Molina, who arguably looked a bit better, was 141lb dead on.
According to Japanese press at the weight in Okada sounded confident as he declared a victory, though given his painful loss last time out we do need to wonder what type of shape he is in, and Molina is certainly no easy opponent for a fighter like Okada.
From what we understand this bout have moved to chief support on the show due to visa issues cancelling the IBF Super Flyweight title bout between Jerwin Ancajas (31-1-2, 21) and Jonathan Javier Rodriguez (21-1, 15).
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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