Over the last few weeks the A-Sign team, who are behind the August 31st show at Korakuen Hall, were looking for a suitable opponent for teenage hopeful Jin Sasaki (7-0, 6) [佐々木 尽]. Today they finally announced his opponent and it's a surprisingly decent fighter for Sasaki this early in his career.
The opponent for Sasaki has been named as Japanese Light Welterweight ranked fighter Shun Akaiwa (5-1-1, 3) [赤岩俊], who recently made a name for himself with an impressive domestic level win against Kenta Endo, who he stopped in February.
Although Sasaki isn't too well known in the west he has been impressive winning not only domestically but also getting some international experience under his belt. There was a genuine campaign in Japan to find him an opponent for the August 31st date, with his team apparently struggling to get a decent opponent. That was a shame as Sasaki had been out of the ring since last September, when he blasted out Tetsuya Kondo. In Akaiwa they have got a very suitable opponent, who has momentum, a Japanese ranking, under-rated power and genuine toughness.
The bout is added to a card that also includes the Japanese debut of Shoki Sakai (23-11-2, 12) [坂井 祥記], who will take on 2017 All Japan Rookie of the Year winner Hironori Shigeta (6-1-1, 3) [重田裕紀], and the really highly regarded teenager Kosuke Tomioka (2-0, 2) [富岡浩介], who fights ina Rookie of the Year bout.
For fans wanting to watch this bout it will be aired live on Youtube, through the A-Sign boxing channel.
We've known for a while now that Shoki Sakai (23-11-2, 12) [坂井 祥記] would be making his Japanese debut on August 31st, following a long career spent in the West, on an A-Sign show. Despite knowing the when and where, Korakuen Hall, there was still a major question mark as to who Sakai would be facing.
After a bit of a wait Sakai's opponent was named yesterday, as being 2017 All Japan Rookie of the Year winner Hironori Shigeta (6-1-1, 3) [重田裕紀], who will be looking to extend his current 7 fight unbeaten run.
The 29 year old Sakai has fought almost all of his career in Mexico, being one of the few Japanese fighters better known away from home. In recent years he has surfaced in the US as well as Mexico and has mixed with some pretty well known fighters, such as Nery Saguilan, Ashley Theophane, Eddie Gomez, Alexis Rocha and Gor Yeritsyan. Although no world beater Sakai is a really tough fighter who is very under-rated but has struggled recently and is win-less in his last 5.
Shigeta on the other hand has fought all but one bout in Japan, with his only excursion being a draw in South Korea back in 2018. Sadly despite looking good at the 2017 Rookie of the Year he has been relatively inactive, with just a single bout in both 2018 and 2019.
Rather interestingly the card still isn't actually complete and those behind the card are currently searching, quite publicly, for an opponent to face teenage hopeful Jin Sasaki (7-0, 6) [佐々木 尽]. Fingers crossed Sasaki gets an interesting opponent for the date, with the show set to be a great window to expose what a fighter can do in what will be a show that will be streamed for free on Youtube.
Earlier today at the Korakuen Hall fight fans got an absolute treat of a show thanks to several brilliant match ups. The card, shown on G+, won't get rave reviews in the West but we do tip our hats to the promoter for the quality of bouts and the excellent match making through the show.
The card had a number of excellent bouts on it, starting with a 6 round war between Rookie of the Year runner up Aso Ishiwaki (5-2-1, 3) [石脇麻生] and the hard hitting Yoji Saito (1-1-1, 1) [齊藤陽ニ]. On paper this wasn't going to be a bout that got many talking unless you followed the Japanese scene, but it was arguably the bout of the card, as both men gave their all. Saito started brilliantly, getting inside and working hard shots up close. It seemed like he would break Ishiwaki down, but instead he began to flag heavily in round 3 as Ishiwaki really began to take the fight to him, and it was Ishiwaki who seemed to do enough to deserve the win after out working Saito over the final 4 rounds. In the end however the judges had the bout a split draw, with scores of 58-56 to Iwshiwaki, 58-57 to Saito and 57-57. We really do need to wonder about the 58-57 card, which we can't come to any defense of, though 57-57 was fair enough, as Saito may have done just enough to edge round 5.
A second notable bout saw 2017 Rookie of the Year winner Hironori Shigeta (6-1-1, 3) [重田裕紀] take a clear decision win over the limited but game Mitsumasa Takahashi (9-6-1, 3) [高橋光政]. The once beaten Shigeta dropped his man in the opening round and put on a bit of a show case of ring control as he easily won the bout, though showed a few flaws that we expect fighters will take advantage of in the future. Although clearly too skilled, too fast and too smart for Takahashi, who constantly brought the pressure, Shigeta does seem like a very lead hand focused southpaw, and does waste movement. Though there is a real talent for his team mould. He won this one 60-54, 60-53 and 59-54.
In a Japanese youth Light Flyweight title eliminator, as Tsuyoshi Sato (9-1-1, 5) [佐藤剛] pressured and broke hard hitting Tetsuya Tomioka (5-4, 5) [富岡哲也]. Tomioka, who has never heard the final bell, was under pressure from the off and after being dropped in round 2 he really had no answer, and was saved by the referee as Sato went to work. Sato is an absolute nightmare to fight and looks like he will clearly be in the mix for titles well beyond youth level in the coming years. He will face the winner of the April 11th bout between Rikito Shiba (2-0, 1) [芝力人] and Hizuki Saso (10-5-1, 3) [佐宗緋月].
The only bout that was actually poor saw Cristiano Aoqui (14-7-2, 10) [アオキ クリスチャーノ] struggle to get going against Filipino Anthony Marcial (24-4-1, 22). This was a disappointing and messy affair, though it did end in very impressive fashion, with Aoqui landing a sensational left hand to knock out Marcial in round 5. It was a highlight to an other forgettable match up.
A second sensational finish came only a few minutes later when hard hitting Middleweight Koki Tyson (14-3-2, 12) [太尊 康輝] took out Thai visitor Chaiwat Mueanphong (4-4, 2) in the second round, with a brutal left hand. Tyson, who was fighting for the first time since joining the Kadoebi gym, impressed here and we're going to look forward to what he does next.
Earlier today in Korea we saw Welterweight Rookie of the Year winners collide. In one corner was Korean based Mongolian Batzorig Batjargal (3-0-1, 2), who won the BoxingM Rookie of the Year earlier this year, whilst the other corner played host to the 2017 All Japanese Rookie of the Year at Welterweight Hironori Shigeta (5-1-1, 3) [重田裕紀]
Despite both men being Welterweights there was a clear size difference, with the visitor being taller and longer whilst the local was much more thick set and powerfully built.
In the opening round Shigeta made good use of his physical advantages, catching Batjargal as he came inside and tried to get up close and personal. In round 2 however the Mongolian managed to cut the distance, making life much harder for Shigeta was was again under pressure in round 3, as Batjargal worked some great combinations at close range. Shigeta took the shots well through round 3 for the most part but seemed to be shaken in the final 30 seconds or so, following a hard right hand from Batjargal.
Batjargal's pressure continued to come in round 4, a round that saw Shigeta holding his feet more than he had earlier in the bout, and in fact the Japanese fighter even started to press the fight at times, with some success. Sadly Shigeta's success was often often forgotten as Batjargal simply landed the cleaner, harder blows.
Shigeta refused to just accept a loss and fought valiantly in round 5, making Batjargal feel the pace of his style. Shigeta seemed to hurt Batjargal at the end of the round, and left him with a bloodied nose and a badly swollen left eye.
With both men knowing the final round would be important both went out to win it, and within the first minute both hand landed some booming power shots. Neither wanted to leave any doubt in the mind of the judges and the power shots continued, as both looked to score what would have been a massive knockdown. Neither man however could ever catch the other enough to drop them as we went to the final bell, with the bout very much in the balance.
With such a competitive bout it was a hard one to call, and the judges agreed as the bout was ruled a draw, a very fair outcome and the same as we had it.
(Image courtesy of boxingM)
On October 21st Korean fight fans in Daejeon get a potential treat as Boxing M put on a brilliant looking Korea Vs Japan show, with 7 set bouts, including 5 Korea Vs Japan bouts.
The main event of the show is one of two all Korean bouts, as Doo Hyup Kim (10-6-1, 5) [김두협] takes on Gun Woo Wang (4-2-2, 1) [강건우] in a bout for the Boxing M Korean Light Middleweight title, with Kim making his first defense of the title. Kim won the belt in March, with a narrow decision win over Boo Hyun Baek. Gang on the other hand is getting his second shot at this particular title, and will know that another loss here will likely see him taken out of title altogether, having also lost in a Korean Lightweight title fight.
The only other all-Korean bout will see Chul Yoon Ji (3-3, 1) [지철윤] battle against Dong Young Kang (3-5-2) [강동영] in a contender bout, with the winner likely to face the victor from the main event.
Aside from those two all-Korean bouts the rest of the contests will be Korea Vs Japan, with 5 bouts pitting the two countries against each other.
Those include some really mouth watering contests, including a bout between Min Jang (6-0-2, 2) [장 민] and Fumiya Fuse (6-0, 1) [富施郁哉]. The 18 year old Jang is a tall Super Flyweight, at just under 5'10" and despite having two draws on his record is a very capable and promising youngster. Fuse is also a youngster, but made a bit of a name for himself last year, when he won the All-Japan Rookie of the Year at Bantamweight, stopping Hiroki Tokuyama in 4 rounds to claim the Rookie crown. With both men being youngsters, and both being southpaw this really does look very interesting as a match up.
Another of the really attractive match ups on this card will see Korean based Mongolian Batzorig Batjargal (3-0, 2) face off against the 2017 All Japanese Rookie of the Year at Welterweight Hironori Shigeta (5-1, 3) [重田裕紀]. This, to us, looks like it could be mouth watering with Batjargal having impressed in recent bouts, albeit at the Korean Rookie level and Shigeta riding a 5 fight unbeaten run, including a huge win in the Rookie final against Rikuto Adachi. This should, stylistically, be very exciting.
Sadly at the moment there is no TV for the card yet to be announced, though fingers crossed that it will be made available to watch, as it looks very well matched and very exciting!
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