Former Japanese Super Featherweight challenger Hirotsugu Yamamoto (20-14-3, 4) [山元浩嗣] hasn't been seen in a fight since being stopped in 2 rounds by Kenichi Ogawa in a Japanese title fight back in July 2017. It's now been revealed however that Yamamoto hasn't ended his career, and will instead relaunch it in August in the US.
The 37 fight veteran has been granted an athlete's visa to continue his career in the US and will return to the ring on August 3rd.
Not only is there a date set for Yamamoto's US debut but in fact a venue and opponent.
The 35 year old will be facing off with unbeaten 26 year old American Michael Norato (7-0, 2) in a bout at the Gardens Casino, Hawaiian Gardens in California on a Roy Englebrecht Promotions. It's certainly not a big bout, but it's an interesting return for someone many had assumed had ended his in ring career with his early blow out loss to Ogawa.
Earlier today fight fans at the Korakuen Hall saw Japanese Super Featherweight champion Kenichi Ogawa (22-1, 17) [尾川 堅一] record his 5th defense of the title, and look back to his destructive best.
The heavy handed champion, who hasn't looked great since upsetting Rikki Naito to win the title in late 2014, was facing off with experienced challenger Hirotsugu Yamamoto (20-14-3, 4) [山元 浩嗣], but made very light work of his foe, who was stopped in the second round of the bout, having landed very little of note.
Ogawa's power was evident from the opening round, and he dropped Yamamoto with a straight right hand late in the round. The challenger managed tosee out the round, being saved by the bell.
Yamamoto was dropped a second time early in round 2 and although he got back to his feet it was only a matter of time, with the referee saving the challenger when he was hurt again, from a follow up attack.
For Yamamoto the performance was a dissapointing one, especially given he had been training hard in the Philippines in recent months, but for Ogawa the result is the confidence booster he was needing.
Following the bout Ogawa mentioned world title bouts, but there is serious talk that Ogawa may face current OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific champion Masayuki Ito (20-1-1, 9) [伊藤 雅雪], who was at ringside forthe bout. A triple title unification bout between the two men would be something of a domestic super-fight and if neither can secure a world title fight later in the year it's a bout that would be appealing to both fighters.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Tomorrow Japanese fight fans at the Korakuen Hall will get the chance to see Kenichi Ogawa (21-1, 16) [尾川 堅一] defending his Japanese Super Featherweight title against the highly experienced Hirotsugu Yamamoto (20-13-3, 4) [山元 浩嗣]. The bout, which will be aired on delay in Japan on G+, will see Ogawa seek his 5th defense of the title and potentially take a huge step towards securing a long awaited world title bout.
Today Ogawa and Yamamoto weighed in for their contest and both made weight, coming in at the limit of 130lbs.
The challenger is regarded as a major under-dog but sounded like a truly hungry and determined fighter at the weigh in, talking about how he has really committed his life to boxing in recent times and has been working incredibly hard to prepare for this bout in the Philippines. He knows this could be his only shot at a Japanese title and it's clear that he hasn't come to just roll over for Ogawa.
As for Ogawa he seems to be aware that his recent performances haven't been as good as people had been expecting, but he knows he's on the verge of a world title bout and really needs to put it together to make Teiken really push for him to get a shot at one of the world champions.
Related-Ogawa defends crown against veteran Yamamoto!
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today fight fans saw a show at the Korakuen Hall, one of the big talking points form the event wasn't a bout that took place today but instead a bout that was essentially announced today, via the pamphlets which were made availabe to fight fans in attendance.
That bout was the unveiling of the ring return of Japanese Super Featherweight champion Kenichi Ogawa (21-1, 16) [尾川 堅一], who we now know will return to the ring on July 1st, on a Dynamic Glove card at the Korakuen Hall. The champion, who will be seeking his 5th defense of the title, will be up against the highly experienced Hirotsugu Yamamoto (20-13-3, 4) [山元 浩嗣].
For Ogawa, who won the title in December 2015, the bout will see him looking for his second defenseof the year, and he'll be hoping to have a better performance than his last few bouts, which have really shown his limitations. Although talented and heavy handed it does seem like he has peaked, and is now regressing, something that appears to have been the case since he won the title.
For Yamamoto the bout will be his first Japanese title fight, though he has previously fought in 3 title bouts outside of Japan, with the most recent of those coming last year against against Jhonny Gonzalez, with that bout being fo the WBC International Silver Super Featherweight title. Sadly he has come up short in all those prior title contests.
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