Earlier today fight fans at the EDION Arena Osaka saw a new Japanese Super Flyweight title reign begin as Kenta Nakagawa (21-4-1, 12) [中川健太] became a 3-time champion, with a wide decision win over fellow former champion Hiroyuki Kudaka (28-19-4, 11) [久髙寛之].
From the off Nakagawa showed his ring control by using his straight left to the body to create space, and his right hook when Kudaka got up close. Nakagawa then began to use more of his arsenal in round 2, landing big overhand left hands, and mixing his body attack and head attack well as he settled into his rhythm. Kudaka tried to close the distance, and did have success in round 3, but took shots in return as he struggled with the movement and distance control of Nakagawa, who looked so much more comfortable and busy.
After 5 rounds we had the open scoring, with one judge having Nakagawa with a shut out, and the other two judges finding a round each to give to Kudaka.
Being well down on the scorecards Kudaka knew he had to take more risks in the second half of the fight, sadly for him a right uppercut from Nakagawa in round 6 saw Kudaka hit the canvas for the bouts only knockdown. Nakagawa looked for a finish after Kudaka got back to his feet but couldn't see off his man, who showed his toughness and began to come back strong, having a decent round 8 and 9 as he began to press more and have more success, but was still being out boxed. In round 10 however he pressure finally had sustained success as Nakagawa was put under the most intense pressure of the fight. The effort from Kudaka in the final round was enough for him to take the round, but that was all.
After 10 rounds the judges had the bout scored 98-91, twice, and 99-90 all to Nakagawa.
After the bout Kudaka stated "I had decided to retire if I lost. This will be my last match", announcing his retirement in the process. He admitted he couldn't use his legs like he wanted, and he couldn't close the distance the way he had hoped, with Nakagawa's right uppercut being a particularly good weapon for Nakagawa.
As for the new champion, he stated that "I don't feel that my age is causing me any signs of declining. I'm able to update my best performance because I'm practicing in this environment. I want to keep working hard without forgetting my gratitude,", thanking the team at the Misako Gym, and also added "I'm not in a situation where I can fight for a world title right now, but if I have a belt, I may have a chance. I want to do a world war before my career ends,".
Tomorrow fight fans in Osaka will be able to see a very interesting looking Japanese Super Flyweight title bout as veterans, and former champions, Hiroyuki Kudaka (28-18-4, 11) [久髙寛之] and Kenta Nakagawa (20-4-1, 12) [中川健太] battle for the title that was vacated by Ryoji Fukunaga [福永亮次].
On the scales both men were bang on the 115lb weight limit and both looked in fantastic shape for the bout, and very much up for the contest, which both will know could be their last major bout.
After making weight Nakagawa, a 2-time champion, stated "The weight loss was tough, but it went down smoothly. The condition is perfect,". He also spoke about his much-vaunted left hand stating "I've put out (Thunder Left), but I haven't hit it in recent games. Only God knows if it will hit tomorrow. I'm looking forward to it. Please keep it". Notably he's the away fighter for this bout, travelling from Tokyo to Osaka for the contest.
As for Kudaka, himself a 1-time former champion, explained that he was "I'm standing firmly and calm", and he showed the aura of a veteran, which he is as this will be his 51st professional bout. He also spoke about the bout, explaining, "I can't imagine what it will be like tomorrow, but in the end Take it to your own pace. Don't think about the future. Focus only on winning tomorrow's game. "
Sadly a planned Japanese Super Featherweight bout, between hard hitting champion Kosuke Saka (21-6, 18) [坂晃典] and #1 ranked challenger Kanehiro Nakagawa (11-6, 5) [中川兼玄], which was also supposed to be on this card, has been cancelled after Nakagawa suffered an injury.
Related - Kudaka and Nakagawa clash for Japanese title!
Earlier today news broke from Japan that we would be seeing a new Japanese Super Flyweight being crowned on April 23rd at the EDION Arena Osaka, as Nakazato gym announced a bout for the currently vacant title. The bout for the title will see their fighter Hiroyuki Kudaka (28-18-4, 11) [久髙寛之] battle against Kenta Nakagawa (20-4-1, 12) [中川健太], in a bout for one of the titles vacated late last year by Ryoji Fukunaga [福永亮次].
Coming in to the bout Hisataka is ranked #1 by the JBC, thanks to his 2021 win over Ryusei Kawaura. Aged 36 he is best known for coming up short in 4 world title fights between 2008 and 2013, losing to Takefumi Sakata, Denkaosan Kaovichit, Hugo Fidel Cazares and Omar Andres Narvaez. Despite losing in 4 world title fights, the "Sexy Soldier" has managed to win other titles through his career, including the Japanese Super Flyweight title, which he won in 2018 and held for almost 4 months before losing it in his first defense.
Nakagawa on the other hand is ranked #2 by the JBC and is looking to become a 3-time Japanese champion. He has earned this shot thanks to a 2021 win over Ayato Hiromoto, and has previous held the title thanks to wins over Hayato Kimura and Takayuki Okumoto. Sadly for him both of his reigns so far have been short, with just a single successful defense across his two title reigns.
The bout will take place on a card which also features a Japanese Super Featherweight bout, with hard hitting champion Kosuke Saka (21-6, 18) [坂晃典] defending his title against #1 ranked challenger Kanehiro Nakagawa (11-6, 5) [中川兼玄].
Later this week we'll see WBO Super Flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka (27-2, 15) [井岡一翔] defending his title against fellow Japanese fighter Ryoji Fukunaga (15-4, 14) [福永亮次]. Ahead of that bout it has now been confirmed that Fukunaga has vacated the WBO Asia Pacific and Japanese Super Flyweight titles, doing so on December 28th.
As a result of Fukunaga vacating the titles we're expecting something of a dash for belts in 2022.
The first of 3 vacancies caused by Fukunaga will be filled on February 28th, when Masayoshi Hashizume (18-0-2, 11) [橋詰 将義] takes on Akio Furutani (9-4, 3) [古谷昭男] for the OPBF Super Flyweight title, which Fukunaga vacated earlier this year. As for the other two vacancies, no decision on who will be looking to fill them and when, have been announced, though it's expected that there will be a Chanmpion Carnival bout, featuring Hiroyuki Kudaka (28-18-4, 11) [久高 寛之] for the Japanese title, likely in Osaka in the early part of the year.
For those still unsure about how to watch Ioka Vs Fukunaga on New Year's Eve the bout will be shown live on TBS, from 18:30 local time. The channel is available outside of Japan for free via a number of streaming apps.
Related - Ioka faces Fukunaga to end 2021
To kick off a complete brilliant Saturday of boxing our attention was focused on the EDION Arena Osaka, as Shinsei gym put on their latest show, with just 5 bouts on it. Despite it being a small card, it was certainly one worth watching, with two brutal knockouts, a sensational coming out performance a very solid main event bout.
Not only was the show a good one for fans in attendance but also globally, with the whole show being streamed live on the excellent Boxing Real YouTube channel.
The show kicked off with a real fun battle between the debuting Towa Tsuji (1-0, 1) [辻 永遠] and the win-less Kairi Suetsugu (0-2-1) [末継 海里]. The opening round saw Tuji getting rocked early on, and he seemed in quit a bit of trouble before creating space and getting a moment to clear his head. In round 2 Tsuji turned the tables, rocking Suetsugu with right hands and bursting his his nose, in what was a really fun 3 minutes of action. With Suetsugu taking punishment in round 2 he came out aggressively in the third and rocked Tsuji, who recovered well. Just moments later the two men were trading in center ring when Tsuji landed a perfect left hook, sending Suetsugu down hard. He wasn't beating the count and the referee quickly waved it off, giving Tsuji a highlight reel KO to begin his career.
The second bout didn't last long at all as Kohei Miyamoto (4-1-1, 4) [宮本 康平] came out with a point to prove. Within in the opening seconds he rocked Tetsuya Kawabata (5-13-1, 1) [川端 哲也] and he kept the pressure on through the round. He rocked him again with a right hand, and piled on the punches until Kawabata hit the canvas. The fighting spirit of Kawabata saw him try to beat the count, but he stumbled back down mid count forcing the referee to wave off the bout.
The third bout on the show was the most interesting on paper and saw rising prospect Ryosuke Nishida (3-0, 1) [西田凌佑] take on former world title challenger Shohei Omori (21-4, 16) [大森 将平] in an intriguing 8 rounder. On paper this looked a rash decision for the novice to step up so much so quickly, but he impressed through out.
The opening round saw Nishida starting fast and look to get inside Omori's head almost immediately. That saw him using his speed well, making the most of his jab and his right hook, and landing several solid left hands. Omori, to his credit, looked calm and composed, and had moments himself, but seemed to clearly lose the round. In round 2 however Omori began to press more, and had more moments of success, despite taking some solid right hooks from Nishida, who also landed some nice flurries. Omori got his own moments in, particularly with some body shots, but came off second best.
In rounds 3, and more so 4, Omori began to have some sustained success. He still took some good right hooks and jabs from Nishida, but landed some eye catching left hands of his own, especially late in round 4 as he seemed to, for the first time, really get to Nishida. It seemed the momentum was shifting in favour of the veteran, who also had some moments in round 5, including a good right hook of his own.
Despite the novice in his first 8 rounder it was really the final 3 rounds where Nishida looked a class above hurting Omori badly in rounds 6, 7 and 8. In round 6 it was a huge counter left hook that rocked Omori early in the round, before a right hook, followed by a straight left did the job towards the end of the round. In round 7 it was a left hand that wobbled Omori early in the round, and a follow up had the veteran in round, whilst in round 8 Omori was in trouble through out the round after a body shot left him in agony and Nishida tagged him to gut regularly as the round went on.
Despite some trouble in the middle of the bout, there was no doubting the winner after 8 rounds, with Nishida taking the unanimous decision with scores of 79-73 and 78-74, twice. The 79-73 seems very harsh on Omori, who did have plenty of success in the middle rounds, but no one would despite the fact Nishida deserved the win, and potentially moves onto the verge of a title fight of some kind in 2021.
The penultimate bout on the card saw Kimihiro Nakagawa (7-5-2, 3) [中川 公弘] suffer a decision loss to recent OPBF title challenger Kyohei Tonomoto (10-3-1, 4) [殿本 恭平].
Sadly this felt like a massive come down from the bout that came before it, despite actually being a very competitive bout, between two well matched fighters. Both matched each other a little too well at times, and with neither man having the power to hurt the other there bout really lacked drama. There was some solid back and forth, and some nice trading sequences but by round 4 it it was feeling very much like a bout that was struggling to remain interesting.
It wasn't a bad fight, but it's place on the card, after the very solid bout between Nishida and Omori, it felt underwhelming, and even seemed to suck the life out of the fans and the show as a whole. Despite that Tonomoto's more sustained attacks, more accurate punching and more consistent success was enough for him to take the decision on all 3 scorecards, with scores of 78-74, twice, and 79-73.
The final bout on the show saw veteran Hiroyuki Kudaka (27-18-4, 11) [久高 寛之] secure a win in his 49th bout as he out-pointed youngster Tetsuro Ohashi (7-2-1, 1) [大橋 哲朗] in an 8 round bout at Bantamweight, taking a razor thin split decision.
From the off Ohashi looked the quicker man, but that wasn't an issue for Kudaka who times counters well and looked the strong, more powerful fighter. The power and timing of Kudaka pay dividends in round 2 when he dropped Ohashi with a great counter right hand. Ohashi beat the count but was still hurt as Kudaka piled on the pressure in the last minute of the round. Ohashi managed a valiant comeback in round 3, though still took the heavier blows as Kudaka tried to walk him down and use his physicality against the younger, naturally smaller, man.
Despite taking the early lead Kudaka struggled to keep up the pace, and despite Ohashi not hitting hard, he was landing regularly, regularly enough in fact that he visibly stunned Kudaka in round 6, and went out for the finish, though was unable to put his man down. Kudaka was also stunned in round 8, as Ohashi tried to drop the veteran, knowing he likely needed a knockdown to have any chance at taking the win. Kudaka was in real trouble, though he gritty determination and veteran known how saw him ride out the storm, before firing back as we went to the final bell.
After 8 rounds the judges turned in scores of 76-75, 75-76 and 76-75, giving the split decision win to Kudaka, who may well have done enough for one more title fight in 2021. As for Ohashi, this will be a hard defeat for him, especially given that he was stopped Suzumi Takayama last time out.
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