Saka defeats Narai in all out war!
Earlier today fight fans at the Mielparque Hall in Osaka got an absolute treat as Japanese Super Featherweight champion Kosuke Saka (22-6, 19) [坂晃典] retained his title thanks to a come from behind win against Tsubasa Narai (8-2, 7) [奈良井 翼] in a bout that lived up to all expectations. And then some.
The bout, which was promoted by KWorld3, promised a lot going in to the event but few would have expected what we got. A genuine Fight of the Year contender.
The opening round saw the first of 4 knockdowns, with Narai, the challenger, dropping Saka with a straight right inside the first minute. He would drop Saka again in round 4, as his power, and tenacity seemed to be too much for the always fun to watch, but horribly inconsistent, Saka. Saka barely made it through round 4, which ended when both men spilled out of the ring. At that point it seemed it seemed like we were heading towards a new champion, as Saka's shots seemed unable to thwart the aggression of Narai who looked like a man rising to the occasion. Notably however the two men went to their corners at the end of the round it appeared that Narai was the one feeling the pace, and took the hard of the falls to the outside.
Sadly for Narai however his opportunity to close the show in round 4 was to be the start of the end for him. With Saka only just surviving the round it was clear he needed to turn things around, and he did just that in round 5, putting Narai down with a body shot. The knockdown gave Saka something of a life line, though Narai responded with a huge assault late in the round.
Although Saka had had scored a knockdown in round 5 he was down 47-45 on all 3 cards at the end of the round. Remarkably however Saka some how managed to drop Narai again early in round 6 before closing the show soon afterwards, with Narai taking shots against the ropes.
With 4 knockdowns, both men being hurt numerous times, and intense exchanges, this was something amazing to watch, but was sadly, like many Japanese shows in recent times, hidden behind a paywall, with Abema TV having the fight. What should have been a great international advert for Japanese boxing, is sadly another bout that has been hidden away making so many miss out on what was, genuinely, something very, very special.
Onn the under-card we saw Mizuki Chimoto (5-0, 1) [千本瑞規] retain her OPBF female Minimumweight title, though she had a surprisingly tough test as Hye Soo Park (6-9-3, 1) pushed her all the way in a hotly contested 8 rounder. Chimoto did enough to win the bout on two of the cards, but looked underwhelming in her second defense of the title. Park, the naturally bigger fighter, put in a performance that suggested she's much better than her record, but Chimoto also under-performed and should have made this a much clearer win than she did.
Earlier today in Kyoto fans saw former world title challenger Tamao Ozawa (16-5, 6) [小澤瑶生] successfully claim the Japanese female Flyweight title, with a clear 6 round decision win over Hye Soo Park (5-8-1, 1).
The boutsaw Ozawa fighting off the jab early on, and she clear would even drio Park before the opening round was over. Ozawa then continue to dictate the tempo of the bout, clearly doing more than enough to rack up the rounds against a game, but out matched visitor.
After 6 rounds there was no doubting the result, with Ozawa winning 60-53, 59-54 and 58-56, a card that was far, far too close..
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Tomorrow in Kyoto fans will be able to see an all-female card thanks to Futur. The card is an interesting one for a number of reasons, and features 3 bouts worthy of some note.
Arguably the most intriguing of those bouts is a Japanese and Korean female Flyweight title bout between Tamao Ozawa (15-5, 6) [小澤瑶生] and Hye Soo Park (5-7-1, 1). The winner will, momentarily, become a double champion, in what is a real oddity, and the first bout to be fought under these rather unique and peculiar rules.
On the scales Ozawa was 111.77lbs, much heavier than the Korean fight, who was just 1110.9lbs, more than a full 1lb under the Flyweight limit.
Sadly it appears this bout won't be available to watch outside of Kyoto.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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