Earlier today at the Korakuen Hall fans saw a Japan Vs South Korea show, with 4 bouts pitting fighters from the two countries against each other. Sadly for the visitors from the Korean peninsula, it was a show to forget with all 4 visitors picking up losses.
The first bout saw Korean teenager In Soo Jang (5-2-1) [장인수] suffer an opening round stoppage loss to Japanese professional novice Suzumi Takayama (2-0, 2) [高山涼深]. Takayama took control very early on, catching the visitor coming in and dropping him after about 90 seconds. Takayama would then continue on the foot and force the referee to step in after just 2 minutes and 6 seconds.
The second bout went the distance as Mirai Naito (8-1, 3) [内藤未来] took a 6 round decision over Do Jin Lee (6-2-3) [이도진]. On paper this looked a competitive match up, but Naito proved to be far too good, shutting out the Korean on 2 of the 3 cards, whilst the third had it 58-56 to the Japanese local.
The bout that did end up being the most competitive came at Light Middleweight and saw Ran Tomomatsu (1-0) [友松藍], narrowly over-came the hard hitting Sang Geun Lee (6-1, 4) [이상근], over 6 hotly contested rounds. The Japanese debutant, a former All Japan national amateur champion, was in a war here with both men letting shots go in a fantastic back and forth. Lee, a big puncher, gave as good as he got, but just came up short against Tonomatsu, who got a baptism of fire and only just came out without being burnt. Given how Watanabe have fast tracked prospects a win here really is a sign that they will push him, and push him hard. Don't be surprised to see him in another tough bout later in the year.
The final bout pitting the two nations against each other saw Korean prospect Jeong Han Cha (5-1, 5) [차정한] will suffer his first loss, coming up short against Japanese puncher Takahiko Kobayashi (9-3, 7) [小林孝彦]. Cha was hurt in round 2 then dropped at the end of the round. Had the round gone on much longer the Korean could have been stopped there. He was hurt again in round 3, before being saved by the referee late in round 4.
Sadly this will be a show for Korean fighters to forget, whilst the Japanese will clearly have a reason to celebrate.
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