Earlier today the "BOXING REAL" YouTube channel streamed 3 bouts from the Green Tsuda promoted "Crash Boxing Vol 20 in Hirakata". Although those 3 bouts didn't last long they were all notable, and all allowed a different fighter to shine, and managed to all be rather entertaining bouts.
The first of the 3 bouts to be shown was a show between 2019 All Japan Rookie of the Year winner Jinki Maeda (5-0, 3) [前田稔輝] and the hard hitting Arashi Iimi (7-3, 7) [飯見嵐]. On paper this looked an excellent test for for Maeda, but in turned into a show case of his speed, movement and timing.
The unbeaten southpaw dropped Iimi in the first round with a gorgeous. short left hand, and showed the skills that had seen him shine in the Rookie of the Year last year. Iimi wasn't hurt by the knockdown, but it showed that Maeda had the tools to shine. Iimi got back to his feet and saw out the round with no issues. Unfortunately for him the same couldn't be said for round 2. He was dropped again by a left hand early in the round and then dropped a third time later in the round 2, before the referee decided enough was enough.
Given this looked like a genuine test for Maeda on paper this was a really impressive result, and it's maybe time to sit and take notice of a really promising young fighter from the Green Tsuda gym. He looked truly brilliant here.
Talking about looking brilliant we really doubt we have enough superlatives to explain how sensational Japanese Youth Super Bantamweight champion Toshiki Shimomachi (12-1-2, 8) [下町俊貴] looked. Shimomachi was making the first defense of his title and was supposed to be given pushed hard by the unbeaten Hiroki Hanabusa (8-1-3, 3) [英洸貴]. Instead the bout was a showcase for Shimomachi who dazzled with his movement, and looked as slippery as an oiled up eel swimming through KY Jelly.
The first round was a rather slow one, with both men showing off some great skills, but little of value being landed. From there on however it became Shimomachi's time to shine, with the 23 year old showing off what a brilliant, smart, educated defensive fighter he was. He was making Hanabusa miss time and time again, landing his own shots in response and showing a slick style we don't often see in Japan. This almost like he'd be spending time at a Cuban boxing school with some of the moves he was showcasing, and was totally befuddling Hanabusa with. To his credit Hanabusa was coming forward and applying pressure, but was left looking like an amateur at times due to the defense of Shimomachi.
By round 4 it was clear Shimomachi could toy with his challenger. That however would have gotten dull, and instead he stopped playing with his food in round 5. Part way through the round a brilliant body shot from Shimomachi dropped Hanabusa. The bout could probably have been waved off there, but Hanabusa's fighting heart saw him beat the count. Soon after the mandatory 8 counter Shimomachi jumped on his man and forced the finish.
We really can't explain how impressed we were by what we saw from Shimomachi here, and those who like slick, defensive fighters need to give him a watch. We knew he was good, but today he took it to a new level. Fingers crossed we see him take another step forward later in the year.
The final bout saw former Japanese Welterweight champion Ryota Yada (20-6, 17) [矢田良太] sending the local fans home happy with a win over Takuya Fujii (7-6, 3) [藤井 拓也].
Yada, who was born in Hirakata, started slowly, but rocked Fuji with pretty much every punch he landed. He threw very little in the first 3 rounds, with Fujii being allowed to come forward, but what he did throw landed and landed hard.
In round 4 we began to see the "Terminator of Naniwa", as Yada moved out of first gear and dropped Fuji hard towards the end of the round. Fujii got to his feet, but ended up bundled down moments fore the bell. It seemed like the bell hadn't so much saved him, was delaying the inevitable.
After the bell to start round 5 Fujii was inspected by the doctor, who ruled that Fujii wasn't fit to continue. The stoppage was down to an injury with Fujii's left leg, that had occurred when he he was knocked down. To his credit it seemed Fujii tried to hide it, but it was clear after the stoppage that the referee made the right call, and Fujii did have a very clear hobble in the moments that followed.
Whilst Yada's bout wasn't expected to be competitive it was great to see him shaking the demons of his 2019 loss to Yuki Beppu, in what was an instant classic. As for Maeda and Shimomachi, they looked brilliant and Green Tsuda have two potential stars of the future there, both of the youngsters looked tremendous and we are really looking forward to seeing them both back in the ring as soon as possible.
A lot of professional boxing gyms in Japan have a schedule of bouts involving their fighters. One of the more notable ones is the Watanabe Gym one, which often lists bouts that aren't on any other schedule. Today we spotted an interesting one on that Watanabe schedule.
The bout in question will see former Japanese Featherweight champion Taiki Minamoto (16-6-1, 13) [源大輝] take on Kanehiro Nakagawa (9-6, 5) [中川兼玄] in a bout between two top 10 JBC ranked Super Featherweights, essentially pushing the winner on the verge of getting a shot at the title in 2021.
On paper this probably doesn't look an amazing match up, given the disparity between the records of the two men. In reality however this is actually a compelling contest on paper and a very meaningful one.
Ranked #6 by the JBC Minamoto is looking to become a 2-division champion after a short reign as the Japanese Featherweight king. He moved up in weight last year, when issues making 126lbs started to affect his performances, though lost a Japanese title eliminator to Takuya Watanabe in what was a sensational bout in November. Since then he has been out of the ring. Although he is a former Japanese title holder Minamoto failed to win either of his bouts in 2019 and is without a win since April 2018.
On the other hand Nakagawa is ranked #4 by the JBC and is enjoying a rich vein of form. Although he has lost 6 of his 15 professional bouts he has won his last 4, and 5 of his last 6, including wins over Seiichi Okada, Ryuto Araya and Ken Osato. He's very much the form guy, despite his record, and will be going into the bout knowing that a win will keep up his great run of form.
Interestingly the JBC do still rank Shuya Masaki, who they have at #2, despite the fact he has announced his retirement. It's also worth noting they rank former Japanese Lightweight champion Kazuhiro Nishitani (21-4-1, 12) [西谷和宏], #3, who fights in September against Kenichi Ogawa (24-1-1-1, 18) [尾川 堅一]. Essentially the winner of this bout could see themselves bang on for a shot at the title next year.
According to the Watanabe Schedule this bout has been scheduled for October 8th at Korakuen Hall, though no other bouts on the show have been officially announced.
Tomorrow we'll see a new Japanese Light Flyweight champion being crowned, as the hard hitting Masamichi Yabuki (10-3, 10) [佐藤政道] faces off with the all action Tsuyoshi Sato (10-1-1, 5) [佐藤剛].
Today the two men for that bout weighed in for their bout, and both fighters made the 108lb limit with no issues.
The really heavy handed Yabuki was 107.75lbs for the bout. He looked in great shape, and it's surprising how easily he is able to make Light Flyweight after having fought much of his career at Flyweight. He seemed to be fully aware that Sato was riding real momentum at the moment, but was of confidence in his own ability and of ending Sato's winning run, which currently stands at 9 bouts.
Sato on the other hand was bang on the limit, coming in at 108lbs. He didn't look at ripped as Sato, but sounded confidence, stating that he wanted to show his full potential.
This bout came about following the recent retirement of Yuto Takahashi, who was originally supposed to defend the belt against Yabuki before the "on going situation", which lead Takahashi to deciding to retire, rather than wait. As a result the this Champion Carnival changed from a defensive battle to a vacant title bout.
This event will have some fans in attendance, making it the second Japanese card with fans, but the numbers will be very limited.
It's also worth being aware that his bout is one of just 2 on a very small card. The other bout is a low profile 6 round contest.
Related - Yabuki and Sato clash to crown new Japanese champion!
Although not many notable bouts form Japan have been officially announced in recent days a lot has leaked out from one place or another, with several promoters listing some of their fighters in various bouts.
One of the many interesting bouts to be revealed in the manner is an 8 rounder set to take place between Reiya Abe (19-3-1, 9) [阿部麗也] and the unbeaten Ren Sasaki (10-0, 6) [佐々木蓮].
Watanabe have this bout slated for an October 13th bout is scheduled for an October 13th date at Korakuen Hall.
It's fair to say that 2019 is a year that Abe would like want to forget. The KG Yamato gym fighter went 1-1-1 over the year with a draw in a Japanese Featherweight title bout against Taiki Minamoto and a loss later in the year to Ryo Sagawa, for the then vacant Japanese Featherweight title.
Sasaki on the other hand is coming in to this bout on the back of a tournament win, in the "Knock Out Dynamite prize match tournament", which he won due to Yuki Yamauchi being unable to compete in the final.
Although not a massive bout, by any stretch, this is an excellent domestic match up. It's one that is a real must win for Abe, given how last year went, and a huge step up in class for Sasaki. A wonderful match up and something Japanese fans should be excited about for October.
Of course it needs to be noted that all bouts, world wide right now, are subject to change given the global situation, and this bout may vanish due to that, though fingers crossed things do get better, not worse, and that we'll actually have fans back in venues by October.
The return of boxing to Japan has been a rather slow one, but it's been very different to what it's been in the US and the UK. Rather than most having long cards with preliminary fighters on them, fought in a bubble, or in the UK's case a studio, boxing in Japan has resumed in regular venues, albeit most behind closed doors. It has also given us some very notable domestic action, as the country essentially shows boxing is still alive in the country and solid match ups can't just wait.
Today the country had it's third title bout in 4 shows, and it's second show at the iconic Korakuen Hall.
The event saw Japanese Super Flyweight champion Kenta Nakagawa (19-3-1, 12) [中川 健太] take part in the Champion Carnival and successfully defend his title, for the first time, by taking a technical decision over mandatory challenger Yuta Matsuo (15-5-2, 8) [松尾雄太].
The styles of this bout were very much opposites. Nakagawa is a fighter who enjoys distance, working behind his straight punches and getting full extension on what he throws. Matsuo on the other hand typically enjoys his success up close, barrelling in and working on the inside. As a result styles clashed a bit here and there was quite a few moments where the men ended up in clinches and messy action.
At range Nakagawa was proving the much better boxer, landing his southpaw straight and catching Matsuo with right hooks. When Matsuo did get inside however he was making his pressure count and letting his shots go.
After 5 rounds it was pretty much a dead even bout. Both men had had moments. Rounds 1 and 2 seemed to be with the champion, round 3 was a good one for the challenger and 5 was another good one for Matsuo.
The competitive nature was shown on the scorecards, which were 48-47, twice and 49-46, after 5 rounds.
Sadly for Matsuo that was about the best he could do, and from round 6 he began to slow what Nakagawa began to take total control, landing more frequently, creating the distance he needed to work with and sweeping rounds 6 to 8.
In round 9 there was a nasty headclash that left Matsuo cut on the forehead and Nakagawa cut around the eye. The doctor checked the cuts, twice, stopping the bout and taking us to the scorecards less than 2 minutes into round 9.
By then there was no questioning the winner, with Nakagawa taking the decision 88-83, and two cards, and 88-84 on the other.
The win sees Misako Gym continue their rich run of form which has seen them having 6 Japanese champions, including Daishi Nagata who scored a shock win last week over Koki Inoue to become the Japanese 140lb champion. Having 6 Japanese national champions at the same time is a record and one the gym seems to be using to really build up the confidence of the fighters there, after all success breeds success.
For fans wanting to watch this bout it will be aired on tape delay on Fuji TV over the weekend as part of their regular Diamond Glove series.
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