Earlier today Teiken announced that Japanese Light Flyweight champion Shokichi Iwata (8-0, 6) [岩田 翔吉] would be returning to the returning to the ring on July 2nd to make his second defense. Not only that but he would be doing saw in a bout which would see him facing off with OPBF champion Kenichi Horikawa (41-16-1, 14) [堀川 謙一] in a bout which will not only see both men risking their titles, but also battling for the vacant WBO Asia Pacific title, in a triple crown bout.
The contest, which will headline the 614th Dynamic Glove show at Korakuen Hall, is set to really see how good Iwata is, in what is set to be his toughest bout so far, and also see what the 42 year old Horikawa has left in the tank, in what will be his 58th professional bout.
The Teiken website reported the bout, whilst also adding a quote from Iwata who stated "We have decided on a three-crown match. First of all, I am grateful to the chairman and manager for organizing this match. I am very excited and excited to have three belts. We will win with solid content for the world, and we will settle with KO this time as well! Thank you for your support"
Iwata, who won the title last year, has impressed since his 2018 debut, won the Japanese title in late 2021 and made his first defnse this past March, when he blasted out Toshimasa Ouchi this past March. Sadly for Horikawa he's been inactive since July 2020 and it's hard to know what he's going to be like after such a lengthy lay off.
Earlier today the Ohashi Gym announced the main event of their July 12th Phoenix Battle show, "Phoenix Battle 90", as well some of the under-card fights on the show.
The main event will see Japanese 154lb champion Makoto Kawasaki (13-8-1, 2) [川崎真琴] make his first defense, after winning the title earlier this month. The 37 year old veteran will be facing off with Ryosuke Maruki (18-7-1, 13) [丸木凌介], who is set to get his second shot at the title.
Kawsaki's title win, which came on April 2nd when he beat Koki Koshikawa, saw the veteran score the biggest win of his career, by far though he certainly didn't look incredible in the win and the feeling is that his reign could be short one. As for Maruki, the exciting challenger has previously come up short in a great bout with Nobuyuki Shindo, and was also stopped in a bout for the interim title against Akinori Watanabe. Given the styles of the two men, and their man flaws, it's hard to not anticipate a thrilling action bout here.
Another bout that was announced for this card will see Ryutaro Nakagaki (2-0-1, 2) [中垣龍汰朗] take on Toma Kondo (8-7-1, 1) [近藤 冬真] in a scheduled 8 rounder.
Also on the card will be former OPBF Bantamweight champion Kazuki Nakajima (11-1-1, 9 ) [中嶋 一輝], talented Flyweight Taku Kuwahara (9-1, 5) [桑原 拓], promising Lightweight Katsuya Yasuda (8-1, 5) [保田克也] as well as the debut of promising former amateur standout Yuya Tanaka (0-0) [田中湧也]. At the time of writing, none of these three have had their opponents for their bouts named.
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 it was announced that Japanese Bantamweight champion Kyosuke Sawada (15-2-2, 6) [澤田京介] would be returning to the ring on June 23rd, at Dangan 251, to make his first defense of the title, in what will be a mandatory defense. In the opposite corner would be the talented, and incredibly unlucky Seiya Tsutsumi (5-0-2, 4) [堤聖也], who gets his first title opportunity.
the 34 year old Sawada won the title back in February, when he took a 5th round technical decision win against Kenshin Oshima. Sadly for him he suffered a nasty cut in that bout, which has prevented him from rapidly building on the victory. That win came in his second shot at the belt, and he will now be looking to avoid the Bantamweight curse, which has struck successive champions in recent years, with injuries, losses and weight problems.
As for Tsutusmi the switch hitting 26 year old has had a career marked with frustration, including controversial draws with Kazuki Nakajima and Daigo Higa in 2020. Sadly since those draws, both of which could have seen him getting the win, Tsutsumi has been out of the ring, with a planned 2021 bout against Tulio Kuwabata falling through on the week of the fight. With more than 18 months out of the ring, ring rust could be an issue, but if he's closer to 100% he will almost certainly feel this is his chance to claim his first professional title.
In the chief support bout on this card we'll see Shingo Wake (27-7-2, 19) [和氣 慎吾] looking to bounce back from a 2021 loss to Takuma Inoue. In the opposite corner to the former world title challenger will be Naoto Mizutani (9-7-2, 3) [水谷直人].
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