Last week talented Japanese fighter Masahiro Suzuki (6-0, 4) [鈴木 雅弘] scored a career best win as he stopped Daishi Nagata (15-3-2, 6) [永田大士] and claimed the Japanese Light Welterweight title by the unbeaten. Today it's been announced that his reign is already over, with Suzuki vacating the title less than a week after winning it!
Suzuki is vacating the title to return to his natural Lightweight division, the division that he was ranked in at the start of the year, and the division that better suits his rather small frame. It seems like the plan is for Suzuki to begin pursuing a shot at triple crown Lightweight champion Shuichiro Yoshino (13-0, 10) [吉野 修一郎], who will be defending his Japanese title on August 12th.
Due to Suzuki's decision we now expect to see Andy Hiraoka (17-0, 12) [平岡アンディ] fight for the vacant title later in the year, against a yet to be announced opponent.
Earlier today it was announced that triple crown Lightweight champion Shuichiro Yoshino (13-0, 10) [吉野 修一郎] would be returning to the ring on August 12th to make his next defense of the Japanese Lightweight title, on a "Diamond Glove" show.
The bout, which will take place at Korakuen Hall, will see Yoshino taking on the once beaten Shuma Nakazato (10-1-3, 7) [仲里周磨] in a very, very interesting match up.
Yoshino has, arguably, been the best Lightweight in Japan over the last few years, and has gone on to unify the Japanese, OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific titles during his career. Not only has he unified all 3 titles but he has also been picking up a string of notable wins including victories over Yoshitaka Kato, Harmonito Dela Torre and Valentine Hosokawa, and has shown both lights out power and solid rounded boxing skills. Sadly however he hasn't really kicked on, on been able to make any mark beyond on the Oriental scene, so far.
Nakazato on the other hand is a second generation fighter, following in the footsteps of former fighter Shigeru Nakazato, who fought for a world title and would win the OPBF Super Bantamweight title during his career. Although he has got some marks on his record they include a close loss to Hironori Mishiro in 2017, and draws against the then 6-0 Teppei Kayunuma and Yoshimitsu Kimura, as well as an opening round technical draw with Virgil Puton.
As well as the main event there have been other bouts confirmed for this card, including the return of former Japanese Featherweight champion Ryo Sagawa (10-2, 5) [佐川遼] who will take on Retsu Kosaka (10-6, 4) [小坂烈]. On paper this might not seem like a hugely notably match up, but it does give Sagawa a chance to avenge his first professional loss, and get revenge for a 2017 defeat to Kosaka, in what was Sagawa's second professional bout.
As with all Diamond Glove shows, this will be aired on Fuji TV, on some form of tape delay.
tomorrow at Korakuen Hall fight fans will see Japanese Light Welterweight champion Daishi Nagata (15-2-2, 6) [永田大士] attempt to make his second defense of the title as he takes on the unbeaten Masahiro Suzuki (5-0, 3) [鈴木 雅弘]. The bout is a really interesting contest, and one that has seen the Boxmob poll being split nearly 50-50, with those polled narrowly favouring Suzuki as of earlier today.
Talking about earlier today the two men took part in their weigh in for the bout and both men made the 140lb limit.
On the scales Suzuki, who looked much smaller, made weight bang on the 140lb limit. Although he looked smaller, and looked liek he could have made 130lbs if he really needed to, he looked healthy and hydrated and like a man who was very calm and confident ahead of the biggest fight of his career. A win here would be huge for his career and see him winning his first title, and sticking a proverbial jetpack to his back as he'd look to move on to bigger and better things.
As for Nagata he actually made weight by coming in a little under the limit, weighing in at around 139.8lbs, but looked the much, much bigger man. In fact he looked a good division, if not two, bigger than Suzuki. He evealed that after weighing in he would be eating special sashimi crreated by former stablemate Ryo Takenaka.
For fans wanting to watch this bout, it will be aired on tape delay on Fuji TV, but won't be shown live anywhere.
Related - Nagata defends against unbeaten Suzuki!
Earlier today at Korakuen Hall fight fans got a short, but very notable, show featuring a trio of bouts, all of which were title contests, thanks to Dangan and Watanabe.
The first bout on the show saw former kick boxer Kanako Taniyama (4-1-1, 1) [谷山佳菜子] defeat Yuko Henzan (8-11-4, 2) [平安山裕子], via a 4th round technical decision, to become the new Japanese female Bantamweight champion. From the off Taniyama looked to make a good start, getting behind her jab whilst Henan looked to apply some pressure. Sadly in round 3 a clash of heads left both cut. The cuts got worse quickly and in round 4 Henzan's cut forced the bout to end early.
At the mark of 1 minute into round 4 the bout was halted with Taniyama getting the nod 40-36, 40-37 and 39-37. After the bout Taniyama explained that she wasn't happy about how much of the fight was fought inside, but did show that she had learned a lot heading into this bout, and her style has certainly changed, as she's become more of a boxer, and less of a fighter.
A second new champion to be crowned was former amateur standout Mizuki Chimoto (3-0, 1) [千本瑞規], who became the OPBF female Minimumweight champion with an 8 round majority decision over former world champion Yuko Kuroki (17-7-2, 8) [黒木優子]. The early round saw this being a technical bout, with Chimoto trying to get a read on the southpaw style of Kuroki, and Kuroki boxing behind her 1-2's. Kuroki tried to up her tempo in round 4, but that resulted in her taking some very good left hooks from Chimoto who as looking to get Kuroki's respect.
After 4 rounds we went to the open scoring and Chimoto was up 39-37 on two of the scorecards, and the fighters were even on the third card.
In the second half of the fight the action got a little bit messy, but Chimoto continued to pick her shots well, especially in round 7, before Kuroki put it all on the line in round 8, closing the distance and letting her shots fly. By then however it was too little, too late for Kuroki who was trying to dig herself out of a hole.
After 8 rounds the judges turned in scores of 78-74, twice, to Chimoto and 76-76 level, to give Chimoto the majority decision win.
Before the main event we had WBA Light Flyweight "Super" champion Hiroto Kyoguchi (15-0, 10) [京口 紘人] compete in a short exhibition bout with Watanabe Gym stablemate Sonin Nihei (10-5-2, 2) [仁平宗忍]. The exhibition was Kyoguchi's first performance at Korakuen Hall in years and was very much some fan service ad a chance for him to have a run out before his next world title defnse later in the year. Notable he seemed to suggest that his next bout wasn't yet agreed, however he did state that he thought it would be a big match, and appealed to the local fans to get behind him.
In the main event we saw Japanese Minimumweight champion Masataka Taniguchi (14-3, 9) [谷口将隆] make his first defense as he defeated Tatsuro Nakashima (11-1-2, 7) [仲島 辰郎] in 5 rounds. Taniguchi looked sharp from the off, using his crisp jab in the early stages and firing off stinging left hands. The clean, accurate, and regular shots from Taniguchi saw Nakashima cut around the right eye as early as round 2. To his credit Nakashima tried to turn things around but was unable to match up with with Taniguchi who was too quick, too sharp and too smooth for the challenger, who was looking out of his depth by the end of round 4.
In round 5 the cut of Nakashima got so bad that the bout was stopped, and Taniguchi got the TKO win, to retain his title.
After the win Taniguchi thanked Kyoguchi for the advice he had given him before the bout, and he really did look like the title was helping instill a new confidence in him. He also spoke about fighting for the WBO world title, taking on Wilfredo Mendez, in a potential mandatory title fighter later in the year. Hitoshi Watanabe, Taniguchi's promoter, suggested that they would be looking to secure Taniguchi home advantage for that fight, but are happy to travel if they need to.
Tomorrow at Korakuen Hall Japanese Minimumweight champion Masataka Taniguchi (13-3, 8) [谷口将隆] will make his first defense of the title as he takes on the once beaten Tatsuro Nakashima (11-1-1, 7) [仲島 辰郎] on a show promoted by Watanabe and Dangan. Today, ahead of their bout, the two men took part in their weigh in and both men came in comfortably under the limit.
On the scales today both men weighed in at 47.5KG's, which is 104.72lbs, and both looked in really good shape, and hungry to impress tomorrow.
After the bout the two men spoke to Boxmob.jp, with Taniguchi telling them that he was relaxing at the hotel and was aware of what sort of fighter Nakashima was. It seems clear that despite being the champion he still feels he has a lot to prove. He also, likely wants to move towards some bigger and better fights, following close friend Hiroto Kyoguchi (15-0, 10) [京口 紘人] in becoming a world champion and landing the huge, career defining, fights that Kyoguchi is now gettiing.
As for Nakajima, who will be getting his firat title fight and his first bout at Korakuen Hall, he seemed aware that he was the under-dog and shared that he's the lesser boxer, but it seems like he is relying on his stamina and determination to over-come the talented champion. Interestingly this will be his first bout in well over a year, though that may not be a negative, as he's allowed his body to heal from some niggling injuries, and there is a chance we could see acareer defining performance from him now both of his hands have healed completely from the damage they'd had over the years.
The bout, which was originally supposed to take place in May, will main event tomorrow's show which will also feature two female title bouts and be available via the Boxing Raise service for those in Japan, or those with access to VPN's.
Related - Taniguchi hunts first defense as he takes on Nakashima
(Image credit-Watanabe Gym)
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