In 2020 Japanese youngster Jin Sasaki (10-0, 9) [佐々木尽] went from being a rather unknown, but exciting, prospect to one of the countries must watch fighters, bringing his heavy hands and explosive aggression to the ring every time he fought. During the year he captured JBC Youth honours and became the face of the A-Sign boxing product, and the star of the Hachioji Nakaya Boxing Gym.
We had hoped to see Sasaki kick off his 2021 campaign this coming weekend, but sadly his bout, along with many others, was scrapped due to the venue they had planned to use being closed, under the current State of Emergency in Tokyo.
Sadly that meant he, and his scheduled opponent Kaiki Yuba (7-0-2, 5) [湯場海樹], were left awaiting a new date for their Japanese Youth Light Welterweight title fight. Thankfully we now know when that bout will take place! And whilst it's quite a while away it does give us another date to mark down on the calendar.
Today it was announced that the bout was set to take place on July 17th. The event will be held at the Fujimori Gymnasium in Hachioji City, and will start at 3PM local time.
For Sasaki this will be his first defense of the title, which he won last December when he battered Aso Ishiwaki in 3 rounds. As for Yuba, the son of former 5 weight Japanese national champion, this is a chance for him to become a 2-weight Japanese Youth champion, adding to his JBC Youth Lightweight title.
The show is supposed to be streamed live on A-Sign Boxing, and will feature a number of notable hopefuls on the under-card.
Interestingly this show will actually follow an East Japan Rookie of the Year card at the same venue. From what we understand that Rookie of the Year card will also be streamed live, and will then be made available to watch on demand on Boxing Raise.
Earlier today it was announced that the Dangan promoted shows, set for May 22nd and May 23rd at the Sumida City Gymnasium, Tokyo, have now been postponed, due to the on going state of emergency, which will mean the venue will not opened in time for the events.
The plan was to have 3 shows over 2 days, with 7 title fights, as well as a boxing festival to celebrate the sport and promoting boxing in the local area.
The plan now is to spread out the 7 title fights, as well as the other fights arranged for the shows, to dates in June or July. At the moment however no dates have been announced for the events, though we hope to hear dates being confirmed in the coming weeks.
Sadly this is the second this type of event has been cancelled, with Dangan planning something very similar for 2020, and seeing news of those shows being leaked, before the pandemic forced the plans to be cancelled.
For those wondering the affected title bouts are the ones below, alongside the originally planned dates:
Masataka Taniguchi (13-3, 8) [谷口将隆] Vs Tatsuro Nakashima (11-1-1, 7) [仲島 辰郎] - Japanese Minimumweight title
Kanako Taniyama (3-1-1, 1) [谷山佳菜子] Vs Yuko Henzan (8-10-4, 2) [平安山裕子] - Japanese female Bantamweight title
Ryoji Fukunaga (13-4, 13) [福永亮次] Vs Takahiro Fujii (12-6-1, 3) [藤井貴博] - Japanese, OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight titles
Jin Sasaki (10-0, 9) [佐々木尽] Vs Kaiki Yuba (7-0-2, 5) [湯場海樹] - Japanese Youth Light Welterweight
Ginjiro Shigeoka (5-0, 4) [重岡銀次朗] Vs Toshiki Kawamitsu (6-0, 3) [川満俊輝] - WBO Asia Pacific Minimumweight title
Kyosuke Sawada (14-2-1, 6) [澤田京介] Vs Ikuro Sadatsune (11-4-3, 4) [定常 育郎] - Japanese Bantamweight title
Yuko Kuroki (17-6-2, 8) [黒木優子] Vs Mizuki Chimoto (2-0, 1) [千本瑞規] - OPBF female Minimumweight title
Earlier today the Harada gym announced their next show would be taking place on June 5th at the EDION Arena Osaka, and whilst it is a very, very small show, it does have an excellent main event between two very bright young Japanese fighters who are both set to compete in their first title bout.
The bout in question will see the unbeaten Tsubasa Narai (7-0, 6) [奈良井 翼] battle against Kyonosuke Kameda (6-2-1, 5) [亀田 京之介] in a bout for the Japanese Youth Featherweight title. A bout that promises to be very explosive, and very exciting.
The unbeaten Narai really came to our attention last year, when he won the All Japan Rookie of the Year, at Super Featherweight, and did so by stopping everyone he fought in the tournament. He was one of the genuine standouts from the competition and was among the most exciting men to watch from the entire competition. This however is a step up from those bouts and it will also be the first time Narai has fought away from the Korakuen Hall, his boxing home.
Notably Narai will be dropping down in weight for this bout, and if he can make the 126lb limit with no issues he's going to be very, very dangerous at this domestic youth level.
As for Kameda, the cousin of the three fighting Kameda brothers, this is set to be his second bout as a fighter out of the Harada gym, and his second bout since losing in the 2019 All Japan Rookie of the Year to Jinki Maeda. Despite that loss Kameda has looked like a very dangerous fighter, with really havy hands and a hunger to make an impact in the sport. The 22 year old is, clearly, a work in progress, but still someone who has an exciting style and the Kameda surname, two things that will get him attention going forward.
Interestingly Kameda will be the much taller man, surprisingly he's around 5" taller than Narai, though whether he can make that advantage count here is a big question.
Given that neither man likes hearing the final bell, both men can bang, and both like to fight this bout has fireworks written all over it and should be a great contest for fans at the EDION Arena. Sadly the other bouts announced for this show are very low level bouts, and this is, by far, the standout bout on the card.
Earlier tpoday Ohashi Gym announced their next Phoenix Battle show, Phoenix Battle 78, which will take place on July 8th at Korakuen Hall and it's a brilliant card with two Japanese Youth title bouts, as well as several other notable fighters on the lower end of the show.
The main event of the card will be a Japanese Youth Super Flyweight bout pitting two of the hottest young talented in Japan against each other, with former amateur standout Ryutaro Nakagaki (2-0, 2) [中垣龍汰朗] taking on explosive teenager Ayumu Hanada (6-0, 4) [花田 歩夢] for the vacant title, in what should be a genuinely spectacular contest.
For those who haven't seen these two Nakagaki is a brilliant pure boxer, who had issues with power in the amateurs but appears to have adapted to the professional ranks really well and is looking like a solid puncher, and a very special boxer. He was a stellar amateur and appears to be set for the hyper fast track to the top, and with his ability few can blame him for wanting to win titles as early as possible. Hanada on the other hand began his career in Mexico, where he looked exciting and talented, but incredibly young. He returned to Japan in 2019 and made his JBC debut in 2020, with an excellent performance against Ryukyu Nagamine. Hanada returned to the ring this past April, and although he wasn't punch perfect he over-came the very dangerous Mammoth Kazunori.
Whilst the men might only have 8 bouts between them this is a genuinely brilliant match up and he sort of thing that the Japanese Youth title has been giving us over the last few years.
The other Japanese Youth title bout will see Takeru Kobata (9-5-1, 4) [小畑武尊] make his first defense of the Japanese Youth Welterweight title, as he takes on Tetsuya Kondo (6-2, 4) in what should be an explosive enounter.
The under-rated Kobata won the title in March, with a big upset win against Rikuto Adachi, and will be looking to build on that win here as he returns to Korakuen Hall for just the third time in his career. A win for him would show that his victory over Adachi wasn't a fluke and was instead a sign that he's a legitimate prospect and someone to keep an eye on, despite his 5 losses. Kondo on the other hand will be getting his first title bout and continues to rebuil his career following an opening round TKO loss in 2019 to the destructive Jin Sasaki. That loss aside Kondo hasn't been stopped before but is expected to be giving natural size to Kobata.
Lower down the show we'll see hard hitting Japanese ranked Featherweight Tsuyoshi Tameda (21-6-2, 19) [溜田剛士].battle against Soreike Taichi (7-4, 5) [木村太一], as both men desperately look to bounce back from recent back to back stoppage defeats. We'll also see Japanese ranked Minimumweights collide as Katsuki Mori (8-0, 1) [森且貴] clashes with Ren Kojima (6-1-2) [小島 蓮], in a battle between two men who have won the All Japan Rookie of the Year, with Mori winning in 2019 and Kojima winning in the latest edition of the tournament.
Although not a monster card, set to get massive international attention this is an incredibly good domestic card, with a number of really good bouts and a chance for the young talent in Japan to shine. The main event is a genuinely amazing bout, the co-feature should be exciting, Tameda and Taichi should be explosive and it's always a job to see Mori and Kojima in action. This is a fantastic line up from Ohashi and we really hope nothing forces any changes to what looks set to be a strong domestic card.
Tomorrow at Korakuen Hall we'll see Japanese Youth Minimumweight champion Kai Ishizawa (7-1, 7) [石澤開] make his first defense, as he takes on Yuni Takada (8-6-2, 3) [高田勇仁]. The bout sees Ishizawa defending the title he's held since 2018, and defending it before he has to vacate it, which he has to do before he turns 25.
Today the two men took part in their weigh in for that bout earlier today and both men made the 105lbs weight limit.
On the scales Ishizawa was bang on the limit and looked in fantastic condition. He looked ripped and ready to go whilst Takada was well under the limit at 104.3lbs, and looked good but not as ripped as the champion.
At the weigh in Ishizawa made it clear that his days at 105lbs are numbered, explaining "It's not easy to lose weight, but I'm relieved that I was able to lose it firmly. I'm going to recover and prepare for tomorrow's game." He also promised a really exciting bout and stated "I want to show what is different from other minimum-class players. It's best to win, but if possible, I will win with an aesthetic KO."
Takada seemed to be aware he was the under-dog but also promised a good fight, stating "I'll just fight hard tomorrow. I want to show a game where the customers are excited. If there is a meeting, I want to face it head-on."
For fans hoping to watch this one, unfortunately we need to wait until May 10th when the event will be shown on tape delay on G+, unless you have a ticket to the venue for the bout tomorrow.
Related - Ishizawa takes on Takada in Japanese Youth title defense
(Image credit - Yokohama Hikari Gym)
News! We try and give you the most interesting news stories from the Asian boxing world!