Earlier this week it was announced that we would get the chance to see a new Japanese Youth Super Featherweight champion being crowned on July 9th at the Esforta Arena Hachioji, in city Hachioji. The bout, which has come about after Seira Kishida (6-1-2, 2) [岸田聖羅] vacated the title, will see 2019 All Japan Rookie of the Year winner Hyoga Taniguchi (5-3-2, 1) [谷口彪賀] take on Seika Fukuda (6-3, 1), who reached the 2020 All Japan Rookie of the Year final before losing to Tsubasa Narai.
For Taniguchi this will be his first shot at a title and comes almost a year to the day that he suffered his most recent loss, losing via 4th round TKO to Hiro Ichimichi. He was last seen in the ring beating Caliente Koyasu and has long promises to build on his Rookie of the Year success, but has year to really manage that, due in part to the Pandemic which really slowed his ascent. He's a technical yet aggressive young fighter, who makes for fan friendly bouts, but his lack of power is likely to be a major issue when he steps up against more physically mature and powerful men.
As for Fukuda this will actually be his second shot at the title, having lost to Kishida in May for the very title he's getting another shot at here. Sadly for him he comes in with no momentum at all, having lost his last 2 and 3 of his last 4, but he has mixed at a good level with losses to Narai, Kishida and Yuna Hara. He'll also go in to the bout as the "away" fighter, travelling from Takatsuki City to Hachioji, so will know the pressure is on Taniguchi to perform in front of his friends and family
Earlier today it was announced that Japanese Youth Featherweight champion Hiroki Hanabusa (9-2-3, 3) [英洸貴] would be returning to the ring on July 30th to make his first defense, as he takes on Toshiyuki Takahashi (7-4, 4) [髙橋利之] at the Uchinada Town Sogo Gym.
The bout will be Hanabusa's first defense of the title, which he won last November when he upset Kyonosuke Kameda, and will see him looking to build on that win. It's worth noting that that was a major upset, with Hanabusa having lost his previous 2 bouts and having moved up in weight for this bout.
As for Takahashi, this will be his first title bout, and comes with him being in some great form having won his last 4 and moved his record from 3-4 to 7-4, sadly though those wins have come at a low level and he is stepping up in a big way for this bout. It's also worth noting that his winning run has come at Super Bantamweight and he will be moving up in weight for this bout.
Earlier today Ohashi gym put on their latest show, with a notable low level card at Korakuen Hall. The card wasn't a huge one, but it was an interesting one, with a number of very interesting match ups.
The first of the notable bouts saw the unbeaten Honoka Kano (4-0-2, 2) [狩野ほのか] score her 4th win, as she defeated Megumi Hosoda (3-4, 1) [細田めぐみ] in a clash between two JBC ranked female fighters. These two had clashed last year, fighting to a draw, but this time around Kano was in control, being too accurate, too sharp, and too quick. She fought well, and was well deserving of her clear decision victory.
Another notable bout saw youngster Kosuke Tomioka (5-2, 4) [富岡 浩介] end a 2-fight losing run as he over-came the debuting Kotoji Irita (0-1) [入田 琴司] in the 6th round of their clash. This was high level stuff from two talented southpaws, started off cagey but picked up the face as the fight went on. By round 5 Tomioka seemed to be landing the better shots and seemed to be breaking Irita down, and early in round 6 Tomioka managed to back Irita into the corner, letting shots go before the referee stepped in to save Irita.
In a very notable supporting bout Ryo Nakai (4-1-1, 2) [中井 龍] scored the biggest win of his career, as he stopped veteran Ribo Takahata (17-10-1, 7) [高畑 里望] in 5 rounds. Nakai was sharp from the off, going to the body of his older, taller foe, whilst Takahata tried to fight back from the inside. In round 2 Nakai began to get in and out of range, as he went through the gears. From there Takahata never managed to get back into the fight and was slowly broken down by Nakai, who closed the show in round 5 when he unleashed on Takahata, who was stuck on the ropes. This was the break out performance that Nakai's career needed and will see him break into the Japanese rankings.
In the chief support bout of the show the unbeaten Narumi Yukawa (5-0, 4) [湯川 成美] scored his latest win, as he stopped Takaki Sakurai (8-9-1, 3) [櫻井 孝樹] in 6 rounds. Yukawa was in charge through out the bout, and bossed his more experienced foe around before finally forcing the referee to stop the bout early in round 6.
The main event of the show saw Katsuki Mori (10-1, 2) [森 且貴] claim the Japanese Youth Minimumweight title, as he over-came Shunsuke Isa (9-4-1, 1) [伊佐 春輔] in a super close and hotly contested 8 round, fought at break neck pace. Both men impressed with their movement, and hand speed, in what was a genuinely thrilling back and forth. Isa tried to control the distance, using his 1-2's and movement well, whilst Mori looked to bring the fight forward, attack the body and take Isa's legs away. It was tough to score, but thrilling action, with both men showing some eye catching offense and defensive skills. What Mori did really was up to the tempo in the second round, and that proved to be the difference, with Mori winning 4 of the last 5 rounds on two of the cards to secure a razor thin split decision. Scores from all 3 judges were 77-75.
Interestingly after the bout both men stated the other was better than expected, and both also seemed encouraged to build on the back of this bout.
tomorrow fight fans at Korakuen Hall will get the chance to see Japanese Youth Minimumweight champion Shunsuke Isa (9-3-1, 1) [伊佐 春輔] make his first defense, as he takes on the once beaten Katsuki Mori (9-1, 2) [森 且貴] in a brilliant match up, between two youngsters with big ambitions.
Today, ahead of their bout, the two men took part in their weigh in, and both men made the 105lb limit with no issues at all.
On the scales a confident Isa was bang on the limit, and explained that he was in the best shape of his career. He explained that his jab was the key to the bout, and he gave off an aura of genuine confidence.
As for Mori, who also came bang on the weight limit, he spoke like a man who wanted to make a statement after losing to Kai Ishizawa in a Japanese title fight earlier this year. He seemed like he wanted to prove what he could do, and bounce back from that loss, without focusing on the defeat. He also seemed to suggest that he wanted to win this Youth title, before winning more titles, and has his eyes on winning a world title, one day.
Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here: Japanese youth champion Isa takes on Mori!
Yesterday Ohashi Gym announced some details of May's Phoenix Battle card, which is set to take place at Korakuen Hall on May 10th.
The details which were announced were not just the venue and the date, but also one of the major bouts for the show, which will see Japanese Youth Minimumweight champion Shunsuke Isa (9-3-1, 1) [伊佐 春輔] making his first defense of the title he won last year. The talented Isa will be defending his belt against Ohashi's very own Katsuki Mori (9-1, 2) [森 且貴], who looks to bounce back from his first loss earlier this year against Kai Ishizawa.
Isa won the title last August, when he narrowly defeated Yuni Takada in an 8 rounder. That win is, by far, the biggest of Isa's career and saw him avenge one of his 3 defeats. Although not a world champion in the making he's a very credible hopeful, and at just 24 years old he is still very young and very much an improving fighter, heading towards being a fixture on the domestic scene.
As for Mori the 22 year old looks like a genuinely bright hopeful for the Japanese boxing scene. He made his debut in 2018, won the All Japan Rookie of the Year in 2019 and went 9-0 before suffering an 8th round TKO loss in a Japanese title fight this past January to Kai Ishizawa, who will be fighting for a world title fight in April. The bout seemed to show that whilst very talented Mori lacked the physical maturity to go with his excellent boxing skills. He will go in to this bout as the favourite, but we do wonder what the loss to Ishizawa will have done to him. It could have damaged his confidence, or could have made him a more determined fighter and shown he belongs in and around the national title scene.
At the moment no other bouts for this show have been officially announced.
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