In 2019 Filipino fighter Jhunriel Ramonal (17-8-6, 10) went on a destructive tear in Japan, first he stopped Shingo Wake (26-6-2, 18) [和氣 慎吾] in October before returning to the country and claiming the WBO Asia Pacific Super Bantamweight title with a blow out win over Japanese national champion Yusaku Kuga (19-4-1, 13) [久我勇作].
Earlier today Dino Olivetti Jr, from the Olivetti Boxing Gym which manage Ramonal, announced Ramonal's first defense of the WBO Asia Pacific title.
Olivetti revealed that the bout would be taking place in Tokyo on May 28th and see his charge defending his title against former WBC "interim" Bantamweight champion Takuma Inoue (13-1, 3) [井上 拓真].
For Ramonal the bout would give him a chance to score a third straight upset win on Japanese soil, and really make it clear that he deserves a world title fight. On the other hand it gives Inoue, the younger brother of Naoya Inoue [井上 尚弥], a chance to rebuild following his 2019 loss to WBC Bantamweight world champion Nordine Oubaali.
On paper this is an excellent bout between and heavy handed upset minded champion and highly skilled but light punching challenger. An excellent clash of styles and a potentially very interesting match up.
We expect this bout will be announced by Ohashi Gym, who are almost certainly going to be the promoter of the show, in the near future as Ohashi and team put the finishing touches to the show.
On New Year's Eve the Ota City General Gymnasium played host to a show with a staggering 6 title bouts on it. Sadly only two of those were shown live on Japanese channel TBS.
That meant that we never got the chance to see the WBO Asia Pacific Minimumweight title fight, featuring unbeaten champion Ginjiro Shigeoka (5-0, 4) [重岡銀次朗] defending against former world title challenger Rey Loreto (25-15, 17), or the WBO female Super Flyweight title bout, between Miyo Yoshida (14-1) [吉田 実代] and Chinese challenger Li Ping Shi (5-3, 2).
Thankfully we now know when those bouts will be televised, with TBS set to air them in just over a week's team on a tape delay basis as part of their semi-regular Guts Fighting series.
From the TBS website the bouts will air on January 20th at 2:05, though from a Japanese TV guide it appears the bout will actually be shown on the 21st at 2:05. It's unclear if they will be shown in full, though given how long they went it wouldn't be a surprise to see both aired in an unedited form during a 1 hour broadcast slot.
Although they'll have taken 3 weeks to be aired, we suspect the wait will be worth it, with the fan cam footage of Shigeoka's making it seem like that was a very fun fight.
At the moment it's unclear whether TBS plan to air the WBO Asia Pacific Super Bantamweight title bout between Yusaku Kuga (19-4-1, 13) [久我勇作] and Filipino fighter Jhunriel Ramonal (17-8-6, 10), though given how short that was it would be no surprise to see them slip it on to this broadcast.
Coming in to 2019 Filipino puncher Jhunriel Ramonal (17-8-6, 10) had no career momentum. He had fought just once in the previous 4 years, and even that was just a draw in 2018. He ends the year, however, with a new found reputation as a Japanese killer after scoring a second huge win in Japan, and has instantly put himself in the mix for a world title fight!
Back in October Ramonal stopped former world title challenger Shingo Wake, taking out Wake in brutal fashion at the end of round 3. Today he returned to Japan and blew out Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Yusaku Kuga (19-4-1, 13) [久我勇作], inside a round, to claim the vacant WBO Asia Pacific Super Bantamweight title.
From the off both men were letting heavy leather go. Neither seemed to feel like they were in need of their defense. That was a dangerous gameplan and a huge, sweeping right hand from Ramonal dropped Kuga. Kuga beat the count but failed to prove he was in a fit state to continue, and the referee waved off the bout.
The stoppage came at 1:24 of round 1.
Given that Ramonal seemingly walked away from the sport in 2014, following a 4 fight stretch that saw him lose 3 of his previous 4, his 2019 has been massive and this is a second massive upset win over a world ranked fighter this year! Although not the best boxer, he's a monster puncher, and has proven his win over Wake wasn't a fluke.
As for Kuga this will be a hard loss to rebuild from. He had managed to put a 2018 loss to Wake behind him, and reclaimed the Japanese national title, but with 2 stoppage losses in 5 bouts it's going to leave the Watanabe man with a lot of question marks over his durability and chin.
(Photo Credit - A. McGovern)
One of 6 title fights tomorrow will see Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Yusaku Kuga (19-3-1, 13) [久我勇作] take on hard hitting Filipino fighter Jhunriel Ramonal (16-8-6, 9) in a bout for the vacant WBO Asia Pacific Super Bantamweight title.
Today the two men weighted in for their bout, and both made the 122lb limit.
On the scales Kuga made the limit dead on, and quickly took on fluids afterwards. Although he looked alright on the scales he has always looked a bit tight around the face at weighs in, and is clearly pushing himself to make the Super Bantamweight limit.
After taking on fluids Kuga spoke about his plan, to defeat Ramanol without letting the Filipino get into the bout, and added that he wanted to fight at the in a world title fight at the Ota City General Gymnasium, where this bout takes place, one day.
Ramonal had no such issues with liquids and made the weight with room to spare. The rugged Filipino was 121.5lbs on the scales and stated that he had seen video of Kuga and would do his best to win.
Sadly this bout won't be available to watch, unless TBS put it up on a future Guts Fighting broadcast, though for fans in the venue it should be a bit of a shoot out, between two crude but hard hitting fighters.
Related - Kuga and Ramonal clash for WBO Asia Pacific crown!
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
December 31st 2019 will, of course, be the end of the year...in fact it will be the end of a decade, and it appears that the fight fans in Japan will be going out with one of the most stacked cards of the year.
We've known that New Year's Eve show was a world title triple header for a while. The most recent of the world title fights being announced for the card saw Miyo Yoshida (13-1) [吉田 実代] announce she would be risking her WBO female Super Flyweight title against China's Li Ping Shi (5-2, 2). That bout rounded off a triple header that also featured WBO Flyweight champion Kosei Tanaka (14-0, 8) [田中恒成] defending his title against awkward Chinese challenger Wulan Tuolehazi (13-3-1, 6) [乌兰] and WBO Super Flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka (24-2, 14) [井岡一翔] taking on mandatory challenger Jeyvier Cintron (11-0-0-1, 5).
As well as the world title bouts we also knew that WBO Asia Pacific Minimumweight champion Ginjiro Shigeoka (4-0, 3) [重岡銀次朗] would be defending his belt against former world title challenger Rey Loreto (25-14, 17). We also knew that unbeaten youngster Yume Hirayama (4-0) [平山 夢] would be facing Marina Sayama (4-1-1, 2) [佐山万里菜], for the Japanese Female Flyweight title.
Today we learned that yet another title bout had been squeezed on to the card, some how, with Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Yusaku Kuga (19-3-1, 13) [久我勇作] announcing he would be fighting for the WBO Asia Pacific Super Bantamweight title. Kuga not only revealed he was on the card, but that he would be clashing with Filipino fighter Jhunriel Ramonal (16-8-6, 9), who has seemingly got this opportunity following his huge upset win in October against former world title challenger Shingo Wake.
With 6 title bouts now on the card it's hard to imagine how the decade could end in a better fashion for fight fans who can get to the Ota City General Gym in Tokyo.
(Image courtesy of Watanabe Gym)
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