In Europe and many former British colonies the day after Christmas is called "Boxing Day". Whilst certainly not a global thing it is certainly something of note and a term that a good portion of the world will be aware of. We don't that would include Japan, but for whatever reason, today been a day where Japan has provided with boxing day action, thanks to a stream from the brilliant team at A-Sign Boxing.
The event kicked off with a competitive affair as Kojiro Nishikawa (5-2-1, 2) [西川 宏次郎] battled to a draw with Daiju Kogo (4-2-1, 3) [向後 大寿] over 6 rounds.
The opening round was a good one for Nishikawa, who seemed in control though out the round. In round 2 Kogo managed to rock Nishikawa, and really went for a finish in the final 40 seconds, though sadly seemed to punch himself out. From there the pace never really recovered, and was instead white a low paced bout with Nishikawa pressing forward and Kogo moving well and countering.
After 6 rounds the judges couldn't split the men, with one judge scoring the bout a narrow win to Kogo, another having it as a win for Nishikawa, whilst the third hard it level at 57-57, to result in a draw. It wasn't the best way to kick off the show, but it was a solid 6 rounder.
In the second bout on the card we saw Takuya Yamaguchi (4-12-3, 2) [山口 拓也] and Masashi Noguchi (13-12-1, 6) [野口 将志] clash for the second time in just over 13 months.
From the off Yamaguchi was firing off wild, wide, looping hooks, and power shots. He was certainly putting in a huge effort, but was being made to miss, a lot. Noguchi, who looked the much more polished, was landing cleaner shots but wasn't letting his hands go much, and was often made to back up, despite landing some very nice, clean jabs.
The bout was a hard one to score as we went into round 6, the final round. That round ended up being sensational back and forth stanza of action, that saw both men looking about spent. Both men looked ready to go at multiple points but gritted it out, recovered and fought back, showing their will to win. After 6 rounds the judges turned in scores of 58-56, each way and 58-57 to Noguchi, giving him the split decision win, and levelling the series between the two men, who are now 1-1.
In the third bout on the show we saw bombs being traded as Kai Chiba (13-1, 8) [千葉開] over-came youngster Haruki Ishikawa (8-3, 6) [石川春樹] in a pretty one-sided, but entertaining, 8 round contest.
Through the bout it seemed Chiba did everything better than Ishikawa. He was quicker, sharper, stronger, and more accurate than Ishikawa, who struggled to get the respect of his hard hitting foe. To his credit however Ishikawa changed tactics in round 6, and tried to turn counter puncher, boxing off the ropes rather than taking center ring. The new tactics had mixed success. The change saw Ishikawa landing more often than he had earlier, but he was still being out landed every round.
The only real change was round 8, where the two men stood and traded bombs through the entire round. It was, sadly for Ishikawa, not enough and after 8 rounds it was hard to give him anything, with Chiba the clear winner. The scores here were 80-72, twice, and 79-73, all for Chiba, the worthy winner.
This was a solid win for Chiba, who looked as good as he ever has and showed good timing and understanding of the ring. He now seems ready for a title fight of some kind at 118lbs, and he really looked crisp, sharp and powerful through out. As for Ishikawa, this was a second straight loss, and he probably does need an easier fight or two to rebuild his confidence.
We saw the "reimported boxer" Shoki Sakai (25-11-2, 12) [坂井 祥記] battle against Takeru Kobata (8-5-1, 3) [小畑 武尊] in the fourth bout on the show and this was another entertaining little war, even if it was another rather one sided bout.
Sakai, fighting in Japan for just the second time, forced the action through much of the contest, pressing forward and trying to out work and out hustle Koabata. Impressively the youngster showed real maturity and composure under the pressure from Sakai, and tried to pick his spots to fight back. Sakai seemed the much stronger, more powerful and more aggressive fighter though out the bout, but credit to Kobata for holding his own in there, and not wilting under Sakai's attacks. In fact Kobata did enough to earn a round or two here and though and proved to be much better than his record suggests.
After 8 rounds Sakai took the decision with scores of 79-73, twice, and 77-75. He deserved the win, but Kobata deserves his share of plaudits, and we suspect he will learn from this loss and, one day down the line, find himself in the domestic title mxx.
The most impressive performance on the card came from the hard hitting Jin Sasaki (10-0, 9) [佐々木尽], who claimed the JBC Youth Light Welterweight title with a destructive TKO3 win over the usually tough Aso Ishiwaki (8-3-1, 6) [石脇麻生].
This was the bout we expected to be something special and it was. From the opening moments. Sasaki set off with the intention of stopping Ishiwaki, and threw bombs almost immediately. Ishiwaki, to his credit fought back, and the two men traded some heavy leather until Ishiwaki was rocked by a right hand, and then dropped by a follow up hook. Ishiwaki got back to his feet but was dropped again towards the end of the opening round as Sasaki looked for a 4th straight opening round win.
Ishiwaki managed to recover brilliantly and cleared his head as we went into round 2, which was a much quieter round until the final minute when Sasaki put his foot on the gas. Ishiwaki responded well, but it was clear that Sasaki was the much stronger, more powerful and more talented fighter. That power and strength showed it's self again in round 3, as Sasaki let Ishiwaki fight up close before decking him for a third time with a brutal flurry of big head shots. With blood coming out of his nose, and 3 knockdowns against him the referee saved Ishiwaki from further punishment, waving off the bout immediately.
This was a real statement from Sasaki. We expected this to be a real test for him, and saw this as a near 50/50 fight. Instead he made it look easy, dropping a tough guy like Ishiwaki 3 times in 3 rounds, was incredibly impressive. This sort of win, at the age of 19, surely marks Sasaki as one of the most exciting prospects in Japan, and one to keep an eye on long term. As for Ishiwaki, this is going to be a hard one to bounce back from, but he's still young and can certainly come again.
In the penultimate bout of the show we saw former 2-time world title challenger Ryo Akaho (36-2-2, 24) [赤穂亮] take on youngster Yuto Nakamura (11-6-1, 8) [中村 祐斗] in what turned out to be a massive mismatch.
After a somewhat competitive opening round we saw the two men go in to a shoot out in round 2 and that was only ever going to favour Akaho. The veteran now only had the edge in experience but also power, toughness and natural size, being a Super Bantamweight taking on a Super Flyweight. Midway through the round Nakamura was rocked by to hooks before Akaho landed a massive right uppercut that dropped Nakamura hard, forcing the bout to be stopped.
For the 34 year old Akaho this was his 40th bout and sadly we're not sure he will ever get a third shot a world title. On this performance however can still make for very fan friendly bouts and could still act as a great draw on these A-Sign cards. As for Nakamura, we really need to wonder who thought it was a good idea for him to move up to Super Bantamweight for this bout.
In the main event of the show we saw a really interesting match up at Lightweight as former WBO Super Featherweight champion Masayuki Ito (26-3-1, 14) [伊藤 雅雪]battled reigning OPBF Super Featherweight champion Hironori Mishiro (10-0-1, 3) [三代大訓] in a 10 round Lightweight bout.
From the very opening moments it was clear this was going to be a high level, high skill, high speed technical battle. The opening round saw Mishiro making the most of his excellent jab, landing it repeatedly, whilst Ito looked to land the heavier leather, from his right hand. That laid down the pattern for much of the fight, with Mishiro easily winning at range, with his jab a constant and effective weapon when he was on the move, but Ito was landing the power shots when the two exchanged, and when Mishiro held his feet.
After a few very close rounds early on, it seemed that Ito found his groove and was starting to outland Mishiro on a fairly regular basis, racking up the points through out the middle rounds. It seemed those rounds had seen him establish control on the scorecards, though the rounds were still hotly competitive, before Ito seemed to begin to tighten his grip on the bout in the second half of the fight. In round 10 the pace picked up from both, and in the final stages Ito seemed to be temporarily hurt, but shook it off quickly as we went to the final bell.
After 10 rounds it felt like Ito had done enough to take a close, competitive, but clear decision. The judges however saw it differently, with one judge scoring it 95-95, a draw, and the other two over ruling them going 96-94 in favour of Mishiro, who got the majority decision, and the notable upset victory.
For us the most interesting bout in Japan today is not the main event, between Masayuki Ito (26-2-1, 14) [伊藤 雅雪] and Hironori Mishiro (9-0-1, 3) [三代大訓], but instead the Japanese youth title bout between Jin Sasaki (9-0, 8) [佐々木尽] and Aso Ishiwaki (8-2-1, 6) [石脇麻生].
The two youngsters, who clash for the JBC Youth title at 140lb, are regarded as two of the brighter hopes on the Japanese scene at Light Welterweight and together they should make for a very, very special fighter.
For our readers in most parts of the world there are, sadly, no odds available here, but for fans in Poland there is an exception, as STS.pl are carrying odds for the contest. In fact they carrying not just the "To win" market, but also some other prop markets too.
The slight favourite going in is the unbeaten Sasaki, who is priced at 1.7, or 7/10 for our British readers, whilst Ishiwaki is priced at 2.0, or evens. They are about what we would expect for a bout we see as pretty much a 50/50 type bout.
Interestingly the method of victory market, or rather a variation of it, is available here. Strangely the favoured results are a stoppage for Ishiawaki and a decision for Sasaki, both priced at 3.0, or 2/1 for those who prefer fractional odds. A stoppage for Sasaki is 4.0, or 3/1, whilst a decision for Ishiwaki is 4.5, or 7/2.
Despite the odds on either man to score a stoppage, it is worth noting this is next expected to go the distance, in fact the total rounds market has been set at 6.5 rounds. The under is 1.6, or 3/5, and the over is 2.2, the same as 6/5 in fractional odds.
For those interested in the predictions put forward by users on Japanese website Boxmob, Sasaki got 61% of the vote whilst Ishiwaki got 39%.
Sasaki's vote was broken up into 56% of fans expecting him to win by stoppage and 5% expecting him to take the decision. For Ishiwaki 33% expected him to get a stoppage, whilst only 6% expected him to take the decision.
For fans wanting to watch this bout, it will be included on the A-Sign Boxing YouTube channel, who's show begins at 2PM local time
Related - Sasaki and Ishiwaki clash for Youth Honours in potential Christmas Cracker!
Tomorrow in Tokyo fans will be given a late Christmas treat as the hard hitting Jin Sasaki (9-0, 8) [佐々木尽] takes on the always fun to watch Aso Ishiwaki (8-2-1, 6) [石脇麻生] in a bout for the JBC Youth 140lb title.
The bout, arguably the most over-looked bout yet to come in 2020, is one that promises real fire works and excitement with styles that should provide something very special.
Today the two men took part in their weigh in and both men made the 140lb limit with no issues at all.
On the scales Ishiwaki was the heavier man, coming in bang on the 140lbs limit and he looked in great condition. He looked and like he had been training hard for the bout. Interestingly he admitted he lost more weight than he expected, and is in a good state. He also spoke about being excited.
Having been fans of Iwshiwaki for a while we can't help but feel like this is a long over due chance to shine for the youngster who really did impress in his performances last year. Sadly however this will be his first bout of 2020.
Sasaki on the other hand came in well under the limit, at around 139.6lbs and we dare say he looked just a touchy fleshy around the mid-section and like he was in less impressive physical condition than Ishiwaki. Despite that the 19 year old is riding high with confidence and has scored 3 successive opening round T/KO wins.
The confidence seemed to be oozing out of Sasaki who seemed to have his eye on another KO, and taking a huge step towards a Japanese title fight.
For fans wanting to watch this it will show from 14:00 local time, in Japan, on the A-Sign Boxing YouTube channel.
Related - Sasaki and Ishiwaki clash for Youth Honours in potential Christmas Cracker!
(Image credit - Yokohama Hikari Gym)
Earlier today the Shinjuku FACE played host to the latest show under the A-Sign Boxing banner, thanks to Hachioji Nakaya gym and Ichitaro Ishii, from Yokohama Hikari, who streamed the bout on the A-Sign Boxing YouTube channel.
Originally planned as a small, 4 bout, card the show was down a bout before it even began. That was due to 2019 Rookie of the Year winner Hyoga Taniguchi (4-2-2, 1) [谷口彪賀] being forced out of his scheduled bout with Hiro Ichimichi (4-0-1, 3) [一道宏] due to motor vehicle accident. Sadly that left us with just 3 bouts on the show, though credit to everyone involved in going ahead with the show and delivering us a memorable card.
The show began with a genuine upset, as Ryugo Ushijima (4-2-2, 2) [牛島龍吾] suffered a surprise defeat at the hands of the experienced Hyuma Fujioka (11-10-1, 1) [藤岡飛雄馬]. Sadly for Ushijima he never got a handle on Fujioka at all, with the veteran being too crafty, too smart, too quick and too experienced. After 6 rounds there was only one winner, and it wasn't Ushijima. To his credit Ushijima never stopped trying, but he had very little success, and one judge managed to give all 6 rounds to Fujioka. That seemed harsh, but there no doubt about the rightful victor.
The second bout on the show saw Tetsuya Kondo (5-2, 3) [近藤 哲哉] take a majority decision win over Ken Koibuchi (6-5, 5) [鯉渕 健] in a bout that started slowly, but ended up getting super exciting in the middle stages. The first two rounds were some what quiet, with Kondo taking the first and Koibuchi taking the second. Then the touch paper was lit in round 3 and Koibuchi dropped Kondo. He then went all out looking for the finish, unloading everything he had as Kondo did everything he could to survive. Somehow Kondo saw off the storm, and sadly for Koibuchi he pretty much went all in, failing to follow up in round 4. The exhaustion of Koibuchi allowed Kondo back into the bout and in the final 2 rounds. Going to the bell this was a hard one to call, with Kondo getting the nod on the cards. We feel it went the wrong way, but wouldn't argue too much here, very close and well matched bout.
There was no need for judges in the main event as rising star Jin Sasaki (9-0, 8) [佐々木尽] scored his latest win, stopping Tatsuya Miyazaki (9-14-1, 9) [宮崎辰也] in the opening round. Miyazaki went out looking for the upset before being dropped mid-way through the round. Despite the knockdown he got back to his feet, and pressed forward before being knocked loopy in the final seconds of the round, and dangling over the ropes before the referee jumped in.
Following his win it was announced that Sasaki would clash with Aso Ishiwaki (8-2-1, 6) [石脇麻生] on December 26th. The bout is expected to be a JBC Youth title bout at 140lbs. Given the styles of the two men this has the hall marks of a brutal and thrilling bout, and a potential late contender for Fight of the Year. The styles and mentalities of the two should gel and we can't help but think this has the ingredients to be something very special.
Tomorrow at the Shinjuku FACE we'll get the next A-Sign boxing card, with the main event featuring teenage sensation Jin Sasaki (8-0, 7) [佐々木尽] battling with fellow big puncher Tatsuya Miyazaki (9-13-1, 9) [宮崎辰也]. Although a mismatch on paper the bout is certainly set to deliver fireworks, with 16 of the men's combined 17 wins coming from stoppage and 13 of those coming in the first 4 rounds, and it's certainly a dangerous assignment for Sasaki, if he gets caught.
Today, ahead of their bout, the two men weighed in for the contest and both men made the Welterweight limit with no issues.
On the scales Sasaki was 146.8lbs. After making weight he spoke about how this is his heaviest weight so far, and how Miyazaki is the biggest puncher he's faced to date. Despite being aware of Miyazaki's power he had promised a big KO of his own, and seemed very confident of picking up an impressive win here.
Miyazaki on the other hand had room to play with on the scales, weighing in at 146.4lbs. His comments were somewhat less full off confidence, stating that you can see the bout on YouTube, which we'll link to below.
Aged 36 Miyazaki's career is certainly coming to an end, but a win here would give him a high to go out one, even if it would take a huge upset for him to get that win.
For those tuning in the guest commentary will be from recently crowned WBO Flyweight champion Junto Nakatani (21-0, 16) [中谷 潤人].
As for the YouTube link the bout will be streamed on the A-Sign boxing YouTube channel.
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