Earlier today Shinsei Gym put on their latest show, at the Central Gym in Kobe. The card wasn't the biggest Japanese show of the day, but was still a very interesting one, with several note worthy bouts on it as Japanese fighters faced off with Filipino visitors.
The first of the notable bouts on the card saw Shunpei Odagiri (1-0, 1) [小田切駿平] score a 6th round TKO win over Filipino visitor Jonathan Almacen (7-6-3, 2), to kick off his career with a good win. The talented Odagiri, who went 28-9 (5) in the amateurs, found his range in the opening round, with good 1-2's, and as the rounds went on he progressively broke down his man, whilst showing good maturity and being cautious, despite being in control. Almacen did well in surviving, looking for opening, but in round 6 a nasty cut over Almacen's left eye forced the referee to stop the bout.
In the second bout of note Kazuki Anaguchi (3-0, 2) [穴口一輝] stepped up and showed what he could do with an impressive victory over Filipino visitor Ranelio Quizo (10-3, 3). The bout started quietly, but in round 2 Anaguchi began to take control, dropping Quizo and cutting his right eye. Quizo then never really managed to get back into the bout afterwards, despite showing his toughness. Round by round Anaguchi tagged Quizo, seeking a finish, but he couldn't find it, with Quizo seeing out the 8 rounds, but losing a very wide decision. After 8 rounds the cards were 80-71, 79-72 and 78-73, all to Anaguchi.
The chief support bout saw Takahiro Tai (4-1, 4) [田井宜広] get back to winning ways as he stopped Jun Blazo (16-7-3, 12) in 3 rounds.Blazo came out swinging, and looked like a man who had momentum and self belief following 8 straight wins. Sadly for him however he struggled to connect on Tai, who show some under-rated defense and composure to blunt Blazo's attacks. That was until Tai turned things around with a left hand to the body that sent Blazo down for the count, in agony.
To complete a Japanese sweep over Filipino foes former WBO Minimumweight world champion Ryuya Yamanaka (17-3, 5) [山中 竜也] took a wide decision over the dangerous, but now something of a faded, Jonathan Taconing (29-5-1, 22). From the opening round Yamanaka looked to use his speed and foot work to keep the dangerous Taconing at safe range, and being well aware of Taconings' power and heavy hands. Yamanaka managed to get his shots off well, but most notably he was countering well, drawing errors from Taconing and landing solid right hand counters, to go with his crisp jabs, and clean right hands to the body. Round by round Yamanaka picked up points, and did really well to neutralise the power and threat of Taconing. After 8 rounds Yamanaka swept the score cards with 80-72, to record a huge wiun, and potentially earn himself a world ranking.
Back in March we saw former WBO Minimumweight world champion Ryuya Yamanaka (16-3, 5) [山中 竜也] return to the ring after more than 3 years out, due to a brain bleed, and score a 5th round TKO win over Daisuke Sudo. The win was an impressive performance from the former champion, and it seemed likely he would slowly build on that win, with progressively tougher opponents.
Today we saw Yamanaka's next bout being announced, and instead of a slightly better domestic opponent in a 6 or 8 rounder, the 27 year old will instead be returning against a former multi-time world title challenger, in the form of Filipino banger Jonathan Taconing (29-4-1, 22), who is currently world ranked by the WBC, on August 14th in Kobe ins a scheduled 10 rounds.
At his best Yamanaka was a slippery boxer, with a high boxing IQ and smart skills, with under-rated power. He scores notable wins over Merlito Sabillo, to win the OPBF Minimumweight title, Tatsuya Fukuhara, to win the WBO world title, and Moises Calleros, to defend the WBO title, all in in the space of a year and a half, before his loss to Saludar in 2018. That loss looked likely to permanently end his career, though a change in Japanese rules, and an ambition to return lead to Yamanaka being back against Sudo in March.
As for Taconing, the heavy handed Filipino is a 3 time world title challenger, with his most recently world title shot coming in July 2019 when he lost to Kenshiro Teraji. The hard hitting Filipino is now 35, and has slowed down from his prime, which included wins over Ramon Garcia, Vergilio Silvano, Warlito Parrenas and a hugely controversial technical decision loss to Kompayak Porpramook. Despite that he will be the bigger, stronger and more powerful man against Yamanaka, in what could be a battle between skills and power.
The fight, which will will headline Real Spirits Vol 81, is one of a number of Japan Vs Philippines bouts on the card. Another will see the fun to watch Takahiro Tai (3-1, 3) [田井宜広] battle the hard hitting Jun Blazo (16-6-3, 12) in an 8 rounder that should provide some serious fireworks. One of the others will see 22 year old prospect Kazuki Anaguchi (2-0, 2) [穴口一輝] take a huge step up in class to face Ranelio Quizo (10-2, 3), also in an 8 rounder. Another will be a 6 rounder between the debuting Shunpei Odagiri (0-0) [小田切駿平] and Jonathan Almacen (7-5-3, 2), with Odagiri looking to build on a 28-9 amateur record here.
Last Friday Fuji TV, and affiliate Kansai TV, showed a world title double header. The card saw Ryota Murata (15-2, 12) [村田 諒太] reclaim the WBA "regular" Middleweight title, as he stopped Rob Brant (25-2, 17) in 2 rounds, and also saw WBC Light Flyweight champion Kenshiro (16-0, 9) [拳四朗] stop mandatory challenger Jonathan Taconing (28-4-1, 22).
Following those bouts there was a rather long wait for the TV numbers to be released, with that wait ending today. And boy were the numbers impressive!
Kenshiro, who has often missed out on live TV chances with Fuji, drew an average audience of 8.4%, a huge number for a guy that had been so over-looked.
Despite the Light Flyweight champion doing impressive numbers his fight was dwarfed by Murata, who averaged 11.9% in the Kanto region and 12.9% in the Kansai region, and peaked at 14.9% in Kanto and 20.8% in Kansai.
Whilst transferring the % to raw numbers isn't totally accurate it does give us some us fairly rough numbers to be blown away by.
The rough average is a little over 7,000,000 people watching Murata, with a peak of around 11,000,000. A figure that is frankly staggering for a fight, though may end up paving the way for more bouts in Japan to take place on a Friday.
Taro Takeuchi, a producer at Fuji TV, praised the numbers and Murata and made it clear that boxing was getting great figures on Fuji TV, and it seems clear that they are expecting the numbers to continue to grow.
Of course it's not only Murata and Kenshiro who are big names affiliated with the channel, with Naoya Inoue (18-0, 16) [井上 尚弥] also fighting on the channel, and his WBSS final with Nonito Donaire (40-5, 26) will expected to do incredible numbers of Fuji later int he year.
Hardcore fans of the sport right now have spent much of the last year 2 years raving about the Light Flyweight division, the fighters and the match ups the division has given us.
One of the stars of the division right now is baby faces Japanese fighter Kenshiro (15-0, 8) [拳四朗], who is looking to make his 6th defense of the WBC Light Flyweight title tomorrow,as he goes up against hard hitting Filipino challenger Jonathan Taconing (28-3-1, 22) in Osaka.
Despite the match up being a mandatory defense for the Japanese fighter, against a man who is looking to make the most of his third world title shot, the bookies see it as a foregone conclusion and have priced Kenshiro as a close to unbackable favourite.
The talented Japanese fighter is best priced at 1/14 to retain his belt, with some bookies pricing him anything from 1/20 to 1/33 to retain with a win. The challenger has got value on his side, at 10/1 with some bookies, whilst the draw is a massive 33/1.
Sadly it is only the "to win" market available for this bout, and at the time of writing there are no other markets for the bout.
Related - Kenshiro takes on hard hitting Filipino challenger Taconing!
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Tomorrow in Osaka WBC Light Flyweight champion Kenshiro (15-0, 8) [拳四朗] will defend the title against Filipino challenger Jonathan Taconing (28-3-1, 22), who enters as the mandatory challenger.
Today the two men took part in their weigh in and both men looked in great shape whilst making the 108lbs limit for the bout.
On the scales Taconing was bang on the limit, for what is his third world title shot, whilst Kenshiro was marginally under the limit, for his 6th defense.
After making weight Kenshiro stated he felt he could have made weight the past couple of days, and he seemed to be incredibly calm, confident and relaxed. He predicted an 8th round stoppage win, and admitted he wanted to be on TV for a long time, as if suggesting he could stoppage Taconing earlier if he wished.
Taconing also seemed like he was in great condition, though revealed that conditions in Osaka were colder than they were in the Philippines and he seemed much more serious in terms of his demeanor than the champion.
Related - Kenshiro takes on hard hitting Filipino challenger Taconing!
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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