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.
Earlier this week we reported a Philippines Vs South Africa double header set for May 22nd. Now more details have emerged from that show, including a change to one of the fights and a title on the line.
The changed fight will see former world title challenger Simpiwe Konkco (19-6-0-1, 7) take on 26 year old Filipino Jomar Caindog (11-2-1, 4), and not ArAr Andales (12-2, 4), in fairness this is a slightly less interesting fight in out eyes, but still a really good match up. Caindog might not be a former world title challenger, like Andales, but he's no slouch and he gave China's Jing Xiang a real test in 2019, with his only other loss being a competitive 6 rounder to Samuel Salva, very early in his career. He'll be travelling to win, as we saw him do in China against Xing, and he should make for a tactical test for Konkco.
The other bout, between former 2-weight world champion Hekkie Budler (32-4, 10) and Jonathan Almacen (7-3-2, 2), is now being reported as a WBC International Light Flyweight title bout, and should see the winner being put rather high in the WBC world rankings.
We want to thank the fantastic Ian Melodillar for the updates.
Back in February we reported that the once beaten Kai Ishizawa (6-1, 6) [石澤開] would be back in action on March 6th card at Korakuen Hall, as part of the "Golden Child 128" show.
At the time there was no opponent set for Ishizawa, though since then things have changed and we've been informed that his opponent will be Filipino Youth Minimumweight champion Jonathan Almacen (7-3-2, 2).
The hard hitting, and incredibly exciting, Ishizawa was last seen losing in a Japanese title eliminator to Masataka Taniguchi (12-3, 7) [谷口 将隆], in what was a thrilling action fight. We expected him to have an easy return to the ring but in reality this is a solid test for the 23 year old Ishizawa.
Although not a big name Almacen is no push over. The "Pretty Boy" is 20 years old and all 3 of his losses have come to unbeaten opponents, with a competitive decision loss to Jayson Vayson, a majority loss to ArAr Andales and an opening round loss to Robert Paradero. As for his wins he scored a 2018 victory over Xiang Li and a 2019 win over Roldan Sasan, both of which are solid victories and make it clear he will be a live under-dog against Ishizawa.
This should prove to be a very interesting match up, and much better than we expected following Ishizawa's loss to Taniguchi.
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