Fast rising Japanese youngster Taku Kuwahara (6-0, 4) [桑原拓] scored his career best win today as he dominated experienced Filipino foe Jonathan Refugio (21-7-5, 7) in an 8 round bout at the Korakuen Hall.
The naturally bigger Kuwahara took control with his speed in the opening stages and kept Refugio on the defensive, whilst looking to create openings. From there on he had the foundation to build on and began to move through the gears, landing more and more punishing blows through rounds 2 and 3 as he strengthened his early grip on the bout.
To his credit Refugio showed no quit, and did try to make a fight of things, but was often handcuffed by the speed and accuracy of Kuwahara. Kuwahara's shots never hurt the Filipino, but they were stopping Refugio from ever getting momentum of his own.
In round 7 Kuwahara finally got a break through, putting Refugio down, though the Filipino claimed it was a slip. It was as close as Kuwahara got to stopping Refugio who toughed out the final stages.
After 8 rounds all 3 judges had the bout 80-71 to Kuwahara, who looked totally unmarked at the final bell.
Kuwahara later revealed he is scheduled to fight again in December, in another bout at Flyweight, and is hoping to fight for a title, of some kind, next year.
Refugio suggested that Kuwahara had the potential to become a world champion, though did also hint that he's lacking a bit of power. He also added that he would like to return to Japan, where he is now win-less in 3, for a bout, though would like to fight at his more natural Minimumweight next time he fights in the country.
(Image courtesy boxmob.jp)
Kuwahara and Refugio make weight!
Tomorrow Japanese youngster Taku Kuwahara (5-0, 4) [桑原拓] will take his first major step up in class, as he battles against Filipino foe Jonathan Refugio (21-6-5, 7) at Korakuen Hall. Today, ahead of that bout, the two men took part in their weigh in for the contest.
The bout, which is being fought at a contracted 51KG's, around 112.4lbs, saw both men make weight.
On the scales Kuwahara came in on the contracted limit whilst the naturally smaller Refugio came in well under the limit, hitting the scales at 110.2lbs..
Not only was Kuwahara the heavier man but also looked like the much bigger fighter in terms of natural weight, towering over the Filipino visitor.
Kuwahara spoke about this was a step up and suggested it would be a more technical bout than his other contests. Despite the step up he sounded very confident, and spoke about the sparring he's had to prepare for Refugio, which included sparring with Junto Nakatani. For Refugio this will be his third bout in Japan but he's still seeking his first win on Japanese soil.
Related - Kuwahara takes big step up to face off with Refugio!
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today the Ohashi Gym announced their next Phoenix Battle show, which we now know will take place on September 17th at Korakuen Hall.
The main event for the card was announced as a being a bout between the fast rising Taku Kuwahara (5-0, 4) [桑原拓] and world ranked Filipino Jonathan Refugio (21-6-5, 7), who is currently ranked #15 by the WBC at Minimumweight.
The talented Kuwahara, who has been dubbed "Ioka II", made his debut in May 2018 and and has been tipped for major success since announcing that he was heading to the professional ranks. In just his third bout he was fighting in 8 round bouts but this is a huge step up in class against a man who has over 230 rounds as a professional.
The 26 year old Refugio has been a professional since June 2010 and whilst he hasn't yet scored a world class win he has mixed with good company with losses to Wanheng Menayothin, Merlito Sabillo, Knockout CP Freshmart, Melvin Jerusalem and Hiroto Kyoguchi in recent years. He's no world beater, but a stoppage against him would be very, very impressive.
In the chief support we'll see Japanese ranked Super Featherweight Kazuma Sanpei (17-5, 7) [三瓶数馬] will take on Toru Kiyota (9-3, 7) [清田亨] in what should be a very competitive and interesting 8 round bout. Sanpei has the edge in experience and achievement but with 4 stoppages against him Kiyota will enter the bout with the belief that he has the power to stop his man.
Another good bout announced for this card will see JBC and WBO Asia Pacific ranked fighter Tsuyoshi Tameda (20-4-2, 18) [溜田剛士] take on Filipino Joe Tejones (13-6, 7), who fights in Japan for the third time, following losses to Hinata Maruta and Tenta Kiyose in previous Japanese bouts. Coming into this bout Tameda is riding high following a really good win over Tae Il Atsumi whilst Tejones recently took the unbeaten record of KJ Natuplag.
One other talented hopeful booked for this is Katsuya Yasuda (4-0, 2) [保田克也], though he is yet to have his opponent for the card announced. Given he took a step up in class in July, when he beat Jerry Castroverde, we would hope for another step up for the 27 year old, however it does seem more likely to be a tick over for the Lightweight hopeful.
Introducing... Taku Kuwahara
Introducing... Katsuya Yasuda
Earlier today fight fans at the Korakuen Hall saw OPBF Minimumweight champion Hiroto Kyoguchi (7-0, 6) [京口 紘人] record his first defense of the title as he over-came teak tough Filipino foe Jonathan Refugio (16-6-5, 4), taking a 12 round decision win of Refugio.
Prior to the bout Kyoguchi had steam rolled his first 6 opponents, in a combined 12 rounds. Although he had looked like a star in the making those 6 bouts had left us asking some questions in regards to his stamina and what he does when he simply can't blitz an opponent. Today however he answered those questions, and did so real style, against a man who had come to more than just survive.
From the off Kyoguchi began the bout fast, looking to replicate his success from other bouts, pressive the action and looking to take out his man very quickly. Refugio however was unwilling to go down and unwilling to just take the loss, instead choosing to fight back, and use his counter shots well to make Kyoguchi think twice about steaming in.
Due to the counters and Refugio's success he was doing more than just surviving but also winning some rounds, and when the scores were announced after the 4th round the scores were 40-36, 39-37 and 39-38, with all 3 favouring the champion.
Kyoguchi slightly changed his approach in the middle rounds, pressing the action more intelligently and lowering his output whilst making every shot count. That change saw him extending his lead after 8 rounds, with the score cards then reading 77-75, 78-75 and 79-73.
Although Kyoguchi could have relaxed, given his his lead going in tot he final found rounds, and almost picked his way to a win, he decided that he was wanting to try and continue his KO streak. In the final round he went for the finish but Refugio, using his feet really well, avoided the big blows Kyoguchi was sending his way, and managed to fiddle his way to the final bell.
Having put in a good effort early on Refugio really was forced to think differently in the later rounds, and failed to take even a share of the last 4 rounds with Kyoguchi taking a unanimous decision, with scores of 117-111, 118-111 and 119-109.
After the win sources in Japan have indicated that the bout was essentially a dummy run for Kyoguchi before a possible world title fight later in the year. Going 12 wasn't and out-and-out part of the plan, but will have done no harm at all for the youngster ahead of a title bout in a few months time. For Refugio the bout proved his toughness, and it's clear that he'll be invited back to Japan in the future given his effort, but against a fighter like Kyoguchi he really was up against it.
(Image courtesy of Boxingnews.jp)
Tomorrow Japanese fight fans ta the Korakuen Hall will get the chance to see OPBF Minimumweight champion Hiroto Kyoguchi (6-0, 6) [京口 紘人] defending his title, for the first time, against 23 year old Filipino foe Jonathan Refugio (16-5-5, 4).
Today the two men took part in their weigh in.
On the scales the champion was bang on the limit, and looked in great shape. He looked like a man hungry to retain his title and perfect record, stating that he was hunting a KO, and that he had scouted Refugio, and is wellaware that the Filipino has lost to 3 world champions during his career. Although not yet a world champion himself it's clear Kyoguchi is lookign to compare himself to those world class fighters.
As for Refugio he was comfortably under the 105lb limit, in fact he was just 104lbs on the scales, and looked significnatly smaller than than Kyoguchi. Although the clear under-dog Refugio did sound confidence of using his skills to pick up a win in Japan, following a draw earlier this year with Seita Ogido, in a bout for the WBC Youth Light Flyweight title.
Kyoguchi looks to retain perfect record as he takes on Refugio!
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
News! We try and give you the most interesting news stories from the Asian boxing world!