Earlier today at Korakuen Hall fight fans got the latest show under the Diamond Glove banner of shows. The card was a pretty notable one with several bouts of note on it, including a Japanese title eliminator and a Japanese title fight.
The first of the notable bouts on this card saw second generation fighter Jinya Yamaguchi (2-0, 2) [山口 仁也] score a 4th round win over Filipino visitor Argelo Samson (4-2, 4). Yamaguchi started slowly, and was dropped early in the bout by a right hook. Despite being knocked down Yamaguchi recovered well and then opened up in round 3, wobbling Samson late in the round, before dropping his man in round 4. Samson beat the count but was stopped soon afterwards as Yamaguchi unloaded on him with a flurry.
The second bout of note saw Mikyo Watarai (2-0, 1) [渡来 美響] score his second professional win, as he took a 6 round shut out win over Filipino visitor Romer Pinili (5-2-1, 4). Watarai dominated the bout, but he was unable to stop Pinili, who showed real grit, determination and toughness to see out 6 rounds. Credit needs to go to Pinili for surviving, but he didn't come close to being competitive, and really was relying on his grit, especially in the later rounds.
The third bout of some real note saw another prospect pick up a win as Josuke Nagata (4-0) [永田 丈晶] out boxed and out pointed the explosive Yuki Nakajima (5-2-2, 5) [中嶋 憂輝] over 8 rounds to claim his fourth win, and his most notable to date. The talented Nagata controlled swathes of the bout behind his accurate punching and combinations, which forced Nakajima on to the back foot, somewhere he's never been comfortable. The smart up and down combinations and intelligent defense from Nagata saw him make this look easy, as he shut out Nakajima on two cards, whilst the third judge saw a wat to find a round for Nakajima.
In the chief support bout we saw a Japanese Lightweight title eliminator as Shuma Nakazato (12-2-3, 7) [仲里周磨] defeated Ken Koibuchi (8-5-1, 7) [鯉淵健] over 8 rounds. This was a genuine war with both landing big shots, and head clashes also being a factor, with Nakazato suffering several cuts from head clashes. Despite the head clashes Nakazato did enough to take home the win, though had to take some serious punishment along the way, particularly in round 7 as Koibuchi dug hard and looked to core a late stoppage. After 8 rounds the score cards were 78-74, 77-75 and 76-76 giving Nakazato the majority decision win.
In the main event we saw Japanese Welterweight champion Keita Obara (26-4-1, 23) [小原 佳太] over-come interim champion Takeru Kobata (12-6-1, 5) [小畑 武尊] in 3 rounds. On paper this one always seemed like a mismatch, despite the good recent form from Kobata, though the opening round was tense with both men showing a lot of respect to each other. In the second round Obara seemed to find his groove, though only landed a single notable right hand, which was essentially a warning shot. In round 3 he managed to land another right hand, which sent Kobata down. Although Kobata did recover his feet he staggered forcing the referee to wave the bout off.
Earlier today at Korakuen Hall Kadoebi and Dangan put on a rather small but notable show with 7 bouts in total, including a double title bout in the main event and several other noteworthy bouts featuring professional novices. For fans not at Korakuen Hall, the event was streamed online through the excellent Boxing Raise service.
The event kicked off with a 4 rounder between Temple Kamihara (3-1) [テンプル神原] and Kaito Itai (2-2, 1) [板井 海都]. Kamihara got off to the ideal start, dropping his man in the opening round, and controlled the bout through out, taking a clear and wide 4 round decision, 40-35, twice, and 39-36.
The second bout, also a 4 rounder, was a much closer contest which ended in a majority decision win for Daisuke Sumita (3-1, 1) [墨田 大祐], who over-came Fuki Ishigaki (3-3, 2) [石垣 芙季]. Sumita, returning almost almost 5 years away from the ring, looked to take control of the range and managed to ease himself into the bout. As the rounds went on the pace, from both, picked up, with Ishigaki trying to fight his way into the bout, giving us a thrilling finish. After 4 rounds this was 39-37, twice, and 38-38.
A planned 6 rounder between female fighters Megumi Hosoda (3-2) [細田めぐみ] and Honoka Kano (3-0-1, 2) [狩野ほのか] was supposed to be next, before it was cancelled in the build up to the show. As a result the third bout on the card was between Masaki Kobayashi (6-2, 3) [小林 柾貴] and Kojiro Nishikawa (5-3-1, 2) [西川 宏次郎], which saw Kobayashi taking a clear 6 round decision. Kobayashi boxed well here, countered well, and deserved the victory, his first since September 2019. The judges for this one turned in cards of 58-56, twice, and 59-55, all to Kobayashi.
The first of the standout novices to compete on this show was Josuke Nagata (1-0) [永田 丈晶] who took a 6 round decision win over Koji Tsurumi (5-4-1, 2) [鶴海 高士]. The talented Nagata, who had around 60 bouts as an amateur, started well, looked sharp and his jab seemed to land well early on, and he even dropped his man in round 3. Tsurumi however wasn't there to just make up the numbers and instead he fought like a man who was determined to score the upset and he dug deep, making Nagata work hard through the 6 round distance. In the end Nagata earned the win, with scored of 59-54, twice, and 58-55.
In a peculiar 5 round bout Ryo Shintomi (6-6-1) [新冨 凌] took a split decision over Kengo Hatsushika (3-5-2, 2) [初鹿 健吾]. This was hotly contested through out, with an exciting exchange almost at the opening bell. From there it was hard to split the two men, with Hatsushika landing some great shots up top and Shintomi attacking the body well. In the end it was the pressure and work rate of Shintomi that was just enough to earn him the decision, but this was one that could easily have swung the other way. A very tight, well fought, and well matched bout.
In the chief support bout we saw the talented Jukiya Iimura (2-0, 1) [飯村 樹輝弥] take a very hotly contest decision over former amateur stand out Tomoki Kawasaki (0-1) [川崎 智輝], who was unsuccessful on his professional debut. This was high level boxing from both from the opening moments. both men showed solid understanding of the ring, and the sport, using their jabs well, setting traps and fighting at mid range. Despite boxing well at mid-distance Kawasaki fell behind, with Iimura landing the better shots, and in the later stages Kawasaki began to take more risks, getting close, and pressing more. Despite that pressure he couldn't do enough to turn the bout around, and after 6 rounds all 3 judges had this 58-56 to Iimura. Although Kawasaki lost here he has a very bright future ahead of him, and Iimura is someone we were impressed by in his debut. Keep an eye out for both of these men going forward.
In the main event we saw Ryoji Fukunaga (14-4, 14) [福永亮次] retain his WBO Asia Pacific and JBC Super Flyweight titles as he stopped the under-sized Takahiro Fujii (12-7-1, 3) [藤井貴博]. From the off this was a case of seeing how much Fujii could withstand, and credit to him for trying to fight the much bigger, better, stronger Fukunaga. Sadly however Fujii's resistance couldn't last forever and in round 8 the power shots of Fukunaga took their toll, dropping him hard with a brutal 1-2. The referee needed no time to stop this one, waving the bout off before Fujii began to get medical help.
Although the main event was a mismatch, it was actually good to see Fukunaga in a bout where he didn't have to walk through fire to pick up a win, and given his last two bouts were punishing wars it's hard to complain about him getting an easy amd less punishing bout here.
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