Earlier this year fight fans who follow the Japanese scene got a genuine treat as Gakuya Furuhashi (28-8-1, 16) [古橋大輔] claimed the Japanese Super Bantamweight title, and stopped Yusaku Kuga (20-5-1, 13) [久我勇作] in a genuine fight of the year contender.
That bout saw Furuhashi break down Kuga and stop him in 9 rounds, of a scintillating, back and forth war that saw both men take a lot of punishment, but in the end Kuga ran out of gas whilst Furuhashi was like a man possessed, and put in the performance of his career.
Since then both men have picked up a single win, with Furushashi defending his title in a thrilling bout in August against Seigo Hanamori [花森 成吾] and Kuga beating former Japanese champion Ryoichi Tamura [田村亮一], in what was the third bout between the two men. Those win have ended up working out nicely for fans wanting to see Furuhashi and Kuga go again.
Over the weekend it was announced we would see a rematch between the two men on January 25th 2022 on a Phoenix Battle show, promoted by Hideyuki Ohashi, at Korakuen Hall. With the bout serving as Furuhashi's second defense of the title.
Given the punishment both men have taken over their careers, including their war against each other, it's hard to see where the loser would go, but the winner would potentially move towards a regional title fight later in the year.
The card, which will be shown in Hikari TV, will also feature touted prospect Junki Shirasaki (1-0) [白崎隼樹], the long awaited debut of Kotoji Irita (0-0) [入田 琴司], and the return of former 2-time world title challenger Masayuki Kuroda (30-8-3, 16) [黒田雅之], who hasn't fought in over 2 years due to recurring injury woes.
Earlier today at Korakuen Hall fight fans saw the Japanese Female Featherweight title change hands following a hotly contested 6 round clash.
Heading in to the bout Kimika Miyoshi (15-13-1, 6) [三好喜美佳] was looking to retain the title and begin moving towards another potential world title fight. For her however those hopes were dashed as she came up short against the younger Yoshie Wakasa (7-2, 2) [若狭与志枝], who claimed her biggest career win.
Wakasa made the most of her youthful energy and took control early on, making a fast start and taking the early initiative. Miyoshi tried to fire back, and looked to use her 1-2's to establish herself in the bout, but struggled with the unorthodox attack of Wakasa who took the first 2 rounds.
In round 3 Wakasa suffered a cut from a clash of heads, but that didn't slow her and neither did a stubborn attempt to fight back from Miyoshi, who was trying to get out of a hole in the final 2 rounds. Sadly for Miyoshi it was too much too late and she came up short on all 3 cards.
For Wakasa this was third time lucky and the win gives the 32 year old a career best victory and opens the door to potentially big fights down the line. As for Miyoshi the 36 year old is surely looking down the barrel of retirement now.
On the under-card of this bout was the debut of the promising Junki Shirasaki (1-0) [白崎隼樹] who secured a well earned win on debut against Yuma Omine (0-3) [大峯優真]. This was the type of tough work out Shirasaki would have been wanting, but the jury is out on his longer term potential.
Earlier today Junki Shirasaki [白崎隼樹] attended a press conference and whilst he wasn't the focus of the event it was interesting to see that he did play a notable and announce that he would become a professional fighter in the near future, having seemingly signed his professional papers.
Although not a truly elite level amateur Shirasaki did notch up more than 33 win in the unpaid ranks and came 5th in the National Polity. With his amateur experience he'll be taking the B License test, with the plan for that to happen in October, and he's likely to make his debut in a 6 round bout before the end of 2020.
Although footage of Shirasaki isn't too prominent the brilliant sakana 1976 has uploaded some amateur footage of Shirasaki and he looks a very competent. There's nothing that makes us feel he'll become a world champion, especially given he's now 27, but he has got the tools to be a solid domestic contender and he could, potentially, be moved relatively quickly towards a Japanese title.
Originally Shirasaki was expected to turn professional in Fukui but was invited to the Nitta Kawasaki and appears to be signed with them. That's not a bad option, given the success and reputation of the Nitta Gym which are a well respected gym, even if they aren't one of the big name ones.
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