When we talk about the best rounds we really do need to discuss what makes a round great.
For us a great round has action, and it has two men really battling hard and at a good tempo. However there are lots, and lots of rounds like that. For us there needs to be more than just a high tempo and back and forth, there also needs to be drama, there needs to be a risk, from both sides, of the man being stopped, or being hurt, at the very least.
We want to avoid rounds with excessive holding, and a limit on how much sloppy action and holding a bout has.
Knockdowns and point deductions, except for holding, can also add to a round, giving the action extra drama.
We also want to see both men giving as good as they get, or a major turn around in the round. If one man is decked twice but recovers to stop the other then that is exciting, and deserves to be credited as so. A little bit of controversy thrown in for good measure can also improve the quality of a round.
As with our Knockout of the Year we don't really care about the profile and ranking of the fighters. Two low level fighters giving on a great 3 minutes of action is just as valuable as two top names giving us the same type of action. After all it's the round that we are judging, not the fighters.
For us a round needs to perfectly combine drama, excitement and action, but it needs to stand on it's own as a round. What comes before it and after it are irrelevant. It's that round in isolation that matters.
Rounds that mix everything are few and far between, but we had a number that really had the drama, excitement and action that we needed.
The winner, in the end, was round 2 of the surprisingly amazing war between Junpei Tsujimoto and Daiki Ogura. This was just crazy from start to end and it swung one way and then the other.
The round started at a good pace, with a nice back and forth, but before long Tsujimoto was hurt, badly, by a left hook from Ogura. His legs stiffened and Ogura went in for the finish dropping Tsujimoto. Tsujimoto recovered to his feet but was rocked again and seemed in all sorts of trouble, despite doing all he could to clear his head and spoil the action before returning fire. His fate looked sealed before he landed a huge right hand with 20 seconds of he round remaining to stop Ogura.
The bout may not have been the cleanest action, it may not have had the big names, but it had everything we want to see. It had action, excitement, both men being hurt and a fantastic finish.
We may have had higher quality rounds through the year but no round left us feeling like we'd seen a movie scene quite like this one. Amazing round, amazing comeback.
Also up for this award were:
Zixiang Wang vs Mukhammadiso Zokhidov - Round 2 (A crazy round with Wang being dropped, Zokhidov being deducted a point and then Zokhidov being dropped)
Takuma Takahashi vs Leonardo Doronio - Round 3 (A thrilling round that saw Doronio dropped, Takahashi lucky not to be deducted a point, Doronio coming back to hurt Takahashi, Doronio being rocked again, Takahashi being cut and Doronio then being dropped and stopped)
Satoshi Shimizu vs Kyohei Tonomoto - Round 1 (A bizarre round where Tonomoto easily out boxed Shimizu in front of an empty Korakuen Hall, but was dropped twice in a round that didn't seem to make much sense but was fantastic to watch)
Later today at Korakuen Hall we'll see Junto Nakatani (20-0, 15) [中谷 潤人] and Giemel Magramo (24-1, 20) battle for the vacant WBO Flyweight title, in a highly anticipated bout between two young and talented fighters each looking to leave their mark at the highest level.
Prior to that bout there is a 4 fight under-card split essentially into 2 parts. That under-card features 3 low level bouts, shown exclusively on G+, and then a more notable bout shown on both G+ and BS NTV.
As we write this the first part of that under-card is over, and really didn't last very long leaving a lengthy break in the broadcast, that G+ have decided to fill with highlights from Nakatani's bouts.
The show kicked off with an East Japan Rookie of the Year semi-final bout at Middleweight, with Teiken promoted Kenji Yoshino (2-1, 2) [吉野 健二] taking a 2nd round TKO win over Taiga Ito (3-2) [伊藤 大賀], with the two men meeting for the second time. In their first bout Ito had beaten Yoshino and today Yoshino got revenge, landing a sensational left hook towards the end of the second round.
A second Rookie of the Year bout was at Lightweight, where the hard hitting Hiromasa Urakawa (6-1, 4) [浦川 大将] took a technical decision in a very sloppy fight with Toshiki Tanaka (2-3) [田中 利樹]. This was messy from the off, and ended early in round 3 with Urakawa suffering a nasty cut from a head clash. He won on all 3 cards, but things were easy for him.
The third, and final bout of the first part of the show saw Junpei Tsujimoto (7-2-3, 5) [辻本 純兵] defeat Daiki Ogura (4-4-1, 4) [小倉 大樹] in a 2 round thriller. Ogura couldn't miss with his left hook, and seemed to take the first round, before dropping Tsujimoto in round 2. Tsujimoto was all over the place following the knockdown down as Ogura went for the kill and continued to land left hooks over and over. He seemed on the verge of a stoppage, and then got blasted himself by a huge right hand that seemed to be thrown in desperation by Tsujimoto. This was dramatic, exciting, and such a huge turn around. This was the one bout of the under-card that was actually worth watching.
As we write this we're set to get the second part of the under-card, which will see Juiki Tatsuyoshi (13-0, 9) [辰吉寿以輝] battle Kazuhiro Imamura (2-0, 1) [今村和寛] in a very interesting looking 8 round bout.
Earlier today at Korakuen Hall we had the second Dynamic Glove show of the year and it was an event with very mixed fortunes for Teiken fighters, as fans at the Hall and on G+ found out.
The show began with Shinta Aihara (3-5) [藍原 伸太], one of the 7 Teiken fighters on the card, losing a clear decision to KC Prachanda (4-2-1, 3) [KC プラチャンダ]. Prachanda won every round and dropped Aihara at the very end of the 4th round to secure the win.
Things did improve for the world famous Teiken gym as two of their big hopefuls picker up wins. The first of those was Hiroto Yashiro (2-0, 2) [矢代 博斗], who took out Indonesian visitor Abdul Rauf (1-3) in round 3. Credit goes to Rauf for seeing out a massive attack in round 2, when Yashiro really went for the finish, but the pressure, and intense body work, got too much for him and he was dropped in round 3. Although Rauf beat the count the referee had seen enough and waved off the bout.
The other big hoping picking up a win was the highly regarded Kenshi Noda (2-0, 2) [野田 賢史], who took out Thomas Tope Hurek (2-5-1, 1) in the opening round. Noda, who was making his TV debut, took his chance to shine and he looked very sharp against Hurek. Hurek tried to make things ugly but took a combination, finished by a brutal shot that left him in agony for the 10 count.
Given the recent JBC rule change in regards to Indonesian fighters, these were perfect examples of why the rule is coming in. Rauf was tough but lacked skills whilst Hurek was terrible.
After back to back wins for Teiken fighters things then went down hill for Teiken fighters with back to back losses.
The first of those saw Kenta Endo (5-1-1, 4) [遠藤 健太] lose his unbeaten record to the unheralded Shun Akaiwa (5-1-1, 3) [赤岩 俊]. Heading in the hard hitting Endo was ranked by the JBC and he looked like he was heading upwards. The first round was a good one for Endo, though he did get caught by the younger, fresh Akaiwa a few times. The pace increased in round 2 as Endo tried to take the fight to Akaiwa more often, and let his powerful shots go in combinations. It made for exciting action but left Endo open as he launched some very wide looping hooks. At the very end of the round, with Akaiwa on the ropes and under pressure, a short counter left dropped Endo. Discussions about it being after the bell or on the bell were there to be had, but Endo himself was unloading when he got caught, taking away any argument he may had to being hit after the bell. Endo would beat the count but never seemed to recover and was stopped the following round in what was a genuinely fantastic little under-card bout.
Another loss for Teiken saw Junpei Tsujimoto (6-2-3, 4) [辻本 純兵] suffer a second round TKO to 22 year old Nath Nwachukwu (6-0-2, 3) [ワチュク・ナァツ], in what was surprisingly a clash of 2018 Rookie of the Year winners. Coming in both fighters had JBC rankings, with Tsujimoto being a ranked Welterweight and Nwachukwu being ranked at Middleweight, though the two men fought at Light Middleweight. After a competitive opening round Nwachukwu forced a fight and broke down Tsujimoto, who was hammered to the body early in the round and dropped from a huge right part way through the round. Tsujimoto beat the count but was still hurt and Nwachukwu went all out until the referee jumped in and saved Tsujimoto.
The hard hitting Yamato Hata (10-1, 10) [波田 大和] got Teiken's third win for the show as he stopped the game but over-powered Ryusei Ishii (8-6-1, 5) [石井龍誠] in 5 rounds to claim the Japanese Youth Super Featherweight title. This was Hata in control from early on with Ishii unable to cope with the power of Hata, and doing more to survive than try to win.
Having won a Youth title the gym had little time to celebrate and before we saw a Japanese Welterweight title fight. This fight saw defending champion Yuki Nagano (17-3, 13) [永野祐樹], himself a Teiken fighter, losing the title to former world title challenger Keita Obara (23-4-1, 21) [小原 佳太]. Nagano pressed the action but was up against a better fighter and Obara simply broke him down over 7 rounds, dropping him in round 2 and slowly breaking him down with big shots.
After the 7 bouts Teiken went 3-4, on a show they'll want to forget.
The Welterweight Rookie of the Year final saw the gigantic Junpei Tsujimoto (4-1-3, 2) [辻本純兵] , who stands at over 6'1", take on the much shorter Atsushi Matsui (4-1, 4) [松井敦史], a feared puncher.
Tsujimoto looked sharp and crisp from the opening seconds, and used his size brilliantly, keeping Matsui at range, and digging his man with both head and body shots. Those shots took a toll and at the end of the opening round Matsui had suffered a knockdown.
Having been dropped, but not badly hurt, Matsui came out for the second round looking to chance things, but struggled to get around the reach of Tsujimoto, who landed a number of big right hands, and got away with stiff arming the much smaller Matsui, keeping him at range.
Through 3 rounds there was really no worried at all for Tsujimoto, who was totally bossing things. That all changed however in round 4, when Matsui managed to, finally, get inside and land his own power shots. It was the first time Tsujimoto had looked under and pressure and cracks were beginning to show, cracks that Matsui looked to deepen in round 5.
Sadly for Matsui he was unable to break the will of Tsujimoto, who actually had success towards the end of the bout as he showed his toughness and took a clear decision win over the previously unbeaten Matsui.
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