Earlier today we got a midweek treat from G+ who televised the latest in their Dynamic Glove series of shows. The event was a special show, celebrating the 600th Dynamic Glove event and mixed in the live fights with a lot of archive footage, adding the sense of the event being something genuinely worth watching.
Sadly the in ring action wasn't as good as we've seen in the past from the Dynamic Glove series, but it was certainly not a bad show, even if we did end up with just 4 televised bouts.
Unfortuntely the originally scheduled show opener, a 4 rounder between Teiken fighter Munetaka Kihara (3-2-1, 1) [木原 宗孝] and the unbeaten Reiji Kodama (2-0, 1) [兒玉 麗司 was cancelled, due to Kihara pulling out. Despite that we still ended up getting a really, really good show.
The event kicked off with a much anticipated 6 round bout between the debuting Junya Shimada (1-0) [嶋田 淳也] and the touted Shigetoshi Kotari (2-1, 1) [神足 茂利], both of whom were solid amateur fighters and both of them were out there looking to make an impression in what looked like a very tough match up on paper. At least if you were aware of their amateur pedigree.
The bout lived up to the expectations, despite a rather ugly and slow paced opening round. From 2 to round 6 this was thoroughly entertaining action with Kotari trying to box and move, using his more fluid and natural looking boxing skills, to try and neutralise the pressure and aggression of Shimada. The pressure of Shimada began to have success in round 2 and from there on his pressure always looked like it was chipping away at Kotari who held up close and looked to try and create space to work. Altough he wasn't able to fight his fight Kotari did land some gorgeous uppercuts, but was never able to sustained things for long. Instead we saw him being chipped away at by Shimada's nasty body shots, especially in round 4, and he never really managed to turn things around afterwards.
For fans who missed this one it is, genuinely, worthy of a watch. A very, very entertaining 6 rounder, fought at a good pace, with styles that gelled really well.
Sadly the second bout was a much different affair to the first bout. Whilst the first was high tempo, exciting battle the second was a rather tedious, slow paced contest that saw the heavy handed but vulnerable Junpei Tsujimoto (8-2-3, 6) [辻本 純兵] easily defeat Hideo Mikan (9-14-2, 2) [美柑 英男] in what was a bout that struggled to come alive. Mikan was there to win early on, but had nothing to really test Tsujimoto with, whilst Tsujimoto seemed determined to not give Mikan chances to land anything clean.
For 2 rounds it was slow paced but competitive. In round 3 however Tsujimoto landed some big body shots and Mikan never really showed too much ambition afterwards, as Tsujimoto controlled the bout and came close to dropping his man in round 5. Mikan some how survived but seemed about done and in round 6 the referee stepped between the two men. It was an oddly timed stoppage, but one Mikan didn't complain about, and one that seemed to end what was a very dull one sided bout.
We would complain about this one, but it seems that Tsujimoto was working on being more cautious after two damaging bouts in 2020, a loss to Nath Nwachukwu and a shoot out with Daiki Ogura. We can't begrudge him an easy one after the punishment he took in those bouts.
We ended up getting the chance to see some dynamite in the third bout as Masaya Tamayama (14-2, 8) [玉山 将也] destroyed veteran Hisashi Kato (10-10-2, 6) [加藤 寿] in 2 rounds.
This started slowly, with Kato getting on his bike, moving around the ring, trying to use his southpaw jab and legs to create space. Tamayama on the other hand pressed forward, looking to break Kato down with body shots and take his legs away. In round two the firepower of Tamayama was on show, as he dropped Kato with gorgeous uppercut. Kato beat the count but was dropped again soon afterwards, with the referee immediately waving this off following crisp counter left hook that dropped Kato hard.
We were legitimately expecting an all out war in the main event as OPBF Welterweight champion Ryota Toyoshima (14-2-1, 9) [豊嶋亮太] faced off with WBO Asia Pacific champion Yuki Beppu (21-2-1, 20) [別府優樹] in a unification bout of their titles. Sadly this never really caught fire as expected, though was still a solid bout, if somewhat one sided.
The opening couple of rounds were well contested and pretty evenly fought. Beppu used his footwork well, picked his spots and landed some really nice single shots, whilst Toyoshima pressured and landed some of his own single shots. The tempo was strangely low and neither man seemed to put any shots together at all, it was all single shots, with no real risks being taken. Despite the low tempo of the action there was a strange tension, as if something big could happen.
In rounds 3 and 4 Toyoshima began to take control of the action, landing some really good left hooks, and body shots. It was still a low tempo affair, but it was picking up, and Toyoshima was starting to look a lot more consistent with his shots, especially his body work and jab. In fact it was that jab of Toyoshima's that began to really unsettle Beppu, and make the "Tyson of Kyushu" a lot more apprehensive, allowing Toyoshima to have an easier time in controlling his foe. That showed particularly well in round 4, as he began to physically deflate in front of our eyes.
After 4 rounds the open scoring kicked in and had Toyoshima up 40-36, twice, and 39-37. The shut outs seemed very harsh but it was clear that Toyoshima was starting to take over, and the first two rounds were close in fairness to the judges.
Toyoshima seemed to slow down in round 5, cruising at times, but Beppu failed to make him pay. In fact if anything Toyoshima managed to win the round by doing very little. What he did well was land the eye catching shots late in the round, notably a good jab and a couple of good body shots. Beppu seemed to be running out of ideas an that was particularly notable in rounds 6 as he began to look tired, was falling well behind on the scorecards, and was unwilling, or unable, to sell out and go for it. The body shots had taken some of the fight out of him, and the jabs had repeatedly take the play away from him when he did manage to have moments.
In round 7 things went from bad to worse for Beppu who was dropped from a fantastic uppercut. Prior to which he had taken more body shots, and looked to be a man physically wilting, and being broken down. He got up from the knockdown, but seemed hurt again late in the round, as Toyoshima's body work continued.
Beppu tried to turn things around in round 8, but it was too little too late and he really didn't come close to doing enough to take the round from a man who looked bigger, stronger, fresher, hungrier andmore powerful than himself. In fact if anything Beppu looked like he was needing to work incredibly hard for any success, whilst Toyoshima seemed to be relaxed, landing at will and having more consistent success.
After 8 rounds we saw the open scoring again, with scores of 80-71, twice, and 78-73, all in favour of Toyoshima who was in complete control of the bout and was bossing it with ease.
Toyoshima seemed to take round 9 off, not doing much at all, and allowing Beppu the chance to let his shots off. It was clear that Beppu needed to massively turn things around and it seemed a good idea from Toyoshima to not take any risks if he didn't need to. He was going to win as long as he stayed on his feet and Beppu had to gamble. And gamble he did, with Beppu trying to turn things around in rounds 9 and 10. Sadly however Beppu's gamble failed to payoff and in round 10 he was broken up by body shots, badly hurt, and forced on to the retreat. A jab forced Beppu to stumbles towards his own corner, and a left hook followed, sending Beppu down. To his credit Beppu managed to get to his feet, but the referee finished the count, saving Beppu from further punishment.
What promised to be a great fight heading in, was strangely one sided, and it seemed clear that Beppu's problems, including a lack od sparring a late flight to Tokyo and more than a year of inactivity, did him no favours at all here. As for Toyoshima this is a second big win for him in 2021 and he has really been one of the few big success stories from Japan this year, due to a very scattered calendar of fights. There's a good chance he'll squeeze in another and could be one of the run away fighters for Japanese domestic fighter of the year at this rate.
Last year Japanese amateur standout Kenji Fujita [藤田健児] turned professional, signing with Japanese promotional powerhouse Teiken. It was a signing that created a lot of buzz, with Fujita being a genuine amateur star and someone expected to go a very, very long way in the professional ranks.
As an amateur Fujita was a 3-time All Japan champion and also won a bronze medal at the Asian Amateur Championships, showing just how good he was in the unpaid ranks.
Sadly after signing with Teiken Fujita, along with fellow Teiken signees Subaru Murata [村田昴], Junya Shimada [嶋田淳也] and Kota Kaneko [金子虎旦], he didn't actually get a chance to debut in 2020, in part due to the on going Covid19 pandemic.
Earlier today however it's was revealed that Fujita has got a date, venue, and opponent set for his debut, and thankfully it's not going to be too much more of a wait.
Today it's been revealed that Fujita will debut on March 25th in a 6 round bout against Motosuke Kimura (3-5-2, 1) [木村元祐] on a Dynamic Glove show.
The 34 year old Kimura has lost his last 4, and 5 of his last 6, though he never been stopped and did give the highly touted Shigetoshi Kotari a very good test last October. Given that performance, rather than his results, we do expect him to ask questions of Fujita here and to serve as something of a test. Though a test Fujita should pass with out too many problems.
Sadly this is only bout for the show that has been officially announced so far, though we are expecting a lot of news about this March event to come through in the next week or so, potentially including one of the other amateur standouts that turned professional at the same time as Fujita.
Back in June we reported that Kenji Fujita [藤田健児], Subaru Murata [村田昴], Junya Shimada [嶋田淳也] and Kota Kaneko [金子虎旦] had all left the amateur ranks and signed up with Teiken, with the plan being for all 4 men to turn professional.
Sadly due to the on going situation the 4 men were forced to wait until today to take part in their pro-tests. Delaying the hope of an early debut after signing with the Japanese promotional power house.
The 4 men all passed their B License tests today and all intend to debut before the end of 2020.
Following their tests today all 4 men gave some comments to the media.
Fujita, who is probably the most notably of the foursome, was humble in his comments, explaining that he was relieved to have passed his test, but also sounded confident of rapidly rising through the ranks. That rising through the ranks should be no surprise however, as he was a very experienced amateur fighter, winning multiple domestic championships and running up an incredible amateur record of 153-21.
Murata also stated that he was glad he passed, and it seemed like his goal was to continue having success. He spoke becoming a fighter who can make a mark at Bantamweight and it seems clear that he wants to follow in a long line of top Japanese fighters at 118lbs.
Shimada explained that he's glad to finally be at the starting line of his professional career, and that he has long dreamed of being a world champion. He explained that he doesn't yet feel that he's had a real fight, and it seemed clear that he was rearing to go and get his professional debut under his belt.
Kaneko explained that he has also dreamed of being a professional fighter, and wanted to thank those who have supported him, and that continue to support him.
With Teiken having several more shows set this year the hope will be for all 4 men to get their debuts out of the way this year before progressing in 2021. The hope will be that all 4 men will make a big mark on the sport, and help rebuild the Teiken stable, which has struggled in recent years due to big retirements of the likes of Shinsuke Yamanaka and Takashi Miura.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
It feels like it's been weeks since we had stuff to be legitimately excited about, but today Teiken have out done themselves, announce the signing of 4 top Japanese amateurs who have announced they will be turning professional will the very well established Tokyo outfit.
The four men are Kenji Fujita [藤田健児], Subaru Murata [村田昴], Junya Shimada [嶋田淳也] and Kota Kaneko [金子虎旦]. Whilst some of those names will be familiar to fans of international amateur boxing others might not be, so in a minute we'll take a quick look at all 4 men, though what is clear by the signings is that Teiken are strengthening their ranks once again. The gym has taken the cream of the crop from those who failed to make it to the Olympic qualifying events, and with Tokyo 2020 now being delayed a year there's a real chance that these men may find themselves racing through the ranks quickly.
Fujita is probably the more well known of the 4 men. He is currently 26 years old and ran up a frankly stunning amateur record of 153-21 (40), winning 3 All Japan Championships, an Asian Championships bronze medal, in 2013, and competed at the World Championships. Back in November he announced he was retiring from amateur boxing, after 10 years in the sport, but left it unclear on what he would be doing. His decision to turn professional however wasn't much of a surprise and it was clear promoters would be very interested in luring him over to the paid ranks.
Of course Fujita isn't the only notable name from the new signings and Subaru Murata was also a very highly sought after fighter. Murata, who is now 23, ran up a 68-12 amateur record, took a bronze medal in the 2014 Youth Olympics, won an All Japan title and a National Sports Festival. In a comment on Teiken's website he spoke about wanting to unify the 4 Bantamweights titles and seemed to be intent on making a buzz on his debut. He's not quite the established talent of Fujita, but is going to be someone to keep a very close eye on.
The 22 year old Shimada went 58-23 in the amateurs, coming third in successive National Athletic events as a Lightweight. He appears to be turning professional at Featherweight and is probably the least well known of the 4 men. Despite that he does have international experience, and from what we under-stand he participated at the 2018 World University Championships in Russia. We see him as the dark horse of the group but given his age and extensive amateur experience we wouldn't be surprised by him being moved aggressively over the next few years.
Kaneko, who is also 22, is also turning professional at Featherweight after compiling an excellent 56-13 amateur record. His credentials aren't as impressive as the rest of the group. His results are a bit harder to find though interestingly he dd battle Murata as an amateur in 2018, losing to his new stablemate in the Japanese National Championships and that could lead to a rather fun but friendly rivalry between the two new gym mates.
At the moment it's unclear when the pro-tests for the 4 will take place, but it's obvious that all 4 men should be getting B licenses without any issue. With that said it's also unclear when any of the 4 men will debut but the expectation is that both Fujita and Murata will be fast tracked.
News! We try and give you the most interesting news stories from the Asian boxing world!