Earlier today it was announced that OPBF Welterweight champion Riku Nagahama (12-3-1, 4) [長濱 陸] would be making his first defense on January 16th at Korakuen Hall as part of a "Dynamic Glove" card, to be televised by G+.
The talented Nagahama won the title back in February, when he upset Japanese-Afghan Kudura Kaneko, taking a wide decision over the then 11-0 Kaneko. Since then however Nagahama has been unable to build on the win due to the on going global situation and his moment has understandably slowed. It's a shame as that win was one that seemed ready to launch his career forward, and was a 4th successive win for the 2015 All Japan Rookie of the Year.
Despite taking a while to return to the ring he's not facing an easy first challenger, instead he will be up against the very capable Ryota Toyoshima (12-2-1, 8) [豊嶋亮太], who won the All Japan Rookie of the Year in 2016.
The challenger comes into this bout on the back of 5 straight wins, including victories over Moon Hyun Yun and Woo Min Won. He'll be the slight under-dog but is very much a live under-dog here in a very evenly matched bout.
As well as the OPBF title bout the card is stacked with touted novices with several promising debutants from the Kadoebi gym on the show.
One of those debutants is Flyweight hopeful Teruya Iimura (0-0) [飯村 樹輝弥], who will be debuting in a 6 rounder against 35 year old Daisuke Yamada (6-5, 1) [山田大輔]. The 22 year old Iimura is regarded as one of the best youngsters at the Kadoebi gym and went a very impressive 68-13 in the amateurs, whilst coming runner up in the 2018 National Athletic meet.
Another of the debutants is 22 year old Super Bantamweight Jun Ikegawa (0-0) [池側 純], who went 51-15 in the unpaid ranks and was hugely impressive in terms of his skills and promise. He'll be up against 23 year old Kakeru Yoshikawa (4-1-2) [吉川 翔], in what looks like a genuine test over 6 rounds.
A third touted prospect is 21 year old Yugo Kon (0-0) [今 優吾], who went 23-11 in the unpaid ranks and will be kicking off his career with a 6 rounder against 24 year old Koji Tsurumi (4-3-1, 1) [鶴海 高士]. Kon isn't as highly as regarded as the two debutants mentioned above, but is younger than those two and is certainly still very well though of.
One other bout of note is an all debutant affair between Yudai Murakami (0-0) [村上 雄大], from the Kadoebi Gym, and Naoki Shimizu (0-0) [清水 直樹], of the MT Gym, who clash in a 4 round bout at Lightweight. Despite being a 4 rounder both of these youngsters were able to run up credible amateur records, with Murakami going 29-6 and Shimizu running up a 14-7 tally. We expect this to be a pretty decent match up given their experienced in the unpaid ranks.
It's not often that we get to see Japanese, OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific titles unified, though on December 14th we'll get one such chance in the main event of Slugfest 16.
Earlier today Kadoebi announced that the line for their December Slugfest and the main event will see three titles being unified at Super Flyweight, and the rest of the card will also feature several other really interesting bouts as supporting contests.
The main event will see Japanese Super Flyweight champion Kenta Nakagawa (19-3-1, 12) [中川 健太] clash with WBO Asia Pacific champion Ryoji Fukunaga (12-4, 12) [福永亮次, with the vacant OPBF title also on the line.
For Nakagawa the bout will serve as he second defense of his second reign as the national champion, after re-claiming the title last December when he beat Takayuki Okumoto by decision, and will see him looking to build on July's win over mandatory challenger Yuta Matsuo. As for Fukunaga the bout will be his first since winning the title in February, when he upset Froilan Saludar.
In the chief support bout we'll see the once touted Hiroki Okada (19-2, 13) [岡田 博喜] take on the always tricky Izuki Tomioka (7-3-1, 2) [富岡樹], in a real must win for both men.
Okada is looking to bounce back from back to back stoppage losses in the US, where he was beaten by Raymundo Beltran and Javier Molina. As a result of those losses he is now win-less in over 2 years , and hasn't fought in Japan since May 2018. Tomioka on the other hand is looking to bounce back after a TKO loss in February to Shuichiro Yoshino in a Japanese title fight.
Another interesting looking bout on this show will see OPBF and JBC ranked Lightweight Masahiro Suzuki (4-0, 2) [鈴木雅弘] taking on the returning Jumbo Oda Nobunaga Shoten Petagine (10-5, 8) [ジャンボおだ信長本屋ペタジーニ], who hasn't fought since losing in an OPBF title fact back in July 2017. We've been impressed by Suzuki at times and this should serve as a good test to see what he has in his locker.
Another good looking supporting bout will see JBC ranked Super Bantamweight Matcha Nakagawa (13-2-1, 5) [中川 抹茶] battling against 21 year old hopeful will battle Ryo Suwa (11-3, 2) [諏訪 亮].
One other bout worthy of note will see talented Middleweight hopeful Mikio Sakai (2-0) [酒井幹生] battling against 35 year old veteran Toshihiro Kai (6-11-3, 2) [甲斐斗志広], in what should serve as a good chance for Sakai to get some rounds under his belt against a limited, but experienced foe.
Earlier today a trio of Kadoebi Gym fighters pass their B license protests, becoming the latest string of promising former Japanese amateurs to turn to the professional game.
One of the trio was 22 year old Teruya Iimura [飯村 樹輝弥], who went 68-13 in the amateurs and came runner up in the 2018 National Sports Festival, at Flyweight. Set to fight at Light Flyweight, and with Ricardo Lopez regarded as an influence Iimura was a very talented amateur and the captain of his university boxing team.
Another 22 year old was Jun Ikegawa [池側 純], who went a similarly impressive 51015 in the unpaid amateurs, and came 3rd place in a National Athletic Meet. As with Iimura he was also the captain of his University team and will be competing as a Bantamweight, or Super Bantamweight, in the professional ranks. He's a southpaw who is expected to settle in to the professional ranks quickly.
The youngest of the trio was 20 year old Yugo Kon [今 優吾], who was also the least experienced of the trio, by far. As an amateur Kon went 23-11 and really shined in 2016, when he was in High School. Like Ikegawa he's going to be fighting at Bantamweight, but his development in the professional ranks is likely to be much slower than his stablemate.
After the trio had passed the test a press conference took place with the trio speaking to the press.
Iimura looked incredibly impress in the sparring part of his test, with high level skills and brilliant body shots. He spoke like a man who wanted to be moved quickly and aggressively.
Ikegawa also spoke about wanting to move quickly and seemed to praise the conditions at the Kadoebi gym, explaining that the training environment is good, and that there is a number of good fighters, essentially explaining why he joined the gym despite previously being based in Osaka.
Kon revealed that his aim is win a Japanese title before progressing to world titles. He dropped out of university to turn professional and we wouldn't be surprised to see him perhaps go for the Japanese Youth title at some point as he probably does need more time than the other two men.
The last few months have, for obvious reasons, not seen much boxing taking place anywhere. Thankfully in the last few weeks we have seen the sport begin to dip it's toes into the world of "the new normal", with more events planned, and more being announced almost daily.
Today Kadoebi confirmed some details of a future they will be holding in August.
The Kadoebi Boxing Gym have confirmed that the show will take place on August 19th and one of the bouts on the card will see Masanori Rikiishi (7-1, 4) [佐藤政法] take on Yuichiro Kasuya (13-2-2, 4) [粕谷雄一郎], in what is a a major Japanese bout at Lightweight and will push the winner to the verge of a national title fight.
One of the chief under-card bouts will see popular Japanese-Brazilian Cristiano Aoqui (14-9-2, 10) [アオキ クリスチャーノ] taking on Fumisuke Kimura (9-5-1, 6) [木村文祐] in an 8 rounder at 140lbs. This is a match up between two Japanese ranked fighters and the winner will move towards a title fight of some kind.
Another under-card bout will see Ryo Tanimoto (5-3, 3) [谷本涼] battle Kaito Okubo (4-1, 1) [大久保海都] in a 6 round Featherweight bout.
Arguably the most interesting bit of news is that the show will be headlined by world ranked Flyweight Ryota Yamauchi (6-1, 5) [山内涼太]. His opponent hasn't been confirmed for the show, yet, but it's assumed it will be a high level opponent with Yamauchi expected to be moved into a world title fight sooner, rather than later.
There's not much news for us to report, still, due to issues affecting the entire globe and obviously limiting the amount of boxing that is going on. Sadly the news we do get tends to be disappointing news, and that's the case again today.
Today we have been informed that Slugfest 14, the Kadoebi promoted show that expected to take place on May 19th as the show of boxing's potential return to Japan, has now been postponed.
The show has been pushed back from May 19th to June 18th, though it now seems likely the show will have other changes potentially made to is before it takes place.
As we seem to be saying a lot recently, things are very much ever changing at the moment, though to see this show pushed back this early would suggest we're to expect some more rather substantial changes in the Japanese boxing calendar in the coming weeks.
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