Back in February we reported that the once beaten Kai Ishizawa (6-1, 6) [石澤開] would be back in action on March 6th card at Korakuen Hall, as part of the "Golden Child 128" show.
At the time there was no opponent set for Ishizawa, though since then things have changed and we've been informed that his opponent will be Filipino Youth Minimumweight champion Jonathan Almacen (7-3-2, 2).
The hard hitting, and incredibly exciting, Ishizawa was last seen losing in a Japanese title eliminator to Masataka Taniguchi (12-3, 7) [谷口 将隆], in what was a thrilling action fight. We expected him to have an easy return to the ring but in reality this is a solid test for the 23 year old Ishizawa.
Although not a big name Almacen is no push over. The "Pretty Boy" is 20 years old and all 3 of his losses have come to unbeaten opponents, with a competitive decision loss to Jayson Vayson, a majority loss to ArAr Andales and an opening round loss to Robert Paradero. As for his wins he scored a 2018 victory over Xiang Li and a 2019 win over Roldan Sasan, both of which are solid victories and make it clear he will be a live under-dog against Ishizawa.
This should prove to be a very interesting match up, and much better than we expected following Ishizawa's loss to Taniguchi.
Earlier today we were informed of details regarding a March 6th card at Korakuen Hall. The card, "Golden Child 128", isn't a big one but does feature a number of notable hopefuls on it, including two young hopefuls from the MT Gym who are both going to be looking to make a mark in 2020.
The more notable of the two is the once beaten Kai Ishizawa (6-1, 6) [石澤開], who will be in an 8 round bout at a contracted 48.5KG's, which is around 107lbs. At the time of writing Ishizawa's opponent isn't known but this will be his first fight since losing in a Japanese title eliminator in 2019 to Masataka Taniguchi (12-3, 7) [谷口 将隆].
The other will be Shigetoshi Kotari (1-0, 1) [神足 茂利], who is scheduled in a 6 rounder at 58KG's, which is just over the Featherweight limit. As with his MT Stablemate his opponent hasn't been named for this card. Although not a huge name Kotari is regarded as an excellent prospect after a 50-23 amateur record, and should be on the radar of fans who want to get in on the ground level with prospects.
Despite the two MT Gym fighters being the focus of this article it's worth noting that the main event of the card will see Takahiro Fujii (11-6-1, 3) [藤井貴博] taking on 36 year old Akira Kokubo (8-9-3, 2) [小久保聡], in an 8 round Flyweight bout.
In the first of 3 major bouts on Boxing Raise today we saw a Japanese Minimumweight title eliminator, as the exciting youngster Kai Ishizawa (6-1, 6) [石澤開] battled former world title challenger Masataka Taniguchi (12-3, 7) [谷口 将隆] in what turned out to be an incredibly, action packed war.
The first round saw both men have some notable success. Taniguchi looked to keep the bout at range, but was dragged inside and rocked as Ishizawa's power proved to be legitimate. To his credit Taniguchi stayed up-right, just, but was clearly hurt for a second. He then showed more respect to the youngster and began to fight at mid-range, and had real success with his straight land and 2-handed combinations that left Ishizawa unable to get inside.
Round 2 was a clear one for Taniguchi, who controlled it through out and he was even more dominant in a brilliant third round that saw him cutting Ishizawa's right eye and hammering him with straight left hands and keeping Ishizawa handcuffed as he set a high work rate. Not everything Taniguchi was thrown with intent, but it kept the youngster at range and prevented Ishizawa from getting inside, where he needed to be.
After really taking a lot of punishment Ishizawa managed to have some success in round 4, as Taniguchi began to get a little too close. Taniguchi was momentarily rocked, but came back, doing enough to win the round and learn his lesson, Ishizawa wasn't done. That lesson would be shown again in round 5, as Ishizawa began to come on strong, and Taniguchi seemed to begin to slow. Late in the round an Ishizawa combination sent Taniguchi down, securing a huge knockdown for the youngster and began a huge momentum shift.
The confidence that Ishizawa's knockdown had injected into his fighting showed up early in round 6 as he amped up the pressure, and began to find Taniguchi's head with clean, hard shots. Taniguchi fought back, bravely, but was now fighting Ishizawa's fight as the two traded on the inside, in what was a disgustingly brutal and beautifully violent round that saw both men being rocked! At one point it seemed Ishizawa was about done, but he roared back in the final moments. The brutality and all action nature of round 6 continued into the 7th, it was less a new round and instead a continuation of what the fight had become. Sadly for Ishizawa it seemed that his energy reserves were running low and Taniguchi took back control, relying on his experience to out box, out punch and out battle the younger man.
Knowing he was behind Ishizawa fought round 8 like a man who knew he had to score a KO. He was taking risks, bringing pressure and letting his hands go. He knew he had to see off Taniguchi to get the win, and he wasn't going to go down without trying. Taniguchi however wasn't going to roll over and instead he stood his ground and played his part in another thrilling round that saw him end the contest with a huge combination. Taniguchi could have ran, could have played safety, but instead he fought like he also wanted a knockout and gave the fans another brilliant round.
As we went to the bell Taniguchi celebrated, knowing he'd done enough whilst Ishizawa went back to his corner, accepting the defeat before it was official. The scores confirmed what we already knew, Taniguchi had won, and secured himself a Japanese title fight in 2020, at the Champion Carnival. The scores were 77-74, twice, and 78-74, all in his favour.
For Taniguchi the win keeps him in the title mix whilst Ishizawa will bounce back from this loss with a lot of questions answered. Sadly Ishizawa's lack of experience showed through, but few can his effort. For both fighters this was a painful war, but one that will have done them no harm at all with fans. A genuine fight of the year contender, and round 6 should be in the conversation as the best round of the year. A truly incredible fight.
Tomorrow subscribers to the Boxing Raise service will get the chance to see an excellent Japanese title eliminator, as the exciting Kai Ishizawa (6-0, 6) [石澤開] takes on former world title challenger Masataka Taniguchi (11-3, 7) [谷口 将隆]. The winner of the bout will enter 2020 as the mandatory challenger, and will compete in the Champion Carnival next year.
Today the two men took part in their weigh in for the contest, and both looked in amazing condition for the bout, with both looking genuinely shredded.
On the scales Ishizawa, the short of the two men, was bang on the 105lb limit whilst Taniguchi was a little bit lighter, coming in closer to 104.7lbs for the contest.
At the weigh in Taniguchi revealed his weight loss had gone better this time than it had earlier in the year, when he lost to Vic Saludar. He seemed to be driven by his loss to Saludar and was determined to get back to winning ways. Ishizawa described his condition as perfect and whilst he added he wasn't too bothered about the perfect KO record he's got, he was focus on having an exciting fight, and doesn't want to be involved in a boring contest just because it's at Minimumweight. Having watched Ishizawa's rise it's fair to say he's yet to have a boring fighter thank to his aggression, power and style, and we don't see that changing here.
Related - Taniguchi and Ishizawa meet in Japanese title eliminator
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
In August Boxing Raise, sadly, under-delivered. For September however it looks like they are looking to make up for that a poor month with 9 cards in total being added to their service, including 4 that are going to be made free to none member and 5 that are members only, with 1 card being live.
The first of the cards will be the September 12th Victoriva 5 show, featuring 2 female world title fights. The service will then get 5 of the cards from from September 15th and 16th. On paper those cards aren't amazing, but 2 of them are Rookie of the Year cards, which will be available for free, another is headlined by Masanori Rikiishi (6-1, 4) [佐藤政法] battling Freddy Fonseca (27-3-1, 18) and another will be headlined by WBO Asia Pacific Middleweight champion Yuki Nonaka (33-10-3, 10) [野中 悠樹] defending against South Korean puncher Yang Hyun Min (8-2, 7) [양현민].
Those shows are expected to be posted through the month, despite all taking place in such a limited amount of time.
We get the one live card for the month on September 21st and it's a cracker. It will feature a Japanese Super Bantamweight title bout, pitting champion Yusaku Kuga (18-3-1, 11) [久我勇作] against Yosuke Fujihara (18-6, 5) [藤原陽介], a WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight title fight between Tsubasa Murachi (4-0, 3) [村地翼] and former world title challenger Froilan Saludar (30-3-1, 21), and an excellent Japanese title eliminator between Kai Ishizawa (6-0, 6) [石澤開] and former world title challenger Masataka Taniguchi (11-3, 7) [谷口 将隆]. This is a great card, and we're incredibly grateful for the fact it will be streamed live.
We then end the month with two more Rookie shows, that will be made free to view, likely in early October.
This is a great month to be a subscriber, and a great month even if your not, thanks to all the free content the service is making available!
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