Earlier today we had the first live televised card of the Japanese boxing calender, as we got the latest episode of Dynamic Glove. On paper the card didn't really grab the attention too much, but it genuinely over-delivered, giving us one of the better Dynamic Glove shows of recent years, with a bit of everything. We had action, excitement, guts, determination, controversy and a new Japanese champion being crowned on a show that was, arguably, worth the wait.
The show kicked off with a low level novice bout between Keigo Nakayama (4-2, 3) [中山慶伍] and Akira Nakajima (2-3, 1) [中島彬] and in all honesty this is how we love to see shows starting. The fight was sloppy at times, but all 4 rounds were exciting, with Nakayama bossing things for the most part, but taking his lumps through out the bout. After 4 rounds Nakayama got the deserved decision, but both men were left bloodied in a compelling 4 rounder.
We got another compelling 4 rounder afterwards as Kisato Nakaya (1-0) [中谷清彩人] took a questionable decision over fellow debutant Ryu Suzuki (0-1) [鈴木龍]. Through the bout Suzuki applied pressure, and seemed to have consistent success with that pressure, despite taking some good counter shots from Nakaya, who worked hard to make Suzuki chase him. In round 4 Nakaya looked spent, and even stumbled after the bell as his energy was running on empty, though the judges, somehow, gave him the decision. Whilst we don't agree with the decision this was a fantastic 4 rounder, and we'd love to see more of both men, especially Suzuki.
The third bout on the card was the most one-sided on the show, but some how saw both men coming out with their reputations enhanced. That was in part due to the brave determination of Sho Nagata (9-6, 2) [永田翔] who somehow managed to go the distance against Ryota Ishida (11-2, 6) [石田凌太]. That was despite being dropped within the first 20 seconds and looking like he was going to have his internal organs needing to be replace by the end of the first round. After a great start from Ishida he struggled to keep up the intensity as Nagata found space and his jab. At range Nagata had success and almost always did enough to keep Ishida honest. We say almost as there were some hairy moments late on for Nagata as he tired, but he saw out the storm and survived to the final bell. A good performance from both, and a well earned win for Ishida.
Another really interesting bout saw the determined Ren Kobayashi (4-2-1, 2) [小林廉] give second generation fighter Shinba Yamaguchi (2-0-1, 2) [山口臣馬] a really tough bout, despite the eventual result.
Yamaguchi managed to drop Kobayashi in the first, third and sixth round, with the referee stopping the bout after the third knockdown. However the fight wasn't as easy as that sounds and Yamaguchi was under intense pressure in every round, and was lucky his natural size and power could help him out here. He's clearly a very talented young fighter, but the result does cover up the trouble he had against Kobayashi's pressure, which saw Yamaguchi have problems in every round. Despite the loss we're hoping to see more of Kobayashi in the coming years, whilst Yamaguchi is likely to more into title level before his career is over, though clearly needs to make some significant tweaks to his style.
In the chief support bout we saw another bout where the loser arguably came off looking better than the winner. The bout saw Kaiki Yuba (8-1-2, 5) [湯場海樹] take an 8 round decision win over Tetsuya Kondo (6-5, 4) [近藤哲哉], but Kondo was the one who really caught the eye with his intense pressure, and determination making life very tricky for the talented Yuba.
Yuba seemed quite gun shy at times, likely the result of his TKO loss in 2021 to Jin Sasaki, and this allowed Kondo to pressure a little bit too easily at times. When Yuba did let his shots fly they looked the heavier and more eye catching, but the pressure of Kondo made him really uncomfortable and forced him to hold a lot on the inside. Thankfully for Yuba the middle rounds saw him finding his groove, and dropping Kondo in round 5, as well as hurting him several other times. This showed the effect of Yuba's power, and seemed like he was going to turn it on and take Kondo out, but Kondo gritted it out and made life tough for Yuba in the final stages, leaving the talented Yuba with a swollen left eye. The scores here, 79-72, 78-73 and 78-74, really don't reflect how competitive the bout was, and Yuba really hard to work hard for the win.
The main event of the show was expected to be something of a technical chess match as former amateur stand out Kyosuke Sawada (15-2-2, 6) [澤田京介] faced off with Kenshin Oshima (7-2-1, 3) [大嶋剣心] for the Japanese title fight. Surprisingly however it ended up being a thrilling, brutal, blood bath with both men left bloodied and bruised.
The fight started well, though it was clear looking at the two men that Oshima was the bigger man, in fact he looked 2 weight classes bigger than Sawada, however Sawada seemed the crisper, sharper boxer. The sharpness of Sawada showed through in the first minute or saw before Oshima tried to get phsyical and left us with a really exciting final 30 seconds, as he let his shots go and Sawada tried to respond.
In round 2 exchanges became a frequent thing between the two men, with both being hurt. Sawada was rocked early on, but Oshima couldn't jump on him, and soon afterwards Sawada responded, taking the fight to him, and looking genuinely pissed about being hurt. Sawada's amateur class began to shine through as he landed some excellent combinations and went hunting, finally sending Oshima stumbling into the ropes, and landing a combination before the referee could get between them to issue a count, as the ropes had clearly kept him up.
Sadly was was warming into a really good fight had a moment that changed everything in round 3 when a clash of heads left Sawada's head with a gash that immediately flowed with claret. It seemed as if the bout was, inevitably, going to be stopped, but the doctor let it continue before the two men went back to trading some big shots. Sawada landed a massive left hook, before eating an uppercut on the bell as the two men seemed to both be aware this could stop at any moment. Round 4 saw Sawada trying to change tactics and box more, brawl less, but Oshima didn't want to let Sawada fight his fight and instead did what he could to get up close, rough up Sawada, and further mess up the cut, which was turning the bout into something of a blood bath. The doctor inspected the cut again with about 80 seconds of the round left and let it continue, whilst Oshima continued to play rough.
In round 5 the cut finally forced the doctor to say enough was enough, and in fairness it did look like Sawada's corner had a pool of blood where he stool would have been. It was the right decision front he doctor, and took us to the scorecards.
The cards, which were to include the first 27 seconds of round 5, saw Oshima get the first one, 48-47, Sawada get the second, 48-46, and Sawada get the third, 48-47, to take the split decision win, and a win that will mean so much to him after the way things have gone for him in the last year, including a technical draw in a previous title fight against Ikuro Sadatsune and the cancelation of a rematch with Sadatsune.
The Fujimori Gymnasium in Hachioji might not be a big name venue for Japanese boxing but today it hosted a great day of boxing and played home to, potentially, one of the best fight we'll see all month, and one of the craziest turn arounds we'll see all year.
The bout in question was the main event of the second show of the day and saw Japanese Youth Light Welterweight champion Jin Sasaki (11-0, 10) [佐々木尽] retain his title with a win against Kaiki Yuba (7-1-2, 5) [湯場海樹]. However this was not an easy win for the teenage sensation who had ripped through opponents for fun in 2020.
From the off Sasaki tried to bring pressure, but looked wild and looked like an over-confident idiot, rushing in, missing wildly and soon afterwards Yuba began to show the gulf in boxing skills between the two men. Yuba began to find a home for his right hook, his straight left hand, using his feet and movement well and generally making Sasaki look like a crude puncher. He'd land a shot every so often, but the defending champion was taking far more than he was giving with Yuba's right hook and straight left hand landing almost at well.
Late in round 1 Yuba's clean, accurate punching paid dividends as he dropped Sasaki, though the bell came soon after the knockdown.
Had Sasaki expected the end of the round to save him he was sorely mistaken as he was dropped again at the very start of round 2 and Yuba went for the kill, getting Sasaki in the corner and wailing away at the local youngster. It was the type of flurry that we've seen end bouts before and Sasaki is luckily the referee gave him the benefit of the doubt. After taking the flurry Sasaki taunted Yuba and took a number of straight left hands from Yuba, wobbling after one of them, then slipping and touching the canvas.
It seemed the end was inevitable for Sasaki and that it was his unbeaten record that was about to go and then things changed in an instant.
Almost out of nowhere Sasaki landed a dynamite left hook, dropping Yuba hard. Yuba tried to beat the count, and got to his feet but he was out on them, giving the referee no option but to wave off the bout, saving Yuba, who seemed to be well on the way to victory before being caught by the Sasaki hook, which really did turn the bout around.
Following the bout Sasaki was joined in the ring by Andy Hiraoka (17-0, 12) [平岡アンディ], with the two men now lined up to fight for the vacant Japanese Light Welterweight title, potentially in September, in what should be another sensational and fan friendly match up.
Tomorrow fight fans in Hachioji will get the chance to atteend a brilliant day of boxing at the Fujimori Gymnasium, with two different shows taking place one after the other at the venue. The main attraction for the day is a fantastic Japanese Youth title bout at 140lbs, which will see teenage sensation Jin Sasaki (10-0, 9) [佐々木尽], defending his title for the first time, face off with Kaiki Yuba (7-0-2, 5) [湯場海樹].
Today, ahead of their bout, the two men took part in their weigh in for the contest, and both men made weight without any issues.
On the scales Sasaki was around 139.8lbs and he looked in good shape. He's very much the home fighter here, being based in Hachioji and fighting out of the Hachioji Nakaya gym, which is based not too far from the venue. He explained that it was a strange feelign to play a match so close to home, but he seemed encouraged by being the local star, and stated that he thinks his performance will be improved here, whilst also adding that he wanted to go for a KO.
In regards to the challenger Sasaki seems to be fully away about Yuba's heavy straight left hand and right hook, and seems to know that if he avoids the left hand of Yuba he should win. Interestingly he said if the men fight 10 times he'd win 8 of them, but if Yuba's straight left hand wins it's essentially anyone's fight.
Yuba, the Japanese Youth champion at Lightweight, was even further under the limit, coming in at around 139.5lbs. He explained that he wanted to join the huge number of champions at the Watanabe Gym, and he seems fully aware that a win here will really boost his future in the sport, though his career will obviously not be over if he loses.
Notably the winner of this will not just finish the weekend the Japanese Youth champion at 140lbs but will also secure themselves a shot at Andy Hiraoka (17-0, 12) [平岡アンディ] for the vacant Japanese senior title, with that potential showdown pencilled in for September.
For fans wanting to watch the show will be broadcast on the A-Sign Boxing YouTube channel from 3PM local time, and will available globally, for free!
Related - Sasaki and Yuba face off in clash of Youth Champions
(Image credit - Hachioji Nakaya Gym)
June was a funny old month for the Japanese title at 140lbs! Early in the month we saw Masahiro Suzuki (6-0, 4) [鈴木 雅弘] score a TKO win over Daishi Nagata (15-3-2, 6) [永田大士] to claim the title, and soon afterwards it was announced that fellow unbeaten Andy Hiraoka (17-0, 12) [平岡アンディ] would get a shot at the title as the mandatory challenger. Rather than planning that fight however Suzuki and his team stated what was pretty obvious, Suzuki wasn't a Light Welterweight and instead of staying at 140lbs he announced he was going to vacate the title and compete at his natural weight class, 135lbs.
That left us with a vacant title and a mandatory contender for the title, in Hiraoka, but no opponent for the unbeaten Ohashi and Top Rank promoted youngster.
Today we found out who Hiraoka would be fighting for in that eventual title fight. Or rather we found out he would be up against one of two men!
That's because it was announced today that Hiraoka's Japanese title fight will come against the winner of the July 17th Youth title bout between Jin Sasaki (10-0, 9) [佐々木尽] and Kaiki Yuba (7-0-2, 5) [湯場海樹], who clash at the Fujimori Gymnasium in just over 2 weeks time. The winner is then expected to face Hiraoka in the fall, with a September date seeming the most likely for the bout.
It was also confirmed today that the Sasaki Vs Yuba bout would be streamed live on A-Sign Boxing's YouTube channel, and it appears likely that the eventual Japanese title bout will be shown live on pay TV service Hikari TV, which is sadly only available in Japan.
Whilst Suzuki's reign was disappointing it's great to see both Sasaki Vs Yuba, and the winner of that against Hiraoka, and that's the type of excitement the Japanese scene at 140lbs really deserves, especially given that all 3 are exciting, hard hitting youngsters, wanting to boost their careers in a big way.
In 2020 Japanese youngster Jin Sasaki (10-0, 9) [佐々木尽] went from being a rather unknown, but exciting, prospect to one of the countries must watch fighters, bringing his heavy hands and explosive aggression to the ring every time he fought. During the year he captured JBC Youth honours and became the face of the A-Sign boxing product, and the star of the Hachioji Nakaya Boxing Gym.
We had hoped to see Sasaki kick off his 2021 campaign this coming weekend, but sadly his bout, along with many others, was scrapped due to the venue they had planned to use being closed, under the current State of Emergency in Tokyo.
Sadly that meant he, and his scheduled opponent Kaiki Yuba (7-0-2, 5) [湯場海樹], were left awaiting a new date for their Japanese Youth Light Welterweight title fight. Thankfully we now know when that bout will take place! And whilst it's quite a while away it does give us another date to mark down on the calendar.
Today it was announced that the bout was set to take place on July 17th. The event will be held at the Fujimori Gymnasium in Hachioji City, and will start at 3PM local time.
For Sasaki this will be his first defense of the title, which he won last December when he battered Aso Ishiwaki in 3 rounds. As for Yuba, the son of former 5 weight Japanese national champion, this is a chance for him to become a 2-weight Japanese Youth champion, adding to his JBC Youth Lightweight title.
The show is supposed to be streamed live on A-Sign Boxing, and will feature a number of notable hopefuls on the under-card.
Interestingly this show will actually follow an East Japan Rookie of the Year card at the same venue. From what we understand that Rookie of the Year card will also be streamed live, and will then be made available to watch on demand on Boxing Raise.
News! We try and give you the most interesting news stories from the Asian boxing world!