The ever useful Watanabe Gym fight scheduled has been a valuable source of information regarding future bouts in recent weeks. One of the more notable recent additions is the next bout of talented Shu Utsuki (6-0, 5) [宇津木秀] and female hopeful Kanako Taniyama (2-1-1, 1) [谷山佳菜子], who are now both pencilled in for a Korakuen Hall show on October 30th.
Utsuki's opponent is set to be Takayuki Sakai (9-2-2, 6) [酒井 孝之], in what looks a pretty decent bout given that Utsuki will have been out of the ring for exactly 12 months, the long period of in activity in his career. The hope had been for him to fight for a title in 2020, though that's now clearly looking like an impossibility.
Utsuki is very highly touted, and is seen as one of the many promising prospects at the Watanabe gym. He's shown himself to be very heavy handed, technically solid and has scored 4 stoppages in a row, including wins over Da Xu, Jerry Castroverde and Omrri Bolivar.
Sakai on the other hand has been a professional since 2015 and had been riding an 8 fight unbeaten streak until being stopped in 4 rounds by Yuichiro Kasuya last August. Although not tipped as a star he's certainly a capable fighter and scored a good win over Pharanpetch Tor Buamas in December 2018.
As for Taniyama her opponent will be Rena Koizumi (3-2, 2) [小泉 礼奈].
Taniyama turned professional in 2018 with some expectations on her shoulders after a success amateur career. After winning her first two professional bouts she has failed to win either of her last two, having a controversial and a razor thin technical decision loss, both to Tomoko Okuda.
Koizumi on the other hand is riding a 2 fight winning streak at the moment, but will be regarded as the under-dog here.
As with all bouts right now, things are subject to change, and these may end up being cancelled, but it is something to look forward to, with Utsuki in particular being one to watch.
Last September we saw a bout for the Japanese female Bantamweight title and the OPBF Female Banamtamweight title end in a draw as the unbeaten Kanako Taniyama (2-1-1, 1) [谷山 佳菜子] was controversially denied victory against Tomoko Okuda (6-2-2, 1) [奥田朋子] in Okuda's home city of Sakai.
Today the two women rematched in Tokyo, and again the judges were called into action in what was a bout that swung from one direction to the other.
In the first fight it was regularly Taniyama forcing the pace and tempo, but this time around the Watanabe Gym fighter seemed happy to prove she could strike at range whilst it was Okuda who looked to get inside, and land counter rights on her way in.
From the opening round Taniyama looked to control the distance and repeatedly found a home for her right hand up top. It was a good game plan but not one she could maintain and by the end of round 3 it was clear both women were feeling the pace, and the action was beginning to get sloppy.
The sloppiness began to suit Okuda more, as she let shots go in the clinches that were happening, with a lot of messy action in round 4. That bred more success for Okuda who continued pressing and landing clean, and heavy counters. In fact the power seemed very much with Okuda who landed the much hard looking shots.
After 4 rounds the scores were level on 2 cards and Okuda was up, 39-37 on the third.
In round 6 a clash of heads left Taniyama with a cut above her left eye which the doctor inspected at the start of round 7. The cut seemed to inspire Taniyama to be more aggressive and she began the round hammering off shots but was caught by clean shots herself as she looked to turn back in her favour. Soon afterwards however the cut re-opened forcing an early conclusion as we went to the scorecards.
At the conclusion of the contest Okuda was favoured by all 3 judges, with scores of 68-65 and 67-66, twice, to take the unanimous decision and both the JBC Female and OPBF Female the titles.
At tomorrow's Dangan card we'll see a lot of interesting bouts, one of which is a Japanese female Bantamweight title bout as the unbeaten Kanako Taniyama (2-0-1, 1) [谷山 佳菜子] battles with Tomoko Okuda (5-2-2, 1) [奥田朋子] in their second bout. The two women fought to a controversial draw last year, leaving the title vacant.
Today the two fighters took part in their weigh in and both fighters made the 118lb limit with no issues at all.
Okuda was well under the limit at around 117.25lbs and spoke about how sh was able to prepare injury free for this bout. She seemed very lucky to get the draw in the first bout between the fighters, and has clearly worked hard to prepare for this one, as she spoke about the fighters she had been training with.
Taniyama was even further under the limit, coming in just over 117lbs. She spoke about settling the score for their 2019 draw and explained that she was going to fight like a tiger.
For fans wanting to watch this bout it will be shown live on boxing raise.
Related - Taniyama and Okuda face off again for Japanese female title!
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Fans of female boxing have had an amazing week of action. Not only did they have the brilliant Victoriva 5 card last week and the fantastic Amanda Serrano Vs Heather Hardy war but they also got another treat today.
Today fans in Sakai City saw Kanako Taniyama (2-0-1, 1) [谷山 佳菜子] and Tomoko Okuda (5-2-2, 1) [奥田朋子] compete in a war for the vacant OPBF and Japanese female Bantamweight titles.
By war, we really do mean a war, with both fighters taking significant punishment in a pulsating, action packed 8 round contest that saw neither woman taking home the win, but both taking home swelling, bruises and a world of pain.
The opening round was a Taniyama round, as she made the most of her solid right hand, and jabbed well to the body. Okuda would respond well in the following round finding a home for her counters, and from then on the fight became a gruelling back and forth battle, that saw neither fighter really able to stamp their control on the action.
After 4 rounds the scores, from all 3 judges, were 38-38. Even at this early stage the solid blows were taking their toll on both fighters but we were only half way through the bout, and both knew they'd have to do more to take home the win. This saw both begin to trade more blows in center ring. The trading put the fans on the edge of their seat, but took it's toll on both women who seemed exhausted in the 8th round.
After the final bell the scorecards left the bout with no winner. Two judges scored the contest even, 76-76, whilst the third had Taniyama taking the win 78-74, sweeping the last half of the bout.
Following the majority draw both fighters indicated that they were willing to have a rematch, though we suspect that both will take time to recover from today's battle before fighting again.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Tomorrow in Sakai City, Osaka, fans will get the chance to see a new Japanese female Bantamweight champion being crowned.
The title became vacant earlier this year, when the talented Miyo Yoshida moved up to world class and took the WBO female Super Flyweight title.
To fill the vacancy we'll see former kick boxing star Kanako Taniyama (2-0, 1) [谷山 佳菜子] take on Tomoko Okuda (5-2-1, 1) [奥田朋子] in what looks like an interesting domestic level title bout.
Today Taniyama and Okuda took part in their weigh in and both fighters made the 118lb limit with no issues.
On the scales Taniyama was the heavier fighter, coming in around 117.75lbs whilst Okuda was 117lbs. Despite the lighter fighter Okuda was the naturally taller fighter, having a few inches in height on her opponent. Both showed respect to their opponent, but they also seemed confident in what they had been doing in training.
Related-Taniyama and Okuda battle for female Bantamweight title!
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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