Earlier today we had a notable card at Korakuen Hall, featuring the debut of a touted youngster, along with 3 interesting international bouts and a regional title bout in the main event.
The first of the noteworthy bouts was the debut of Toshihiro Suzuki (1-0, 1) [鈴木 稔弘], who was a stellar amateur and is expected to go on to big things over the coming years. Here he made a cameo appearance in his debut, as he stopped Thai visitor Pornthep Wadngam (4-3, 3) in just 25 seconds. The Thai was dropped after 8 seconds and whilst he beat the count he didn't last much longer, being dropped on to the canvas for a second time before the referee waved off the bout.
Another Japanese local who stopped a Thai visitor was 19 year old Kai Watanabe (8-0-1, 4) who stopped fellow teenager Atipbodee Srikao (4-2, 2) in 4 rounds. This was really competitive early on, and the Thai came to fight, having success in rounds 1 and two, but in round 4 a huge uppercut dropped Srikao with the bout being stopped just moments later.
Another bout with an international vibe saw the criminally under-rated Ryo Nakai (5-1-1, 2) [中井 龍] continue his climb up the ranks as he defeated Filipino visitor Jess Rhey Waminal (14-6-1, 8), with an 8 round shut out decision. The talented, and often over-looked Nakai, controlled the action through out with his busy jab, good footwork and sharp combinations. Waminal was never discouraged, and looked to land big shots through out, but was made to look second best for pretty much every minute of every round here as Nakai took a huge step towards getting his maiden title fight.
The co-feature was another Japan Vs Philippines bout, as 24 year old Japanese hopeful Ryuto Owan (9-1, 6) [大湾 硫斗]defeated Filipino veteran Mark Anthony Geraldo (38-11-3, 19). Owan controlled much of the bout, but did face some of Geraldo's veteran tactics, with the Filipino being deducted a point for fouls in round 6. In the later stages of the bout Owan slowed down and Geraldo did enough to take a round in the later stages, but it wasn't enough with all 3 judges scoring the bout 79-72 to Owan.
In the main event we saw criminally over-looked Yoshimitsu Kimura (14-2-1, 9) [木村吉光] claim the WBO Asia Pacific Super Featherweight title with a TKO win over Kanehiro Nakagawa (11-7, 5) [中川兼玄], who was stopped with just 31 seconds of the bout remaining. Though out the bout it was clear that Kimura was a little bit too good for his man in every area, but Nakagawa had the drive, the fire and the heart to to try and make Kimura work hard. Nakagawa was never there to just make up the numbers, but as the rounds went on Kimura began to open up a big gap on the back of his clean punching, and consistent success going forward. In round 5 Nakagawa was dropped for the first time, though bounced back well in round 6, one of his best rounds. Nakagawa was down again in round 9, and once again bounced back determined. Sadly though for Nakagawa his effort came at an expense to his stamina and he was dropped a third time, in round 12, in part due to exhaustion, with the referee immediately stopping the bout. Despite a great effort Nakagawa was down 107-100, 106-101 and 108-99 prior to the stoppage.
Earlier today it was announced that Yoshimitsu Kimura (13-2-1, 8) [木村吉光] would be returning to the ring on August 30th to face off with Kanehiro Nakagawa (11-6, 5) [中川兼玄] in a bout for the WBO Asia Pacific Super Featherweight title.
The two men attended a press conference earlier today to announce the bout which has come about due to no date being set for a rescheduled bout between Kimura and French warrior Samir Ziani (33-3-1, 8), who were supposed to fight in May but financial issues forced the bout to be cancelled at short notice.
The bout is, interesting, a rematch between two men who fought back in 2017. In their first bout the then unbeaten Kimura took a hard decision over Nakagawa, who fell to 4-5 and didn't look like he was going to mount a serious charge with his career. Since then Kimura has gone on to win the OPBF Super Featherweight title, beating Kosuke Saka for it late last year, and pushed Hironori Mishiro all the win in an instant classic in 2019. As for Nakagawa he has gone 8-1 since their first bout, scoring notable wins over Seiichi Okada, Ryuto Araya, Ken Osato, Taiki Minamoto and Shinnosuke Hasegawa.
At the press conference Kimura admitted that his motivation did drop after the issues with the Ziani bout being cancelled, but due to Nakagawa being a strong fighter he understands he needs to be focused on this contest, and looks to claim the second title of his career. As for Nakagawa he admitted his focus was on getting revenge for the loss to Kimura, and making the most of getting a title fight, after needing to pull out of a scheduled bout in April against Japanese champion Kosuke Saka.
Tomorrow fight fans in Osaka will be able to see a very interesting looking Japanese Super Flyweight title bout as veterans, and former champions, Hiroyuki Kudaka (28-18-4, 11) [久髙寛之] and Kenta Nakagawa (20-4-1, 12) [中川健太] battle for the title that was vacated by Ryoji Fukunaga [福永亮次].
On the scales both men were bang on the 115lb weight limit and both looked in fantastic shape for the bout, and very much up for the contest, which both will know could be their last major bout.
After making weight Nakagawa, a 2-time champion, stated "The weight loss was tough, but it went down smoothly. The condition is perfect,". He also spoke about his much-vaunted left hand stating "I've put out (Thunder Left), but I haven't hit it in recent games. Only God knows if it will hit tomorrow. I'm looking forward to it. Please keep it". Notably he's the away fighter for this bout, travelling from Tokyo to Osaka for the contest.
As for Kudaka, himself a 1-time former champion, explained that he was "I'm standing firmly and calm", and he showed the aura of a veteran, which he is as this will be his 51st professional bout. He also spoke about the bout, explaining, "I can't imagine what it will be like tomorrow, but in the end Take it to your own pace. Don't think about the future. Focus only on winning tomorrow's game. "
Sadly a planned Japanese Super Featherweight bout, between hard hitting champion Kosuke Saka (21-6, 18) [坂晃典] and #1 ranked challenger Kanehiro Nakagawa (11-6, 5) [中川兼玄], which was also supposed to be on this card, has been cancelled after Nakagawa suffered an injury.
Related - Kudaka and Nakagawa clash for Japanese title!
Earlier today news broke from Japan that we would be seeing a new Japanese Super Flyweight being crowned on April 23rd at the EDION Arena Osaka, as Nakazato gym announced a bout for the currently vacant title. The bout for the title will see their fighter Hiroyuki Kudaka (28-18-4, 11) [久髙寛之] battle against Kenta Nakagawa (20-4-1, 12) [中川健太], in a bout for one of the titles vacated late last year by Ryoji Fukunaga [福永亮次].
Coming in to the bout Hisataka is ranked #1 by the JBC, thanks to his 2021 win over Ryusei Kawaura. Aged 36 he is best known for coming up short in 4 world title fights between 2008 and 2013, losing to Takefumi Sakata, Denkaosan Kaovichit, Hugo Fidel Cazares and Omar Andres Narvaez. Despite losing in 4 world title fights, the "Sexy Soldier" has managed to win other titles through his career, including the Japanese Super Flyweight title, which he won in 2018 and held for almost 4 months before losing it in his first defense.
Nakagawa on the other hand is ranked #2 by the JBC and is looking to become a 3-time Japanese champion. He has earned this shot thanks to a 2021 win over Ayato Hiromoto, and has previous held the title thanks to wins over Hayato Kimura and Takayuki Okumoto. Sadly for him both of his reigns so far have been short, with just a single successful defense across his two title reigns.
The bout will take place on a card which also features a Japanese Super Featherweight bout, with hard hitting champion Kosuke Saka (21-6, 18) [坂晃典] defending his title against #1 ranked challenger Kanehiro Nakagawa (11-6, 5) [中川兼玄].
Earlier today it was announced that Japanese Super Featherweight champion Kosuke Saka (21-6, 18) [坂晃典] would be returning to the ring on April 23rd to defend his title against #1 ranked challenger Kanehiro Nakagawa (11-6, 5) [中川兼玄], in what is set to be a very interesting match up.
Of the two men Saka is the much more well known, and is a 2-weight Japanese champion, having previously held the Japanese Featherweight title before winning the Super Featherweight title in 2019. Sadly since winning the title he has only defended it once, scoring an eye catching TKO win over Takuya Watanabe, and was really made to look second rate last time out, losing in 3 rounds in an OPBF title fight against Yoshimitsu Kimura.
In the ring the champion is a huge puncher, but a flawed fighter, who has been stopped 3 times in his last 8 bouts, and 4 times in total. Whilst he's not a glass cannon as such, he is very much a fighter who appears to be a front runner, and someone who loves to give, but not receive.
As for Nakagawa this will be his first title fight, but one he has earned the hard way. He started his career 4-5 (3) and has gone 7-1 (2) since then, with notable wins over the likes of Seiichi Okada, Taiki Minamoto and Shinnosuke Hasegawa, with those wins boosting his Japanese ranking and earning him this fight. Notably he has been stopped twice, which is a worry against a fighter like Saka, but those were in his first and 7th bout, and he has shown a good chin since then, most notably in his war with Minamoto.
At the time of writing no other bouts have been announced for this show, which will take place at the EDION Arena Osaka.
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