Earlier today fight fans at Koraskuen Hall got a treat as they got a thrilling card headlined by a Japanese Super Bantamweight title bout, and also featuring several other bouts of note. The card wasn't a massive one, not by any stretch, but was a very good domestic level show.
The first bout of note saw former 2-time world title challenger Masayuki Kuroda (30-9-3, 16) [黒田雅之] return to the ring for the first time since May 2019, when he lost to Moruti Mthalane. Sadly for him however it wasn't a happy return as he was out boxed by unbeaten youngster Kantaro Juri (4-0, 2) [重里侃太朗] in an 8 rounder at Super Flyweight. Throughout the fight Juri proved to be too big, too quick, too sharp and too accurate, especially with his jab. Kuroda had moments, here and there, but they were few and far between and after 8 rounds there no questioning the decision. The judges all sided with Juri, with scores of 79-73, 78-74 and 77-75.
The second bout of note on this card ended with a genuine upset as the unheralded Taison Mukaiyama (7-2, 4) [向山太尊] scored a stoppage win over the ranked Toru Kiyota (11-5, 8) [清田亨], who entered with top 10 rankings with the JBC, OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific. Mukaiyama looked crude at times, being made to miss and losing balance early on, but in round 2 a left straight left hand stopped Kiyota. Kiyota recovered to his feet but was instantly under pressure and the referee was forced to save him just moments later. Notably Kiyota was ranked #4 in the WBO Asia Pacific rankings and this win will put Mukaiyama on the verge of a title fight of some kind.
On the subject of title fights the main event of the show as a Japanese Super Bantamweight title bout, as defending champion Gakuya Furuhashi (28-8-2, 16) [古橋大輔] faced off with Yusaku Kuga (20-5-2, 13) [久我勇作], the man he beat for the title last year. From the off this was a great fight, living up to the high expectations fans had of it. Kuga got the better of the early going, jabbing well and moving well, but Furuhashi, like he did in their first bout, kept coming forward and showed little respect to Kuga's much touted power. This lead to Furuhashi forcing Kuga to fight at a high pace, somethign that was expected to take the gas out of Kuga's tank.
In round 4 Furuhashi was left with a cut eye, from an uppercut, and after 5 rounds Kuga was leading on all 3 cards, 48-47, twice, and 49-46.
It was there that Furuhashi began to make the most of his aggression, his pressure and his work rate, as he started to get up close and get to the body of Kuga. He forced Luga to clinch, spoil and try to slow the tempo of the bout, but Furuhashi was incredibly determined to turn the bout his way, and he really got his way back in to the bout in the middle rounds, taking the lead on two of the scorecards as we went into round round 10. It was there that Kuga dug incredibly deeply and managed to narrowly out work and out battle Furuhashi. Sadly for him however it wasn't enough to take home the win.
The scores, after 10 rounds, were 95-95, twice, and 96-94 to Kuga, resulting in a majority draw, and leaving the door open to a third bout between two two men, who have know given us two amazing bouts around a year apart.
Earlier today we had a big card, promoted by Shinsei, at the EDION Arena Osaka. The card was headlined by WBC Light Flyweight champion Kenshiro Teraji [寺地 拳四朗] battling against Tetsuya Hisada [久田 哲也] (our full write up of that one can be read here), whilst the main event deserved a lot of the attention there was also plenty to talk about from the under-card.
First the original show opener, between Yuta Nakatsuji (1-1, 1) [中逵 友太] Hayato Nishimine (2-0, 1) [西峯 勇人], was cancelled this morning after a positive PCR test. The two men made weigth yesterday but sadly a positive test left the bout being scrapped.
Due to the PCR test we then saw the event kick off, on a free stream provided by Shinsei Promotions, with a match up between Daiki Asai (1-1, 1) [浅井 大貴] and Yu Konomura (10-10-2, 4) [此村 勇]. The bout was a real must win for Asai, who turned professional last year and was stopped Kyonosuke Kameda, and he shone.
Konomura wasn't there to roll over, he never has been, but he was unable to compete with the sharpness of Asai, who looked too good through out the bout. Asai controlled much of the bout with his solid skills, but was always forced to work. In round 6 the clean shots started to accumulate, with Asai rocking Konomura and then forcing the referee to step in. After the bout Asai was over-come by emotion and was seen crying in the ring, in what seemed to be a hugely cathartic moment for him and his career.
The second bout saw the touted Kantaro Juri (3-0, 2) [重里 侃太朗] score a brutal 6th round KO win over Toma Kondo (8-7-1, 1) [近藤 冬真] in what was a really entertaining bout. Through the first few rounds Juri looked sensational, picking some great punches and landing some brilliant combinations. He really looked like something special. And then it seemed like he ran his gas tank down, and in rounds 4 and 5 he looked really gassed, and like a man who was struggling with the tempo he had chosen to set. With Juri slowing Kondo began to turn the fight around, applying pressure and really giving a tired looking Juri a test. Sadly for Kondo his great effort came to an end in round 6, when he took a huge counter right hook that sent him down hard. The referee didn't issue a count. He didn't need to. Kondo was done.
In the final under-card bout we got a thriller as talented teenager Ayumu Hanada (6-0, 4) [花田 歩夢] narrowly over-came the heavy handed Mammoth Kazunori (6-4-1, 6) [マンモス和則] in a 6 rounder that is worth checking out.
Early on Hanada looked fantastic. He was sharp, he was accurate, and he was boxing smart. He picked his shots well, dropped Kazunori and looked the absolute boss. He seemed to be completely in charge through the first 3 rounds and even seemed like he could score a stoppage if he chose to put his foot on the gas. But then things changed. Kazunori, knowing he was a long way behind, stopped trying to box with Hanada and instead started looking for a KO. With every shot. He was turning this into a shoot out and it made for some amazing action as Kazunori launched big shot after big shot, and Hanada had to survive, than fire back. For the final 3 rounds this was incredible.
In the end the knockdown, scored by Hanada early on, proved vital, with Hanada winning via scores of 57-56, twice, and 58-55. Without the knockdown this would have been a majority draw.
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