Earlier today Ohashi gym put on their latest show, with a notable low level card at Korakuen Hall. The card wasn't a huge one, but it was an interesting one, with a number of very interesting match ups.
The first of the notable bouts saw the unbeaten Honoka Kano (4-0-2, 2) [狩野ほのか] score her 4th win, as she defeated Megumi Hosoda (3-4, 1) [細田めぐみ] in a clash between two JBC ranked female fighters. These two had clashed last year, fighting to a draw, but this time around Kano was in control, being too accurate, too sharp, and too quick. She fought well, and was well deserving of her clear decision victory.
Another notable bout saw youngster Kosuke Tomioka (5-2, 4) [富岡 浩介] end a 2-fight losing run as he over-came the debuting Kotoji Irita (0-1) [入田 琴司] in the 6th round of their clash. This was high level stuff from two talented southpaws, started off cagey but picked up the face as the fight went on. By round 5 Tomioka seemed to be landing the better shots and seemed to be breaking Irita down, and early in round 6 Tomioka managed to back Irita into the corner, letting shots go before the referee stepped in to save Irita.
In a very notable supporting bout Ryo Nakai (4-1-1, 2) [中井 龍] scored the biggest win of his career, as he stopped veteran Ribo Takahata (17-10-1, 7) [高畑 里望] in 5 rounds. Nakai was sharp from the off, going to the body of his older, taller foe, whilst Takahata tried to fight back from the inside. In round 2 Nakai began to get in and out of range, as he went through the gears. From there Takahata never managed to get back into the fight and was slowly broken down by Nakai, who closed the show in round 5 when he unleashed on Takahata, who was stuck on the ropes. This was the break out performance that Nakai's career needed and will see him break into the Japanese rankings.
In the chief support bout of the show the unbeaten Narumi Yukawa (5-0, 4) [湯川 成美] scored his latest win, as he stopped Takaki Sakurai (8-9-1, 3) [櫻井 孝樹] in 6 rounds. Yukawa was in charge through out the bout, and bossed his more experienced foe around before finally forcing the referee to stop the bout early in round 6.
The main event of the show saw Katsuki Mori (10-1, 2) [森 且貴] claim the Japanese Youth Minimumweight title, as he over-came Shunsuke Isa (9-4-1, 1) [伊佐 春輔] in a super close and hotly contested 8 round, fought at break neck pace. Both men impressed with their movement, and hand speed, in what was a genuinely thrilling back and forth. Isa tried to control the distance, using his 1-2's and movement well, whilst Mori looked to bring the fight forward, attack the body and take Isa's legs away. It was tough to score, but thrilling action, with both men showing some eye catching offense and defensive skills. What Mori did really was up to the tempo in the second round, and that proved to be the difference, with Mori winning 4 of the last 5 rounds on two of the cards to secure a razor thin split decision. Scores from all 3 judges were 77-75.
Interestingly after the bout both men stated the other was better than expected, and both also seemed encouraged to build on the back of this bout.
tomorrow fight fans at Korakuen Hall will get the chance to see Japanese Youth Minimumweight champion Shunsuke Isa (9-3-1, 1) [伊佐 春輔] make his first defense, as he takes on the once beaten Katsuki Mori (9-1, 2) [森 且貴] in a brilliant match up, between two youngsters with big ambitions.
Today, ahead of their bout, the two men took part in their weigh in, and both men made the 105lb limit with no issues at all.
On the scales a confident Isa was bang on the limit, and explained that he was in the best shape of his career. He explained that his jab was the key to the bout, and he gave off an aura of genuine confidence.
As for Mori, who also came bang on the weight limit, he spoke like a man who wanted to make a statement after losing to Kai Ishizawa in a Japanese title fight earlier this year. He seemed like he wanted to prove what he could do, and bounce back from that loss, without focusing on the defeat. He also seemed to suggest that he wanted to win this Youth title, before winning more titles, and has his eyes on winning a world title, one day.
Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here: Japanese youth champion Isa takes on Mori!
Yesterday Ohashi Gym announced some details of May's Phoenix Battle card, which is set to take place at Korakuen Hall on May 10th.
The details which were announced were not just the venue and the date, but also one of the major bouts for the show, which will see Japanese Youth Minimumweight champion Shunsuke Isa (9-3-1, 1) [伊佐 春輔] making his first defense of the title he won last year. The talented Isa will be defending his belt against Ohashi's very own Katsuki Mori (9-1, 2) [森 且貴], who looks to bounce back from his first loss earlier this year against Kai Ishizawa.
Isa won the title last August, when he narrowly defeated Yuni Takada in an 8 rounder. That win is, by far, the biggest of Isa's career and saw him avenge one of his 3 defeats. Although not a world champion in the making he's a very credible hopeful, and at just 24 years old he is still very young and very much an improving fighter, heading towards being a fixture on the domestic scene.
As for Mori the 22 year old looks like a genuinely bright hopeful for the Japanese boxing scene. He made his debut in 2018, won the All Japan Rookie of the Year in 2019 and went 9-0 before suffering an 8th round TKO loss in a Japanese title fight this past January to Kai Ishizawa, who will be fighting for a world title fight in April. The bout seemed to show that whilst very talented Mori lacked the physical maturity to go with his excellent boxing skills. He will go in to this bout as the favourite, but we do wonder what the loss to Ishizawa will have done to him. It could have damaged his confidence, or could have made him a more determined fighter and shown he belongs in and around the national title scene.
At the moment no other bouts for this show have been officially announced.
Earlier today at Korakuen Hall, we had the first Japanese show of 2022, and it was a notable one with several notable domestic clashes on it, including the first Japanese title bout of the year, several bouts with notable prospects and a bout featuring a highly ranked Japanese veteran.
The first of the notable bouts saw JBC #2 ranked Super Welterweight Makoto Kawasaki (12-8-1, 2) [川崎真琴] return to the ring for the first time since September 2019. Despite the long lay off, he was in total control against Fumisuke Kimura (9-9-1, 6) [木村文祐], in a bout fought just above the Welterweight limit. Kawasaki shook off some ring rust here and took a wide, and clear, decision win, which would likely have been the plan going in. After 8 rounds the scores were 79-73, twice, and 78-74, all for Kawasaki.
In the second bout of note the unbeaten, and often over-looked, Tentaro Kimura (8-0-2) [木村天汰郎] scored an 8 round shut out win over Kaito Takeshima (6-4-1, 1) [竹嶋海刀]. This was an excellent performance from Kimura, who controlled the tempo, the range and the style of fight by using his speed, landing good counters and earned Kaito's respect. Although still without a stoppage after 10 bouts it's clear Kimura has genuine skills, and training with his cousin, the touted Rentaro Kimura, will help him develop his skillset. There are still a lot of areas he can improve but this was a very good performance and it's good to see the improvements being made fight by fight from Kimura.
The chief support bout saw the unbeaten Narumi Yukawa (4-0, 3) [湯川成美] score his latest win, as he stopped Kanta Fukui (8-5-1, 6) [福井貫太] in 6 rounds. Yukawa came with a point to prove from the off, pressing Fukui through the first round, and hitting his foe with some big body shots. Those body shots continued through round 2 and in round 3 Fukui tried to fight fire with fire, making for some great action. Sadly for Fukui he couldn't get Yukawa to respect him, and instead Yukawa had so much more in his locker. In round 6 Yukawa showed his class, and some of his more advanced tools as he turned southpaw, and hurt Fukui, before forcing the referee to step in and save Fukui. After the bout it was reported that Fukui had suffered a suspect broken jaw.
The main event saw Kai Ishizawa (10-1, 9) [石澤開] claim his biggest win to date, as he stopped the previously unbeaten Katsuki Mori (9-1, 2) [森 且貴] to claim the previously vacant Japanese Minimumweight title.
The Japanese title was vacated late last year by Masataka Taniguchi, the current WBO world champion, and it was clear that both men really wanted to claim the belt.
The fight started well for Mori who looked good through the first round with a busy jab, whilst Ishizawa brought pressure, trying to close the distance and get his uppercuts and hooks into play. Ishizawa had notable success in round 2, before Mori bounced back well in round 3, using good in and out motion, which he continued to use well in round 4. Sadly for Mori however his success was never really troubling Ishizawa who who landed several big body shots in round 5, as he slowly began to break down his younger, lighter hitting foe.
After 5 rounds we had the open scoring kick in, with all 3 judges having Ishizawa up 48-47. Despite the close scores, it seemed like Mori always had to try harder than Ishizawa, and put more energy into his success. In round 6 Ishizawa's power showed it's self for the first time, as he hurt Mori, who tried to fight back in round 7. Sadly the attempted fight back from Mori left him to close, and in round 8 Ishizawa really began to get going, unloading good shots up top and downstairs, before dropping Mori with a series of uppercuts. With Mori down and a count being given Ishizawa's team threw in the towel.
With the win Ishizawa adds the Japanese national title to a previous reign as the Japanese Youth champion. He also takes a huge stride towards getting a world title fight, and a potential rematch with Masataka Taniguchi, the only man to have beaten him in the professional ranks.
Tomorrow fight fans at Korakuen Hall will get the chance to see the first Japanese show of 2022, which will be headlined by the first Japanese title fight of the year, as Kai Ishizawa (9-1, 8) [石澤開] takes on the unbeaten Katsuki Mori (9-0, 2) [森 且貴] for the vacant Japanese Minimumweight title.
Today, ahead of their bout, the two men took part in their weigh in, and both men made weight, with no issues at all.
On the scales Ishizawa came in on the limit, and looked strong, powerful and hungry. He spoke about how he wanted to win the title here and then chase a rematch with the newly crowned WBO world champion Masataka Taniguchi, the only man to have beaten Ishizawa. Interestingly Ishizawa admitted that he hadn't seen Taniguchi's recent win over Wilfredo Mendez, though he did explain that was because he was focused on his own bout.
Mori on the other hand was well under the limit, coming in around 104.5lbs. At the weigh in he looked like he was slightly taller than Ishizawa, but only slightly. When it came to the bout Mori explained that he was focused on hitting and not being hit, and neutralising the power of Ishizawa.
For fans wanting to watch this, it will be available live on Japanese PPV and then shown on tape delay at the weekend, on Fuji TV.
Related - Ishizawa and Mori clash in first Japanese title fight of 2022!
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