Earlier today at Korakuen Hall Japanese fight fans has an excellent double header thanks to the Ohashi Gym.
The first of the two major bouts on the card was an OPBF Bantamweight title fight, as defending champion Kazuki Nakajima (10-1-1, 8) [中嶋一輝] faced off with former champion Keita Kurihara (16-6, 14) [栗原慶太] in what looked like a thrilling match up on paper.
Going in to this one, we, and plenty of others, anticipated a potential shoot out between two heavy handed guys who likely believed their power would be the difference maker.
In the opening round Nakajima looked to use his more polished skills and southpaw stance to his advantage. It worked well, and he seemed to get respect form Kurihara through the opening round. In round 2 however the challenger began to find his groove, and pressed, getting closer to Nakajima and finding the room for the occasional left hook. In round three Kurihara's power showed what it could do as he backed Nakajima on the ropes and landed a brutal right hand that dropped Nakajima. To his credit Nakajima beat the count and looked to continue the fight but was dropped again, from another right hand.
After the bout Kurihara spoke about landing the left hook in round 2, and how it played a factor in the finish, forcing Nakajima to keep an eye on his left hand left the door open to landing the heavy rights that closed the show.
The second of the major bouts saw Andy Hiraoka (18-0, 13) [平岡アンディ] extend his unbeaten run and claim the Japanese and WBO Asia Pacific titles at 140lbs, as he stopped Jin Sasaki (11-1, 10) [佐々木尽] in 11 rounds. The bout was highly anticipated, despite Sasaki missing weight yesterday, but turned out to be rather one sided with Sasaki struggling to ever get into the fight.
The early going saw Hiraoka's jab proving to be a brilliant tool, neutralising the power and style that Sasaki wanted. To his credit Sasaki pressed, and proved he was there to fight, but struggled to close the distance and struggled to get close enough to sustained any sort of an attack. After 5 rounds the judges all had the bout in favour of Hiraoka, with two scores of 49-46 and one having it 48-47, giving Sasaki more credit than he deserved.
By round 6 Sasaki was starting to slow down, his pressure less intense his output less notable and his speed slowing. That left Hiraoka in even more control and in round 7 he landed a right hook followed by a left hand for the first knockdown of the fight. Later that same round Sasaki was put down for a second time and he was in survival mode for the rest of the round.
Sasaki tried to will his way back into the fight in round 8, but it wasn't enough as Hiraoka used his speed, movement and reach well to land body shots on his dangerous, but faded, foe. He let Sasaki use his energy trying to turn the bout around, but it wasn't enough and in the 11th round Sasaki was dropped for the third time, with an uppercut. This timet the referee decided enough was enough and stopped the bout, giving Hiraoka the TKO win.
At the time of the stoppage Hiraoka was up 99-89 on two of the cards, and 98-90 on the other with round 11 having not been scored.
Other bouts on the card saw a successful debut for former amateur standout Kaiyu Toyoshima (1-0) [豊嶋 海優], who took a 6 round decision win over Shohei Horii (3-7-2, 2) [堀井 翔平], and a victory for 42 year old veteran Ribo Takahata (17-9-1, 7) [高畑 里望], who stopped Katsunori Endo (7-4-1, 4) [遠藤 勝則] in the 6th round of a scheduled 8 rounder.
Earlier today the A-Sign Boxing YouTube channel streamed the latest show live from Korakuen Hall. Whilst not the most event of the year it was an entertaining one, despite the fact the card actually lost the bout match up on earlier in the day due to a positive PCR test ruling one of the fighters off the event.
The bout that was cancelled from the show was the much anticipated match up between and Kai Chiba (12-1, 8) [千葉開] and Haruki Ishikawa (8-2, 6) [石川春樹], with Ishikawa not being allowed to fight after his PCR test, which took place yesterday, came back positive, along with that of his chief second.
As a result of Ishikawa needing to be pulled from the show we only got 5 bouts on the card. The first of those was a 4 round bout between debutants, as Joker Ryo (1-0) [ジョーカー リョウ] took a technical decision over Wataru Ogata (0-1) [尾形 航]. This was a messy bout at times, with the styles not really gelling too well. Ogata tried to box and move, and Ryo kept rushing in bull-rushes, that netted him an odd amount of success. In round 1 Oagata was cut from a clash of heads from one of Ryo's rushes. Ryo was deducted a point for another headclash in round 2 but then began to break down Oagata in rounds 3 and 4. Those shots saw Ogata's cut worsening and the referee called an early halt in round 4 taking us to the scorecards, which all favoured Ryo, 39-36, twice, and 38-37.
The second bout was a 6 rounder that saw Kosuke Ando (8-2, 3) [安藤 教祐] easily out box, out land and out skill Hidetoshi Takane (4-3, 1) [高根 秀寿], who proved to be tough and determined but out-matched. Ando, who won the East Japan Rookie of the Year in 2019, landed at will, kept the bout long and racked up the rounds without much fuss until round 6, when Takane finally had some success. By then it was too little too late and Ando took a clear decision. The judges had this one a shut, we personally felt Takane deserved round 6.
The third bout on the show saw the had hitting Kai Ishizawa (7-1, 7) [石澤開] over-come a spirited Masashi Tada (13-8-3, 8) [多打 魔炸獅]. Ishizawa started well, but seemed to go off the boil in round 3 as Tada began to show what he could do, and out landed Ishizawa, who seemed to be handcuffed at times. Thankfully for Ishizawa he put his foot back on the gas in round 6, dropping Tada. The bout continued, after Tada took the mandatory 8 count, but was saved soon afterwards as Ishizawa's power proved to be too much for him.
The biggest surprise of the show came in a surprisingly exciting bout between Katsunori Endo (7-3, 4) [遠藤勝則] and Ryuto Araya (13-9-1, 4) [荒谷龍人]. The bout saw Araya set a high pace to begin with, and he seemed to be enjoying the majority of the success through the first 3 rounds. £ndo had moments, through out but he was coming off second best. That was until he landed a monstrous combination in round 4, that sent Araya down face first. It was a brutal series of shots, and given how Araya hit the canvas there was no option but for the referee to wave this one, giving Endo the 4th round TKO.
Sadly the main event of the show was somewhat under-whelming, as the world ranked Reiya Abe (20-3-1, 9) [阿部麗也] out boxed the unbeaten Ren Sasaki (10-1, 6) [佐々木蓮] in a bout that lacked real drama. The bout started competitively, and was high level boxing chess early on, between two men who seemed very well matched. As the bout went on on however it began to get more and more one-sided with Abe being too good, too sharp, too strong and too smart. Sasaki had a big moment in round 3, when he seemed to rock Abe, but by the end of the bout that was easily forgotten and it seemed like Sasaki was beaten, both mentally and physically, by Abe.
After 8 rounds we went to the scores which had Abe leading 78-74, twice, and 77-75. Despite being a good match up on paper Abe did what he tends to do, and sucked the ambition out of Sasaki whilst racking up the rounds, and then played with his food late on. Sadly Abe again showed a lack of killer instinct, which is a shame as Sasaki did seem like he was there for the taking late on.
At the end of August the A-Sign boxing channel put on a live stream of the Hachioji Nakaya promoted event from the Shinjuku FACE. Now it seems they are just a month away from another live stream! An it's gone a little bit under-the-radar.
According to the poster released today the October 13th A-Sign Bee show from Korakuen Hall will also be streamed on YouTube by A-Sign who continue to deliver great shows and content for fans.
The event will be headlined by a brilliant match up between the excellent Reiya Abe (19-3-1, 9) [阿部麗也] and the unbeaten Ren Sasaki (10-0, 6) [佐々木蓮], who will be fighting in an 8 round contest. The winner of this will likely move onto a title bout, of some kind, in 2021 and so not only is the bout a great one on paper but also a meaningful one in the grand scheme of things.
It's not only the main event that looks great but also some of the supporting bouts. For example the chief support bout is expected to deliver fireworks as Kai Chiba (12-1, 8) [千葉開] takes on the thrilling Haruki Ishikawa (8-2, 6) [石川春樹]. This has the potential to be the show stealing and given the styles of the two men this should be a genuine war.
Other bouts include a match up between Katsunori Endo (6-3, 3) [遠藤勝則] and Ryuto Araya (13-8-1, 4) [荒谷龍人] and a clash between Kai Ishizawa (6-1, 6) [石澤開] and Masashi Tada (13-7-3, 8) [多打 魔炸獅].
This event becomes the latest in a growing line of Japanese shows heading towards YouTube for a live streaming outlet. Other upcoming Japanese shows on YouTube are:
The Shinsei show on September 26th - Streamed on Boxing Real
The Suruga show on September 27th - Streamed on Suruga Boys
The November 3rd WBA Light Flyweight "Super" world title bout - Streamed on Hiroto Kyoguchi YouTube Channel
The Taisei show on November 23rd - Streamed on TV Osaka
With 5 shows set to be streamed in the space of 9 weeks or so it really hasn't been easier to enjoy Japanese boxing, and we really do hope fans, internationally, will get behind some of the free content that is now on the docket!
Over the last few months we've slowly been drip fed details regarding an October 13th card at Korakuen Hall, and today we were given far more details regarding the event.
The show will be held as a A-Sign Boxing & Yamato soul event and has 4 very good domestic level bouts on it. It's not a huge event, but is a compelling one.
The card will be headlined by a brilliant match up between Reiya Abe (19-3-1, 9) [阿部麗也] and the unbeaten Ren Sasaki (10-0, 6) [佐々木蓮], who will clash in an 8 round bout. The contest is set to be fought just over the Featherweight limit and will be Abe's first since losing in a Japanese Featherweight title bout last year to Ryo Sagawa.
As for Sasaki the bout will be his first since controversially beating Morihisa Iju last October in the Knock Out Dynamite tournament. Incidentally he actually won in January by default, when his opponent for the final was unable to compete.
The chief support bout is also an 8 rounder as Kai Chiba (12-1, 8) [千葉開] takes on the exciting Haruki Ishikawa (8-2, 6) [石川春樹], in what could be a genuine barn burner. Chiba looked really exciting when he began his career, but has tempered his aggression since his loss to Brian Lobetania. Ishikawa on the other hand was in a sensational bout last year with Toshiya Ishii, and he'll be looking to bounce back from a loss in that bout with Ishii.
In a notable Super Featherweight bout Katsunori Endo (6-3, 2) [遠藤勝則] will be up against JBC ranked foe Ryuto Araya (13-8-1, 4) [荒谷龍人] in what should be a competitive bout. Araya is 32 and coming on the back of an upset loss whilst Endo is 29 and has won his last 2 by stoppage.
Arguably the most interesting bout is taking place at a contract 48.4KG, around 106.7lbs, and will see Kai Ishizawa (6-1, 6) [石澤開] take on Masashi Tada (13-7-3, 8) [多打 魔炸獅]. Originally Ishizawa was scheduled to fight in March, before boxing had it's hiatus due to the on going global situation, and this will be his first bout since losing in a Japanese title eliminator to Masataka Taniguchi last year. As for Tada he comes into this on the back of two losses but is a durable fighter who should give Ishizawa a very serious test.
For us it's great to see Ishizawa back in the ring, but the reality is that this is actually a really, really good domestic card. It was plenty of ranked domestic fighters on it and some very interesting bouts. With A-Sign's involvement we do expect the card to be made available online, though we do suspect this will be a tape delay effort from the Ichitaro Ishii and co. As opposed to a live show, like we had at the end of August. Saying that however nothing has been officially announced, as of yet.
As well as the 4 bouts mentioned the show will have two lower level bouts, a 6 rounder and a 4-rounder, between debutants.
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