Earlier today at Korakuen Hall we got the latest show in the Dynamic Glove series of events, and it was an interesting one showing some of the future, and present, of the Teiken Gym. The card wasn't one littered with huge names, but it had a very notable main event fighter along with a number of promising young hopefuls, who were all looking to make a mark and move towards bigger and better things.
The show began with an East Japan Rookie of the Year qualifying bout, that saw 20 year old Shuta Takahashi (2-1, 2) [高橋秀太] take a quick win over debuting 33 year old Fuma Uno (0-1) [宇野楓麻]. The explosive youngster, who hasn't seen the second round in any of his bouts so far, started fight in a bout that was a war from the off. Uno, to his credit, fought back hard and tried to get Takahashi's respect making for a thrilling opening minute. Sadly for Uno he was dropped by an uppercut and was instantly under pressure when the bout resumed. Despite being under a lot of pressure Uno managed to fight back and seemed to have Takahashi on the backfoot, however the aggression from Uno came at a cost and he would be dropped a second time, this time from a counter, with the referee waving off the bout immediately. For a bout that lasted just 84 seconds this was brilliant!
The second bout saw former Japanese amateur standout Kota Kaneko (1-0, 1) [金子 虎旦] score an impressive debut win, as he took out Thai visitor Pasith Visetso (6-3, 4) in 2 rounds. From the opening moments Kaneko looked like a star. He had the good looks that will draw attention of female fans, but also the calm, considered composure that great fighters have. He looked like he was barely trying whilst seeing what Visetso had to offer in the opening moments, before moving through the gears and dropping the Thai in round 2 with some wonderful punches. Although Visetso got up from the knockdown, which came from a body shot, he was drown again soon afterwards. Kaneko might have been making his professional debut here, but he did go 56-13 in the unpaid ranks and on the evidence of this performance, has the ability to go a very, very, very long way.
The third bout on the show saw Subaru Murata (2-0, 2) [村田 昴] make his Japanese debut, after making his professional debut last June in the US, and take a dominant win over Filipino visitor John Mark Tihuk (6-2-2, 2). From the off Murata looked aggressive, composed and razor sharp, again a solid opponent. Sadly for the visitor he seemed to come up short in every way as Murata showed the skills that had seen be one of the best Japanese amateurs of the last few years. Tihuk had moments, but they were few and far between as Murata looked too strong, too big, too fast, and in the end too powerful. Tihuk's team seemed to realise their man was coming off second best, especially after a very one sided 4th round, and he retired between rounds 4 and 5 saving their man from further punishment.
Someone who did get a good work out was the unbeaten Katsuya Fukui (4-0, 3) [福井 勝也], who returned to the ring for the first time in over a year. The talented Fukui took on Filipino Jason Buenaobra (8-7-3, 3) and it was clear Buenaobra wasn't there to just fold, but instead was in the ring looking to upset the talented Japanese novice. As a result the visitor gave a genuinely solid account of himself in the early rounds and had moments of success on the front foot whilst also showing some clever defensive movements. In round 3 Fukui dropped his man, but the visitor still had fight in him as he got back up and continued to test the youngster. As the rounds went on however the power and accuracy of Fukui took it's toll on the visitor and with Buenaobra taking punishment the referee came in and waved the bout off, saving the visitor. The stoppage seemed a poor one from the referee, but it did seem like a stoppage was coming and sooner or later.
Another unbeaten Japanese prospect on this card was the very, very, very highly touted Mikito Nakano (6-0, 5) [中野 幹士], who battled Juanito Paredes (9-8-1, 4). The talented Nakano looked great from the off and was too quick and too sharp for Paredes, who really struggled to land cleanly on Nakano. In round 3 Nakano went out looking to see off his man and succeeded with that midway through the round with a short left hand that looked relatively innocuous but dropped Paredes for the 10 count. The finish was an odd one, but Nakano's overall performance was good and it feels like it's now time he stepped up to fringe domestic title level.
The chief support bout saw the unheralded Takeru Kobata (12-5-1, 5) [小畑 武尊] score the biggest win of his career, as he upset former Japanese Welterweight champion Yuki Nagano (19-4, 15) [永野祐樹], and claimed the interim title. Going in Kobata was the clear un der-dog, but amazingly he seemed like the boss through out the bout. He was out landing Nagano, countering well, and seemed to soak up the pressure of Nagano without issues at all, whilst also being able to back up Nagano when he wanted. Worryingly for Nagano was the fact Kobata rarely seemed to miss, and finding holes both up top and down low. Through the first 4 rounds it was incredibly hard to give Nagano anything and sadly for Nagano things didn't get better in round 5. Nagano started the round offensively, trying to turn things around, but as the round went on he slowed down whilst Kobata began to land clean left hands at will. Those left hands left Nagano stumbling and the referee stopped the bout, just moments before Nagano's team got into the ring.
Sadly the main event was little more than a mismatch as Masayoshi Nakatani (20-2, 14) [中谷正義], fighting in Japan for the first in more than 3 years, blasted out Filipino visitor Harmonito Dela Torre (22-4, 14) inside 8- seconds. Nakatani looked sharp and busy from the off, and although Dela Torre tried to fight back he was down in the first minute. He got back to his feet but was down almost immediately, with referee giving the 10 count after the second knockdown, which came from a pair of heavy left hands from Nakatani
Earlier today the East Japan Boxing Association announced the award winners for the month of March, naming 3 award winners for the month, though strangely one of the regular awards didn't actually have a winner.
The Fighting Spirit award winner was Katsuya Fukui (3-0, 2) [福井勝也], who earned the award for his impressive performance on March 25th, when he defeated Hiroki Hanabusa (8-2-3, 3) [英洸貴] in a very good 8 rounder. Although not a fight of the year contender, it was a really good bout, and Fukui really did show very good tools for a man fighting in just his third professional bout.
Interestingly there were two winners of the Newcomer award for the month.
One of those was former K-1 champion Yoshiki Takei (1-0, 1) [武居由樹], who kicked off his professional career back on March 11th with an eye catching performance against Kazunori Takai (6-8-3, 3) [高井一憲]. Takei showed off what he could do in stopping his man inside 2 minutes, and making a real statement of intent about his future in the sport. Fingers crossed his next opponent will be more testing, but this was still a very good performance.
The other winner was former amateur standout Kenji Fujita (1-0, 1) [藤田健児], who scored a 6th round TKO win on March 25th against Motosuke Kimura (3-6-2, 1) [木村元祐]. Hw showed composure and poise here and it's clear he has a lot to give the sport, though will clearly need to face bigger and better tests than Kimura in the near future. He has so much potential, and looked so good as an amateur, that there really is no need to hold him on a leash. Instead Teiken should be looking to move him very quickly.
Strangely there was no MVP for the month, which is a bit strange, though in fairness there was very, very little action in Japan last month, likely explaining why no fighter was picked here.
It feels like it's been a very, very, very long time since we last had live televised Japanese boxing. We've had a few tape delay shows from Japan but it's been around a month since the All Japan Rookie of the Year final. Thankfully today we saw boxing return to Japanese TV thanks to latest Dynamic Glove show, and it was a really, really good show, with an exciting debutant, along with 3 solid, entertaining bouts. It's been too long, but it was, in the end, worth the wait!
The show began with a 4 rounder between Takumi Hashimoto (1-1) [橋本拓海] and Shogo Namiki (2-0-1, 1) [並木翔牙]. This was a really fun and exciting bout to open the show, though both men were clearly very limited fighters. Namika seemed the aggressor through much of the first round, but Hashimoto had good success in round 2 which he tried to replicate in round 3, though his accuracy let him down. In round 4 we ended up with 3 minutes of brutal violence as both men gave their all in an attempt to secure victory. After 4 rounds the judges gave the win to Namiki by majority decision.
The second bout on the show saw the long awaited debut of Kenji Fujita (1-0, 1) [藤田健児] as he scored a 6th round TKO win against the tough and very credible Motosuke Kimura (3-6-2, 1) [木村元祐].
From the off it was clear Fujita respected Kimura and his ability to counter. As a result the early going saw Fujita box patiently, used his amateur skills to keep the action at range and to win the rounds without taking too many risks. As the bout went on however he began to let heavier shots go, targetting the body of Kimura, and hurting him in round 3 before dropping him in round 4, as he systematically broke down his man. Kimura showed incredible toughness however and continued to try and fight back. In round 6 however Kimura was hurt again and Fujita didn't let off the gas, forcing the referee to step in wave this off. This was a really impressive performance by Fujita who is clearly another fantastic addition to the already packed Japanese Featherweight scene. One to keep an eye on, though that's little surprise given his incredibly amateur pedigree.
The third bout saw action pick up with a competitive, technical and exciting bout between Katsuya Fukui (3-0, 2) [福井勝也] and Hiroki Hanabusa (8-2-3, 3) [英洸貴]. This started very technical from both, as both used their jabs a lot, and despite being technical it was fought at a high pace, and very exciting. We thought Hanabusa more than held his own and his jab was again a fantastic weapon in round 2. From there on however Fukui began to find his grove, unloading sharp combinations, sneaking in and out with great success. Hanabusa continued to hold his own, and was landing a similar amount to Fukuo, but the cleaner more eye catching shots were coming from Fukui.
Through the middle rounds Hanabusa's work rate slowed as Fukui's shots took their toll on him, though to his credit Hanabusa refused to back down and go away. Instead Hanabusa dug deep and in rounds 7 and 8 the two men began to trade more regularly giving the fans a show. Sadly for Hanabusa however his shots lacked the power that Fukui's did and he could never get the respect of the unbeaten Fukui.
After 8 rounds the judges had this much, much wider than we did, scorign it 80-72, twice, and 79-73.We can't help but feel that Hanabusa deserved a bit more credit, though was certainly second best. Despite the loss we feel Hanabusa enhanced his reputation here, whilst Fukui showed he had the potential to go very far in this sport.
In the chief support bout we saw blood, and a lot of it, as Tatsuya Takahashi (32-10-6, 21) [高橋 竜也] and Ryotaro Kawabata (13-4-2, 6) [川端遼太郎] gave us something special. Really special.
The fight started with the much taller, longer and experienced Takahashi trying to box at range and control the bout with his footwork and jab whilst Kawabata looked to get inside and make this a fight. For the first round and a half Takahashi did all he could to avoid a war. Despite his effort we all knew, sooner or later, this was going to get violent and by the mid way point of round 2 Kawabata was dragging Takahashi into a firefight.
For the next few rounds Takahashi tried to give the appearance of someone who wanted to box, and not fight. Yet every round he was dragged into a slugfest up close. By the end of round 4 blood was smearing over his face from his nose, albeit from what appeared to be a headclash. From here on Takahashi gave up the pretence and turned things into an all out war, with the two men going to war on the inside, as blood began to flow. In fact was flowing so freely that both men ended up getting a doctor's inspection in rounds 5 and 7. The cuts, caused by accidental headclashes, were a result of the two men essentially standing toe to toe, head to head, and firing off shots with alarming success. Defense was a dirty word as the fighters seemed to be living by the idea that they had to stop the other
Sadly for both men's long term health a stoppage never seemed on. Both were rocked at times, and both took a lot of punishment, but neither man came close to being taken out. Instead they continued to let shots fly, with Takahashi fighting almost the entire final round with his back against the ropes. This was a sensational final round to what had been a brutal fight. Both men will be feeling this one in the morning. Thankfully for Kawabata he can at least feel good, as he picked up the victory, thanks to his relentless desire and his intense pressure. The scores cards here were 77-75, twice and 78-74, all to Kawabata.
The main event was another compelling bout as former amateur standout Gonte Lee (3-0-1, 1) [李 健太], who has previously been referred to as "Kuntae Lee" and was today shown on screen as "Gonte Ri", took on fan favourite Aso Ishiwaki (8-4-1, 6) [石脇麻生]. On paper this probably didn't grab too much attention internationally, especially given Ishiwaki's 2020 loss to Jin Sasaki and the technical draw that Lee suffered last time out. Despite that fans of the Japanese scene would have known that the styles here were going to mesh really well, with Lee's technical boxing being matched with the hunger and desire of Ishiwaki.
From the off the styles played out as expected, with Lee boxing, moving, and showing the brilliance that took him to a 62 fight winning streak in the amateurs. He looked fantastic. Whilst Ishiwaki fought like a bull in a china shop. He refused to back down, he refused to let Lee have time and space to think, and kept coming forward, putting his head down and chasing Lee around the ring.
At times Lee looked far, far too good for his man, particularly in the opening round and round 3 where he was almost scored a knock down with a body shot, but Ishiwaki proved himself to be dangerous having success in round 2 and holding his own in many rounds. As the bout went on however Ishiwaki's pressure generated more and more success, with round 6 being one of his best rounds. He even managed to drag Lee into a firefight in round 7, as Lee got his first chin check in the professional ranks.
With Ishiwaki creating some momentum we saw Lee put his foot on the gas in round 8, as he landed some fantastic counters early in the round before a vicious combination later one, that Ishiwaki somehow took without dropping. Ishiwaki knew he needed a knockout in the final round, he pushed for it, but he could never have the sustained success he needed.
For Lee this was a big step up in class and he passed it, winning with scores of 79-73, and 78-74, twice. He was forced to work every round and this was exactly what he needed. As for Ishiwaki this is a second successive loss for the youngster, but another performance that would have won fans over. Do not write him off for his record as he is one of the most fan friendly fighters out there and someone always worth watching.
Earlier today at the Saitama Super Arena fans had the chance to see a couple of touted Japanese prospects in action, as part of the supporting card for the WBSS Bantamweight final.
The first of those prospects was Katsuya Fukui (2-0, 2) [福井勝也], who scored his second early win as he defeated Chakkit Ratchakhot (2-4, 2) in 2 rounds. The talented Fukui, who went 59-16 in the unpaid ranks, became the 4th man to stop the Thai, as he continued to put together the building blocks for his promising career.
The Thai was dropped twice during the bout, and was totally out of his depth here as Fukui showcased what he could do. Hopefully next time out Fukui will go up against someone a little bit more testing than another limited Thai import.
The other other prospect in action was the very highly regarded Shokichi Iwata (4-0, 3) [岩田翔吉], who stopped Mexican fighter Alejandro Cruz Valladares (5-2), in the 5th round. Valladares gave a good effort early on but rounds 4 and 5 saw Iwata stepping on the gas and forcing the referee in to save Valladares.
As an amateur was a bit of a star and holds amateur wins over both Takuma Inoue and Kosei Tanaka, so he is certainly one to keep an eye on and he looked very talented here, even if there are still areas for the JBC #15 ranked Light Flyweight to work on.
We've known for a while now that the WBSS Bantamweight final will take place on November 7th, with the highly anticipated clash between Naoya Inoue (18-0, 16) [井上 尚弥] and Nonito Donaire (40-5, 26) headlining the show.
Whilst we've long known about the main event and one of the support bouts, the WBC Bantamweight title bout between Takuma Inoue (13-0, 3) [井上 拓真] and current WBC Bantamweight champion Nordine Oubaali (16-0, 12), there was no other details of the match ups on the card. That was until today.
We now know that the under-card will feature two talented Teiken prospects.
One of those is 23 year old Bantamweight hopeful Katsuya Fukui (1-0, 1) [福井勝也], who will be in a 6 round contest against Chakkit Ratchakhot (2-3, 2), who has scored a couple of wins after beginning his career with 3 straight stoppage losses.
Although not a big name Fukui was a talented amateur, and went 59-16 in the unpaid ranks, and looked good on debut, back in September. His bout is unlikely to be televised but he is certainly one to make a mental note of.
The other Teiken fighter on this card is Shokichi Iwata (3-0, 2) [岩田翔吉], who will take on Mexico fighter Alejandro Cruz Valladares (5-1), in a 6 round Light Flyweight bout.
Iwata is tipped as a future star for Japan, he made his professional debut in the US last year and this will be his third bout this year. On the other hand Valladares will be fighting in his second bout of the year, as he looks to build on a July win over Carlos Brian Vado. Again this is unlikely to be aired on the live broadcast but Iwata is very highly regarded and is certainly deserving of some real attention going forward.
News! We try and give you the most interesting news stories from the Asian boxing world!