On May 13th we'll see a brilliant unification bout at Featherweight, as WBO Asia Pacific champion Musashi Mori (12-0, 7) [森 武蔵] takes on OPBF champion Satoshi Shimizu (9-1, 9) [清水 聡]. The bout is one of the best all-Japanese bouts we could get this year, and it's fair to say that Japanese national champion Hinata Maruta (11-1-1, 9) [丸田陽七太] will be waiting in the wings for the winner, in a potential triple title unification bout.
Whilst that is a great match up there wasn't really any details regarding the under-card. That was until today, when the under-card was officially announced, with 3 bouts being confirmed for the show, along with the main event.
The opening bout for the show will see the unbeaten Shun Sekine (4-0-1, 3) [関根 駿] clash with Atsuyuki Sato (5-2-2, 3) [佐藤諄幸], in what will be the second meeting between the two men. These two fought to a 6 round draw last November, and will be hoping to avoid the same result here, in another scheduled 6 rounders.
The second bout on the show is a very interesting one between Katsuya Yasuda (7-0, 4) [保田 克也] and Tomoki Takada (8-5-2, 5) [高田朋城], who are scheduled for 8 rounds. These wo men both enter the bout with JBC rankings, with Takadda being ranked #8 and Yasuda #18, and the winner will take huge strides towards getting a Japanese title fight. Of the two men Yasuda is the more classically skilled, with smart defense and a good amateur pedigree, however Takada bring a lot of pressure, has solid power and enters on the back of some good form and 2 opening round blow outs.
The chief support bout will see Keisuke Matsumoto (2-0, 2) [松本圭佑] compete in his first 8 round bout as he battles Hiromu Murota (6-4-3, 4) [室田拡夢]. On paper this looks like a straight forward win for the unbeaten prospect but Murota is no push over, he's unbeaten in his last 5 and fought to a draw recently with former Japanese national champion Seiichi Okada. He'll be in the ring looking to upset the youngster, and should serve as a genuine test for the talented, though still somewhat raw, Matsumoto.
Earlier today Ohashi put on their latest show under the Phoenix Battle banner. The card was their third in the space of about 8 weeks and was very much a developmental card, featuring 3 of their promising and unbeaten prospects. Although not a huge event it was a notable one, and it will have the fights aired this coming weekend on Fuji TV.
With that out of the way we will get on to the result, so if you wish to watch the broadcast on Saturday night/Sunday morning, local time, without having the bouts ruined please stop reading now. Otherwise we'll get on to the results.
The first of the notable prospects in action was 20 year old Katsuki Mori (7-0, 1) [森且貴], who successfully stepped up to the 6 round limit with a comfortable win over the much more experienced Yuki Uchida (7-8, 1) [内田 勇気]. The bout was Mori's first since winning the Rookie of the Year last year and he looked the boss through out, but was forced to work and cedit goes to Uchida for being the type of test Mori needed.
Although wonderfully talented Mori certainly needs time to mature and grow into his man strength. He's skilled but his lack of power may be an issue when he steps up, but he has looked incredibly good since he turned professional and took another good step forward here.
The second bout saw Lightweight hopeful Katsuya Yasuda (7-0, 4) [保田 克也] extend his unbeaten record with a clear 8 round decision win over Japanese based Venezuelan Omrri Bolivar (8-4, 3). Yasuda managed to control the distance well here, despite Bolivar trying to get inside, and was mostly fighting to a defensive gameplan based around counters. It was a gameplan that worked well for Yasuda who looked in control through out.
After the first two prospects went the distance it was the turn of the big punching Kazuki Nakajima (9-0-1, 8) [中嶋一輝], who managed to make a statement in blowing away Kenta Nomura (7-4, 3) [野村健太] in the third round. Nakajima looked like he had a point to make, and found his rhythm quickly before going through the gears. In round 3 he dropped Nomura twice, forcing the referee to stop the bout after the second knockdown, which was a brutal one.
After the bout it was suggested that Nakajima would challenge for either the JBC or OPBF Bantamweight title in 2021, which would be a good step up. It's unclear if that title fight will be at Bantamweight, where he has fought in the past, or Super Bantamweight, where he fought today.
Whilst most Japan TV channels have been quiet since boxing returned to the country following it's hiatus Fuji TV have been regularly broadcasting tape delay coverage of shows, under both the Diamond Glove banner and the Phoenix Battle banner.
Over the last day or so the channel has confirmed that they will be showing tomorrow's Phoenix Battle show from Korakuen Hall, broadcasting all 3 noteworthy bouts, as well as talking about the recent retirement of former 3-weight world champion Akira Yaegashi (28-7, 16) [八重樫 東] and the upcoming bout featuring WBA and IBF Bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16) [井上 尚弥].
The broadcast will be on Saturday night/Sunday morning, with the broadcast running from 26:45 Saturday night local time, though to 27:50.
For those who don't understand the Japanese TV times this means 2:45 on Sunday morning to 3:50 Sunday morning.
The bouts set to be aired here are the 6 rounder between Katsuki Mori (6-0, 1) [森且貴] and Yuki Uchida (7-7, 1) [内田 勇気]; the 8 rounder between Katsuya Yasuda (6-0, 4) [保田 克也] and Omrri Bolivar (8-3, 3) and the 8 round bout between Kazuki Nakajima (8-0-1, 7) [中嶋一輝] and Kenta Nomura (7-3, 3) [野村健太].
Whilst the show might not be huge a huge one, it is a great chance to see some of the more under-rated prospects in Japan and it's great to see Fuji giving Mori a platform to shine as he really does look like a future star in the making.
Tomorrow, for the third month in a row, we'll see an Ohashi promoted Phoenix Boxing event at Korakuen Hall. In one of the main bouts on this card we'll see the touted Katsuya Yasuda (6-0, 4) [保田 克也] take on Japanese based Venezuelan fighter Omrri Bolivar (8-3, 3).
The two men will be clashing in an 8 round bout at a contracted 62KG's, around 136.7lbs, and today the they took part in their weigh in, with both men making the limit with no problems at all.
The unbeaten 28 year old Yasuda hit the scales at 136.4lbs which was slightly heavier than Bolivar who was 136.25lbs.
Yasuda was hotly tipped when he turned professional in 2017 but hasn't moved his career along at the rate some expected. That was, in part, due to fighting just once in 2018 as his career stalled. In 2019 however he did get back on track with 3 wins and will be hoping to move his career forward here with a win over Bolivar. He spoke about wanting to get into the title mix in the near future and it's clear he will need a win here to get a fight for a title in the near future.
As for Bolivar the Venezuelan was once regarded as something of a hopeful himself but has gone 3-3 in his last 6, with stoppage losses in all 3 of those defeats, his career has certainly hit a wall in recent times. He'll come in to this knowing a win would help get his career back on track but it's certainly not a given here against a very talented Yasuda. He seems to be aware of Yasuda's skills, and has a game plan based around going to the body of Yasuda and breaking down the unbeaten man.
For fans interested in watching this bout, it will be aired on Fuji TV over the weekend.
(Image credit - Ohashi Gym)
Earlier today at Korakuen Hall fight fans were given an interesting card, with a very notable under-card, featuring a former world title challenger and two talented youngsters expected to make a lot of noise in 2020.
One of the youngsters was Japanese ranked Flyweight Taku Kuwahara (7-0, 4) [桑原拓], who impressed once again. The unbeaten fighter, dubbed "Ioka II" in some circles of the Japanese press, did everything but stop Filipino visitor Ricardo Sueno (10-4-4, 3), in a very 1 sided contest.
From the opening bell Kuwahara was too sharp, too crisp and too skilled for the visitor, who struggled to ever get going. Kuwahara fought like a man who wanted a KO win, and wanted to earn it with his boxing, however Sueno's toughness kept him fighting back, even after being dropped. This wasn't competitive, and was a 1-sided beating, but credit to Sueno for lasting the 8 rounds en route to a very clear loss.
Another bout on the card saw former world title challenger Ryo Matsumoto (23-3, 21) [松本亮] get the stoppage against the game, but out matched, Jinya Ito (8-6-1, 3) [伊藤 仁也]. This was a a lot more entertaining than the records would suggest and Ito came for the upset, fighting tooth and nail with Matsumoto at times. Sadly for Ito he was unable to hurt Matsumoto who's power, and crisper punching proved to be the difference, and in round 4 the referee saved a bloodied and shaken Ito from further punishment.
In a much less competitive bout, the well touted Katsuya Yasuda (6-0, 4) [保田 克也] battered Indonesian visitor Rengga Rengga (8-5, 2) in 2 rounds. This was a mismatch from the moment it was signed and Rengga was downed twice as the local picked up his latest win.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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