Earlier today Hideyuki Ohashi announced that the Ohashi Boxing Gym would be promoting Phoenix Battle 86th on February 22nd at Korakuien Hall. No only that but it was also confirmed that the show would be a double header, with two notable title bouts on the show.
The first of those title bouts will see the unbeaten Masayoshi Hashizume (18-0-2, 11) [橋詰 将義] take on Akio Furutani (9-4, 3) [古谷昭男] in a bout for the now vacant OPBF Super Flyweight title, which was recent vacated by Ryoji Fukunaga.
This will be Hashizume's second shot at a title, after fighting to a draw with Takayuki Okumoto in a Japanese title fight in 2018, and a win here will see him living up to the early promise he showed, promise that hasn't yet been delivered on. As for Furutani this bout sees him looking to build on recent upset wins over Keisuke Nakayama and Takayuki Okumoto. On paper Hashizume will be the big favourite, but Furutani has won his last 5, with the wins over Nakayama and Okumoto being very impressive and almost certainly giving him a huge boost of confidence coming in to this one.
The other title bout will see Japanese and WBO Asian Pacific Light Welterweight champion Andy Hiraoka (18-0, 13) [平岡アンディ] make his first defense, as he takes on Japanese-Brazilian fighter Cristiano Aoqui (16-8-2, 11) [アオキ クリスチャーノ], who gets his second shot at the Japanese title after having previously challenged Hiroki Okada in 2016.
For Hiraoka the bout will see him looking to build on an excellent win over Jin Sasaki back in January, where he stopped Sasaki in 11 rounds. A win here and it's likely that that Hiraoka will move on to some form of notable international bout, including a possible return to the US where he has fought twice already. As for Aoqui, he will be a major under-dog here, but will know that this is a huge chance for him to score a career defining victory.
As well as the two title bouts, this card is set to feature another notable bout as Katsuya Yasuda (8-0, 5) [保田克也] faces Shuma Nakazato (10-2-3, 7) [仲里周磨] in a mouth watering 8 rounder.
Earlier today fight fans at Korakuen Hall had the latest show in the Phoenix Battle series of shows, which will be aired this coming weekend on Fuji TV. The card featured an OPBF Bantamweight title bout, between Kai Chiba and Kazuki Nakajima as well as a regional unification bout at Featherweight between Musashi Mori and Satoshi Shimizu.
For those wanting to watch this, as live, when it's finally aired, we have included this spoiler warning introduction. Please note that spoilers will begin in the paragraph after the next one. We will include the full undercard results for this show as well as the two main bouts.
The show kicked off with a 6 round bout in the Super Featherweight division which saw the unbeaten Shun Sekine (5-0-1, 3) [関根 駿] battle against Atsuyuki Sato (5-3-2, 3) [佐藤 諄幸] in what was a very hotly contested match up, though that was to be expected given they fought to a draw last November. From the opening round this was a hard one to call, with fantastic back and forth, and every time one man got the advantage the other came back strongly, and turned the tidein what was a genuinely brilliant way to open the show. After 6 rounds the judges were required and they narrowly gave the bout to Sekine, with the unbeaten Sekine taking a majority decision over his foe, with scores of 57-57, 58-57 and 58-56.
The second bout on the show saw JBC ranked Lightweights clash, as the unbeaten Katsuya Yasuda (8-0, 5) [保田 克也] faced off with Tomoki Takada (8-6-2, 5) [高田 朋城]. On paper this looked liek a mismatch, but interestingly Takada had come into the bout higher ranked by the JBC amd Yasuda was regarded as the man stepping up in class, and getting his first real chance to prove himself. And boy did he ever prove what he could do. From the opening round Yasuda looked relaxed, took his time to get a read on Takada and then went to work from round 2, out landing his foe. Takada was put on the back foot, and looked like he was getting the worse of things, though he did land a good counter in round 4. Despite Takada having some success with counters he was left cut later in that round with a straight left hand. That cut caused the bout to be stopped just a round later, following a doctor's inspection. Due to the cut Yasuda got the 5th round TKO at an official time of 2:12.
The third bout on the show saw talented youngster Keisuke Matsumoto (3-0, 3) [松本 圭佑] put in a career best showing, as he destroyed Hiromu Murota (6-5-2, 4) [室田 拡夢] in just 128 seconds. The highly promising Matsumoto had looked shaky in his first two bouts, but looked in control here from the off with sharp 1-2's and some cracking body work. Murota fought back but a 1-2 from Matsumoto dropped his man. To his credit Murota got back to his feet but was dropped again from a hard counter right hand. After the bout he spoke about being happy with his performance, after a bad aftertaste from his first two bouts.
The first of two title bouts on the show saw a new OPBF Bantamweight champion being crowned as Kazuki Nakajima (10-0-1, 8) [中嶋一輝] out pointed Kai Chiba (13-2, 8) [千葉開] over 12 rounds, in a surprisingly dull fight.
Nakajima settled quicker, getting his powerful left hand into play early on. Chiba on the other hand used his footwork, to try and create some space, but struggled to get his own offense off, and looked negative whilst Nakajiam seemed to be the one force the action. What little there was. After 4 rounds the open scoring was announced, with two judges having Nakajima up 40-36 and the third having the bout 39-37.
Knowing he was behind Chiba began to let his hands go more in the middle rounds, in an attempt to swing things his way. Sadly though Nakajima's work increased as Chiba threw more and Chiba's attempt to turn the bout around was essentially sniffed out by the taller, heavier handed Nakajima, who's 1-2 and right hook were telling punches. The attempted fight back from Chiba didn't really close the scores down when they were announced after 8 rounds, with scores of 79-73, twice, and 77-75 all in favour of Nakajima.
Knowing the bout was pretty much in the bag Nakajima began to play safe in the finals stages, whilst Chiba became more aggressive, giving his all in rounds 9, 10 and 11, before Nakajima regained his composure and and took the final round. After 12 rounds the bout was a clear Nakajima win, with scores of 1119-109, 117-111 and 116-112.
The second title bout saw the heavy handed Satoshi Shimizu (10-1, 9) [清水 聡] unify his OPBF Featherweight title with the WBO Asia Pacific title, as he defeated Musashi Mori (12-1, 7) [森 武蔵] and took his first decision victory since turning professional.
Morie started well, getting his jab going, but Shimizu was equal to it, and and as the early stages got going the men regularly exchanged punches up close, in some thrilling moments of action. right through the first third of the fight this was high tempo, and high tension, with Shimizu's power always giving a sense that anything could happen. After 4 rounds the judges were all over the place, with scores of 39-37, each way, and 38-38.
Mori started to go inside and attack the tall body of Shimizu in round 5 but Shimizu was equal to it, responding with his own body shot, as the phone booth war continued. By round 7 however it seemed Shimizu's power was starting to take a toll on Mori and in round 8 Mori was starting to bleed from the nose. After 8 rounds Shimizu was starting to establish himself on the scorecards, leading 78-74, twice, and 77-75, giving him the edge as we went into the final rounds.
It was then that the pace started to slow, as Shimizu started to use his jab, yes he does actually have one!, and conttrolled the range. He was keeping Mori at range, and kept the bout long, which really did neeutralise Mori and his inside work. As a result of this control Shimizu ended up taking a clear decision, with scores of 118-110, twice, and 116-112 to unify the regional titles and move towards a potential world title fight. As for Mori this is a major set back, but at just 21 years old he really does have time on his side to rebuild and come again.
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.
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