Earlier today the Muto Gym, the Japanese partner of MTK Global in their "MTK Japan" expansion, held a press conference in Osaka to announce five bouts.
From the bouts two were already known about, but the other three weren't, and were completely new announcements.
The most notable of the bouts mentioned today was actually one that was revealed yesterday.
That was the Japanese Middleweight title bout between Kazuto Takesako (12-0-1, 11) [竹迫司登] and mandatory challenger Riku Kunimoto (4-0, 2) [国本陸]. Kunimoto, a Muto Gym fighter, will be getting his shot at the Japanese title on May 2nd as part of a Dynamic Glove card at Korakuen Hall, but he will be up against it as he takes on a dominant and heavy handed champion and it's clear he will be the under-dog.
Another bout that was known about before this press conference was a bout between Muto fighter Yusuke Mine (3-0, 1) [峯 佑輔] and former world title challenger Masayuki Kuroda (30-8-3, 16) [黒田 雅之], which was announced earlier in the day. This bout will take place on March 30th at Korakuen Hall, and again it's the Muto fighter who will be regarded as the under-dog.
One of the bouts are set to take place on April 12th, and will see Tulio Kuwabata (3-1, 2) [桑畑凜生], also known as Dekanarudo Torio, look to bounce back from a December loss to Filipino puncher Ken Jordan (9-1-2, 8) as he takes on Japanese ranked fighter Kazuki Tanaka (11-3, 8) [田中一樹], who is looking to bounce back from a loss to Kyosuke Sawada (14-2-1, 6) [澤田京介] in a Japanese title eliminator. This looks like a ridiculous match up, at this point, for Kuwabata, who is talented but deserves an easy win after being blown out by Jordan. This is yet another case of the Muto fighter being the under-dog.
The two remaining bouts are both set for April 19th, and both look more competitive than the other three.
One of those will see Akio Furutani (8-4, 3) [古谷 昭男] take on Chikato Sumida (9-3, 1) [住田愛斗], in what is set to be an 8 round bout at Super Flyweight on "You Will Be the Champion 11". This looked really even on paper and Furutani, the Mutoh fighter, is probably the slight favourite.
The other bout, on the same card, will see Ryosuke Nishida (2-0, 1) [西田凌佑] taking a massive step up in class as he is set to take on Matcha Nakagawa (13-2-1, 5) [武田航], in another 8 rounder, in what looks like a mouth watering match up. Although taking a huge step up Nishida does look like a special fighter and he maybe has the best chance of notching an upset.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Back in December was saw Takayuki Okumoto (23-9-4, 11) [奥本貴之] lose the Japanese Super Flyweight title to Kenta Nakagawa (18-3-1, 12) [中川 健太], and suffer some pretty nasty cuts. It was unclear on what his future held at the time, but now we know that he's going to continue on in the sport, and has a date set for his return.
The fun to watch battler from the Green Tsuda gym will be involved on the April version of "Crash Boxing" on April 12th at the EDION Arena Osaka, though at the moment no opponent has been named.
Whilst Okumoto is the biggest name set for the show, he's not the only fighter confirmed for the event at the moment.
We also know that Japanese Youth Super Bantamweight champion Toshiki Shimomachi (10-1-2, 6) [下町俊貴] will be in action, as he defends his title against Hiroki Hanabusa (7-0-3, 2) [が英洸貴], as long as Hanabusa gets through his February 11th bout against Sorawit Bamrungrai without any issues.
One other man confirmed for the show, but without an opponent, is Japanese ranked Bantamweight fighter Kazuki Tanaka (11-3, 8) [田中一樹]
The in form Kyosuke Sawada (14-2-1, 6) [澤田京介] has just secured the biggest win of his career, as he narrowly out pointed former Japanese amateur stand out Kazuki Tanaka (11-3, 8) [田中一樹], and secured himself a Japanese Bantamweight title fight.
The bout, one of 4 Japanese title eliminators that are taking place today at Korakuen Hall, saw Tanaka looking good to start with. The jab and left hook of Tanaka had success in the first couple of rounds. It was then however that things began to change.
Sawada, an under-rated technician, started to get a read on Tanaka and the range he needed. In round 3 Sawada found a home for his straight right hand, and landed several solid shots of his own, and tried to get Tanaka's respect. To Tanaka's credit he put in a great effort in round 4, and he seemed to reclaim the momentum. That was however a short lived success for Tanaka.
From round 5 Sawada picked up the pace, knowing he had to dig deep to turn things around, out working, out battling and out fighting Tanaka, who had his moments but couldn't build any significant success in the second half of the fight. With the bout only set to go 8 rounds Sawada likely knew he hard to turn it on when he did, and in the end it proved vital as he got the win with scores of 77-75, twice, and 78-74.
With the win Sawada, who started his career 0-2, has earned himself a Japanese title fight in 2020 at the Champion Carnival, where he will be expecting to face Yusuke Suzuki. Coincidentally Sawada's debut back in 2013 was a loss to Suzuki over 6 rounds, meaning he will have a chance to avenge one of his 2 professional losses.
As for Tanaka the bout leaves the 26 year old in awkward position. Although a very talented fighter he is 4-3 in his last 7, and to rebuild to this stage will take time. We don't expect him to retire, but it's clear now that he's not going to live up to the expectation Green Tsuda had for him when he first turned pro in 2014.
Tomorrow at Korakuen Hall fight fans will be in for a treat with 4 Japanese title eliminators.
Among those eliminators is a really intriguing Bantamweight eliminator between former amateur stand out Kazuki Tanaka (11-2, 8) [田中一樹] and the very in form Kyosuke Sawada (13-2-1, 6) [澤田京介].
The winner of this will be getting a shot at the Bantamweight title at the 2020 Champion Carnival next year and both looked like they had prepared amazingly well before their weigh in today.
On the scales Sawada, who has gone 13-0-1 in his last 14 after back to back defeats to begin his career, was bang on the 118lb limit and looked in seriously good shape. Whilst not a puncher his form has been genuinely impressive following back to back losses to begin his career and he has the momentum coming in.
Tanaka on the other hand came in just under the limit, 117.7lbs. He also looked in great shape, but certainly doesn't have the best of form, going 4-2 in his last 6 including 2 stoppage losses. He's the bigger puncher of the two, but this is the toughest bout of his career so far.
Related - Sawada and Tanaka look to book a place at the Champion Carnival
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Yesterday we reported that an October 26th card at Korakuen Hall would be playing host to 5 Japanese eliminators as we begin to piece together the 2020 Champion Carnival bouts. Now we've been given a full list of all the eliminators, as we really see the end of the year Japanese boxing calendar take shape.
The first of the bouts will take place on September 13th at Super Bantamweight, and will see former champion Ryoichi Tamura (12-4-1, 6) [田村 亮一] take on experienced veteran Gakuya Furuhashi (25-8-1, 14) [古橋大輔], in what should be a thriller.
The second of the eliminators will take place just a few days later, on September 21st and is another bout that was already known about. This one is the Japanese Minimumweight title eliminator between unbeaten teenager Kai Ishizawa (6-0, 6) [石澤開] and former world title challenger Masataka Taniguchi (11-3, 7) [谷口 将隆].
Following the Minimumweight bout we'll have to wait until October for many of the bouts, with the first of those coming on October 21st and seeing Cristiano Aoqui (14-7-2, 10) [アオキ クリスチャーノ] and Daishi Nagata (13-2-1, 5) [永田大士] clash in an eliminator at 140lbs. On paper this one has explosive action written all over it and could turn out to be the hidden gem of the eliminators.
We then move on to the October 26th card, which features 5 different eliminators. They are the Flyweight eliminator, between Ryota Yamauchi (5-1, 4) [山内涼太] and Seiya Fujikita (13-4, 6) [藤北誠也], the Bantamweight eliminator between Kazuki Tanaka (11-2, 8) [田中一樹] and Kyosuke Sawada (13-2-1, 6) [澤田京介] the Featherweight eliminator, pitting Hinata Maruta (9-1-1, 7) [丸田陽七太] against Takenori Ohashi (17-5-2, 11) [大橋健典], the Lightweight eliminator between Kazuki Saito (7-1, 5) [斎藤一貴] and Izuki Tomioka (6-2-1, 2) [富岡樹] and the Welterweight bout between Keita Obara (21-4-1, 19) [小原 佳太] and Toshiro Tarumi (12-3-3, 6) [垂水稔朗]. This is where the bulk of the bouts are, and is expected to be a sensational card.
The Super Featherweight bout will take place on October 30th and is one of the best match ups. The bout will see former Japanese Featherweight champion Taiki Minamoto (16-5-1, 13) [源大輝] take on Takuya Watanabe (36-9-1, 21) [渡邉卓也]. This pits a huge puncher against a proper tough guy in what could be a very brutal bout.
At Light Middleweight we'll see former champion Nobuyuki Shindo (20-5-2, 8) [新藤寛之] take on Yuto Shimizu (13-4-2, 5) [清水優人] in what looks like a disappointing match up on paper but should prove to be very entertaining. This bout will take place on November 2nd and is expected to be featured on a card that has at least one other noteworthy bout.
The final bout to be scheduled is the Light Flyweight contest, which is set to feature Rikito Shiba (3-0, 2) [芝力人] taking on the big punching Masamichi Yabuki (9-3, 9) [佐藤政道], in another amazing match up. This bout, set to take place in Nagoya on December 15th, is a huge step up for Shiba and a win here would be a huge statement for the youngster.
One bout that has been ordered, but has no set date yet, is the Super Flyweight bout, which will feature former champion Hiroyuki Kudaka (26-18-2, 11) [久高寛之] and Yuta Matsuo (15-4-1, 8) [松尾雄太], in what should be an action packed war, helped by the limitations of the two men involved.
Notably there will be no eliminator at Middleweight and instead Riku Kunimoto (4-0, 2) [国本陸] will get a shot at the belt, likely against current champion Kazuto Takesako (11-0-1, 11) [竹迫司登], in the new year.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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