Earlier today in Tokyo we had a show at Korakuen Hall. The wasn't a big one but did have two notable bouts on it.
The first of the two notable bouts saw OPBF Middleweight champion Kazuto Takesako (14-0-1, 13) [竹迫司登] score a 3rd round KO win over Thai visitor Niwat Kongkan (11-9, 8). Takesako, who had been out of the ring for around 16 months, controlled the bout from the off, with his powerful jab and straight right hand. The power of Takesako was too much for the visitor who was dropped numerous times before a straight right hand closed the show. After the bout Takesako stated that he wanted to unify regional titles, suggesting he's now hunting for the WBO Asia Pacific title, before moving towards a world title in the future.
In the main event we saw former 2-time world title challenger Ryo Akaho (39-2-2, 26) [赤穂亮] destroy Edrin Dapudong (35-8-1, 21) in just 167 seconds. Akaho managed to hurt Dapudong several times, before landing a brutal left hook that sent the Filipino to the canvas, where he remained for the 10 count whilst on his knees. This was only the second time Dapudong had been stopped in 44 bouts, but was a statement from Akaho who revealed that his team are in touch with two former world champions for his next bout. The Japanese slugger revealed that he is expecting to face either Mexican bad boy Luis Nery (31-1, 24) or multi-weight Filipino John Riel Casmero (31-4, 21) next time out, and that promoter Ichitaro Ishii is waiting or contracts to be signed to announce who Akaho will be up against.
Interestingly, on the subject of Casimero, he has also been linked to a potential show down in December with Takuma Inoue (16-1, 3) [井上拓真].
Earlier today we were informed a date has been set to fill the Japanese Middleweight title vacant.
The title, which became vacant when the unbeaten Kazuto Takesako (12-0-1, 12) [竹迫司登] vacated it in December, will be fought for on April 17th on a show at the Sumiyoshi Ward Center in Osaka, as former Takesako victim Riku Kunimoto (5-1, 2) [国本陸] takes on the light punching Mikio Sakai (4-0) [酒井 幹生].
For Kunimoto this will be a second title shot, following an opening round TKO loss to Takesako in May 2021, when he entered as the mandatory challenger. Whilst he lost to Takesako he has shown himself very capable on the domestic scene, and wins over Shoma Fukumoto and Kazuki Kyohara show he should be in the mix for a title fight. Sadly Takesako is a long way ahead of the domestic level, even if he himself is a long way behind Japan's top Middleweight Ryota Murata (16-2, 13) [村田 諒太].
Saki on the other hand will be getting his first title fight and a chance to claim a Japanese title in just his 5th professional bout. Since turning professional Sakai has been impressive, and has scored decent wins over Ran Tomomatsu and Koshinmaru Saito, whilst relying on his speed, movement and technical skills. This is however a notable step up, and he didn't look comfortable against Saito.
At the time of writing no other bouts for the card have been anounced for the show, though Kunimoto's promoter, Takashi Edagawa of Muto Promotions, will be in charge of the event, and Sakai will be fighting outside of Korakuen Hall for the first time.
Takesako vacates Japanese title
Earlier this week it was announced that the hard hitting Kazuto Takesako (12-0-1, 12) [竹迫司登] had vacated the Japanese Middleweight title, having made 4 defenses of the title. The heavy handed Takesako won the title in March 2018, and defended it against Sanosuke Sasaki, Shuji Kato, twice, and Riku Kunimoto, whilst also unifying it with the OPBF title.
For now Takesako will remain the OPBF champion, and it seems like that belt will be his focus, though the option is out there for him to chase a WBO Asia Pacific title unification fight against veteran Yuki Nonaka (34-11-3, 10) [野中 悠樹].
Had he kept the title, Takesako would have been expected to defend the belt against Riku Kunimoto (4-1, 2) [国本陸], for a second time, in the new year as part of the 2022 version of the Champion Carnival. A bout that would feel rather pointless for Takesako given he stopped Kunimoto inside a round this past May.
Kunimoto will still be getting a shot at the title in this upcoming Champion Carnival, but his oppponent for that title bout has yet to be confirmed.
Earlier today fight fans at Korakuen Hall had the latest show in the Dynamic Glove series of shows, with this show set to be aired later in May on G+. The card featured a Japanese Middleweight title bout, between Kazuto Takesako and Riku Kunimoto as it's main event.
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. Due to the overall low profile of the under-card we will not be covering all the results here so the spoiler for the main event will be next. If you wish to avoid those spoilers, please stop reading now.
At Korakuen Hall today fight fans got to enjoy the first card in Tokyo for the month following a State of Emergency that ended up delaying numerous shows, in fact this one it's self was expected at the very start of the month before being pushed back. The main event it's self had already ben pushed back multiple times from a May 2020 date that was originally set for it. Sadly however the delay meant that one of the fighters had been out of the ring for around 16 months and the other for over two years. This was expected to play into the outcome of the bout, at least some what.
The bout in question saw hard hitting Japanese Middleweight champion Kazuto Takesako (12-0-1, 12) [竹迫司登] defending his title against mandatory challenger Riku Kunimoto (4-1, 2) [国本陸]. The heavy handed Takesako had fought in early 2020, adding the WBO Asia Pacific title to his collection, but had been inactive for over a year, and had suffered an injury during that time. Kunimoto on the other hand had been out of the ring since April 2019, more than 2 years. He was, as mentioned, supposed to face Takesako in May 2020, then July 2020 then November 2020. Before the bout was rescheduled to earlier this month, which was it's self delayed until today.
Sadly for Kunimoto the delay was not good for him.
He showed some ambition, in fact the the opening moments were really exciting with both men letting their hands go, but it wasn't long until a left hook from Takesako dropped Kunimoto. The challenger got to his feet quickly, and seemed to be more surprised than hurt. His response to going down was to get back on the front foot and attack the body of the champion, but ended up taking a huge body and then uppercut before coming undone by a follow up barrage of bombs from Takesako. Within moments he had gone down for the second time.
Kunimoto's heart showed, as he got to his feet again, but the referee complete the 10 count, judging him unfit to continue, and waved off the bout.
With the win Takesako recorded his 4th defense of the Japanese title.
After the bout Takesako spoke took the microphone, as is typical in Japan and explained that his father had passed away in May due to Covid19, and that he also recently become a father, with his own child being born in September, and stated that he wanted to be a father like his own father. Clearly an emotional moment for the destructive champion so soon after his father's passing.
For fans wanting to watch this will be aired on Monday from 5:30 local time.
(Image courtesy of Boxingnews.jp)
Tomorrow at Korakuen Hall fight fans will Japanese Middleweight champion Kazuto Takesako (11-0-1, 11) [竹迫司登] defending his title in a long over-due mandatory title defense against the unbeaten Riku Kunimoto (4-0, 2) [国本陸].
The bout was originally pencilled in for May 2020 before Covid19 and injuries forced plans to change several times. This saw the bout being delayed by around a year from it's originally planned date, and has seen neither man in action for quite some time. In fact it's more than 2 years since Kunimoto last fought and around 16 months since Takesako last fought.
Despite the long lay offs both men looked in great shape today as they took part in their weigh in for the bout, in fact both men came in comfortably under the Middleweight limit as they both weighed 159.2lbs.
Whilst both came in at the same weight it should be noted that the two men had very different body types. The champion was the much shorter man, with a thicker torso and a naturally powerful look to him. The challenger on the other hand looked significantly longer and taller, and it seems clear that Kunimoto has an obviously reach and height difference. That advantage however doesn't make up for the gulf in professional experience between the two men, and Takesako will go into the bout as the clear favourite.
Notably this will be the first event at Korakuen Hall for almost a month, due to the recent State of Emergency, and we're glad to see boxing back in Tokyo after quite a lengthy break. Notably thw bout falls on the 69th anniversary of when Yoshio Shirai became Japan's first ever boxing world champion.
For fans unable to attend the show will be aired on tape delaye on G+, with the event being shown on May 24th at 5:30PM local time and having a 3 hour broadcast window.
Related - Power punching Takesako takes on unbeaten challenger Kunimoto in over-due fight!
(Image credit World Sport Boxing Gym)
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