The Coronavirus Countermeasures Liaison Council, set up by the Japan Boxing Commission and Japan Professional Boxing Association had their latest meeting today and took their latest step towards opening up the boxing scene in the country. A full decision on the restart it expect to be made in the coming days but today's meeting did lay down some clear ground work for the return.
In regards to health and safety the hope is to give fighters anti-body tests 3 weeks prior to a bout. That still hasn't been totally signed off but seems to be the standard they will be pushing for. The shows will also be non-spectator events to begin with, and it doesn't seem like their is a clear agreement on when that is going to be changed.
The first show that has been applied for at Korakuen Hall is, still, the planned Ohashi show on July 16th which will be a double header show, with no supporting under-card. That event is planned to see OPBF Featherweight champion Satoshi Shimizu (8-1, 8) [清水 聡] defending his title against Kyohei Tonomoto (9-2-1, 4) [殿本恭平] and Japanese Light Welterweight champion Koki Inoue (15-0, 12) [浩樹井上] defending his belt against mandatory challenger Daishi Nagata (14-2-1, 5) [永田大士].
That may end up not being the first show in Japan in July, with applications made for two shows at the Aioi Hall, one on July 5th and one on July 12, though details of those shows haven't been announced in any sort of detail yet. This could mean Japanese boxing restarts in Central Japan almost 2 weeks before it starts in the capital.
Talking about events in the capital it appears the Japanese Middleweight title bout between Kazuto Takesako (11-0-1, 11) [竹迫司登] and Riku Kunimoto (4-0, 2) [国本陸] will not take place on July 27th as planned, and has been pushed back, potentially to 2012. That was due to Kunimoto requesting a delay based on his inability to train.
Despite that news there is the hope is that Tokyo will host a card on July 22nd, with Kenta Nakagawa (18-3-1, 12) [中川 健太] defending his Japanese Super Flyweight title against Yuta Matsuo (15-4-2, 8) [松尾雄太].
Notably there wasn't any mention of the recently reported WBO Flyweight title bout between Junto Nakatani (20-0, 15) [中谷 潤人] and Giemel Magramo (24-1, 20), which was reportedly looking for a July 4th date.
Earlier today news broke of two planned Japanese shows which have been pencilled in for July, though still need to be given the green light by the Japanese boxing authorities. Not only are two shows planned but the will both be featuring Japanese title fights.
The first of those is planned for July 22nd and will be headlined by Japanese Super Flyweight title bout between Kenta Nakagawa (18-3-1, 12) [中川 健太] and Yuta Matsuo (15-4-2, 8) [松尾雄太], who will be meeting in one of the delayed Champion Carnival bouts.
Originally Nakagawa and Matsuo were supposed to be facing off on May 16th, before boxing in Japan was put on an hiatus due to the ongoing global issues. For Nakagawa the bout will be his first defense of his second reign, following his title win back in December against Takayuki Okumoto. As for Matsuo this will be his third crack at a Japanese title, following losses to Masayuki Kuroda and Takayuki Okumoto.
The plan for the card is to feature 3 under-card bouts alongside the main event.
The second show is planned to take place 5 days later, on July 27th and will see Kazuto Takesako (11-0-1, 11) [竹迫司登] defending his Japanese Middleweight title against Riku Kunimoto (4-0, 2) [国本陸], in a bout that was originally supposed to take place back on May 2nd.
For Takesako the bout will be his 4th defense of the title whilst Kunimoto will be fighting in his first title fight. At the moment there are no details regarding an under-card.
Again it needs to be said that both shows have got to be given the green light, along with the previously reported Ohashi gym card which will feature OPBF Featherweight champion Satoshi Shimizu (8-1, 8) [清水 聡] defending his title against Kyohei Tonomoto (9-2-1, 4) [殿本恭平] and Japanese Light Welterweight champion Koki Inoue (15-0, 12) [浩樹井上] defending his belt against Daishi Nagata (14-2-1, 5) [永田大士].
The shows will all be discussed at an upcoming meeting in Japan, where the three shows will be looked at to make sure they are possible and don't carry too much risk.
There is also a card set for July 30th, which will be be run by the East Japan Boxing Association.
Earlier today the Japan Boxing Commission (JBC) and Japan Professional Boxing Association (JPBA) held a meeting to discuss what the plan is for boxing in Japan in regards to coronavirus.
Amazingly, and somewhat surprisingly, the plan that came out of today's meeting is for sport to resume in Japan in May, with May 2nd pencilled for the next show.
The plan seems to rely on the government not declaring any sort of emergency measures, which if the government do put in place will see the current suspension extended.
The plan is that, even when the sport resumes, there will still be rules in place that promoters need to follow. These including temperature checks as fans come in to the venue, no selling tickets on the day and, from what we understand, only allow fans to sit in alternate seats, to try an limit the effects of coronavirus in the country. As well as prohibiting the sale of standing tickets.
The full terms will be discussed later this month, at a meeting on March 30th.
If things go ahead as planned the first show on resumption will be the May 2nd Dynamic Glove card from Korakuen Hall, headlined by Japanese Middleweight champion Kazuto Takesako (12-0-1, 11) [竹迫司登] defending against mandatory challenger Riku Kunimoto (4-0, 2) [国本陸] as part of the now very truncated Champion Carnival.
It needs to be noted that at the moment things are still subject to change, and a rapid increase in cases in Japan before May would likely see things changing again, potentially to either no boxing or boxing being fought behind closed doors.
As this is a changing story please see April's Rookie of the Year events postponed, boxing's Japanese return delayed for an update
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)
Earlier today we were informed, of the details regarding 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], which will be one of the final Champion Carnival bouts this year.
The bout was always expected to be relatively late, for a Champion Carnival bout, given that Takesako was set to face Shinobu Charlie Hosokawa (12-5-1, 11) [細川チャーリー忍] for the OPBF title in January, in a bout which Takesako won to unify the titles. He was then, understandably, going to take some time away from the ring to recover from what was a tough and gruelling bout. There was also a case of finding a suitable date, for TV.
Today we were told the bout would be taking place at Korakuen Hall on May 2nd, under the Dynamic Glove banner, meaning it would be getting televised on G+.
For Takesako the bout will be his second of 2020, following his 12 round decision win over Hosokawa in January. As for Kunimoto the bout will be his first since April 2019, when he stopped Shoma Fukumoto, and will only be his second since the the start of 2019. It's a shame the challenger, who didn't have an opponent for an eliminator last year, will be coming into this after more than a year out of the ring, and fingers crossed ring rust won't be an issue when we see the two men face off.
Interestingly a couple of the under-card fighters have been confirmed, alongside the main bout. One of those is former Japanese Light Middleweight title challenger Koki Koshikawa (9-2, 6) [越川孝紀], who will be fighting for the first time since being stopped by Hironobu Matsunaga in November. The other is 2019 Rookie of the Year winner Seiya Meguro (6-0, 3) [目黒聖也], who fights for the first time since his All Japan Rookie win in December. At the time of writing neither man has had their opponent announced for the show.
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