Earlier today at Korakuen Hall we saw the latest show from Hideyuki Ohashi.
The early part of the card was really interesting, with 3 successive draws on the card, from the first 4 bouts. The first of those saw Keigo Nakayama (4-2-1, 3) [中山 慶伍] fight to a majority draw with Hisaya Kishibe (5-3-2, 3) [岸部 久也], over 6 rounds. The second saw Tairan Yokote (7-4-1, 3) [横手 太嵐] fight to a draw with Kei Fujita (6-2-1, 4) [藤田 圭], also over 6 rounds. The third draw, this time over 8 rounds, saw Kantaro Juri (4-0-1, 2) [重里 侃太朗] being held by Filipino visitor Danrick Sumabong (12-2-1, 9), in what was a split decision.
We almost for a 4th straight draw but Ryutaro Nakagaki (3-0-2, 2) [中垣龍汰朗] managed to do just enough to edge past Kyotaro Yoshida (2-1) [吉田京太郎], with Nakagaki taking a majority decision win here. This was high level stuff from both early on, with both showing off some excellent boxing as their amateur backgrounds shined through. In the later stages however Nakagaki began to find his range and his tempo and came on strong as Yoshida began to tire. It was the strong finish from Nakagaki that proved to be the difference maker, but this was razor close with scores of 78-74, 77-75 and 76-76 coming in from the judge.
The chief support bout saw the highly touted Keisuke Matsumoto (6-0, 6) [松本圭佑] continue his destructive run as he stopped Ryota Ishida (11-4, 6) [石田凌太] in the second round of their bout. The first round saw Matsumoto land a few solid shots, but he bided his time before landing a brutal counter left hook in round 2. The shot seemed to turn Ishida's lights off and Matsumoto followed up, sending Ishida to the canvas, with the referee waving the bout off swiftly.
In the main event we saw WBO Asian Pacific Light Welterweight champion Andy Hiraoka (21-0, 16) [平岡アンディ] easily retain his title, as he stopped Filipino puncher Alvin Lagumbay (13-6-1, 11), to score his third defense of the title. In the opening round Hiraoka looked to fight safely, using his jab to control the distance, and also managed to land a solid right hook. In the second round Lagumbay got tagged by a hard straight left hand, and a follow up attack forced Lagumbay to stagger into the ropes, leaving the referee with no option other than to stop the bout aft 2 minutes 27 seconds of the round.
After the win it was revealed that promoter Hideyuki Ohashi has plans to have Hiroka out once more this year, with Hiraoka pencilled into defend his WBO Asia Pacific and Japanese titles. Although there was no details when that defense will come, it does seem likely that the bout will take place on the under-card of the planned Bantamweight unification bout between Naoya Inoue (23-0, 20) [井上 尚弥] and Paul Butler (34-2, 15), which is rumoured for December 13th,
Earlier today Ohashi Gym announced that unbeaten Japanese and WBO Asian Pacific Light Welterweight champion Andy Hiraoka (20-0, 15) [平岡アンディ] would be returning to the ring on September 13th to defend his WBO Asia Pacific title for the third time.
The unbeaten champion, who won the title late last year when he stopped Jin Sasaki, has had a good year so far, stopping both Cristiano Aoqui and Shun Akaiwa, and in September will be looking to add Filipino slugger Alvin Lagumbay (13-5-1, 11) to his resume, with the "Time Bomb" being Hiraoka's next challenger.
The bout, which headlines a Phoenix Battle card at Korakuen Hall, is a dangerous one for the champion. Hiraoka will, understandably, enter as the favourite but Japanese fans will remember Lagumbay's previous bouts in Japan, which included a loss to Kazuki Saito, who he dropped before losing to, and Keita Obara, who he stopped in dramatic fashion in April 2018 before losing a rematch 4 months later. Although not a great boxer Lagumbay is a proven power puncher and Hiraoka will know he can't take too many risks here.
Also set for this card is 23 year old prospect Keisuke Matsumoto (5-0, 5) [松本圭佑], who takes on domestic foe Ryota Ishida (11-3, 6) [石田凌太], in what is a solid looking 8 rounder at Featherweight. Another notable Ohashi prospect on the show will be Ryutaro Nakagaki (2-0-2, 2) [中垣龍汰朗], who faces unbeaten Watanabe Gym hopeful Kyotaro Yoshida (2-0) [吉田京太郎] in a mouth watering clash of unbeatens.
Earlier today Korakeun Hall played host to the latest Ohashi Promoted event, which featured a number of notable bouts, including two title bouts, the debut of a former amateur stand out and the latest bout of a highly touted young prospect.
The first of the notable bouts on the show saw talented former amateur standout Taiga Imanaga (1-0, 1) [今永 虎雅] make a successful debut, as he stopped Takahiro Hamazaki (4-9-3, 1) [浜崎 隆広] in 2 rounds. Imanaga, who won 10 amateur titles before making his debut, looked razor sharp in the opening round, setting a good pace in the opening round, before increasing the pressure in round 2 and scoring 2 knockdowns before Hamazaki's saved their man. It's early days for Imanaga, but on the back of this performance he is a special talent, who can go a very, very long way.
After the expected win from Imanaga we then got a notable upset as 36 year old Hisashi Kato (11-10-2, 7) [加藤 寿] scored a shock 2nd round TKO win over Rikuto Adachi (16-4, 12) [安達 陸虎]. Coming in Adachi was ranked #6 by the JB, but that ranking looked very over inflated early in round 2, when he was dropped from a straight left hand. He recovered to his feet, by was down again just moments later as with the bout being stopped. Notably this win will earn Kato a Japanese ranking, and allow him to continue his career past the typical Japanese retirement age of 37, with the win essentially saving his career.
After back to back blow outs there was hope we would see a bout go some rounds. No one 22 year old Keisuke Matsumoto (5-0, 5) [松本 圭佑], who took just 42 seconds to blast out Thai visitor Nakharin Hangyu (4-2, 2). The Thai was put in to the corner early in the round, and took a beating there until the referee finally stepped in and waved off the bout.
The first of the show's two title bouts saw Yasuhiro Kanzaki (8-2-1, 2) [神崎靖浩] scores his biggest win to date, as he took an 8 round decision over Yoshiki Minato (10-6, 5)[湊義生] to claim the Japanese Youth Super Flyweight title. The bout saw Minato start aggressively and try to pressure Kanzaki, who fought well as a counter puncher, putting together some really nice shots through the guard of Minato. Minato seemed to become more determined to press after that, but continued to be countered by the cleaner, more accurate and sharp shots of Kanzaki, who seemed the smarter more polished fighter through the bout. After 8 rounds we went to the scorecards, which were 78-74, 78-74 and 77-75 to Kanzaki, who claims his first professional title.
The main event saw former 3 weight world champion Kosei Tanaka (17-1, 10) [田中恒成] score an impressive win and claim the WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight title, as he stopped Masayoshi Hashizume (19-1-2, 11) [橋詰 将義] in 5 rounds. Hashizume has some success early on, whilst Tanaka looked to get a read on what was in front of him. After 2 rounds it seemed that Tanaka fully understood what he was up against, and in round 3 he began to press forward more, letting his lands go late in the round. The offensive work of Tanaka grew in round 4, as he intelligently pressed and pressured Hashizume, landing good body shots through the round. It was clear Tanaka was in control and Hashizume was levels below Tanaka, and in round started to really put it on his man, cutting him around the right eye, with a hard straight left hand, before pinning him on the ropes and unloading until the referee stepped in and waved off the bout.
After the contest Tanaka revealed that he is looking to target bouts for either the WBO or the IBF Super Flyweight titles, though his promoter admitted that such a bout might not happen until next year.
Earlier today Hideyuki Ohashi held a press conference to announce the April edition of Phoenix Battle, and it's a brilliant one, with an all Japanese world title fight headlining the show, and several notable Japanese prospects taking steps up in class on the under-card.
The main event will see WBO Minimumweight champion Masataka Taniguchi (15-3, 10) [谷口将隆] make his first defense, following his title win late last year. The talented champion will be taking on former foe Kai Ishizawa (10-1, 9) [石澤開] in a much anticipated rematch between the two men.
These two first fought back in September 2019, when Taniguchi recovered from a knockdown to defeat Ishizawa, becoming the mandatory challenger for the Japanese title as a result. Since then Tanuguchi has gone 3-0 (3), winning the Japanese title in 2020 and the WBO title in 2021, living up to the potential many in Japan knew he had. Ishizawa himself bounced back from the loss to Taniguchi, the only loss of his career, by defending the Japanese Youth title, before claiming the Japanese senior title in January. It was clear when Ishizawa won the title title that he would be targeting Taniguchi, and this bout was seemingly an obvious one to make.
At the press conference today the two men involved in the world title fight both spoke confidently, with Ishizawa stating he wanted to "humiliate" Taniguchi here, and that seemed to be more of his focus than actually becoming a world champion.
The chief support bout for the show will see the unbeaten Yoshiki Takei (3-0, 3) [武居由樹] take on JBC ranked Shingo Kawamura (15-8-4, 8) [河村真吾], in a real step up for Takei. Despite this being a step up Takei and his team are confident of not just winning, but doing so in spectacular fashion, with Mr Ohashi giving Takei a target of an opening round win. Despite the hope for a blow out victory, it should be noted this is scheduled as a 10 rounder.
In another support bout we'll see the hard hitting the Jin Sasaki (11-1, 10) [佐々木尽] officially begin his campaign as a Welterweight, as he takes on Japanese based American Marcus Smith (7-1-1, 7) [マーカス・スミス], in what will be Sasaki's first bout since losing to Andy Hiraoka (18-0, 13) [平岡アンディ] last year.
Another supporting bout will see youngster Keisuke Matsumoto (3-0, 3) [松本圭佑] step up to take on Morihisa Iju (11-5, 9) [伊集盛尚], in a scheduled 8 rounder. Notably this bout was schediled for February 28th, but has now been rescheduled to April 22nd.
Earlier today Hideyuki Ohashi helped a press conference and announced his next big show, which we now know will be a world title double header and December 14th at the Ryogoku Kokugikan. He confirmed one bout which had been widely reported over the last couple and gave us a bonus, with a second world title bout being confirmed.
The bout we knew about was the clash between WBA and IBF Bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue (21-0, 18) [井上 尚弥] and Thai fighter Aran Dipaen (12-2, 11) [แก่นนคร ศักดิ์กรีรินทร์], which was first reported by Komthai 2 weeks ago. The bout is certainly not a special bout, and should be a contest that Inoue wins without any real problems, but it's nice to see him being active, being back in the ring for a second fight this year and ticking over. It's also good to see him back in a Japanese ring for the first time since November 2019, when he beat Nonito Donaire in the WBSS Bantamweight final.
At the press conference Ohashi stated that he had hoped to get Inoue a unification bout with either John Riel Casimero or Nonito Donaire for this December bout, but was thwarted by their mandatory obligations. He also suggested that that they had tried to secure bouts with Rau'shee Warren, Gary Antonio Russell and Nikolai Potapov, but those had failed to materialise, and had essentially taken Dipaen as the best ranked contender who was available and willing to face Inoue. Whilst this will be Inoue's first bout in Japan for more than two years, it will also see him returning to the Ryogoku Kokugikan for the first time in around 8 years, with the venue being the one where he claimed the OPBF Light Flyweight title in 2013 with a win over Jerson Mancio.
It should be noted that Inoue and Ohashi have both previously suggested he will be getting a "big bout" in April 2022 in Japan.
The other world title bout will be a WBO Minimumweight title bout between defending champion Wilfredo Mendez (16-1, 6) and his mandatory challenger Masataka Taniguchi (14-3, 9) [谷口将隆]. The two men were meant to have purse bids on October 27th, but they were cancelled at the 11th hour as the teams had agreed a deal, a deal that will see them being on this card.
For Mendez the bout will be his third defense, and his first bout of any kind since beating Gabruel Mendoza back in February 2020. As for Taniguchi he's been in form and will be hoping to make the most of his second world title shot. Of the two men Mendez is probably the better pure boxer, and is quick, slippery fighter, but fighting in Japan for the first time, with the crowd against him and a long lay off, he will really be up against it here.
Also set for this card Yoshiki Takei (2-0, 2) [武居由樹], Keisuke Matsumoto (3-0, 3) [松本圭佑] and Toshiya Ishii (4-1, 3) [石井渡士也].
News! We try and give you the most interesting news stories from the Asian boxing world!