It seems crazy to look back on the last few months and think what has happened to the world, but if we do look back to January 18th news broke that Kenichi Horikawa (40-16-1, 13) [堀川 謙一] and Daiki Tomita (14-1, 5) [冨田 大樹] would clash for the OPBF Light Flyweight title on a card in Osaka on March 1st.
That card ended up being scrapped just days earlier as the "on going global situation" caused boxing events in Japan to be postponed and cancelled.
Today it's been revealed that there is now hope that that delayed bout has a date and venue set for it, and hasn't been cancelled, just postponed.
The plan for Japanese boxing to return in July is still being put together, and that OPBF Light Flyweight title bout has now been pencilled in for July 25th at the Kobe Central Gymnasium
Whilst it's more than 4 months after the originally planned date for the bout we're glad to see it being held all the same. It's an interesting match up between one of the stalwarts of the Japanese scene, in Horikawa, and one of the many promising youngsters, in Tomita.
The way things stand the contest will be the second OPBF title bout in Japan in July, following the OPBF Featherweight title bout set to take place on July 16th at Korakuen Hall between defending champion Satoshi Shimizu (8-1, 8) [清水 聡] and Kyohei Tonomoto (9-2-1, 4) [殿本恭平].
Earlier today the Japanese Light Flyweight title changed hands, as veteran Kenichi Horikawa (40-16-1, 13) [堀川 謙一] came up short against young challenger Yuto Takahashi (11-4, 5) [高橋悠斗], in what was an incredibly close bout.
The 39 year old Horikawa was look to control the distance against the 26 year old challenger, but in the early going it was the challenger who managed to do that little bit more and dictate the tempo. Horikawa used his speed and movement to just do enough to take the rounds, though it wasn't clear cut and the champion had his own success, particularly in round 5 with his left hook.
After 5 rounds Takahashi was leading, 48-47, twice and 49-46.
Knowing he was behind Horikawa looked to impose himself more, and had notable success in round 7 as he ramped up the pressure. Though he was upping his work rate Horikawa couldn't take away the legs of Takahashi who bit down on his gum shield and fought back hard, refusing to let Horikawa take total control.
After 10 rounds it was clear the bout was close, much closer than it had been at the midway point. The fight back from Horikawa had been excellent, and he showed a champions determination. In the end however it wasn't enough, with Takahashi taking the decision with scores of 97-93, 96-94 and 95-95, to become the new Japanese Light Flyweight champion.
It's now unclear on what the future holds for Horikawa, and it wouldn't be a massive shock if he retired given his age. However given his effort here, we certainly wouldn't complain about a rematch next year, and even at an advanced age Horikawa has plenty left in the tank. As for Takahashi he will be defending the title in the 2020 Champion Carnival against either Rikito Shiba (4-0, 2) [芝力人] or Masamichi Yabuki (9-3, 9) [佐藤政道], who will fight in an eliminator later this year.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Tomorrow fight fans at Korakuen Hall will see Japanese Light Flyweight champion Kenichi Horikawa (40-15-1, 13) [堀川 謙一] make his next defense, as he takes on the unheralded Yuto Takahashi (10-4, 5) [高橋悠斗].
The bout was made at relatively short notice, with Horikawa having a bout cancelled in August and Takahashi planning a different bout for this month, against Horikawa's stablemate Norihito Tanaka. Despite that it looks likely to be a very interesting bout, between two men with very under-rated records.
Today the two men took part in their weigh in, and both fighters made the 108lb limit with no issues.
At the weigh in Horikawa spoke about the short notice for the fight. He revealed that back in August, when his bout with Ryuto Oho (12-5-1, 4) [大保 龍斗] fell through on the day of the weigh in, he was offered an October bout, this one. He immediately jumped at the opportunity.
Horikawa is currently ranked in the top 5 by 2 of the world title bodies and the feeling is that if he wins here he will be looking to make the most of those rankings and get a world title fight in 2020.
Takahashi was full of confidence, he spoke excitedly about the opportunity of becoming a champion and stated that he will fight like a challenger. There was a clear desire running through his veins and he's certainly not going to be there to just make up the numbers.
Related - Horikawa defends Japanese title against Takahashi in a battle of circumstance
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Back in August we reported that on October 10th Japan's Shuichiro Yoshino (10-0, 8) [吉野 修一郎] would face Filipino Harmonito Dela Torre (20-2, 12) for the OPBF interim Lightweight title. Now however we have seen two changes to that.
Yesterday it was revealed that Masayoshi Nakatani (18-1, 12) [中谷正義] had vacated the OPBF Lightweight title, meaning the Yoshino Vs Dela Torre bout would be for the full OPBF title and not the interim belt. Today saw further news with sources informing us that the bout will also have the WBO Asia Pacific title on the line, allowing the winner to unify the two major regional crowns.
The WBO Asia Pacific title has previously been held by Kye MacKenzie, who won the belt last October, and prior to that Nihito Arakawa had held it. Sadly neither man defended it with much regularity, however with Yoshino and Dela Torre battling to unify the belts we suspect that both regional titles will be more active than they have been in recent years.
As previously reported that is another title bout set for the October 10th card, with Japanese Light Flyweight champion Kenichi Horikawa (40-15-1, 13) [堀川 謙一] defending his title against Yuto Takahashi (10-4, 5) [高橋悠斗]
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