This past Saturday we saw American Joseph "Jojo" Diaz (31-1-1, 15) become the former IBF Super Featherweight champion, following his failure to make weight on Friday and being stripped of his title on the scales, prior to facing mandatory challenger Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov (15-0-1, 12) [Шавкатджон Рахимов].
When the two men got in the following day they ended up fighting to a draw, in what was a really decent fight. As a result of the draw the title remained vacant.
Thankfully the IBF haven't wasted time in trying to resolve the situation and have now ordered Rakhimov to face Japanese Super Featherweight Kenichi Ogawa (25-1-1-1, 18) [尾川 堅一] for the vacant title.
The IBF have given Teiken, who promote Ogawa, and RCC Boxing Promotion, who promote Rakhimov, 30 days to negotiate. If no deal is reached within that time the bout will go to purse bids.
Interestingly the match between Rakhimov and Ogawa will be the second either man has to win this IBF title.
Ogawa got a shot back in 2017 when he out pointed Tevin Farmer for the vacant title, before the result was over-turned due to a positive drug test, which was put down to a skin cream Ogawa was using. As for Rakhimov his first shot was the one over the weekend against Diaz.
Earlier today the nominations for the JBC and Tokyo Athletic Press Club Boxing Subcommittee annual awards were announced, with the media being able to vote on the winners, who will be announced later this month. Unlike usual there will not be a big event ceremony, due to the ongoing Covid19 situation.
Sadly Covid19 really did destroy the boxing calendar in Japan and only a handful of top Japanese fighters managed to squeeze a fight into the year. In fact only 3 of the 7 current male world champions managed to fight, and that include a man who won his world title late year.
The fighters nominated for the "Best Fighter" award were those 3 champions that manage to fight last year:
They were WBO Super Flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka (25-2, 14) [井岡一翔]
WBO Flyweight champion Junto Nakatani (21-0, 16) [中谷 潤人]
And unified WBA "super" and IBF Bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue (20-0, 17) [井上 尚弥]
Those 3 champions are also up in the running for the "Skill Award".
The "Special Merit" award sees Junto Nakatani in the running alongside:
Masayoshi Nakatani (19-1, 13) [中谷正義]
and Hironori Mishiro (10-0-1, 3) [三代大訓]
The Effort/Fighting Award short list is
Ryoji Fukunaga (13-4, 13) [福永亮次]
and Kenichi Horikawa (41-16-1, 14) [堀川 謙一]
The KO award has 4 nominees, with Inoue, Ioka, and both Junto and Masayoshi Nakatani.
The newcomer award sees Mishiro up against:
Daishi Nagata (15-2-2, 6) [永田大士]
and Masamichi Yabuki (12-3, 11) [佐藤政道]
The best bout of the year has been split into two categories, as it has been for a while.
The world title bouts up for the award are:
Kazuto Ioka Vs Kosei Tanaka (15-1, 9) [田中恒成]
Naoya Inoue Vs Jason Moloney
Junto Nakatani Vs Giemel Magramo
As for the none world title bouts, the fights nominated here are:
Riku Nagahama [長濱 陸] Vs Kudura Kaneko [クドゥラ 金子]- For the OPBF Welterweight title
Kenichi Ogawa [尾川 堅一] Vs Kazuhiro Nishitani [西谷和宏] - Non title bout
Masayoshi Nakatani Vs Felix Verdejo - WBO Intercontinental Lightweight title
Ryoji Fukunaga Vs Kenta Nakagawa [中川 健太] - WBO Asia Pacific, JBC and OPBF triple title bout
and Hironori Mishiro Vs Masayuki Ito [伊藤 雅雪] - Non title bout
As for the female awards, the MVP nominess are:
WBO Atomweight champion Mika Iwakawa (9-5-1, 3) [岩川 美花]
WBO female Minimumweight champion Etsuko Tada (20-3-3, 7) [多田悦子]
and WBO female Super Flyweight champion Tomoko Okuda (7-2-2, 1) [奥田朋子]
The best bouts for female boxing are:
Mika Iwakawa Vs Nanae Suzuki [鈴木菜々江]
Etsuko Tada Vs Ayaka Miyao [宮尾 綾香]
and Tomoko Okuda Vs Miyo Yoshida [吉田 実代]
Earlier today the East Japanese Boxing Association announced their award winners for the month of October and we had 3 worth while winners for the month, which was, in fairness, a really good month for fights in Japan.
The MVP for the month was world ranked Super Featherweight Kenichi Ogawa (25-1-1-1, 18) [尾川 堅一], who earned the award following his October 2nd win over Kazuhiro Nishitani (21-5-1, 12) [西谷和宏]. The bout saw both men being dropped, and saw really great action through out, with Ogawa taking a clear, but very hard fought, decision. The win not only netted him this award but also moved him closer to a world title fight, with Nishitani also entering the bout as a world ranked fighter.
The Fighting Spirit Award was won by Seiya Tsutsumi (5-0-2, 4) [堤聖也] following his unexpected draw with former WBC Flyweight champion Daigo Higa (16-1-1, 16) [比嘉 大吾] on October 26th. Many had expected Tsutsumi to be easily beaten by the more well known Higa but instead Tsutsumi more than held his own, and some in the venue felt that the under-dog deserved a victory here. Sadly we've not yet seen the bout, though it will be aired on delay in Japan in around 10 days time thanks to TBS.
The Newcomer award was won by Toshiki Kawamitsu (5-0, 2) [川満 俊輝], following his win against Kenshi Noda (2-1, 2) [野田 賢史], in what was an absolutely sensational bout well worthy of a watch. Kawamitsu went into the bout without much fanfare but came out of it as a man who was worth following, and had instantly generated some real buzz. The win for Kawamitsu will open the doors to bigger fights, and if you've not seen this bout with Noda you really should, absolute barn burner by the two youngsters.
Due to the fact some fans will not be wanting to know the result of today's from Korakuen Hall, as the bouts will be shown on Tape Delay on Monday on G+ we will begin this with a paragraph of text to act as a spoiler warning. Please be aware this is a 1-off paragraph designed to not ruin the bout for those who have accidentally stumbled on this page ahead of the TV broadcast of the bout on Monday. This is something we are only going to be doing when we know that a bout will be televised on delay and will only ever be a 1 paragraph thing, with the idea of allowing fans to watch events as live.
Please be wary spoilers will begin in the next few paragraphs as we go through the results of today's show starting at the opening and going through, bout by bout, to the main event, featuring Super Featherweights Kenichi Ogawa [尾川 堅一] and Kazuhiro Nishitani [西谷和宏].
Earlier today at Korakuen Hall Teiken put on their latest show, which was originally supposed to take place back in September, though was pushed back after Jorge Linares had a positive result in a PCR test. As a result the show was pushed back by around a month, and was removed from Live TV, getting a Tape Delay place on Japanese premium TV channel G+.
The show began with a 6 round Super Bantamweight bout as Satoru Hoshiba (7-4, 2) [干場 悟] scored a minor upset win over Takayoshi Suzuki (5-2-1, 1) [鈴木 敬祥]. The bout began with Suzuki looking to use his reach, but Hishiba cut the distance relatively early on and in round 4 a body shot from Hoshiba hurt his man, and he kept coming, out working Suzuki to earn a unanimous decision. The scores for this were 58-56 from all 3 judges.
In another minor upset Ryuya Tsugawa (8-1, 4) [津川 龍也] over-came Hikari Mineta (8-2, 5) [峯田 光], with Tsugawa scoring a 6th round TKO win over Mineta. To begin with both men struggled to connect anything cleanly but the pace began to get going in round 3 and then increased again in round 4, with Tsugawa getting the advantage. At least that was how it seemed until a counter from Mineta at the end of the round dropped Tsugawa. It was too late in the round for Mineta to jump on his man and by the start of round 5Tsugawa had recovered and started land clean shots, worsening facial damage on Mineta, who was stopped in round 6 by the ringside doctor.
One man who picked up an expected win was touted Light Flyweight prospect Shokichi Iwata (5-0, 4) [岩田翔吉], who stopped Ryo Narizuka (9-10-1) [成塚亮] in the 7th round of their scheduled 8 rounder. Early on Narizuka used his reach to pose some questions to Iwata but the talented Iwata managed to neutralise the advantage with his speed and skills. By round 2 it was starting to seem like Iwata was, soon or later, going to break down his man as he began to landing solid shots. Credit however went to Narizuka who regrouped well and gritted out some tough moments. That was until round 7 when Iwata began to get inside and land big hooks, with both hands, and forced the referee to jump in and save Narizuka.
In a very notable domestic win fans saw Japanese Youth Super Featherweight champion Yamato Hata (11-1, 10) [波田 大和] take a decision win over former amateur standout Koshin Takeshima (4-1-1, 3) [竹嶋宏心]. This one started at a high tempo from the off, and was a thrilling contest with both men looking to establish themselves before the other. The tempo slowed down slightly in the middle rounds, but the action didn't really relent and in round 6 Hata dropped Takeshima. The knockdown seemed to force Takeshima to change tactics somewhat and began to press forward looking for a mistake to counter, sadly for Takeshima he was unable to land a decisive blow, and found himself forced to cover up under the pressure of Hata's offensive output. In the end it seemed, perhaps, that the natural size and power advantage of Hata played a part in the result, and all 3 judges had the bout scored 78-73 in favour of the hard hitting Hata. Incidentally this is Hata's first bout to go the distance and only his second to go beyond 5 rounds.
The co-feature proved to be a mismatch as Hayate Kaji (15-0, 9) [梶颯] easily over-came Hiroki Yajima (9-9-3, 4) [矢島大樹]. Credit however goes to Yajima, who survived 8 torrid rounds despite being down twice. Yajima was down in the opening round, from a short right hand and Yajima was down again in round 7 and deducted a point for holding. Those knockdowns and the deduction helped Kaji take a very, very comfortable win, with scores of 78-70, twice, and 79-69. Sadly aside from the knockdowns the bout did lack clean action. Despite the win it's still hard to know whether or not Kaji has what it takes to progress onto a Japanese title, or higher, and it will take a much stiff test than this to see where Kaji is at, and where he can go.
The main event saw world ranked Super Featherweights facing off with Kenichi Ogawa (25-1-1-1, 18) [尾川 堅一] taking on Kazuhiro Nishitani (21-5-1, 12) [西谷和宏] in what was a legitimately great match up. The bout began cautiously from both men, with Nishitani trying to get his shots off at range and Ogawa not giving his foe many opportunities to counter. By round 3 there was a feeling of tension and the pace began to increase, with the most notable moment being a left from Nishitani that dropped Ogawa for the bouts first knockdown.
With Ogawa being down he needed revenge and in round 4 he got that revenge, dropping Nishitani with a straight right hand. That neutralised the early 10-8 and left the bout very finely balanced. In round 5 Nsihitani seemed to swing the balance in his favour, with some good 1-2's from range, from there on however Ogawa took control, boxing well and landing his right hands at will to take the rounds and secure the win.
After 10 rounds the judges all had the bout 97-91 in favour of Ogawa, who takes a huge step towards a second world title fight.
Tomorrow at Korakuen Hall we'll get world ranked Super Featherweights clashing as Kenichi Ogawa (24-1-1-1, 18) [尾川 堅一] and Kazuhiro Nishitani (21-4-1, 12) [西谷和宏] face off in a 10 rounder.
Originally the bout was supposed to be in early September, though got pushed back after a Jorge Linares' positive PCR test, which forced Teiken to close. That was one of a series of delays for Ogawa's return which had also been pencilled in for the spring and again for August.
Today, ahead of their bout, the two men took part in their weigh in and both men made weight with room to spare.
Ogawa, a former Japanese Super Featherweight champion, was around 129.7lbs and looked in amazing condition. Nishitani, a former Japanese Lightweight champion, was notable lighter, at around 129.3lbs.
For Ogawa this will be his third bout after suffering a 1 year suspension from the JBC for testing positive for a steroid, which is assumed to have been in a skin cream for eczema, following his bout with Tevin Farmer. Coming in to this bout he is ranked in the top 10 by the IBF, WBA and WBO and knows that another win here will push him towards a world title fight.
As for Nishitani this is his first big fight since beating Shuhei Tsuchiya way back in March 2017. That win netted him the Japanese Lightweight title, though sadly he vacated the title and has toiled ever since with a string of unmemorable bouts. At the age of 33, and with his 34th birthday coming in February, this is a must win bout for him.
Sadly the card will not be shown live, though will be aired early next week on tape delay, on G+.
(Image credit - Teiken)
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