WBC Youth Flyweight champion Kento Hatanaka (11-0, 9) [畑中 建人] might have been the star of today's Soul Fighting card, which was streamed globally by CBC, but he also ended up having more questioned asked of him than anyone would have anticipated.
The exciting youngster, the son of former world champion Kiyoshi Hatanaka, was expected to have a relatively easy time with Filipino challenger Roland Jay Biendima (15-6-1, 8). He was supposed to shine after being given a real tough test by rugged veteran Jaysever Abcede last year. Instead of shining and dominating Hatanaka again found himself in a tough, testing, damaging war that was a lot more competitive than the score-cards suggested.
The first round went with the script, with Hatanaka looking too good, too crisp, too sharp and too busy for the Filipino. As it turned out however Biendima was merely playing possum and in round 2 he started to come alive, although he was only really winging in wild punches during the second round it was clear he wasn't there to just make up the numbers.
From round 3 the bout began to turn into a genuine war, with the two men trading blows on the inside and Hatanaka being left bloodied around the nose. The Japanese fighter was still doing enough to pick up the rounds, but he was suddenly needing to work hard for them, and that hard work just got harder, and harder as Biendima moved began to put his foot on the gas.
As is typical in Japan for WBC Youth title bouts the scores were announced after 4 rounds, and Hatanaka was in a comfortable lead, 40-36, twice, and 39-37. The action continued to be tough, gruelling stuff through the middle rounds, with Biendima's toughness shining through as he continued to try and force an inside fire fight. That inside battling ended up with Hatanaka suffering a nasty cut over his left eye, from an accidental headclash, which along with his nose was certainly more damage than he'd have anticipated when the bell went to start the bout.
After 8 rounds Hatanaka was in a very comfortable lead on the official cards, 79-72, twice, and 78-73, but was certainly under pressure from Biendima in round 9, as the Filipino got through Hatanaka's sloppy defense regularly. The challenger would have been aware that he was behind, and likely needed a KO, despite having had moments in every round apart from the first one. The effort from the challenger wasn't able to be replicated in the final round as both men looked tired, as we went to the final bell.
After 10 rounds, of almost constant head to head battling and teeing off with power shots, we went to the score cards which had Hatanaka comfortably in the lead with scores of 99-90, twice, and 98-91.
Despite the win Hatanaka had to work for this, and the scorecards really don't tell the full extent of how competitive this was. Hatanaka certainly deserved the win, but he had to work hard and fight through adversity in one of the best fights we've seen this year. Sadly for someone with his natural gifts he does seem too willing to give up his size, speed and reach, preferring to have a war, rather than use his boxing skills. Finger crossed, for his longevity in the sport, that he does begin to tweak his tactics, and begin boxing and move more, rather than having too many of these types of wars.
As for Biendima we suspect he did enough here to get invited back to Japan to take on some of the other rising prospects from the country. He acquitted himself well, and despite losing, wide, he showed a lot more than we'd expected of him.
As for the under-card the real standout was Hiroki Hanabusa (8-0-3, 3) [英洸貴], who blasted out Thai foe Sorawit Bamrungrai (6-3, 3) with a brutal left hook to the body, in one of the best body shots we've seen this year. The 2018 Rookie of the Year winner will be in tough bouts than this later in the year, but a shot like the one he landed would put anyone on their knees. An absolute beauty of a shot.
Whilst Kosei Tanaka [田中恒成] may be the proverbial boxing king of the Chukyo region at the moment he's certainly not alone in trying to put the region on the boxing map once again. Another fighting to do the same is his young stable mate Kento Hatanaka (10-0, 9) [畑中 建人].
Hatanaka, the son former world champion Kiyoshi Hatanaka, is the current WBC Youth Flyweight champion and is regarded as a truly exciting action fighter. He's proven to be quick, heavy handed and fantastic fun to watch, with his career already generating some genuine buzz, not just in the local area but wider afield. He's not a star, like Tanaka, just yet, but certainly seems to be heading towards the top.
We've known for a whilst that Tanaka would be defending his WBC Youth Flyweight title against fellow youngster Roland Jay Biendima (15-5-1, 8) on February 11th at the Aioi Hall in Kariya, and today we can confirm there will be a legal, live feed available for the contest through CBC's High Five!! WEB youtube channel.
This is the same channel that has a video Hatanaka's previous fight, a brilliant and hotly contested battle with Jaysever Abcede, and is part of CBC's impressive online presence.
For those wanting to watch the bout the live stream for the event will be available here.
The bout is set to begin at around 13:00 local time on February 11th, and the link above will show the fight live and globally.
(Image - CBC High Five Web)
Sources in Japan have informed us that rising Japanese youngster Kento Hatanaka (10-0, 9) [畑中 建人] has now got his next bout set!
The talented and heavy handed puncher was given a serious test in August, when he took a decision over Jaysever Abcede in a bout that saw both men being dropped, and it seems that his team are set to keep him fighting at the same type of level.
The source has informed us that the youngster will be defending his WBC Youth Flyweight title against fellow youngster Roland Jay Biendima (15-5-1, 8), on February 11th, on the next "Soul Fighting" show from Hatanaka promotions, run by Kento's father Kiyoshi Hatanaka.
Hatanaka is looking to follow in his father's footsteps, with his father being a former world champion. To date he has looked incredibly talented, but the win over Abcede saw real questions being asked of him, and it will be interesting to see how he responds to such a tough fight.
As for Biendima hos most notable results are all losses, losing a split decision to Taiyo Inoue in November 2018, a loss to upcoming world title challenger Wulan Tuolehazi this past January and losing a decision to talented Chinese fighter Bin Zhou in May of this year. He will be a clear under-dog but will enter the bout knowing that the pressure is on Hatanaka, and not himself.
At the moment no other bouts for the show have been announced, though it's always great to see Hatanaka in action, and he is genuinely one of the most exciting young Japanese fighters out there.
To begin the global streaming of Kosei Tanaka's (13-0, 7) [田中恒成] world title bout against Puerto Rican Jonathan Gonzalez (22-2-1, 13) international fans had the chance to see Tanaka's stablemate Kento Hatanaka (10-0, 9) [畑中 建人] take on world ranked Filipino southpaw Jaysever Abcede (19-9, 12).
The bout, which was only available to an international audience and not actually available live in Japan, was a huge step up in class for Hatanaka and he seemed to realise it immediately. The youngster, who is usually a super aggressive fighter, showed a lot of early respect to Abcede, who's record is very misleading. Rather than his usual style Hatanaka applied good intelligence to his work, looked for holes and kept his combinations to basic stuff.
Abcede, for the most part, applied the pressure, coming forward behind a tight guard and tried to counter when Tanaka opened up. This was a level of defensive ring smarts that Tanaka had never had to solve before, and not only was Abcede smart but he also had Hatanaka's respect with his power.
After 2 interesting rounds to begin with Hatanaka managed to get a big break through in round 3, when he dropped Abcede with a combination. Abcede easily beat the count, and didn't look badly hurt, with the knockdown appearing more like a balance issue when Abcede over-comited, but Hatanaka seemed grow from the knockdown and later in the round landed some gorgeous uppercuts.
The Filipino managed to even up the knockdown count the following round as he turned the heat up and dragged Hatanaka into a fire fight, hurting the youngster and following up with a series of power shots to send Hatanaka. Hatanaka was shaken before going down, for the first time as a professional, and Abcede seemed to smell the upset. The Filipino continued pressing through round 4 before the bell came, giving Hatanaka a minutes respite. The round was sensational, though it seemed to sum up the inexperience of Hatanaka, who was too willing to exchange.
In round 5 Hatanaka managed to show signs of recovering, not just physically but also mentally, as he started to create distance and counter more. It was the countering that was really eye catching and saw him rock Abcede, who looked hurt for a moment. Later in the round Hatanaka again seemed to shake Abcede, and he launched a huge combination in the final seconds, but the bell came, this time to give Abcede some respite.
After 3 really brilliant rounds, from round 3 to round 5, we saw the pace slow somewhat in round 6 with Hatanaka again getting on his toes and and using his speed and movement to out box Abcede. He seemed to want to do the same in round 7, as he looked to keep some gas in reserve, though Abcede began to press more, causing an accidental clash of heads which left Hatanaka cut on his left eye.
With the cut, as well as tiredness Hatanaka began to falter again and Abcede tried to intensify his pressure, relying on his experience to try and turn the fight back in his favour. Thankfully for the youngster Abcede seemed too tired himself to turn the heat up in round 8, allowing Hatanaka to control more of the tempo through the 3 minutes, despite Abcede certainly having moments in the round.
In the penultimate round Hatanaka, who had never been beyond 8 beforre, was dragged back into a war again, landing body shots up close and pushing Abcede around. This lead to Abcede landing some good shots off the ropes as tiredness again seemed to effect Hatanaka mid-way through the round. This was the point where the experience of the Filipino began to show again whilst Hatanaka went to his corner stumbling and looking like someone who was really feeling the pace.
Round 10 again saw Abcede relying on his experience, bouncing on his toes, making it look like he was busy, even when neither man was really doing much. Both spent much of the round posturing, looking, searching, but not throwing, yet to eye it was Abcede who looked the fresher man and the one with something in the tank. After around 2 minutes of nothing a fighter began to break out, with both landing solid shots in the final minute, as the pace turned up for an excellent finish.
After 10 rounds we went to the judges who had the bout scored 95-93, 96-93, 96-92 all in favour of Hatanaka who retains his unbeaten record, but had to work incredibly hard for it. The cards felt a bit wide, but it's hard to argue with the winner.
For Hatanaka, the son of former world champion and now gym Kiyoshi Hatanaka, this was a real gut check. This was the test he needed and although it ends his KO streak he'll have learned so much from this bout. A really, really good test.
Fo Abcede he, again, showed that he's the type of fighter who will give prospects a tough, tough, ask, and following recent wins over the likes of Stamp Kiatniwat and Seigo Yuri Akui, and a very credible performance against Ivan Soriano back in late 2012. This performance will almost certainly see him being invited back to Japan to test another Japanese prospect in the near future.
According to reliable Japanese sources former world title challenger Genesis Servania (32-2, 15) has been added to the August 24th card at the Takeda Teva Ocean Arena, in Nagoya. Not only has he been added to the card, but we also know his opponent for the show.
The talented, though flawed, Servania was last seen in action back in February, when he was almost shut out by the talented, but light hitting, Carlos Castro in Fresno California. That bout showed how limited Servania was when a fighter moved, and used speed and movement, rather than stood and traded with him, as Oscar Valdez did in their thrilling 2017 WBO world title fight. Sadly the loss to Castro killed all the momentum that Servania had and has left his career in need of a real rebuild from the Kashimi Gym which now manage him.
The first step of that rebuilding process will see Servania take on limited Indonesian journeyman Erick Deztroyer (12-5-1, 3) in an 8 round bout being fought at a contracted 57.6KG's, or just under 127lbs.
As mentioned this will be Servania's first bout since losing to Castro in February. For Deztroyer however it will be his first bout since being dominated in April by Mark Magsayo, who stopped him in 4 rounds. That was Deztroyer's first bout in over a year, and he really took a hammering before being stopped, in what was his second stoppage loss. Interestingly this will be the second time Deztroyer has fought in Japan, and the second time he'll have fought a former world title challenger, having lost to Hiroshige Osawa in November 2017 in Sanda, Hyogo.
The bout has been added as a swing bout on the card which will be headlined by Kosei Tanaka (13-0, 7) defending his WBO Flyweight title against mandatory challenger Jonathan Gonzalez (22-2-1, 13) of Puerto Rico. That card will also feature Kento Hatanaka (9-0, 9) [畑中 建人]taking on world ranked Filipino Jaysever Abcede (19-8, 12).
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