Results from Shizuoka!
Earlier today Japanese fight fans in Shizuoka got the latest show from Suruga Danji and his promotional stable. The event wasn't a huge one, but it was certainly a very interesting one with a lot of notable Japanese prospects on the card, including some who are tipped as future stars and world champions.
With that show now over, we're going to look over the show and cover the results from the event.
The show kicked off with an 8 round bout between the talented, but often over-looked, Tentaro Kimura (7-0-2) [木村 天汰郎] and the "better than his record suggests" Satoru Hoshiba (7-6, 2) [干場悟]. Kimura made this look easy as he controlled the distance and tempo, making the most of his left hook at range and right uppercuts up close. Hoshiba tried to turn things around, coming forward and pressing, but his tactics really were well neutralised by the movement of Kimura who was a ver clear winner, though did seem exhausted in round 8, when he held on a little bit too much for our liking.
After 8 rounds the scores here were 80-72, 79-73 and 77-75.
The second bout on the show saw Narumi Yukawa (3-0, 2) [湯川 成美] score his biggest win since turning professional as he stopped the experienced Yuji Awata (12-9-1, 5) [粟田 祐之] in 4 rounds. Yukawa pressed from the off, and constantly looked to close the distance. The pressure from Yukawa came at a cost early on, as he was dropped from a counter in the opening round, and took a lot of shots as a result of his desire to come forward, but he kept pressing and managed to get a real break through in round 3, when he got inside and started to work the body of Awata. The pressure of Yukawa worked again in round 4, as he hurt his man, backing him up and dropping him with a big left hook.
Whilst it's a worry to see Yukawa being dropped, and we do wonder whether his style is going to be suited to a successful and long career, it's great to see him rebound from a knockdown, stick to his game plan and stopping his man. He needs to tighten up defensively going forward, but there is no doubting how fun he's going to be to watch over the coming years.
The shows first real surprise came in it's third bout as JBC #5 ranked Super Flyweight Tsubasa Murachi (7-1-1, 3) [村地 翼] struggled to a draw against Yuto Nakamura (11-6-2, 8) [中村 祐斗], who had no momentum coming in to the bout. Murachi made a good start, boxing well behind his jab and landing some good right hands to control the first 4 rounds. Despite being out boxed early on Nakamura showed no fear and looked to apply pressure through the bout, pressing and pressuring the touted Murachi, and looking to cut the ring off. In the second half of the fight that pressure began to tell as Nakamura racked up the later rounds, making up for losing the earlier ones. After 8 rounds this was a hard one to call, and it showed on the scorecards which were 78-74, Murachi, 77-75 Nakamura, and 76-76, resulting in a split decision draw.
The chief support bout saw second generation fighter Kento Hatanaka (12-0, 9) [畑中 建人] score his latest win as he took an 8 round decision over the tough Daisuke Sudo (7-8-3) [須藤大介]. Hatanaka, who hadn't fought since February 2020, looked to land crisp left uppercuts up close. Sudo, who likely knew he wouldn't be able to compete with Hatanaka in a boxing contest, looked to make this a war, getting inside when he could and attacking the body in the pocket. That style made this an exciting bout, but Hatanaka's uppercutts up close, and good combinations caught the eye, even if the fight was fought where Sudo wanted it. After 8 rounds Sudo had done enough to take a few rounds, but not make it competitive, and the scorecards were 79-73, twice, and 78-74 all to Hatanaka, who we suspect will be looking to land a Japanese title fight in 2022.
The main event saw the talented Rentaro Kimura (5-0, 3) [木村蓮太朗] get the biggest test of his career, and narrowly come away with a win as he over-came the huge punching Yoji Saito (3-2-2, 3) [齊藤陽ニ] in a hotly contested 8 rounder.
In the opening round Saito's power was the telling fact as he landed a huge right hook, dropping Kimura for the first time in his career. The knockdown was the perfect start for Saito, and a wake up call to Kimura, who realised that he couldn't take risks with someone as heavy handed as Saito. In rounds 2 and 3 Kimura battled back well, winning both rounds with his boxing, speed and skills, to essentially undo the 10-8 opening round. Sadly for Kimura he was dropped again towards the end of round 4, as he found himself in a hole for the second time in the fight.
In round 5 Kimura, who knew he couldn't afford any more slip ups, changed tactics, and rather than boxing, he took the fight to Saito, neutralising the power but smothering the heavy handed Saito. Saito had some success up close, but it was Kimura was regularly getting the better of things, whilst also preventing Saito from getting full purchase on his shots. The final 4 rounds were brilliant, and showed that there was a real fighter in Kimura, who did just enough to earn the decision, with scores of 76-74, twice, and 75-75, to get the majority decision.
The plan for Kimura is to get a title fight next year, and this was the perfect gut check for him before a title bout. He needs to tighten up his defense, he needs to appreciate opponents, like Saito, who are dangerous, but there is no doubting his heart, determination and skills. As for Saito he's one of those fighters with a very misleading record, and he is a devastating puncher, who is a threat to anyone at 130 or 135 in Japan.
Yesterday at Korakeun Hall fight fans saw touted super prospect Rentaro Kimura (4-0, 3) [木村蓮太朗] score his most latest win as he out pointed Hikaru Fukunaga (8-2, 5) [福永輝] in a 6 round contest, in the chief support bout of a Diamond Glove show. Today, just a day after that win, Kimura's next bout has been announced, and it's a really good one as he takes on the hard hitting Yoji Saito (3-1-2, 3) [齊藤陽ニ] in an 8 rounder at Super Featherweight.
For Kimura this is another step up in class and another step in the right direction. This will be the first time he's been scheduled for 8 rounders and the first time he's taken on a genuine puncher and Saito, for all his flaws, is a rock handed handed fighter, with a solid chin, a hunger to win and has been building his confidence in recent bouts. On paper Kimura will be the favourite, and is certainly the more skilled fighter, but he will certainly be in with an opponent capable of hurting him, and he will need to keep his defense sharp here to neutralise the power of Saito.
The bout will headline a "Desafio" show put on by Suruga Danji from the Fujisan Messe in Shizuoka, scheduled September 5th, and is one of three contests that have been announced for the show.
Another bout on the card will see Rentaro's cousin Tentaro Kimura (6-0-2) [木村 天汰郎] battling against the limited Satoru Hoshiba (7-5, 2) [干場悟] in an 8 rounder at 122lbs. The other bout announced for the show will see second generation fighter Kento Hatanaka (11-0, 9) [畑中 建人] battling against Daisuke Sudo (7-7-3) [須藤大介] in an 8 rounder at Flyweight.
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.
News! We try and give you the most interesting news stories from the Asian boxing world!