Earlier today Korakuen Hall played host to the latest Diamond Glove show, which was shown live on Fuji's FOD service. The show wasn't a massive one, but was a notable one with two title bouts and two fighters featuring notable hopefuls.
The first of the notable bouts on the card saw something of an upset as former amateur standout Ryusei Baba (1-1) [馬場龍成] was stopped in 3 rounds by hard hitting 27 year old Shugo Namura (6-1, 6) [苗村修悟]. Baba looked good in the opening round, but in round 3 the power of Namura proved it's self as he rocked Baba with a right hand. A follow up saw Baba being wobbled hard from a brutal left hook with the referee stepping in to save the former amateur star.
The second notable bout on the show saw Go Hosaka (6-1, 3) [保坂 剛] defeat Japanese ranked Super Featherweight Kazuma Sanpei (20-8, 9) [三瓶 数馬], and record the biggest win of his career. The bout saw both men looking to control the action early on, but the crisp skills and more polished technical abilities saw Hosaka landing the more meaningful blows. Sanpei was looking to land his own shots in the first 3 rounds, but in round 4 a series of jabs and a solid right hook, left Sanpei looking hurt and forced the referee to jump in and save him.
The first of the two title bouts on the show saw Koichi Aso (25-10-1, 16) [麻生 興一] suffer a surprisingly early loss to Akihiro Kondo (33-11-2, 18) [近藤 明広], with Kondo claiming the OPBF title from Aso as a result. On paper this bout promised a lot, given the styles and mentalities of the two men, and it delivered, albeit in a very abridged fashion. From the off both men were looking to get close and go to work, though it was the cleaner, more accurate shots of Kondo that caught the eye, and in round 2 those clean shots sent Aso down. Aso got to his feet but never seemed to recover with Kondo stopping him just moments later to claim the OPBF title. Sadly for Aso this ends a very short reign that began when he upset Rikki Naito last year, and it's likely to be a reign that is quickly forgotten due to how easily he lost the belt here.
The other title bout saw Japanese Lightweight champion Shu Utsuki (11-0, 9) [宇津木秀] record his first defense, as he stopped the tricky and quick Izuki Tomioka (7-6-1, 2) [富岡 樹]. Tomioka, as expected, had success early in the bout using his footwork, sharp boxing skills and speed to take advantage of Utsuki's slow footwork. Utsuki looked to pressure his challenger, but early on he struggled with tying his man down, and after 5 rounds Tomioka was leading on all 3 cards. Sadly for Tomioka however as his feet slowed, notably in round 5, Utsuki began to get more and more success, attacking the body well and taking the legs away from Tomioka. In round 8 the power of Utsuki hurt Tomioka, who was forced to retreat to the corner, but he continued taking shots until the referee stepped in and save him from further punishment.
Tomorrow we'll get a title double header from Korakuen Hall, with a potentially mouth watering OPBF title fight and a really intriguing Japanese title bout. Today, ahead of that show, the fighters on the event took part in their weigh in.
The OPBF title bout will see defending Light Welterweight champion Koichi Aso (25-9-1, 16) [麻生 興一] make his first defense, as he takes on veteran Akihiro Kondo (33-10-2, 18) [近藤 明広].
On the scales the champion was around 139.5lbs, comfortably under the limit. Despite being the champion Aso downplayed himself, and almost seemed to suggest that he was the under-dog given Kondo has previous competed in a world title bout. As for Kondo he was slightly heavier, at 139.7lbs, and he explained that he was able to make weight without draining.
Interestingly both of those men made their debuts way back in 2006, and despite often competing in and around the same weight classes, and both fighting regularly at Korakuen Hall, this will be the first time they've fought.
The other title bout on this show, and the nominal main event, will see Japanese Lightweight champion Shu Utsuki (10-0, 8) [宇津木秀] make his first defense, as he goes up against the tricky and quick Izuki Tomioka (7-5-1, 2) [富岡 樹].
On the scales Utsuki, a stablemate of Hiroto Kyoguchi's at the Watanabe Gym, came in comfortably under the limit at 134.8lbs, and stated he was inspired by Kyoguchi's recent win, but was under some pressure to succeed in his first defense. As for Tomioka he came in bang on the 135lb weight limit for the bout, which will be his third title shot having previously come up short against Masayoshi Nakatani and Shuichiro Yoshino.
OPBF king Aso takes on tough veteran Kondo!
Utsuki seeks first defense of Japanese title as he takes on Tomioka
Earlier today Misako Gym announced that OPBF Light Welterweight champion Koichi Aso (25-9-1, 16) [麻生 興一] would be making his first defense of the title on June 14th at Korakuen Hall, as he takes on Akihiro Kondo (33-10-2, 18) [近藤 明広], in a clash between two highly experienced fighters.
Aso won the title last year, when he scored a huge upset win over Rikki Naito (25-3, 8) [内藤 律樹], ending Naito's reign as the OPBF champion. That win saw Aso scoring one of, if not the, biggest win of his career despite being 35 years old. Despite that win it's hard to know what the well-respected, and always entertaining, warrior has left in the tank.
Kondo on the other hand, now aged 37, is looking to add one more title to a collection that already includes the Japanese Lightweight title and the WBO Asia Pacific Light Welterweight title. Despite his success at home, he is best known, internationally, for his 2017 bout against Sergey Lipinets. Since then, he has gone 4-3-1 and another loss here will likely spell the end of his career.
This bout will serve as the chief support bout on a card that is set to be headlined by Lightweight champion Shu Utsuki (10-0, 8) [宇津木秀] defending his title against Izuki Tomioka (7-5-1, 2) [富岡 樹].
Yesterday the East Japan Boxing Association announced their monthly award winners for the Month of December 2021.
The MVP for the month was Yoshimitsu Kimura (13-2-1, 8) [木村吉光], who scored a career best win, as he stopped Kosuke Saka (21-6, 18) [坂晃典] and claimed the OPBF Super Featherweight title. The performance from from Kimura was incredible, and really put him on the map, moving him from a promising domestic youngster into a regional champion, scoring a legitimately huge regional level win.
The Fighting Spirit award was won by veteran Koichi Aso (25-9-1, 16) [麻生 興一], who scored a huge upset win over Rikki Naito (25-3, 8) [内藤 律樹], to claim the OPBF Light Welterweight title. The win for Aso, at the age of 35, wad genuinely a shocker, but the type of victory which will keep the veteran relevant, where a loss would likely have sent him into retirement. Not only was the result amazing for Aso, but the performance was scintillating, as he pressured and pressed Naito, before forcing a late stoppage.
The New Comer award was won by Ryuto Owan (8-1, 6) [大湾 硫斗], for his brilliant win over Daisuke Sugita (6-3, 3) [杉田大祐], with Owan stopping Sugita in 2 rounds.
Interestingly all 3 of those bouts took place on the December 14th show at Korakuen Hall.
Earlier today there was two shows in Japan and whilst a lot of attention was focused on one of those cards, the other went somewhat over-looked despite having two OPBF title bouts on it, and both of those ended in genuine surprises, with two very genuine upsets.
The first of the bouts saw Rikki Naito (25-3, 8) [内藤 律樹] being dethroned of the OPBF Light Welterweight title, whilst looking to record his 5th defense. The talented champion had was expected to be too young, too fresh and too fast for 35 year old veteran Koichi Aso (25-9-1, 16) [麻生 興一], who has looked like a man on the verge of retirement for a few years now. Shockingly however Aso was too determined, too hungry and too ferocious for Naito, who ended up suffering a hugely shocking loss.
From the off it was obvious Aso was determined to make his chance here count, and to use the gameplan that he, and trainer Hiroki Shiino, had concocted to pressure Naito. From the opening moments he was on the front foot, crushing the distance that Naito had to work with, and trying to take the wheels from the champion. Not only was Aso applying constant, heavy, pressure but he was also putting money in the bank with body shots, especially with Naito on the ropes. To his credit however Naito fought back bravely in the first 4 rounds and and was up 39-37 on one judges scorecard, whilst the others had it 38-38 and 39-37 to Aso.
In round 5 Aso was cut from an accidental headclash, but fought as if the blood was driving him on, and was pressing even harder on Naito, who was taking more and more left hands to the body, and getting forced on to the ropes regularly. Naito simply couldn't back him up, or get his respect, and this was like the Aso of old, rather than an old Aso. In round 6 things began get worse for Naito, who was himself cut from a clash of heads, and then in round 7 he was given a standing count as the pressure began to get to much for him to handle. The count was an odd one, and both Aso and Shiino thought the bout was over before realisation of what was happening struck. After 8 rounds we again had open scoring, with Aso leading on all 3 cards.
In round 9 Aso's pressure broke Naito who was taking a pounding on the ropes, and forced the referee to jump in to save Naito.
It should be noted that whilst Aso's performance was brilliant, the bout was supposed to take place earlier in the year, before Naito pulled out due to Covid19, and he becomes yet another fighter who has contracted the virus and then looked a shadow of himself in his first fight after recovering.
The other title bout saw Yoshimitsu Kimura (13-2-1, 8) [木村吉光] score a career best win, as he stopped Kosuke Saka (21-6, 18) [坂晃典] to become the OPBF Super Featherweight champion, and did so in 3 rounds.
This one was expected to be a barn burner, and it lived up to expectations with Saka pressing the action early on. Sadly for him however his usual pressure style didn't have the success it's been having in recent bouts, and instead it was the power of Kimura that proved to be the difference. In round 2 Kimura dropped his man with a left hook and the dropped him with a straight right hand early in round 3, to force the referee to wave the bout off and give Kimura the bigger win of his career so far, by far.
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