Earlier today we were informed, of the details regarding the Japanese Middleweight title bout between Kazuto Takesako (12-0-1, 11) [竹迫司登] and mandatory challenger Riku Kunimoto (4-0, 2) [国本陸], which will be one of the final Champion Carnival bouts this year.
The bout was always expected to be relatively late, for a Champion Carnival bout, given that Takesako was set to face Shinobu Charlie Hosokawa (12-5-1, 11) [細川チャーリー忍] for the OPBF title in January, in a bout which Takesako won to unify the titles. He was then, understandably, going to take some time away from the ring to recover from what was a tough and gruelling bout. There was also a case of finding a suitable date, for TV.
Today we were told the bout would be taking place at Korakuen Hall on May 2nd, under the Dynamic Glove banner, meaning it would be getting televised on G+.
For Takesako the bout will be his second of 2020, following his 12 round decision win over Hosokawa in January. As for Kunimoto the bout will be his first since April 2019, when he stopped Shoma Fukumoto, and will only be his second since the the start of 2019. It's a shame the challenger, who didn't have an opponent for an eliminator last year, will be coming into this after more than a year out of the ring, and fingers crossed ring rust won't be an issue when we see the two men face off.
Interestingly a couple of the under-card fighters have been confirmed, alongside the main bout. One of those is former Japanese Light Middleweight title challenger Koki Koshikawa (9-2, 6) [越川孝紀], who will be fighting for the first time since being stopped by Hironobu Matsunaga in November. The other is 2019 Rookie of the Year winner Seiya Meguro (6-0, 3) [目黒聖也], who fights for the first time since his All Japan Rookie win in December. At the time of writing neither man has had their opponent announced for the show.
Although today's Dynamic Glove show was a rather poor one, if we're being totally honest, it did end on a high with a fantastic Japanese Light Middleweight title fight between Hironobu Matsunaga (16-1, 10) [松永 宏信], making his first defense, and former Japanese amateur standout Koki Koshikawa (9-2, 6) [越川孝紀], who was having his first title fight.
On paper this looked great. A rising contender with strong fundamentals, against a champion who had been in great form since a loss almost 5 years ago in the Rookie of the Year. What we got exceeded all expectations however and was a real highlight, making up for what had been a less than great show.
From the opening seconds Koshikawa was on the offensive, almost catching Matsunaga cold. He rocked champion and swarmed all over him, forcing Matsunaga to hold, regain his composure and recover. Koshikawa wasn't done though and kept the pressure on, until Matsunaga pressed back, giving us a round that swung one way then the other. It was a genuinely fantastic,action packed round to start the fight.
If the first round was good then the second was great. This one started in the opposite fashion to the first, with Matsunaga getting off to the hot start before Koshikawa turned it around, then Matsunaga took control again, using his speed and combinations, Koshikawa caught the champion with a brutal uppercut and seemed about to take control before Matsunaga attacked again forcing a violent exchange. That exchange seemed to lean towards Koshikawa, but a late flurry from Matsunaga saw him do enough to take the round, and leave Koshikawa cut around the right eye. This was one of the best rounds we've seen in a Japanese title fight this year, and was brilliant back and forth over the 3 minutes.
Sadly for Koshikawa his efforts in the first 2 rounds had seemingly just forced Matsunaga through the gears. Matsunaga came out for round 3 looking to make a statement, regularly finding a home for his straight left hands, worsening the cut around Koshikawa eye to the point where the doctor needed a look. Although the bout wasn't stopped Koshikawa did take a beat through the round, with the referee taking a look at one point, before Koshikawa responded off the ropes. By the end of the round Koshikawa wasn't just cut but also had facial bruising and was beginning to look like a beaten man, despite the fans being behind him.
Koshikawa's bravery and desire to be the champion saw him come out aggressive in round 4, in what was pretty much a last roll of the dice, but it didn't help, as Matsunaga continued picking his shots well, making Koshikawa pay for his aggression and landing straight left hands to the bloodied face of Koshikawa. The challenger's defenses were failing him massively and whilst his desire was there he was taking a lot of punishment before the referee stepped in to stop him part way through round 4.
With this win Matsunaga retains his title and sets up a bout with Yuto Shimizu in the 2020 Champion Carnival, with Shimizu earning his shot in the show's main support bout. Given how Shimizu and Matsunaga looked it's hard to see how the challenge will over-come the champion here. Matsunaga's not unbeatable, but he looks to be on a different level to Shimizu, who we suspect will be too slow and clumsy against the aggressive and sharp Matsunaga.
Tomorrow on the Dynamic Glove card at the Korakuen Hall we'll see Japanese Light Middleweight champion Hironobu Matsunaga (15-1, 9) [松永 宏信] make his first defense, as he takes on Koki Koshikawa (9-1, 6) [越川孝紀]. The bout certainly isn't a huge one, but it is a very, very interesting one and one we're expecting will be a genuine thriller.
Today the two men took part in their weigh in and both men made the 154lb weight limit, looked in good shape and seemed like they were really up for the bout.
Coming in to this bout Matsunaga has won 9 in a row and seemed very determined to win. He stated he didn't want to lose to an amateur fighter, referring to Koshikawa's strong amateur background, but added that he didn't think this was going to be easy and just wanted his hand raised at the end. In regards to his tactics he stated that he wanted to use his speed, but give fans an exciting fight.
Koshikawa on the other hand stated that this was the best condition he had been in coming into a fight, and that he was going to give everything to win. If he manages that he will become only the second fighter from Celes Kobayashi's "Celes Gym" to win a Japanese title, following Ryosuke Iwasa reign at Bantamweight.
For fans wanting to watch this it will be televised on G+ in Japan.
Related - Matsunaga seeks first defense as he goes up against talented Koshikawa
(Image courtesy of boxmob,jp)
Earlier today we were informed that Japanese Light Middleweight champion Hironobu Matsunaga (15-1, 9) [松永 宏信] will make his first defense on November 2nd, as part of the November Dynamic Glove card. In the opposite card to the once beaten champion will be the well regarded Koki Koshikawa (9-1, 6) [越川孝紀].
The 31 year old champion won the title back in May, when he upset Nobuyuki Shindo in 6 rounds. That was Matsunaga's 9th straight win, and 4th by stoppage, and saw him make the most of his mandatory opportunity. He's now been unbeaten since a the 2014 All Japan Rookie of the Year, where he was stopped in 2 rounds by Yukji Beppu. Since then he has been on a roll with notable wins against the likes of Hisao Narita, Sanosuke Sasaki, Je Ni Ma, Koshinmaru Saito and of course Shindo.
The 28 year old Koshikawa turned professional in 2014 with a lot of expectation on his shoulders, and made an impact with a debut win over Quaye Peter. After 4 wins he suffered a loss to veteran Koshinmaru Saito, before taking a 2 year break from the ring. Since returning he has gone 5-0 (4) including a win over Daisuke Sakamoto.
At the moment there is no other bouts announced for this card, yet, though those are likely to be announced in October,
Earlier today at the Korakuen Hall fight fans had the chance to see Japanese #2 ranked Light Middleweight Koki Koshikawa (9-1, 6) [越川孝紀] take his next step towards getting a title fight.
The Celes Kobayashi managed fighter was up against Indonesian foe Yosmar Kefi (9-1o, 8), in what looked like a total mismatch. Despite the records Kefi didn't get in the ring to just roll over, instead he looked to give Koshikawa a fight.
Koshikawa looked good earlier on, but Kefi withstood the early shots of Koshikawa, and landed a number of his own, competing pretty well with Koshikawa, despite seemingly losing rounds.
In round 5 Koshikawa, who looked to be tiring, upped the tempo, and the referee jumped in, stopping Kefi who seemed less than happy at the stoppage. It was as if Kefi, felt he hadn't been that hurt, and if we're being honest he did have a point.
Despite the less than great stoppage Koshikawa now moves on to the verge of a Japanese title fight. As for Kefi, this effort today suggests he'd be welcome back in Japan in the future.
On the under-card the stand out bout was a brilliant war between Kazuma Sanpei (17-5, 7) [三瓶数馬] and Tatsuya Otsubo (13-10-1, 4) [大坪竜也], which Sanpei won by majority decision. This was a real highlight, and was the second straight awesome fight for Otsubo who may have come up short but put on a show.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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