Earlier today the Japan Professional Boxing Association announced the Strongest Korakuen bouts, which will take place later this year to decide the mandatory challengers for the Japanese titles in the new year, with 10 bouts being announced.
The Minimumweight bout will see WBO Asia Pacific champion Yudai Shigeoka (5-0, 3) [重岡優大] take on Tatsuro Nakashima (11-3-1, 7) [仲島辰郎], with the winner getting a show at the Japanese title, currently held by Yudai's younger brother Ginjiro Shigeoka (8-0, 6) [重岡銀次朗], who actually beat Nakashima for the title. This bout is set to take place at Korakuen Hall on November 17th.
The Light Flyweight eliminator will see Daiki Tomita (18-2, 6) [冨田大樹] battle Rikito Shiba (6-2, 3) [芝力人], though no date or venue has been announced for this bout.
At Super Flyweight we also have no date or venue set, but a mouth watering bout as Ryusei Kawaura (9-1, 6) [川浦龍生] battles Suzumi Takayama (5-0, 4) [高山涼深], in what is potentially the best looking of the bouts announced.
The Bantamweight bout bout will see Jin Minamide (6-2, 5) [南出仁] battle against Yuki Yonaha (11-3-1, 8) [与那覇勇気], in what could prove to be a very explosive bout between two flawed but hard hitting.
On the subject of interesting bouts we'll have a potentially thrilling war at Super Bantamweight as former champions Ryoichi Tamura (14-6-1, 7) [田村亮一] takes on Gakuya Furuhashi (28-9-2, 16) [古橋大輔]. Interestingly these two men also met in a Japanese title eliminator back in 2019, with Furuhashi taking a razor win over Tamura, before winning the title with a sensational battle just 4 months later.
At Featherweight former champion Ryo Sagawa (12-2, 7) [佐川遼] faces off with Daisuke Watanabe (12-5-2, 7) [渡部大介].
At Super Featherweight the hard hitting Yamato Hata (12-1, 11) [波田大和] will face Yuna Hara (11-2-1, 6) [原優奈], with this bout set to take place on October 1st at Korakuen Hall.
On paper one of the more underwhelming bouts is set to take place at Lightweight, as Shuma Nakazato (11-2-3, 7) [仲里周磨] takes on the hard hitting Ken Koibuchi (8-4-1, 7) [鯉淵健], in what might be an bout that's easy to over-look but is very likely to be an explosive encounter.
At Welterweight we're in for a treat as we get a rematch between Hironori Shigeta (8-2-1, 5) [重田裕紀] and Shoki Sakai (26-13-2, 14) [坂井祥紀], who gave us a very fan friendly bout back in 2020 with Sakai taking a clear but hard fought decision win. This bout is set to take place on October 22nd at Korakuen Hall.
At 154lbs Rei Nakajima (5-1) [中島玲] will face Koki Koshikawa (9-6, 6) [越川孝紀]. For Koshikawa he's looking to land his third shot at the Japanese 154lb title whilst Nakajima will be looking to secure his second shot at the title.
Notably there is no bout set for Flyweight, Light Welterweight or Middleweight. At the time of writing it's been reported that former world title challenger Ryota Yamauchi (8-2, 7) [山内涼太] will be getting a shot at Flyweight Cristiano Aoqui (16-9-2, 11), will get a shot at 140lbs and unfortunately there won't be a mandatory challenger for the Champion Carnival at Middleweight.
Just moments ago the latest Dynamic Glove card from Korakuen Hall finished and if we're being honest, it was not a card to remember. In fact it was a really poor show overall, with no bout really standing out as a must watch for those wantign to watch on replay.
On paper the bout between former amateur standout Shigetoshi Kotari (3-1-1, 2) [神足茂利] and glass cannon Kazuaki Miyamoto (7-8, 6) [宮本知彰] wasn't a particularly interesting match up. In fact on paper it seemed like a gimmie for Kotari, and the result would suggest it was, however Kotari had to work to earn a 5th round TKO win over Miyamoto, who came to win.
The first 2 rounds saw Kotari control the bout with his high level boxing skills, but in round 3 we saw Miyamoto look to force a dog fight, and land some bombs of his own, forcing Kotari to go through something of a chin check. Sadly for Miyamoto he couldn't crack the chin of Kotari who ended up dumping taking the pressure, and using it against Miyamoto who was eventually stopped in round 5 having been down several times. Despite the stoppage loss this was a great effort for Miyamoto, who came to fight and gave Kotari tough some rounds, even if Kotari did seem in control of much of the action.
In the second of the meaningful bouts on this show the hard hitting Ken Koibuchi (8-5-1, 7)* [鯉淵健] took on Taison Mukaiyama (7-3, 4) [向山太尊]. From the opening stages Kobuchi seemed to have the upper hand, pressing Mukaiyama backwards and landing big, clean, solid shots. As the bout went on however Mukaiyama began landing some good counter shots, creating space and having some genuine success of his own. Sadly though the power of Koibuchi was always dangerous and at the end of round 3 a huge overhand right from Koibuchi stiffened the legs of Mukaiyama, who looked genuinely unconscious on his feet. Lucky for him the shot was on the bell and he got to his corner and a minute to recover.
Unfortunately however Mukaiyama likely needed more than a minute and early in round 4 he was under pressure again, with the referee stepping into save him as he continued to take some huge blows.
After capturing the attention at the weigh in yesterday, by wearing a bra, Mugicha Nakagawa (24-8-2, 14) [中川 麦茶] took part in his first bout for more than 2 years as he faced off with former 2-time world title challenger Ryo Akaho (38-2-2, 25) [赤穂亮], in the chief support bout. The bout was somewhat messy early on, with both looking rusty and the styles not quite meshing. Sadly that never really changed with the two giving us a real mess of a bout.
Nakagawa wanted to keep things at range, box and move and use his jab, whilst Akaho wanted to get close and land hooks coming in, as a result there was a lot of times the two just came together. As a result of the messy action it was hard to score and a really hard one to watch.
Round 3 continued to see some ugly action, but both men did land some quality work, and Nakagawa's clean head shots were really catching the eye, and at one point he forced Akaho on to the retreat. Nakagawa's success continued in round 4, another round that had some incredibly messy moments, as he landed some excellent counters which continued to frustrate Akaho.
In round 5 Nakagawa went low, which left Akaho irate and saw Nakagawa being taken a point. It was a nothing blow, and given the other minor fouls and soon afterwards there was a takedown by Nakagawa, which forced the referee to put the men in neutral corners and talk to both. Sadly for Akaho when the action resumed he was seemingly hurt from another combination up top from Nakagawa. The referee would again give Nakagawa a verbal warning in round 6, as if he felt he was walking a point being deducted, but just moments later both men unloaded rabbit shots, as the bout continued to head towards a farce.
In round 7 it seemed that Akaho was hurt early on, and gassing, though he managed to put his foot on the gas midway into the round, landing some heavy hooks and clearly tagging Nakagawa hard, with Nakagawa forced to slip and slide under pressure from Akaho's wild, crude, heavy hooks. In the 8th round the two men had a huge headclash early on, not the first of the bout, though it left neither man cut. After the clash Akaho looked to come on strong, and landed some very heavy looking hooks but was pushed over to the canvas in the final 30 seconds. Thankfully come the final bell, would could move on, following what is likely to be one of the ugliest bouts we'll see in a Japanese ring this year. To the fans credit however they applauded the action, which was incredibly polite of them.
After 8 rounds the decision went to Akaho, though it did seem the judges were being a little bit generous to him, with two judges scoring it 79-73 in his favour whilst the other had it 77-75 to him. Regardless of the win it seems his career is about over at the age of 34, and on this performance we're not in a rush to see either man fight again. This was one of those bouts that really didn't click and if you missed, you should feel very, very lucky.
In the main event we saw Japanese domestic amateur standout Koki Koshikawa (9-4, 6) [越川孝紀] takes on Makoto Kawasaki (13-8-1, 2) [川崎真琴]
Thankfully this one was a palette cleanser following the mess we had had in the chief support bout. From the off the younger, fresher, hungrier Koshikawa was all over Kawasaki, with intense pressure and high output through the first minute. Kawasakiw as forced to fight fire with fire, and landed some decent blows in the odd exchange, but was clearly on the wrong end of the punishment for much of the round with Koshikawa mixing good head shots and body shots on to the veteran.
As the rounds went on Koshikawa continued to be the aggressor, pressing hard, but he was putting a lot into each round, and his intensity did begin to wane round by round, giving Kawasaki some space to work with.
By round 5 the tempo from Koshikawa was about done, and both began to look exhausted. Sadly for Koshikawa, that really let Kawasaki into the bout as he began to lean into the younger man and have success with shots up close. Even with more success however Kawasaki was still regularly being caught himself by the busier, younger fighter. Some how however the judges appear to have been watching a different fight, and the open scoring after round 5 had Kawasaki leading 48-47 and 49-46, with the third judge having Koshikawa in a 48-47 lead.
Sadly by round 7 this had gone from an entertaining war, driven by the aggression of Koshikawa, into a bout that was fought up close, with little output from either man, with both happy to lean into each other for large stretches of the bout. Despite that there were still eye catching moments, especially the counter shots of Kawasaki. Those counter shots impressed the judges in the final rounds, along with his love 2-punch combinations that switched between head and body against the really tired looking Koshikawa.
After 10 rounds we went to the scorecards and the judges had this on 96-94, 97-93 and 98-92 all in favour of Kawasaki. Some of those cards seemed far, far too wide in a bout where Koshikawa's early output really should have been enough for him to take plenty of rounds. Though Koshikawa did seem to blow his load in the first half, and struggled with his pacing in the second half of the bout.
Tomorrow at Korakuen Hall fight fans will see a new Japanese Light Middleweight champion being crowned as former Japanese domestic amateur standout Koki Koshikawa (9-3, 6) [越川孝紀] takes on Makoto Kawasaki (12-8-1, 2) [川崎真琴] for the vacant title.
Today, ahead of their bout, the two men took part in their official weigh in and both men made the 154lb limit, albeit it wasn't easy for one of the men.
On the scales Koshikawa genuinely seemed to struggling, missing weight by 1lb originally before coming back and making weight at a second attempt. Sadly for him he didn't look in particularly good, in fact he rather fleshy and like a man who could have made 147lbs had he really wanted to. He put the weight issues down to the fact that his scales at home weren't calibrated properly, resulting in him needing to lose the extra 1lb, but in all honest it's hard to not think he was, at least partially, a bit unprofessional here.
As for Kawasaki he made weight with no problems at all, weighing in at 153.8lbs. Kawasaki making the weight with no issues at all, shouldn't be too much of a surprise given he has, for the most part, fought as a Welterweight. Despite the fact he's moving up in weight the 37 year old Kawasaki seemed determined to win here, and finally win a Japanese title in what will be his third title shot. If he was to win he would become the oldest national champion in history.
Related - Kawasaki and Koshikawa battle for vacant Japanese title!
Earlier today on TV Osaka we got the chance to see a title double header from the EDION Arena Osaka, for free and right around the world.
The first of two title title bouts saw veteran WBO Asia Pacific Middleweight champion Yuki Nonaka (34-11-3, 10) [野中 悠樹] score his second defense, as he easily over-came former Japanese domestic amateur standout Koki Koshikawa (9-3, 6) [越川孝紀], who was fighting as a Middleweight for the first time.
From the off the 43 year old Nonaka looked the more relaxed and the more comfortable in the ring and was pretty much in control through out the bout. Koishikawa, to his credit, came to fight but he lacked the accuracy and tenacity needed to even test Nonaka.
Through out the bout the calm, accurate, relaxed boxed of Nonaka saw him landing at will on Koshikawa, who was left cut, bruised and beaten up through the middle portion of the fight. In the later stages Koshikawa had to pass several doctor's inspections due to his cuts and, whilst they weren't bad cuts no one would have complained had the ringside doctor said enough was enough, especially as Nonaka began landing so devastating straight left hands, at will, on the head of Koshikawa.
After 12 rounds we went to the score cards with two judges having this 119-109 to Nonaka and the third having it an alarming close 115-113 to the champion for the unanimous decision.
For Koshikawa it's almost impossible to know where he goes from this loss, especially given the early expectation. As for Nonaka, the focus seems to be on landing a world title fight sooner rather than later, but with his 44th birthday come later this year it'd be a huge surprise to see him land a major fight before his career comes to an end.
The second title fight on the show saw youngster Riku Kano (18-4-1, 9) [加納 陸] make his first defense of the WBO Asia Pacific Light Flyweight title as he stopped Takumi Sakae (22-4-1, 16) [榮拓海] in a really interesting bout.
Sakae got off to a good start, dropping Kano in round 2 of the bout, and again in round 4, as he seemed well on the way to scoring a notable upset. Sadly for the challenger however he couldn't finish off the champion and instead the body shots of Kano seemed to take the wind out of Sakae in rounds 6, 7 and 8.
Heading into round 9 it seemed the momentum was with Kano and he knew it as he continued to up his tempo against a tired and exhausted Sake, eventually forcing the referee to jump in and save the challenged, who seemed out on his feet.
Tomorrow at the EDION Arena Osaka fight fans will get a number of notable bouts. One of those will see WBO Asia Pacific Middleweight champion Yuki Nonaka (33-11-3, 10) [野中 悠樹] defending his title against Koki Koshikawa (9-2, 6) [越川孝紀] in a bout that really should be regarded as a must win for both men.
Today, ahead of their bout, the two men took part in their weigh in for the contest, with both men making the 160lb limit with no issues.
On the scales the 43 year old Nonaka came in bang on the 160lb limit and he looked in amazing shape. It was hard to believe that he was a 43 year old who had been out of the ring for around 2 years. At the weigh in he stated he was in perfect condition for this bout and would be showing what he's been training. Notably a win here is expected to see him begin knocking on a potential world title bout, even at the age of 43.
Koshikawa looked a lot less impressive on the scales, though came in at the same weight as Noanaka, 160lbs dead on. He looked fleshy, and like a man who is naturally a Welterweight fighting at Middleweight. He explained that weight loss was difficult, but after making weight he did seem relaxed and began to take on a lot of water.
For fans wanting to watch the bout it will be aired live on TV Osaka's YouTube channel tomorrow, and will be one of two title fights on the show, which will promoted by Taisei Gym.
Related - Veteran Nonaka takes on flawed Koshikawa!
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