Earlier today at Korakuen Hall fight fans got the latest Dangan card and it was one that was mostly easy to over-look, though did have 2 bouts worthy of attention on it, including a Japanese title bout.
Befoore we talk about that title fight we'll talk about the chief support bout, which was a pretty notable an interesting contest, and a step up in class for an unbeaten prospect.
That chief support contest saw Mikio Sakai (4-0) [酒井 幹生] over-come a game effort by veteran Koshinmaru Saito (24-11-2, 13) [斉藤伸介]. The talented, but very light punching Sakai was made to work for this win. Early on he was bust up around the nose and forced to take the power of Saito, who left him with blood across his face and in a bit of a hole. To his credit however Sakai gritted his teeth and took the fight to Saito, applying constant, intelligent pressure and running up the rounds using his clean sharp shots and youthful movement and speed to pick Saito apart.
Later in the bout Saito began to dig deep, trying to rough up Sakai whilst the bout was seemingly slipping away from the veteran. He tried, and to his credit he really did put in a real shift in the final rounds, but it was too little too late to steal the play away, and over-turn Sakai's momentum.
After 8 rounds the early troubles of Sakai were easily forgotten as a tired Saito just about made it to the final bell, despite being blooded himself as a result of Sakai's consistent clean head shots.
With the bout going the distance we went to the scorecards which all favoured Sakai 77-75 giving him the win, but one he genuinely had to earn.
We then moved on to the main event, and it turned out to be a really unfortunate and disappiinting one as Kyosuke Sawada (14-2-2, 6) [澤田京介] and Ikuro Sadatsune (11-4-4, 4) [定常 育郎] fought for the "cursed", and vacant, Japanese Bantamweight title.
The first round was a messy one at times as both men tried to figure the other out. Both had moments, but the Righty Vs Lefty dynamic made for some ugly moments. The little bit of real quality however came from Sawada who managed to drop Sadatsune with a perfectly timed straight left right hook combination may way through the round. Following the knockdown Sadatsune did seem to remain buzzed for quite some time, but Sawada couldn't see him off before the bell rung to end the round.
Sadly just seconds into round 2 a huge clash of heads left both men a bloodied mess. Both fighters ended up getting inspected by the doctor, and the doctor quickly decided that the bout shouldn't continue.
To begin with it looked like Sadatsune, who went down in the corner, had got the worse of it, but in reality both men were looking like they had done a Ric Flair blade job as claret flowed freely from both fighters.
Due to the cuts the bout was ruled a 2nd round technical draw, leaving the title vacant and both men disappointed.
Earlier today Dangan boxing confirmed that the Japanese Bantamweight title bout between Kyosuke Sawada (14-2-1, 6) [澤田京介] and Ikuro Sadatsune (11-4-3, 4) [定常 育郎], had a new date set for it.
Originally the bout was scheduled for this weekend, in fact it was supposed to take place tomorrow at the Sumida City Gymnasium, but was cancelled at short notice, along with 6 other title bouts, when the venue stated that it would be closed over the prolonged State of emergency that has affected the Toyko area.
Unfortunately the delay is quite a long one, pushing the bout from May 23rd all the way to July 26th, with the event now set to headline Dangan242 at Korakuen Hall.
The full under-card is yet to be confirmed, but Dangan have revealed that one of the supporting bouts will be a contest between unbeaten hopeful Mikio Sakai (3-0) [酒井 幹生] and veteran Koshinmaru Saito (24-10-2, 13) [斉藤伸介], which is set for 8 rounds.
Earlier this week we reported that triple crown champion Ryoji Fukunaga (13-4, 13) [福永亮次], would be defending his WBO Asia Pacific, OPBF and Japanese Super Flyweight titles on May 22nd against Takahiro Fujii (12-6-1, 3) [藤井貴博]. It's now been announced that that bout will be one off two title bouts on the show, with the other being a Japanese female title bout.
That second title bout will see Kanako Taniyama (3-1-1, 1) [谷山佳菜子] and Yuko Henzan (8-10-4, 2) [平安山裕子] battle for the Japanese female Bantamweight title.
Entering the bout Taniyama, a 34 year old fighter from the Watanabe gym, will be the #1 ranked contender for the belt whilst Henzan, who is slightly younger at 33, will enter as the #3 ranked contender.
Taniyama turned professional in 2018, following a career in Karate and Kickboxing, and the expectations were high for her. So high in fact that she fought for the Japanese and OPBF female titles in just her third fight, battling to a draw with Tomoko Okuda. A rematch with Okuda soon afterward resulted in a narrow technical decision loss for Taniyama. On paper her 3-1-1 (1) record is underwhelming, but given Okuda has since gone on to win the WBO female Super Flyweight title the sets are nothing to be ashamed by. In fact it was Okuda vacating the title that has left it open for this bout to take place.
Henzan on the other hand has been a professional since 2010. She failed to win any of her first 4 bouts, going 0-3-1, and was 1-5-2 after 8 bouts. Since then she has managed to turn things around somewhat, going 7-5-2, but she has also lost her last 3 bouts.
Whilst not the greatest match up out there it's not a terrible bout to add to a card that already features Jukiya Iimura (1-0, 1) [飯村 樹輝弥] against Tomoki Kawasaki (0-0) [川崎 智輝] and Mikio Sakai (3-0) [酒井 幹生] taking on veteran Koshinmaru Saito (24-10-2, 13) [斉藤伸介].
A week or so ago it was revealed that DANGAN would be promoting 3 events over 2 days in May, with the dates of May 22nd and May 23rd being set for the events. Other than those minor details little was know about the 3 shows.
Today DANGAN went on to announce the details of the first of those 3 shows, which will take place on May 22nd at the Sumida City Gymnasium, will heavily feature Kadoebi promoted fighters and will be promoted as "Dangan 239 & Slugfest".
The show will be headlined by triple crown champion Ryoji Fukunaga (13-4, 13) [福永亮次], who will be defending his WBO Asia Pacific, OPBF and Japanese Super Flyweight titles against the unheralded Takahiro Fujii (12-6-1, 3) [藤井貴博], who has won hid last 3 and over the likes of Tatsuya Terada and Sonin Nihei during his current run.
Fukunaga had a brilliant 2020, a career defining year in fact. He began the year with a brilliant win over Froilan Saludar, in February, to claim the WBO Asia Pacific title, then beat down Kenta Nakagawa in December to win the Japanese and OPBF titles, to become a triple crown winner. Given those two bouts, which were tough, damaging and punishing battles, we can hardly complain about him having an easier one here against Fujii. As for Fujii this is a massive step up in class, however he may well be getting a shot at Fukunaga at the right time, given the incredible punishment Fukunaga has gone through in his last few bouts.
On the under-card for this show will be a bout between talented 27 year old hopeful Mikio Sakai (3-0) [酒井 幹生] and veteran Koshinmaru Saito (24-10-2, 13) [斉藤伸介], in a big step up bout for Saito. A win for Saito will likely result in him moving into the Japanese rankings, but Saito is true veteran and will not be there to roll over for the skilled Sakai, despite a staggering 15 year age difference between the two men.
Another under-card bout will be a 6 rounders between Jukiya Iimura (1-0, 1) [飯村 樹輝弥] and Tomoki Kawasaki (0-0) [川崎 智輝], which was originally planned for later this month but appears to have been delayed for 2 months to fit on this show instead. Despite the delay we're really looking forward to this one, and we were really impressed by Iimura's debut earlier this year.
A final under-card bout for this show will be a 6 rounder between 23 year old puncher Hiroto Hoshi (4-2-2, 3) [星大翔] and 32 year old Kojiro Nishikawa (5-2-1, 2) [西川宏次郎] in what should a pretty competitive show opener.
Although yet to be officially confirmed, it is expected that this will be available on Boxing Raise, potentially as a live show, as DANGAN look to fill up the scheduled for the service, which has been lacking to begin this year.
Earlier today Japanese fight fans got a Japanese title eliminator at 154lbs. The bout saw veteran Koshinmaru Saito (24-10-2, 13) [斉藤伸介] likely ending his career, as he was stopped by Hironobu Matsunaga (14-1, 8) [松永 宏信] in what was a surprisingly 1-sided affair.
Matsunaga looked the sharper fighter from the off and backed up Saito with smart foot work. Saito began to circle a lot around the ring, something his 39 year old legs probably shouldn't have been doing so early in the fight. Matsunaga didn't let his hands go a lot, but always looked to be trying to line up a powerful left hand whilst backing the veteran up.
In round 3 Matsunaga began to really pick up his output and put Saito on to his backside towards the end of the round. Saito wasn't hurt but was beginning to look his age.
The exhaustion and age of Saito showed again in round 4, as he tried to come forward but lacked any sense of sharpness, and everything he did looked slow and clumsy. An big onslaught from Matsunaga dropped Saito and this time he would be hurt, getting stopped as he rose.
This will almost certainly be the final bout of Saito's career whilst Matsunaga has secured himself a Japanese title fight at the 2019 Champion Carnival.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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