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.
Earlier today Ohashi gym put on their latest show, with a notable low level card at Korakuen Hall. The card wasn't a huge one, but it was an interesting one, with a number of very interesting match ups.
The first of the notable bouts saw the unbeaten Honoka Kano (4-0-2, 2) [狩野ほのか] score her 4th win, as she defeated Megumi Hosoda (3-4, 1) [細田めぐみ] in a clash between two JBC ranked female fighters. These two had clashed last year, fighting to a draw, but this time around Kano was in control, being too accurate, too sharp, and too quick. She fought well, and was well deserving of her clear decision victory.
Another notable bout saw youngster Kosuke Tomioka (5-2, 4) [富岡 浩介] end a 2-fight losing run as he over-came the debuting Kotoji Irita (0-1) [入田 琴司] in the 6th round of their clash. This was high level stuff from two talented southpaws, started off cagey but picked up the face as the fight went on. By round 5 Tomioka seemed to be landing the better shots and seemed to be breaking Irita down, and early in round 6 Tomioka managed to back Irita into the corner, letting shots go before the referee stepped in to save Irita.
In a very notable supporting bout Ryo Nakai (4-1-1, 2) [中井 龍] scored the biggest win of his career, as he stopped veteran Ribo Takahata (17-10-1, 7) [高畑 里望] in 5 rounds. Nakai was sharp from the off, going to the body of his older, taller foe, whilst Takahata tried to fight back from the inside. In round 2 Nakai began to get in and out of range, as he went through the gears. From there Takahata never managed to get back into the fight and was slowly broken down by Nakai, who closed the show in round 5 when he unleashed on Takahata, who was stuck on the ropes. This was the break out performance that Nakai's career needed and will see him break into the Japanese rankings.
In the chief support bout of the show the unbeaten Narumi Yukawa (5-0, 4) [湯川 成美] scored his latest win, as he stopped Takaki Sakurai (8-9-1, 3) [櫻井 孝樹] in 6 rounds. Yukawa was in charge through out the bout, and bossed his more experienced foe around before finally forcing the referee to stop the bout early in round 6.
The main event of the show saw Katsuki Mori (10-1, 2) [森 且貴] claim the Japanese Youth Minimumweight title, as he over-came Shunsuke Isa (9-4-1, 1) [伊佐 春輔] in a super close and hotly contested 8 round, fought at break neck pace. Both men impressed with their movement, and hand speed, in what was a genuinely thrilling back and forth. Isa tried to control the distance, using his 1-2's and movement well, whilst Mori looked to bring the fight forward, attack the body and take Isa's legs away. It was tough to score, but thrilling action, with both men showing some eye catching offense and defensive skills. What Mori did really was up to the tempo in the second round, and that proved to be the difference, with Mori winning 4 of the last 5 rounds on two of the cards to secure a razor thin split decision. Scores from all 3 judges were 77-75.
Interestingly after the bout both men stated the other was better than expected, and both also seemed encouraged to build on the back of this bout.
Earlier today at Korakuen Hall Japanese fight fans got a stacked card from the Ohashi Gym with 4 notables on it, including a Japanese title bout, and several bouts involving promising prospects.
The first of the 4 notable bouts saw Suzumi Takayama (4-0, 4) [高山 涼深] score an opening round win over touted teenager Kosuke Tomioka (4-2, 3) [富岡 浩介]. On paper this one looked like a really interesting bout between two southpaws, but sadly for Tomioka he never even got a chance to get into the bout. After less than a minute a straight left hand from Takayama put Tomioka down. To his credit Tomioka got up, but Takayama smelled blood and jumped on his man, sending him down again. Tomioka showed how bravery by getting up again but was dropped a third time with the referee then halting the bout after just 107 seconds.
Sadly it's hard to see where Tomioka goes here, especially given his loss in the 2020 East Japan Rookie of the Year final to Shunpei Kubo.
The second bout of note saw OPBF ranked Super Flyweight Masayoshi Hashizume (18-0-2, 11) [橋詰 将義] score an 8th round TKO win over Yoshiki Minato (9-5, 4) [湊 義生]. For Hashizume this was his first bout in over 2 years and despite that he looked sharp from the off, with nice jabs, and good speed. Minato tried to fight back was cut in round around the right eye.
As the rounds went on Hashizume's natural size, strength and power played more and more of a factor, as he let his shots go more willingness and in round 8 he ended up forcing the referee in to save Minato in the first minute of round 8.
The third bout of note saw Japanese Youth Bantamweight champion Toshiya Ishii (4-1, 3) [石井渡士也] score a 5th round TKO against the heavy handed Jin Minamide (4-2, 3) [南出仁]. This was exciting from the off, with both letting heavy leather go in the first round. The power of Ishii told first as he dropped Minamide in the first round.
To his credit Minamide not only got to his feet but battled on, though was dropped again in round 3, as Ishii's power, accuracy and speed showed it's self again. Minamide again beat the count, but having been dropped twice in the first 3 rounds he was in a hole. and desperate to try and turn things around. Sadly for Minamide his aggression and hunger came back to bite him, and in round 5 a serious of big shots from Ishii forced the referee to come in and save Minamide.
The main event was a much anticipated Japanese title bout at 112ls as Japanese Flyweight champion Seigo Yuri Akui (16-2-1, 11) [阿久井政悟] made his second defense of the title, and stopped the previously unbeaten Taku Kuwahara (8-1, 4) [桑原拓] in a brilliant 10 round war.
The bout started almost perfectly for Akui who's early power saw him dropping Kuwahara with a counter right hand in the first round. It was a perfect shot and seemed to show that Akui's power could be too much for Kuwahara. That was until the challenger began to show what he could do and finding his groove through the rest of the first half of the bout. The fight back from Kuwahara was impressive, showing his guts, determination and skills as he managed to close the gap on the scorecards.
After 5 rounds we had the open scoring with scores of 47-47 on one card and 48-46 on two others, both to Akui.
Kuwahara had bounced back really well from the bad start, landing good body shots, using his amateur skills well, and showed that he belonged at this level. Akui then began to pick things up himself, applying more constant and intense pressure, trying to take the play away from Kuwahara, who continued to box and move, using his speed and accuracy to try and out work Akui and get his respect.
Going into round 10 it seemed to close to call, and then the judges cards were essentially ripped up as a huge right hand from Akui dropped Kuwahara for the second time in the bout, with just over 10 seconds of the bout left. The referee immediately waved off the bout.
After the contest Akui and his team seemed to suggest that they would be hunting a world title fight in 2022, after the Champion Carnival. That could well mean a rematch with WBO champion Junto Nakatani, who stopped Akui back in 2017.
Earlier today Japanese Flyweight champion Seigo Yuri Akui (15-2-1, 10) [阿久井政悟] took to social media to announce his second defense of the national title he won in October 2019, and it's a mouth watering clash as part of a brilliant Ohashi promoted card at Koraken Hall on July 21st.
The match up in question will see Akui defending his belt against Japanese prospect Taku Kuwahara (8-0, 4) [桑原拓], who gets his first title fight after making his debut in 2018. The touted Ohashi hopeful has long been tipped for the top but this is a legitimate step up for him against a super dangerous puncher.
Coming in the bout is a genuine toss up, the perfect 50/50 type of fight that more shows need. Akui is the more proven and the heavier handed fighter, but the skills and amateur background of Kuwhara will certainly see plenty feeling he has the tools to detrhone Akui.
As well as the brilliant main event the show will also have several other match watering match ups. One of those will see Japanese Youth Bantamweight champion Toshiya Ishii (3-1, 2) [石井渡士也] battle against the heavy handed Jin Minamide (4-1, 3) [南出仁], in what should be a brutal war.
The talented Ishii really impressed in his first 3 bouts, but was out pointed last year by Sho Ishida [石田 匠] in a razor close bout. He was supposed to face Kaito Takeshima [竹嶋海刀] in March but that bout was scrapped when Takeshima's health forced him to pull out. As for Minamide he looked like a brutal puncher early on, but ran into Kazuki Nakajima [中嶋一輝] in the God's Left Bantamweight tournament in 2019, and has been inactive since then. Both men are coming in on a loss but both are exciting fighters and will be looking to get back to winning ways in a potential barn burner here.
Another supporting bout will see Yoshiki Minato (9-4, 4) [湊義生] battle against Masayoshi Hashizume (17-0-2, 10) [橋詰将義] in a bout between two former All Japan Rookie of the Year winners. This one is likely to be a high tempo war, between two men with a point to prove. Minato has lost 3 of his last 4, including losses to Kuwahara and Akui, but has shown a lot of ability and shouldn't be written off, despite his recent losses. Hashizume once seemed to be an emerging star in Osaka, but recent transferred to a gym in Tokyo, and will be looking to kick start his career after some recent setbacks and inactivity.
One other fighter worth noting on this card is once beaten teenager Kosuke Tomioka (4-1, 3) [富岡 浩介], who is in action for the first time since losing in a Rookie of the Year bout last year to Shunpei Kubo [久保 春平]. The talented charismatic and exciting Tomioka is scheduled for a 6 rounder, though his opponent has yet to be named. Interestingly Tomioka was originally supposed to be facing Kotoji Irita (0-0) [入田琴治] this coming weekend as part of a stacked weekend of boxing from Dangan, though the bout was cancelled last week due to issues with the venue. Fingers crossed Irita will be offered this new date for a bout with Tomioka.
Earlier today at Korakuen Hall we had the East Japan Rookie of the Year finals, which decide not just the East Japan Rookie of the Year winner but also the East Japan participant in the All Japan final, which will take place next year. In total there was supposed to be 12 bouts, though in the end two of the ended up cancelled giving us a total of 10 bouts in total.
Sadly the bouts haven't yet been televised, with G+ set to air them on December 27th, so for fans wanting to watch them, you want to look away now. Incidentally we will also have the West Japanese representatives decided on December 27th at a show in Osaka.
Before we talk about the bouts we got we'll quickly talk about the two we didn't get.
One of those was at Light Flyweight, where 35 year old Hayato Aoki (4-0, 3) [青木 勇人] abstained, giving 25 year old Ryota Karimata (5-0, 3) [狩俣 綾汰] a bye to the All Japan final. This bout was cancelled weeks ago, and had been listed as off since early January. The second was the Lightweight bout, which seemed to be cancelled this week and saw Ryan Joshua Yamamoto (4-3, 1) [山本ライアン ジュシュア] pull out of a bout against Hiromasa Urakawa (6-1, 4) [浦川 大将], with Urakawa getting a bye to the All Japan final.
The first bout of the show came at Minimumweight and saw Ryo Sasaki (5-2, 2) [佐々木 凌] score a 4th round TKO win over Yuji Hirai (4-1-1, 2) [平井 雄士]. The tall, rangy Sasaki towered over Hirai who struggled to get close and was dropped in round 2. A gutsy Hirai tried to fight back but was stopped on the bell to end round 4. Interestingly this was the third time Sasaki had entered Rookie of the Year, losing in qualifying bouts in 2018 and 2019, and will feel like a real relief for him after the last 2 years.
At Flyweight we saw a minor upset as Akira Hoshuyama (4-0, 2) [宝珠山 晃] defeated the hard hitting Shugo Namura (4-1, 4) [苗村 修悟]. The hard hitting Namura, who is managed by Hiroyuki Sakamoto, had endeared himself to fight fans with his story, which was very similar to that of his boxing mentor, but sadly it wasn't to be for him as Hoshuyama dropped him in the first round and went on to win the following 3, en route to a clear decision. After 4 rounds all 3 judges had this 40-35 to Hoshuyama.
We got a big surprised at Super Flyweight as the much fancied Kosuke Tomioka (4-1, 3) [富岡 浩介] came up short against Shunpei Kubo (6-1-1, 4) [久保 春平]. Tomioka got off to a good start, and dropped Kubo with a hard straight left hand, and looked to be on the verge of a win in round 2. Kubo however gritted it out and landed a huge right hand in round 3, sending Tomioka down. Tomioka beat the count but was unsteady on his legs, and the referee waved the bout off. This is a big set back for Tomioka, but at just 18 years old we suspect he will bounce back, as for Kubo this was a great win and he will be buoyed big time going into the All-Japan final.
We got another upset of sorts at Bantamweight, as Ryuki Sudo (2-0, 1) [須藤 龍揮], fighting for just the second time, stopped Norichika Kozu (6-2, 1) [神津 徳臣] in the opening round. The fight started with Kozu pressing forward and he seemed to have Sudo under plenty of pressure before Sudo landed a peach of a left hook, dropping Kozu hard. As with Tomioka we saw Sudo get to his feet but he was gone and the referee wisely stopped this from continuing.
At Super Bantamweight we saw Yuki Yazan (7-2, 4) [矢斬 佑季] take a 5 round decision win over Ryuya Nihei (5-1-1, 1) [二瓶 竜弥]. Yazan looked too set the pace early, and boxed well at range with his straight shots. Nihei, to his credit, looked to slowly build some momentum with his pressure and had moments, particularly in rounds 2 and 3, before Yazan used his speed and impressed in the final 2 rounds. This was never a result in doubt and Yazan won with scores of 49-46 from all 3 judges.
We got another short bout at Featherweight as Kazunori Hirano (4-0, 4) [平野 和憲] simply hit too hard for Ryo Yoshida (3-1, 1) [吉田 諒]. Yoshida was down early, left with a bloodied nose and repeatedly hurt until the referee stepped in and saved him from further punishment at just over 2 minutes into the opening round. This was basic stuff from Hirano, but his rock hands really were just too much for Yoshida.
Unbeaten 21 year old puncher Tsubasa Narai (6-0, 5) [奈良井 翼] extended his excellent start as he stopped American born Japanese based fighter Dominique Kenshin (5-2, 2) [ドミニク謙心] at Super Featherweight. Narai pressed this from the off and looked like a man with a point to prove as he dropped Keshin in the first round. Kenshin managed to be saved by the bell in the opening round but was still looking hurt as we entered round 2, and Narai wasn't going to let him off the hook again, dropping him after about a minute of the round. This time the referee waved off the bout, giving the impressive Narai his third straight early win.
At 140lbs 21 year old novice Reiji Kodama (2-0, 1) [兒玉 麗司] impressed, stopping Takuro Narumi (3-2, 2) [鳴海 拓郎] in 4 rounds. Just seconds into the bout Kodama dropped Narumi with a 1-2. Although Narumi beat the count he didn't look comfortable through the round. To his credit in round 2 Narumi did start to find some success of his own, but in round 4 Kodama began to hammer his body and forced the referee to save Narumi, who was pinned on the ropes and being broken up by body shots.
At Welterweight Kaichi Yamazaki (2-2, 2) [山﨑 海知] scored a 3rd round TKO win against Yudai Saito (0-2) [齊藤 裕大]. Saito started well, using his jab, but it wasn't long until Yamazaki got into the pocket and began working up close, scoring a knockdown with a right hand. The second round was a battle up close before Yamazaki scored a second knockdown right at the end of round 3, forcing the referee to stop the bout. After the bout images of Saito sat on his stool showed him with a badly swollen right eye, and potential fracture as a result of Yamazaki's power.
The final bout on the show was at Middleweight and saw Kenji Yoshino (1-2-1, 2) [吉野 健二] and Eiki Kani (2-1-2) [可兒 栄樹] face off for the second time in their career. In 2019 the two men clashed, with Yoshino stopping Kani, this time however we saw the two men going the distance in a very, close, competitive and punishing 4 round war that saw neither man get much of an upperhand over the other. This was a thrilling action bout and saw the two men match each other all the way, resulting in a 4 round majority draw. Due to the tie breaker rules however it was Kani who progressed to the All-Japan final, in a result which will go some way to avenge his 2019 loss.
After the even there was 3 award winners named. Kubo was the MVP, following his win over Tomioka at Super Flyweight, Sudo won the Skill award following his win over Kozu at Bantamweight and Hirano won the Fighting Spirit Award following his win over Yoshida at Featherweight.
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