Last year Japanese amateur standout Kenji Fujita [藤田健児] turned professional, signing with Japanese promotional powerhouse Teiken. It was a signing that created a lot of buzz, with Fujita being a genuine amateur star and someone expected to go a very, very long way in the professional ranks.
As an amateur Fujita was a 3-time All Japan champion and also won a bronze medal at the Asian Amateur Championships, showing just how good he was in the unpaid ranks.
Sadly after signing with Teiken Fujita, along with fellow Teiken signees Subaru Murata [村田昴], Junya Shimada [嶋田淳也] and Kota Kaneko [金子虎旦], he didn't actually get a chance to debut in 2020, in part due to the on going Covid19 pandemic.
Earlier today however it's was revealed that Fujita has got a date, venue, and opponent set for his debut, and thankfully it's not going to be too much more of a wait.
Today it's been revealed that Fujita will debut on March 25th in a 6 round bout against Motosuke Kimura (3-5-2, 1) [木村元祐] on a Dynamic Glove show.
The 34 year old Kimura has lost his last 4, and 5 of his last 6, though he never been stopped and did give the highly touted Shigetoshi Kotari a very good test last October. Given that performance, rather than his results, we do expect him to ask questions of Fujita here and to serve as something of a test. Though a test Fujita should pass with out too many problems.
Sadly this is only bout for the show that has been officially announced so far, though we are expecting a lot of news about this March event to come through in the next week or so, potentially including one of the other amateur standouts that turned professional at the same time as Fujita.
Back in June we reported that Kenji Fujita [藤田健児], Subaru Murata [村田昴], Junya Shimada [嶋田淳也] and Kota Kaneko [金子虎旦] had all left the amateur ranks and signed up with Teiken, with the plan being for all 4 men to turn professional.
Sadly due to the on going situation the 4 men were forced to wait until today to take part in their pro-tests. Delaying the hope of an early debut after signing with the Japanese promotional power house.
The 4 men all passed their B License tests today and all intend to debut before the end of 2020.
Following their tests today all 4 men gave some comments to the media.
Fujita, who is probably the most notably of the foursome, was humble in his comments, explaining that he was relieved to have passed his test, but also sounded confident of rapidly rising through the ranks. That rising through the ranks should be no surprise however, as he was a very experienced amateur fighter, winning multiple domestic championships and running up an incredible amateur record of 153-21.
Murata also stated that he was glad he passed, and it seemed like his goal was to continue having success. He spoke becoming a fighter who can make a mark at Bantamweight and it seems clear that he wants to follow in a long line of top Japanese fighters at 118lbs.
Shimada explained that he's glad to finally be at the starting line of his professional career, and that he has long dreamed of being a world champion. He explained that he doesn't yet feel that he's had a real fight, and it seemed clear that he was rearing to go and get his professional debut under his belt.
Kaneko explained that he has also dreamed of being a professional fighter, and wanted to thank those who have supported him, and that continue to support him.
With Teiken having several more shows set this year the hope will be for all 4 men to get their debuts out of the way this year before progressing in 2021. The hope will be that all 4 men will make a big mark on the sport, and help rebuild the Teiken stable, which has struggled in recent years due to big retirements of the likes of Shinsuke Yamanaka and Takashi Miura.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
It feels like it's been weeks since we had stuff to be legitimately excited about, but today Teiken have out done themselves, announce the signing of 4 top Japanese amateurs who have announced they will be turning professional will the very well established Tokyo outfit.
The four men are Kenji Fujita [藤田健児], Subaru Murata [村田昴], Junya Shimada [嶋田淳也] and Kota Kaneko [金子虎旦]. Whilst some of those names will be familiar to fans of international amateur boxing others might not be, so in a minute we'll take a quick look at all 4 men, though what is clear by the signings is that Teiken are strengthening their ranks once again. The gym has taken the cream of the crop from those who failed to make it to the Olympic qualifying events, and with Tokyo 2020 now being delayed a year there's a real chance that these men may find themselves racing through the ranks quickly.
Fujita is probably the more well known of the 4 men. He is currently 26 years old and ran up a frankly stunning amateur record of 153-21 (40), winning 3 All Japan Championships, an Asian Championships bronze medal, in 2013, and competed at the World Championships. Back in November he announced he was retiring from amateur boxing, after 10 years in the sport, but left it unclear on what he would be doing. His decision to turn professional however wasn't much of a surprise and it was clear promoters would be very interested in luring him over to the paid ranks.
Of course Fujita isn't the only notable name from the new signings and Subaru Murata was also a very highly sought after fighter. Murata, who is now 23, ran up a 68-12 amateur record, took a bronze medal in the 2014 Youth Olympics, won an All Japan title and a National Sports Festival. In a comment on Teiken's website he spoke about wanting to unify the 4 Bantamweights titles and seemed to be intent on making a buzz on his debut. He's not quite the established talent of Fujita, but is going to be someone to keep a very close eye on.
The 22 year old Shimada went 58-23 in the amateurs, coming third in successive National Athletic events as a Lightweight. He appears to be turning professional at Featherweight and is probably the least well known of the 4 men. Despite that he does have international experience, and from what we under-stand he participated at the 2018 World University Championships in Russia. We see him as the dark horse of the group but given his age and extensive amateur experience we wouldn't be surprised by him being moved aggressively over the next few years.
Kaneko, who is also 22, is also turning professional at Featherweight after compiling an excellent 56-13 amateur record. His credentials aren't as impressive as the rest of the group. His results are a bit harder to find though interestingly he dd battle Murata as an amateur in 2018, losing to his new stablemate in the Japanese National Championships and that could lead to a rather fun but friendly rivalry between the two new gym mates.
At the moment it's unclear when the pro-tests for the 4 will take place, but it's obvious that all 4 men should be getting B licenses without any issue. With that said it's also unclear when any of the 4 men will debut but the expectation is that both Fujita and Murata will be fast tracked.
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