Earlier today at Korakuen Hall fight fans saw a new OPBF Welterweight champion being crowned, as Riku Nagahama (12-3-1, 4) [長濱 陸] scored the biggest win of his career, and out pointed the previously unbeaten Kudura Kaneko (11-1, 8) [クドゥラ 金子].
From the early going it seemed like Nagahama was simply too sharp, too smart, and too good for the slower, clumsier but more powerful Kaneko. Kaneko was trying to come forward, but he was unable to land with authority on any kind of regular basis.
After 4 rounds Nagahama was in a clear lead, up 40-36 on all 3 cards when they were announced for the first time.
In the middle rounds Kaneko managed to get some success, at least in round 5, but it wasn't enough to really work his way into the bout as Nagahama began to work away on the body of Kaneko, and took control again without too many worries. It was as if he let Kaneko feel confident and then took it away, showing he was in total control.
After 8 rounds, when we went to the scorecards for the second time and Nagahama had extended his lead to 79-73 across the board. All he had to do was stay up for the final 4 rounds, and that turned out to be no problem at all, despite Kaneko managing to have some of his best moments in final 4 rounds.
With Nagahama staying up right it was always obvious he had done enough in the first 8 rounds to take the win, and we saw that with scores of 118-110 and 117-111, twice.
For fans wanting to watch this it will be made available on Boxing Raise shortly.
(Image courtesy of boxmpob.jp)
Tomorrow we'll see the last Japanese show for over a month, with the JBC suspending all professional boxing through out the month of March due to coronavirus.
Despite the upcoming break the main event tomorrow is an excellent looking bout, as Riku Nagahama (11-2-1, 4) [長濱 陸] and Kudura Kaneko (11-0, 8) [クドゥラ 金子] clash for the OPBF Welterweight title.
Today, ahead of their bout, the two men took part in their weigh in.
At the weigh in Kaneko came in comfortably under the 147lb limit, hitting the scales at 146.5lb, and looked really good on the scales. He sounded confident and spoke about stopping Nagahama within 5 rounds to take the title, and become the first champion from the Honda Gym.
Nagahama also weight in at 145.5lbs, and like Kaneko he looked in great shape. He was complimentary of Kaneko, and it's clear he has studied the unbeaten Afghan-Japanese fighter, but he did also mention that Kaneko has got holes, and he'll be looking to exploit those.
For fans wanting to watch the bout it will be aired live on Boxing Raise, and will be the final bout in Japan until April, at the earliest.
Related - Kaneko and Nagahama clash for OPBF crown!
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
At the end of February we'll see a new OPBF Welterweight champion being crowned as Riku Nagahama (11-2-1, 4) [長濱 陸] and Kudura Kaneko (11-0, 8) [クドゥラ 金子] clash in a bout for the vacant title.
Today an interview was posted on Boxmob with Kaneko, who revealed that he has big plans for this coming year, in fact he has very big hopes for 2020.
We won't post the full interview, but there are some really interesting things he mentioned in it, summing up how he feels and what he wants form 2020.
The talented Afghan-Japanese fighter stated that he was "glad the title fight had been made", and that he was unhappy to miss out on a Japanese title eliminator last year, "dropping in the rankings just before" the title eliminator was decided on. In theory had he been part of an eliminator there's a chance he could have fought for as the challenger the Japanese Welterweight title in the Champion Carnival, something Keita Obara did earlier this month.
If Kaneko beats Nagahama he would be the first title holder from the Honda Gym, which was been around for 52 years. He admitted than his plans are bigger than just this OPBF title though, explaining "I want to win here and also win the Japan and WBO Asian titles later this year".
In regards to Nagahama it was revealed that Kaneko has sparred with him, explaining "I there were 3 or 4 times. He was tough and strong".
To prepare to face Nagahama, Kaneko revealed he had been sparring with Japanese ranked Middleweight 22 year old Nath Nwachukwu (6-0-2, 3) [ワチュク・ナァツ], who should be decent preparation for facing Nagahama given their size and style.
(All quotes taken from Kaneko's interview with Boxmob, and translated and anglicanised for context where needed).
Earlier today online subscription service Boxing Raise revealed their schedule for February and sadly it's rather lacking with only 3 shows in total, and only 1 live one. That is however a sign of a quiet February in Japan more than anything, with only 7 shows scheduled for the entire month, including the February 1st card which was shown on G+.
The first of the Boxing Raise cards is actually available already and took place today at Korakuen Hall. The card was a rather small and low key one, featuring only 4 round bouts. Whilst the show didn't get much attention it is good to see the service uploading the bouts on the same day which hasn't always been the case.
The next show to be including on the service this month is the February 14th Kadoebi card. This will be headlined by Froilan Saludar (31-3-1, 22) defending the WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight title against Ryoji Fukunaga (11-4, 11) [福永亮次] in what looks likely to be an explosive match up. Other bouts of note on this card will include Ryota Yamauchi (5-1, 4) [山内涼太] facing off with Filipino MJ Bo (8-3-2, 4) and a brilliant match up between Yuki Nakajima (3-1, 3) [中嶋憂輝] and Shisui Kawabata (2-1, 2) [川畑嗣穂].
The only live card for the month will take place on February 27th and is an excellent looking card, headlined by an OPBF Welterweight title bout between Riku Nagahama (11-2-1, 4) [長濱 陸] and Kudura Kaneko (11-0, 8) [クドゥラ 金子] and also featuring the Hajime No Ippo 30th anniversary tournament semi finals. Those semi-finals will see Jae Woo Lee (7-2, 6) [이재우] taking on Shingo Kusano (12-8-1, 5) [草野慎悟] and Richard Pumicpic (21-10-2, 6) clashing with Daisuke Watanabe (9-4-2, 6) [渡部大介].
Whilst it's a shame there's so little content this month, it is impressive that Boxing Raise do have 3 of the 7 Japanese cards from the entire month.
We've known for a week or saw that both Shuhei Tsuchiya (23-5, 18) [土屋 修平] and Tsubasa Koura (14-1, 9) [小浦 翼] would be on the February 27th show at Korakuen Hall. The was made public when the poster was revealed a few days ago. What wasn't originally known was the opponents for the two men, which was only revealed recently.
Koura, a former OPBF Minimumweight champion who lost the title last year to Lito Dante last March, will be fighting for the first time in 11 months. Koura was supposed to fight in January, but issues with his opponent, Indonesian fighter Silem Serang, saw it falling through at short notice. He'll be up against Chinese fighter Yujie Zeng (14-10-1, 6) [曾玉洁], in what looks like an easy bout on paper, but will see Koura taking on a naturally bigger man, who has only been stopped once in his 25 fight career.
Tsuchiya, who's a former Japanese Lightweight champion, was also supposed to fight in January before his opponent, Yangyang Li (8-1-2), was unable to get a visa. That was going to be his first bout since June 2017. His opponent for February won't struggle to get a visa this time around as he takes on fellow Japanese fighter Shogo Yamaguchi (11-5-3, 6) [山口祥吾]. Given Tsuchiya's long break from the ring we didn't expect him to face someone too testing, and in Yamaguchi we see Tsuchiya in with an opponent who has failed to win his last 3 and is without a win since 2018.
These bouts will take place on the same card as the Hajime No Ippo 30th anniversary tournament semi finals, which will see Jae Woo Lee (7-2, 6) [이재우] against Shingo Kusano (12-8-1, 5) [草野慎悟] and Richard Pumicpic (21-10-2, 6) against Daisuke Watanabe (9-4-2, 6) [渡部大介]. The card will also feature an OPBF Welterweight title bout between Riku Nagahama (11-2-1, 4) [長濱 陸] and Kudura Kaneko (11-0, 8) [クドゥラ 金子].
News! We try and give you the most interesting news stories from the Asian boxing world!