Back in June we saw Seiya Tsutsumi (6-0-2, 5) [堤聖也] score the biggest win of his career, as he stopped Kyosuke Sawada (15-3-2, 6) [澤田京介] to become the Japanese Bantamweight champion.
Today we saw the lasting effect of that bout, as Sawada announced he was retiring from the sport, ending his career after 20 professional bouts, aged 34.
Sawada, who debuted in 2013 following an amateur career that had seen him score more than 60 wins in the unpaid ranks, had struggled early on as a professional but reeled off a 17 fight unbeaten run prior to facing Tsutusmi. That winning run had seen him win the Japanese title, and score notable domestic wins against the likes of Kinshiro Usui, Yosuke Fujihara, Kazuki Nakano, Kazuki Tanaka and Kenshin Oshima.
In an interview with Boxmob Sawada showed his class by stating that he had high hopes for the first defense of Tsutusmi's, which is set for October 20th against Kenshin Oshima (7-2-1, 3) [大嶋剣心], and he seemed to be excited for that bout as a fan of boxing, rather than just someone who had recently held the Japanese title.
In the same interview Sawada also stated that he didn't expect to be fighting at this age, and was glad he didn't give up despite the various issues that have affected his career, including losses in his first two bouts, injuries and bouts being cancelled.
We'd like to wish Sawada all the best in his post boxing career.
Earlier today fight fans in Japan had the chance to see the latest Dangan card from Korakuen Hall, with the event also being available live on BoxingRaise.
The main event of the show was a Japanese Bantamweight title bout as defending champion Kyosuke Sawada (15-3-2, 6) [澤田京介] sought his first defense of the title, taking on the unbeaten Seiya Tsutsumi (6-0-2, 5) [堤聖也] in what looked like an excellent match up between high skilled boxer and destructive boxer-puncher.
The opening round saw both men looking to see what the other man had, with some busy jabs and cautious action. It seemed that Sawada might have been a tough faster, but there was very little in it, with Tsutsumi looking the more imposing fighter, whilst Sawada used a lot of movement as he looked to keep a safe distance for his straight punches. Sadly for Sawada his suspect chin got checked in round as Tsutusmi set off for the round with bad intentions. Although Sawada saw out the first wave of Tsutsumi's attack it was clear that Tsutsumi had gone up a gear and was finding his groove very quickly. Midway through the round a short left hook from Tsutusumi dropped Sawada, who didn't seem hurt but was under intense pressure the rest of the round. To his credit Sawada survived the round, but he took a beating for much of the rest of the round.
Sawada's best hope was that Tsutsumi would punch himself out and in round 3 we did see Tsutsumi slow down compared to the previous round. Despite slowing down it was another round that the challenger won, as he landed the more telling blows and fought smartly in bursts, notably towards the end of the round. It was however a much, much closer round than the second and in round 4 we saw Sawada have arguably his best round as Tsutusmi seemed to slow further and Sawada really took the fight to the challenger, as he looked to turn the tide. It was a huge effort from the champion who fought as if he knew he was down and knew he had to change the flow of the action. Sadly for Sawada we saw Tsutsumi landing gorgeous shots through round 5 as he re-established control of the action. After 5 rounds we got the open scoring and Tsutusmi was up on all 3 cards with scores of 48-46, 49-45 and 50-44.
In round 6 we saw the two men trading a lot in center ring and getting a loud reaction from the fans. It was clear that the heavier shots were all from Tsutsumi but Sawada landing plenty of the cleaner blows, using his quicker hands to have success at mid range. Sadly for Sawada the heavy shots of Tsutsumi were punishing ones, especially his body shots which were a regular thing up close. Towards the end of the round it seemed obvious that Sawada was doing everything he could, but was also being broken down. That was even more clear in round 7 as Tsutumi, like he had in round 2, set out on a seek and destroy mission and had Sawada in survival mode for much of the round. The champion was under intense pressure early in the round, though gritted it out, doing all he could to keep his title despite taking increasing punishment through the round. The back and forth action of early in the bout was less, and less frequent with Tsutusmi dominating large portions of the round. Early in round 8 the two men began trading but the power of Tsutusmi rocked Sawada, who was forced onto the ropes where he took a pounding as he covered up, until the referee saved him, giving Tsutusmi the 8th round TKO win.
After the bout Tsutusmi revealed he wants to face Takuma Inoue (16-1, 3) [井上拓真] later in the year.
Also on this card fans saw former world title challenger Shingo Wake (28-7-2, 20) [和氣 慎吾] score his latest win, as he stopped Naoto Mizutani (9-8-2, 3) [水谷直人] in the 7th round of a scheduled 8 rounder.
Tomorrow we'll see the first defense of the Japanese Bantamweight title, by defending champion Kyosuke Sawada (15-2-2, 6) [澤田京介], who will be taking on unbeaten challenger Seiya Tsutsumi (5-0-2, 4) [堤聖也] in a mouth watering clash at Korakuen Hall.
Today, ahead of their bout, the two men took part in their weight in for the contest.
On the scales Sawada came in bang on the 118lb weight limit, and he looked in great shape as well being really confident. At the weigh in he spoke about how he was going to stick to his boxing for the bout, and wouldn't be giving Tsutsumi the title. He also revealed that he was impressed by the recent performance of Naoya Inoue, in his early win over Nonito Donaire.
As for Tsutsumi he was under the weight with some room to spare, weighing in around 117.8lbs for the bout. He seemed somewhat serious at the weigh in, though was very much focused, explaining that he has seen a lot of Sawada, was familiar with his style, and had recognised that Sawada's power had improved in recent bouts.
Also on the card will be former world title challenger Shingo Wake (27-7-2, 19) [和氣 慎吾], who takes on Naoto Mizutani (9-7-2, 3) [水谷直人] in a Super Bantamweight bout. On the scales both men came in at 121.75lbs.
Related - Japanese champion Sawada takes on unbeaten Tsutsumi
Earlier today it was announced that Japanese Bantamweight champion Kyosuke Sawada (15-2-2, 6) [澤田京介] would be returning to the ring on June 23rd, at Dangan 251, to make his first defense of the title, in what will be a mandatory defense. In the opposite corner would be the talented, and incredibly unlucky Seiya Tsutsumi (5-0-2, 4) [堤聖也], who gets his first title opportunity.
the 34 year old Sawada won the title back in February, when he took a 5th round technical decision win against Kenshin Oshima. Sadly for him he suffered a nasty cut in that bout, which has prevented him from rapidly building on the victory. That win came in his second shot at the belt, and he will now be looking to avoid the Bantamweight curse, which has struck successive champions in recent years, with injuries, losses and weight problems.
As for Tsutusmi the switch hitting 26 year old has had a career marked with frustration, including controversial draws with Kazuki Nakajima and Daigo Higa in 2020. Sadly since those draws, both of which could have seen him getting the win, Tsutsumi has been out of the ring, with a planned 2021 bout against Tulio Kuwabata falling through on the week of the fight. With more than 18 months out of the ring, ring rust could be an issue, but if he's closer to 100% he will almost certainly feel this is his chance to claim his first professional title.
In the chief support bout on this card we'll see Shingo Wake (27-7-2, 19) [和氣 慎吾] looking to bounce back from a 2021 loss to Takuma Inoue. In the opposite corner to the former world title challenger will be Naoto Mizutani (9-7-2, 3) [水谷直人].
Earlier today the East Japan Boxing Association announced the winners of their monthly awards for the month of February.
The MVP for the month is the newly crowned Japanese Lightweight champion Shu Utsuki (10-0, 8) [宇津木秀], following his impressive 9th round TKO win over Masahiro Suzuki back on February 8th. The win saw Utsuki net his first professional title, and it seems clear that, given his power and technical ability, he has the tools to go a long, long way in the sport, though of course is still a work in progress and it's going to be exciting to see what he does to build on the win over Suzuki.
The Fighting Spirit Award was also won by a newly crowned Japanese national champion, as Kyosuke Sawada (15-2-2, 6) [澤田京介] added the award to the Japanese Bantamweight title, which he won back on February 5th with a technical decision win over Kenshin Oshima. This was the second show at the title for Sawada, who had previously been denied by a technical draw. Whilst his win wasn't pretty, it was a meaningful one for the talented fighter, who started his career with back to back losses, but has rebuilt in very impressive fashion to claim the Japanese title.
The Newcomer Award was won by Shinba Yamaguchi (2-0-1, 2) [山口臣馬], who earned the award for his February 5th win over Ren Kobayashi, which saw him stopping Kobayashi in 6 rounds, and need to battle through some real problems from Kobayashi.
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