Earlier today the Ohashi Gym announced the main event of their July 12th Phoenix Battle show, "Phoenix Battle 90", as well some of the under-card fights on the show.
The main event will see Japanese 154lb champion Makoto Kawasaki (13-8-1, 2) [川崎真琴] make his first defense, after winning the title earlier this month. The 37 year old veteran will be facing off with Ryosuke Maruki (18-7-1, 13) [丸木凌介], who is set to get his second shot at the title.
Kawsaki's title win, which came on April 2nd when he beat Koki Koshikawa, saw the veteran score the biggest win of his career, by far though he certainly didn't look incredible in the win and the feeling is that his reign could be short one. As for Maruki, the exciting challenger has previously come up short in a great bout with Nobuyuki Shindo, and was also stopped in a bout for the interim title against Akinori Watanabe. Given the styles of the two men, and their man flaws, it's hard to not anticipate a thrilling action bout here.
Another bout that was announced for this card will see Ryutaro Nakagaki (2-0-1, 2) [中垣龍汰朗] take on Toma Kondo (8-7-1, 1) [近藤 冬真] in a scheduled 8 rounder.
Also on the card will be former OPBF Bantamweight champion Kazuki Nakajima (11-1-1, 9 ) [中嶋 一輝], talented Flyweight Taku Kuwahara (9-1, 5) [桑原 拓], promising Lightweight Katsuya Yasuda (8-1, 5) [保田克也] as well as the debut of promising former amateur standout Yuya Tanaka (0-0) [田中湧也]. At the time of writing, none of these three have had their opponents for their bouts named.
Just moments ago the latest Dynamic Glove card from Korakuen Hall finished and if we're being honest, it was not a card to remember. In fact it was a really poor show overall, with no bout really standing out as a must watch for those wantign to watch on replay.
On paper the bout between former amateur standout Shigetoshi Kotari (3-1-1, 2) [神足茂利] and glass cannon Kazuaki Miyamoto (7-8, 6) [宮本知彰] wasn't a particularly interesting match up. In fact on paper it seemed like a gimmie for Kotari, and the result would suggest it was, however Kotari had to work to earn a 5th round TKO win over Miyamoto, who came to win.
The first 2 rounds saw Kotari control the bout with his high level boxing skills, but in round 3 we saw Miyamoto look to force a dog fight, and land some bombs of his own, forcing Kotari to go through something of a chin check. Sadly for Miyamoto he couldn't crack the chin of Kotari who ended up dumping taking the pressure, and using it against Miyamoto who was eventually stopped in round 5 having been down several times. Despite the stoppage loss this was a great effort for Miyamoto, who came to fight and gave Kotari tough some rounds, even if Kotari did seem in control of much of the action.
In the second of the meaningful bouts on this show the hard hitting Ken Koibuchi (8-5-1, 7)* [鯉淵健] took on Taison Mukaiyama (7-3, 4) [向山太尊]. From the opening stages Kobuchi seemed to have the upper hand, pressing Mukaiyama backwards and landing big, clean, solid shots. As the bout went on however Mukaiyama began landing some good counter shots, creating space and having some genuine success of his own. Sadly though the power of Koibuchi was always dangerous and at the end of round 3 a huge overhand right from Koibuchi stiffened the legs of Mukaiyama, who looked genuinely unconscious on his feet. Lucky for him the shot was on the bell and he got to his corner and a minute to recover.
Unfortunately however Mukaiyama likely needed more than a minute and early in round 4 he was under pressure again, with the referee stepping into save him as he continued to take some huge blows.
After capturing the attention at the weigh in yesterday, by wearing a bra, Mugicha Nakagawa (24-8-2, 14) [中川 麦茶] took part in his first bout for more than 2 years as he faced off with former 2-time world title challenger Ryo Akaho (38-2-2, 25) [赤穂亮], in the chief support bout. The bout was somewhat messy early on, with both looking rusty and the styles not quite meshing. Sadly that never really changed with the two giving us a real mess of a bout.
Nakagawa wanted to keep things at range, box and move and use his jab, whilst Akaho wanted to get close and land hooks coming in, as a result there was a lot of times the two just came together. As a result of the messy action it was hard to score and a really hard one to watch.
Round 3 continued to see some ugly action, but both men did land some quality work, and Nakagawa's clean head shots were really catching the eye, and at one point he forced Akaho on to the retreat. Nakagawa's success continued in round 4, another round that had some incredibly messy moments, as he landed some excellent counters which continued to frustrate Akaho.
In round 5 Nakagawa went low, which left Akaho irate and saw Nakagawa being taken a point. It was a nothing blow, and given the other minor fouls and soon afterwards there was a takedown by Nakagawa, which forced the referee to put the men in neutral corners and talk to both. Sadly for Akaho when the action resumed he was seemingly hurt from another combination up top from Nakagawa. The referee would again give Nakagawa a verbal warning in round 6, as if he felt he was walking a point being deducted, but just moments later both men unloaded rabbit shots, as the bout continued to head towards a farce.
In round 7 it seemed that Akaho was hurt early on, and gassing, though he managed to put his foot on the gas midway into the round, landing some heavy hooks and clearly tagging Nakagawa hard, with Nakagawa forced to slip and slide under pressure from Akaho's wild, crude, heavy hooks. In the 8th round the two men had a huge headclash early on, not the first of the bout, though it left neither man cut. After the clash Akaho looked to come on strong, and landed some very heavy looking hooks but was pushed over to the canvas in the final 30 seconds. Thankfully come the final bell, would could move on, following what is likely to be one of the ugliest bouts we'll see in a Japanese ring this year. To the fans credit however they applauded the action, which was incredibly polite of them.
After 8 rounds the decision went to Akaho, though it did seem the judges were being a little bit generous to him, with two judges scoring it 79-73 in his favour whilst the other had it 77-75 to him. Regardless of the win it seems his career is about over at the age of 34, and on this performance we're not in a rush to see either man fight again. This was one of those bouts that really didn't click and if you missed, you should feel very, very lucky.
In the main event we saw Japanese domestic amateur standout Koki Koshikawa (9-4, 6) [越川孝紀] takes on Makoto Kawasaki (13-8-1, 2) [川崎真琴]
Thankfully this one was a palette cleanser following the mess we had had in the chief support bout. From the off the younger, fresher, hungrier Koshikawa was all over Kawasaki, with intense pressure and high output through the first minute. Kawasakiw as forced to fight fire with fire, and landed some decent blows in the odd exchange, but was clearly on the wrong end of the punishment for much of the round with Koshikawa mixing good head shots and body shots on to the veteran.
As the rounds went on Koshikawa continued to be the aggressor, pressing hard, but he was putting a lot into each round, and his intensity did begin to wane round by round, giving Kawasaki some space to work with.
By round 5 the tempo from Koshikawa was about done, and both began to look exhausted. Sadly for Koshikawa, that really let Kawasaki into the bout as he began to lean into the younger man and have success with shots up close. Even with more success however Kawasaki was still regularly being caught himself by the busier, younger fighter. Some how however the judges appear to have been watching a different fight, and the open scoring after round 5 had Kawasaki leading 48-47 and 49-46, with the third judge having Koshikawa in a 48-47 lead.
Sadly by round 7 this had gone from an entertaining war, driven by the aggression of Koshikawa, into a bout that was fought up close, with little output from either man, with both happy to lean into each other for large stretches of the bout. Despite that there were still eye catching moments, especially the counter shots of Kawasaki. Those counter shots impressed the judges in the final rounds, along with his love 2-punch combinations that switched between head and body against the really tired looking Koshikawa.
After 10 rounds we went to the scorecards and the judges had this on 96-94, 97-93 and 98-92 all in favour of Kawasaki. Some of those cards seemed far, far too wide in a bout where Koshikawa's early output really should have been enough for him to take plenty of rounds. Though Koshikawa did seem to blow his load in the first half, and struggled with his pacing in the second half of the bout.
Tomorrow at Korakuen Hall fight fans will see a new Japanese Light Middleweight champion being crowned as former Japanese domestic amateur standout Koki Koshikawa (9-3, 6) [越川孝紀] takes on Makoto Kawasaki (12-8-1, 2) [川崎真琴] for the vacant title.
Today, ahead of their bout, the two men took part in their official weigh in and both men made the 154lb limit, albeit it wasn't easy for one of the men.
On the scales Koshikawa genuinely seemed to struggling, missing weight by 1lb originally before coming back and making weight at a second attempt. Sadly for him he didn't look in particularly good, in fact he rather fleshy and like a man who could have made 147lbs had he really wanted to. He put the weight issues down to the fact that his scales at home weren't calibrated properly, resulting in him needing to lose the extra 1lb, but in all honest it's hard to not think he was, at least partially, a bit unprofessional here.
As for Kawasaki he made weight with no problems at all, weighing in at 153.8lbs. Kawasaki making the weight with no issues at all, shouldn't be too much of a surprise given he has, for the most part, fought as a Welterweight. Despite the fact he's moving up in weight the 37 year old Kawasaki seemed determined to win here, and finally win a Japanese title in what will be his third title shot. If he was to win he would become the oldest national champion in history.
Related - Kawasaki and Koshikawa battle for vacant Japanese title!
Earlier today at Korakuen Hall, we had the first Japanese show of 2022, and it was a notable one with several notable domestic clashes on it, including the first Japanese title bout of the year, several bouts with notable prospects and a bout featuring a highly ranked Japanese veteran.
The first of the notable bouts saw JBC #2 ranked Super Welterweight Makoto Kawasaki (12-8-1, 2) [川崎真琴] return to the ring for the first time since September 2019. Despite the long lay off, he was in total control against Fumisuke Kimura (9-9-1, 6) [木村文祐], in a bout fought just above the Welterweight limit. Kawasaki shook off some ring rust here and took a wide, and clear, decision win, which would likely have been the plan going in. After 8 rounds the scores were 79-73, twice, and 78-74, all for Kawasaki.
In the second bout of note the unbeaten, and often over-looked, Tentaro Kimura (8-0-2) [木村天汰郎] scored an 8 round shut out win over Kaito Takeshima (6-4-1, 1) [竹嶋海刀]. This was an excellent performance from Kimura, who controlled the tempo, the range and the style of fight by using his speed, landing good counters and earned Kaito's respect. Although still without a stoppage after 10 bouts it's clear Kimura has genuine skills, and training with his cousin, the touted Rentaro Kimura, will help him develop his skillset. There are still a lot of areas he can improve but this was a very good performance and it's good to see the improvements being made fight by fight from Kimura.
The chief support bout saw the unbeaten Narumi Yukawa (4-0, 3) [湯川成美] score his latest win, as he stopped Kanta Fukui (8-5-1, 6) [福井貫太] in 6 rounds. Yukawa came with a point to prove from the off, pressing Fukui through the first round, and hitting his foe with some big body shots. Those body shots continued through round 2 and in round 3 Fukui tried to fight fire with fire, making for some great action. Sadly for Fukui he couldn't get Yukawa to respect him, and instead Yukawa had so much more in his locker. In round 6 Yukawa showed his class, and some of his more advanced tools as he turned southpaw, and hurt Fukui, before forcing the referee to step in and save Fukui. After the bout it was reported that Fukui had suffered a suspect broken jaw.
The main event saw Kai Ishizawa (10-1, 9) [石澤開] claim his biggest win to date, as he stopped the previously unbeaten Katsuki Mori (9-1, 2) [森 且貴] to claim the previously vacant Japanese Minimumweight title.
The Japanese title was vacated late last year by Masataka Taniguchi, the current WBO world champion, and it was clear that both men really wanted to claim the belt.
The fight started well for Mori who looked good through the first round with a busy jab, whilst Ishizawa brought pressure, trying to close the distance and get his uppercuts and hooks into play. Ishizawa had notable success in round 2, before Mori bounced back well in round 3, using good in and out motion, which he continued to use well in round 4. Sadly for Mori however his success was never really troubling Ishizawa who who landed several big body shots in round 5, as he slowly began to break down his younger, lighter hitting foe.
After 5 rounds we had the open scoring kick in, with all 3 judges having Ishizawa up 48-47. Despite the close scores, it seemed like Mori always had to try harder than Ishizawa, and put more energy into his success. In round 6 Ishizawa's power showed it's self for the first time, as he hurt Mori, who tried to fight back in round 7. Sadly the attempted fight back from Mori left him to close, and in round 8 Ishizawa really began to get going, unloading good shots up top and downstairs, before dropping Mori with a series of uppercuts. With Mori down and a count being given Ishizawa's team threw in the towel.
With the win Ishizawa adds the Japanese national title to a previous reign as the Japanese Youth champion. He also takes a huge stride towards getting a world title fight, and a potential rematch with Masataka Taniguchi, the only man to have beaten him in the professional ranks.
Earlier today we saw the announcement of the first Ohashi show of 2022, which is set to take place on January 11th at Korakuen Hall. The card is a very solid one, from top to bottom, it's really the main event which will have people's attention, and will also see a new Japanese champion being crowned.
The match up at the top of the card will see hard hitting Japanese destroyer Kai Ishizawa (9-1, 8) [石澤開] take on the unbeaten Katsuki Mori (9-0, 2) [森 且貴] for the vacant Japanese Minimumweight title, which was vacated by Masataka Taniguchi (14-3, 9) [谷口将隆] ahead of his upcoming WBO world title fight. This should be a fantastic match up pitting Ishizawa's pressure, power and aggression, against the speed, movement, and skills of Mori, who is stepping up massively for the contest.
For both men it will be their first bout for a Japanese title, though Ishizawa has won, and defended, the Japanese Youth title in the past, and is more proven and battled hardened fighter. Despite that it's Mori's promoter in charge of the show, and we suspect Mori and his team wouldn't have raced into a fight with Ishizawa unless they felt ready to face the feared 24, soon to be 25, year old.
Whilst the main event is the major talking point for this card, it will be packed with notable names. These include young hopefuls like Rikuto Adachi (15-3, 11) [安達 陸虎], Tentaro Kimura (7-0-2) [木村天汰郎] and Narumi Yukawa (3-0, 2) [湯川成美] as well as veterans like Makoto Kawasaki (11-8-1, 2) [川崎 真琴].
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