Earlier today the EDION Arena in Osaka played host to an intriguing card form Koki Kameda, who put on a card with two title bouts, as well bouts featuring a former world champion, two former world title challengers and a 2008 Olympic gold medal winning Judoka.
The first of 6 notable bouts on this card saw the unbeaten Sora Fukunaga (11-0, 5) [福永宇宙] score his toughest win to date, as he narrowly over-came the hard hitting Kenya Yamashita (14-6, 11) [山下賢哉]. The talented Fukunaga started well, but was on the wrong end of Yamashita's power in round 3, as he was dropped late in the round. With Yamashita knowing he could hurt Fukunaga he tried to make the fight into a war and managed to drag Fukunaga into his type of fight as both traded bombs. Those bombs lead to Fukunaga having swelling around both eyes, and Yamashita having cuts around his left eye, whilst the crowd got lost in the thrilling violence. After 8 rounds this was a tough, close and competitive one, with Fukunaga taking a narrow decision, with scores of 76-75, twice, and 77-74.
In the second bout of note we saw former world title challengers face off, with 37 year old Japanese fighter Hiroshige Osawa (37-6-4, 21) [大沢宏晋] suffering a 5th round TKO loss to 26 year old Filipino Jeo Santisima (22-4, 19). Santisima's power showed through early on, dropping Osawa early in the bout, but dropping him again in round 5, with the bout being waved off. Sadly for Osawa he never really managed to rebuild his confidence after the first knockdown and always seemed to look worried about the power of Santisima. We suspect this will be the end of the road for Osawa, whilst Santisima's career should get a big boost on this much needed win.
Sadly for Japanese fan's, Osawa wasn't the only local to love to a visiting fighter, as former world champion Ryo Miyazaki (26-3-3, 16) [宮崎亮] suffered a shock opening round loss to world ranked Panamanian Azael Villar (19-1-3, 15), in what was Villar's biggest win, by far. Villar landed a good 1-2, then a body shot, which hurt Miyazaki. Villar then rushed in and unleashed a barrage of shots until the referee stepped in and saved the former WBA Minimumweight champion after just 163 seconds of the bout.
Before the two title bouts we had the professional debut of 2008 Olympic medal winner Judoka Satoshi Ishii (1-0) [サトシ イシイ], who kicked off his career at the age of 35 with a narrow decision win over Shuho Takayama (1-1, 1) [高山 秀峰]. This 4 rounder, which really was a "special attraction bout", wasn't a highly skilled bout, but it did see two big guys hitting each other. Though the bout it was obvious Takayama was the more polished boxer, but Ishii was the more physical man and he used that to his advantage, barging forward and forcing Takayama on the to the ropes, particularly in round 4. After 4 rounds Ishii claimed a majority decision, but it was clear neither man is going to go far in the sport.
The first of two title bouts on this card saw OPBF Super Featherweight champion Masanori Rikiishi (12-1, 7) [力石 政法] record his first defense, and do so in impressive fashion as he stopped Filipino challenger Tomjune Mangubat (15-4-1, 12) in 4 rounds. Mangubat took his time, but by round 2 seemed to have settled into the bout, pressing forward and trying to get the champion, who showed excellent movement, and clean accurate punching to try and slow Mangubat down. Sadly for Mangubat his charge was ended in brutal fashion in round 4, when a Rikiishi Uppercut caught him on the jaw and sent him down, with the referee instantly waving the bout off.
The main event saw a new Japanese Heavyweight champion being crowned, as Brandon Mitsuro Tajima (2-0, 2) [但馬ブランドン ミツロ] swiftly saw off Sung Min Lee (7-3-1, 2) [이성민]; in just 69 seconds. Tajima walked forward behind a tight guard, eventually closing the distance and letting shots go, with eye catching shots to head and body. The referee quickly jumped in with Lee under pressure and waved off the bout before it could really get going.
With the win Tajima become only the 4th Japanese Heavyweight champion in history, and also set a Japanese record for the fewest fights to win a Japanese title, just 2 fights. Amazingly he has fought only around 2 minutes as a professional, and likely now needs to look towards regional titles to get something representing an actual test.
Tomorrow the EDION Arena in Osaka will play host to two title bouts, with one of those being a Japanese Heavyweight title bout, between Brandon Mitsuro Tajima (1-0, 1) [但馬ブランドン ミツロ] and Sung Min Lee (7-2-1, 2) [이성민]; and the other being OPBF Super Featherweight title bout between defending champion Masanori Rikiishi (11-1, 6) [力石 政法] and Filipino challenger Tomjune Mangubat (15-3-1, 12).
Today the men involved in those bouts took part in their weigh in for their respective contests.
On the scales Rikiishi was bang on the 130lb limit and explained that he was in good condition and was going to "smash it", coming across as very, very confident for his first defense of the OPBF title. Mangubat also came in bang on the 130lbs limit, and explained that he was grateful to get the opportunity and promise to bring the OPBF belt back to the Philippines.
As for the Heavyweight bout, Tajima was 120KG, or 264.5lbs, well above what he should be fighting at. Lee was only marginally lighter, coming in 115KG, or 253.5lbs. Tajima seemed to almost look past Lee after making weight, and promised a KO whilst making it clear that there was a huge difference in levels between the two men. Lee tried to look tough, and looked eyes with Tajima, but he did look the smaller man. Notably both of these men weighed-in in street clothes, potential a good thing given the excess pounds both men carry.
OPBF champion Rikiishi defends against Filipino warrior Mangubat!
Tajima and Lee battle to become 4th Japanese Heavyweight champion
Earlier today it was announced that 2008 Olympic gold medal winning Judoka Satoshi Ishii (0-0) [サトシ イシイ] would be making his professional debut on August 14th, as part of Koki Kameda's stacked 3150 Fight Vol 3. In the opposite corner to Ishii will be professional novice Shuho Takayama (1-0, 1) [高山 秀峰].
The two men will face off in a 4 round Heavyweight which appears to have been put together at relatively short notice, but it's a fighter that has grabbed a lot of attention in Japan.
Takayama, who debuted last November and won his debut in 54 seconds, is the younger man, at 29, but will also be the clear under-dog here. As for Ishii he, strangely, enters the bout not with a Japanese boxing license, or a gym affiliation, but instead as a fighter licensed in Croatia. That's because Ishii has actually been a Croatian citizen since 2019 and obtained a license in Croatia, and has actually given up his Japanese citizenship.
The bout is set to get a lot of attention, and will be streamed on Abema TV along with the rest of the show, which includes a Japanese Heavyweight title bout, between Brandon Mitsuro Tajima (1-0, 1) [但馬ブランドン ミツロ] and Sung Min Lee (7-2-1, 2) [이성민] and an OPBF Super Featherweight title bout between defending champion Masanori Rikiishi (11-1, 6) [力石 政法] and Filipino challenger Tomjune Mangubat (15-3-1, 12).
Earlier today the Sumida City Gymnasium in Tokyo played host to the latest Dangan card, which featured a trio of interesting looking title bouts.
The first of the title bouts saw unbeaten OPBF female Minimumweight champion Mizuki Chimoto (4-0, 1) [千本瑞規] score her first defense as she out pointed Kaori Nagai (6-3-3, 2) [長井香織] over 8 rounds. The challenger started well,m and looked to attack the body early on. Chimoto however got going in round 2, using her jab well to control the action and range of the bout, and after 4 rounds she was leading on all 3 cards, 40-36 and 39-37, twice. In the second half Nagai tried to turn it around, continuing to attack the body of Chimoto, but she couldn't slow Chimoto down, with Chimoto responding to everything thrown her way.
After 8 rounds the scores here were 78-74, twice, and 77-75. After the bout Nagai seemed to suggest that her work in the early rounds had been ignored by the judges, whilst Chimoto spoke well off her challenger, and how she used her own jab to control the action.
The second title bout on the show saw the talented Masanori Rikiishi (11-1, 6) [力石 政法] claim his first title, as he out boxed veteran Takuya Watanabe (38-11-1, 22) [渡邉 卓也] and became the new OPBF Super Featherweight champion, with a career best performance. From the opening round this was the Rikiishi show, as he took control at mid-range and never let the highly experience Watanabe get into the bout. From the off Rikiiishi was too quick, too sharp, too accurate and too busy for Watanabe. To his credit Watanabe always tried to make his way into the bout, but he struggled in every minute of the fight to build any momentum. The few moments of success the veteran had were fleeting with Rikiishi re-establishing control soon afterwards. After 12 rounds Rikiishi had won everything, taking a 120-108 shut out over Watanabe, with the only disappointment for the new champion being that he couldn't drop his man.
After the bout Rikiishi spoke about the success of his body shots and uppercuts, and explained that he was going to make a mandatory defense of his title next. As for Watanabe, he seemed really dejected by the outcome, adding that he tried his best, but that's his ability. Almost accepting he wasn't even close to good enough. Given his long career we do wonder if this is the end for Watanabe.
The third title bout on the card saw something of an upset as the defending Japanese Featherweight champion Hinata Maruta (12-2-1, 9) [丸田陽七太] was dethroned by mandatory challenger Reiya Abe (23-3-1, 10) [阿部麗也], in what was Abe's third shot at the belt. Not only did Abe capture the Japanese title, but also the WBO Asia Pacific title with the win.
This started in a really interesting manner with both men battling to dictate the range of the bout. For Maruta the key was to keep it long whilst Abe wanted to close the distance more and land his powerful single left hands. Through the first 3 rounds it seemed Abe's experience and boxing brain were key as he landed straight land hands, however he took punishment himself and ended up with a swollen right eye as Maruta's hard right hands took their toll on the challenger. After 5 rounds Abe was up on all 3 cards, 48-47, twice, and 49-46.
It was really in the middle of the bout that Abe took complete control of the action, as he seemed to respond with interest to every bit of success Maruta had, and the most notable part of the bout was a hard left hand up top that dropped Maruta in round 7, and left Maruta unable to see out of his left eye. It took Maruta a while to get any success after that as Abe continued to control the action, with his good footwork and boxing brain, though Maruta did show his heart and gave a huge effort in the final 3 rounds.
After 12 rounds the judges had this 118-109, 116-111 and 115-112, a particular close score. After the bout Abe seemed really proud of his performance, and his development over the last few years. He also stated that he was wanting to aim for more titles, likely a suggestion that he wants to fight for a world title. As for Maruta he apologised to his team for the loss, and explained that he would come back stronger from the bout.
Tomorrow fight fans in Japan will get the chance to see a new OPBF Super Featherweight champion being crowned as Masanori Rikiishi (10-1, 6) [力石 政法], in his first title bout, takes on Takuya Watanabe (38-10-1, 22) [渡邉 卓也] for the vacant title.
Today the two men took part in their weigh in for the bout, and both men made the 130lb limit without any issues, and both men looked absolutely incredible on the scales.
The 27 year old Rikiishi was comfortably under the limit, at 129.6lbs, and looked genuinely in the best shape of his career. Despite that he actually explained this was the hardest weight cut of his career and that he's getting bigger, and had to come down in weight more than normal. Amazingly he was coming down from 154lbs for the bout, and had to lose 11lbs in water weight. Something that will likely force him to move back to Lightweight in the not so distant future.
Amazingly Rikiishi didn't seemed bothered about the title at all, and was more bothered about beating Watanabe, stating "Because it's a decisive battle, the title isn't worth it. There's nothing special about it, but it's more valuable to beat Watanabe, who has a proven track record." And he added that he wanted to face other notable fighters if he wins, such as Yoshimitsu Kimura and Kosuke Saka.
As for Watanabe he was 129.6lbs on the scales and, much like Rikiishi, he looked in great shape for the bout. He explained that he thought Rikiishi would be bigger than he was, but that the two men are about the same size. He also explained that he had been focusing on training for southpaws, like Rikiishi.
For fans wanting to watch this bout the contest will be aired on the ABEMA Fighting Channel.
Related - Watanabe and Rikiishi battle for OPBF honours!
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