Earlier today at Korakuen Hall fight fans got a short, but very notable, show featuring a trio of bouts, all of which were title contests, thanks to Dangan and Watanabe.
The first bout on the show saw former kick boxer Kanako Taniyama (4-1-1, 1) [谷山佳菜子] defeat Yuko Henzan (8-11-4, 2) [平安山裕子], via a 4th round technical decision, to become the new Japanese female Bantamweight champion. From the off Taniyama looked to make a good start, getting behind her jab whilst Henan looked to apply some pressure. Sadly in round 3 a clash of heads left both cut. The cuts got worse quickly and in round 4 Henzan's cut forced the bout to end early.
At the mark of 1 minute into round 4 the bout was halted with Taniyama getting the nod 40-36, 40-37 and 39-37. After the bout Taniyama explained that she wasn't happy about how much of the fight was fought inside, but did show that she had learned a lot heading into this bout, and her style has certainly changed, as she's become more of a boxer, and less of a fighter.
A second new champion to be crowned was former amateur standout Mizuki Chimoto (3-0, 1) [千本瑞規], who became the OPBF female Minimumweight champion with an 8 round majority decision over former world champion Yuko Kuroki (17-7-2, 8) [黒木優子]. The early round saw this being a technical bout, with Chimoto trying to get a read on the southpaw style of Kuroki, and Kuroki boxing behind her 1-2's. Kuroki tried to up her tempo in round 4, but that resulted in her taking some very good left hooks from Chimoto who as looking to get Kuroki's respect.
After 4 rounds we went to the open scoring and Chimoto was up 39-37 on two of the scorecards, and the fighters were even on the third card.
In the second half of the fight the action got a little bit messy, but Chimoto continued to pick her shots well, especially in round 7, before Kuroki put it all on the line in round 8, closing the distance and letting her shots fly. By then however it was too little, too late for Kuroki who was trying to dig herself out of a hole.
After 8 rounds the judges turned in scores of 78-74, twice, to Chimoto and 76-76 level, to give Chimoto the majority decision win.
Before the main event we had WBA Light Flyweight "Super" champion Hiroto Kyoguchi (15-0, 10) [京口 紘人] compete in a short exhibition bout with Watanabe Gym stablemate Sonin Nihei (10-5-2, 2) [仁平宗忍]. The exhibition was Kyoguchi's first performance at Korakuen Hall in years and was very much some fan service ad a chance for him to have a run out before his next world title defnse later in the year. Notable he seemed to suggest that his next bout wasn't yet agreed, however he did state that he thought it would be a big match, and appealed to the local fans to get behind him.
In the main event we saw Japanese Minimumweight champion Masataka Taniguchi (14-3, 9) [谷口将隆] make his first defense as he defeated Tatsuro Nakashima (11-1-2, 7) [仲島 辰郎] in 5 rounds. Taniguchi looked sharp from the off, using his crisp jab in the early stages and firing off stinging left hands. The clean, accurate, and regular shots from Taniguchi saw Nakashima cut around the right eye as early as round 2. To his credit Nakashima tried to turn things around but was unable to match up with with Taniguchi who was too quick, too sharp and too smooth for the challenger, who was looking out of his depth by the end of round 4.
In round 5 the cut of Nakashima got so bad that the bout was stopped, and Taniguchi got the TKO win, to retain his title.
After the win Taniguchi thanked Kyoguchi for the advice he had given him before the bout, and he really did look like the title was helping instill a new confidence in him. He also spoke about fighting for the WBO world title, taking on Wilfredo Mendez, in a potential mandatory title fighter later in the year. Hitoshi Watanabe, Taniguchi's promoter, suggested that they would be looking to secure Taniguchi home advantage for that fight, but are happy to travel if they need to.
Tomorrow at Korakuen Hall Japanese Minimumweight champion Masataka Taniguchi (13-3, 8) [谷口将隆] will make his first defense of the title as he takes on the once beaten Tatsuro Nakashima (11-1-1, 7) [仲島 辰郎] on a show promoted by Watanabe and Dangan. Today, ahead of their bout, the two men took part in their weigh in and both men came in comfortably under the limit.
On the scales today both men weighed in at 47.5KG's, which is 104.72lbs, and both looked in really good shape, and hungry to impress tomorrow.
After the bout the two men spoke to Boxmob.jp, with Taniguchi telling them that he was relaxing at the hotel and was aware of what sort of fighter Nakashima was. It seems clear that despite being the champion he still feels he has a lot to prove. He also, likely wants to move towards some bigger and better fights, following close friend Hiroto Kyoguchi (15-0, 10) [京口 紘人] in becoming a world champion and landing the huge, career defining, fights that Kyoguchi is now gettiing.
As for Nakajima, who will be getting his firat title fight and his first bout at Korakuen Hall, he seemed aware that he was the under-dog and shared that he's the lesser boxer, but it seems like he is relying on his stamina and determination to over-come the talented champion. Interestingly this will be his first bout in well over a year, though that may not be a negative, as he's allowed his body to heal from some niggling injuries, and there is a chance we could see acareer defining performance from him now both of his hands have healed completely from the damage they'd had over the years.
The bout, which was originally supposed to take place in May, will main event tomorrow's show which will also feature two female title bouts and be available via the Boxing Raise service for those in Japan, or those with access to VPN's.
Related - Taniguchi hunts first defense as he takes on Nakashima
(Image credit-Watanabe Gym)
Earlier today it was announced that WBA Light Flyweight "super" champion Hiroto Kyoguchi (15-0, 10) [京口 紘人] would be back in the ring on June 7th, however he wouldn't be defending his title. Instead the unbeaten 2-weight world champion would be taking part in an exhibition, to help add some extra attention to a show being promoted by Watanabe Gym, the gym that has promoted Kyoguchi since his debut.
His opponent for the session wasn't confirmed, though it was stated that Kyoguchi's sparring will serve as the chief support bout, for Japanese Minimumweight champion Masataka Taniguchi (13-3, 8) [谷口将隆] who will defend his title against Tatsuro Nakashima (11-1-1, 7) [仲島 辰郎].
The focus for this spar seems to be focused on pleasing local fan at Korakuen Hall, and it is now close to 3 years since Kyoguchi last fought in the "Holy Land" of Japanese boxing, with his last fight there being against Tibo Monabesa back in September 2018.
Kyoguchi stated that he was asked by Watanabe gym to take part and he stated that he would.
It's worth noting that Kyoguchi will also begin full scale training in June, to help prepare for his next bout, which is expected in the Fall, potentially against WBO champion Elwin Soto or against Thai Thai youngster Thanongsak Simsri (15-0, 13), who he was supposed to face last year before testing positive for Covid19.
Earlier this month Dangan announced that their plans to hold 3 shows over a single weekend at the Sumida City Gymnasium in Tokyo, had to be cancelled due to the gym being closed as a result of the on going state of emergency in Tokyo.
Today Dangan announced that a number of those planned bouts had now been re-arrranged for a co-promoted show, along with Watanabe Gym, for June 7th.
The bouts that have been announced for the June show, which will take place at Korakuen Hall, included 3 titles bouts that had been arranged for May 22nd and May 23rd originally.
One of those is the Japanese Minimumweight title bout between Masataka Taniguchi (13-3, 8) [谷口将隆] and Tatsuro Nakashima (11-1-1, 7) [仲島 辰郎], with Taniguchi making his first defense and Nakashima getting his first shot at this level.
The other two title bouts are both vacant female title bouts, with Kanako Taniyama (3-1-1, 1) [谷山佳菜子] battling Yuko Henzan (8-10-4, 2) [平安山裕子] for the vacant Japanese female Bantamweight title and Yuko Kuroki (17-6-2, 8) [黒木優子] facing Mizuki Chimoto (2-0, 1) [千本瑞規] for the vacant OPBF female Minimumweight title.
We're glad these bouts have been re-arranged, especially for early June rather than being a long wait away, though it is worth noting that there are still 4 title bouts from those cancelled shows yet to be re-arranged, or maybe more accurately yet to have their rescheduled dates announced. Fingers crossed those announcements will come sooner rather than later.
Earlier today it was announced that the Dangan promoted shows, set for May 22nd and May 23rd at the Sumida City Gymnasium, Tokyo, have now been postponed, due to the on going state of emergency, which will mean the venue will not opened in time for the events.
The plan was to have 3 shows over 2 days, with 7 title fights, as well as a boxing festival to celebrate the sport and promoting boxing in the local area.
The plan now is to spread out the 7 title fights, as well as the other fights arranged for the shows, to dates in June or July. At the moment however no dates have been announced for the events, though we hope to hear dates being confirmed in the coming weeks.
Sadly this is the second this type of event has been cancelled, with Dangan planning something very similar for 2020, and seeing news of those shows being leaked, before the pandemic forced the plans to be cancelled.
For those wondering the affected title bouts are the ones below, alongside the originally planned dates:
Masataka Taniguchi (13-3, 8) [谷口将隆] Vs Tatsuro Nakashima (11-1-1, 7) [仲島 辰郎] - Japanese Minimumweight title
Kanako Taniyama (3-1-1, 1) [谷山佳菜子] Vs Yuko Henzan (8-10-4, 2) [平安山裕子] - Japanese female Bantamweight title
Ryoji Fukunaga (13-4, 13) [福永亮次] Vs Takahiro Fujii (12-6-1, 3) [藤井貴博] - Japanese, OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight titles
Jin Sasaki (10-0, 9) [佐々木尽] Vs Kaiki Yuba (7-0-2, 5) [湯場海樹] - Japanese Youth Light Welterweight
Ginjiro Shigeoka (5-0, 4) [重岡銀次朗] Vs Toshiki Kawamitsu (6-0, 3) [川満俊輝] - WBO Asia Pacific Minimumweight title
Kyosuke Sawada (14-2-1, 6) [澤田京介] Vs Ikuro Sadatsune (11-4-3, 4) [定常 育郎] - Japanese Bantamweight title
Yuko Kuroki (17-6-2, 8) [黒木優子] Vs Mizuki Chimoto (2-0, 1) [千本瑞規] - OPBF female Minimumweight title
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