Earlier today the Korakuen Hall played host to the latest Diamond Glove show, which featured two title bouts, and long with several promising young prospects. Whilst the card certainly wasn't a huge one it was certainly a notable one and one deserving of attention.
The card kicked off with a scheduled 6 rounder between two Rookie of the Year winners as Ryota Karimata (8-0, 4) [狩俣綾汰] clashed with Ren Kojima (6-3-2) [小島蓮]. On paper this one looked really interesting, though Karimata had the edge on paper as he is a natural Light Flyweight whilst Karimata is a young Minimumweight, who lacked power at 105lbs. Sadly that difference in natural size, along with power and maturity, played a major role as Karimata stopped Kojima in 5 rounds. Kojima got off to a good start, but as the bout went on Karimata's body work beat the fight out of him, dropping him in round 3 before hunting him in round 4 and stopping him in round 5.
In the second bout on the show another Rookie of the Year winner in action as Akira Hoshuyama (7-0, 4) [宝珠山晃] blasted away veteran Hideyuki Watanabe (8-15-3, 6) [渡邉秀行] inside a round. The talented Hoshuyama was scheduled to do 8 rounds for the first time, but needed less than 2 minutes to destroy Watanabe, who was dropped twice. On paper this win doesn't look like much, but Watanabe has long been a good test for fighters, and gave Takuya Kogawa a really tough one just 3 fights ago, and was genuinely testing Rikito Shiba back in June of this year. This is a win worthy of attention for Hoshuyama.
In the first of two title bouts we saw a new Japanese female Minimumweight champion being crowned as Nanako Suzuki (6-2, 1) [鈴木なな子] took a split decision win over Sayo Segawa (1-2, 1) [瀬川紗代]. This 6 rounder was thrilling and competitive from the off, with both women having success through out, in what was a very, very hotly contested bout. At times Segawa looked the more polished, but she failed to get Suzuki's respect, and Suzuki managed to have some great offensive moments, with her wilder, more aggressive nature.
After 6 rounds all three judges had it close, but Suzuki did enough to the decision 58-56 on two of the cards, whilst the third judge gave it to Segawa by the same score.
The second title bout was a lot less competitive as Japanese Welterweight champion Keita Obara (25-4-1, 22) [小原 佳太] dominated Masaya Tamayama (14-3, 8) [玉山 将也]. The heavy handed Obara dropped Tamayama in the opening round, and made it clear that he really wasn't wanting to mess around today. Yamayama beat the count, and looked to try and turn things his way in round 2, but he struggled with the skills and power of Obara, who landed some heavy shots in rounds 2 and 3, whilst late cutting Tamayama over the left eye. Tamayama looked brave but out of his depth as Obara landed clean straight shots through round 5, until the doctor stopped the bloodied Tamayama, who was pouring blood from his eye brow.
After the bout Obara and his promoter stated they wanted to go overseas and face a world ranked fighter next year. At the age of 36 it seems Obara might be in his last notable run, and fingers crossed he can land a big US bout. Given the Welterweight scene right now, he's not going to be getting a world title bout, but there's no reason he couldn't land a bout against a top rising American Welterweight before he calls time on his career.
Tomorrow Korakuen Hall will play host to a Japanese Welterweight title bout, as defending champion Keita Obara (24-4-1, 21) [小原 佳太] takes on Masaya Tamayama (14-2, 8) [玉山 将也]. Today, ahead of that bout, the two men took part in their weigh in and both men made the 147lb weight with out problems.
On the scales both weighed in on the Welterweight limit, and both looked in great shape for the contest.
Obara, as ever, looked ripped, strong and like a man who stays in tremendous shape all year round. Despite being 35 years old, he hasn't really slowed down, and looked fantastic in his title win, last year against Yuki Nagano, and looked solid against the stylistically awkward Shoki Sakai earlier this year. Despite the fact Sakai really was up for that bout and tried to walk Obara down.
Regarding the bout Obara predicted a KO win, and seemed confident his right uppercut was going to be the key. He was going to control the distance and take out Tamayama.
Tamayama, who looked just as shredded as Obara, will be getting his biggest bout to date, by far. He explained that he has trained to win, and that he's in the best shape of his career. He spoke about his respect for Obara, but that he intended to put pressure and make the fight his fight. Given how Tamayama fights his style could be awkward for Obara, if he can the champions power.
On the same show we'll also see a Japanese female Minimumweight title bout, as Nanako Suzuki (5-2, 1) [鈴木なな子] and Sayo Segawa (1-1, 1) [瀬川紗代] clash for the vacant title. On the scales Segawa was 104.7lbs whilst Suzuki was well under the limit at around 104.2lbs.
Hard hitting Obara takes on Tamayama in second defense
Suzuki and Segawa battle for vacant national title
Back in October we reported that Rentaro Kimura (5-0, 3) [木村蓮太朗] would be to the ring for his next bout in December, scheduled contest against Jinki Maeda (8-0, 4) [前田 稔輝] at Korakuen Hall on December 9th. Sadly however that bout was cancelled earlier today when it was revealed Kimura had been injured in training, with the Misako gym reporting the injury.
Sadly the full details of the injury haven't been widely reported yet, neither has the expected recovery time for Kimura, though hopefully it won't be too much of a break for the talented youngster, who looks like he has the tools to be a major star for Japanese boxing.
The bout had been scheduled as the chief support bout for December's Diamond Glove show. That card will still go ahead, and will be headlined by a really good looking Japanese title bout, as Japanese Welterweight champion Keita Obara (24-4-1, 21) [小原 佳太] defends his belt against Masaya Tamayama (14-2, 8) [玉山 将也] in what should be a genuine barn burner. It is however a shame the mouth watering Kimura Vs Maeda bout is off.
Earlier today saw the announcement of the December Diamond Glove card, and it's been revealed that that show will have two genuinely excellent bouts on it, with one being a Japanese title fight and one being a sensational bout between two talented young prospects, each looking to end 2021 in style.
The title bout in question will see Japanese Welterweight champion Keita Obara (24-4-1, 21) [小原 佳太] defending his belt against Masaya Tamayama (14-2, 8) [玉山 将也].
Obara, seeking his second defense, will be the big favourite here however the 34 year old is certainly on the back end of his career and is coming in on the back of a very, very, tough bout with Shoki Sakai earlier this year. Tamayama on the other hand is 27, coming in to his prime, hasn't had the wars that Obara has had will feel it's his time to shine, and take the title from the heavy handed veteran.
The other bout, on paper an even better bout, will see unbeaten prospects collide as the very highly regarded Rentaro Kimura (5-0, 3) [木村蓮太朗] takes on Jinki Maeda (8-0, 4) [前田 稔輝] in a genuinely mouth watering match up.
Of the two men Kimura is the more well regarded fighter, and a man tipped for huge things, but he was dropped twice in his last bout as he narrowly over-came Yoji Saito, in a barn burner. Maeda on the other hand has won Rookie of the Year and holds a very notable win over current Japanese Youth Champion Kyonosuke Kameda. The winner of this will be chasing a title fight of their own in 2022.
The show will also feature a Japanese female title bout, as Sayo Segawa (1-1, 1) [瀬川 紗代] clashes with Nanako Suzuki (5-2, 1) [鈴木なな子], for the Japanese female Minimumweight title, and bouts featuring Akira Hoshuyama (6-0, 3) [宝珠山晃] and Ryota Karimata (7-0, 3) [狩俣綾汰].
The show in question will take place at Korakuen Hall on December 9th, and will be aired on tape delay on Fuji TV.
Earlier today we got a midweek treat from G+ who televised the latest in their Dynamic Glove series of shows. The event was a special show, celebrating the 600th Dynamic Glove event and mixed in the live fights with a lot of archive footage, adding the sense of the event being something genuinely worth watching.
Sadly the in ring action wasn't as good as we've seen in the past from the Dynamic Glove series, but it was certainly not a bad show, even if we did end up with just 4 televised bouts.
Unfortuntely the originally scheduled show opener, a 4 rounder between Teiken fighter Munetaka Kihara (3-2-1, 1) [木原 宗孝] and the unbeaten Reiji Kodama (2-0, 1) [兒玉 麗司 was cancelled, due to Kihara pulling out. Despite that we still ended up getting a really, really good show.
The event kicked off with a much anticipated 6 round bout between the debuting Junya Shimada (1-0) [嶋田 淳也] and the touted Shigetoshi Kotari (2-1, 1) [神足 茂利], both of whom were solid amateur fighters and both of them were out there looking to make an impression in what looked like a very tough match up on paper. At least if you were aware of their amateur pedigree.
The bout lived up to the expectations, despite a rather ugly and slow paced opening round. From 2 to round 6 this was thoroughly entertaining action with Kotari trying to box and move, using his more fluid and natural looking boxing skills, to try and neutralise the pressure and aggression of Shimada. The pressure of Shimada began to have success in round 2 and from there on his pressure always looked like it was chipping away at Kotari who held up close and looked to try and create space to work. Altough he wasn't able to fight his fight Kotari did land some gorgeous uppercuts, but was never able to sustained things for long. Instead we saw him being chipped away at by Shimada's nasty body shots, especially in round 4, and he never really managed to turn things around afterwards.
For fans who missed this one it is, genuinely, worthy of a watch. A very, very entertaining 6 rounder, fought at a good pace, with styles that gelled really well.
Sadly the second bout was a much different affair to the first bout. Whilst the first was high tempo, exciting battle the second was a rather tedious, slow paced contest that saw the heavy handed but vulnerable Junpei Tsujimoto (8-2-3, 6) [辻本 純兵] easily defeat Hideo Mikan (9-14-2, 2) [美柑 英男] in what was a bout that struggled to come alive. Mikan was there to win early on, but had nothing to really test Tsujimoto with, whilst Tsujimoto seemed determined to not give Mikan chances to land anything clean.
For 2 rounds it was slow paced but competitive. In round 3 however Tsujimoto landed some big body shots and Mikan never really showed too much ambition afterwards, as Tsujimoto controlled the bout and came close to dropping his man in round 5. Mikan some how survived but seemed about done and in round 6 the referee stepped between the two men. It was an oddly timed stoppage, but one Mikan didn't complain about, and one that seemed to end what was a very dull one sided bout.
We would complain about this one, but it seems that Tsujimoto was working on being more cautious after two damaging bouts in 2020, a loss to Nath Nwachukwu and a shoot out with Daiki Ogura. We can't begrudge him an easy one after the punishment he took in those bouts.
We ended up getting the chance to see some dynamite in the third bout as Masaya Tamayama (14-2, 8) [玉山 将也] destroyed veteran Hisashi Kato (10-10-2, 6) [加藤 寿] in 2 rounds.
This started slowly, with Kato getting on his bike, moving around the ring, trying to use his southpaw jab and legs to create space. Tamayama on the other hand pressed forward, looking to break Kato down with body shots and take his legs away. In round two the firepower of Tamayama was on show, as he dropped Kato with gorgeous uppercut. Kato beat the count but was dropped again soon afterwards, with the referee immediately waving this off following crisp counter left hook that dropped Kato hard.
We were legitimately expecting an all out war in the main event as OPBF Welterweight champion Ryota Toyoshima (14-2-1, 9) [豊嶋亮太] faced off with WBO Asia Pacific champion Yuki Beppu (21-2-1, 20) [別府優樹] in a unification bout of their titles. Sadly this never really caught fire as expected, though was still a solid bout, if somewhat one sided.
The opening couple of rounds were well contested and pretty evenly fought. Beppu used his footwork well, picked his spots and landed some really nice single shots, whilst Toyoshima pressured and landed some of his own single shots. The tempo was strangely low and neither man seemed to put any shots together at all, it was all single shots, with no real risks being taken. Despite the low tempo of the action there was a strange tension, as if something big could happen.
In rounds 3 and 4 Toyoshima began to take control of the action, landing some really good left hooks, and body shots. It was still a low tempo affair, but it was picking up, and Toyoshima was starting to look a lot more consistent with his shots, especially his body work and jab. In fact it was that jab of Toyoshima's that began to really unsettle Beppu, and make the "Tyson of Kyushu" a lot more apprehensive, allowing Toyoshima to have an easier time in controlling his foe. That showed particularly well in round 4, as he began to physically deflate in front of our eyes.
After 4 rounds the open scoring kicked in and had Toyoshima up 40-36, twice, and 39-37. The shut outs seemed very harsh but it was clear that Toyoshima was starting to take over, and the first two rounds were close in fairness to the judges.
Toyoshima seemed to slow down in round 5, cruising at times, but Beppu failed to make him pay. In fact if anything Toyoshima managed to win the round by doing very little. What he did well was land the eye catching shots late in the round, notably a good jab and a couple of good body shots. Beppu seemed to be running out of ideas an that was particularly notable in rounds 6 as he began to look tired, was falling well behind on the scorecards, and was unwilling, or unable, to sell out and go for it. The body shots had taken some of the fight out of him, and the jabs had repeatedly take the play away from him when he did manage to have moments.
In round 7 things went from bad to worse for Beppu who was dropped from a fantastic uppercut. Prior to which he had taken more body shots, and looked to be a man physically wilting, and being broken down. He got up from the knockdown, but seemed hurt again late in the round, as Toyoshima's body work continued.
Beppu tried to turn things around in round 8, but it was too little too late and he really didn't come close to doing enough to take the round from a man who looked bigger, stronger, fresher, hungrier andmore powerful than himself. In fact if anything Beppu looked like he was needing to work incredibly hard for any success, whilst Toyoshima seemed to be relaxed, landing at will and having more consistent success.
After 8 rounds we saw the open scoring again, with scores of 80-71, twice, and 78-73, all in favour of Toyoshima who was in complete control of the bout and was bossing it with ease.
Toyoshima seemed to take round 9 off, not doing much at all, and allowing Beppu the chance to let his shots off. It was clear that Beppu needed to massively turn things around and it seemed a good idea from Toyoshima to not take any risks if he didn't need to. He was going to win as long as he stayed on his feet and Beppu had to gamble. And gamble he did, with Beppu trying to turn things around in rounds 9 and 10. Sadly however Beppu's gamble failed to payoff and in round 10 he was broken up by body shots, badly hurt, and forced on to the retreat. A jab forced Beppu to stumbles towards his own corner, and a left hook followed, sending Beppu down. To his credit Beppu managed to get to his feet, but the referee finished the count, saving Beppu from further punishment.
What promised to be a great fight heading in, was strangely one sided, and it seemed clear that Beppu's problems, including a lack od sparring a late flight to Tokyo and more than a year of inactivity, did him no favours at all here. As for Toyoshima this is a second big win for him in 2021 and he has really been one of the few big success stories from Japan this year, due to a very scattered calendar of fights. There's a good chance he'll squeeze in another and could be one of the run away fighters for Japanese domestic fighter of the year at this rate.
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