Earlier today Japanese Flyweight champion Seigo Yuri Akui (15-2-1, 10) [阿久井政悟] took to social media to announce his second defense of the national title he won in October 2019, and it's a mouth watering clash as part of a brilliant Ohashi promoted card at Koraken Hall on July 21st.
The match up in question will see Akui defending his belt against Japanese prospect Taku Kuwahara (8-0, 4) [桑原拓], who gets his first title fight after making his debut in 2018. The touted Ohashi hopeful has long been tipped for the top but this is a legitimate step up for him against a super dangerous puncher.
Coming in the bout is a genuine toss up, the perfect 50/50 type of fight that more shows need. Akui is the more proven and the heavier handed fighter, but the skills and amateur background of Kuwhara will certainly see plenty feeling he has the tools to detrhone Akui.
As well as the brilliant main event the show will also have several other match watering match ups. One of those will see Japanese Youth Bantamweight champion Toshiya Ishii (3-1, 2) [石井渡士也] battle against the heavy handed Jin Minamide (4-1, 3) [南出仁], in what should be a brutal war.
The talented Ishii really impressed in his first 3 bouts, but was out pointed last year by Sho Ishida [石田 匠] in a razor close bout. He was supposed to face Kaito Takeshima [竹嶋海刀] in March but that bout was scrapped when Takeshima's health forced him to pull out. As for Minamide he looked like a brutal puncher early on, but ran into Kazuki Nakajima [中嶋一輝] in the God's Left Bantamweight tournament in 2019, and has been inactive since then. Both men are coming in on a loss but both are exciting fighters and will be looking to get back to winning ways in a potential barn burner here.
Another supporting bout will see Yoshiki Minato (9-4, 4) [湊義生] battle against Masayoshi Hashizume (17-0-2, 10) [橋詰将義] in a bout between two former All Japan Rookie of the Year winners. This one is likely to be a high tempo war, between two men with a point to prove. Minato has lost 3 of his last 4, including losses to Kuwahara and Akui, but has shown a lot of ability and shouldn't be written off, despite his recent losses. Hashizume once seemed to be an emerging star in Osaka, but recent transferred to a gym in Tokyo, and will be looking to kick start his career after some recent setbacks and inactivity.
One other fighter worth noting on this card is once beaten teenager Kosuke Tomioka (4-1, 3) [富岡 浩介], who is in action for the first time since losing in a Rookie of the Year bout last year to Shunpei Kubo [久保 春平]. The talented charismatic and exciting Tomioka is scheduled for a 6 rounder, though his opponent has yet to be named. Interestingly Tomioka was originally supposed to be facing Kotoji Irita (0-0) [入田琴治] this coming weekend as part of a stacked weekend of boxing from Dangan, though the bout was cancelled last week due to issues with the venue. Fingers crossed Irita will be offered this new date for a bout with Tomioka.
Earlier this week Kadoebi Gym announced that they had signed 2014 Rookie of the Year winner Masayoshi Hashizume (17-0-2, 10) [橋詰将義], who really seemed to fall off the side of the earth in recent years.
Once regarded as one of the brightest prospects in Japan Hashizume was a member of the Ioka gym early in his career and genuinely impressed in the first part of his career. He debuted way back in 2013, when he debuted as a 19 year old and just 15 months later he won the All Japan Rookie of the year. By that point he was 7-0 (4) and had already taken 4 unbeaten records.
Sadly 2015, 2016, and 2017 were under-whelming years for Hashizume, who was matched with a string of very poor foreign opponents, which hindered his development before an unexpected draw against Kota Fujimoto in late 2017. The draw was a sign that his team had dropped the ball, and the easy wins over poor imports had done nothing for his development.
Thankfully Hashizume bounced back in 2018 with two solid wins before a controversial split decision draw against Takayuki Okumoto in a Japanese Super Flyweight title bout, at the end of the year. A bout many felt Hashizume should have got the nod in. Since then he has fought just once, taking a narrow win in April 2019 against Jayar Estremos.
Sadly we feel that Hashizume is one of the many fighters let down by the Ioka Gym, which had so much talent at one point, but struggled to really develop it in the way they should have. In fact Hashizume is probably the biggest victim of the Ioka Gym's under-development of fighters.
Thankfully with Kadoebi now signing him the fighters is good for the talented Super Flyweight southpaw. He's still in his 20's he's still talented, and if he's still hungry Kadoebi there's no reason Kadoebi couldn't land some very good fights for him at 115lbs or 118lbs going forward. He had clear potential and don't think it's too late for him to realise that early career potential.
In Osaka earlier today fight fans had a chance to see the latest Ioka promoted card, and although it wasn't a high profile show, by any stretch of the imagination, it was an interesting card, with several notable names on it.
The most notable of those names was former world title challenger Sho Ishida (28-1, 15) [石田 匠] who battled under-rated youngster Ikuro Sadatsune (9-4-3, 3) [定常 育郎] in an 8 round bout at Bantamweight. On paper this looked like a mismatch in favour of Ishida however Sadatsune approached the bout with the feeling that he could win, and he certainly showed no respect to Ishida, in fact the youngster responded pretty much evenly with Ishida through the fight. When Ishida picked up the pace Sadatsune went with him, forcing Ishida to to stay sharp. It was technical from both, with jabs being the order of the day, but it was very hotly contested with a brilliant back and forth.
A late point deduction for a clash of heads turned out to be meaningless to the scores, with all 3 judges having Ishida the winner, 76-75, 77-75 and 77-74, though it was clear that he got a much bigger test than he, or anyone in his team, were expecting. Sadly for Sadatsune this is a second straight close loss, but the 21 year old again showed that he belongs in the ring with this level of fighter and we're really looking forward to seeing him again shortly. He is an incredibly talented young man who will go far if he doesn't let these close losses kill his desire to fight.
Also on this card was 2014 Rookie of the Year Masayoshi Hashizume (17-0-2, 10) [橋詰将義], who was also given a surprisingly tough test as Japanese based Filipino Jayar Estremos (11-15-1, 4) put in a solid effort. Hashizume, a real talent but someone who has come across as a touch inconsistent, was always being forced to fight hard against Estremos, who was targeting the body. Hashizume proved to be too sharp and too quick, but never looked relaxed en route to a unanimous decision, with scores of 77-75, 79-75 and 79-75.
The one man from the Ioka gym who did shine was the unbeaten 22 year old Joe Shiraishi (8-0-1, 4). The 2017 Rookie of the Year winner defeated Filipino Prince Andrew Laurio (10-2-1, 7) with a 5th round KO, coming from a big straight right hand. The shot sent the Filipino visitor down for the 10 count, giving him his second straigth loss. Shiraishi looked good won he won the Flyweight Rookie crown but with only 1 fight in 2018 his rise had slowed massively, so today's win will certainly give his career a good shot in the arm.
We've known for a while that Ioka boxing gym would be promoting a card on April 21st in Osaka, though we weren't given the names of the main fighters from that card until earlier today.
Today we were informed that the chief support bout of the card would feature former Japanese title challenger and 2014 Rookie of the Year Masayoshi Hashizume (16-0-2, 10) [橋詰将義], who battles against Filipino Jayar Estremos (11-14-1, 4) in an 8 round Super Flyweight bout. This looks like a bit of a straight forward win for Hashizume, though should be a good bounce back after a draw with Takayuki Okumoto (21-8-4, 10) [奥本 貴之] last December. Given that Estremos is 1-9-1 in his last 11 it's hard to see this being competitive at all.
In the main event of this show former world title challenger Sho Ishida (27-1, 15) [石田 匠] will face off with talented youngster Ikuro Sadatsune (9-3-3, 3) [定常 育郎] in an 8 round Bantamweight. This is a huge step up in class for Sadatsune, but he's the type of fighter who seems to love being in with more proven and notable fighters. In some ways this is actually a no-win for Ishida, but we are glad to see him back in the ring.
Earlier today at the EDION Arena Osaka fight fans got the chance to see a Japanese Super Flyweight title bout. the bout saw defending champion Takayuki Okumoto (21-8-4, 10) [奥本 貴之] taking on the unbeaten Masayoshi Hashizume (16-0-1, 10) [橋詰将義], in what was Okumoto's first defense and Hashizume's first title bout.
The two men had sparred a lot on their familiarity showed as they looked to win the battle of jabs early on. Hashizume was the first to break away from that and began to up the pace. Okumoto went with the challenger, and started to show his better control of distance, though he was the slower man.
Ater 5 rounds the judges scorecards were all over the place. One card backed the challenger, 49-46, whilst Okumoto lead on the other cards, 49-46 and 48-47.
Hashizume began to raise the tempo again in the second half of the fight, and seemed to hurt Okumoto with a body shot in round 7. Okumoto battled back though and used his jab excellently before being dragged into a war in rounds 8 and 9, with men really digging their feet into the canvas and going to work. Hashizume then mixed it up again by taking the final round by boxing smartly, and it was one of the very few rounds all 3 judges agreed on.
At the final bell it seemed like both men had a fair argument for the win, though the judges struggled to split them, scoring the bout 96-95, to Okumoto, 97-93, to Hashizume, and 95-95 leading us to a draw.
At the final bell it seemed like Hashizume had more reason to be annoyed, he had regularly unsettled Okumoto, landed the better blows and had dictated the tempo and distance better. With the draw he stays in the mix, but will have to wait for a second shot, as Okumoto will need to make a mandatory defense in the new year against Yuta Matsuo(15-3-1, 8) [松尾雄太].
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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