Earlier today Hideyuki Ohashi announced that the Ohashi Boxing Gym would be promoting Phoenix Battle 86th on February 22nd at Korakuien Hall. No only that but it was also confirmed that the show would be a double header, with two notable title bouts on the show.
The first of those title bouts will see the unbeaten Masayoshi Hashizume (18-0-2, 11) [橋詰 将義] take on Akio Furutani (9-4, 3) [古谷昭男] in a bout for the now vacant OPBF Super Flyweight title, which was recent vacated by Ryoji Fukunaga.
This will be Hashizume's second shot at a title, after fighting to a draw with Takayuki Okumoto in a Japanese title fight in 2018, and a win here will see him living up to the early promise he showed, promise that hasn't yet been delivered on. As for Furutani this bout sees him looking to build on recent upset wins over Keisuke Nakayama and Takayuki Okumoto. On paper Hashizume will be the big favourite, but Furutani has won his last 5, with the wins over Nakayama and Okumoto being very impressive and almost certainly giving him a huge boost of confidence coming in to this one.
The other title bout will see Japanese and WBO Asian Pacific Light Welterweight champion Andy Hiraoka (18-0, 13) [平岡アンディ] make his first defense, as he takes on Japanese-Brazilian fighter Cristiano Aoqui (16-8-2, 11) [アオキ クリスチャーノ], who gets his second shot at the Japanese title after having previously challenged Hiroki Okada in 2016.
For Hiraoka the bout will see him looking to build on an excellent win over Jin Sasaki back in January, where he stopped Sasaki in 11 rounds. A win here and it's likely that that Hiraoka will move on to some form of notable international bout, including a possible return to the US where he has fought twice already. As for Aoqui, he will be a major under-dog here, but will know that this is a huge chance for him to score a career defining victory.
As well as the two title bouts, this card is set to feature another notable bout as Katsuya Yasuda (8-0, 5) [保田克也] faces Shuma Nakazato (10-2-3, 7) [仲里周磨] in a mouth watering 8 rounder.
Earlier today at Korakuen Hall Japanese fight fans got a stacked card from the Ohashi Gym with 4 notables on it, including a Japanese title bout, and several bouts involving promising prospects.
The first of the 4 notable bouts saw Suzumi Takayama (4-0, 4) [高山 涼深] score an opening round win over touted teenager Kosuke Tomioka (4-2, 3) [富岡 浩介]. On paper this one looked like a really interesting bout between two southpaws, but sadly for Tomioka he never even got a chance to get into the bout. After less than a minute a straight left hand from Takayama put Tomioka down. To his credit Tomioka got up, but Takayama smelled blood and jumped on his man, sending him down again. Tomioka showed how bravery by getting up again but was dropped a third time with the referee then halting the bout after just 107 seconds.
Sadly it's hard to see where Tomioka goes here, especially given his loss in the 2020 East Japan Rookie of the Year final to Shunpei Kubo.
The second bout of note saw OPBF ranked Super Flyweight Masayoshi Hashizume (18-0-2, 11) [橋詰 将義] score an 8th round TKO win over Yoshiki Minato (9-5, 4) [湊 義生]. For Hashizume this was his first bout in over 2 years and despite that he looked sharp from the off, with nice jabs, and good speed. Minato tried to fight back was cut in round around the right eye.
As the rounds went on Hashizume's natural size, strength and power played more and more of a factor, as he let his shots go more willingness and in round 8 he ended up forcing the referee in to save Minato in the first minute of round 8.
The third bout of note saw Japanese Youth Bantamweight champion Toshiya Ishii (4-1, 3) [石井渡士也] score a 5th round TKO against the heavy handed Jin Minamide (4-2, 3) [南出仁]. This was exciting from the off, with both letting heavy leather go in the first round. The power of Ishii told first as he dropped Minamide in the first round.
To his credit Minamide not only got to his feet but battled on, though was dropped again in round 3, as Ishii's power, accuracy and speed showed it's self again. Minamide again beat the count, but having been dropped twice in the first 3 rounds he was in a hole. and desperate to try and turn things around. Sadly for Minamide his aggression and hunger came back to bite him, and in round 5 a serious of big shots from Ishii forced the referee to come in and save Minamide.
The main event was a much anticipated Japanese title bout at 112ls as Japanese Flyweight champion Seigo Yuri Akui (16-2-1, 11) [阿久井政悟] made his second defense of the title, and stopped the previously unbeaten Taku Kuwahara (8-1, 4) [桑原拓] in a brilliant 10 round war.
The bout started almost perfectly for Akui who's early power saw him dropping Kuwahara with a counter right hand in the first round. It was a perfect shot and seemed to show that Akui's power could be too much for Kuwahara. That was until the challenger began to show what he could do and finding his groove through the rest of the first half of the bout. The fight back from Kuwahara was impressive, showing his guts, determination and skills as he managed to close the gap on the scorecards.
After 5 rounds we had the open scoring with scores of 47-47 on one card and 48-46 on two others, both to Akui.
Kuwahara had bounced back really well from the bad start, landing good body shots, using his amateur skills well, and showed that he belonged at this level. Akui then began to pick things up himself, applying more constant and intense pressure, trying to take the play away from Kuwahara, who continued to box and move, using his speed and accuracy to try and out work Akui and get his respect.
Going into round 10 it seemed to close to call, and then the judges cards were essentially ripped up as a huge right hand from Akui dropped Kuwahara for the second time in the bout, with just over 10 seconds of the bout left. The referee immediately waved off the bout.
After the contest Akui and his team seemed to suggest that they would be hunting a world title fight in 2022, after the Champion Carnival. That could well mean a rematch with WBO champion Junto Nakatani, who stopped Akui back in 2017.
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.
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