Earlier today Japan crowned a new interim champion at Light Welterweight as Masanobu Nakazawa (18-1-1, 7) narrowly out pointed the gritty Masayoshi Kotake (9-10-2, 5) in an enthralling and wonderfully competitive 10 round bout at the Korakuen Hall.
The bout, which came about due to an injury to regular champion Hiroki Okada, was hot from early on with Kotake trying to bring the pressure and neutralise the height, and reach, advantages enjoyed by Nakazawa. Through the first 5 rounds it was competitive, though two judges felt Kotake was the over-all boss giving him a 49-47 lead on their cards when the scores were announced at the mad way point, the third had it to Nakazawa by a score of 48-47.
Knowing he was behind heading into the second half of the fight Nakazawa changed his tactics, let his hands go more, used his legs intelligently and began to carve back the difference round after round. By the end of round 9 it looked like he had just done enough to get his nose in the lead and in round 10 he refused to let that lead go.
Having been behind after 5 rounds Nakazawa managed to claim a unanimous decision win with scores of 97-95 and 96-95, twice. He'll now be the mandatory challenger for Okada when he returns to the ring.
Despite the loss of Otake it's clear he could be in some fun bouts with the likes of Koichi Aso or even Shinya Iwabuchi. For Nakazawa the focus must be on Okada and winning the title outright in 2016.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Tomorrow Japanese fans in Tokyo will get the chance to see an interim Japanese Light Welterweight title fight between the once beaten Masanobu Nakazawa (17-1-1, 7) and previous title challenger Masayoshi Kotake (9-9-2, 5). Today, ahead of their bout, the two men took part in their weigh in.
Both men made weight on the scales today though there was another sub-story to the fight, one that apparently the men only found out about today.
Firstly the weights. The lighter man on the scales was Nakazawa who came in at 139.8lbs, despite being the noticeably taller man at the weigh in, Kotake however was bang on the 140lb weight. Interestingly Nakazawa seemed to suggest that it was his height and reach that were going to be his key to winning though Kotake seemed to determined having seen a shot at full champion Hiroki Okada fall apart when Okada suffered a hand injury.
As for the sub story, it turns out that both Kotake and Nakazawa went to the same school as youngsters, somethign they were only made aware of today, and as a result the bout will be one of the few alumni title bouts. The local bragging rights, along with the interim title, are both on the line tomorrow.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Yesterday we reported that Shinya Iwabuchi (25-5, 21) would be returning to the ring on September 5th in a bout with Filipino foe Romeo Jakosalem (16-10-1, 8). It's now been revealed that that bout is one of 3 that have been announced for "Dangan 138". Whilst that's a really mouth watering clash between a former Japanese champion at 140lbs and a former GAB and OPBF champion, it's not actually going to be the most significant bout, at the weight, on the show.
Instead that honour befalls a Japanese Light Welterweight interim title fight between former title contender Masayoshi Kotake (9-9-2, 5) and the once beaten Masanobu Nakazawa (17-1-1, 7).
The fight has come about after a recent injury to incumbent champion Hiroki Okada, who was supposed to face Kotake prior to the injury. It seems now that the JBC have allowed for Kotake and Nakazawa to fight for an interim title with the winner set to fight Okada, probably next year or at the very end of this year, for the unified title.
On paper the bout looks like a mismatch with Nakazawa having the much, much better record. the 32 year old Teiken fighter has however fought generally limited foes with his most notable opponent being Shuhei Tsuchiya, who stopped in in 2 rounds back in 2010. He has, notably, won 14 in a row but has yet to beat an opponent with any real value. Kotake may have a scratchy record but he has competed at a much higher level than Nakazawa and picked up losses to the likes of Iwabuchi, Okada and Koichi Aso as well as draws to Jimrez Jaca and Akihiro Kondo, all of whom would be heavily favoured over Nakazawa.
For fans at the Korakuen Hall on September 5th this really could be a very intriguing contest between two men looking for their most significant win to date.
Shinya Iwabuchi to fight Romeo Jakosalem on September 5th!
It was announced earlier this week that Filipino Jimrex Jaca (39-7-3, 22), a former interim world Featherweight title challenger and former OPBF champion at Super Bantamweight would be returning to the ring on June 21st in Cebu.
Jaca, who really needs a win following his 7th round stoppage loss to Shinya Iwabuchi in February, will be facing another man coming in to the bout in the need of a win in the form of Masayoshi Kotake (9-8-1, 5).
Kotake was last seen in the ring losing in a Japanese Light Welterweight contest to the hard hitting and fast rising Hiroki Okada. Although Kotake became the first fighter to see out the distance with Okada he was fairy adjudged to have been the loser of the bout.
The two men may have hugely differing records but we'd say this was much closer than the raw numbers suggest and Kotake, whilst the under-dog, could well be a banana skin for Filipino veteran.
(Image, courtesy of boxrec, see Jaca pictured with Bernard Hopkins)
The unbeaten Hiroki Okada (8-0, 7), pictured, claimed the first title of his career just a few moments ago as became the new Japanese Light Welterweight champion.
Okada, who had began his career with 7 straight stoppages, saw his T/KO streak come to an end but his winning run didn't as he over-came the brave and tough Masayoshi Kotake (9-8-1, 5) over 10 rounds in a bout for the vacant title.
The fight started well for Oakada who was well in front after 5 rounds. The open scoring system showed Okada as being up 50-45, 49-45 and 49-46. The second half of the fight however was much closer with Kotake doing his best to over-turn the deficit he had found himself in. He gave his all and really tried to overcome his unbeaten opponent.
In the end however Kotake's effort was all for nought with Okada having done more than enough to earn a clear decision with the cards reading 98-92, 97-92 and 96-94 all in favour of the unbeaten 24 year old.
Although Okada's stoppage run has come to an end he'll feel very happy with himself for having completed 10 good rounds and for winning his first title. Although it was a vacant title, having recently given up by Keita Obara, it is still a great achievement for the fun to watch youngster who has the potential move up the boxing ladder and, one day, compete on the global stage.
(Picture courtesy of http://www.kadoebi.com/)
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