Last year we were expecting to see former 2-time world title challenger Masayuki Kuroda (30-8-3, 16) [黒田雅之] compete in a November clash with unbeaten prospect Ayato Hiromoto [廣本彩刀]. Sadly that bout had been postponed, and then cancelled completely due to Kuroda suffering a nasty injury in training to his left arm. And when we mean nasty injury, we really mean nasty, with a tendon in his upper left arm rupturing in sparring.
Following the injury the fighter himself required surgery and then lengthy rehabilitation before getting back in the gym.
Today the excellent team at Boxmob.jp spoke to Kuroda, who explained he was now back in the gym and resuming gym work for the first time since his injury.
Despite being back in the gym the actual gym work of Kuroda has been limited. He described, in his comments to Boxmob, that his training is currently "light" and stated that he hadn't yet hit the punching bags. It seems that whilst he is in the gym, his return to the ring will not be a quick one, and he stated "I want to return by the end of the year."
For fans of Kuroda this is obviously mixed news. It's great that he's back in training, but at 34 years old he probably only has one or two fights left in his body, and it really does seem like injuries and age will force him to retire sooner rather than later.
Back in September it was announced that former 2-time world title challenger Masayuki Kuroda (30-8-3, 16) [黒田雅之] would clash with unbeaten prospect Ayato Hiromoto (2-0, 1) [廣本彩刀] in November. That bout was the postponed, and then cancelled, with Kuroda suffering an injury that then worsened.
Today we have good news in regards to Kuroda, who had surgery just over a week ago, and was discharged from Hospital on October 16th, with his left arm in a sling.
The injury has seemingly been a lot worse than first expected. He damaged his arm, sparred with it anyway and has been left with a ruptured tendon in his upper left arm. As a result surgery has seen him have a bolt inserted into the bone, holding the tendon into place to help it recover. There is also going to be weekly rehab in hospital.
The plan now is for Kuroda to rest, recover, and potentially return to the ring next year. At the age of 34 however an injury like this can take a while longer to recover from than when a fighter is young, and there isn't really a time being mode public for when he'll be back in action.
We want to wish Kuroda all the best in his recover, as the injury sounds like a legitimately nasty one that could, potentially, end his career. If, and we are assuming, it's around the elbow it can take more than 2 years for the arm to fully recover, which would mean Kuroda would be 36 by the time he's 100%, which is ancient for a Flyweight.
At the very end of this month we'll see Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16) [井上 尚弥] defending his WBA "Super" and IBF Bantamweight titles against Australian challenger Jason Moloney (21-1, 18) in Las Vegas. Today, ahead of that bout, Hideyuki Ohashi, the Chairman of the Ohashi Gym, took part in an online interview on Inoue's behalf.
Ohashi revealed that his star fighter is currently sparring 4 or 5 rounds a day and that he was improving, stating "The development of techniques such as footwork and steps to the side is remarkable,". Ohashi also stated that Inoue hasn't lost any motivation, despite the way 2020 has gone and the cancellation of his planned bout with WBO champion John Riel Casimero.
One of the big talking points from Ohashi's comments wasn't how Inoue is training, but how much he is being paid, with Ohashi stating that his man would get $1,000,000. He even stated that that was more than expected, explaining, "I thought it was unavoidable that the opponent changed and it would be 30% to 50% down in the unattended game, but it is as it is" . Ohashi revealed that Inoue is getting that same amount that he was going to get for a bout with Casimero.
Interestingly Naoya won't be the only member of the family travelling from Japan to the US. Among other members of the Inoue family travelling is former fighter, and Naoya's cousin, Koki Inoue, with the plan being to try and keep a comfortable environment in the US, just as they'd have had in Japan.
As for sparring that has proven trickier than usual, with no sparring partners being flown in, however he has been sparring with fighters from the Ohashi gym. This has included Taku Kuwahara (7-0, 4) [桑原拓], Ryo Matsumoto (24-3, 21) [松本亮] and Keisuke Matsumoto (1-0, 1) [松本圭佑]. From outside of the Ohashi Gym Inoue has sparred with former 2-time world title challenger Masayuki Kuroda (30-8-3, 16) [黒田雅之] and is also planning to spar with Japanese Youth Bantamweight champion Toshiya Ishii (3-0, 2) [石井渡士也] next week.
The hope is to still unify all 4 world titles in 2021, with the plan being to get ast Moloney and then have the long awaited bout with Casimero in the new year, then face the winner of the WBC title bout between Nordine Oubaali and Nonito Donaire, with Ohashi stating "Next year, we will unify the four groups. We intend to do so".
One final thing to add, is it's now confirmed that Inoue will leave Japan in October 18th, with the plan being to enter the MGM Grand a few days before the bout.
Earlier today the Kawasaki Nitta Gym announced that the planned November 28th bout between former 2-time world title challenger Masayuki Kuroda (30-8-3, 16) [黒田雅之] and unbeaten prospect Ayato Hiromoto (2-0, 1) [廣本彩刀] has had to be cancelled.
Sadly during sparring Kuroda tore a tendon in his left arm. The injury worsened and following an MRI it was decided that they would cancel the bout and give Kuroda time to recover.
At the moment the injury seems a pretty bad one, worse than expected. The injury may require surgery, though it's not been decided on yet, and Kuroda's next bout is now looking unlikely to take place before March 2021. That will be close to 2 years after his last bout, a loss to Moruti Mthalane. Although he'll still only be 34 we do wonder if this is a sign that hanging them up and retiring will be better for his longer term health.
The bout, which was originally set for earlier in November before being pushed to late November, was set to be one of the major bouts on an Ohashi promoted "Phoenix Battle" card. Thankfully it appears the card it's self will still go ahead, with WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight champion Musashi Mori (11-0, 6) [森 武蔵] defending his title against Tsuyoshi Tameda (21-5-2, 19) [溜田剛士] in the main event.
Earlier today Hideyuki Ohashi took to social media to announce the full line up for the next "Phoenix Battle" card, which will take place on November 28th at Korakuen Hall.
The main event of the card will see WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight champion Musashi Mori (11-0, 6) [森 武蔵] defending his regional title against hard hitting challenger Tsuyoshi Tameda (21-5-2, 19) [溜田剛士]. This will be Mori's third defense of the title, that he won in 2018 and will be his first contest since December 2018, when he beat Takuya Mizuno. The talented youngster is tipped for big things, and had been expected to end the year on the verge of a world title fight, but 2020 hasn't exactly gone to plan. As for Tameda the bout will see him looking to bounce back from a TKO loss to Jae Woo Lee, with that defeat occurring at the Hajime No Ippo 30th Anniversary tournament last November.
The main event will see Mori enter as a clear favourite, though Tameda certainly has the power to make life difficult for the champion.
The chief support bout will be the previously reported 8 round clash between former 2-time world title challenger Masayuki Kuroda (30-8-3, 16) [黒田雅之] and unbeaten prospect Ayato Hiromoto (2-0, 1) [廣本彩刀]. This will be Kuroda's first bout in well over a year, following his defeat to Moruti Mthalane, whilst Hiromoto will be taking a massive step up in class, in what should amount to a genuine test of the talented youngster. It's worth noting that Kuroda has recently changed full time jobs and will be entertaing this bout with a new found hunger, but will also be moving up in weight for the contest. As for Hiromoto he has the natural size advantage, but obviously doesn't have anything like the experience of Kuroda.
Notable Kuroda Vs Hiromoto was originally announced for November 12th but has been pushed back by just over 2 weeks for this new date.
In an 8 round Welterweight bout Rikuto Adachi (14-2, 11) [安達陸仁] will clash with Hisashi Kato (9-9-2, 5) [加藤寿]. This will be Adachi's first bout since transferring to the Ohashi Gym in the summer and will see him looking to build on back to back wins over Change Hamashima and Masafumi Ando. The 35 year old Kato doesn't have the greatest of record but isn't a push over and his last 3 losses have all come to very solid domestic level fighters. He actually took a 3 and a half year break from the ring after his last loss, in December 2015, and has scored two wins since returning to the ring in May 2019.
One final 8 rounder announced for the card will see Seiryu Toshikawa (12-5, 7) [利川聖隆] take on Takahiko Kobayashi (9-3, 7) [小林孝彦], in a bout at 140lbs. On paper this is the least interesting bout on the show, but does promise fireworks and should be a really interesting domestic bout, with both men hungry to make an impression.
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