On New Year's Eve we'll see WBO champion Kazuto Ioka (27-2, 15) [井岡一翔] defending his title against former triple crown champion, Ryoji Fukunaga (15-4, 14) [福永亮次], who has taken the bout at short notice to save the TBS year ending event after Japan changed it's rules on international travel.
Yesterday, ahead of their bout, Fukunaga took part in a public work out and press conference to talk about the contest.
At the event Fukunaga revealed that he is both excited and nervous about about the bout, and that there was official events for the bout almost daily due to how short notice the bout was put together. Despite that he seemed confident, and explained that he would impress and that at the end of the bout his hand would be raised.
In regards to his shape he still has about 3KG (6.6lbs) but that shouldn't be an issue to lose by the December 30th, when the weigh will take place, and that everything was top notch with trainer Kenta Okumura working on counter measures for Ioka.
The work out it's self was quite a short one with Fukunaga hitting the mitts and shadow boxing. Through the session he looked heavy handed and determined, but this is a huge step up in class for him.
Next week WBO Minimumweight champion Wilfredo Mendez (16-1, 6) will be facing off with mandatory challenger Masataka Taniguchi (14-3, 9) [谷口将隆], with that bout taking place in Tokyo. Today, ahead of that bout, Mendez took part in a media work out and both showed what sort of shape he was in physically and mentally.
Before the actual work out there was a press conference which saw Mendez explain that his training had gone well and that he was in the best condition, and ready to return to Puerto Rico with a win.
In regards to the bout, Mendez explained that he was very wary of Taniguchi, describing him as "very talented" and "very good" as well as being "strong". Despite his complimentary words regarding his challenger Mendez did seem very confident and was enthusiastic about the fight, and about taking home his title.
As for the actual work out he didn't do too much, but he did skip rope and looked in great shape. It was clear he's not been wasting his time in Japan, and has been training since arriving at the end of November.
Notably at the press conference Mendez was asked about his eating habits since being in Japan and explained that he's been eating meat and that Japanese meat is first class, showing he's been enjoying the local cuisine of the country as well as the training facilities he's been allowed to use for the bout.
Next week we'll see WBO Minimumweight champion Wilfredo Mendez (16-1, 6) defending against mandatory challenger Masataka Taniguchi (14-3, 9) [谷口将隆] in a very interesting looking match up as part of the card headlined by Naoya Inoue (21-0, 18) [井上 尚弥].
Today, ahead of that fight, Taniguchi took part in a public work out and spoke to the media.
Taniguchi revealed that after his loss to Vic Saludar, in his only previous world title bout, he began to dig deep and he has worked hard on the mental side of things, improving his mentality in regards to boxing. At the moment he revealed he is around 3.6KG's above the Minimumweight limit, though that won't be an issue to love before the fight next week. What is pretty notable however is that this will be the first time in more than 5 years that he'll have faced a southpaw. That is one thing he has focused on hard in training, and he explained that went from being confused by them to sounding confident about how to cope with lefties.
As for the work out, he did some shadow boxing, worked the mitts with Hiroki Atsushi from the Watanabe Gym, and showed some crisp combinations on the heavy bag. He looked super sharp, powerful and really determined for what is a massive fight for his career.
Although he didn't give away his entire gameplan, he did state he was going to be aggressive and fight like a challenger.
We are just over a week away from seeing WBC Light Flyweight champion Kenshiro Teraji (17-0, 10) [寺地 拳四朗]defending his title against fellow Japanese fighter Masamichi Yabuki (12-3, 11) [佐藤政道]. Yesterday, ahead of the bout, Kenshiro took part in a media work out, and looked in good shape, especially for someone who had recently been suffering from Covid19. Today it was the turn of Yabuki to take part in his media work out and speak to the media about how he was coming in to the bout.
Yabuki explained that to prepare for this bout he has done about 80 rounds of sparring, including ring time with the likes of Kosei Tanaka and Sho Ishida. He explained that the postponement of the bout, which pushed it from September to September 22nd, allowed him to get in an extra 20 rounds of sparring for the contest, which it seems will be valuable for him here.
When talking about Kenshiro, Yabuki seems to have scouted his man well, explaining that he was aware of Kenshiro's jab and control of distance, but that he had plans to of his own and it seems likely that he is confident in his own jab.
In regards to weight Yabuki is about 4KG's (9lbs) above the Light Flyweight limit about the moment, but that's what he and his team were expecting, and it doesn't appear that there will be any issue at all with him making the 108lb limit.
In regards to the actual work out today Yabuki did some shadow boxing and some mitt work with his trainer. Interesting he switched southpaw a few times during the work out, as if to suggest he may be switching hitting when he faces Kenshiro. He looked sharp, and really powerful, through out the work out, and it's clear he's not looking to make up the numbers when he gets in the ring with the champion later this month.
On September 22nd we'll see WBC Light Flyweight champion Kenshiro Teraji (17-0, 10) [寺地 拳四朗]defending his title against fellow Japanese fighter Masamichi Yabuki (12-3, 11) [佐藤政道], with the two men facing off in Kyoto City.
Today, ahead of that bout, Kenshiro took part in a media work out, and took time to speak to the Japanese press about the bout, his preparation and his recent battle with Covid19.
This bout was originally supposed to take place on September 10th but was postponed when Kenshiro tested positive for Covid19, on August 25th. He was then told to rest at home, before the bout was postponed at the start of September to give him time to recover. Kenshiro then tested negative and resumed training for the bout on September 6th. Regarding how he feels, he stated that he was only thinking about winning and that he was preparing well. He also explained that he was glad that the postponement was only a short one, and that he was worried it would take much longer for the bout to be re-arranged.
Of course it wasn't just Kenshiro that tested positive for Covid19 but also his trainer Kenta Kato, who returned to the gym himself on September 7th, and has been working with Kenshiro for this bout. Kato, who is clear now himself, explained that he felt Kenshiro would win without any problems, and that the fighter was just 2KG's over the limit, a weight that is regarded as no problem at all to lose between now and the weigh in.
In regards to the actual work out Kenshiro took part in a number of training exercises. They included a round of shadow boxing, a round of mitt work, a round of training with Kato using a punching stick and some back work. Through out the session Kenshiro looked sharp, in great shape, and it was as if his battle with Covid was little more than an inconvenience, rather than a battle with such a serious virus.
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