Earlier this week we reported that triple crown champion Ryoji Fukunaga (13-4, 13) [福永亮次], would be defending his WBO Asia Pacific, OPBF and Japanese Super Flyweight titles on May 22nd against Takahiro Fujii (12-6-1, 3) [藤井貴博]. It's now been announced that that bout will be one off two title bouts on the show, with the other being a Japanese female title bout.
That second title bout will see Kanako Taniyama (3-1-1, 1) [谷山佳菜子] and Yuko Henzan (8-10-4, 2) [平安山裕子] battle for the Japanese female Bantamweight title.
Entering the bout Taniyama, a 34 year old fighter from the Watanabe gym, will be the #1 ranked contender for the belt whilst Henzan, who is slightly younger at 33, will enter as the #3 ranked contender.
Taniyama turned professional in 2018, following a career in Karate and Kickboxing, and the expectations were high for her. So high in fact that she fought for the Japanese and OPBF female titles in just her third fight, battling to a draw with Tomoko Okuda. A rematch with Okuda soon afterward resulted in a narrow technical decision loss for Taniyama. On paper her 3-1-1 (1) record is underwhelming, but given Okuda has since gone on to win the WBO female Super Flyweight title the sets are nothing to be ashamed by. In fact it was Okuda vacating the title that has left it open for this bout to take place.
Henzan on the other hand has been a professional since 2010. She failed to win any of her first 4 bouts, going 0-3-1, and was 1-5-2 after 8 bouts. Since then she has managed to turn things around somewhat, going 7-5-2, but she has also lost her last 3 bouts.
Whilst not the greatest match up out there it's not a terrible bout to add to a card that already features Jukiya Iimura (1-0, 1) [飯村 樹輝弥] against Tomoki Kawasaki (0-0) [川崎 智輝] and Mikio Sakai (3-0) [酒井 幹生] taking on veteran Koshinmaru Saito (24-10-2, 13) [斉藤伸介].
A week or so ago it was revealed that DANGAN would be promoting 3 events over 2 days in May, with the dates of May 22nd and May 23rd being set for the events. Other than those minor details little was know about the 3 shows.
Today DANGAN went on to announce the details of the first of those 3 shows, which will take place on May 22nd at the Sumida City Gymnasium, will heavily feature Kadoebi promoted fighters and will be promoted as "Dangan 239 & Slugfest".
The show will be headlined by triple crown champion Ryoji Fukunaga (13-4, 13) [福永亮次], who will be defending his WBO Asia Pacific, OPBF and Japanese Super Flyweight titles against the unheralded Takahiro Fujii (12-6-1, 3) [藤井貴博], who has won hid last 3 and over the likes of Tatsuya Terada and Sonin Nihei during his current run.
Fukunaga had a brilliant 2020, a career defining year in fact. He began the year with a brilliant win over Froilan Saludar, in February, to claim the WBO Asia Pacific title, then beat down Kenta Nakagawa in December to win the Japanese and OPBF titles, to become a triple crown winner. Given those two bouts, which were tough, damaging and punishing battles, we can hardly complain about him having an easier one here against Fujii. As for Fujii this is a massive step up in class, however he may well be getting a shot at Fukunaga at the right time, given the incredible punishment Fukunaga has gone through in his last few bouts.
On the under-card for this show will be a bout between talented 27 year old hopeful Mikio Sakai (3-0) [酒井 幹生] and veteran Koshinmaru Saito (24-10-2, 13) [斉藤伸介], in a big step up bout for Saito. A win for Saito will likely result in him moving into the Japanese rankings, but Saito is true veteran and will not be there to roll over for the skilled Sakai, despite a staggering 15 year age difference between the two men.
Another under-card bout will be a 6 rounders between Jukiya Iimura (1-0, 1) [飯村 樹輝弥] and Tomoki Kawasaki (0-0) [川崎 智輝], which was originally planned for later this month but appears to have been delayed for 2 months to fit on this show instead. Despite the delay we're really looking forward to this one, and we were really impressed by Iimura's debut earlier this year.
A final under-card bout for this show will be a 6 rounder between 23 year old puncher Hiroto Hoshi (4-2-2, 3) [星大翔] and 32 year old Kojiro Nishikawa (5-2-1, 2) [西川宏次郎] in what should a pretty competitive show opener.
Although yet to be officially confirmed, it is expected that this will be available on Boxing Raise, potentially as a live show, as DANGAN look to fill up the scheduled for the service, which has been lacking to begin this year.
Just moments ago the under-card for today's Kadoebi show at Korakuen Hall concluded. It wasn't the best of under-cards but was certainly worthy of some attention, with some notable names involved on it, in some pretty good looking match ups.
The show opened with a very one sided novice bout, as Kosuke Sato (1-1, 1) [佐藤 洸輔] made short work of Ryuki Taira (0-1) [平良 龍輝]. Taira looked totally out of his depth from the opening seconds and was dropped very early on. He got back to his feet but never seemed to regain his composure or balance, and was dropped again forcing the referee to wave off the bout very late in round 1. Sadly Taira didn't look like he belonged in the ring whilst Sato will be happy to have picked up his first career win.
In the second bout on the show Mikio Sakai (3-0) [酒井 幹生] took a clear decision over veteran Toshihiro Kai (6-12-3, 2) [甲斐 斗志広]. Earlier on Sakai looked too quick and too sharp for Kai and it looked like he was set for an early win. Sadly though Sakai's lack of power showed and Kai managed to grit out round after round, taking punishment but never looking hurt from Sakai's shots. Knowing he could take Sakai's power, Kai tried to fight back more in the second half, as Sakai slowed down slightly. The ambition however was slowly taken from Kai, as Sakai continued to out box him and out speed him.
Sadly for Kai he never looked competitive, though did show some real toughness, even late in the bout when the result seemed a foregone conclusion. That was seen in round 7, when he was hurt by body shots, and in round 8 when he ate a big right hand and recovered very quickly. After 8 rounds there was no questions as to who won, with Sakai winning by a clear margin, though questions will persist about his power, especially given that Kai had been stopped 6 times prior to this bout. The judges cards for this were 79-73, twice, and 78-74. Although it was disappointing to see Kai last the distance, it has ticked a box for Sakai, who showed he can do 8 rounds at a very decent pace, which is probably better for his career than an early blow out.
In the third bout on the show JBC ranked Super Bantamweight Matcha Nakagawa (14-2-1, 5) [中川 抹茶] battled against the struggling Ryo Suwa (11-4, 2) [諏訪 亮]. From the off Nakagawa, fighting out of the southpaw stance, looked a level or two above Suwa, who seemed to struggle with the speed and and accuracy of Nakagawa's shots from mid-range. Despite that Suwa wasn't there to just pick up a third straight loss and did fight back, though was regularly coming off second best.
After 8 rounds the three judges had the bout a shut out to Nakagawa, who takes a good step towards a future title fight, and bounces back well from a 2019 loss to Kai Chiba. There is however, a lot of areas for the 26 year old to work on before getting a shot at a belt holder. As for Suwa this was a third successive loss, and it's clear he needs real work to rebuild his faltering career.
Highly regarded Light Welterweight Masahiro Suzuki (5-0, 3) [鈴木 雅弘] was next up as he took on former OPBF title challenger Takahiro Oda (10-6, 8) [小田 貴博], who was returning to the ring for the first time in well over 3 years. Sadly for Oda, who had previously fought as Jumbo Oda Nobunaga Shoten Petagine, the lay off showed and Suzuki landed some real solid blows in the opening round. The power shots from Suzuki rocked Oda in the opening round, but the veteran saw out the round with out too many troubles. In round 2 however the power of Suzuki showed as he hurt, and then dropped Oda. Oda recovered and saw out the rest of the round but was in trouble again in round 3 when suffered another knockdown, pulling Suzuki down with him. This was a heavy knockdown and the referee quickly waved the bout off.
For Suzuki this was an ideal performance, coming in to the bout on the back of a 13 month lay off, of a less than convincing technical decision win last year against Hokuto Matsumoto. As for Oda, well, it does seem like maybe he will be heading back into retirement after this performance, and result.
The penultimate bout, and the main support bout, on the show saw former Japanese 140lb champion Hiroki Okada (20-2, 13) [岡田 博喜] return for his first bout at home in well over 2 years as he took on Izuki Tomioka (7-4-1, 2) [富岡 樹]. On paper this was an interesting bout and it proved to be a solid one overall, with a high level of skill, and a good overall meshing of styles.
The opening round saw Tomioka looking to use his speed and movement to great effect to take the early control. His jab, one of the most under-rated in the sport, was being used as an excellent weapon, landing regularly and upsetting the rhythm of Okada, who looked the bigger, stronger man but struggled to enforce his will. As well as the jab Tomioka landed good single shots with his right hand a very nice body shot. In round 2 we began to see Okada try and press the action more, using his size and strength to walk down Tomioka, who had to rely on his sharp footwork more to create space, in what was a very competitive round.
In round 3 we saw more success from Okada, who seemed to be finding his groove and realising that Tomioka's shots didn't have a lot on them, Tomioka still had moments, and landed some really eye catching stuff, but Okada was beginning to just walk through it with little respect given to Tomioka. That was the case again in round 4 as Tomioka was forced to trade blows and seemed to be rocked from an Okada right hand late in the round. It was then beginning to look like the pressure and power of Okada was going to break down Tomioka, who was having to work hard against a naturally stronger man.
The breaking down process continued from Okada in round 5 and 6, as Tomioka's face became a bloodied mess, and his output began to drop noticeably. The facial damage of Tomioka saw him have an inspection from the doctor early in round 7 and it seemed to be clear that time was running out for him. That lead to him being more aggressive and to Okada responding, which didn't work out well for Tomioka. Despite blood pouring out of his nose for much of the second half of the fight, Tomioka gritted it out and saw out the final bell. Sadly for him after 8 rounds his good start and toughness was for nought, as the scorecards all read 77-75 to Okada.
It's not often that we get to see Japanese, OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific titles unified, though on December 14th we'll get one such chance in the main event of Slugfest 16.
Earlier today Kadoebi announced that the line for their December Slugfest and the main event will see three titles being unified at Super Flyweight, and the rest of the card will also feature several other really interesting bouts as supporting contests.
The main event will see Japanese Super Flyweight champion Kenta Nakagawa (19-3-1, 12) [中川 健太] clash with WBO Asia Pacific champion Ryoji Fukunaga (12-4, 12) [福永亮次, with the vacant OPBF title also on the line.
For Nakagawa the bout will serve as he second defense of his second reign as the national champion, after re-claiming the title last December when he beat Takayuki Okumoto by decision, and will see him looking to build on July's win over mandatory challenger Yuta Matsuo. As for Fukunaga the bout will be his first since winning the title in February, when he upset Froilan Saludar.
In the chief support bout we'll see the once touted Hiroki Okada (19-2, 13) [岡田 博喜] take on the always tricky Izuki Tomioka (7-3-1, 2) [富岡樹], in a real must win for both men.
Okada is looking to bounce back from back to back stoppage losses in the US, where he was beaten by Raymundo Beltran and Javier Molina. As a result of those losses he is now win-less in over 2 years , and hasn't fought in Japan since May 2018. Tomioka on the other hand is looking to bounce back after a TKO loss in February to Shuichiro Yoshino in a Japanese title fight.
Another interesting looking bout on this show will see OPBF and JBC ranked Lightweight Masahiro Suzuki (4-0, 2) [鈴木雅弘] taking on the returning Jumbo Oda Nobunaga Shoten Petagine (10-5, 8) [ジャンボおだ信長本屋ペタジーニ], who hasn't fought since losing in an OPBF title fact back in July 2017. We've been impressed by Suzuki at times and this should serve as a good test to see what he has in his locker.
Another good looking supporting bout will see JBC ranked Super Bantamweight Matcha Nakagawa (13-2-1, 5) [中川 抹茶] battling against 21 year old hopeful will battle Ryo Suwa (11-3, 2) [諏訪 亮].
One other bout worthy of note will see talented Middleweight hopeful Mikio Sakai (2-0) [酒井幹生] battling against 35 year old veteran Toshihiro Kai (6-11-3, 2) [甲斐斗志広], in what should serve as a good chance for Sakai to get some rounds under his belt against a limited, but experienced foe.
Earlier today at Korakuen Hall Japanese fight fans got the latest show from Kadoebi.
Whilst not a bumper show, it was a card with several notable fights on it, with a particularly interesting trio of under-card bouts.
The first of that trio saw talented youngster Yuki Nakajima (3-1, 3) [中嶋憂輝] bounce back from his August loss to Ryu Horikawa by destroying the brave, but out-gunned Yasuhiro Tanaka (6-5-2) [田中康寛]. Nakajima really did as he wished he, and although he was caught quite a few times by Tanaka it really seemed like Tanaka was fighting a tank with a pea shooter. Tanaka never got Nakahjima's respect and instead took a bit of a shellacking from Nakajima, who stopped his man in round 3. Tanaka was dropped by a beauty of a left hook, and although he got back to his feet a follow up forced the referee to jump in.
The second of the bouts saw touted novices clash, with Mikio Sakai (2-0) [酒井幹生] doing enough to take a narrow decision over Ran Tomomatsu (1-1) [友松藍]. These two were incredibly well matched, despite having very different styles. Of the two Tomomatsu always appeared the stronger man, and was the one marching forward, but Sakai's more polished boxing, and smart ring craft was certainly able to neutralise a lot of Tomomatsu's pressure. The boxing of Sakai seemed to be more impressive to the judges who had him edging out a majority decision. Given the lack of professional experience these two had this was a fantastic bout, and is well worth checking out if you have a Boxing Raise subscription.
The third of the notable under-card bouts saw Yuichiro Kasuya (13-2-2, 4) [粕谷雄一郎] and Satoru Sugita (15-6-2, 10) [杉田聖] battle to an 8 round draw. Despite the two men having different strengths and styles, they actually matched up perfectly and made for a very entertaining fight, with Kasuya being the quicker fighter and Sugita having that bit more power on everything he landed. We didn't expect much here but the two men really delivered a very good and engaging 8 round battle which ended in split decision draw.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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