Earlier today the Sumida City Gymnasium in Tokyo played host to the latest Dangan card, which featured a trio of interesting looking title bouts.
The first of the title bouts saw unbeaten OPBF female Minimumweight champion Mizuki Chimoto (4-0, 1) [千本瑞規] score her first defense as she out pointed Kaori Nagai (6-3-3, 2) [長井香織] over 8 rounds. The challenger started well,m and looked to attack the body early on. Chimoto however got going in round 2, using her jab well to control the action and range of the bout, and after 4 rounds she was leading on all 3 cards, 40-36 and 39-37, twice. In the second half Nagai tried to turn it around, continuing to attack the body of Chimoto, but she couldn't slow Chimoto down, with Chimoto responding to everything thrown her way.
After 8 rounds the scores here were 78-74, twice, and 77-75. After the bout Nagai seemed to suggest that her work in the early rounds had been ignored by the judges, whilst Chimoto spoke well off her challenger, and how she used her own jab to control the action.
The second title bout on the show saw the talented Masanori Rikiishi (11-1, 6) [力石 政法] claim his first title, as he out boxed veteran Takuya Watanabe (38-11-1, 22) [渡邉 卓也] and became the new OPBF Super Featherweight champion, with a career best performance. From the opening round this was the Rikiishi show, as he took control at mid-range and never let the highly experience Watanabe get into the bout. From the off Rikiiishi was too quick, too sharp, too accurate and too busy for Watanabe. To his credit Watanabe always tried to make his way into the bout, but he struggled in every minute of the fight to build any momentum. The few moments of success the veteran had were fleeting with Rikiishi re-establishing control soon afterwards. After 12 rounds Rikiishi had won everything, taking a 120-108 shut out over Watanabe, with the only disappointment for the new champion being that he couldn't drop his man.
After the bout Rikiishi spoke about the success of his body shots and uppercuts, and explained that he was going to make a mandatory defense of his title next. As for Watanabe, he seemed really dejected by the outcome, adding that he tried his best, but that's his ability. Almost accepting he wasn't even close to good enough. Given his long career we do wonder if this is the end for Watanabe.
The third title bout on the card saw something of an upset as the defending Japanese Featherweight champion Hinata Maruta (12-2-1, 9) [丸田陽七太] was dethroned by mandatory challenger Reiya Abe (23-3-1, 10) [阿部麗也], in what was Abe's third shot at the belt. Not only did Abe capture the Japanese title, but also the WBO Asia Pacific title with the win.
This started in a really interesting manner with both men battling to dictate the range of the bout. For Maruta the key was to keep it long whilst Abe wanted to close the distance more and land his powerful single left hands. Through the first 3 rounds it seemed Abe's experience and boxing brain were key as he landed straight land hands, however he took punishment himself and ended up with a swollen right eye as Maruta's hard right hands took their toll on the challenger. After 5 rounds Abe was up on all 3 cards, 48-47, twice, and 49-46.
It was really in the middle of the bout that Abe took complete control of the action, as he seemed to respond with interest to every bit of success Maruta had, and the most notable part of the bout was a hard left hand up top that dropped Maruta in round 7, and left Maruta unable to see out of his left eye. It took Maruta a while to get any success after that as Abe continued to control the action, with his good footwork and boxing brain, though Maruta did show his heart and gave a huge effort in the final 3 rounds.
After 12 rounds the judges had this 118-109, 116-111 and 115-112, a particular close score. After the bout Abe seemed really proud of his performance, and his development over the last few years. He also stated that he was wanting to aim for more titles, likely a suggestion that he wants to fight for a world title. As for Maruta he apologised to his team for the loss, and explained that he would come back stronger from the bout.
Tomorrow at the Sumida City Gymnasium we'll see OPBF female Minimumweight champion Mizuki Chimoto (3-0, 1) [千本瑞規] battle against Kaori Nagai (6-2-3, 2) [長井香織], in what will be Chimoto's first defense of the title. Today the two women took part in their weigh in and both fighters made the 105lb weight limit with no issues at all.
The champion was bang on the 105lb limit and looked in good shape, very confident and very relaxed. She seems very much like the sort of fighter who knows that she has a very bright future in the sport and that this is just the next step for her on a journey to major success.
As for Nagai, she was under the limit, coming in at 104.75lbs and looked in good shape, but a lot more serious than Chimoto.
For fans wanting to watch this bout it will be aired live on the ABEMA Fighting Channel.
Related - Chimoto takes on Nagai in OPBF title bout
Earlier today at Korakuen Hall fight fans got a short, but very notable, show featuring a trio of bouts, all of which were title contests, thanks to Dangan and Watanabe.
The first bout on the show saw former kick boxer Kanako Taniyama (4-1-1, 1) [谷山佳菜子] defeat Yuko Henzan (8-11-4, 2) [平安山裕子], via a 4th round technical decision, to become the new Japanese female Bantamweight champion. From the off Taniyama looked to make a good start, getting behind her jab whilst Henan looked to apply some pressure. Sadly in round 3 a clash of heads left both cut. The cuts got worse quickly and in round 4 Henzan's cut forced the bout to end early.
At the mark of 1 minute into round 4 the bout was halted with Taniyama getting the nod 40-36, 40-37 and 39-37. After the bout Taniyama explained that she wasn't happy about how much of the fight was fought inside, but did show that she had learned a lot heading into this bout, and her style has certainly changed, as she's become more of a boxer, and less of a fighter.
A second new champion to be crowned was former amateur standout Mizuki Chimoto (3-0, 1) [千本瑞規], who became the OPBF female Minimumweight champion with an 8 round majority decision over former world champion Yuko Kuroki (17-7-2, 8) [黒木優子]. The early round saw this being a technical bout, with Chimoto trying to get a read on the southpaw style of Kuroki, and Kuroki boxing behind her 1-2's. Kuroki tried to up her tempo in round 4, but that resulted in her taking some very good left hooks from Chimoto who as looking to get Kuroki's respect.
After 4 rounds we went to the open scoring and Chimoto was up 39-37 on two of the scorecards, and the fighters were even on the third card.
In the second half of the fight the action got a little bit messy, but Chimoto continued to pick her shots well, especially in round 7, before Kuroki put it all on the line in round 8, closing the distance and letting her shots fly. By then however it was too little, too late for Kuroki who was trying to dig herself out of a hole.
After 8 rounds the judges turned in scores of 78-74, twice, to Chimoto and 76-76 level, to give Chimoto the majority decision win.
Before the main event we had WBA Light Flyweight "Super" champion Hiroto Kyoguchi (15-0, 10) [京口 紘人] compete in a short exhibition bout with Watanabe Gym stablemate Sonin Nihei (10-5-2, 2) [仁平宗忍]. The exhibition was Kyoguchi's first performance at Korakuen Hall in years and was very much some fan service ad a chance for him to have a run out before his next world title defnse later in the year. Notable he seemed to suggest that his next bout wasn't yet agreed, however he did state that he thought it would be a big match, and appealed to the local fans to get behind him.
In the main event we saw Japanese Minimumweight champion Masataka Taniguchi (14-3, 9) [谷口将隆] make his first defense as he defeated Tatsuro Nakashima (11-1-2, 7) [仲島 辰郎] in 5 rounds. Taniguchi looked sharp from the off, using his crisp jab in the early stages and firing off stinging left hands. The clean, accurate, and regular shots from Taniguchi saw Nakashima cut around the right eye as early as round 2. To his credit Nakashima tried to turn things around but was unable to match up with with Taniguchi who was too quick, too sharp and too smooth for the challenger, who was looking out of his depth by the end of round 4.
In round 5 the cut of Nakashima got so bad that the bout was stopped, and Taniguchi got the TKO win, to retain his title.
After the win Taniguchi thanked Kyoguchi for the advice he had given him before the bout, and he really did look like the title was helping instill a new confidence in him. He also spoke about fighting for the WBO world title, taking on Wilfredo Mendez, in a potential mandatory title fighter later in the year. Hitoshi Watanabe, Taniguchi's promoter, suggested that they would be looking to secure Taniguchi home advantage for that fight, but are happy to travel if they need to.
Tomorrow at Korakuen Hall we'll see former female world champion Yuko Kuroki (17-6-2, 8) [黒木優子] battle against touted professional novice Mizuki Chimoto (2-0, 1) [千本瑞規] in a bout for the vacant OPBF female Minimumweight title. On paper this looks a bizarre one, with someone who was a worldchampion just a few fights ago taking on someone who has only had two professional bouts, but those in the know see this as a very, very interesting contest due to Chimoto's excellent amateur pedigree.
Today, ahead of their bout, the two women weighed in for the contest and both comfortably made the 105lbs weight limit with no issues at all.
Kuroki, pictured in the white, was bang on the limit for the bout, weighing in at 105lbs and revealed after the weigh in that she had been focusing on improving her strength, something that had been an issue in some of her bouts. Although talented, and quick, she was often unable to get the respect of her opponents, and adding that area will be a big boost for her going forward. Aged 30 now Kuroki also stated that doesn't care about her age, and in fairness to her 30is young for a female fighter, with some of the top fighters being in their 40's now.
Chimoto on the other hand came in around 104.5lbs, well under the limit, and she seemed full of confidence, explaining that she wasn't bad against southpaws, like Kuroki, and was going to use her experience from the amateurs to shine here. She spoke calmly about using her defenseand her sense of distance to come out on top here, and seemedto feel as if this was her big chance to make a mark on the sport after a lengthy break from in ring action.
For fans unable to get to the Korakuen Hall, this will be shown on tape delay on the Boxing Raise Service.
Related - Chimoto steps up to take on former world champion Kuroki in third pro bout!
(Image credit - Watanabe Gym)
Earlier this month Dangan announced that their plans to hold 3 shows over a single weekend at the Sumida City Gymnasium in Tokyo, had to be cancelled due to the gym being closed as a result of the on going state of emergency in Tokyo.
Today Dangan announced that a number of those planned bouts had now been re-arrranged for a co-promoted show, along with Watanabe Gym, for June 7th.
The bouts that have been announced for the June show, which will take place at Korakuen Hall, included 3 titles bouts that had been arranged for May 22nd and May 23rd originally.
One of those is the Japanese Minimumweight title bout between Masataka Taniguchi (13-3, 8) [谷口将隆] and Tatsuro Nakashima (11-1-1, 7) [仲島 辰郎], with Taniguchi making his first defense and Nakashima getting his first shot at this level.
The other two title bouts are both vacant female title bouts, with Kanako Taniyama (3-1-1, 1) [谷山佳菜子] battling Yuko Henzan (8-10-4, 2) [平安山裕子] for the vacant Japanese female Bantamweight title and Yuko Kuroki (17-6-2, 8) [黒木優子] facing Mizuki Chimoto (2-0, 1) [千本瑞規] for the vacant OPBF female Minimumweight title.
We're glad these bouts have been re-arranged, especially for early June rather than being a long wait away, though it is worth noting that there are still 4 title bouts from those cancelled shows yet to be re-arranged, or maybe more accurately yet to have their rescheduled dates announced. Fingers crossed those announcements will come sooner rather than later.
News! We try and give you the most interesting news stories from the Asian boxing world!