Earlier this year the JBC added a new feature to their website showing changes in information for JBC licensed bouts. Whilst some of these changes are minor, and some what irrelevant to those outside of Japanese boxing, others are more interesting.
The changes are broken down into 4 types. They include returning titles, fighters transferring gyms, changing their ring names and retiring.
We won't go through all the changes in September but we will share some of the more notable ones.
The only title to be vacated in September was the Japanese Youth Light Flyweight title, which was given up by Rikito Shiba (4-1, 2) [芝力人], who officially vacated the title on September 18th, just over a year after he won it. Sadly he never managed to defend the bout during his reign.
In regards to Gym Transfers the most notable was talented Super Featherweight hopeful Yoshimitsu Kimura (12-2, 7) [木村 吉光], who has officially signed with the AMBITION Gym, becoming the latest fighter from the now closed Shirai Gushiken Gym to join AMBITION Gym.
One of the biggest things to note was that a trio of Kadoebi Gym fighters have announced their retirements. These included former OPBF Middleweight champion Koki Tyson (14-4-3, 12) [王杉康輝] and former Japanese Super Bantamweight contender Mugicha Nakagawa (24-7-2, 14) [武田勇太].
There was some name changes, but in reality none of these were hugely notable.
Earlier today Makoto Okaniwa., manager／official coordinater of midori promotions.,inc revealed in Japan, informed us of the new date set for the Japanese Light Flyweight title bout between defending champion Yuto Takahashi (11-4, 5) [高橋悠斗] and mandatory challenger Masamichi Yabuki (10-3, 10).
The bout, which was originally set for March 15th though had to be postponed due to the Coronavirus outbreak, will now take place on May 6th.
We've also been informed that the supporting bout between Tom Mizokoshi (7-1-1, 4) [溝越斗夢] and Mugicha Nakagawa (24-7-2, 14) [中川麦茶選手] is still expected to be part of the card, though the other other under-card bouts are currently in negotiations.
It must be noted that there is a chance this will still be postponed, again, if the virus continues to cause sporting events in Japan to be effected in the way it has during March, though the date is now the one the bout is pencilled in for going forward.
The second Japanese title fight of 2019 saw the heavy handed Ryoichi Tamura (12-3-1, 6) [田村 亮一] put on an aggressive show case as he defeated Mugicha Nakagawa (24-6-1, 14) [武田勇太] to claim the Japanese Super Bantamweight title that was vacated by Shingo Wake (25-5-2, 17) [和氣 慎吾] late last year.
From the opening round Tamura put his flag in the ground and made it clear he was going to be the aggressive pressure fighting, backing Nakagawa up round after round and making life incredibly difficult for Nakagawa to do anything. The shots of Tamura rarely looked fluid, but they were forceful, hard and incessant, as he continually pressed forward, unloaded and hammered the head and body of Nakagawa. There were moments where Nakagawa responded, and had success with uppercuts in particular, but Tamura walked through them whilst landing his own blows in return.
Through the first 5 rounds it was hard to make a case for anything bu Tamura leading, and the judges agreed scoring it 50-45, 49-48 and 48-47, a bizarrely close card for what was looking like a very easy to close and very dominant 1-sided bout. There was a lot to be said about Nakagawa's heart and toughness, but he was looking out of his depth and uncompetitive with a very driven Tamura.
The crowd had responded to Nakagawa's efforts, him gritting his teeth and fighting back, chanting his name. That however served little help in terms of the action with Tamura continuing to march forward in the second half of the fight, landing solid right hands to head and body and regularly punching through the guard of Nakagawa, who ate progressively more shots as the bout went on.
It was only really round 7 that Tamura slowed down, having a battle of jabs with Nakagawa. In the rounds that followed Tamura again ramped up the pressure, and in rounds 9 and 10 he really did look for a stoppage, bouncing shots off Nakagawa's head. It was incredible to not only see Nakagawa standing up right but also firing off his own shots, he was like a human zombie, though he was taking a beating and wasn't competitive in the slightest.
It was amazing to see Nakagawa survive the 10 rounds, but when the bell came to end the fight it was clear that Tamura had won, with the judges scoring the bout 99-91, twice, and 97-93 giving Tamura the title in what was a brilliant performance.
For Nakagawa this was his second shot at the title, following a 2017 loss to Yusaku Kuga, and he simply had too much of everything for Nakagawa. The loser however, should realise the effort he put up, and his incredible toughness will have made him new fans and many will want to see him get another title opportunity in the near future.
It's fair to say that 2019 has started slowly but we are starting to see more and more things being added to the schedule.
Sadly it wasn't until earlier today that Boxingraise announced their line up for January, which we knew wouldn't be great,
The Japanese streaming and VOD service will only have 2 new cards this month, unless things change, however their card today, January 12th, will be live.
That live card will see Japanese Minimumweight champion Shin Ono (23-9-3, 6) [小野 心] defending his title against mandatory challenger Norihito Tanaka (17-7, 9) [田中教仁] and Mugicha Nakagawa (24-5-1, 14) [武田勇太] battling Ryoichi Tamura (11-3-1, 6) [田村 亮一] for the vacant Japanese Super Bantamweight title, which had been vacated late last year by Shingo Wake (25-5-2, 17) [和氣 慎吾]. The card is expected to start at 18:00 local time and will be the first Japanese show of the new year.
As well as that show Boxingraise will also add the January 31st card from the Koraluen Hall, which is a a card featuring 4 round bouts between novices.
The bigger selling point this month, in some ways, is the fact 4 cards from the Dangan Archive, Dangan 144,145,147 and 149, will be added to the Video on Demand section. Those shows took place in November and December 2015 and feature a good number of notable fights that weren't available in the past, giving subscribers something to look forward to during this quiet month.
(Image courtesy of boxingraise.com)
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