Yesterday we saw the JBC announcing punishments for 3 notable figures involved in Japanese boxing gyms.
One of the trio is Hiroshi Haruki, the chairman of the Mitsuki Gym. He has been given a 1 year suspension, back dated to December 14, for injuring a trainer.
Another of the trio was Jun Toriumi, who owned the TEAM 10 COUNT gym. He has been given a 6 month suspension of his club owner and manager licenses, with another year suspend.
Toriumi has been suspended due to collecting an amount that exceeded the management fee allowed. The JBC have got limits on what a manager can be paid from their fighters purses and Toriumi is said to have breached this multiple times over a long period of time.
As a result of this the Gym will be closed on September 30th, according to a statement on the gym website.
The most serious punishment is for Muto Gym chairman Takashi Edagawa. His license has been suspended indefinitely, from August 24th.
Mr Edagawa was convicted of tax evasion and has reportedly been given a year long sentence, suspended for 3 years.
Rather worryingly for the MTK Global expansion Mr Edagawa was their Japanese partner for MTK Japan, which was announced back in January. This has almost certainly ended the hope of the Muto gym being MTK's toe hold in Japan and they may need to either look towards a different Japanese promoter or abandon the plans all together.
Edagawa has long been a notable figure in Japanese boxing, and from the 3 gyms affected by these announcements his gym is certainly the biggest, along with his punishment being the most servere. The Muto gym was assumed to be the Osakan gym at the center of a virus cluster earlier in the year, when a lot of Muto Gym fighters had to pull out of bouts due to recent infections. Though it should be noted that those bouts were all cancelled around the time of Mr Edagawa's sentencing.
According to reports in Japan 3 bouts, scheduled to take place in August, were cancelled today. Rather notably all 3 bouts listed as being cancelled features fighters from the Muto gym in Osaka.
The first of those bouts expected to take place was an August 9th clash between former Japanese Super Flyweight champion Takayuki Okumoto (23-9-4, 11) [奥本貴之] and Tulio Kuwabata (3-1 2) [桑畑凜生]. This bout had been scheduled as an 8 round Bantamweight bout on a Green Tsuda promoted show at the City Sogo Gym in Hirakata City. This was going to be a comeback bout for both men, who lost in December, with Okumoto moving up in weight following the loss of the Japanese Super Flyweight title in on December 8th and Kuwabata looking to bounce back following a shock loss to Ken Jordan just 2 weeks later.
The other two bouts were both set for WOZ show on August 12th at the Rose Bunka Hall in Toyonaka.
One of these was a 4 round Lightweight bout, between Hibiki Yuasa (1-2) [湯浅響仁] and debutant Taime Ikeguchi (0-0) [池口大夢] whilst the other was the show's main event between Ryosuke Nishida (2-0, 1) [西田凌佑] and former world title challenger Shohei Omori (21-3, 16) [大森 将平].
Whilst we'll admit not much was made Yuasa Vs Ikeguchi, despite Ikeguchi having previously been a successful power lighter, there was some anticipation to see how Nishida would cope with Omori in what looked like a massive leap up in class.
Sadly Kuwabata, Yuasa and Nishida are all fighters from the Muto gym in Osaka. Whether this is related to an outbreak of the "on going global sitation" in an Osaka gym is unclear, though it does seem rather coincidental if the two things aren't linked in some way.
Early on Wednesday morning, local time in Japan, Sponichi reported that the Osaka National Taxation Bureau are investigation the Osakan based Muto gym for violating corporate tax law.
Sponichi's report mentioned an amount of ¥49,000,000, which has been apparently hidden due to non-existent land purchase and real estate transactions in Sumiyoshi Ward, Osaka City. The gym president, Takashi Edagawa has been accused of being responsible, though it appears the gym have stated that they have filed amendments to their records and paid "most" of the difference.
The same report also suggests that between June 2014 and May 2016 around ¥190,000,000 was evaded in corporate tax. This was also, reportedly, part of fictitious land purchases.
Of course at the moment these are only being investigated, and no one has been found guilty of anything, but it's certainly a worrying time for the gym, which recently announced a link up with MTK Global, who have reportedly had their own criminal issues with their historical links to Daniel Kinahan and the wider Kinahan family.
It's going to be interesting to see how this story develops, whether there are criminal charges or whether it's simply been an oversight and will be corrected in the near future.
Earlier today MTK Global announced that their expansion was into Japan ad they unveiled their link up with the Muto Gym in Osaka.
The deal will see the Osakan based gym, headed by Takashi Edagawa, having their fighters advised by MTK, who have a list of global stars in their stable. In fact this is the 14th separate territory for MTK to begin working in.
Whilst the Mutoh Gym isn't a big one it does have an established name. It's a gym with a history that includes having created a world champion, in former 2-time WBA Super Flyweight champion Nobuo Nashiro [名城信男], and numerous regional and national champions, including the likes of Masahiro Sakamoto [坂本真宏] and Takayuki Hosokawa [細川貴之].
At the moment the gym is going through some notable transitions with their most well established fighter being WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight champion Yuki Strong Kobayashi (16-8, 9) [ストロング小林佑樹] and notable prospects include Ryosuke Nishida (2-0, 1) [西田 凌佑], Yusuke Mine (3-0, 1) [峯 佑輔] and Tulio Kuwabata (3-1, 2) [桑畑凜生], also known as Dekanarudo Torio.
A press release from MTK Global included quotes from both the MTK Global CEO Sandra Vaughan and Mr Edagawa. The quotes are below:
Vaughan said: “This is a very proud day. We are thrilled to have set up shop in Japan and we welcome our good friend Takashi Edagawa to the team. He’s done a great job building Muto Boxing Gym and now its future is even brighter.
“The sport of boxing in Japan has grown exponentially in recent times and with champions like Naoya Inoue providing the wider public with an icon to follow, further momentum is inevitable.
“Together with Takashi and his team, we look forward to harnessing the huge amount of local talent, finding the right paths for existing champions and ensuring we keep unearthing and developing future prospects.”
Edagawa said: “I feel it is my duty to ensure that Japanese athletes have the opportunities to put in great performances across the world and as I join forces with MTK Global, it gives me more confidence of accomplishing that goal.
“I made a world champion in my fourth year in boxing and now I want to build other fighters to show the world that Japanese boxing is strong. I feel it is my duty to make this happen.
“Thank you to MTK Global for giving me this honourable moment in my career.”
It's unclear what the real effects of this will be, though with some luck it could mean that the Mutoh promoted "You Will be The Champion" branded shows may be made available on YouTube, like other MTK shows have been, for international fans. If that happens then that is a huge bonus for fans, and a huge boost in exposure for the fighters.
Yesterday we reported that former Japanese amateur standout Yusuke Mine (2-0, 1) [峯 佑輔] would be up against former OPBF Flyweight champion Ardin Diale (35-15-4, 17) in his next bout, which will take place in December.
That bout will be part of the under-card for the WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight title fight between champion Yuki Strong Kobayashi (15-8, 9) [小林佑樹] and South Korean challenger Ki Chang Go (8-3, 4).
We can now report who Mine's and Kobayashi's stablemates, Ryosuke Nishida (1-0, 1) [西田 凌佑] and Tulio Kuwabata (3-0, 2) [桑畑凜生], will be facing.
Kuwabata, who is in the events chief support bout, will fight in an 8 round Super Flyweight bout against once beaten Filipino puncher Ken Jordan (8-1-2, 7). On paper this is a brilliant match up, pitting a talented former amateur, in just his 4th pro bout, against a hard hitting fellow youngster, with Jordan entering on the back of a 5 fight unbeaten run. This should be a test for Kuwabata, and whilst we expect him to win, we do expect to see him being genuinely given a tough night.
Nishida on the other hand, only debuted in October, will be in a 6 round bout against tough Filipino journeyman Pablito Canada (7-17-4, 1). On paper this is a safe bout for Nishida to get a win in, but Canada get the upset wins, and fans in Mandaluyong City saw that recently when he upset former world title challenger Jetro Pabustan. Again the local prospect should have too much, but this could be a banana skin if Nishida over-looks his foe.
(Image courtesy of Muto Gym)
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