Tomorrow fight fans at Korakuen Hall will see the third bout between IBF Atomweight champion Saemi Hanagata (15-7-4, 7) [田中冴美] and Nao Ikeyama (18-5-4, 5) [森脇恵子], following draws in their previous 2 meetings.
Just a few moments ago the two fighters took part in their weigh in and both came in under the 102lb Atomweight limit.
On the scales the champion was bang on the limit, for what will be her first defense. This is her first bout since her thrilling title win last September, when she narrowly out pointed Yuko Kuroki in what was also a bout to end a 3 fight series, and she'll be hoping the long break from action will have helped her recharge the batteries. She confident of securing her first defense, and seemed like a woman who was desperately wanting to notch up a win over her veteran rival.
Ikeyama, who turns 50 in the near future, came in comfortably under the limit, weighing in at just under 101lbs. She seemed more motivated than confident though at 50 it's clear that she's not the fighter she once was. It's worth noting that in their 2 previous bouts Ikeyama had entered as the WBO Atomweight champion, though lost that title last year to Mika Iwakawa, and is win-less in her last 4.
Related - Hanagata and Ikeyama set to meet for third time, following two draws! [Preview]
Earlier this week we learned that the Victoriva Vol 5 main event would be the WBA Atomweight unification bout between "interim" champion Ayaka Miyao (23-7-1, 6) [宮尾 綾香] and WBA's regular champion Monseratt Alcaron (12-4-2). The bout was the second title bout announced for the September 12th show, following the IBF Atomweight title bout between Saemi Hanagata (15-7-4, 7) [田中冴美] and Nao Ikeyama (18-5-4, 5) [森脇恵子].
Today we saw a third bout being confirmed for the card, with the fast rising Eri Matsuda (3-0) [松田恵里] defending her Japanese title on the show against Mont Blanc Miki (4-2-1, 1) [田中美樹].
For Matsuda this will be her first defense of the Japanese title though strange it seems that Matsuda's OPBF Atomweight will not be on the line here.
The Victoriva cards do tend to be pretty stacked and with 3 title bouts, including 2 world title bouts, it's clear that this card is well worth some attention if you follow female boxing, especially given that there so much Atomweight talent on show for this card, with all 3 announced title bouts taking place at 102lbs. We may well see at least some of winners facing off in the near future.
Earlier today the main event of Victoriva 5 was announced and it's a match that was originally planned for last November before cancelled due to an injury of one of the fighters. Now, close to a year later, the fight will go ahead.
The match up question will see WBA "interim" Atomweight champion Ayaka Miyao (23-7-1, 6) [宮尾 綾香] take on the WBA's regular champion Monseratt Alcaron (12-4-2) in a bout to unify the title on September 12th at Korakuen Hall.
Originally the bout was set for last year, though Alcarron suffered an injury, forcing her out of the bout. She was replaced by Miyao's nemesis Nao Ikeyama [森脇恵子], in a bout for the interim title. Miyao would win the decision over Ikeyama, in what was the third bout between the two veterans and the first that Miyao had won.
Since winning the Interim title Miyao hasn't fought at all, likely waiting for Alcarron to be ready to face her. As for the Mexican she actually defended her title in April, with a decision win against fellow Mexican Nora Cardoza, in her only bout following her injury late last year.
The bout will be one of two Atomweight title fights on the show, joining the previously announced contest between IBF champion Saemi Hanagata (15-7-4, 7) [田中冴美] and Nao Ikeyama (18-5-4, 5) [森脇恵子], who will be fighting for the third time following 2 previous draws.
For those unaware the Victoriva shows are female only cards, and are a festival of female boxing, providing high level female fights, and showing that cards of female bouts can be wonderfully entertaining. Given the double main event here it should be clear the quality of these shows really is fantastic and we suspect the two title bouts will both be thrillers.
Earlier today it was revealed that IBF Atomweight champion Saemi Hanagata (15-7-4, 7) [田中冴美] would be returning to the ring on September 12th to defend her belt against veteran nemesis Nao Ikeyama (18-5-4, 5) [森脇恵子], in what will be their third bout following 2 previous draws.
The 34 year old champion will be making her first defense of the title she won last September, when she beat Yuko Kuroki in a thrilling 10 round war, ending a trilogy with Kuroki in the process. That win saw Hanagata finally win the big one after the two draws with Ikeyama, and losing other world title fights to Naoko Shibata and Momo Koseki.
Whilst Hanagata is no spring chicken, at 34, she's a boxing baby compared to the 49 year old Ikeyama, who turns 50 just days after this bout. Ikeyama has set all sorts of records for being the oldest world champion, oldest first time champion and similar types of records, following a reign as the WBO Atomweight queen, but more than 2 years removed from her last win, and is 1-2-3 in her last 6, with the one win being a freak one against Ayaka Miyao who suffered an horrific injury to her leg and was forced to retire from the bout in round 6, though later got revenge with a decision win in 2018.
At the moment no other bouts have been announced for this card, but it will be fought on a "Victoriva" branded card at the Korakuen Hall. The previous Victoriva cards have been all female cars, so it's fair to assume this one will also be an all female one.
Today at the KBS Hall fight fans saw former world champions collide, as former WBC female Minimumweight champion Yuko Kuroki (17-6-2, 8) [黒木優子] battled former WBO Atomweight champion Nao Ikeyama (18-5-4, 5) [森脇恵子].
On paper this bout was a must win if either wanted to remain in the world title mix, though may it was actually more of "can't lose" rather than a "must win". If that was the case, then both will be relieved as they walked away from the bout with a split decision draw, in what was an ultra competitive 8 round battle.
From the opening round both women had their moments, but they were immediately cancelled out by the other fighter, in what was a really hard to score, bout. Kuroki's right jab was neutralised by Ikeyama's straight right, and the action, regularly fought at a high tempo.
Given the back and forth nature the bout was always going to be close on the cards and that showed, with the judges scoring it 77-75, Ikeyama, 77-76 Kuroki and 77-77 a draw.
After the bout both fighters seemed disappointed in their performance, and Ikeyama, who's now 49, did suggest she would be consulting people before considering her next step, which certainly could be retirement. Given how she performed today however retirement isn't a given for the veteran, and she hung with a naturally bigger and younger fighter.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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