Earlier today the Watanabe Gym held their latest show, doing so in Kumamoto where two of the gym's best young talents got a chance to perform in front of their family and friends, rather than the more typical audience that would see them in Tokyo.
The first of the two youngsters was Japanese Minimumweight champion Ginjiro Shigeoka (8-0, 6) [重岡銀次朗], who recorded his first defense of the title as he stopped the usually durable veteran Naoya Haruguchi (18-13, 7) [春口直也] in 4 rounds.
From the off Shigeoka applied constant intelligent pressure, whilst Haruguchi backed off, looked to use the ring and and tie up when Shigeoka got close. Despite being under pressure through the first round Haruguchi saw it out without too many problems, though it was clear that this was going to be a very, very tough night for him, and one that was going to test him mentally and physically. In round 2 the output from Shigeoka increased, and it was clear that he was just starting to go through the gears, with Haruguchi being forced to fire back to just survive. By the end of the round Haruguchi's time seemed to be numbered as Shigeoka landed numerous spiteful shots and looked at ease through the round.
In round 3 we saw Haruguchi's face begin to swell up as the heavy hands of Shigeoka began to take a toll on the challenger, especially around his right eye. That swelling got worse in round 4, as Haruguchi tried to merely survive, and essentially stopped all of his offensive output. Unfortunately for Haruguchi, Shigeoka didn't let up, and with Shigeoka unloading on the challenger the referee stepped in and saved Haruguchi, after 1 minutes 48 seconds of the 4th round.
It seems that next up for Shigeoka will be a world title fight, potentially in the winter.
Following Ginjiro's win we then saw his older brother Yudai Shigeoka (5-0, 3) [重岡優大] retained the WBO Asia Pacific Minimumweight title, and stopped Filipino challenger Cris Ganoza (19-4, 9).
Like his brother we saw Shigeoka apply intelligent pressure early on as Ganoza looked to create space and box from the ropes. Unlike Ginjiro we didn't see all out intense pressure from Yudai, who was happier to show some different looks, and even back off from Ganoza to draw him off the ropes and into the center of the ring. Through out the round it was clear Yudai had too much skill, speed and power for the Filipino, who seemed to feel the jab of Shigeoka several times and backed off after feeling them. The calm, and relaxed nature of Shigeoka's pressure and general work saw him really bossing the first round. He then stepped up his aggression in round 2, holding his feet in center ring and trying to hurt Ganoza when he let his shots go. This forced a response from Ganoza, but the Filipino really struggled to land much clean, whilst he took a lot of heavy shots himself.
In round 3 Shigeoka came out with a seek an destroy mentality, targetting the body of Ganoza from the start of the round. Ganoza showed his toughness and desire, but was almost gutted by a wide, sweeping left hand to the body, that dropped him for the count, securing the older Shigeoka brother his first defense of his regional title
Tomorrow in Kumamoto fight fans will get an interesting title double header thanks to Watanabe Gym. The show is certainly not a big one, but it is an interesting one with two very notable bouts. Today, ahead of those two bouts, the men involved took part in their weigh ins.
One of those bouts will see Japanese Minimumweight champion Ginjiro Shigeoka (7-0, 5) [重岡銀次朗] make his first defense of the title as he takes on Naoya Haruguchi (18-12, 7) [春口直也]. One the scales Shigeoka was bang on the divisional limit, weighing in at 105lbs. He looked in great shape, and he will know that a win here will have him set up perfectly for a world title fight later in the year, potentially against WBC champion Panya Pradabsri. Haruguchi on the other hand was slightly under the limit, at 104.8lbs.
Despite coming in to this bout as a clear under-dog, Haruguchi sounded confident of making the most of his opportunity and the 33 year old will know this is a make or break fight for his career. Interestingly he looked a division bigger than Shigeoka, and towered over the champion. If he's to win, he will have to use that size advantage here.
The other title bout will see Ginjiro's older brother Yudai Shigeoka (4-0, 2) [重岡優大] defind the WBO Asia Pacific Minimumweight title against Filipino challenger Cris Ganoza (19-3, 9).
As with his brother, Yudai came in bang on the weight limit, and revealed that he was happy to fight in Kumamoto, where the two brothers are originally from. As for Ganoza he was 103.6lbs, way under the limit. When the two men stood near enough other it was clear that Shigeoka was the naturally bigger man, but Ganoza coming in so far under the limit was a genuine surprise.
Japanese Ginjiro Shigeoka takes on Haruguchi in first defense
Regional champion Shigeoka takes on Filipino challenger Ganoza
Earlier today Watanabe Gym announced a Shigeoka double header for July 6th at the Kumamoto Prefectural Gymnasium, with both of the talented Shgeioka brothers defending their titles on the show.
the first of the two Shigeoka's in action will be Japanese Minimumweight champion Ginjiro Shigeoka (7-0, 5) [重岡銀次朗], who will be making his first defense of the title as he takes on Naoya Haruguchi (18-12, 7) [春口直也].
The hard hitting Shigeoka won the title in March, when he took a wide decision win over Tatsuro Nakashima, and will be looking to really boost his profile after that win, which was a disappointing performance. The talented Shigeoka is widely regarded as one of the elite prospects at 105lbs, and the 22 year old is widely expected to be fighting for a world title in the very near future. As for Haruguchi he's the #1 ranked contender to the Japanese title and the 32 year old veteran will be getting his second Japanese title fight, following a loss in 2019 to Norihito Tanaka.
The other Shigeoka in action on this card will be Ginjiro's older brother Yudai Shigeoka (4-0, 2) [重岡優大] , who defends the WBO Asia Pacific Minimumweight title, which he won back in November when he defeated Tsubasa Koura in a hard fought majority decision. The 25 year old Shigeoka will be taking on Filipino foe Cris Ganoza (19-3, 9), who enters as the #10 ranked challenger for the title.
The older Shigeoka brother, who is ranked in the top 15 by the WBO and WBC, will know that he's heading towards a world title fight of his own, and a good win here over Ganoza will open doors for him at world level.
Also on this card will be the unbeaten Kyotaro Yoshida (2-0) [吉田京太郎], who competes in his first 8 rounder, though his opponents wasn't announced earlier today.
Earlier today at Korakuen Hall fight fans had the chance to see the latest show from the MT Gym, who had some of their most notable fighters in action.
Before we look at the results from the two main bouts, we do need to quickly touch on a man who was at the venue, but not in action. That was WBO Flyweight champion Junto Nakatani (22-0, 17) [中谷 潤人], who took to the ring to talk about his first world title defense, a stoppage win a few weeks ago against Angel Acosta, and the fact he wants to face WBC champion Julio Cesar Martinez. He re-iterated the fact he wanted to defend his title again this year, though it does seem like a decision will need to be made quickly if Nakatani is going to fight again in 2021.
So on to the bouts, the first of two notable contests was an 8 rounder between Shigetoshi Kotari (2-1-1, 1) [神足茂利] and Jun Ikegawa (2-0-1) [池側純], which promised a lot between two very technically skilled and capable fighters. Sadly the bout failed to reach the expectations we, and others hand, and also left us with a disappointing result.
The bout started as expected, with both men looking to use their strong amateur fundamentals to begin with, and it seemed like we were going to get the bout we all expected. That continued into round 5, with Ikegawa dropping Kotari with a great counter punch. Sadly though a cut, caused by a headclash, forced the bout to be stopped at the very start of round 6, curtailing what has began to warm up in to something very interesting.
Sadly the the cut forced us to go to the judges at 3 seconds of round 6, resulting in a 6th round technical draw
Thankfully the main event saw a decisive conclusion as Kai Ishizawa (9-1, 8) [石澤開] stopped Naoya Haruguchi (18-12, 7) [春口直也], to become the mandatory challenger for the Japanese Minimumweight title in 2022. Ishizawa looked to force the bout from the off, but credit has to go to Haruguchi early on for thwarting the pressure, aggression and power of Ishizawa, even if it did take some holding, spoiling and wrestling from Haruguchi to blunt Ishizawa's attacks in the opening two rounds. In round 3 however Ishizawa began to turn up the heat, landing heavy left hooks and right uppercuts, getting to his man. That was the start of the end and the following round Ishizawa's aggression got too much, forcing the referee to get in between the men and save Haruguchi from further punishment.
With the win Ishizawa does book himself a title shot, though it's unclear if that will be against current champion Masataka Taniguchi (14-3, 9) [谷口将隆] or for the vacant title instead as Taniguchi is expected to vacate the belt and fight for the WBO world title in the near future.
Filipino Jessebelle Pagaduan to challenge Tenkai Tsunami for WBO world title in December!
Earlier this month we reported that WBO female Light Flyweight champion Tenkai Tsunami (26-12-1, 15) [天海 ツナミ] would be defending her title in December against a then un-named opponent. At the time we had the when, December 14th, and the where, Kagoshima, but not the who.
Today that changed with sources informing us that Tsunami's opponent for the bout would be 2-time world title challenger Jessebelle Pagaduan (12-1-1, 5) from the Philippines.
The 35 year old Pagaduan has twice failed in world title challenges in Japan, losing widely to the then WBO Atomweight champion Nao Ikeyama in 2014 and suffering a technical draw against Kumiko Seeser Ikehara in a WBO female Minimumweight title bout in 2015. Those two set backs aside she's 12-0 though has been picking up wins against mostly abject opposition.
Although her competition hasn't been great Pagaduan does enter this bout unbeaten in 7, and riding a 5 fight winning run, which has included wins over domestic foes Aisah Alico and Charimae Salvador.
For Tsunami this will be her second defense of the title, as she looks to build on a July 2018 win over Gretchen Abaniel. The Japanese veteran was last seen in the ring fighting to a split decision draw in a 10 round thriller against Naoko Fujioka this past July in a bout for Fujioka's WBA female Flyweight title, though will be moving back down in weight for this bout at 108lbs.
As well as the world title fight the show will also see 30 year old Japanese stalwart Naoya Haruguchi (15-11, 6) [春口直也] take on Thai foe Sanchai Yotboon (6-3, 6) and 2018 Rookie of the Year Sora Takeda (5-1, 1) [竹田宙] will be up against unbeaten Thai teenager Phanuwit Siriwong (7-0, 6)
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