Earlier today at Korakuen Hall, we had the first Japanese show of 2022, and it was a notable one with several notable domestic clashes on it, including the first Japanese title bout of the year, several bouts with notable prospects and a bout featuring a highly ranked Japanese veteran.
The first of the notable bouts saw JBC #2 ranked Super Welterweight Makoto Kawasaki (12-8-1, 2) [川崎真琴] return to the ring for the first time since September 2019. Despite the long lay off, he was in total control against Fumisuke Kimura (9-9-1, 6) [木村文祐], in a bout fought just above the Welterweight limit. Kawasaki shook off some ring rust here and took a wide, and clear, decision win, which would likely have been the plan going in. After 8 rounds the scores were 79-73, twice, and 78-74, all for Kawasaki.
In the second bout of note the unbeaten, and often over-looked, Tentaro Kimura (8-0-2) [木村天汰郎] scored an 8 round shut out win over Kaito Takeshima (6-4-1, 1) [竹嶋海刀]. This was an excellent performance from Kimura, who controlled the tempo, the range and the style of fight by using his speed, landing good counters and earned Kaito's respect. Although still without a stoppage after 10 bouts it's clear Kimura has genuine skills, and training with his cousin, the touted Rentaro Kimura, will help him develop his skillset. There are still a lot of areas he can improve but this was a very good performance and it's good to see the improvements being made fight by fight from Kimura.
The chief support bout saw the unbeaten Narumi Yukawa (4-0, 3) [湯川成美] score his latest win, as he stopped Kanta Fukui (8-5-1, 6) [福井貫太] in 6 rounds. Yukawa came with a point to prove from the off, pressing Fukui through the first round, and hitting his foe with some big body shots. Those body shots continued through round 2 and in round 3 Fukui tried to fight fire with fire, making for some great action. Sadly for Fukui he couldn't get Yukawa to respect him, and instead Yukawa had so much more in his locker. In round 6 Yukawa showed his class, and some of his more advanced tools as he turned southpaw, and hurt Fukui, before forcing the referee to step in and save Fukui. After the bout it was reported that Fukui had suffered a suspect broken jaw.
The main event saw Kai Ishizawa (10-1, 9) [石澤開] claim his biggest win to date, as he stopped the previously unbeaten Katsuki Mori (9-1, 2) [森 且貴] to claim the previously vacant Japanese Minimumweight title.
The Japanese title was vacated late last year by Masataka Taniguchi, the current WBO world champion, and it was clear that both men really wanted to claim the belt.
The fight started well for Mori who looked good through the first round with a busy jab, whilst Ishizawa brought pressure, trying to close the distance and get his uppercuts and hooks into play. Ishizawa had notable success in round 2, before Mori bounced back well in round 3, using good in and out motion, which he continued to use well in round 4. Sadly for Mori however his success was never really troubling Ishizawa who who landed several big body shots in round 5, as he slowly began to break down his younger, lighter hitting foe.
After 5 rounds we had the open scoring kick in, with all 3 judges having Ishizawa up 48-47. Despite the close scores, it seemed like Mori always had to try harder than Ishizawa, and put more energy into his success. In round 6 Ishizawa's power showed it's self for the first time, as he hurt Mori, who tried to fight back in round 7. Sadly the attempted fight back from Mori left him to close, and in round 8 Ishizawa really began to get going, unloading good shots up top and downstairs, before dropping Mori with a series of uppercuts. With Mori down and a count being given Ishizawa's team threw in the towel.
With the win Ishizawa adds the Japanese national title to a previous reign as the Japanese Youth champion. He also takes a huge stride towards getting a world title fight, and a potential rematch with Masataka Taniguchi, the only man to have beaten him in the professional ranks.
Earlier today we saw the announcement of the first Ohashi show of 2022, which is set to take place on January 11th at Korakuen Hall. The card is a very solid one, from top to bottom, it's really the main event which will have people's attention, and will also see a new Japanese champion being crowned.
The match up at the top of the card will see hard hitting Japanese destroyer Kai Ishizawa (9-1, 8) [石澤開] take on the unbeaten Katsuki Mori (9-0, 2) [森 且貴] for the vacant Japanese Minimumweight title, which was vacated by Masataka Taniguchi (14-3, 9) [谷口将隆] ahead of his upcoming WBO world title fight. This should be a fantastic match up pitting Ishizawa's pressure, power and aggression, against the speed, movement, and skills of Mori, who is stepping up massively for the contest.
For both men it will be their first bout for a Japanese title, though Ishizawa has won, and defended, the Japanese Youth title in the past, and is more proven and battled hardened fighter. Despite that it's Mori's promoter in charge of the show, and we suspect Mori and his team wouldn't have raced into a fight with Ishizawa unless they felt ready to face the feared 24, soon to be 25, year old.
Whilst the main event is the major talking point for this card, it will be packed with notable names. These include young hopefuls like Rikuto Adachi (15-3, 11) [安達 陸虎], Tentaro Kimura (7-0-2) [木村天汰郎] and Narumi Yukawa (3-0, 2) [湯川成美] as well as veterans like Makoto Kawasaki (11-8-1, 2) [川崎 真琴].
Earlier today Japanese fight fans in Shizuoka got the latest show from Suruga Danji and his promotional stable. The event wasn't a huge one, but it was certainly a very interesting one with a lot of notable Japanese prospects on the card, including some who are tipped as future stars and world champions.
With that show now over, we're going to look over the show and cover the results from the event.
The show kicked off with an 8 round bout between the talented, but often over-looked, Tentaro Kimura (7-0-2) [木村 天汰郎] and the "better than his record suggests" Satoru Hoshiba (7-6, 2) [干場悟]. Kimura made this look easy as he controlled the distance and tempo, making the most of his left hook at range and right uppercuts up close. Hoshiba tried to turn things around, coming forward and pressing, but his tactics really were well neutralised by the movement of Kimura who was a ver clear winner, though did seem exhausted in round 8, when he held on a little bit too much for our liking.
After 8 rounds the scores here were 80-72, 79-73 and 77-75.
The second bout on the show saw Narumi Yukawa (3-0, 2) [湯川 成美] score his biggest win since turning professional as he stopped the experienced Yuji Awata (12-9-1, 5) [粟田 祐之] in 4 rounds. Yukawa pressed from the off, and constantly looked to close the distance. The pressure from Yukawa came at a cost early on, as he was dropped from a counter in the opening round, and took a lot of shots as a result of his desire to come forward, but he kept pressing and managed to get a real break through in round 3, when he got inside and started to work the body of Awata. The pressure of Yukawa worked again in round 4, as he hurt his man, backing him up and dropping him with a big left hook.
Whilst it's a worry to see Yukawa being dropped, and we do wonder whether his style is going to be suited to a successful and long career, it's great to see him rebound from a knockdown, stick to his game plan and stopping his man. He needs to tighten up defensively going forward, but there is no doubting how fun he's going to be to watch over the coming years.
The shows first real surprise came in it's third bout as JBC #5 ranked Super Flyweight Tsubasa Murachi (7-1-1, 3) [村地 翼] struggled to a draw against Yuto Nakamura (11-6-2, 8) [中村 祐斗], who had no momentum coming in to the bout. Murachi made a good start, boxing well behind his jab and landing some good right hands to control the first 4 rounds. Despite being out boxed early on Nakamura showed no fear and looked to apply pressure through the bout, pressing and pressuring the touted Murachi, and looking to cut the ring off. In the second half of the fight that pressure began to tell as Nakamura racked up the later rounds, making up for losing the earlier ones. After 8 rounds this was a hard one to call, and it showed on the scorecards which were 78-74, Murachi, 77-75 Nakamura, and 76-76, resulting in a split decision draw.
The chief support bout saw second generation fighter Kento Hatanaka (12-0, 9) [畑中 建人] score his latest win as he took an 8 round decision over the tough Daisuke Sudo (7-8-3) [須藤大介]. Hatanaka, who hadn't fought since February 2020, looked to land crisp left uppercuts up close. Sudo, who likely knew he wouldn't be able to compete with Hatanaka in a boxing contest, looked to make this a war, getting inside when he could and attacking the body in the pocket. That style made this an exciting bout, but Hatanaka's uppercutts up close, and good combinations caught the eye, even if the fight was fought where Sudo wanted it. After 8 rounds Sudo had done enough to take a few rounds, but not make it competitive, and the scorecards were 79-73, twice, and 78-74 all to Hatanaka, who we suspect will be looking to land a Japanese title fight in 2022.
The main event saw the talented Rentaro Kimura (5-0, 3) [木村蓮太朗] get the biggest test of his career, and narrowly come away with a win as he over-came the huge punching Yoji Saito (3-2-2, 3) [齊藤陽ニ] in a hotly contested 8 rounder.
In the opening round Saito's power was the telling fact as he landed a huge right hook, dropping Kimura for the first time in his career. The knockdown was the perfect start for Saito, and a wake up call to Kimura, who realised that he couldn't take risks with someone as heavy handed as Saito. In rounds 2 and 3 Kimura battled back well, winning both rounds with his boxing, speed and skills, to essentially undo the 10-8 opening round. Sadly for Kimura he was dropped again towards the end of round 4, as he found himself in a hole for the second time in the fight.
In round 5 Kimura, who knew he couldn't afford any more slip ups, changed tactics, and rather than boxing, he took the fight to Saito, neutralising the power but smothering the heavy handed Saito. Saito had some success up close, but it was Kimura was regularly getting the better of things, whilst also preventing Saito from getting full purchase on his shots. The final 4 rounds were brilliant, and showed that there was a real fighter in Kimura, who did just enough to earn the decision, with scores of 76-74, twice, and 75-75, to get the majority decision.
The plan for Kimura is to get a title fight next year, and this was the perfect gut check for him before a title bout. He needs to tighten up his defense, he needs to appreciate opponents, like Saito, who are dangerous, but there is no doubting his heart, determination and skills. As for Saito he's one of those fighters with a very misleading record, and he is a devastating puncher, who is a threat to anyone at 130 or 135 in Japan.
In Nagoya earlier today fight fans saw a new champion being crowned as local hopeful Tom Mizokoshi (8-3-1, 4) [溝越 斗夢] was dethroned of the Japanese Youth Super Bantamweight title, in his first defense, by the hard hitting Haruki Ishikawa (9-3, 7) [石川春樹].
Prior to the bout both men had stated that they were looking for KO's though that didn't show it's self in the opening round, as Ishikawa boxed calmly and Mizkoshi looked to land some solid counters, using his speed really well. Whilst the first round was a quiet one, it was the calm before the storm, with Mizokoshi looking to start round 2 quicker but ended up getting too close and eating a huge left hook that dropped the defending champion hard.
To his credit Mizkoshi got to his feet, but he was a wounded animal and Ishikawa smelled blood, going for the kill and knocking out Mizokoshi just moments later, when the bout resumed.
After the bout an emotional Ishikawa spoke about taking the title belt to his father's grave, following his dad's passing a year ago tomorrow. It was incredibly clear that the win meant a lot to him, and being able to score the win so close to the anniversary of his father's passing seemed to make an event more important win. He also stated that he would like to have a rematch with Toshiya Ishii (3-1, 2) [石井渡士也], who beat him in 2019.
As for Mizokoshi he notably complained about jaw pain after the bout, and this could be an issue as he did suffer some facial fractures following a loss last year, and it would be a huge shame to see those issues resurfacing here.
The under-card, on the whole, was weak however the main support bout did see the talented Narumi Yukawa (2-0, 1) [湯川 成美] score his second win as a professional, as he beat Kazuki Hase (5-3-1, 3) [長谷 和紀] in 4 rounds. The bout saw Yukawa starting offensively, and pressing, but he was dropped in round 3 from a hard left hook as his aggression was punished. Thankfully for him he recovered to his feat, composed, and went on to batter Hase in round 4, forcing a knockdown and subsequent stoppage from the referee.
Earlier this year we reported that there was set to be a show on June 27th in Nagoya, headlined by the professional debut of Mitsuro Tajima (0-0) [但馬ミツロ], who will face Japanese Heavyweight champion Ryu Ueda (9-1-1, 5) [上田龍] in a highly anticipated match up. Following that we also reported the main support bout for that show would see Tajima's stablemate at the Midori Gym Tom Mizokoshi (8-2-1, 4) [溝越 斗夢] defending the Japanese Youth Super Bantamweight champion title against Haruki Ishikawa (8-3, 6) [石川春樹].
Today we can report that that that show will have a third notable bout on it as touted prospect Narumi Yukawa (1-0) [湯川成美] has been added to the show in a 6 round bout at Lightweight.
The talented Yukawa, who made his debut earlier this year with a decision win over Yuya Azuma, will be up against Kazuki Hase (5-2-1, 3) [長谷和紀] in a solid looking match up.
Yukawa looked like he had the potential to be a star as an amateur before he was caught in possession of marijuana which saw him being given a suspended sentence and being up able to compete as a boxer until the sentence was served. Despite that he has kept his hunger for the sport, and he looked hugely entertaining in his debut, with an aggressive, fun and exciting style. He'll be looking to use that style to great effect here and impress the fans in Nagoya.
Yukawa isn't just an exciting fighter but also a very ambitious one, and according to one very notable Japanese boxing website has set himself the goal of beating Naoya Inoue.
Hase on the other hand is a fighter who hasn't had much attention of buzz, however the 22 year old from Toyama has been a professional since 2018 and has shared the ring with some fairly decent Japanese fighters, albeit novices, such as Kazuki Higuchi. He will come in to this bout as a clear under-dog, but is very much a live under-dog and will be hungry to over-come the touted upstart.
Although yet to be confirmed it's expected for this show to be made available on Boxing Raise, like many other Midori shows from Nagoya. For fans who currently have access to the Boxing Raise service Yukawa's debut is available on there in full.
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