On June 19th we'll see unified Bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue (20-0, 17) [井上 尚弥] defending his WBA "Super" and IBF Bantamweight titles against Filipino fighter Michael Dasmarinas (30-2-1, 20), who enters as the IBF's mandatory challenger. Today, ahead of that bout, Inoue and promoter Hideyuki Ohashi attended a virtual press conference to talk about that contest, the future and Nonito Donaire.
It was revealed at the press conference that sparring for the bout finished on May 29th, with the focus now being on preparing final adjustments and shadow boxing. The sparring was high quality sparring with Japanese talent, such as Reiya Abe (21-3-1, 9) [阿部麗也], Ikuro Sadatsune (11-4-3, 4) [定常 育郎], Rentaro Kimura (3-0, 3) [木村蓮太朗], Jin Minamide (4-1, 3) [南出仁] and OPBF Bantamweight champion Kazuki Nakajima (10-0-1, 8) [中嶋一輝]. It should be noted that he sparred more for this bout than he usually does, and that was put down to the fact he was in better shape than usual.
It should be noted that the sparring partners, on the whole, are southpaws who are taller than Inoue, and naturally bigger. That was obviously the focus of the sparring to try and prepare directly for Dasmarinas.
The travel plan is to leave Japan for the bout on Wednesday, along with a rather sizable team, a reported 10 people in total. This should give him over a week to shake whatever jetlag he might have upon landing in the US.
Regarding weight issues, Inoue stated that he suffered from somecramps ahead of his last bout, against Jason Moloney, and will be looking to avoid them here. Though it appears there is no issues at all in making the 118lb Bantamweight limit, and that his weight loss is very much "as usual" and that he feels the same way he usually does 2 weeks before a bout.
In regards to Dasmarinas, it appears a careful, cautious gameplan has been set up for Inoue. They seem wary about Dasmarinas's size and reach, but will look to break him down slowly.
The longer term plan, after he gets past Dasmarinas, is for Inoue to attempt to unify all 4 Bantamweight world titles. He spoke aboue wanting to face recently WBC champion Nonito Donaire, and it was clear that's a bout Inoue has his eye on for the future. It was also a bout that Hideyuki Ohashi also spoke about wanting, whilst also praising Donaire's recent win over Nordine Oubaali.
One other thing that was mentioned here was that Inoue's purse for the fight was $1,000,000.
Earlier today Japanese star Naoya Inoue (20-0, 17) [井上 尚弥] was part of a press conference talking about his up coming bout against mandatory challenger Michael Dasmarinas (30-2-1, 20).
At the event the unbeaten "Monster", who will be defending his WBA "Super" and IBF Bantamweight against IBF Dasmarinas in June, was joined by his father, Shingo Inoue, and promoter Hideyuki Ohashi, who also gave comments to the press.
Inoue himself spoke about Dasmarinas in more detail, explaining that the Filipino is "A type that has a high KO rate and moves firmly. It is my first time to play against a tall southpaw, but I am not bad at it." Despite this being his first bout against a tall southpaw Inoue also wants to show some new tools in arsenal, stating "I've become able to react more accurately to the opponent's movements and hit punches. I want to show a different boxing than usual."
Of course a change of style is a risk but it appears that the aim for Inoue is the same as usual, with the fighter aiming for a KO win, and to appeal to the fans in the venue, stating "I want to grab the hearts of local fans and come back,"
This will be the third notable southpaw for Inoue, who has blown out Omar Andres Narvaez and Juan Carlos Payano. It's clear he's good against lefties, but he is still working on counter measures to deal with Dasmarinas, and to do that he has brought two Japanese fighters into camp, sparring with Reiya Abe (21-3-1, 9) [阿部麗也] and Ikuro Sadatsune (11-4-3, 4) [定常 育郎] whilst also having worked with Rentaro Kimura (3-0, 3) [木村蓮太朗], in the wake of Inoue's last bout late last year.
Naoya's father, Shingo also explained that they had been working on southpaw counter-measures and stated "I was able to take measures against southpaw from an early stage and practice at a fairly high level. (Dasmarinas) The guard is solid and the punch is strong, but Nao (Naoya) Can attack and destroy it from himself, or he can do it. I'm not worried about anything."
Mr Ohashi himself seemed confident, and wanting his man to impress, and not just win, stating"I want you to surprise American fans with the overwhelming KO that seems to be a monster. I want you to show me a great KO."
Inoue knows that this is a bout he's supposed to win, but he seemed very focused on winning, especially if he wants the big bouts and the much anticipated unification bouts. He made it clear that this bout was the next step in his career, "Clearing here and heading for a unified battle is a big motivation. If you have such a high motivation to face Dasmarinas, you can have a pretty good match. I want to go to the match."
For those interest the plan from the Inoue team is to face Dasmarinas, as scheduled in June, and then fight again before the end of the year, as well as next spring, as they look to unify the 4 Bantamweight world titles.
(Image courtesy of Ohashi Gym)
Earlier today fight fans at Korakuen Hall had the latest show in the Dynamic Glove series of shows, with this show set to be aired in May on G+. The card featured several bouts of note, including a Japanese Light Middleweight title bout, between Hironobu Matsunaga and Rei Nakajima.
For those wanting to watch this, as live, when it's finally aired, we have included this spoiler warning introduction. Please note that spoilers will begin in the next paragraph, starting with the the first under-card bout, and then moving on through the other bouts on the show. If you wish to avoid those spoilers, please stop reading now.
The show began with a 4 round bout between unbeaten novices Taichi Mano (1-0-2) [真野 泰地] and Kanta Kawamura (1-0-1, 1) [川村 栞汰], who both managed to remain unbeaten as they fought to a 4 round split decision draw. This was a good back and forth to kick the show off, and neither man ever really seemed to take control. A good, solid, honest bout to kick off the event, and one that neither man deserved to lose.
The second bout saw teenage Kai Watanabe (1-0) [渡邉 海] kick off his professional career in successful manner, as he out pointed 33 year old Hikaro Sato (2-6-1) [佐藤 光] over 4 rounds. Watanabe was too good from the off. He backed well behind his long reach and whilst Sato tried to turn things around he just walked into shots, taking a lot of punishment, and being cut in round 2. This really was a one sided show case of Watanabe's ability, and a very solid performance from the teenager.
The final 4 rounder saw Teppei Saito (4-1, 2) [齋藤 哲平] take a majority decision against Ayumu Komoto (2-2-1, 2) [河本 歩夢]. Like the bout that opened the event this was really competitive, but it always seemed that Saito was just a touch more eye catching with his work in the first 3 rounds. Komoto was always in the bout, but didn't do quite enough to earn the draw.
The first of 3 notable bouts saw Reiya Abe (21-3-1, 9) [阿部麗也] take a technical decision win over Koshin Takeshima (4-2-1, 3) [竹嶋宏心]. Takeshima started well, and seemed to take the first round, but he was cut in round 2 from an accidental headclash and never seemed to settle after that. In fact Abe seemed to build from knowing Takeshima was a wounded fighter, and he dropped Takeshima in round 3. Takeshima would then suffer another cut, again from an accidental headclash, as his face became a genuine mess.
Knowing he was behind Takeshima tried to turn things around in round 4, and has some success, but Abe's clever boxing saw him take rounds 5 and 6. In round 7 Takeshimna was deducted a point for holding, and late saw the bout being stopped due to his cuts.
At an official time of 2:42 in round 7 the bout was stopped with Abe taking the decision thanks to scores of 67-64, 68-64 and 68-63.
In the second notably bout Japanese Youth Minimumweight champion Kai Ishizawa (8-1, 7) [石澤開] successfully defended his title with a majority decision win over Yuni Takada (8-7-2, 3) [高田勇仁]. This was surprisingly competitive, with Takada really performing much better than expected.
Early on Takada used his speed well and let his hands go whilst moving and stopped Ishizawa from setting his feet. It was the perfect game plan to neutralise Ishizawa's pressure. Sadly however that was an energy sapping gameplan from Takada and one that was not going to be easy to do for 8 rounds against someone as aggressive, strong and powerful as Ishizawa.
In the later rounds Ishizawa's pressure finally started to break through as he got cl0se and got his shots off, doing what he needed to win. After 8 rounds we went to the scorecards with scores of 76-76, 78-74 and 79-73, giving Ishizawa his first decision wins as a professional.
In the main event Japanese Light Middleweight champion Hironobu Matsunaga (18-1, 11) [松永 宏信] recorded his third defense, but really hard to work for it as he narrowly over-came Rei Nakajima (4-1) [中島玲].
Nakajima made the most of his speed advantage early on, and seemed to look confident in the early round, but Matsunaga did what he has been doing for years, and began to find his rhythm in round 2, coming forward behind his jab. In rounds 3 and 4 he began to force his fight, and Nakajima really was made to feel somewhat uncomfortable due to the aggression and pressure of Matsunaga.
After 5 rounds Matsunaga was leading on all 3 cards, 48-47, twice and 49-46.
Knowing he was behind Nakajima looked to change things around, but Matsunaga wasn't having it and looked to tighten his stranglehold on the action. That was despite some really good moments from Nakajima, who really tried to change the tide of the bout, especially in round 9.It was, however, too little too late.
After 10 rounds the two men seemed to have some real respect for each other, following what was a well contested bout. Sadly for Nakajima however he did come up short on all 3 cards, with scores of 97-93, twice and 96-94 all in favour of Nakajima.
Again for those wanting to watch, the show will be televised on G+ on May. A disappointingly long wait for a show that took place with more than a week of April still remaining.
Tomorrow at Korakuen Hall fans will get the chance to see former Japanese title challenger Reiya Abe (20-3-1, 9) [阿部麗也] battling the once beaten Koshin Takeshima (4-1-1, 3) [竹嶋宏心] in a very interesting looking 8 round bout fought between the Featherweight and Super Featherweight divisions.
Today, ahead of that bout, the two men took part in their weigh in and both men made the agreed weight, of 58KG's, without any issue.
On the scales Abe was 127.6lbs whilst Takeshima was 127.9lbs, just slightly heavier.
After making weight Abe spoke about being aware of Takeshima's amateur pedigree, speed and skills, but sounded confident that he would have the tools to deal with Takeshima. Sadly however he seemed to almost rule out going for a KO. For fans who have followed Abe over the years, it's been his safety first approach which has held him back from becoming a fan favourite. He is incredibly talented, but lacks any sense of urgency. He seems to be looking at this bout as a chance to give his career a boost and move on to bigger and better things.
Takeshima seemed less confident, but still sounded like a man who felt he could pick up a win here and really get his career back on track. Interestingly this will be his first bout since transferring to the Midori Gym, where he looks to rebuild from a couple of poor performance and setbacks.
Sadly for fans wanting to watch this we need to wait until May 10th, which is when G+ will air the bout on tape delay.
(Image credit - Yokohama Hikari Gym)
Over the last 24 hours or so the schedule on the JOSC (JBC Official Supporters Club) website has revealed a new bout set for April 21st, as part of a Yokohama Hikari show at Korakuen Hall.
The bout in question will see Japanese Youth Minimumweight champion Kai Ishizawa (7-1, 7) [石澤開] defending his title, for the first time, as he takes on Yuni Takada (8-6-2, 3) [高田勇仁], in a bout scheduled for 8 rounds.
The talented and hard hitting Ishizawa won the belt back in 2018, when he stopped Yuga Inoue in a sensational bout. The following year the title seemed to be forgotten as Ishizawa focused on securing a Japanese title fight, losing in an eliminator against Masataka Taniguchi. Sadly 2020 was a bit of a write off for Ishizawa, who only squeezed one bout into the year, though did shake off some ring rust with a TKO in over Masashi Tada.
On paper Takada looks like a poor challenger, especially given that he's win-less in his last 3 and is 2-4-1 in his last 7, however he's not a push over. Last year he fought to a draw with Hizuki Saso and suffered a competitive loss to former Japanese champion Norihito Tanaka, and in 2019 he gave the exciting Toshiki Kawamitsu arguably his toughest bout to date.
Ishizawa should have too much for Takada, but we certainly won't be complain about seeing the heavy handed youngster back in action, with bigger and better things surely on the horizon for him.
The bout will be on a show, headlined by Japanese Light Middleweight champion Hironobu Matsunaga (17-1, 11) [松永 宏信] defending his title his title against Rei Nakajima (4-0) [中島玲] and will also feature Reiya Abe (20-3-1, 9) [阿部麗也] battling Koshin Takeshima (4-1-1, 3) [竹嶋宏心].
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