Earlier today we had the first live televised card of the Japanese boxing calender, as we got the latest episode of Dynamic Glove. On paper the card didn't really grab the attention too much, but it genuinely over-delivered, giving us one of the better Dynamic Glove shows of recent years, with a bit of everything. We had action, excitement, guts, determination, controversy and a new Japanese champion being crowned on a show that was, arguably, worth the wait.
The show kicked off with a low level novice bout between Keigo Nakayama (4-2, 3) [中山慶伍] and Akira Nakajima (2-3, 1) [中島彬] and in all honesty this is how we love to see shows starting. The fight was sloppy at times, but all 4 rounds were exciting, with Nakayama bossing things for the most part, but taking his lumps through out the bout. After 4 rounds Nakayama got the deserved decision, but both men were left bloodied in a compelling 4 rounder.
We got another compelling 4 rounder afterwards as Kisato Nakaya (1-0) [中谷清彩人] took a questionable decision over fellow debutant Ryu Suzuki (0-1) [鈴木龍]. Through the bout Suzuki applied pressure, and seemed to have consistent success with that pressure, despite taking some good counter shots from Nakaya, who worked hard to make Suzuki chase him. In round 4 Nakaya looked spent, and even stumbled after the bell as his energy was running on empty, though the judges, somehow, gave him the decision. Whilst we don't agree with the decision this was a fantastic 4 rounder, and we'd love to see more of both men, especially Suzuki.
The third bout on the card was the most one-sided on the show, but some how saw both men coming out with their reputations enhanced. That was in part due to the brave determination of Sho Nagata (9-6, 2) [永田翔] who somehow managed to go the distance against Ryota Ishida (11-2, 6) [石田凌太]. That was despite being dropped within the first 20 seconds and looking like he was going to have his internal organs needing to be replace by the end of the first round. After a great start from Ishida he struggled to keep up the intensity as Nagata found space and his jab. At range Nagata had success and almost always did enough to keep Ishida honest. We say almost as there were some hairy moments late on for Nagata as he tired, but he saw out the storm and survived to the final bell. A good performance from both, and a well earned win for Ishida.
Another really interesting bout saw the determined Ren Kobayashi (4-2-1, 2) [小林廉] give second generation fighter Shinba Yamaguchi (2-0-1, 2) [山口臣馬] a really tough bout, despite the eventual result.
Yamaguchi managed to drop Kobayashi in the first, third and sixth round, with the referee stopping the bout after the third knockdown. However the fight wasn't as easy as that sounds and Yamaguchi was under intense pressure in every round, and was lucky his natural size and power could help him out here. He's clearly a very talented young fighter, but the result does cover up the trouble he had against Kobayashi's pressure, which saw Yamaguchi have problems in every round. Despite the loss we're hoping to see more of Kobayashi in the coming years, whilst Yamaguchi is likely to more into title level before his career is over, though clearly needs to make some significant tweaks to his style.
In the chief support bout we saw another bout where the loser arguably came off looking better than the winner. The bout saw Kaiki Yuba (8-1-2, 5) [湯場海樹] take an 8 round decision win over Tetsuya Kondo (6-5, 4) [近藤哲哉], but Kondo was the one who really caught the eye with his intense pressure, and determination making life very tricky for the talented Yuba.
Yuba seemed quite gun shy at times, likely the result of his TKO loss in 2021 to Jin Sasaki, and this allowed Kondo to pressure a little bit too easily at times. When Yuba did let his shots fly they looked the heavier and more eye catching, but the pressure of Kondo made him really uncomfortable and forced him to hold a lot on the inside. Thankfully for Yuba the middle rounds saw him finding his groove, and dropping Kondo in round 5, as well as hurting him several other times. This showed the effect of Yuba's power, and seemed like he was going to turn it on and take Kondo out, but Kondo gritted it out and made life tough for Yuba in the final stages, leaving the talented Yuba with a swollen left eye. The scores here, 79-72, 78-73 and 78-74, really don't reflect how competitive the bout was, and Yuba really hard to work hard for the win.
The main event of the show was expected to be something of a technical chess match as former amateur stand out Kyosuke Sawada (15-2-2, 6) [澤田京介] faced off with Kenshin Oshima (7-2-1, 3) [大嶋剣心] for the Japanese title fight. Surprisingly however it ended up being a thrilling, brutal, blood bath with both men left bloodied and bruised.
The fight started well, though it was clear looking at the two men that Oshima was the bigger man, in fact he looked 2 weight classes bigger than Sawada, however Sawada seemed the crisper, sharper boxer. The sharpness of Sawada showed through in the first minute or saw before Oshima tried to get phsyical and left us with a really exciting final 30 seconds, as he let his shots go and Sawada tried to respond.
In round 2 exchanges became a frequent thing between the two men, with both being hurt. Sawada was rocked early on, but Oshima couldn't jump on him, and soon afterwards Sawada responded, taking the fight to him, and looking genuinely pissed about being hurt. Sawada's amateur class began to shine through as he landed some excellent combinations and went hunting, finally sending Oshima stumbling into the ropes, and landing a combination before the referee could get between them to issue a count, as the ropes had clearly kept him up.
Sadly was was warming into a really good fight had a moment that changed everything in round 3 when a clash of heads left Sawada's head with a gash that immediately flowed with claret. It seemed as if the bout was, inevitably, going to be stopped, but the doctor let it continue before the two men went back to trading some big shots. Sawada landed a massive left hook, before eating an uppercut on the bell as the two men seemed to both be aware this could stop at any moment. Round 4 saw Sawada trying to change tactics and box more, brawl less, but Oshima didn't want to let Sawada fight his fight and instead did what he could to get up close, rough up Sawada, and further mess up the cut, which was turning the bout into something of a blood bath. The doctor inspected the cut again with about 80 seconds of the round left and let it continue, whilst Oshima continued to play rough.
In round 5 the cut finally forced the doctor to say enough was enough, and in fairness it did look like Sawada's corner had a pool of blood where he stool would have been. It was the right decision front he doctor, and took us to the scorecards.
The cards, which were to include the first 27 seconds of round 5, saw Oshima get the first one, 48-47, Sawada get the second, 48-46, and Sawada get the third, 48-47, to take the split decision win, and a win that will mean so much to him after the way things have gone for him in the last year, including a technical draw in a previous title fight against Ikuro Sadatsune and the cancelation of a rematch with Sadatsune.
Earlier today at the EDION Arena Osaka we had the penultimate set of fights from this year Rookie of the Year, with the show deciding the West Japan representatives for the All Japan final. In total there were 12 bouts, with bouts taking place at every where from Minimumweight to Middleweight, except for 154lbs.
The show kicked off with the Minimumweight bout, which saw teenager Ren Kojima (5-1-2) [小島 蓮] take a 4 round shut out win over Yosshah Matsumoto (1-2-1) [ヨッシャー松本]. Kojima was just the better man through out, he was busier, more accurate, used the ring better and even when Matsumoto had some success the play was taken away from him rather quickly.
The action was much more competitive at 108lbs, as Hyogo Kimura (6-1-1, 1) [木村 彪吾] fought to a majority draw with Nozomu Wakiyama (2-1-1) [脇山 望]. This was close through out, with the two men matching up very well. In round 2 it seemed like Kimura was getting the upper hand, but Wakiyama turned on the gas himself in round 3 before the two went to war in round 4. After the final bell two judges turned in cards of 38-38, whilst the third judge has it 40-36, giving Kimura the nod. Due to the tie breaker rules of Rookie of the Year this mean Kimura progressed to the All Japan final.
At Flyweight we had competitive action, with Yasuhiro Kanzaki (6-1, 2) [神崎 靖浩] taking a narrow unanimous decision over Takatora Suzuki (2-1-1) [鈴木 尊虎]. Suzuki seemed the more aggressive in the opening round, but Kanzaki used his jab well and began to control the ring, particularly in round 2. After that Suzuki always looked in the bout, and pressed well, but it was the clean punching and movement of Kanzaki that proved to be the difference.
In the Super Flyweight bout it was Taichi Sugimoto (6-0-1, 1) [杉本 太一] who came out on top in a battle of unbeaten men, out pointing Sora Sunohara (2-1-2) [春原 青空]. To begin with Sunohara looked to keep the bout cautions, but Sugimoto looked to press the action in rounds 2. This meant Sunohara was chasing the bout in the second half, which allowed Sugimoto the chance to land some solid shots and put his foot on the gas to put the decision beyond doubt at the end of 4 rounds.
We had the second shut out of the day at Bantamweight, as Fuya Tomita (5-2, 2) [冨田 風弥] popped the cherry of Ren Kobayashi (3-1, 1) [小林 廉]. Tomita used his height and reach well to begin the bout, and although Kobayashi had some success with counters it really wasn't enough to make the round seem competitive. From there on Tomita always seemed to have the last word in exchanges, mixing up his attacks well and was worthy of the decision after 4 rounds.
We got the first stoppage of the day at Super Bantamweight, as Sora Fukunaga (8-0, 4) [福永 宇宙] stopped Ren Anzai (4-4-1, 2) [安西 蓮] in round 3. This was an exciting one for 2 rounds, but in round 3 Fukunaga dropped his man. Anzai recovered to his feet but a follow up forced the referee to intervene, giving Fukunaga the stoppage victory.
We had another stoppage at Featherweight, as Hikaru Fukunaga (8-1, 5) [福永 輝] defeated Kakeru Mio (5-3, 3) [三尾 翔], thanks to a 5th round TKO win. Fukunaga dropped Mio in round 1, but was deducted a point as the shot came in the break, and Mio was giving a break to recover. From there on Mio was a trier, but Fukunaga looked too big and too strong, and in round 5 he dropped hi man for the second time. Mio beat the count but the referee waved the bout off with Mio standing.
The unbeaten Seika Fukuda (5-0, 1)[福田 星河] succeeded at Super Featherweight, as he defeated Kazuki Higuchi (5-2, 2) [樋口 和輝] in a competitive 5 rounder. This was competitive through out, with a nice mix of styles, though Fukuda got off to some notable success early, dropping Higuchi in round 2. Higuchi battled back well, but Fukuda just did enough to keep his nose in front, taking the decision with scores of 48-46 from all 3 judges.
The second stoppage of the show came at Lightweight, where Eiji Togawa (6-3, 3) [戸川 叡二] stopped Hayato Fukagawa (2-3, 1) [深川 隼人], in round 3. Togawa was aggressive early on and scored a knockdown in the opening round. Fukugawa recovered well but was hurt again in round 3 and the referee needed to save him from further punishment.
At 140lbs Aito Takabatake (5-1-1, 1) [高畠 愛大] took a razor thin majority decision over Yoshiki Takahashi (3-5, 3) [高橋 良季]. This was hotly competitive, though maybe not the most exciting of fights, with the styles not really meshing in rounds 2 and 3. After 4 rounds 1 of the judges had the two men level, but the other two gave Takabatake the win with scores of 39-37.
At Welterweight Hiroya Nojima (5-1, 2) [能嶋 宏弥] took a clear decision over Bigbaby Okamoto (2-1, 1) [ビッグベイビー岡本], thanks in part to a knockdown at the end of round 3. Okamoto tried to turn it all around in round 4, but was unable to take out Nojima, who had done enough to earn the decision.
The final bout came at Middleweight and saw Katsuhiro Nakata (5-0, 4) [中田 勝浩] score a 3rd round TKO win over Norifumi Hayakawa (2-1, 2) [早川 教文]. Hayakwawa came out offensively and seemed to been in control early on, but in round 3 a body shot from Nakata hurt Hayakawa and form there on Nakata let shots go until the referee stepped in and saved the previously unbeaten Hayakawa.
After the event the there was 3 awards given out. The MVP when to Sora Fukunaga, for his victory over Ren Anzai at Super Bantamweight. The skill award was given to Middleweight Katsuhiro Nakata, for his victory over Norifumi Hayakawa and the fighting spirit award went to Fuya Tomita, for his win over Ren Kobayashi.
The winner will back in action in the All Japan finals on February 21st, where they will clash with the East Japan winners, who were decided a week ago, with that event expected to be shown live on G+.
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