Earlier today fight fans at Korakuen Hall had the latest show in the Phoenix Battle series of shows, which will be aired this coming weekend on Fuji TV. The card featured a Japanese title bout at 140lbs, between Daishi Nagata and Masahiro Suzuki, as well as under-card bouts featurignt he likes of Rentaro Kimura, Akira Hoshuyama, Shisui Kawabata and Ryota Karimata.
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 paragraph after the next one. We will include the full undercard results for this show as well as the main bout.
The show opened up with a 6 rounder at Super Bantamweight between Shota Ogasawara (6-3-1, 3) [小笠原 梢太] and Naito Oikawa (3-1-1, 1) [笈川 夏愛]. This one was a really well contested bout from the off, with the two men trading shots at mid range through the opening round. Oikawa went to the body of his man, whilst Ogasawara let shots go up top. Through the bout it was fantastic 2-way action, with neither man ever managing to distinguish themselves ahead of their opponent.
After 6 rounds of great action, we went to the judges and they ruled this one a split decision draw, with scors of 58-56, 56-58 and 57-57.
The second bout saw All Japan Rookie of the Year winner Akira Hoshuyama (6-0, 3) [宝珠山 晃] score a 2nd round TKO win over the once touted Shisui Kawabata (2-3, 2) [川畑 嗣穂]. This was exciting from the off, with Hoshuyama dropping his man with a left uppercut in the first round. Kawabata responded to the knockdown by taking the fight to Hoshuyama before being forced to clinch. Kawabata managed to see out the first round, but was swiftly put under pressure in round 2 and the referee was forced to jump in and save after 57 seconds of the round.
The third match on the show saw another all Japan Rookie of the Year champion in action as Ryota Karimata (7-0, 3) [狩俣 綾汰] clashed with Hayato Aoki (4-1, 3) [青木 勇人]. Originally these two were supposed to fight last December, before Aoki was forced to pull out of a scheduled bout, and it meant this one had a touch of backstory to it. Sadly for Aoki he really struggled to get his wayt into the bout, as Karimata out worked him in round 1 and moved through the gears in round 2, finding holes in Aoki's defense. Aoki really did seem like he was focusing on not getting tagged too much, but as a result wasn't letting his own hands go much. As a result Karimata was able to build his confidence and momentum ot the point where he was in a comfortable lead by the time Aoki finally began to fire back.
After 6 rounds the judges really didn't have a tough task here, two had the bout 60-54 to Karimata whilst the third judge had it 59-55, finding a sympathy round for Aoki.
The chief support bout saw the highly regarded Rentaro Kimura (4-0, 3) [木村蓮太朗] score his most notable win to date as he defeated Hikaru Fukunaga (8-2, 5) [福永輝] via a clear 6 round decision. Kimura boxed well at range in the opening round, using his straight left hand to control the tempo and range of the contest through the openoing round. Fukunaga tried to make it into a fight, but he struggled to apply his pressure against the taller, smarter, sharper, smoother Kimura who was simply too good. Through much of the bout it was all about Fukunaga's pressure and Kimura's movement, however in round 6 we saw Kimura try to hunt a finish, with Fukunaga doing well to survive the late assault from Kimura. After 6 rounds this was a shut out, and a very impressive win for Kimura, who is now heading towards his first title fight, which could come before the year is over.
The final bout on the card was a title bout, which saw a minor upset as Daishi Nagata (15-3-2, 6) [永田大士] was dethroned of the Japanese Light Welterweight title by the unbeaten Masahiro Suzuki (6-0, 4) [鈴木 雅弘], who put in a stellar performance in a massive step up bout.
Nagata started the bout fighting behind a tight guard and coming forward, with Suzuki meeting him head first and attacking his body well, and left solid left uppercuts. It was a positive start from the challenger who really did find his groove very quickly and was hammering body shotshome in round 2, before letting combinations go in round 3. By then it was starting to look tough for Nagata who was left with a swollen left eye in round 4. Nagata knew he was needing to turn things around and tried to do then in the fourth, but Suzuki responded to it well, and landed some very well timed head shots as Nagata attempted to close the distance. After 5 rounds Suzuki was up on all 3 cards, 50-45, twice, and 49-46.
Suzuki continued to find his shots landing time and time again, and the gulf in skill between the men was becoming really apparent, despite the hunger and desire from Nagata, who continued to trudge forward, trying to turn things around and break down Suzuki.
Amazingly it was Suzuki who moved up a gear in round 9, and left Nagata cut from an uppercut. He kept the shots landing in round 10, with Nagata's team eventually waving the towel and stopping the bout with just over 50 seconds of the contest remaining.
This is a genuinely massive setback for Nagata, who won the title last year, with a shock win over Koki Inoue, but looked poor in his first defense and completely out classed here. As for Suzuki this was a defining performance and he showed the class he that saw us getting excited after his debut. He has had some weaker performances in recent contests, but here he put it all together and it was a champion making outing from him. With just 6 bouts to his name he's already a Japanese champion and now opens the door to some very, very good domestic bouts. That includes a potential clash with Andy Hiraoka later in the year,
Earlier today at Korakuen Hall fight fans got a short, but very notable, show featuring a trio of bouts, all of which were title contests, thanks to Dangan and Watanabe.
The first bout on the show saw former kick boxer Kanako Taniyama (4-1-1, 1) [谷山佳菜子] defeat Yuko Henzan (8-11-4, 2) [平安山裕子], via a 4th round technical decision, to become the new Japanese female Bantamweight champion. From the off Taniyama looked to make a good start, getting behind her jab whilst Henan looked to apply some pressure. Sadly in round 3 a clash of heads left both cut. The cuts got worse quickly and in round 4 Henzan's cut forced the bout to end early.
At the mark of 1 minute into round 4 the bout was halted with Taniyama getting the nod 40-36, 40-37 and 39-37. After the bout Taniyama explained that she wasn't happy about how much of the fight was fought inside, but did show that she had learned a lot heading into this bout, and her style has certainly changed, as she's become more of a boxer, and less of a fighter.
A second new champion to be crowned was former amateur standout Mizuki Chimoto (3-0, 1) [千本瑞規], who became the OPBF female Minimumweight champion with an 8 round majority decision over former world champion Yuko Kuroki (17-7-2, 8) [黒木優子]. The early round saw this being a technical bout, with Chimoto trying to get a read on the southpaw style of Kuroki, and Kuroki boxing behind her 1-2's. Kuroki tried to up her tempo in round 4, but that resulted in her taking some very good left hooks from Chimoto who as looking to get Kuroki's respect.
After 4 rounds we went to the open scoring and Chimoto was up 39-37 on two of the scorecards, and the fighters were even on the third card.
In the second half of the fight the action got a little bit messy, but Chimoto continued to pick her shots well, especially in round 7, before Kuroki put it all on the line in round 8, closing the distance and letting her shots fly. By then however it was too little, too late for Kuroki who was trying to dig herself out of a hole.
After 8 rounds the judges turned in scores of 78-74, twice, to Chimoto and 76-76 level, to give Chimoto the majority decision win.
Before the main event we had WBA Light Flyweight "Super" champion Hiroto Kyoguchi (15-0, 10) [京口 紘人] compete in a short exhibition bout with Watanabe Gym stablemate Sonin Nihei (10-5-2, 2) [仁平宗忍]. The exhibition was Kyoguchi's first performance at Korakuen Hall in years and was very much some fan service ad a chance for him to have a run out before his next world title defnse later in the year. Notable he seemed to suggest that his next bout wasn't yet agreed, however he did state that he thought it would be a big match, and appealed to the local fans to get behind him.
In the main event we saw Japanese Minimumweight champion Masataka Taniguchi (14-3, 9) [谷口将隆] make his first defense as he defeated Tatsuro Nakashima (11-1-2, 7) [仲島 辰郎] in 5 rounds. Taniguchi looked sharp from the off, using his crisp jab in the early stages and firing off stinging left hands. The clean, accurate, and regular shots from Taniguchi saw Nakashima cut around the right eye as early as round 2. To his credit Nakashima tried to turn things around but was unable to match up with with Taniguchi who was too quick, too sharp and too smooth for the challenger, who was looking out of his depth by the end of round 4.
In round 5 the cut of Nakashima got so bad that the bout was stopped, and Taniguchi got the TKO win, to retain his title.
After the win Taniguchi thanked Kyoguchi for the advice he had given him before the bout, and he really did look like the title was helping instill a new confidence in him. He also spoke about fighting for the WBO world title, taking on Wilfredo Mendez, in a potential mandatory title fighter later in the year. Hitoshi Watanabe, Taniguchi's promoter, suggested that they would be looking to secure Taniguchi home advantage for that fight, but are happy to travel if they need to.
Earlier today at the Archiac Hall in Amagasaki, fight fans got the latest show from Shinsei Promotions. It was a mall one, with only 4 bouts, but one that was made available globally, for free, through the excellent Boxing Real YouTube channel.
The show kicked off with the professional debut of Goki Kobayashi (1-0, 1) [小林 豪己] who took on Hyogo Kimura (6-3-1, 1) [木村 彪吾] in a scheduled 6 rounder. On paper this looked a really tough debut for Kobayashi, who had around 35 bouts as an amateur and it lived up to those expctations, with Kimura fighting to win. Despite a very genuine effort from Kimura he was out boxed and broken down as the more talented Kobayashi hammered his body and left him looking out on his feet through much of round 6. With only around 10 seconds of the bout left the referee waved off the contest, stopping Kimura from taking any more damage in the final moments. He had given a fair account of himself, but lacked the stamina and stopping power to ask real questions of Kobayashi, who lookslike he could be one to keep an eye on over the next few years.
The second bout saw the under-rated Wataru Ikegami (9-5-1, 5) [池上 渉] score his th win in 5 bouts as he over-came the much taller Hibiki Jogo (10-4, 5) [城後 響] in an 8 rounder. On paper this is probbaly not one that screams out as being a good fight, but the styles ended up gellign pretty well to give us a nice little back and forth contest. Early on Jogo was on his toes, moving around the ring and trying to use his height and range whilst Ikegami pressured. As the bout went on Ikegami's workrate increased whilst Jogo landed some very good counter shots. Despite the two men being very different this was a genuinely enjoyable bout between two men each there to win, and two men didn't feel the need to hold instead of fighting. The limitations of both are there to see, but they made for a good, TV friendly, contest with Ikegami doing enough to earn the decision.
The scores here were 77-75, twice, and 78-74, all to Ikegami.
The chief support bout was a contest between Yuga Inoue (11-2-1, 2) [井上 夕雅] and Condor Inaba (7-6-1, 3) [コンドル稲葉]. The naturally bigger Inaba started the bout on the front foot and looked the more aggressive through the opening round as he made his size and strength pay. Sadly however for Inaba he was rocked late in the opening round and it wax clear that, although not a puncher, Inoue had enough in his shots to hurt his man. In round 2 the warning bells from the end of the opening round showed themselves again with Inoue bloodying the nose of Inaba, swelling his eye, forcing him backwards and forcing a doctor inspection of his swollen left eye. With Inaba fighting with just one eye Inoue went for the kill and forced the referee to stop the bout.
The main event saw former Japanese Youth Light Flyweight champion Rikito Shiba (5-1, 3) [芝力人] secure himself a stoppage win over veteran Hideyuki Watanabe (8-14-3, 6) [渡邉秀行]. Despite looking like a mismatch on paper Watanabe got off to a good start, making the most of his southpaw stance, his experience and his ring craft. Though much of the opening round Watanabe was landing the better shots and forcing Shiba to back up. What seemed a good start for Watanabe continued through much of the bout, as Shiba seeemed to be showing signs of ring rust and questionable confidence, following a blow out loss to Masamichi Yabuki last time he fought.
As the rounds went on Shiba looked less and less comfortable and like a man who could be on the end of a major upset loss. That was until round 7 when he pulled out something special. He was under pressure again in the 7th round with Watanabe continuing to have more success than anyone had anticipated, and even walking through a huge hook from Shiba. Another left hook, later in the round, was enough to drop Watanabe, hard. The veteran beat the count, but the referee waved off the bout vewing Watanabe as unfit to continue. A questionable decision from the referee.
Despite the somewhat fortunate call from the ref, this was a huge turn around. It showed that Shiba has fight changing power, but left us with a lot of questions about what exactly he has to offer the sport going forward.
Earlier today fight fans at Korakuen Hall had the latest show in the Dynamic Glove series of shows, which will be aired this coming week on G+. The card featured a number of bouts, ranging from a Rookie of the Year qualifying contest to a man who is in the wold rankings and someone regarded as one of the hottest prospects in Japan.
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 paragraph after the next one. We will include the full undercard results for this show as well as the two main bouts.
The show opened up with a 4 round bout between Yuya Kumagai (1-1, 1) [熊谷 祐哉] and Yuki Yamamoto (0-2) [山本 勇貴] and this was exciting from the off with Yamamoto getting the early advantage and looking good in the early stages before Kumagai laned a huge right and flipped the fight on it's head, dropping his man in round 3. Yamamoto beat the count but was saved by the referee later in the round.
The second bout saw teenager Kohei Sakashita (1-1) [坂下 広併] suffer his first loss as the 35 year old Hiroki Ashizawa (4-2, 3) [芦沢 広樹] took a narrow decision over the youngster. This was competitive from the off, but the older, more mature Ashizawa, who was returning to the ring for the first time in 6 years, managed to battle through exhaustion and narrowly come out on top. This was an exciting little war, and a good win for Ashizawa, though we do need to wonder about the longer term potential for both men.
In bout number 3 fans saw Toshiki Tanaka (3-3, 1) [田中 利樹] destroy Daiki Yokota's (3-3, 1) [横田 大樹] ring return. Yokota, who last fought back in October 2005, yes you read that right this was his first fight in more than 15 years, was dropped hard from a 1-2 from Tanaka and the referee stopped this one, not even issuing a count. Yokota was done.
Another quick blow out occured in the final of the scheduled 4 rounders, and this was actually an East Japan Rookie of the Year qualifying bout, as Kai Watanabe (2-0, 1) [渡邊 海] blasted out Soshi Hattori (0-1) [服部 壮志] in just 76 seconds. Watanabe dropped his man hard with a clean straight right hand that forced the referee to wave off the bout with Hattori on the canvas.
In one of the more notable fights JBC #1 ranked Lightweight contender Seiryu Toshikawa (14-5, 8) [利川 聖隆] beat the #15 ranked Masaki Saito (15-16-6, 5) [斉藤 正樹] in very wellcontested 8 round bout. The bout saw Saito use his experience well, make life difficult for Toshikawa, and show a lot of veteran tricks, but in the end Toshikawa managed to do just enough to take the win, digging deep in the second half of the fight. This was a genuine test for the youngerman, and he passed it... though didn't seem like he was even close to ready for a Japanese title fight. As for Saito this was the perfect performance for him to end his career on and the 36 year old has been a genuine credit to Japanese boxing during his long career.
After 8 rounds the judges had this one 77-75, twice, and 78-74 all to Toshikawa.
In the chief support bout the highly touted Shokichi Iwata (6-0, 4) [岩田翔吉] took an 8 round decision over veteran Toshimasa Ouchi (22-11-3, 8) [大内 淳雅]. The fight started well for Iwata, who dropped Ouchi in the first round and from there he general controlled the bout, landing the better, clean, heavier blows. Ouchi, as he always does, gave a genuine effort through the contest but was coming off second best through. The effort of Ouchi made the fight look competitve at times, but Iwata really did do more than enough to take a comfortable decision, and take a huge step towards a potential title fight.
After 8 rounds the judges had this one 79-72 and 78-73, twice, all in favour of Iwata.
Sadly the main event ended up being disappointingly one sided as former 2-time world title challenger Ryo Akaho (37-2-2, 25) [赤穂亮] stopped boxing policeman Daisuke Sugita (6-2, 3) [杉田大祐]in just 3 rounds. The world ranked Akaho hurt Sugita early in the fight, with the ropes keeping Sugita up and Akaho having a knockdown scored in his favour as a result. Sugita, to his credit, fought back after that but was in trouble through out and in round 3 Sugita hit the canvas with a straight right-left to the body combination. He showed great determination to get to his feet, but the referee had seen enogh and waved off the bout.
This was stopped at an official time of 1:49 into round 3.
Every so often a fight looks so good on paper that hardcore fans get incredibly excited. This evening we had once such fight on Showtime as talented Kazakh fighter Batyrzhan Jukembayev (18-1-0-2, 14) [Батыржан Джукембаев] faced off with heavy handed Puerto Rican Subriel Matias (17-1, 17), in what turned out to be a legitimate Fight of the Year contender, and a bout that lived up to the lofty expectations that fans had.
From the opening round this was fantastic with both men having styles and mentalities that gelled perfectly from the very opening moments. They met in center ring and both looked to dictate the tempo and range of the bout. Through the first round it was very hotly contested, but it was a round that saw the clean, smooth, powerful straight left hands from Jukembayev that caught the eye the most, but Matias landed plenty of his own, mostly in combinations which became more regular later in the round.
In round 2 Matias' pressure began to pick up, his work increased drastically, and he began to fight his fight. Jukambayev still landed plenty of his own left hands, but he was starting to be out worked, and was starting to take more than he was giving. This was something that really began to become more and more apparent in round 3, a fantastic high tempo round, but one that Matias seemed to take the lead in, with his high volume clearly making Jukembayev uncomfortable.
In round 4 the pressure finally broke through and Matias dropped Jukembayev with a left hook. He got back to his feet but it seemed like the Kazakh was going to be taken out before the round came to an end. Amazingly however Jukembayev managed to not only recover, but also fight back, and even rocked Matias in the final seconds of the round, giving us amazing 3 minutes of action that swung one way, then the other. It was a round that really needed to be watched, and showed the guts of Jukembayev, who genuinely seemed ready to go before landing his huge left hand.
Jukembayev managed to recover in his corner between rounds but rounds 6 and 7 saw Matias continue to out work, out fight, and out battle Jukembayev, who began change tactics. He tried to use his feet more, and began to try and use his right hook more. They managed to help him, somewhat, but it was round 7 that really saw Jukembayev have his biggest moment, rocking Matias to his core. Matias did what no fighter should do when hurt, and decided to just fire back and the two exchaged wild shots to the bell, giving us an incredible finish to the round. It was an amazing final 30 seconds of the round, and one that saw Matias clearly hurt at the bell.
Sadly for Jukembayev his face was starting to fall apart as we went into round 8 and despite buzzing Matias at the end of round 7, he never finished his man off. And Matias wanted revenge in round 8. The Puerto Rican pressured from the off, taking a good left hand a good right hook from Jukemabyev but pretty much walking through them as he went into terminator mode, forcing Jukembayev into the corner and letting shots go. By the end of the round it appeared Jukembayev was hurt, again, and what little momentum he had heading into round 8 was done. His face was cut, swollen and bruised, and he looked like he was running out of ideas.
Rather then his team sending him out for another round Jukembayev was, smartly, pulled from the fight. He was taking punishment, and it seemed like the pressure was taking a real toll on him. The longer it was going the more and more punishment he was going to take and to be fair to his team, it was the right decision to pull him. Especially with his face swelling in the way it did and with the punishment he was taking. It was an anti-climactic ending to the bout but it was the correct call by his team.
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