Earlier today news from Japan broke confirming that Saemi Hanagata (16-7-5, 7) [田中冴美] had officially vacated the IBF Atomweight title and was retiring from boxing, confirming what she had previously stated.
Hanagata was last seen in action defending her title against Eri Matsuda (4-0-1, 1) [松田恵里] back in March and had stated going in that that was going to be her last boyt regardless of the outcome, though hadn't officially handed in her retirement notice, or stated her intention to the IBF.
It appears the reason she hadn't done either of those things is that she was waiting for April 10th, the birthday of her husband.
Hanagata got married last November to a Japanese boxing judge and it seems very much like it was an active decision for Hanagata to delay her announcement to her husband's birthday, seemingly as a gift to her partner.
Previously Hanagata stated that she's going to become a teacher and wanted to start a family. With that in mind we want to wish her all the best in her post boxing life, and hopefully she does still make som appearances in boxing venues, something that seems likely given her husband's role in the sport.
This past weekend we had a really interesting card from Thailand as TL Promotions put on their latest show under "The Fighter" banner. The card featured two noteworthy bouts and both of those bouts were followed up by some pretty interesting news stories.
One of those stories was in regards to a match up between Tanes Ongjunta (8-1, 4) [จอมโว ก.ศักดิ์ลำพูน] and former world champion Kompayak TC Muay Thai (61-12, 41), [คมพยัคฆ์ ทีซีมวยไทย].
According to Komthai this will be Kompayak's final bout and he is now retiring following his long career, which began more than 20 years ago!
Although never a superstar of boxing Kompayak has had incredible career behind him. He has been a credit to Thai boxing, a true stalwart of the Thai scene and the type of fighter who has done so much more in the sport than many realise. He has reached the pinnacle of the sport, winning the WBC Light Flyweight in 2011, featured in instant classics, against Adrian Hernandez and Koki Eto, he has fought on the road, and has gone on to help bring the new generation of Thai fighters through.
The other news story regards teenage prospect Phoobadin Yoohanngoh (11-0, 6) [แสงอาทิตย์ ลูกทรายกองดิน], aka Sangarthit Looksaikongdin, who defeated former world title challenger Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo (61-8, 41) [ชลธาร อ.พิริยะภิญโญ], aka Suriya Tatakhun, over the weekend.
Following his win Phoobadin appeared to call out Apichet Petchmanee (8-0, 2) [อภิเชษฐ เพชรมณี], who's in action on April 3rd defending his WBC Asia Lightweight title against Kaewfah Tor Buamas (29-7, 19) [แก้วฟ้า สวนปาล์มฟาร์มนก], aka Krai Setthaphon. In all honest there isn't too much competition left in Thailand for Phoobadin and Apichet is one of the very few interesting match ups left at home for him. Given his call out was public there is real hope this bout will take place.
Outside of Apichet the only other potential bouts for the unbeaten Phoobadin at home are bouts against Thai based Dutchman Nick Frese (10-1, 8), the aforementioned Kaewfah Tor Buamas, former Apichet foe Musheg Adoian (7-3, 7), who's a Thai based Armenian, and former world title challenger Downua Ruawaiking (16-1, 13) [ดาวเหนือ เรือไวกิ้ง], aka Apinun Khongsong. Outside of that small number of men he will need to begin looking at international opponents.
Earlier this week 2-time world title challenger Reiya Konishi (17-3, 7) [小西伶弥] took to social media to announce that he was retiring from professional boxing at the age of 27, ending what had been a genuinely fun to watch career.
Konishi made his professional debut in 2013 and went on to win the All Japan Rookie of the Year crown in 2014, before winning the Japanese Minimumweight title in 2017, with a win over Masataka Taniguchi and would defend it twice. He gave up the title, and moved up in weight, to face Carlos Canizales in a hotly contested bout for the WBA "regular" Light Flyweight title, though sadly for him lost a very close decision to the hard hitting "CCC".
Following the loss to Canizales we saw Konishi bounce back, winning the WBO Asia Pacific title in July 2018 when he stopped Orlie Silvestre and he would defend the belt once before challenging IBF Light Flyweight champion Felix Alvarado in 2019. Sadly for Konishi he was dominated by Alvarado who was too good, too big, too busy and too strong. Credit goes to Konishi for surviving the 12 rounds, but he was a clear loser here in his second world title fight.
Like many fighters Konishi was affected by the issues of 2020, in fact he would test positive for Covid19 late in the year, forcing a scheduled bout against Katsunari Takayama (32-8-0-1, 12) [高山 勝成] to be delayed. That bout ended up taking place a few weeks after the originally planned date, when Konishi took a series of extra tests and it was suggested that his positive was probably a false positive. Sadly for him however he was easily out pointed and out boxed by Takayama who took a clear decision over him.
That bout will be his last as Konishi revealed he was done with in ring competition.
Going forward Konishi will remain in sport, and he plans to become a sports instructor. We want to wish Konishi all the best in his post boxing career.
Earlier today former Japanese Bantamweight champion Matcha Nakagawa (14-2-1, 5) [中川 抹茶] submitted a retirement to the the Japan Boxing Commission (JBC), ending his career at the age of 26.
The talented Nakagawa began his professional career in 2013, fighting to a draw with future world title challenger Ryohei Takahahi, and just over 2 years later won the Rookie of the Year at Bantamweight, beating Tenta Kiyose in the All Japan final. His career progressed well, despite a slip up in 2016, when he lost in a rematch against Takahashi, and in 2019, when he lost a competitive contest with Kai Chiba.
Sadly, like many fighters in 2020, inactivity was a major issue and Nakagawa fought just once between June 2019 and December 2020, beating Ryo Suwa on December 14th 2020.
In an interview with Boxmob Nakagawa revealed that he had lost his motivation for the sport.
When asked about his best bout he revealed it wasn't his impressive win over Suwa in 2020 that stood out the most, but instead his 2017 win over Yuto Nakamura, a win that saw Nakagawa win the Japanese Youth Bantamweight title thanks to an 8th round TKO.
Although his future, post boxing, is now unclear he plans to move to Osaka and be closer to his family.
Given he's only 26 there is a chance he will find his hunger for boxing again, as retirements in boxing are similar to retirements in professional wrestling. However is Nakagawa is done with the sport, we're glad he's getting out with his health intact and with time on his side, allowing him to decide what he does with his life. Whether he returns to fight again another day or not, we want to wish him all the best in the futre.
Yesterday on social media Japanese fighter, and former WBA Asia Light Welterweight champion, Yusuke Konno (16-5, 9) [今野裕介] announced that he was bowing out of the sport and retiring at the age of 32.
In his announcement Konno stated that he was retiring due to health reasons. He explained there was issues with his left eye, which was in danger of suffering a retinal detachment, and that he was also suffering from cataracts. Despite retiring he seemed happy with his decision, and his career, which included travelling abroad 4 times as a fighter, and fighting on foreign soil twice. He thanked Kadoebi for managing his career and getting him the opportunities he's had, as well as thinking the various members of the gym.
In a follow up interview with Boxmob Konno went into more detail and revealed that the best bout he was involved in was his summer 2017 clash with Koichi Aso for the Japanese Light Welterweight title. Unlike many fighters who pick a win as their best bout, he picked one he lost, but it was a truly sensational bout with Konno leading after 9 rounds then being stopped in round 10, and it really was an amazing fight.
For that loss to take precedence in his mind over his brilliant win over 2019 win over Baishanbo Nasiyiwula or his 2018 win over Vladimir Baez is a testament to how much that bout means to Konno.
Konno was last seen in the ring in November 2020, when he lost to OPBF Light Welterweight champion Rikki Naito (25-2, 8) [内藤 律樹]. Despite losing that bout few could questions his will to win, and fought much of the bout 1-handed, due to a clear injury. Sadly that injury would, eventually, see him being stopped despite putting up a brave and gutsy effort.
Konno will now move into the restaurant industry and plans to open his own restaurant in the future. We would like to wish Konno all the best in his future, and thank him for some truly brilliant fights. He may never have been the most talented fighter, but he was always a fun, exciting fighter to watch, and we suspect he has genuinely left an impression on every fan who has followed his career.
News! We try and give you the most interesting news stories from the Asian boxing world!