Earlier today at Korakuen Hall fight fans had the chance to see the latest show in the Dangan series of cards, and it was an excellent one on paper with two major Japanese Featherweight bouts.
The first of those two bouts as a Japanese title eliminator between former 2-time title challenger Reiya Abe (22-3-1, 10) [阿部麗也] and the often under-rated Daisuke Watanabe (12-5-2, 7) [渡部大介]. These two had fought before, with Abe taking an 8 round decision, but it was expected that they would give us an interesting and competitive bout this time around, with Watanabe really going on a solid run since their first bout.
Sadly rather than an interesting bout we saw an underwhelming one.
The bout saw Watanabe trying to come forward whilst Abe looked to using his excellent footwork and smart boxing. This lead to some interesting moments, but it seemed that every time Watanabe landed, Abe would come back with something of his own, and that resulted in Watanabe being cut from a counter left hand in round 2. Abe would also land telling blows in round 3, leaving Watanabe with a swollen right eye, that forced his team to retire their man at the end of the round. This resulted in Abe picking up a TKO3 win, and securing himself a shot at the Japanese title in the new year, against the winner of the main event of the show.
That main event saw Japanese Featherweight champion Hinata Maruta (12-1-1, 9) [丸田陽七太] successfully make his first defense as he beat Ryo Hino (14-3-2, 9) [日野僚], taking a wide and clear decision over the challenger.
Hino got off to a good start, using his boxing skills well and he seemed to just about edge the first two rounds, by sneaking inside and using his southpaw stance well against the taller, faster Maruta. It was a good start for him, but one that seemed to force Maruta to plan B, and it was plan B tat saw Maruta having success and dropping Hino with a solid right hand. Hino, realising Maruta was quicker, sharper and more powerful, tried to play the counter puncher in round 4 but it wasn't hugely successful and in round 5 Maruta scored a second knockdown, this time from a gorgeous burst of clean accurate punches.
With the two knockdowns in his favour Maruta was in a comfortable lead when the scores were announced at the end of round 5, with Maruta leading 48-45, twice, and 49-44.
Hino tried to turn things around in the second half of the fight, particularly in round 7, but Maruta sniffed things out, kept it long before deciding to try and take out Hino in rounds 8 and 9. To his credit Hino saw out some torrid moments, before trying to turn things around in round 10, only for Maruta to respond with some big shots of his own as we went to the bell.
After 10 rounds there was no denying Maruta was the clear and worthy winner, taking the decision 97-91, twice, and 96-92, to set up a compelling bout with Abe, in 2022. That bout may end up being a double title bout, with the Japanese and the now vacant WBO Asia Pacific titles potentially both being on the line for the bout.
Tomorrow at Korakuen Hall fight fans will get an interesting card, with 4 of the top Featherweights in Japan in action, with a Japanese title bout, and a Japanese title eliminator both taking place on the same card. Today those 4 men all took part in their weigh in, and all 4 made weight with no issues at all.
The Japanese title eliminator will see former 2-time title challenger Reiya Abe (21-3-1, 9) [阿部麗也] battle against Daisuke Watanabe (12-4-2, 7) [渡部大介], with the men clashing to secure a shot next year during the Champion Carnival. These two have fought before, with Abe taking a decision over Watanabe, but that was more than 3 years ago and Watanabe has come a long way since then whilst Abe has failed to live up to the potential he clearly has.
At the weigh in both men came in comfortably under the 126lb limit, weighing in at an identical 125.66lbs. They both looked in great shape, though it did seem like Abe was the naturally bigger man, being several inches taller than Watanabe.
Interestingly Watanabe did mention that he was wanting to fight small here, and he'll be aggressive, whilst swearing that will avenge his loss to Abe. Abe on the other hand seemed to be focused on using his footwork and counter punching here to take the win, and secure his third shot at the Japanese title.
In the main event of the show we'll see Japanese Featherweight champion Hinata Maruta (11-1-1, 9) [丸田陽七太] make his first defense as he takes on Ryo Hino (14-2-2, 9) [日野僚], in what is expected to be a very technical match up. At the weigh in these two men also hit the scales at 125.66lbs.
After the making weight Maruta ate to some rice balls, to help recover from the weight loss, before admitting he was happy to have the press around for the fight. Notably this was the first show that reporters were allowed to do face to face interviews with fighters after weigh ins, something that had been stopped due to the pandemic. To prepare for the bout he explained that he had done a lot of sparring with southpaws and wasn't worried about the fact Hino is a lefty.
As for Hino, he seemed less confident and it appears that he knows a won against Maruta would be a big ask. Despite that it's clear he's not going in to the ring tomorrow to roll over and lose, so he could end up putting up a good effort here, in what is his second shot at the Japanese Featherweight title.
Related - Touted genius Maruta takes on Hino in first Japanese title defense!
Earlier today it was announced that Japanese Featherweight champion Hinata Maruta (11-1-1, 9) [丸田陽七太] would be back in the ring on November 27th, at Korakuen Hall, to make his first defense of the Japanese title. In the opposite corner to the brilliantly talented champion will be the often over-looked Ryo Hino (14-2-2, 9) [日野僚] , with the two men clashing at Dangan 246.
Maruta, who attended an online press conference earlier today, was extremely confident, stated that he is already well prepared and that he would win, no matter what. In fairness however he should be confident after his brilliant title winning performance earlier this year against Ryo Sagawa, in what was a career best outing for Maruta.
Interestingly Hino has also faced Sagawa, actually losing to Sagawa in late 2019 when Sagawa still held the title and was making his first defense.
Of course it wasn't just Maruta at today's press conference but also his promoter Kazunori Morioka, of the Morioka Gym, who seemed very impressed by Maruta's development since his title win. He explained that Maruta is stronger than ever and that his punching power has improved since his title win.
As well as the main event it was also confirmed that this should have a brilliant chief support bout as we get a much anticipated rematch between Reiya Abe (21-3-1, 9) [阿部麗也] and Daisuke Watanabe (12-4-2, 7) [渡部大介], with Abe having taken a clear decision over Watanabe in their first bout. Notably the winner of this will face the winner of the main event for the Japanese title in 2022.
Earlier today on an ultra-rare Japanese PPV, streamed on TwitCasting, fight fans had the chance to see former Japanese Featherweight title challenger Ryo Hino (14-2-2, 9) [日野僚] score his latest win, as he stopped Ryukyu Oho (7-5, 4) [大保龍球].
To begin the bout Oho was aggressive, but struggled to make a dent on Hino, who looked composed and the much more technically skilled fighter, picking Oho off with his jab. Oho never seemed too worried about the jab of Hino, but it did land clean and repeatedly stopping Oho from rushing in and being as reckless as he looked in the opening moments. Whilst the jab from Hino was the key punch it was amazing to see just how wild and inaccurate Oho was with his own shots, many of swung well over the head of Hino.
As the rounds went on Hino controlled the action with more and more ease. It didn't matter what Oho did he could never figure out the jab and movement of Hino, who looked levels above Oho.
Sadly for Oho the more he was getting tagged and the less success he was having, the more frustrated he seemed, and the more open he was leaving himself. And the more energy he was using for every single moment of success. That energy was running out in round 7 when he took a body shot that sent him down, where he stayed for the 10 count.
Oho was counted out at an official time of 2:10 of round 7, giving Hino a win on his return to the ring, and his first bout since a December 2019 loss to Ryo Sagawa.
The bout was the main event of a show co-promoted by Hideki Todaka Promotions and Kawasaki Nitta and it was a low level card, if we're being truth. In fact the card had very little other than the main event to even really talk about.
One of the very few under-card bouts worthy of note was a 2nd round TKO win for the popular Caliente Koyasu (4-2, 2) [カリエンテ子安], who defeated Tomohiro Igarashi (2-2, 1) [五十嵐 友弘].
Earlier today we were informed that the April 1st Korakuen Hall show, co-promoted Hideki Todaka Gym and Kawasaki Nitta Gym, will be available to watch live and online!
Sadly however the promoters haven't followed the lead of Shinsei Gym and A-Sign boxing who have been making a number of their shows available free online. Instead this will actually be a pay to watch event, streamed live on TwitCasting, something that was also used last year.
The card is small one, with 6 undercard bouts, all scheduled for 4 rounds, and a main event that'll see Ryo Hino (13-2-2, 8) [日野僚] battle Ryukyu Oho (7-4, 4) [大保龍球] in an 8 rounder. Despite having 7 bouts on the show the event really doesn't scream a must watch card, and has 4 debutants on it.
Although it's great to see promoters trying new things, and TwitCasting for boxing is certainly new, we are put off by the cost of the event. The price of the event is 2,000 JPY (around £13 or $18), which is more than the price of 2 months of Boxing Raise and with other promoters giving away live content for free it seems a strange decision to charge so much for what is, for all intents, a very low key show.
We do wonder if, maybe, the promoters should consider using a live YouTube stream for their events, and allowing their fighters to build their profiles before turning to paid viewing options.
For those who are interested in checking this one out purchasing page for the show is here.
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