Earlier today at Korakuen Hall fight fans had the chance to enjoy the latest show under the Diamond Glove banner, and the show really was one worthy of attention thanks to three great bouts at the top of the card.
The first of the notable bouts was a clash between prospects as 23 year old Ryo Nakai (3-1-1, 1) [中井 龍] took on touted 25 year old Go Hosaka (5-1, 3) [保坂 剛] in an 8 rounder at Super Featherweight. On Hoaka was the favourite, entering the bout as an unbeaten fighter, though in many was Nakai was the more proven professional, having shown what he could do in a very competitive bout with Shu Utsuki not too long ago.
From the off the two men battled jabs, with little to separate them, though Nakai did seem to land one or two more eye catching shots, thanks to his left hand. Hosaka tried to change the tempo after the opening round, but that lead to Nakai landing some cracking uppercuts with his left hand, punishing Hosaka for his aggression.
In the later rounds Hosaka's pressure did manage to to have success, and he forced some brilliant exchanges in the final rounds as Nakai looked to get his respect. After 8, very competitive and well fought rounds, the judges all turned in cards of 77-75 in favour of Nakai. Nakai will obvious look to build on this win, and despite the loss we certainly wouldn't write Hosaka off.
The second of those three bouts was a Japanese title eliminator at 130lbs, as Kanehiro Nakagawa (11-6, 5) [中川 兼玄] clashed with Shinnosuke Hasegawa (13-3-1, 9) [長谷川 慎之介], and the two men put on a show!
Early on Hasegawa had real success, using his southpaw stance and making the most of Nakagawa's slow feet. It seemed, for the first round or two, that Hasegawa was simply going to be too good, and have a style that Nakagawa couldn't deal with. However as the rounds went on Nakagawa began to find his time, creating his own success, and in round 5 dropped Hasegawa, turning the bout around.
Following the knockdown we ended up with a war, as both men landed numerous big shots, trying to impress the judges and the crowd. It was a thrilling ending, and one that, thankfully for Nakagawa, was his style of fight, leading to him taking a razor thin split decision. With the win Nakagawa sets up a potential FOTY candidate in 2022 with Kosuke Saka, in one that is certainly worth getting very excited about.
The main event saw former Japanese Featherweight champion Ryo Sagawa (11-2, 6) [佐川遼] take on Retsu Kosaka (10-7, 4) [小坂烈]. These two had met before, with Kosaka giving Sagawa his first professional loss back in 2017, and it was clear that Sagawa wanted to avenge that defeat.
From the early going Sagawa looked levels better than Kosaka, though he had in their first bout until Kosaka caught him with a bomb and forced a stoppage. Unlike their first bout however Sagawa managed to show improved defense, avoiding the power of Kosaka, and picking away at his man with straight shots whilst remaining composed when Kosaka did let his shots go. By the final round Kosaka had gotten into a hole and was desperate, trying to turn things around, that left him open at times, and mid way through round 8 Sagawa landed a great right hand before going to work and forcing the referee to save Kosaka with 97 seconds of the bout left.
Earlier today triple crown Lightweight champion Shuichiro Yoshino (14-0, 11) [吉野 修一郎] scored his latest defense of the Japanese national title, as he stopped the gutsy Shuma Nakazato (10-2-3, 7) [仲里周磨] at Korakuen Hall. With the win Yoshino recorded his 7th defence, but he was unhappy at his performance and the manner of his victory.,
Early on the bout was very competitive as both men looked to win the battle of jabs. Surprisingly it was Nakazato who managed to move through the gears first, and landed a cracking right hand in the opening round. Yoshino had moments, especially with his counters in round 2, but the champion looked rushed, and over-eager to impress, as a result he really didn't put shots together, instead trying to just land big single shots.
Luckily for Yoshino the big shots did manage to have success in round 4, when one of his right hands sliced the left eye brow of Nakazato, leaving him with a gruesome cut. The challenger, fighting through the cut, managed to respond well however, and had a good 5th round, as he showed he wasn't there to roll over. After 5 rounds the judges had this super close, with scores of 48-47, from all 3, in favour of Yoshino.
Despite Nakazato's bravery and toughness he really struggled when Yoshino finally bagan to let shots fly in combinations, which he did in round 6, worsening the cut to the point where the doctor had to stop the bout and give Yoshino the TKO win.
Following the bout Yoshino suggested it was the worst performance of his career, and it seems plans for a major push towards a world title fight will be put on the back burner. However he is scheduled to fight once more in 2021, potentially against former WBO Super Featherweight champion Masayuki Ito (27-3-1, 15) [伊藤 雅雪] who was at ringside today.
Sadly the rest of this card was rather limited. A scheduled rematch between former Japanese Featherweight champion Ryo Sagawa (10-2, 5) [佐川遼] and Retsu Kosaka (10-6, 4) [小坂烈] was cancelled, and only really left one under-card bout worthy of attention. That was the debut of former amateur standout Ryusei Baba (1-0) [馬場 龍成], who took a 6 round shut out win over Kenya Okada (5-4-1, 3) [岡田 兼弥]. From the off Baba was too good, too quick, too skilled, too accurate and too experienced for Okada, who showed plenty of toughness but was second best for pretty much every second of the bout. Fingers crossed we see Baba in with a better test sooner rather than later.
Earlier today it was announced that triple crown Lightweight champion Shuichiro Yoshino (13-0, 10) [吉野 修一郎] would be returning to the ring on August 12th to make his next defense of the Japanese Lightweight title, on a "Diamond Glove" show.
The bout, which will take place at Korakuen Hall, will see Yoshino taking on the once beaten Shuma Nakazato (10-1-3, 7) [仲里周磨] in a very, very interesting match up.
Yoshino has, arguably, been the best Lightweight in Japan over the last few years, and has gone on to unify the Japanese, OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific titles during his career. Not only has he unified all 3 titles but he has also been picking up a string of notable wins including victories over Yoshitaka Kato, Harmonito Dela Torre and Valentine Hosokawa, and has shown both lights out power and solid rounded boxing skills. Sadly however he hasn't really kicked on, on been able to make any mark beyond on the Oriental scene, so far.
Nakazato on the other hand is a second generation fighter, following in the footsteps of former fighter Shigeru Nakazato, who fought for a world title and would win the OPBF Super Bantamweight title during his career. Although he has got some marks on his record they include a close loss to Hironori Mishiro in 2017, and draws against the then 6-0 Teppei Kayunuma and Yoshimitsu Kimura, as well as an opening round technical draw with Virgil Puton.
As well as the main event there have been other bouts confirmed for this card, including the return of former Japanese Featherweight champion Ryo Sagawa (10-2, 5) [佐川遼] who will take on Retsu Kosaka (10-6, 4) [小坂烈]. On paper this might not seem like a hugely notably match up, but it does give Sagawa a chance to avenge his first professional loss, and get revenge for a 2017 defeat to Kosaka, in what was Sagawa's second professional bout.
As with all Diamond Glove shows, this will be aired on Fuji TV, on some form of tape delay.
Earlier today fight fans at Korakuen Hall had the latest show in the Diamond Glove series of shows, which will be aired this coming weekend on Fuji TV. The card featured 4 bouts in total, including a highly anticipated Japanese Featherweight title bout featuring champion Ryo Sagawa taking on mandatory challenger Hinata Maruta and a very, very interesting co-feature for the Japanese Youth Light Flyweight title
For those wanting to watch this, as live, over the weekend we please note that spoilers will begin in the next paragraph, starting with the the first under-card bout, which is unlikely to be televised at all, 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 rounder between Kosuke Kumazawa (2-1) [熊澤公佑] and Hiroki Sakakubo (1-3, 1) [坂久保 拓紀]. The bout was a cautious one in the early stages and little happened in the first 3 rounds, with Kumazawa controlling things at range and Sakakubo taking few risks to try and chancge things. In round 4 fans finally got some action, but by then it was too little, too late for Sakakubo who lost a clear decision in a bit of a stinker.
Thankfully the second bout on the show was a big improvement as the often fun to watch Shota Ogasawara (6-3, 3) [小笠原梢太] battled against Shinnosuke Kimoto (6-5, 2) [木元紳之輔], and the two men delivered a real fun 6 rounder. This was a hotly contested battle from the off, and both of them tried to out battle, out work, and tough the other in a very entertaining contest. In round 3 Ogasawara scored the only knockdown of the fight, putting Kimoto down with a left hook. After the knockdown Kimoto struggled in round 4 but tried to turn the fight around in round 5 as his desire to win drove him him on. Kimoto was rocked in round 6, but made it to the bell, taking us to the scorecards. The knockdown proved vital with the judges with Ogasawara taking a narrow decision. The scores here were 57-56, twice, and 58-55. Without the knockdown this would likely have been a draw.
The first of two title bouts saw a new Japanese Youth Light Flyweight champion being crowned as Yudai Shigeoka (3-0, 2) [重岡優大] scored the biggest win of his professional career and stopped talented youngster Ryu Horikawa (3-1-1, 1) [堀川 龍] in 5 rounds. The younger Horikawa started well, using his speed well, and tagged Shigeoka to the body in the opening round, whilst Shigeoka himself looked to land hard left hands. The success of Horikawa continued in round 2 where he continued to look just a touch quicker than Shigeoka, but Shigeoka began to come alive in round 3 and and attacked the body of Horikawa well. Eventually the power of Shigeoka broke through and he dropped Horikawa in round 4 with a 1-2. In round 5 round Horikawa found himself downed for a second time. His fighting heart saw him get up, but he was stopped soon afterwards, with Shigeoka picking up the 5th round TKO and the Youth title.
The main event of the show was the now long delayed Champion Carnival bout for the Japanese Featherweight title, with defending champion Ryo Sagawa (10-2, 5) [佐川遼] battling his mandatory challenger Hinata Maruta (11-1-1, 9) [丸田陽七太] in a highly anticipated bout. A bout that had been scheduled for early 2020 before being delayed due to the pandemic.
Early on Maruta looked to control behind his sharp right jab, using his speed and reach well, whilst Sagawa tried to load up on counter right hands. Maruta then moved through the gears, throwing right hands along with his jabs in round 2 as he began to control the early going, despite taking one or two clean counter rights himself. Sagawa managed to build some success of his own in round 3, with his left hook, but took a big right hand later on and it was clear that Sagawa needed to do more. To his credit the champion changed tactics in round 4, becoming more aggressive and pressing the action more, likely realising he was in a hole, and that aggression continued in to round 5 as Sagawa closed the gap.
After 5 rounds the open scoring kicked in and Maruta was leading on all 3 cards, 48-47 from one judge and 49-47 from the other two. Despite being behind Sagawa seemed to have the momentum and looked to continue to build on that in round 6, pressing again. In round 7 however Sagawa good work was wiped out as he was dropped from a right hand that took him down. Sagawa got back to his feet but Maruta smelled blood and went for the kill, forcing a stoppage at an official time of 2:57 in round 7 to become the new champion.
Tomorrow at Korakuen Hall we get one of the very, very few Japanese shows for the month. The event is headlined by a mouth watering Japanese Featherweight title bout, as defending champion Ryo Sagawa (10-1, 5) [佐川遼] takes on mandatory challenger Hinata Maruta (10-1-1, 8) [丸田陽七太] in a bout that was originally scheduled for last year.
Interestingly the bout is the latest Japanese bout that fight fans in Poland can gamble on, with STS.PL listing the bout on their service, but sadly not their international sites.
The bout, which is regarded by many as a very competitive match up, has seen the Polish bookmakers price up Sagawa as the favourite, with odds of 1.65 in his favour whilst Maruta is priced at 2.1.
Interestingly the most likely outcome, according to STS.PL, is a decision win for Sagawa, with that outcome priced at 2.25. A stoppage win for the champion is priced at 5.0.
As for Maruta fans he is 4.0 to win by decision and the same price to score a stoppage.
Given that neither man is fancied to win inside the distance it should come as little surprise to hear that the Polish betting website expect this one to go long. They have set the length of bout market at over/under 7.5 rounds. The over is 1.4 and the under has been priced at 2.7.
Interestingly Boxmob's poll for the bout has somewhat matched up with these odds.
Sagawa is favoured to win with 57% of the overall vote, whilst Maruta has 41% and there is 1% draw (with some margin of error for rounding). The overall vote has seen 29% vote for Sagawa by decision, 28% vote for Sagawa by stoppage, 25% going with a Maruta stoppage win and 16% going with a Marute decision win.
Whatever the outcome we are expecting a sensational bout here between two fantastically talented fighters and it's one of the bouts we're most looking forward to during the month of February, even if we do need to wait until the weekend for it to be televised.
Related - Sagawa and Maruta clash at last, in Japanese title bout!
(Image credit - Misako Gym)
News! We try and give you the most interesting news stories from the Asian boxing world!