Earlier today the Japan Professional Boxing Association announced the Strongest Korakuen bouts, which will take place later this year to decide the mandatory challengers for the Japanese titles in the new year, with 10 bouts being announced.
The Minimumweight bout will see WBO Asia Pacific champion Yudai Shigeoka (5-0, 3) [重岡優大] take on Tatsuro Nakashima (11-3-1, 7) [仲島辰郎], with the winner getting a show at the Japanese title, currently held by Yudai's younger brother Ginjiro Shigeoka (8-0, 6) [重岡銀次朗], who actually beat Nakashima for the title. This bout is set to take place at Korakuen Hall on November 17th.
The Light Flyweight eliminator will see Daiki Tomita (18-2, 6) [冨田大樹] battle Rikito Shiba (6-2, 3) [芝力人], though no date or venue has been announced for this bout.
At Super Flyweight we also have no date or venue set, but a mouth watering bout as Ryusei Kawaura (9-1, 6) [川浦龍生] battles Suzumi Takayama (5-0, 4) [高山涼深], in what is potentially the best looking of the bouts announced.
The Bantamweight bout bout will see Jin Minamide (6-2, 5) [南出仁] battle against Yuki Yonaha (11-3-1, 8) [与那覇勇気], in what could prove to be a very explosive bout between two flawed but hard hitting.
On the subject of interesting bouts we'll have a potentially thrilling war at Super Bantamweight as former champions Ryoichi Tamura (14-6-1, 7) [田村亮一] takes on Gakuya Furuhashi (28-9-2, 16) [古橋大輔]. Interestingly these two men also met in a Japanese title eliminator back in 2019, with Furuhashi taking a razor win over Tamura, before winning the title with a sensational battle just 4 months later.
At Featherweight former champion Ryo Sagawa (12-2, 7) [佐川遼] faces off with Daisuke Watanabe (12-5-2, 7) [渡部大介].
At Super Featherweight the hard hitting Yamato Hata (12-1, 11) [波田大和] will face Yuna Hara (11-2-1, 6) [原優奈], with this bout set to take place on October 1st at Korakuen Hall.
On paper one of the more underwhelming bouts is set to take place at Lightweight, as Shuma Nakazato (11-2-3, 7) [仲里周磨] takes on the hard hitting Ken Koibuchi (8-4-1, 7) [鯉淵健], in what might be an bout that's easy to over-look but is very likely to be an explosive encounter.
At Welterweight we're in for a treat as we get a rematch between Hironori Shigeta (8-2-1, 5) [重田裕紀] and Shoki Sakai (26-13-2, 14) [坂井祥紀], who gave us a very fan friendly bout back in 2020 with Sakai taking a clear but hard fought decision win. This bout is set to take place on October 22nd at Korakuen Hall.
At 154lbs Rei Nakajima (5-1) [中島玲] will face Koki Koshikawa (9-6, 6) [越川孝紀]. For Koshikawa he's looking to land his third shot at the Japanese 154lb title whilst Nakajima will be looking to secure his second shot at the title.
Notably there is no bout set for Flyweight, Light Welterweight or Middleweight. At the time of writing it's been reported that former world title challenger Ryota Yamauchi (8-2, 7) [山内涼太] will be getting a shot at Flyweight Cristiano Aoqui (16-9-2, 11), will get a shot at 140lbs and unfortunately there won't be a mandatory challenger for the Champion Carnival at Middleweight.
Earlier today fight fans at Korakuen Hall got the latest show in the Diamond Glove series. The card wasn't the deepest, due in part to losing the planned main event at short notice, but it was still a pretty notable one, with a solid looking 8 rounder in the main event, alongside the debut of a former amateur standout, and the second professional bout of a very, very highly regarded female hopeful.
The first of the three notable bouts on this card saw the amazingly promising Mikyo Watarai (1-0, 1) [渡来美響] make his debut as he stopped Takafumi Shibata (2-1) [柴田尊文]. As an amateur Watari went 77-15, and he used that amateur experience here to over-come Shibata, who was a solid amateur him. Shibata came to win, but was dropped from a counter left hook in the first round as Watari announced himself as one to watch. From there on Shibata attempted to turn things around, but struggled to have sustained success whilst Watari worked the body well. In round 4 Watari ended up hurting Shibata and going to work until the referee stepped in and save Shibata who was under a lot of pressure at the time.
The second bout of note saw Mizuki Hiruta (2-0) [晝田瑞希] announce herself as a super prospect, as she took a wide and clear win over OPBF female Super Flyweight champion Terumi Nuki (12-5, 8) [貫輝美], in what was Hiruta's second professional. From the off the pink haired Hiruta dominated the action with straight punches as she looked to control the range and tempo of the bout. Nuki on the other hand was determined to try and close the distance, but that just left her walking into shots from the extremely talented Hiruta who was in a comfortable lead as we entered the second half of the fight. In round 7 Nuki had a massive break through as she finally connected with some of her heavy leather and dropped Hiruta, but couldn't finish her off. Instead Hiruta recovered to her feet and and despite being under pressure in round 8 did enough to take a comfortable and clear decision win. After 8 rounds Hiruta took the win with scores of 77-73, twice, and 76-74.
The final bout on the card saw former Japanese Featherweight champion Ryo Sagawa (12-2, 7) [佐川遼] score one of the most wins of his career so far, as he took out former WBA Super Bantamweight world champion Shun Kubo (15-3, 10) [久保隼] inside 3 rounds. Sagawa was aggressive from the off, landing clean right hands to the body in the opening round. Kubo tried to fire back, looking to land long left hands, at range. From there on Sagawa began to pick up the pace, and in round 3 he managed to drop his man. To his credit Kubo attempted to beat the count, but the referee reached 10 as Kubo was trying to get to his feet, giving Sagawa the KO win.
Tomorrow fight fans at Korakuen Hall will get the chance to see a mouth-watering clash as former Japanese Featherweight champion Ryo Sagawa (11-2, 6) [佐川遼] faces former WBA Super Bantamweight world champion Shun Kubo (15-2, 10) [久保隼], in an excellent looking 8 rounder.
Today, ahead of their bout, the two men took part in their weigh in for the bout.
On the scales Sagawa was bang on the Featherweight limit and looked great on the scales. He seemed to feel confident here, and explained that "If I beat the former world champion, you can step up. It will lead to great growth for me". He also added "I want to be careful of the left straight at a unique timing and the jab that upsets the sense of distance,", noting that Kubo does have a very good jab and is awkward with it, and "I think that if you control the distance, you will gradually be able to keep pace." Seemingly hinting that he wants to get close and set a high tempo, rather than fight a bout at range.
Although he seemed calm, relaxed and confident it should be noted that this will only be Sagawa's second bout since losing the Japanese title to Hinata Maruta last year.
Kubo on the other hand came in comfortably under the limit, weighing in at 125.75lbs. He seemed fully aware that he was the under-dog here and after making weight told the media "Sagawa has more weapons. How many weapons does he have? I think it will be a closer distance than I expected." Despite being a former world champion, Kubo isn't regarded as highly as some, and although talented, he has been shown to be vulnerable, especially under pressure. Pressure that we expect to see him under here.
For fans unable to make it to Korakuen Hall for the bout, it will be aired on tape delay on Fuji TV.
Earlier today news broke from Japan that Japanese Welterweight champion Keita Obara's (25-4-1, 22) [小原 佳太] has had to pull out of his April 12th bout against former champion Yuki Nagano (19-3, 15) [永野祐樹].
The hard hitting Obara has reportedly suffered an injury to his right leg during training and been forced out of the bout at short notice.
Obara's team, the Misako Gym, have apologised to fans, Nagano and Teiken Gym, for the late withdrawal.
At the moment it's unclear whether the bout will be re-arranged for when Obara recover, or whether the men will be going in different directions. One thing that is known however, is that the show will still go ahead, headlined by a mouth watering clash between former Japanese Featherweight champion Ryo Sagawa (11-2, 6) [佐川遼] and former WBA Super Bantamweight world champion Shun Kubo (15-2, 10) [久保隼].
Earlier today saw the announcement of a brilliant looking Japanese Featherweight bout as former Japanese Featherweight champion Ryo Sagawa (11-2, 6) [佐川遼] is set to clash with former WBA Super Bantamweight world champion Shun Kubo (15-2, 10) [久保隼], with the bout set to take place on April 12th at Korakuen Hall.
For Sagawa this will be his second bout since losing the Japanese Featherweight title in 2021 to the wonderfully gifted Hinata Maruta, in what was a break out win for Maruta. Since that loss he has avenged his only other loss, stopping Retsu Kosaka in 8 rounds back in October. At his best he is a very good technical boxer, with good hand speed, movement and a brilliant boxing brain, but with two stoppage losses to his name there is the suggestion that he's not the toughest fighter out there.
As for Kubo, who will be making his Korakuen Hall debut, this will be his fifth bout since losing the WBA Super Bantamweight title to Daniel Roman in 2017. Sadly since that loss he hasn't been hugely active, and was, rather notably, stopped in 2019 by Can Xu in a bout for the WBA Featherweight title. Although a talented and intelligent fighter there are real worries about his durability, especially at the top of the domestic and above.
The bout will be on the same card as Keita Obara's (25-4-1, 22) [小原 佳太] upcoming Japanese Welterweight title fight against Yuki Nagano (19-3, 15) [永野祐樹], which makes for an excellent Japanese domestic card.
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