On Tuesday it was reported in the Japanese press that former world title challenger Ryohei Takahashi (18-4-1, 8) [高橋竜平] was donating 3,000 medical masks to his hometown of Kamo City, in Niigata.
The fighter explained that he was wanting to provide some bright news to the local community due to all the dark news, and had been told by family and friends that there was an insufficient number of masks. He then bought the masks with money he had earned from boxing and donated them.
Takahashi had been scheduled to fight in March but that contest was the cancelled due to the on going global situation. Whilst he hasn't been able to return to the gym, which is still closed, he has managed to continue to stay in some kind of shape with general road work and training, and is looking to remain in shape for when the gym he's affiliated to does re-open later in the year.
For those wonder why Takahashi's name rings a bell, he actually fought in the US in 2019, when he challenged the then IBF Super Bantamweight champion TJ Doheny. Whilst he lost against the Irish-Australian he has rebounded and scored 2 wins since then as he's looked to rebuild his career. Despite those wins he's a long way from another world title bout and it could some time until we see him in another meaningful bout.
Earlier today at the Korakuen Hall fans saw former world title challenger Ryohei Takahashi (17-4-1, 7) [高橋竜平] bounce back from his loss to TJ Doheny earlier in the year.
The Japanese fighter was up against Korean visitor Jin Wook Lim (10-7-5, 3) [임진욱] and the difference in class showed early on.
Takahashi's foot work and aggression was key in the early going, pressing the fight and forcing Lim to fight at a harder pace. Although Lim had some moment he taking more than he was giving and he was hurt in round 4 as Takahashi body shots began to take a toll. Those body shots continued in round 5 with Lim returning in his corner between rounds 5 and 6.
Also on this card was a win for Naoki Mochizuki (16-4, 8) [望月直樹], who took an 8 round decision win over former world title challenger Samartlek Kokietgym (34-10-1, 12). The Thai visitor, who has previously fought Akira Yaegashi and Naoya Inoue for world titles, was unable to really get into the fight against the bigger, stronger, more powerful Mochizuki, who won a very clear decision over the Thai veteran.
(Image courtesy of boxmnob.jp)
Tomorrow fight fans at the Korakuen Hall will see former world title challenger Ryohei Takahashi (15-4-1, 6) [高橋竜平] battle against Korean Jin Wook Lim (10-6-5, 3) [임진욱], in what will be Takahashi's first bout since losing to TJ Doheny earlier this year.
Today the two men took part in their weigh in for the contest and both men weighed in just under 122lbs for the bout, whilst looking in pretty good shape.
Despite both making weight, it should be be noted that the Korean was originally quite a bit over the limit and needed to step on the scales to make weight for the contest.
Takahashi revealed that he had thought about quitting the sport following his loss to Doheny, but revealed that had he done so he would have gone on to regret it. Instead he is aiming to win a national title and, in the future, return to fighting on the big stage.
(Image courtesy of Nikkan Sports)
We've known for a while that there was plans to put on a card at Korakuen Hall on June 11th, though the full line up hasn't yet been announced. What we are hearing though are that their may be two former world title challengers in action on the card, as well as a fighter who is part of a very famous Japanese boxing family.
Sources in Japan and Korea have both stated that Ryohei Takahashi (15-4-1, 6) [高橋竜平], best known for losing in an IBF Super Bantamweight title fight to TJ Doheny earlier this year, will be on the show. The tough Takahashi is set to take on Korean Jin Wook Lim (10-6-5, 3) [임진욱], in what is a bit of a must win for both fighters.
Takahashi's shot at Doheny was an unexpected one, and despite losing he did show great fighting spirit and gave a solid effort against a man several levels better than himself. That loss to Doehny, an 11th round TKO, saw the end of a 5 fight winning run from Takahashi. Lim on the other hand was stopped last time out by Jess Rhey Waminal, who stopped him in 9 rounds in a bout for the "interim" WBA Asia Bantamweight title. That was his second stoppage loss, following a 2016 defeat to the then OPBF Super Bantamweight champion Shun Kubo.
The other former world title challenger pencilled in for the show is said to be Thailand's Samartlek Kokietgym (34-9-1, 12), who has previous fought Akira Yaegashi and Naoya Inoue for world titles. Samartlek is pencilled in to face Naoki Mochizuki (15-4, 8) [望月直樹].
For Mochizuki the bout will be his first since losing to Junto Nakatani in a Japanese Flyweight title bout, back in February, Samartlek on the other hand has gone 1-3-1 in his last 5, and is a long way removed from the fighter who went 11 rounds with Inoue back in 2014.
It should be noted that only 1 site has reported the Samartlek bout at the moment, and no site has reported both bouts, so it seems like there is still some confusion on the full line up. We do have have confirmation that 20 year old Kyonosuke Kameda (3-1, 2) [亀田京之介], the cousin to the 3 fighting world champions who share his surname, will be on the show. He will be up against Ryugo Ushijima (3-0, 2) [牛島龍吾], who impressed us earlier this year with his win against Shota Ogasawara. This is a tough bout for Kameda.
Last week we saw Ryohei Takahashi (15-4-1, 6) [高橋竜平] challenge IBF Super Bantamweight champion TJ Doheny (21-0, 15), and suffer a stoppage loss in the 11th round. Despite the loss his profile improved significantly, and he did put in a very solid effort for a bout that he took at short notice, so far away from home.
This morning Japanese sports paper Sports Hochi reported that Takahashi has decided to continue his career after that loss, following some rumours that he may walk away from the sport.
He quoted as saying "I will do my best to think that I did not give up at that time." (Translated) Making it known that he hasn't given up the sport, and it seems like the 28 year old will be looking to bounce back from the loss and get himself back into the title mix, rebuilding from the setback and moving forward.
At the moment there is not suggestion of when he will be back in the ring, but we suspect it'll be after a lengthy rest. He took a lot of punishment against Doheny and it's in his best interest to rest before getting back in the ring, though we are very glad to know that he will return, and will likely inject himself in the very exciting Japanese domestic scene at Super Bantamweight!
News! We try and give you the most interesting news stories from the Asian boxing world!