Earlier today former WBA Super Featherweight champion Takashi Uchiyama [内山 高志] announced the re-opening of the KOD Studio in Kasukabe City, holding a special event to celebrate.
The gym was originally opened this past February, but then closed temporarily almost immediately due to the on going situation that caused sport around the world to be put on hiatus. It was open for just a few weeks before it needed to close, and lead Uchiyama to turn to crowd funding to the gym viable in the short term.
The gym is a boxing-fitness gym, and is the second gym opened by Uchiyama after the KOD Lab in Tokyo. The aim of both is to contribute to the local community, with the gym in Kasukabe aiming to help rebuild the city, which has seen a downturn in recent years.
The gym in Kasukabe doesn't have any boxing rings, but does focus on fitness, with heavy bags, a speed ball and a training machine. The key is to enjoy fitness, getting fit and working on strength and fitness, not boxing.
Of course Uchiyama wasn't the only notable figure at today's event. Former unified Light Flyweight champion Ryoichi Taguchi [田口良一], who retired last year, and former world title challenger Hisashi Amagasa [天笠 尚] also attended. The two men will work as trainers at the gyms, with Taguchi based in Tokyo, at the KOD Lab, and Amagasa at the KOD Studio in Kasukabe.
Given the trouble the gyms appeared to be in when they turned to crowd funding this is great news and the plan seems to be to increase the membership from around 80 members, at the moment, to around 200 in the future.
(Image credit - Boxmob)
Earlier today the annual Japanese boxing awards took place at the Tokyo Dome Hotel.
As previously reported unified Bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16) [井上 尚弥] won the Best fighter award and the Best Fight at event, but was unable to attend due to illness. That however leaves the question "who else won awards?"
The Best Skill award was won by WBO Super Flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka (25-2, 14) [井岡一翔], who became the first Japanese male 4-weight champion in the summer, stopping Aston Palicte. He then defended the title at the end of the year against Jeyvier Cintron, putting in a very different type of performance against Puerto Rican challenger.
Like Inoue, Ioka also didn't attend the event.
The special award saw Ryota Murata (16-2, 13) [村田 諒太] pick up the honours, after reclaiming the WBA Middleweight title and then defending it just before Christmas. He explained his next bout isn't yet decided, though reports are suggesting a May or June date is likely. Murata also picked up the KO award for the year.
The Effort award was won by Yuki Nagano (17-3, 13) [永野祐樹], who won the award for what he did in 2019 despite recently losing the Japanese Welterweight title.
The Newcomer award was win by Junto Nakatani (20-0, 15) [中谷 潤人], who is now reportedly set to fight for the WBO Flyweight title in Spring.
As previously mentioned Naoya Inoue won the best fight in a world title fight, for his sensational bout with Nonito Donaire in the WBSS final. As for none-world title bout, that award, unsurprisingly, went to the brilliant war between Yuki Beppu [別府優樹] and Ryota Yada [矢田良太] for the WBO Asia Pacific Welterweight title. For fans who haven't seen that one, we genuinely implore you to give a watch!
There was a double award for female fighter Tenkai Tsunami (27-12-1, 16) [天海 ツナミ] who not only took the women's MVP award, for the second year running, but also the women's fight of the year for her bout with Naoko Fujioka [藤岡 奈穂子].
The excellent player award, which is given to every Japanese fighter who holds a world title at some point during the year, saw Inoue, Ioka and Murata receive the honour along with:
Kosei Tanaka (15-0, 9) [田中恒成]
Kenshiro Teraji (17-0, 10) [寺地 拳四朗]
Ryosuke Iwasa (27-3, 17) [岩佐 亮佑]
Hiroto Kyoguchi (14-0, 9) [京口 紘人].
The trainer award was given to Mr Kato from the Misako gym, who has been responsible for training Kenjiro Teraji.
There was also a number of special awards given out. These went to:
Kohei Kono (33-12-1, 14) [河野 公平]
Ryoichi Taguchi (27-4-2, 12) [田口良一]
Tatsuya Fukuhara (21-7-6, 7) [福原 辰弥]
And Hitoshi Misako
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Earlier today fans saw former unified Light Flyweight champion Ryoichi Taguchi (27-4-2, 12) [田口良一] take part in his retirement ceremony, as he called time on his career at the age of 33.
The popular former world champion took part in a 3 round exhibition with former WBA Super Featherweight champion Takashi Uchiyama [内山 高志] as part of the ceremony, with the two close friends, who have been described as being like brothers in the past.
The first two rounds saw the two sparring with head gear, before removing it for the final round and giving the fans a show, with Taguchi attempting to earn a financial reward that was offered by the show's sponsor if he could knockout Uchiyama, adding a bit of extra spice to their exhibition.
Afterwards the two men had a bit of a joke, before Uchiyama encouraged the fans in the venue to support Taguchi in whatever he does now he's retired.
After Uchiyama's words it was the turn of Hitoshi Watanabe, who stated that when Taguchi won the WBA world title at the end of 2014 was his best memory.
Taguchi then had a chance to speak to the fans himself, an explained that he started boxing at the age of 18 with the dream of becoming a world champion, before saying thanks, revealing he planned to stay in boxing in some form, with the speculation now being that he, like Uchiyama, will open a gym.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Back in November we reported that Ryoichi Taguchi (27-4-2, 12) [田口良一] would be taking part in his retirement ceremony on December 10th as part of the Dangan and Guts Fighting card. Today we learned that part of that ceremony will see Taguchi take part in an exhibition with former WBA Super Featherweight champion Takashi Uchiyama [内山 高志].
The two men were the two previous faces of the Watanabe gym, and Uchiyama was often seen as an older brother type to Taguchi, so to see the two taking part in this sparring event is rather symbolic, as the end of era for the gym, which is now bringing through a new generation of fighter, thanks to success of Taguchi and Uchiyama.
The exhibition will come before the show's main event, which will see OPBF Super Featherweight champion Hironori Mishiro (8-0-1, 3) [三代大訓] defending his title against Yoshimitsu Kimura (12-1, 7) [木村吉光].
At the end of December Japanese fans get a treat with an incredible card feature a staggering 6 title bouts!
Today there was a small competition to get on that card, with 10 girls each trying to book their place on the show as one of the ring card girls.
Prior to today there was a screening process to a much bigger entry pool down to 10. Those 10 finalists were then whittled down to two by a panel of judges at today's event.
The event today saw the 10 posing in swimsuits for the judges, which included former world champion Ryoichi Taguchi (27-4-2, 12) [田口良一] and current female world champion Miyo Yoshida (13-1) [吉田 実代], who will feature on the card herself in a world title defense.
The two winners, who are both said to be boxing fans, will not only do the ring cards, but will also feature in a number of the build up events including the signing ceremony, the face and the weigh in.
Whilst the use of ring card girls have had a mixed response in the west in recent years, with some promoters doing away with them and some feminist groups complaining, events to select ring card girls do happen somewhat regularly in Japan. They usually aren't as high profile as they were for this particular show, but there isn't the same calls to ban ring girls are there are in the west.
The girls will get a huge chance to boost their modelling careers here with them appearing on a show that features Kosei Tanaka (14-0, 8) [田中恒成] and Kazuto Ioka (24-2, 14) [井岡一翔], as well as Yoshida, defending world titles and talented youngster Ginjiro Shigeoka (4-0, 3) [重岡銀次朗] also on the card.
(Images courtesy of Boxmob.jp)
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