Earlier today at Korakuen Hall we had the latest Dangan card, which was streamed live on Boxing Raise. The event was the biggest show of the year, but it was one that had a lot of promise, with several interesting match ups. Sadly one of those match ups was cancelled, with Hiroto Yashiro (2-0, 2) [矢代博斗] pulling out of his bout with Japanese Youth Super Flyweight champion Suzumi Takayama (3-0, 3) [高山涼深], but we still had a decent line up.
The show kicked off with a very fan friendly 4 round bout between the debuting pair of Shinya Kai (1-0) [甲斐 進也] and Kazumasa Fujiwara (0-1) [藤原 一将]. This was fun, exciting and the perfect way to kick off the show, with the action getting better as it went on. In the end Kai did just enough to earn the win, and get a W on his debut.
In the second bout Ryoichi Tamura (14-5-1, 7) [田村 亮一] took a narrow 5 round decision over Ryu Oba (5-5, 3) [大場 竜]. The bout, a 5 round "Prize Fight", saw Tamura race out and try to take Oba out early on. Oba, to his credit, saw out the storm in the first 2 rounds, and then Tamura began to tire, getting sloppy, and losing his form. This allowed Oba to box, move and make things much more competitive, though it seemed like Tamura was worth the win after the final bell. A close, but earned win in our eyes for the former Japanese Super Bantamweight champion.
Sadly after a really entertaining bout between Tamura and Oba we then saw Satoshi Kimura (4-4-2, 2) [木村 哲史] take a decision win against Takashi Hisano (5-5-2, 1) [久野 喬] in a slow burner. It took a few rounds for either man to really do anything of note, though the bout did finally get going late, with Kimura dropping Hisano in round 5. To be fair Hisano fought hard in round 6 but by then it was too little too late. The knockdown proved vital on the scorecards with two of the cards reading 57-56 in his favour, whilst the third judge had a peculiar 59-54 card to Kimura.
In the show's penultimate bout we got a legitimate treat as Yoshimitsu Kimura (12-2-1, 7) [木村吉光] and Shuma Nakazato (10-1-3, 7) [仲里周磨] fought to an 8 round draw. This was a bout that had everything, and more. It started slowly, with both men jabbing, trying to control the tempo behind their shots at mid-range. It then warmed up at the end of round 2 before going into a lull in round 3. It was the calm before the storm and at the end of round 4 a left hook, seconds before the bell, dropped Kimura hard. He got to his feet but was very lucky the bell came to his aid. Nakazato tried to jump on his man early in round 5, but failed to replicate his success as Kimura recovered his senses and then scored a knockdown of his own in round 7. It seemed nip and tuck as we entered round 8. Kimura tried to give himself the best chance of a win as he put it all on the line in the final 3 minutes, but it was just enough to earn a draw. This was the standout bout of the card and was a very, very good one for fan wanting to see the highlight of the show.
We then moved on to the main event, which promised a lot. It had OPBF Light Welterweight champion Rikki Naito (25-2, 8) [内藤 律樹] looking to defend his title for the 4th time as he took on Yusuke Konno (16-5, 9) [今野裕介]. On paper this had the ingredients to be a very interesting match up between men with very different styles. Naito being a speedy boxer and Konno being a tough and strong pressure fighter.
The bout started well enough, and saw Naito's speed being a key factor in the opening round. Then we saw Konno having success in round 2, as his pressure began to force Naito to fight his fight. Then Naito turned the bout on it's head with a string of solid rounds, using his speed, his movement and his energy to out box Konno, who's pressure was neutralised fairly easily. After 4 rounds two judges had it 40-36 with the third being 39-37, all Naito. It was easy to score, with Konno have intermittent success with right hands and Naito having regular success with his jab, hook and straights.
Naito also took round 5, and it seemed like he was going to cruise to an easy win, until round 6 when Konno forced his fight on to the champion. The entire round saw Konno being the boss, getting inside and battering the champion with hooks, uppercuts, straights. It seemed, almost in an instant, as if the bout had turned on it's head and that Naito was beginning to fall apart. And then we saw Konno fall apart, with the challenger fighting though round 7 looking tired, and exhausted, as if his effort in round 6 had taken a lot from him. Then it became apparent that it wasn't exhaustion affecting Konno, but an injury that left him unable to use his left hand, making him a one-handed fighter.
To his credit Konno did try fighting through the injury, with some mixed success in rounds 8 and 9, but was pulled out after the 9th when it was clear that he was completely unable to use his left hand. It was the right decision, and it's just a huge shame that he suffered an injury just as it seemed like he was beginning to find some success.
Earlier today it was announced that OPBF Light Welterweight champion Rikki Naito (24-2, 7) [内藤 律樹] would be making his 4th defense on November 21st on a stacked card as part of a Dangan and Over Heat Boxer's Night show. And by stacked we genuinely mean stacked!
Naito will be defending his title in a very interesting all Japanese bout against Yusuke Konno (16-4, 9) [今野裕介], in what we expect will be a real shoot out. Although Naito is the quicker, more skilled fighter Konno is the heavier handed, tougher man, who hasn't shown the stamina issues that Naito has.
It's not just the main event to be excited by here, in fact the card has 3 or 4 bouts worthy of attention. One of those is the chief support bout between Yoshimitsu Kimura (12-2, 7) [木村吉光] and Shuma Naklazato (10-1-2, 7) [仲里周磨]. Both of these men have lost close decisions to Hironori Mishiro and both will be looking to move towards a second bout with Mishiro in the near future. This will be a very high skilled and exciting match up between Japanese youngsters.
In a Japanese Youth Super Flyweight title bout we'll see defending champion Suzumi Takayama (3-0, 3) [高山涼深] clash with Hiroto Yashiro (2-0, 2) [矢代博斗], in a bout that looks almost certain to provide fire works. This is the sort of bout that is great on paper, and even better in the ring, given the styles and mentality of the two men involved.
Another bout worthy of mention will see former Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Ryoichi Tamura (13-5-1, 7) [田村亮一] face off with Ryu Oba (5-4, 3) [大場 竜] in a 5 round prize money bout, where a financial bonus is given to the winner if they can score a KO.
This show will be available on Boxing Raise and is a great reason to get their service for the penultimate month of the year.
It's easy to talk about the fighters who have flown high in 2019, and those who have had year's to forget, but the fighters who have hit careers highs and been hit with some lows inside a year are arguably the most interesting fighters. They've had year of ups and downs like some kind of human roller-coaster ride. For this award we have two men who are joint winners!
Joint winner 1 - Kosuke Saka
Former Japanese Featherweight champion Kosuke Saka began the year by being blitzed in 2 rounds by Joe Noynay, in what was a genuine shock at the time. Whilst this loss looks less bad, given that Noynay would later stop Satoshi Shimizu and fight to a technical draw with Kenichi Ogawa in a bloody head clash marred bout. A win over Isack Junior 5 months later in a nothing bout was more of a palette cleanser for Saka rather than a win of any actual value.
It was how Saka ended the year that saw him hit a high, as he battered Masaru Sueyoshi to claim the Japanese Super Featherweight title, becoming a 2-weight national champion in impressive fashion. He broke down, beat up, battered and stopped Sueyoshi in a career defining performance, and one that was a million miles away from the loss to Nonynay at the start of the year. In many ways Saka's year was the reverse roller-coaster, starting low, and ending high....it'll be interesting to see how he begins the new year.
Joint winner 2 - Ryoichi Tamura
Whilst Saka's year started low and ended high Tamura's year completed a full roller-coaster, starting high, going low, then lower, then ending on a high. It must have been a real ride to be a Ryoichi Tamura fan in 2019, but it was also an enjoyable ride for the tough guy from the JB Sports gym. He didn't just have results that went up and down, but even in defeat he was involved in some sensational fights.
So, to begin the year Tamura out fought, out worked, and out battled Mugicha Nakagawa to win the Japanese Super Bantamweight title, which Shingo Wake had vacated. This was certainly the highest of high points for Tamura, who sadly lost in his first defense to Yusakiu Kuga, in what was a legitimately thrilling bout that deserves so much more attention than it will ever get. Although Tamura lost to Kuga it could be argued that the damage he did in that fight will leave Kuga a lesser fighter than he was going in. By that same token the punishment Tamura took was insane as well.
Tamura failed to bounce back from the Kuga loss immediately and lost in a Japanese title eliminator, to Gakuya Furuhashi, sending him further down. Though did bounce back in November when he made his international debut and stopped Moensaku Yor in 2 rounds to claim the OPBF Silver Super Bantamweight title.
Up and down and round round! Ryoichi Tamura has had a bizarre yet wonderfully fun year to follow!
In Taiwan today we had an interesting, though small, card that featured a couple of title bouts, a few novices and some pretty interesting low key action.
In the opening bout of the card we saw Hiroto Watabe (2-1-1, 2) [渡部浩人] bounce back from his loss in May to Dominique Kenshin by stopping Thai teen Nanthipat Kesa (2-5, 1) in the second round. This was Watabe, who press from the opening bell and left the referee with little option than to stop the bout. Kesa was out of his depth throughout and could have been stopped earlier.
The second bout was again between novices, as ChianHuei Chin (0-1-1) faced the debuting Kai Ting Chuang (1-0) in a 4 round female bout. It seemed clear from early on that Chuang was the more well schooled fighter and she scored a knockdown in round 2 and mostly controlled the action. After 4 rounds all 3 judges agreed that Chuang was the winner, as she took a clear unanimous decision.
The third bout on the card saw young hopeful Yi Hung Chiang (4-0, 3) take on 37 year old Indonesian journeyman Said Fahdafi (3-8, 2) and score a very easy win. The Indonesian was dropped part way through round 2 and Chaing smelled blood. He would follow up by dropping Fahdafi twice more and taking a win that was very popular with the local fans.
Another Japanese fighter picking up a win on the under-card here was Seigo Hanamori (6-3, 4) [花森成吾], who was far too good for Thai foe Kittipong Jareonroy (3-5, 1). The Thai had come to fight but was out skilled, out boxed and outsped through out. The punch picking and accuracy of Hanamori saw Jareonroy being dropped from a body show mid way through round 2. Although the Thai got up from the knockdown he was dropped again soon afterwards and the referee waved the action off almost immediately. This was a third straight stoppage win for Hanamori who is never going to reach the top of the sport, but is going to be a fun man to follow.
The first of two title bouts saw WBA Asia Super Bantamweight champion Daisuke Sugita (6-1, 3) [杉田大祐] went up against tough Filipino journeyman Edison Berwela (18-43-8, 6).
On paper this looked like a mismatch, but those who had followed Berwela's career over the year's knew he could be a banana skin for Sugita and the Japanese "Police Boxer". Sugita seemed aware of Berwela's reputation as tough guy and showed respect early on, despite being aggressive. As the fight went on we saw more ambition from Berwela who landed a number of solid left hands in round 3 and by the end of round 4 Sugita seemed to have a graze around his left eye, and a cut did open up around his right eye later in the bout.
Despite the ambition of Berwela was saw Sugita continue to get the best of it and Berwela only managed success in spurts, with counters. Sugita on the other hand controlled the tempo, but had to remain cautious and on point throughout, knowing that Berwela was a danger. In the final round Berwela, who knew he was a long way behind, went all out for the KO, throwing hayemakers, but was unable to catch Sugita clean with them, as the champion saw out the storm before firing back in a very fun final minute.
The second title bout saw the always fun to watch Ryoichi Tamura (13-5-1, 7) [田村亮一] take on Indonesian foe Moensaku Yor (6-6-1, 4) for the OPBF "silver" Super Bantamweight title. This turned out to be every bit the mismatch we'd have expected.
Tamura dominated the opening round but couldn't hate Yor in the first 3 minutes. In the second round however he scored a knockdown early in the round, and then dropped Yor three more before the round was over. After getting up from the knockdown the crowd applauded Yor, and his bravery. Thankfully the referee finally stepped in when it Yor was going to be dropped the 5th time in the round.
Tomorrow in Taiwan former Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Ryoichi Tamura (12-5-1, 6) [田村亮一] will battle Indonesian Moensaku Yor (6-5-1, 4) in a bout for the OPBF Silver Super Bantamweight.
Today, ahead of their bout, the two men took part in their weigh in, and neither man had any issues with the 122lbs limit.
On the scales Tamura was bang on the divisional limit, and looked strong, powerful and like a fighter looking to make a statement after back to back losses.
Whilst Tamura was bang on the limit the naturally smaller Yor was well under it, weighing in at 120.8lb. Although a very clear under-dog the Indonesian was talking confidently, telling the press "I think Tamura is a good fight, but I'm stronger."
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
News! We try and give you the most interesting news stories from the Asian boxing world!