Earlier this week news broke that unbeaten Kazakh hopeful Janibek Alimkhanuly (8-0, 4) [Жанибек Алимханулы] would be in action in "The Bubble" at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, on October 9th. At the time we knew the when and the where, but not the who. As in who he would be facing.
Today we finally got some idea of who his opponent could be, though no names were explicitly stated. What we got were some interesting details that really help create a short list of potential opponents.
The team of the unbeaten Kazakh have stated that he will be up against a "top 15" opponent, who is "unbeaten" and a "southpaw".
Whilst they technically don't say what division, we'll assume it's a Middleweight, though obviously it could be a Light Middleweight moving up or a small Super Middleweight moving down. We'll also assume it's a bout that Top Rank can make relatively easily.
This actually gives us a lot more options than we first assumed. For example Carlos Gongora (18-0, 13), Mikalai Vesialou (11-0-1, 6), David Papot (24-0-1, 3), Danny Dignum (13-0, 7) and Esquiva Falcao (27-0, 19) are all world ranked, unbeaten southpaws, ranked by at least by one world title body in the top 15 at Middleweight.
Using that short list however the most logical of the bouts would be a bout with Esquiva Falcao, who is also a Top Rank fighter, looking for a statement win before father time passes him by. We suspect, though it's merely an educated guess, that he will be the focus for Alimkhanuly here.
Interestingly Falcao has been calling out big fights recently, just like Alimkhanuly, and the winner here could, potentially, land a date with WBA "regular" champion Ryota Murata (16-2, 13) [村田 諒太], with the Japanese star also being a Top Rank fighter.
Earlier today the Japanese Boxing Federation announced that they would be doing a special competition this year due to the fact all other high school boxing events had been cancelled.
Current face to face competition isn't allowed due to the current "on going situation". As a result the Japan Boxing Federation has set up a shadow boxing challenge, asking high school student to submit videos of them shadow boxing.
The competition will run from August 1st to August 16th and will be judged by a who's who of top Japanese fighters. These include:
WBA and IBF Bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16) [井上 尚弥]
WBA Middleweight champion Ryota Murata (16-2, 13) [村田 諒太]
WBO Super Flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka (25-2, 14) [井岡一翔]
WBA Light Flyweight "Super" champion Hiroto Kyoguchi (14-0, 9) [京口 紘人]
WBC Light Flyweight champion Kenshiro Teraji (17-0, 10) [寺地 拳四朗]
IBF "interim" champion Ryosuke Iwasa (27-3, 17) [岩佐 亮佑]
Former WBA Super Featherweight champion Takashi Uchiyama (24-2-1, 20) [内山 高志]
Former WBC "interim" Bantamweight champion Takuma Inoue (13-1, 3) [井上 拓真]
and former 3-weight world champion Akira Yaegashi (28-7, 16) [八重樫 東]
The judges will select a winner and the winners will be given an award on August 22nd.
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)
According to the Daily Shincho, in an article released earlier today, "sources" in Japan have revealed that an agreement has finally been struck for much talked about contest between Japanese Middleweight star Ryota Murata (16-2, 13) [村田 諒太] and Mexican boxing megastar Saul "Canelo" Alvarez (53-1-2, 36), with a date and venue settled on.
Shincho cite their sources as revealing that the bout will not take place on May 2nd or 3rd, as previously rumoured, but instead May 24th, a Sunday in Japan. It will take place early in the day time in Japan to be shown live at prime time in the US, on Saturday night.
Whilst the hope had been that the bout would take place at the Tokyo Dome that venue wasn't available for any weekend day in May, as previously reported. As a result they had to settle on different venue,but have picked another great one, choosing the Saitama Super Arena. That's the same venue hosted the WBSS Bantamweight final between Naoya Inoue [井上 尚弥] and Nonito Donaire back in November.
The Daily Shincho's article state that their sources said that the original plan had been to get Gennady Golovkin (40-1-1, 35) over to Japan for a May date, with Canelo originally viewed as being the trickier opponent to get over to Japan. As things progressed however talks with Canelo's team went well, leading to that being the bout that was targeted, and then secured and signed.
Interestingly the Saitama Super Arena, which wasn't set up for a fully capacity for the WBSS final, is expected to be set for around 37,000 seats with the belief being this will be the largest audience for an event headlined by a Japanese fighter.
The Daily Shincho has also revealed that the bout is expected to be officially announced in the very near future. It is worth noting though that not all details had been disclosed, such as the agreed weight for the bout, though Murata has stated he's happy to fight at 160lbs or 168lbs. They also didn't have any details on the under-card, though suggested that they were hearing at least one other big bout would be on the show.
It's worth noting that the Daily Shincho is affiliated with the Weekly Shincho, the second highest selling weekly newspaper in Japan.
Just a week ago we were talking about how Japanese Middleweight star Ryota Murata (16-2, 13) [村田 諒太] was the new front runner to face Saul "Canelo" Alvarez (53-1-2, 36) in May. Today Murata was back in the news for a very, very different type of story.
Unlike the talk about the Canelo fight Murata was involved in an event for a Korakuen shop product, advertising "Chocolate Ramen".
Although the idea of chocolate Ramen sounds like it wouldn't work Murata actually seemed to be a fan and explained "Soy sauce and chocolate aren't fighting. Ginger is neutralizing. I thought it was a mismatch, but it was delicious." [Translated]
The event was pretty much just to advertise the product, but of course the media had question regarding Murata's upcoming bout.
Murata himself explained that "I don't hear directly about offers, I feel like I know through media and SNS. It's only talk at this stage" [Translated]. Though he did state that "Of course, I want to do it if I have the chance to do it," [Translated]. When asked a move up in weight he to Super Middleweight, he was OK with it and explained "I've been in the same class all the time, so I think new challenges are good."[Translated]
A deal on the fight is expected to take steps towards being made this week, or falling through completely and seeing the two men take different routes.
(Image courtesy of daily.co.jp)
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