Earlier today Ohashi Gym announced that unbeaten Japanese and WBO Asian Pacific Light Welterweight champion Andy Hiraoka (20-0, 15) [平岡アンディ] would be returning to the ring on September 13th to defend his WBO Asia Pacific title for the third time.
The unbeaten champion, who won the title late last year when he stopped Jin Sasaki, has had a good year so far, stopping both Cristiano Aoqui and Shun Akaiwa, and in September will be looking to add Filipino slugger Alvin Lagumbay (13-5-1, 11) to his resume, with the "Time Bomb" being Hiraoka's next challenger.
The bout, which headlines a Phoenix Battle card at Korakuen Hall, is a dangerous one for the champion. Hiraoka will, understandably, enter as the favourite but Japanese fans will remember Lagumbay's previous bouts in Japan, which included a loss to Kazuki Saito, who he dropped before losing to, and Keita Obara, who he stopped in dramatic fashion in April 2018 before losing a rematch 4 months later. Although not a great boxer Lagumbay is a proven power puncher and Hiraoka will know he can't take too many risks here.
Also set for this card is 23 year old prospect Keisuke Matsumoto (5-0, 5) [松本圭佑], who takes on domestic foe Ryota Ishida (11-3, 6) [石田凌太], in what is a solid looking 8 rounder at Featherweight. Another notable Ohashi prospect on the show will be Ryutaro Nakagaki (2-0-2, 2) [中垣龍汰朗], who faces unbeaten Watanabe Gym hopeful Kyotaro Yoshida (2-0) [吉田京太郎] in a mouth watering clash of unbeatens.
The Super Bantamweight division is one of the most interesting in Japan, with top fighters, prospects and contenders all making a name for themselves. The latest Japanese fighter in the division to make a name for himself is Takuya Mizuno (12-1-1, 11) [水野拓哉], who claimed the Japanese Youth title earlier today, as he over-came Ryota Ishida (8-2, 6) [石田凌太].
The bout looked like a thrilling match up on paper, and a potentially explosive contest between two heavy handed fighters. Amazingly however the bout went the distance with Mizuno claiming his first ever decision win, and over-coming Ishida, who had dropped two weight classes to make the 122lbs limit.
The bout was a tough one for both, with neither really managing to make themselves stand out, with the bout having a great ebb and flow as a result. It was a tough one to score and amazingly it went down to the final round, with Mizuno doing enough to claim the round on all 3 cards, sneaking a split decision with scores of 77-75, twice, with those cards out-weighing a 77-76 card in favour of of Ishida.
Although a rematch between the two could take place down the line, we suspect that Ishida will move back up to his more natural 130lbs, or 126lbs, whilst Mizuno will look to establish himself as a real player on the domestic, or Oriental, scene. It is worth noting however that Mizuno really is in a stacked division and he will certainly struggle to win a senior title at the moment, but he can begin to head towards those sorts of bouts in 2018.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
The Super Bantamweight division is one of the highlights tomorrow at the Japanese Youth Tournament finals, with a match up between Takuya Mizuno (11-1-1, 11) [水野拓哉] and Ryota Ishida (8-1, 6) [石田凌太] almost certainly set to feature fireworks.
At the weigh in today Ishida towered over hisfoe, showing the fact he was coming down in weight, but still made the 122lb divisional limit, and looked strong. He seemsto have scouted Mizuno well and promised to go for a KO of hisown against the dangerous and touted Mizuno. It's worth noting that last time out Ishida was 128lbs, back in May, but didn't show any ill effects of dropping 6lbs for this bout.
As for Mizuno he was comfortably under the limit, coming in at 121.5lbs for the contest, and looked very strong and powerful, despite looking much smaller than Ishida. Given his record there was little surprise to see him claim he was going to score a KO, and notably he's looking at this bout as a chance to bring a belt to the Matsuda gym, and boost his standing at the gym.
For fans at the Korakuen Hall this bout looks almost certain to finish early and they are in for a treat. Thankfully for those not at the Hall tomorrow the bout will be available on Boxingraise on a delay basis.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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