Earlier today the East Japan Boxing Association announced their monthly award winners for May, wiith 3 winners being confirmed.
The MVP award, the most notable of the three awards, was won by the now unified OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight champion Satoshi Shimizu (10-1, 9) [清水 聡] following his victory over Musashi Mori (12-1, 7) [森 武蔵] on May 21st. The win was, by far, the biggest of his professional career and gave the 2012 Olympic Bronze medal winner a real step in the right direction, towards a world title fight. Although he would be the under-dog against any of the current champions at 126lbs he is a genuine threat due to his freakish dimensions at the weight and the brutal power he has in his left hand.
In regards to the MVP award Shimizu was the clear front runner and a very worthy winner.
The Fight Spirit award was also won by a now unified OPBFand WBO Asia Pacific champion, with Welterweight Ryota Toyoshima (14-2-1, 9) [豊嶋亮太] taking the honours, after his excellent win over Yuki Beppu (21-2-1, 20) [別府優樹] on May 20th. That bout had the potential to be somethign a little bit special, but ended up being fairly one sided, with Toyoshima in control for much of the bout before breaking down Beppu and forcing the "Tyson of Kyushu" to be stopped by the referee in round 10.
The Newcomer award was won by Keisuke Matsumoto (3-0, 3) [松本 圭佑], following his destructive performance against Hiromu Murota (6-5-2, 4) [室田 拡夢], on the same card as Shimizu's botu with Mori. On paper this was a step up for Matsumoto, but he looked better than he had in his first two bouts and actually seemed to be looking like a more confident, accomplished and polished professional. The youngster, who had had questions following his first two bouts, really did look tremendous here and is certainly a new comer to keep an eye on long term.
(Image credit - Boxingnews.jp)
Earlier today we got a midweek treat from G+ who televised the latest in their Dynamic Glove series of shows. The event was a special show, celebrating the 600th Dynamic Glove event and mixed in the live fights with a lot of archive footage, adding the sense of the event being something genuinely worth watching.
Sadly the in ring action wasn't as good as we've seen in the past from the Dynamic Glove series, but it was certainly not a bad show, even if we did end up with just 4 televised bouts.
Unfortuntely the originally scheduled show opener, a 4 rounder between Teiken fighter Munetaka Kihara (3-2-1, 1) [木原 宗孝] and the unbeaten Reiji Kodama (2-0, 1) [兒玉 麗司 was cancelled, due to Kihara pulling out. Despite that we still ended up getting a really, really good show.
The event kicked off with a much anticipated 6 round bout between the debuting Junya Shimada (1-0) [嶋田 淳也] and the touted Shigetoshi Kotari (2-1, 1) [神足 茂利], both of whom were solid amateur fighters and both of them were out there looking to make an impression in what looked like a very tough match up on paper. At least if you were aware of their amateur pedigree.
The bout lived up to the expectations, despite a rather ugly and slow paced opening round. From 2 to round 6 this was thoroughly entertaining action with Kotari trying to box and move, using his more fluid and natural looking boxing skills, to try and neutralise the pressure and aggression of Shimada. The pressure of Shimada began to have success in round 2 and from there on his pressure always looked like it was chipping away at Kotari who held up close and looked to try and create space to work. Altough he wasn't able to fight his fight Kotari did land some gorgeous uppercuts, but was never able to sustained things for long. Instead we saw him being chipped away at by Shimada's nasty body shots, especially in round 4, and he never really managed to turn things around afterwards.
For fans who missed this one it is, genuinely, worthy of a watch. A very, very entertaining 6 rounder, fought at a good pace, with styles that gelled really well.
Sadly the second bout was a much different affair to the first bout. Whilst the first was high tempo, exciting battle the second was a rather tedious, slow paced contest that saw the heavy handed but vulnerable Junpei Tsujimoto (8-2-3, 6) [辻本 純兵] easily defeat Hideo Mikan (9-14-2, 2) [美柑 英男] in what was a bout that struggled to come alive. Mikan was there to win early on, but had nothing to really test Tsujimoto with, whilst Tsujimoto seemed determined to not give Mikan chances to land anything clean.
For 2 rounds it was slow paced but competitive. In round 3 however Tsujimoto landed some big body shots and Mikan never really showed too much ambition afterwards, as Tsujimoto controlled the bout and came close to dropping his man in round 5. Mikan some how survived but seemed about done and in round 6 the referee stepped between the two men. It was an oddly timed stoppage, but one Mikan didn't complain about, and one that seemed to end what was a very dull one sided bout.
We would complain about this one, but it seems that Tsujimoto was working on being more cautious after two damaging bouts in 2020, a loss to Nath Nwachukwu and a shoot out with Daiki Ogura. We can't begrudge him an easy one after the punishment he took in those bouts.
We ended up getting the chance to see some dynamite in the third bout as Masaya Tamayama (14-2, 8) [玉山 将也] destroyed veteran Hisashi Kato (10-10-2, 6) [加藤 寿] in 2 rounds.
This started slowly, with Kato getting on his bike, moving around the ring, trying to use his southpaw jab and legs to create space. Tamayama on the other hand pressed forward, looking to break Kato down with body shots and take his legs away. In round two the firepower of Tamayama was on show, as he dropped Kato with gorgeous uppercut. Kato beat the count but was dropped again soon afterwards, with the referee immediately waving this off following crisp counter left hook that dropped Kato hard.
We were legitimately expecting an all out war in the main event as OPBF Welterweight champion Ryota Toyoshima (14-2-1, 9) [豊嶋亮太] faced off with WBO Asia Pacific champion Yuki Beppu (21-2-1, 20) [別府優樹] in a unification bout of their titles. Sadly this never really caught fire as expected, though was still a solid bout, if somewhat one sided.
The opening couple of rounds were well contested and pretty evenly fought. Beppu used his footwork well, picked his spots and landed some really nice single shots, whilst Toyoshima pressured and landed some of his own single shots. The tempo was strangely low and neither man seemed to put any shots together at all, it was all single shots, with no real risks being taken. Despite the low tempo of the action there was a strange tension, as if something big could happen.
In rounds 3 and 4 Toyoshima began to take control of the action, landing some really good left hooks, and body shots. It was still a low tempo affair, but it was picking up, and Toyoshima was starting to look a lot more consistent with his shots, especially his body work and jab. In fact it was that jab of Toyoshima's that began to really unsettle Beppu, and make the "Tyson of Kyushu" a lot more apprehensive, allowing Toyoshima to have an easier time in controlling his foe. That showed particularly well in round 4, as he began to physically deflate in front of our eyes.
After 4 rounds the open scoring kicked in and had Toyoshima up 40-36, twice, and 39-37. The shut outs seemed very harsh but it was clear that Toyoshima was starting to take over, and the first two rounds were close in fairness to the judges.
Toyoshima seemed to slow down in round 5, cruising at times, but Beppu failed to make him pay. In fact if anything Toyoshima managed to win the round by doing very little. What he did well was land the eye catching shots late in the round, notably a good jab and a couple of good body shots. Beppu seemed to be running out of ideas an that was particularly notable in rounds 6 as he began to look tired, was falling well behind on the scorecards, and was unwilling, or unable, to sell out and go for it. The body shots had taken some of the fight out of him, and the jabs had repeatedly take the play away from him when he did manage to have moments.
In round 7 things went from bad to worse for Beppu who was dropped from a fantastic uppercut. Prior to which he had taken more body shots, and looked to be a man physically wilting, and being broken down. He got up from the knockdown, but seemed hurt again late in the round, as Toyoshima's body work continued.
Beppu tried to turn things around in round 8, but it was too little too late and he really didn't come close to doing enough to take the round from a man who looked bigger, stronger, fresher, hungrier andmore powerful than himself. In fact if anything Beppu looked like he was needing to work incredibly hard for any success, whilst Toyoshima seemed to be relaxed, landing at will and having more consistent success.
After 8 rounds we saw the open scoring again, with scores of 80-71, twice, and 78-73, all in favour of Toyoshima who was in complete control of the bout and was bossing it with ease.
Toyoshima seemed to take round 9 off, not doing much at all, and allowing Beppu the chance to let his shots off. It was clear that Beppu needed to massively turn things around and it seemed a good idea from Toyoshima to not take any risks if he didn't need to. He was going to win as long as he stayed on his feet and Beppu had to gamble. And gamble he did, with Beppu trying to turn things around in rounds 9 and 10. Sadly however Beppu's gamble failed to payoff and in round 10 he was broken up by body shots, badly hurt, and forced on to the retreat. A jab forced Beppu to stumbles towards his own corner, and a left hook followed, sending Beppu down. To his credit Beppu managed to get to his feet, but the referee finished the count, saving Beppu from further punishment.
What promised to be a great fight heading in, was strangely one sided, and it seemed clear that Beppu's problems, including a lack od sparring a late flight to Tokyo and more than a year of inactivity, did him no favours at all here. As for Toyoshima this is a second big win for him in 2021 and he has really been one of the few big success stories from Japan this year, due to a very scattered calendar of fights. There's a good chance he'll squeeze in another and could be one of the run away fighters for Japanese domestic fighter of the year at this rate.
Tomorrow at Korakuen Hall, and live on G+, fight fans will be able to see OPBF Welterweight champion Ryota Toyoshima (13-2-1, 8) [豊嶋亮太] battle against WBO Asia Pacific Welterweight champion Yuki Beppu (21-1-1, 20) [別府優樹] in a regional Welterweight unification bout. And a bout that promises nothing less than brutal action and intense exchanges.
Today the two men took part in their weigh in for the bout and the two fighters made weight with absolutely no issues at all.
Toyoshima was bang on the limit of 147lbs, and he looked in really good shape. He looked like he has really developed physically since winning the OPBF title earlier this year and much of that may be down to the fact he has been having intensive sparring sessions recently, including a lot of rounds with Jorge Linares. He won the title earlier this year, with a win over Riku Nagahama, an it does seem like he's really come into his own in recent bouts
At the weight in Toyoshima spoke about how it's more important to win than it is to look good or score a KO and it seems that we might see a change in gameplan from him, with maybe a more reserved tactic here than we've seen in the past.
Beppu on the other hand was comfortable under the limit, weighing in at around 146.1lbs. He was the shorter man at the weigh, though he's usually the short man and that won't worry him here, and he was also the thicker set man, possibly explaining where his brutal power comes from. He revealed that he had to fly over from Kyushu to Tokyo yesterday, which isn't ideal, though he looked in great shape and seemed very confident.
Unlike Toyoshima it was revealed that Beppu has struggled to get sparring, though he seemed confident that he got enough. Also unlike Toyoshima, he seemed very determined to go for the KO, saying that Toyoshima is good, but he was going to damage him and aim for the KO win.
For fans unable to get to Korakuen Hall for the bout it will be aired live on G+ from 5PM Tokyo time.
Related - Beppu and Toyoshima clash to unify regional titles!
Earlier today the Japan Boxing Commission (JBC) and the Japan Professional Bowling Association (JPBA) held their latest meeting of the new coronavirus countermeasure liaison council and had a number of things to discuss. The most notable of which was what to do after the recent State of Emergency was announced, which effects 4 prefectures in Japan.
Due to the state of emergency we've now seen 7 shows being postponed, including 2 that were set to take place before the end of April.
The first show to be affected is the A-Sign Bee show that was scheduled to take place tomorrow, April 27th. The show has not yet had a new date set for it, sadly, but will be postponed.
The second show is an April 29th show, set to take place at the Kobe Arts Center, which has been postponed to May 30th.
The May 1st Dynamic Glove show, set to be headlined by Japanese Middleweight champion Kazuto Takesako (11-0-1, 11) [竹迫司登] defending his title against mandatory challenger Riku Kunimoto (4-0, 2) [国本陸], has been pushed back to May 19th, as previously reported.
The planned May 5th show at the EDION Arena Osaka, headlined by former world champion Tomoki Kameda (36-3, 20) [亀田和毅] taking on Hironori Miyake (9-10-2, 1) [三宅寛典], has been delayed indefinitely, which is a huge shame as Masato Yamashita had it known he was happy to hold the event with out fans if that was an option.
The May 6th Dynamic Glove, headlined by a unification bout between OPBF Welterweight champion Ryota Toyoshima (13-2-1, 8) [豊嶋亮太] and WBO Asia Pacific Welterweight champion Yuki Beppu (21-1-1, 20) [別府優樹], has been pushed back to May 20th. Like the May 1st show this was already known about and was confirmed over the weekend by Teiken.
The final show to be affected is a May 9th card in Tokyo, at the Tachikawa Tachihi Arena. As with the April 27th and May 5th show, there is now set replacement date for the event.
It should also be noted that a May 9th show in Aichi, under the "Splendid Boxing" banner, may end up being affected, but is currently planned to go ahead as scheduled.
The State of Emergency is to get back on top of the Covid10 pandemic which has seen case numbers in Japan shoot up in recent weeks, and has started to, once again, threaten the Tokyo Olympics which are expected to be held later this year. The current State of Emergency runs to May 11th, but there is a chance it will be extended and could end up affecting shows later into to May if that happens. The current plan is, if an extension is granted, shows will go back to being fan-less events, rather than completely putting boxing on hold again.
Outside of the actual shows the gyms have been told to strengthen their infection controls for fighters who have bouts agreed and that gyms need to follow the guidance of local government.
Away from Covid19 and on to the recent news regarding WBO Super Flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka (26-2, 15) [井岡一翔], and his suspected doping violation. There was a JBC representative at the meeting today who stated "We have not confirmed the facts." suggesting the investigation is still on going, and the JPBA secretary general Shosei Nitta made it clear that he would await the completion of the JBC's investigation.
Earlier today Teiken announced that two upcoming Japanese shows, both set to be televised by G+ have been postponed due to the State of Emergency that will be coming into effect in Tokyo, along with Osaka and Kyoto.
The first of those shows was set for May 1st and was set to be headlined by Japanese Middleweight champion Kazuto Takesako (11-0-1, 11) [竹迫司登] defending his title against mandatory challenger Riku Kunimoto (4-0, 2) [国本陸]. This bout, which was originally planned for several dates in 2020, is a much anticipated bout but one that has been plagued by issues due to Covid. The original date was cancelled due to Covid, the first rescheduled was cancelled due to a n inability to train for Kunimoto during Covid and then delayed again when Takesako suffered a non-Covid related health issue.
The second show to be postponed is the May 6th Teiken promoted card headlined by a regional unification bout between OPBF Welterweight champion Ryota Toyoshima (13-2-1, 8) [豊嶋亮太] and WBO Asia Pacific Welterweight champion Yuki Beppu (21-1-1, 20) [別府優樹]. Thsi bout has all the hall marks of being something very special, and brutal, between two men who love to let leather go and both are highly entertaining, fan friendly warriors.
At the time of writing the plan is for the May 1st show to be delayed until May 19th and the May 6th show to be postponed until May 20th. Thankfully not long delays to the original plans, but still delays. And it seems likely more shows will follow suit, with more announcements on shows expected in the coming days. There is an expectation that all early May shows, and the ones that remain for the end of this month, could be pushed back by a few weeks.
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