Earlier today A-Sign boxing announced that Japanese Light Middleweight champion Hironobu Matsunaga (18-1, 11) [松永 宏信] would be returning to the ring on November 26th in a non-title bout, The exciting, and very in form, champion will be up against former Japanese Welterweight champion Ryota Yada (20-7, 17) [矢田良太], in an 8 round bout at a contracted 70.4KG's (155.2lbs).
The bout, which will be the main event of an A-Sign show, is expected to be full of fire works given the styles of the two men involved.
Interestingly it was reported that Yada had considered retirement late last year, when he was upset by Yuichi Ideta, but has decided to continue his career after the birth of his child in January. He returned to the gym in March, and stated the he wanted to face a strong opponent, with Matsunaga fitting the bill perfectly.
Rather peculiarly these two were meant to fight back in May 2017, but their bout was cancelled back then due to Matsunaga needing to pull out. Given the long wait, it's nice to see these two finally facing off.
Earlier today we were informed about the latest show in the Green Tsuda promoted "Crash Boxing" series of shows, as the gym held a press conference to announce the event. The show in question will take place on August 8th in Hirkata City, and is one packed with interesting bouts and notable names.
The main event of the card is an excellent match up between two JBC ranked Super Flyweight as former Japanese national champion Takayuki Okumoto (23-10-4, 11) [奥本 貴之] battles against Sonin Nihei (10-5-2, 2) [仁平 宗忍], in a rematch of their 2016 clash. The first time these two men fought Okumoto stopped in 2 rounds, and it's fair to say that the former champion will be confident of another win here. Saying that however Nihei has picked up two decent domestic wins since then, beating Tatsuya Ikemizu and Ryosuke Nasu whilst Okumoto has actually lost his last two bouts, including a huge upset loss in December to Akio Furutani.
In the main support bout we'll see Green Tsuda hopeful Toshiki Shimomachi (13-1-2, 9) [下町 俊貴] in action in an 8 rounder, though his opponent has yet to be announced. Despite not being a big name he is among the best prospects in Japan and fingers crossed this bout will be one of his last bouts before a potential title fight at the end of the year, or in early 2022.
Where the card really is appealing is the depth of young talent on it, not just Shimomachi. Another of the youngsters is his Green Tsuda stablemate Jinki Maeda (7-0, 4) [前田 稔輝], who will be taking on the solid Yuya Azuma (5-5-1, 1) [東 祐也], who's only been stopped once in his 5 losses and that was by Rentaro Kimura.
Other youngsters include the debuting pair of Kaito Yamazaki (0-0) [山崎 海斗] and Takafumi Shibata (0-0) [柴田 尊文]. Yamazaki will be expected to have a chin check here as he takes on Kohei Hamamoto (4-2-1, 3) [濱元 耕平], who has stopped his last 3 in the first round whilst Shibata will be up against Ryosie Niguma (5-3-1, 3) [二熊 亮成] in a very interesting match up.
At a press conference for the show this morning Okumoto explained that a conversation with his 8 year old son talking him out of retiring from the sport, and he admitted that he was surprised to be headlining the card, like assuming the headline bout would go to Shimomachi as the rising star of the gym. The promoter, Masaya Motoishi, however explained that he was confident Okumoto would become a champion again explaining that that played a part in his choice to have Okumoto lead the show.
Shimomachi revealed that he sees his bout as a passing point before an eventual title fight. It's expected he'll not be in with someone too testing here, and instead will be using the bout to stay sharp, rather than testing himself and his abilities too much.
Notably Maeda explained that whilst he can challenge for a Japanese title, given his JBC ranking, he feels he's not ready for a shot. And credit to him for being honest on that, as his last performance showed there is still a lot of work for him to do before he faces a title level fighter. We're not sure Azuma will prepare him for a title fight, but he does need more experience.
Another fighter who was mentioned at the press conference was Ryota Yada (20-7, 17) [矢田良太], who was said to have turned down a fight on this show as he's hoping to get a fight at Korakeun Hall later in the year instead, and could find himself in a major domestic show down, rather than a relative low key bout in Hirakata City, on this show.
It’s fair to say that 2020 was a year of surprises, both in terms of boxing and life in general, afterall did anyone predict a pandemic heading into the year? For us the surprises came regularly through the year, and came at every in the sport. From domestic level, with prospects being shocked, national titles changing hands even world level shocks.
Due to the sheer number of upsets we had in Asian Boxing in 2020 it’s genuinely been hard to pick one as the upset of the year. Do we go with the biggest in terms of the betting? Do we go with the result that was the biggest surprise to us or do we try to find some middle line?
Rather than trying to define an upset we’ve come up with a compromise and we will be having joint winners here, with one for the biggest betting upset that we saw, and one for the biggest surprise result that we saw. That surprise result really was one out of the blue, that we certainly didn’t expect.
The betting upset of the year came on November 27th in Thailand as unheralded Thai Panya Pradabsri, also known as Petchmanee CP Freshmart, took on countryman Wanheng Menayothin, the long running WBC Minimumweight champion.
The bookies opened this one with Wanheng almost an unbackable favourite, with the champion opening at 1/10 with STSbet and later being 1/12 with several UK bookies. He was seen as being well on the way to his 55th straight and his 13th title defense before the two men stepped foot in the ring. Panya on the other hand opened at 6/1 to score the upset.
By fight time money had poured on the challenger, who had been backed into around 3/1, and he would then go on to take a very close and hard fought decision over Wanheng, leading to some nice wins for bettors.
Panya’s upset win was the biggest with widely available odds, however there was one bigger upset in Asia, and that was Daishi Nagata’s shock win over Koki Inoue in July. Nagata entered that bout an 8/1 under-dog against Inoue, before forcing a stoppage win. Sadly only STS had odds on this one, and it really wasn’t one that most could bet on, but was, admittedly, a massive surprise result
Other similar upsets scored by Asian fighters include:
Masayoshi Nakatani upsetting Felix Verdajo - With Nakatani starting as a 6/1 under-dog
Akui Furutani upsetting Takayuki Okumoto - With Furatani a 9/2 under-dog
Mike Plania upsetting Joshua Greer Jr - With Plania a 4/1 under-dog
Kenichi Horikawa upsetting Daiki Tomita - With Horikawa a 7/2 under-dog
Upset scored against an Asian fighter by a non-Asian:
Carlos Gongora upsetting Ali Akhmedov - With Gongora starting as a 7/1 under-dog
With just a single win in a decade the 36 year old Yuichi Ideta wasn’t even expected to put up much of a fight on December 27th when he battled former Japanese Welterweight champion Ryota Yada. Ideta had fallen from 12-0 (7) to 13-15-1 (7) and had lost 11 in a row and had been stopped 5 times during his career. Whilst some of those losses weren’t embarrassing ones, such as losses to Keita Obara and Nobuyuki Shindo, he had lost to some very limited fighters, like Ryota Itoyama, Quaye Peter and Ryuji Ikeda.
Amazingly with the deck stacked against him, and no one really giving him a chance Ideta out worked, out fought, outmuscled and out landed Yada to take home the decision win.
This genuinely was the biggest shock to us for the entire year, and was the first decision loss for Yada since 2014, in what was his 6th bout.
Similar upsets to this one include:
Juan Carlos Raygosa defeating Dauren Yeleussinov
Adrian Lerasan beating Tanes Ongjunta
Jeny Boy Boca beating Sarawut Thawornkham
Ryosuke Nishida beating Shohei Omori
Earlier today at the EDION Arena Osaka we got the latest show from Green Tsuda and surprisingly it was a card packed with upsets and surprises. In fact the 3 main bouts all went against the favourites, giving the show a genuine surprise feel.
The show kicked off with a opening round TKO win by Ryuichi Kitazono (1-0, 1) [北園 龍一] who stopped the limited Hummer Taku (1-3, 1) [ハンマータク] with 2:36 of round 1 gone. Kitazono dropped Taku with a 1-2 and although Taku got to his feet the bout was stopped.
The second bout on the show as also a short one, as Sho Hatsuda (3-1, 1) [初田 翔] scored a 2nd round TKO win over Ryusuke Harada (1-2-1) [原田 竜輔]. This started calmly but quickly caught fire and the two men were trading solid shots in round 2, before an uppercut from Hatsuda shook Harada, and a stoppage came soon afterwards. This was a good bounce back for Hatsuda who hadn't been seen in the rung since a November 2019 loss to Takumi Chono.
Another 2nd round TKO saw the brilliantly talented and fast rising Jinki Maeda (6-0, 4) [前田 稔輝] continue to impress, as he took out Kaito Okubo (5-2, 2) [大久保 海都]. This was really competitive in the opening round, but a straight left hand from Maeda in round 2 landed perfectly, dropping Okubo who's corner had seen enough. This was a second solid win for Maeda since winning the 2019 All Japan Rookie of the Year and we expect to see big things from him next year.
The first of the upsets saw Katsunari Takayama (32-8-0-1, 12) [高山 勝成] return to the ring after more than 4 years away and defeat 2-time world title challenger Reiya Konishi (17-3, 7) [小西伶弥]. Takayama started brightly, and fulkl of energy, despite his 37 year old legs. He boxed well at range, looked sharp through out the opening round, and looked quick, using his legs brilliantly. In round 4 he began to slow his footwork and increase his output, which should have suited Konishi, but still it was Takayama out working the younger man, winning round after round.
After 6 rounds Takayama had impressed all 3 judges, winning with scores of 60-54, 60-55 and 59-55, to take the decision and move towards another potential world title fight. After the bout he spoke to fans and stated "I enjoyed the fight. I want to show a better move in the next one. First of all, my goal was to enter the world ranking, so I want to aim for even higher next year." [Translated]
The second upset saw former Japanese Super Flyweight champion Takayuki Okumoto (23-10-4, 11) [奥本貴之] come up short against big under-dog Akio Furutani (9-4, 3) [古谷昭男]. The inform Furutani looked to take the fight to Okumoto, getting on the front foot and causing Okumoto problems almost from the off. Okumoto, to his credit, tried to fight back and had success in rounds 2 and 3, but Furutani wasn't to be denied and he began to move through the gears, despite suffering a cut from a clash of heads. In the later rounds Furutani again showed his aggression, and it forced Okumoto into a fire fight in the final rounds, by then however it was too little too late for Okumoto.
After 8 rounds the judges turned in scores of 76-76, even, and 77-75, twice, to give Furutani the upset decision win. It's worth noting he was a 9/2 under-dog yesterday with some betting companies in Europe!
The main was also a major upset, in fact this was the biggest upset of the day, by far.
This one saw "Naniwa Terminator" Ryota Yada (20-7, 17) [矢田良太] lose a shock decision to veteran Yuichi Ideta (14-15-1, 7) [出田裕一]. In fact this should go down as one of the biggest upsets of the year, though we didn't see odds of it.
Coming in this was expected to be a blow out for Yada, a former Japanese national champion, after all the 36 year old Ideta hadn't scored a win since February 2011. Instead of rolling over and suffering another loss Ideta fought like a man with a point to prove, with the two men trading straight shots in the first round. A big right hand from Yada connected in round 2 but Ideta took it well and began to try and break Yada mentally, something he continued to try in round 3, as he slowly crushed the distance and landed some solid right hands of his own, despite suffering a cut from a clash of heads.
In round 4 Yada landed another big right, but he failed to dissuade Ideta who was coming forward with a persistent mindset and forcing his fight. He backed up Yada, got him on the ropes and out worked him, something he did again in round 8.
After 8 rounds the scores came in, once again we had a 76-76 card, but that was over-ruled by scores of 77-75 and 78-74 to Ideta who scored one of the biggest show wins of 2020 in one of the final shows of the year.
Tomorrow in Osaka fight fans will be able to see "Naniwa Terminator" Ryota Yada (20-6, 17) [矢田良太] headlining the Green Tsuda card at the EDION Arena. The hard hitting Yada is expected to pick up an easy win as he takes on the experienced Yuichi Ideta (13-15-1, 7) [出田裕一], who has really struggled to pick up wins in recent years.
Today, ahead of their bout, the two men took part in their weigh in and both men came in very comfortably under the Welterweight limit.
On the scales Yada was around 146.5lbs, well under the 147;b limit. Despite being well under the limit the former Japanese Welterweight champion looked powerful, strong and in great condition, as he always does. He spoke confidently of ahead of the bout.
Ideta came in even lighter on the scales, coming in at around 145.8lbs. He looked in good shape, but nothing like the ripped monster that Yada was. He spoke not so much about the bout coming up, but about his return to boxing, after retiring when the legendary Yonekura Gym closed, only to return to boxing and join the Misako gym, which he claims has allowed him to have his best training so far. At the age of 36 however it could be too little, too late, for him to mount a serious return to the sport.
For those wanting to give this one a watch Green Tsuda have confirmed that it will be shown on Boxing Raise on their "On Demand" section over the coming days.
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