Earlier today Dangan put on their latest show at Korakuen Hall, and sadly it was a card gutted by late pull outs, which saw a 5 bout card reduced to a 3 bout show. Thankfully however what we got was all competitive with 3 ultra close, hard fought and entertaining bouts.
The first of the three bouts to take place saw Seiya Yamaguchi (3-7-3, 2) [山口 成也] fight to a 6 round draw with Takahiro Nakatsuka (3-3-3) [中塚 貴大], in a Featherweight bout. From the off this was back and forth, but what made it really good was the fact the tempo of the bout just got faster and faster as the rounds went on with rounds 5 and 6 being particularly thrilling.
The second bout was an 8 rounder at Bantamweight, which saw Ayato Hiromoto (5-1, 2) [廣本 彩刀] take a split decision over Wataru Ikegami (9-7-1, 5) [池上 渉], in what was a super close and competitive bout. The under-rated Ikegami started well, and showed that his record really doesn't reflect his ability, but as the bout got going Hiromoto began to find his flow, and create distance, really managing to fight his way into the bout in the middle and later rounds. Given the strong start by Ikegami this was always going to be close, and all 3 judges turned in scorecards of 77-75, with two of them edging to Hiromoto.
The third bout, and the most notable by far, saw former WBO Flyweight champion Sho Kimura (19-3-3, 12) [木村翔] being held to a very unexpected draw against talented youngster Ryu Horikawa (3-1-2, 1) [堀川龍]. The bout was Kimura first in Japan for the better part of 4 years, and his first boxing bout in more than 2 years, but he was still expected to be too much for Horikawa. Instead we saw Horikawa putting in a truly unexpected performance using his amateur skills, his speed and his energy to establish himself early on behind a crisp jab. Kimura looked the stronger, bigger man, and was applying pressure, but he looked a touch rusty and slower than his foe and as the early rounds went on Horikawa began to look more and more comfortable against the former champion.
Sadly for Horikawa he lacked the power to get Kimura's respect and through the bout Kimura always looked the stronger, tougher fighter, taking what was thrown his way and coming back with the more eye catching single shots. That was despite Horikawa trying to push and bully the former champion around, which made for a genuinely thrilling war in the later stages. The desire of both resulted in the judges struggling to split them, with scores of 76-76 from two of the judges, and 77-75 to Horikawa from the third judge.
After the bout Kimura seemed quite blunt about about his own performance, and seemed to feel he wasn't at his best. He admitted he just couldn't show what he wanted to do, and it seemed clearly there was something missing. He seemed to acknowledged that there was something not right, and almost hinted that if his hunger doesn't return there's no point carrying on in the sport. Perhaps retirement looms.
As for Horikawa he seemed to suggest that his performance was good, though we can't help but feel the result was not what he was hoping for. Despite that a draw against a former world champion, this early in his career, should serve as a great sign of what Horikawa can become in the future, and allow him to put a loss to Yudai Shigeoka behind him. This was a more mature Horikawa, and the youngster shouldn't be written off for having a 3-1-2 record after his first 6 bouts.
Earlier today it was reported that former WBO Flyweight champion Sho Kimura (19-3-2, 12) [木村翔] would be returning to the ring on May 9th, has the main event of DANGAN 249, where he will be facing talented youngster Ryu Horikawa (3-1-1, 1) [堀川龍], in a scheduled 8 round Flyweight bout.
The bout will be Kimura's first professional boxing contest since he stopped Merlito Sabillo in 2 rounds back in February 2020. Since then he has taken part in some exhibitions, including one in China where he was dropped on his head in a weird display that really went all against the ideas of what an exhibition is.
As for Horikawa it will be his first bout since February 2021, when he was stopped in a Japanese Youth Light Flyweight title bout against Yudai Shigeoka. The talented former amateur standout is only 21, and this is a huge step up in class, but a win here would potentially see him secure a regional ranking. He will feel he has the speed, youth and sharpness to take the fight to the 33 year old Kimua, but he will, clearly, be the under-dog.
Also set for this card are bouts featuring former Japanese title challenger Ryoichi Tamura (14-6-1, 7) [田村亮一], talented prospect Ayato Hiromoto (4-2, 1) [廣本彩刀] and the incredibly fun to watch Seigo Hanamori (7-4, 5) [花森成吾]
Earlier today fight fans at Korakuen Hall had the latest show in the Diamond Glove series of shows, which will be aired this coming weekend on Fuji TV. The card featured 4 bouts in total, including a highly anticipated Japanese Featherweight title bout featuring champion Ryo Sagawa taking on mandatory challenger Hinata Maruta and a very, very interesting co-feature for the Japanese Youth Light Flyweight title
For those wanting to watch this, as live, over the weekend we please note that spoilers will begin in the next paragraph, starting with the the first under-card bout, which is unlikely to be televised at all, and then moving on through the other bouts on the show. If you wish to avoid those spoilers, please stop reading now.
The show began with a 4 rounder between Kosuke Kumazawa (2-1) [熊澤公佑] and Hiroki Sakakubo (1-3, 1) [坂久保 拓紀]. The bout was a cautious one in the early stages and little happened in the first 3 rounds, with Kumazawa controlling things at range and Sakakubo taking few risks to try and chancge things. In round 4 fans finally got some action, but by then it was too little, too late for Sakakubo who lost a clear decision in a bit of a stinker.
Thankfully the second bout on the show was a big improvement as the often fun to watch Shota Ogasawara (6-3, 3) [小笠原梢太] battled against Shinnosuke Kimoto (6-5, 2) [木元紳之輔], and the two men delivered a real fun 6 rounder. This was a hotly contested battle from the off, and both of them tried to out battle, out work, and tough the other in a very entertaining contest. In round 3 Ogasawara scored the only knockdown of the fight, putting Kimoto down with a left hook. After the knockdown Kimoto struggled in round 4 but tried to turn the fight around in round 5 as his desire to win drove him him on. Kimoto was rocked in round 6, but made it to the bell, taking us to the scorecards. The knockdown proved vital with the judges with Ogasawara taking a narrow decision. The scores here were 57-56, twice, and 58-55. Without the knockdown this would likely have been a draw.
The first of two title bouts saw a new Japanese Youth Light Flyweight champion being crowned as Yudai Shigeoka (3-0, 2) [重岡優大] scored the biggest win of his professional career and stopped talented youngster Ryu Horikawa (3-1-1, 1) [堀川 龍] in 5 rounds. The younger Horikawa started well, using his speed well, and tagged Shigeoka to the body in the opening round, whilst Shigeoka himself looked to land hard left hands. The success of Horikawa continued in round 2 where he continued to look just a touch quicker than Shigeoka, but Shigeoka began to come alive in round 3 and and attacked the body of Horikawa well. Eventually the power of Shigeoka broke through and he dropped Horikawa in round 4 with a 1-2. In round 5 round Horikawa found himself downed for a second time. His fighting heart saw him get up, but he was stopped soon afterwards, with Shigeoka picking up the 5th round TKO and the Youth title.
The main event of the show was the now long delayed Champion Carnival bout for the Japanese Featherweight title, with defending champion Ryo Sagawa (10-2, 5) [佐川遼] battling his mandatory challenger Hinata Maruta (11-1-1, 9) [丸田陽七太] in a highly anticipated bout. A bout that had been scheduled for early 2020 before being delayed due to the pandemic.
Early on Maruta looked to control behind his sharp right jab, using his speed and reach well, whilst Sagawa tried to load up on counter right hands. Maruta then moved through the gears, throwing right hands along with his jabs in round 2 as he began to control the early going, despite taking one or two clean counter rights himself. Sagawa managed to build some success of his own in round 3, with his left hook, but took a big right hand later on and it was clear that Sagawa needed to do more. To his credit the champion changed tactics in round 4, becoming more aggressive and pressing the action more, likely realising he was in a hole, and that aggression continued in to round 5 as Sagawa closed the gap.
After 5 rounds the open scoring kicked in and Maruta was leading on all 3 cards, 48-47 from one judge and 49-47 from the other two. Despite being behind Sagawa seemed to have the momentum and looked to continue to build on that in round 6, pressing again. In round 7 however Sagawa good work was wiped out as he was dropped from a right hand that took him down. Sagawa got back to his feet but Maruta smelled blood and went for the kill, forcing a stoppage at an official time of 2:57 in round 7 to become the new champion.
Tomorrow at Korakuen Hall we'll see a new Japanese Youth Light Flyweight champion being crowned as Yudai Shigeoka (2-0, 1) [重岡優大] battles against Ryu Horikawa (3-0-1, 1) [堀川 龍] for the vacant title. The bout is one that hasn't had too much buzz from those outside of Japan but is a truly mouth watering clash between two talented youngsters each putting their unbeaten records on the line in an attempt to move their careers forward, at pace.
Today, ahead of their bout, the two men took part in their weigh in and both men made the 108lb weight limit with no issues at all.
On the scales Horikawa was bang on the 108lb limit and looked in great shape. This is his natural weight class and the one that we are expecting to see him make his name at in the years to come. Aged just 20 he is an exceptionally talented youngster, though w do wonder if he lacks the physical maturity to be fast tracked, and he has shown a lack of stopping power in recent bouts. Despite that he has been impressive and his 2019 win over Yuki Nakajima was very good, whilst his draw, in China, was somewhat unfortunate.
The 23 year old Shigeoka, the older brother of the touted Ginjiro Shigeoka, came in at around 107.6lbs and also looked in great shape. If we're being honest he's a natural Minimumweight who's fighting at Light Flyweight. Despite that he does look the more mature fighter and his bouts so far have seen him looking stronger and more physical than Horikawa. Sadly for Shigeoka he has been out of the ring since late 2019, when he beat OPBF champion Lito Dante in a none title fight, and we do need to wonder how that lay off will affect him here.
For fans wanting to watch this, it seems likely that Fuji TV will show highlights of the bout this coming weekend as part of their Diamond Glove broadcast.
Related - Horikawa and Shigeoka battle for Youth crown in Tokyo!
(Image credit - Misako Gym)
Yesterday Misako Boxing Gym announced that they would be holding a Diamond Glove card on February 11th at Korakuen Hall. Not only did they announce the when and where, but they also announced two truly fantastic match ups for the card, which should both be brilliant bouts.
The "lesser" of the bouts will see youngsters colliding as Yudai Shigeoka (2-0, 1) [重岡優大], the older brother of the very highly regarded Ginjiro Shigeoka, takes on Ryu Horikawa (3-0-1, 1) [堀川 龍] in a bout for the Japanese Youth Light Flyweight title.
For those unaware both of these men are tipped for major success over the coming years. In just 2 fights Shigeoka is already ranked #2 by the OPBF, #15 by the JBC and #17 by the WBC, thanks in part to an excellent win over Lito Dante last time out. The 23 year old is regarded as being a lesser talent than his more well known brother, but he is still tipped as a youngster with the potential to win world titles.
Horikawa on the other hand is 20 years old, went 37-8 in the amateurs, impressed almost immediately as a professional, winning a Dangan B Class tournament in his second bout, and was very unlucky last year in China when he was held to a draw in a bout for the WBO Youth Light Flyweight title.
Despite having just 6 professional bouts between them this is expected to be a sensational contest, between two high level and very advanced youngsters.
The other bout, the main event, will see Japanese Featherweight champion Ryo Sagawa (10-1, 5) [佐川遼] make a mandatory defense of his title against Hinata Maruta (10-1-1, 8) [丸田陽七太]. This bout was supposed to take place in 2020 as part of the Champion Carnival, but got delayed due to covid19. Thankfully the bout wasn't totally scrapped but just delayed, giving us something to look forward to in February.
For Sagawa this will be his third defense of the title he won in September 2019, when he out pointed Reiya Abe. Despite the loss to his name he has gone unbeaten in his last 9 bouts and has scored notable wins against the likes of Junki Saski, Ryo Matsumoto, Al Toyogon, Abe, Ryo Hino and, most recently, Yuri Takemoto. Those wins have helped him get into the top 15 with the WBO, IBF and WBC, and he'll know an impressive performance here could help secure him a world title fight down the line.
Maruta on the other hand is a 23 year old who turned professional to great fanfare and showed some sensational skills early on before a set back in 2017, when he lost a competitive decision to veteran Hidenori Otake for the OPBF Super Bantamweight title. That lass was a notable stumble, but since then he has improved, becoming more aggressive, and is unlucky not to have won all 6 bouts since that loss, with a controversial draw against Ben Mananquil marking up his record. His last 3 bouts have seen him beat Tsuyoshi Tameda, Coach Hiroto and Takenori Ohashi, and he looks very much ready for this second title fight.
As with all Diamond Glove bouts this will be getting shown on Fuji TV, though sadly it seems they will be shown on tape delay.
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