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.
Earlier today at the Capio in Tsukuba we had the latest show from Yamamguchi Tsuchiura Promotions. The card wasn't a huge one but did feature several fighters of note on it, including a former Japanese title challenger, one of the best young prospects in the sport and a very entertaining, though much more limited fighter.
The first bout of note on thus show saw Ryu Horikawa (3-0-1, 1) [堀川 龍] take a unanimous decision win over Daiki Kameyama (7-5-1, 2) [亀山 大輝], in a competitive and solid test for the 20 year old Horikawa. The bout started with Kameyama coming forward and being aggressive, but it wasn't long until Horikawa began to control the distance, and land quick shots at range. Kameyama began to struggle with the movement and clean, effective, punching of Horikawa, who countered well when he needed to. Although always game Kameyama failed to turn things around in the later stages, with Horikawa taking the decision with scores of 59-56, 58-57 and 58-56.
Horikawa and Kameyama showing some good boxing skills we then got a bout featuring the limited but always entertaining Yuta Ashina (5-2) [足名 優太], who took a close decision over Yuya Nemoto (6-9-3, 1) [根本 裕也]. Unlike most Ashina bouts this one didn't really shine like his usual contests. Ashina, who reached the All Japan Rookie of the Year final last year, showed uncharacteristic calmness in the first round, and continually struggled to get going. What we saw was Nemoto using his experience to control portions of the action, despite being cut from a headclash early on, and what action we got was mostly slow paced, at mid range. A bit of a stinker, sadly, after a string of great bouts for Ashina. Despite the disappointing action Ashina took the win via majority decision with scores of 59-55, 58-56 and 57-57.
The main event saw the tough and rugged Tatsuya Takahashi (32-9-6, 21) [高橋 竜也] take a decision win over Hibiki Jogo (10-3, 5) [城後 響], with Takahashi moving one step close to another title fight. The bout saw Jogo look to use his speed advantage over the taller, longer Takahashi, but the clumsiness of both men saw heads come together, leaving Takahashi with a damaged eye. In round 2 Takahashi began to find his groove, using his 1-2's well at range and then began to work more on the inside in rounds 3 and 4. With the bout slipping away from him Jogo changed tactics and in round 5 he began to find the range for his straight shots and he started a fight back, the fight back was a relative short one though with Takahashi taking control back in round 7 before the two men went to an inside war in the final round.
After 8 rounds the scorecards came in, 78-74, 77-75 and 77-76 all in favour of Takahashi.
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One of the many young Japanese fighters that really impressed us last year was the Misako promoted Ryu Horikawa (2-0-1, 1) [堀川龍]. He looked excellent on debut, beating Jun Ishimoto, and even better just weeks later when he defeated Yuki Nakajima in a Dangan B Class Tournament.
Despite a brilliant start to his professional career Horikawa was unfortunately denied a victory in his third bout when he travelled over to China and could only "earn" a draw in a 10 round bout with Xiang Li. The result marked up Horikawa's record and saw Li narrowly retain the WBO Youth Light Flyweight title. And we really do mean narrowly.
Sadly Horikawa hasn't been seen in the ring since that draw with Li.
Thankfully we now seem to know when he will be back in the ring, with Watanabe Gym listing an 8 round bout between Horikawa and their fighter Daiki Kameyama (7-4-1, 2) [亀山大輝], for October 17th in Tsukuba City.
For, the now 20 year old, Horikawa the bout is a very interesting match up, and a chance to see what he looks like against a solid Japanese domestic fighter. We suspect his speed, and ring IQ will be the difference here by Kameyama is now push over.
The 23 year old Kameyama, who turns 24 just days after this scheduled bout, won the Rookie of the Year in 2018 but has since lost back to back bouts. Whilst one of those was a clear loss, to the sensational Shokichi Iwata, the other was a razor thing, and hotly contested, defeat to Yuga Inoue. For him a bout with Horikawa is certainly one that he will see as being winnable.
Of course all bouts are subject to change, especially in this current global climate, but we really hope this one does hold on and the two youngsters clash in what appears to be a very good bout for mid October.
Tomorrow in China fans will be able to see WBO Youth Light Flyweight champion Xiang Li (7-2-1, 2) [李翔] defending his title against Japanese challenger Ryu Horikawa (2-0, 1) [堀川龍].
Today the two men took part in their weigh in, and both men made the 108lb limit for the bout.
On the scales the champion, who is looking to defend his title for the first time, was around 107.6lbs at the weigh in today and looked the shorter man.
Horikawa, who is fighting away from home for the first time in his professional career, was slightly heavier, at around 107.8lbs for the contest.
The bout isn't a high profile one, but the winner will certainly be ending the year with a huge boost to their career. A loss here isn't the end, given their ages, but the winner will certainly be expected to have a big 2020. Li is obvious the champion and the local favourite, but Horikawa is a very highly touted youngster and a win for the visitor would certainly not be a huge shock.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today we saw confirmation of a Chinese card set for October 17th in Shanghai, China. The card isn't a huge one, but is a very interesting one with several bouts of note featuring at least one fighter who is worthy of attention.
The main event will see world ranked Chinese Flyweight Wulan Tuolehazi (12-3-1, 5) [乌兰] battle against Satoshi Tanaka (7-5, 1) [田中公士].
Tuolehazi, dubbed the "Tianshan Snow Leopard", will be making his second defense of the WBA International Flyweight title that he won back in March in a bout against Ryota Yamauchi. As for Tanaka this will be his first bout outside of Japan and first title bout, and obvious he enters as the big under-dog against a man who is ranked in the top 5 by the WBA and the top 15 by the WBO.
Another significant bout will see WBO Youth Light Flyweight champion Xiang Li (7-2-1, 2) [李翔] take on excellent Japanese challenger Ryu Horikawa (2-0, 1) [堀川龍] in a truly mouth watering match up.
Li won his title back in May, when he defeated Raymong Poon KaiChing in Hong Kong, claiming a number of minor titles including the one he will defend against Horikawa. He has looked promising but this looks like a major step up for him, given that Horikawa was a standout amateur who recently scored a fantastic win over Yuki Nakajima and is tipped to race to the top.
Another bout of interest here will see unbeaten Japanese fighter Hiroki Hanabusa (6-0-2, 2) [英洸貴] take on 23 year old Chinese fighter Ayati Sailike (7-8-2-1, 2) in an 8 round bout. There isn't much to say about the Chinese fighter however Hanabusa won the 2018 All Japan Rookie of the Year and should be regarded as a genuine prospect. A win for Hanabusa on Chinese soil would be a major boost to his fledgling career.
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