Earlier today the Japan Professional Boxing Association announced the Strongest Korakuen bouts, which will take place later this year to decide the mandatory challengers for the Japanese titles in the new year, with 10 bouts being announced.
The Minimumweight bout will see WBO Asia Pacific champion Yudai Shigeoka (5-0, 3) [重岡優大] take on Tatsuro Nakashima (11-3-1, 7) [仲島辰郎], with the winner getting a show at the Japanese title, currently held by Yudai's younger brother Ginjiro Shigeoka (8-0, 6) [重岡銀次朗], who actually beat Nakashima for the title. This bout is set to take place at Korakuen Hall on November 17th.
The Light Flyweight eliminator will see Daiki Tomita (18-2, 6) [冨田大樹] battle Rikito Shiba (6-2, 3) [芝力人], though no date or venue has been announced for this bout.
At Super Flyweight we also have no date or venue set, but a mouth watering bout as Ryusei Kawaura (9-1, 6) [川浦龍生] battles Suzumi Takayama (5-0, 4) [高山涼深], in what is potentially the best looking of the bouts announced.
The Bantamweight bout bout will see Jin Minamide (6-2, 5) [南出仁] battle against Yuki Yonaha (11-3-1, 8) [与那覇勇気], in what could prove to be a very explosive bout between two flawed but hard hitting.
On the subject of interesting bouts we'll have a potentially thrilling war at Super Bantamweight as former champions Ryoichi Tamura (14-6-1, 7) [田村亮一] takes on Gakuya Furuhashi (28-9-2, 16) [古橋大輔]. Interestingly these two men also met in a Japanese title eliminator back in 2019, with Furuhashi taking a razor win over Tamura, before winning the title with a sensational battle just 4 months later.
At Featherweight former champion Ryo Sagawa (12-2, 7) [佐川遼] faces off with Daisuke Watanabe (12-5-2, 7) [渡部大介].
At Super Featherweight the hard hitting Yamato Hata (12-1, 11) [波田大和] will face Yuna Hara (11-2-1, 6) [原優奈], with this bout set to take place on October 1st at Korakuen Hall.
On paper one of the more underwhelming bouts is set to take place at Lightweight, as Shuma Nakazato (11-2-3, 7) [仲里周磨] takes on the hard hitting Ken Koibuchi (8-4-1, 7) [鯉淵健], in what might be an bout that's easy to over-look but is very likely to be an explosive encounter.
At Welterweight we're in for a treat as we get a rematch between Hironori Shigeta (8-2-1, 5) [重田裕紀] and Shoki Sakai (26-13-2, 14) [坂井祥紀], who gave us a very fan friendly bout back in 2020 with Sakai taking a clear but hard fought decision win. This bout is set to take place on October 22nd at Korakuen Hall.
At 154lbs Rei Nakajima (5-1) [中島玲] will face Koki Koshikawa (9-6, 6) [越川孝紀]. For Koshikawa he's looking to land his third shot at the Japanese 154lb title whilst Nakajima will be looking to secure his second shot at the title.
Notably there is no bout set for Flyweight, Light Welterweight or Middleweight. At the time of writing it's been reported that former world title challenger Ryota Yamauchi (8-2, 7) [山内涼太] will be getting a shot at Flyweight Cristiano Aoqui (16-9-2, 11), will get a shot at 140lbs and unfortunately there won't be a mandatory challenger for the Champion Carnival at Middleweight.
Earlier today the East Japan Professional Boxing Assocation announced the monthly award winners for the month of April, announcing winners of the 3 usual awards, the MVP, the Fighting Spirit and the New Comer.
The MVP for the month is Japanese Welterweight champion Keita Obara (24-4-1, 21) [小原 佳太], who retained his title with a narrow decision win over Shoki Sakai (25-12-2, 12) [坂井 祥記] back on April 8th. The bout was a hotly competitive one, with Sakai pressing Obara through out, but the champion showed his class to take home the win and record his first defense of the title, which he won in 2020.
The Fighting Spirit award was won by another Japanese champion, this time Light Middleweight champion Hironobu Matsunaga (18-1, 11) [松永 宏信], who recorded his third defense on April 21st when he over-came Rei Nakajima (4-1) [中島玲]. The aggressive and exciting Matsunaga had to work hard for this win, but was the deserving victor and it's clear.
The Newcomer award was won by rising Super Flyweight Ryusei Kawaura (9-0, 6) [川浦 龍生], who stopped Joe Tanooka (15-8-5, 1) [田之岡 条] on April 14th in a big step up in class. The win seems to put Kawaura right in the mix for a title fight, and it's obvious he and his team are eying up a potential bout with Ryuji Fukunaga, the triple crown champion.
Earlier today at Korakuen Hall fight fans saw rising Super Flyweight hopeful Ryusei Kawaura (9-0, 6) [川浦 龍生] score his biggest win to date, as he stopped the highly skilled Joe Tanooka (15-8-5, 1) [田之岡 条] in 3 rounds.
The talented Kawaura, who has long been tipped as one to watch, was put under some pressure early on as Tanooka came out with a point to prove. Despite Tanooka showing some ambition he couldn't break through the defenses of Kawaura who showed off a tight guard, good reflexes and a smart defensive brain and he neutralised the offense of his opponent.
In round 2 Kawaura began to put his foot on the gas, finding the range for his left hand which exploded in round 3 as he staggered Tanooka, and then dropped him hard. The knockdown was a nasty one and saw the referee quickly wave off the bout, rather than issuing any sort of a count.
Following the win Kawaura, along with promoter Hiroshi Kawashima, spoke to the media.
Kawashima admitted that he was impressed by his man, and it seems clear that the work they are doing in the gym is showing in Kawaura's performances. He was said to have looked better today than he has in sparring it seems obvious that he is among the most under-rated fighters in Japan. Something this performance today showcased.
Kawaura revealed his aim for the future is titles and it seems clear that his target for the near future is a bout with triple-crown champion Ryoji Fukunaga (13-4, 13) [福永亮次], and that would be a fantastic match up, if it can be sorted. Sadly however that seems unlikely to be next, and Kawashima seemed to suggest either another bout at this type of level, or a Japanese title eliminator could be next.
Interestingly the two men revealed that if, rather than when, Kawaura wins a title the plan is for him to defend in his home of Tokushima. First however he will need to win a title.
Earlier today we were informed that talented Japanese hopeful Ryusei Kawaura (8-0, 5) [川浦 龍生] would be back in action on April 14th, in what looks set to be his toughest bout so far.
We were informed that the talented, and unbeaten Kawaura would be up against the skilled but light punching Joe Tanooka (15-7-5, 1) [田之岡 条], with the men clashing at Korakuen Hall.
Entering the bout Kawaura ranked by the JBC, WBO Asia Pacific and OPBF, with a #3 ranking from the JBC Super Flyweight, #5 ranking with the WBO Asia Pacific and #15 with the OPBF. He and his team, including former world champion Hiroshi Kawashima, are eying potential title fights in the near future and he should, if he wins here, begin chasing belts by the end of the year.
The unbeaten Kawaura is a very, very talented boxer, who has a style similar to that of Kawashima who is widely regarded as one of the smartest defensive boxers in Japanese history. He's looking to record a 9th straight win and build on a 2nd round TKO win over Musashi Yoshina last October.
Tanooka on the other hand is currently unranked, due to a horrific run of form which has seen him going 1-4-1 in his last 6. Despite that poor run he's not an easy man to beat as a he's a very smart boxer-mover, with good speed and skills. Sadly he does lack power, as seen by the fact he has a single stoppage in 27 bouts.
For Tanooka this will be his first bout since August 2019, when he lost a competitive decision to Naoto Mizutani, in their second bout following a draw earlier in the year.
Despite his limitations in terms of power Tanooka has the skills to ask some real questions of Kawaura and this should be a very interesting technical match up.
Earlier today at Korakuen Hall fight fans got the latest show from from former world champion Hiroshi Kawashima. Although not a big show it did feature one of the most over-looked prospects in Japan, and a man that many are tipping as a future Japanese champion, in the main event.
That man is talented Super Flyweight hopeful Ryusei Kawaura (8-0, 5) [川浦龍生], who extended his unbeaten run today with a sensational performance against domestic foe Musashi Yoshino (9-6, 3) [吉野ムサシ].
Yoshino came out aggressively, and showed little respect to Kawaura's reputation as a very skilled, slippery and smart fighter. That however was a bad idea, and despite being aggressive it was Yoshino on the wrong end of the most damaging shots, particularly to the body, through the opening stanza.
In round 2 Kawaura put his foot on the gas and scored two knockdowns, with the referee waving off the bout after the second one.
Dubbed "Untouchable II", due to mentor Hiroshi Kawahsima being "Untouchable", Kawaura looked brilliant here and the plan now seems to be to get a title fight in 2021. With that in mind it's likely he will be paying very close attention to the December 14th clash between Kenta Nakagawa (19-3-1, 12) [中川 健太] and Ryoji Fukunaga (12-4, 12) [福永亮次], who will be looking to unify the JBC, WBO Asia Pacific and OPBF titles.
(Image courtesty of boxingnews.jp)
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