Earlier today the Ohashi gym announced their third show of the year, which is set for March 8th at Korakuen Hall, and will see two men look to bounce back from recent losses, and will also feature a Japanese Youth title fight.
One of the fighters looking to bounce back is former OPBF Bantamweight champion Kazuki Nakajima (10-1-1, 8) [中嶋一輝], who will be up against Shohei Kawashima (18-6-2, 4) [川島翔平]. For Nakajima this will be his first bout since losing the OPBF title to Keita Kurihara (16-6, 14) [栗原慶太] back in October. On paper this should be an easy win for Nakajima, who has the edge in youth, power, and natural size, but Kawashima has got the skills to at least ask some questions of Nakajima, if Nakajima is questioning himself after the Kurihara bout.
The other fighting looking to bounce back is Taku Kuwahara (8-1, 4) [桑原拓], who is looking to rebuild after a 10th round TKO loss to Japanese Flyweight champion Seigo Yuri Akui (16-2-1, 11) [阿久井政悟] last summer. Kuwahara is, understandably, in a bit soft here after that loss as he takes on Takashi Hisano (6-5-1, 3) [久野喬]. This really should be a straight forward win for Kuwahara, but it's clear his team will want to see how he responds to the loss to Akui, especially given how brutal and tough that bout off.
In a Japanese Youth Super Bantamweight title fight we'll see Haruki Ishikawa (9-3, 7) [石川春樹] make his first defense of the title, as he takes on Ryuya Tsugawa (8-1, 4) [津川龍也]. On paper this is a really good match up, and although it'll be third from top on the card, it could end up being the show stealing bout.
Other fighters on the card include Ryutaro Nakagaki (2-0-1, 2) [中垣龍汰朗] and Rikuto Adachi (15-3, 11) [安達陸仁].
Earlier today at Korakuen Hall we got the latest show from the Ohashi Gym and it's was a much anticipated one with several notable bouts on the show including a Japanese Youth Super Flyweight title bout, a bout between two Rookie of the Year winners, a bout with a destructive Japanese ranked Featherweight and a Japanese Youth champion in action.
The card began with two low key 4 round bouts. The first of those saw Fubuki Sakata (1-0) [酒田 風吹] take a 4 round decision win over Hideaki Kobayashi (0-3-1) [小林 英明], and the bout was a pretty one sided one with Sakata pretty much winning every minute, of every round, of the 4 rounder.
The second 4 rounder almost went the distance, but ended when Rei Atsuchi (1-0, 1) [厚地 嶺] poured on the pressure late in round 4, forcing the referee to save Yuki Kajitani (2-3, 2) [梶谷 有樹], with just over 30 seconds of the bout left.
The first of the really interesting match ups pit the 2019 All Japan Minimumweight Rookie of the year against the 2020 winner as Katsuki Mori (9-0, 2) [森 且貴] clashed with Ren Kojima (6-2-2) [小島 蓮]. Through the early stages the men were relatively even, but that changed when Mori began to find a home for his left hand to the body of Kojima late in round 2. From there on Mori really did a number of Kojima's body, which weakened Kojima for head shots later in the bout. In round 5 Kojima was being used for target practice, with Mori not closing the show until the final minute of the bout. The polished performance from Mori was very good and this is the first time he's stopped someone since scoring a stoppage in his debut.
In another notable bout Japanese Youth Welterweight champion Takeru Kobata (10-5-1, 4) [小畑 武尊] defeated Tetsuya Kondo (6-3, 4) [近藤 哲哉] in a very competitive 8 rounder. Kobata, who wasn't defending his title here, seemed to settle into the bout well, but Kondo managed to get his man's attention towards the end of round 1, and again in round 3, leaving Kobata feeling a bit worse for wear. From there on it was a battle of attrition, with Kondo running out of stamina down the stretch. To his credit Kondo gave everything he had left in the final round, but it wasn't enough and Kobata took the 8 round decision.
In the chief support bout the huge punching Tsuyoshi Tameda (22-6-2, 20) [溜田 剛士] got back to winning ways as he destroyed Soreike Taichi (7-5, 5) [それいけ太一] in the second round. The first round was a good one for Tameda, who dropped his man, who recovered to his feet. In round 2 however a huge counter right hand from Tameda absolutely detonated on Taichi, send him down hard and forcing the referee to wave the bout off.
We then get on to the main event, which was a Japanese Youth Super Flyweight title bout between former amateur standout Ryutaro Nakagaki (2-0-1, 2) [中垣龍汰朗] and hard hitting teenager Ayumu Hanada (6-0-1, 4) [花田 歩夢]. This bout had massive expectations on it going in, but exceeded those expectations in what was a brilliant 8 rounder that saw both men showing what was in their arsenal.
The first round was a scouting mission for both, but from then on the bout picked up, with Nakagaki finding his range in round 2 and Hanada finding room for his right hand in round 3. They they began to showcase sensational boxing skills, with quick sharp jabs, excellent defensive skills and counter boxing. Then we got to the middle of the fight and the pace from both began to increase, and increase giving us a brilliant final couple of rounds the moment shifted back and forth. Hanada managed to land several big right hands up top and lefts to the body, slowing Nakagaki down, before Nakagaki ended up getting a second wind in the final round.
After 8 rounds this was scored 78-74, Nakagaki, and 76-76, twice, resulting in a majority draw. A draw that leaves the title vacant and leaves both men unbeaten and both men seemed to be aware that they had areas to work on. Fingers crossed that down the line we'll get a second chapter in this rivalry between two of the brightest hopefuls in Japanese boxing.
Tomorrow at Korakuen Hall fight fans will be able to see a Japanese Youth Super Flyweight title bout as amateur standout Ryutaro Nakagaki (2-0, 2) [中垣龍汰朗] faces explosive teenager Ayumu Hanada (6-0, 4) [花田 歩夢] for the vacant title. The bout is a genuinely brilliant match up, and the type of fight the Japanese Youth title has been responsible for in recent years.
Today, ahead of their bout, the two men took part in their weigh in, and both men made the 115lb limit without any real issues, coming in bang on the divisional limit whilst looking in genuinely amazing condition.
After making weight the two men spoke to the media giving some comments about the bout and their preparation.
Notably Nakagaki has prepared for this bout by sparring with Ohashi gym stablemate Keisuke Matsumoto (3-0, 3) [松本圭佑] Nakagaki explained that they are similar in terms of size and style, but he explained that he will focus on using his speed and technique, controlling the pace of the bout and will focus on winning without being flashy.
Hanada on the other hand explained that he wanted to win early, and was going to look on showing some of the tools he learned when training in Mexico, specifically the Mexican style body shots. He explained that he sees this bout as a mountain that needs to be climbed on route to something bigger.
For fans wanting to watch the bout, it will be shown live on Hikari TV in Japan and will then be broadcast on tape delay on Fuji TV this coming weekend.
Related - Unbeaten Youngsters Nakagaki and Hanada face off for Youth title!
Earlier tpoday Ohashi Gym announced their next Phoenix Battle show, Phoenix Battle 78, which will take place on July 8th at Korakuen Hall and it's a brilliant card with two Japanese Youth title bouts, as well as several other notable fighters on the lower end of the show.
The main event of the card will be a Japanese Youth Super Flyweight bout pitting two of the hottest young talented in Japan against each other, with former amateur standout Ryutaro Nakagaki (2-0, 2) [中垣龍汰朗] taking on explosive teenager Ayumu Hanada (6-0, 4) [花田 歩夢] for the vacant title, in what should be a genuinely spectacular contest.
For those who haven't seen these two Nakagaki is a brilliant pure boxer, who had issues with power in the amateurs but appears to have adapted to the professional ranks really well and is looking like a solid puncher, and a very special boxer. He was a stellar amateur and appears to be set for the hyper fast track to the top, and with his ability few can blame him for wanting to win titles as early as possible. Hanada on the other hand began his career in Mexico, where he looked exciting and talented, but incredibly young. He returned to Japan in 2019 and made his JBC debut in 2020, with an excellent performance against Ryukyu Nagamine. Hanada returned to the ring this past April, and although he wasn't punch perfect he over-came the very dangerous Mammoth Kazunori.
Whilst the men might only have 8 bouts between them this is a genuinely brilliant match up and he sort of thing that the Japanese Youth title has been giving us over the last few years.
The other Japanese Youth title bout will see Takeru Kobata (9-5-1, 4) [小畑武尊] make his first defense of the Japanese Youth Welterweight title, as he takes on Tetsuya Kondo (6-2, 4) in what should be an explosive enounter.
The under-rated Kobata won the title in March, with a big upset win against Rikuto Adachi, and will be looking to build on that win here as he returns to Korakuen Hall for just the third time in his career. A win for him would show that his victory over Adachi wasn't a fluke and was instead a sign that he's a legitimate prospect and someone to keep an eye on, despite his 5 losses. Kondo on the other hand will be getting his first title bout and continues to rebuil his career following an opening round TKO loss in 2019 to the destructive Jin Sasaki. That loss aside Kondo hasn't been stopped before but is expected to be giving natural size to Kobata.
Lower down the show we'll see hard hitting Japanese ranked Featherweight Tsuyoshi Tameda (21-6-2, 19) [溜田剛士].battle against Soreike Taichi (7-4, 5) [木村太一], as both men desperately look to bounce back from recent back to back stoppage defeats. We'll also see Japanese ranked Minimumweights collide as Katsuki Mori (8-0, 1) [森且貴] clashes with Ren Kojima (6-1-2) [小島 蓮], in a battle between two men who have won the All Japan Rookie of the Year, with Mori winning in 2019 and Kojima winning in the latest edition of the tournament.
Although not a monster card, set to get massive international attention this is an incredibly good domestic card, with a number of really good bouts and a chance for the young talent in Japan to shine. The main event is a genuinely amazing bout, the co-feature should be exciting, Tameda and Taichi should be explosive and it's always a job to see Mori and Kojima in action. This is a fantastic line up from Ohashi and we really hope nothing forces any changes to what looks set to be a strong domestic card.
Earlier today saw Japanese fans enjoy their first show of 2021 as Korakuen Hall hosted an Ohashi promoted event featuring a number of excellent prospects, as well as a highly anticipated OPBF Bantamweight title fight.
Sadly the event wasn't televised, and won't be aired until the weekend. With that in mind please only read ahead if you want spoilers as all 4 bouts on the card will be covered in the coming paragraphs, including the result of the OPBF title bout between Keita Kurihara [栗原慶太] and Takuma Inoue [井上拓真].
In the first bout of the show former amateur standout Ryutaro Nakagaki (2-0, 2) [中垣龍汰朗] claimed his second professional victory as he defeated Yuji Okinori (10-6-2, 3) [興法祐二] in 4 rounds. From the off both Nakagaki was looking to line up southpaw left hands, whilst trying to use his right jab to line up his man. Okinori on the other hand looked to try land right hooks, though he often threw them whilst out of range and rarely landed. It was relatively quiet in the first 2 rounds. In round 3 Okinori managed to have some success, with a good overhand left but was punished soon afterwards with a good left uppercut.
In round 4 Nakagaki moved up a gear and began to press the action. He found found a home for his body shots and dropped his man following a sustained body attack. Okinori was in agony when he went down and was unable to beat the 10 count. The official time of the ending here was 2:26 in round 4.
The second bout of the show featured another former amateur standout as Keisuke Matsumoto (2-0, 2) [松本圭佑] took on Bejita Ishikawa (3-13-2, 1) [石川一彦]. This was a short bout, but one with some early drama. Ishikawa landed the first big punch of the bout, catching Matsumoto with a big left hand. That however was about his only success with Matsumoto finding his groove soon afterwards, then dropping Ishikawa with a solid right hand. Ishikawa got back to his feet, but was then under pressure as the Matsumoto went to work.
This one was over at 1:26 of round 1.
After two relatively short bouts we then got a bout that went the distance, as many had anticipated. That was the bout between former Rookie of the Year winners Katsuki Mori (8-0, 1) [森且貴] and Sora Takeda (6-2, 1) [竹田宙], who clashed in a scheduled 8 rounder at Minimumweight.
Mori made a good start, taking the opening round, before Takeda began to find his rhythm in round 2. From there on the action became hotly competitive with neither man managing to clear distance themselves from the other, with tit for tat action. Takeda was looking to land his hook up top, whilst Mori was repeatedly looking to crack his man to body. Despite the great back and forth neither man seemed to hurt the other through the first 5 rounds.
In round 6 Mori seemed to have a break through, as he landed a solid straight right hand that buzzed. That seemed to be the turning point with Mori going on to out work Takeda in the following round. The final round was something special, as both men gave their all right through the round, in a thrilling 3 minutes of action, but in the end it was Mori's work in rounds 6 and 7 that helped him secure a decision win, with scores of 77-75 from all 3 judges.
Fans in the venue pretty much universally praised both of these talented 20 years for what was a thrilling, high tempo contest, and despite the loss few had any negatives about Takeda who really did perform excellently. In the end however it was the speed, movement, and limitless energy of Mori that secured him the victory. Given that both men are so young it'd be great to see them face off again in the future, potentially in a title bout in a few year's time.
In the fourth, and final, bout we saw the highly anticipated OPBF Bantamweight title bout, pitting hard hitting champion Keita Kurihara (15-6, 13) [栗原慶太] against former WBC "interim" Bantamweight champion Takuma Inoue (14-1, 3) [井上拓真].
In the ring Kurihara looked notably bigger than Inoue though that didn’t help him early on and it was Inoue who had early success.
The fight started with early drama as Kurihara suffered a cut from a clash of heads in round 1, a round that was a good one for Inoue, who looked quicker, sharp and much more technically sound. In round 2 Kurihara’s cut worsened as he struggled to get his own offense going. The cut worsened to the point where Kurihara was inspected by the ringside doctor in round 3, who allowed the bout to continue, but it was clear that the cut was a massive problem, and did run a serious risk of leaving us with an early, and inconclusive result.
Thankfully the fighters managed to get through round 4, guaranteeing a result to the bout. Sadly for Kurihara he was not only badly cut but also down on all 4 cards with the open scoring announcing that Inoue was leading 40-36, twice, and 39-37. By then it was clear that Kurihara wasn’t even thinking about winning a decision, but was aiming only for a KO win.
With a KO in his mind Kurihara was struggling to set up his shows, whilst Inoue worked the champions body well, and made the most of his sharp footwork, preventing Kurihara from having any sort of sustained success. In round 6 the cut seemed to leave Kurihara unable to see some of Inoue’s shots, with the blood becoming a bigger issue, especially with Inoue tagging the cut with short, clean, compact shots, worsening the damage and further extending his lead whilst Kurihara was getting more and more desperate to land something big.
After 8 rounds the open scoring was announced again, with the scores again heavily in favour of Inoue, with one judge having it 80-72 and the other two judges scoring it 79-73, all in favour of the challenger.
In round 9 there was a second check on the cut and this time the bout was stopped, after 2 minutes 25 seconds of the round, with Inoue taking the very, very wide technical decision win and becoming the new OPBF Bantamweight champion.
The win for Inoue was an important one, especially given his 2019 loss to Nordine Oubaali in a WBC title fight and this was a great comeback performance following that defeat. Sadly for Kurihara this is a major setback, and given how he was cut pretty much the entire fight he will certainly feel like he was hindered from the early going.
The speed, accuracy and clean punching of Inoue was his key to victory here, and he fought his fight, something he said he was going to do. With Kurihara’s cut being as bad as it was, it made life easier for Inoue to control the bout the way he did. At times he was making things look too easy, and given that Kurihara was essentially fighting through an eye full of blood he often failed to see shots coming.
For Inoue this will push him to the verge of a second world title fight, potentially a WBO or a WBC title bout. As for Kurihara it’s back to the drawing board and time for him to work on having a back up gameplan for when his power shots don’t land, and really work on his jab.
For those wanting to see the main event, it will be aired on Tape Delay on Saturday night/Sunday morning from 27:35 to 28:40 local time on Saturday, which is 3:35 to 4:40 on Fuji TV. The broadcast is also expected to show some of the highlights from the under-card.
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