Earlier today Japanese promoter Hideyuki Ohashi took to social media to announce a show he'll be putting on in January.
The card, set to take place on January 14th 2021 at Korakuen Hall, seems like a long way away but the show is certainly stacking up to be one worth waiting for, with a sensational main event and an under-card stacked with excellent Ohashi hopefuls.
The main event will see OPBF Bantamweight champion Keita Kurihara (15-5, 13) [栗原慶太] make his second defense of the Oriental title as he takes on former WBC "interim" champion Takuma Inoue (13-1, 3) [井上拓真]. On paper this is a heavy handed and dangerous champion against a skilled, tough and gutsy challenger, and we're looking forward to the styles clash of Kurihara's aggression against Inoue's skills. This is also a must win for both men, if they are looking to get a world title bout later in 2021, or 2022.
Kurihara won the belt on Christmas eve in 2018, when he won a tremendous, controversial and memorable bout with Yuki Strong Kobayashi. That bout saw Kurihara dropping Kobayashi 4 times on route to a decision that was marred by several time keeper errors. Since then he has defended the belt once, stopping former world title challenger Warlito Parrenas inside a round, and notched a non-title win over Sukkasem Kietyongyuth.
As for Inoue we've not seen him in the ring since he lost to Nordine Oubaali in November 2019, on the under-card of Naoya Inoue's amazing bout with Nonito Donaire. Sadly whilst touted as a future world champion Inoue's career has been hampered by injuries and lengthy stretches of inactivity. This is the third notable break from the ring that he's had since September 2016. Although not the puncher that his brother is the 24 year old shouldn't be written off, and gave Oubaali a competitive bout, despite the scorecard Alejandro Rochin.
In a supporting bout Ryutaro Nakagaki (1-0, 1) [中垣龍汰朗] will be facing off with Yuji Okinori (10-5-2, 3) [興法祐二] in a very credible step up.
We were impressed by Nakagaki on debut, where he shone and looked like a star in the making. That was against a very limited opponent and to see him stepping up like this is rather exciting at this early point in his career. Although Okinori is no world beater he's a very credible fighter with experience and should give the young upstart some questions to answer. If Nakagaki gets through this one easily we suspect that Ohashi will begin to race him through the ranks.
Another supporting bout that's been announced for this show will see 2019 All Japan Rookie of the Year winner Katsuki Mori (7-0, 1) [森且貴] take on 2018 All Japan Rookie of the Year winner Sora Takeda (6-1, 1) [竹田宙] in a mouth watering match up.
Both of these young men are talented youngsters, with speed and skills, but a lack of fight changing power. Together they should make for an exciting, high speed, high level chess match. Despite neither being big punchers they do seem to enjoy fighting on the inside, and that should help make this a very fan friendly contest.
Others announced for this card, though yet to have opponents names, are Taku Kuwahara (7-0, 4) [桑原拓] and Keisuke Matsumoto (1-0, 1) [松本圭佑], who should round out a very, very strong Japanese domestic card.
Earlier today the East Japan Boxing Association announced their award winners for the month of August. This month we have winners for all 3 awards, the MVP, Fighting Spirit and Newcomer.
The MVP for the month is Japanese Featherweight champion Ryo Sagawa (10-1, 5) [佐川遼], who stopped the gutsy and brave Yuri Takemoto (8-2-1, 4) [竹本雄利] on august 13th to retain his title. The bout, Sagawa's second defense, saw the two fighters put on a real show for the fans, before Sagawa's accuracy and hard body shots took the wind out of Takemoto's sails, and finished him off right at the end of round 6.
The Fight Spirit award was won by the world ranked Ryota Yamauchi (7-1, 6) [山内涼太]. The talented and exciting Yamauchi won the award as he beat down Satoru Todaka (10-4-4, 3) [戸髙達] to claim the WBO Asia Pacific Flyweight title. The power and aggression saw Todaka take a pounding in round 3 before he was stopped in the corner between rounds. With the win Yamauchi is expected to take a huge step towards a potential world title fight in the next year or so.
The Newcomer award was won by sensationally talented former amateur stand out Ryutaro Nakagaki (1-0, 1) [中垣 龍汰朗], who stopped Shohei Horii (3-6-2, 2) [堀井翔平] in 2 rounds back on August 24th. That win was a sign that Nakagaki has transitioned from the amateurs to the professionals perfectly, and he looks like a real star of the future.
Earlier today former Japanese amateur standout Ryutaro Nakagaki (1-0, 1) [中垣 龍汰朗] made his debut, and did so in perfect fashion, stopping Shohei Horii (3-6-2, 2) [堀井翔平] in 2 rounds.
The talented Nakagaki, who won numerous tournaments in the amateurs, controlled the bout from the off with crisp and sharp southpaw left hands. In round 2 a straight left from Nakagaki dropped Horii. Horii showed his braveness by getting back to his feet but was stopped soon afterwards as Nakagaki moved in for a finish.
After the bout Nakagaki took to a microphone and stated he was relieved to win, glad to find his rhythm and was able to hit harder with the 8oz gloves used in the professional ranks.
Nakagaki was praised after the bout by promoter Hideyuki Ohashi who spoke about Nakagaki boxing at his distance and not getting caught by anything. That sort of praise, coming from Ohashi, means a lot and we suspect that after today's performance he will be given a more testing opponent next time out.
For fans wanting to see this one it will be televised on Fuji TV over the weekend.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Tomorrow at Korakuen Hall fight fans will get the chance to see the professional debut of former Japanese amateur standout Ryutaro Nakagaki (0-0) [中垣 龍汰朗], who takes on Shohei Horii (3-5-2, 2) [堀井翔平] in a bout scheduled for 6 rounds.
Today, ahead of their bout, the two men weighed in for the contest and the men both made the Super Flyweight limit for the bout.
On the scales Nakagaki, the taller man, came in pretty much on the limit, and looked in good shape. Horii, who arguably looked better on the scales, was around 114.4lbs, and looked like he was taking this bout incredibly seriously.
Although a stellar amateur Nakagaki has got questions hanging over his head about how his style will translate to the professional ranks. On paper Horii is the perfect opponent to make him look good and for him to show how he is adapting to the profession ranks, and we expect to see Nakagaki show the skills that lead him to 8 amateur crowns on.
Although the bout will have fans at Korakuen Hall the numbers will be limited. Thankfully however the bout will be aired, in some form, over the weekend on Fuji TV, as they look to showcase some of the promising talent at the Ohashi Gym.
(Image courtesy of Ohashi Gym)
On August 24th the Ohashi Gym will put on their next show under the "Phoenix Battle" tag. It's not a long one, and it doesn't feature any world title fights, but does feature 3 bouts of note.
The main event of the card will see with former world title challenger Ryo Matsumoto (23-3, 21) [松本亮] battle with domestic rival Takuya Mizuno (17-2-1, 14) [水野拓哉], whilst the other notable bouts will be the 6 round debuts of Ryutaro Nakagaki (0-0) [中垣 龍汰朗] and Keisuke Matsumoto (0-0) [松本圭佑].
Former 8-crown amateur champion Nakagaki, touted as one of the most technically skilled Japanese fighters of his era, will be up against Shohei Horii (3-5-2, 2) [堀井翔平]. Matsumoto, a third generation fighter and the son of 3-time world title challenger Koji Matsumoto, will be up against the tough and rugged Hironori Miyake (9-9-2, 1) [三宅寛典].
Whilst none of that is new information what is new is the confirmation that those 3 fights will be aired on Fuji TV, albeit on tape delay.
The channel has set aside a broadcast window for the weekend following the bouts, and will attempt to show all 3 contests, though may be limited to highlights of them if all 3 go the distance.
The broadcast will be on Saturday night / Sunday Morning. The time for the event is listed as running from 27:15 to 28:20 on Saturday night local time, or to put that in a more workable format for western fans, it will be from 3:15am to 4:20am local time Sunday morning.
Whilst live televised boxing Japan has lacked since the sport has returned to the country it is worth noting this will be the 4th show on Fuji TV, and it seems like they will continue this busy activity with more shows in September, with two more expected for the month. Fingers crossed this continues with both Misako and Ohashi providing regular content to the TV giant.
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