This coming weekend we'll see former WBA "regular" Super Bantamweight champion Shun Kubo (13-1, 9) [久保隼] battle WBA "regular" Featherweight champion Can Xu (16-2, 2) [徐灿] in China.
Today was the day that Kubo departed from Japan to fly to China for the bout, though before leaving his homeland he spent some time speaking to the media.
The general feeling from Kubo and his promoter Masato Yamashita was one of "business as usual".
It appears that Kubo has prepared similarly to usual, though sparred less, is in a similar physical condition to usual and will fight as usual. That's despite being on the road, and having the crowd against him. Whether things go as plan in the ring are yet to be seen, though they seemed confident that fighting in China will have no impact on his performance. Though Kubo did admit that he might get nervous in the ring, he isn't at the moment
They seemed relaxed, despite heading into enemy territory, and it's clear they feel they can pick up the win against the new face of Chinese boxing.
Like we're seeing with more Japanese fighters he's taking food with him to China for this bout, and it also appears that former stablemate Ryuya Yamanaka (16-3, 5) [山中 竜也] will also be there to cheer on his friend, likely also helping with the food situation given he now runs a restaurant of his own.
Will Xu be successful in first defense as he takes on Kubo?
(Image courtesy pf boxmob.jp)
Last year we saw the retirement of former WBO Minimumweight champion Ryuya Yamanaka (16-3, 5) [山中 竜也], who hung up the gloves after suffering a brain injury in his title loss to Vic Saludar. At the age of 24 his forced retirement was an incredibly sad one, and one that ended the career of a really talented young fighter.
Today Yamanaka has been in the Japanese press as he really begins the next chapter of his life, owning a shop selling Onigiri, or balls of rice, in Osaka.
The store officially opens on Friday though today the press were able to attend a special tasting party, allowing Yamanaka to show off his skills in the kitchen and and his product.
Yamanaka told the press, "I'm scared. It's scary. In terms of spending my life, it's the same as in the world war. I want everyone to relax and become a store where customers stop. This time, I'm aiming for a rice ball champion." It's clear he's taking his new role just as seriously as he took his boxing role.
It appears that the idea to open the shop has come thanks to a conversation with former 3-weight champion Hozumi Hasegawa, and lead to Yamanaka learning to make the balls, having previously been really clumsy with kitchen knives to begin with.
The store, called "Onigiri Ryu" is in the Crystal Court Building in Kita-Ku, Osaka and will be open 6 days a week.
Over the last couple of hours we have looked at some individual award winners at today's Japanese boxing awards, held in the amazing Tokyo Dome Hotel. For those who just want to see the winners in a list here we go:
The MVP was:
Naoya Inoue (17-0, 15) [井上 尚弥]
The Skills Award was won by:
Kosei Tanaka (12-0, 7) [田中恒成]
The KO Award was won by:
Naoya Inoue (17-0, 15) [井上 尚弥]
Special Award was won by:
Masayuki Ito (25-1-1, 13) [伊藤 雅雪]
The Effort Award was won by:
Masayoshi Nakatani (18-0, 12) [中谷正義]
The Newcomer Award was won by:
Kazuto Takesako (10-0, 10) [竹迫司登]
The Best World title Fight:
Sho Kimura [木村翔] Vs Kosei Tanaka [田中恒成]
The Best Japanese Domestic fight:
Yusaku Kuga [久我勇作] Vs Shingo Wake [和氣 慎吾]
Female fighter of the year was:
Tenkai Tsunami (26-12, 15) [天海 ツナミ]
Female Fight of the Year was:
Kayoko Ebata [江畑佳代子] Vs Etsuko Tada [多田悦子]
Trainer of the Year was:
Shingo Inoue [井上真吾]
A Special Achievement Award was won by:
Shinsuke Yamanaka [山中慎介]
Special Prizes were given to:
Toshiyuki Igarashi [五十嵐 俊幸]
Naoko Shibata [柴田 直子]
Nana Yoshikawa [好川 菜々]
Ryuya Yamanaka [山中 竜也]
And Momo Koseki [小関 桃]
A social Contribution prize was given too:
Naoko Fujioka (17-2, 7) [藤岡 奈穂子]
JBC Service Achievements were won by
Akira Tabata, who has served as a timekeeper, and Hiroyuki Tokuzaki, a referee who sadly passed away in October.
Several other officials earned awards for their roles in the sport as well, as did Atsushi Sato, a producer at WOWOW.
It's also worth noting that every male fighter who held a world title at some point during the year won an Outstanding Fighter Award, this is a normal thing to recognise all champions. We won't list them all here though they obviously included Kenshiro [拳四朗] and Hiroto Kyoguchi [京口 紘人] among others.
As for amateur awards, the best male fighter was:
Daisuke Narimatsu [成松大介]
and the best female fighter was:
Tsukimi Namiki [並木月海]
(Image courtesy of Boxingnews.jp)
In August we saw former WBO Minimumweight champion Ryuya Yamanaka (16-3, 5) [山中 竜也] announce that his boxing career was over due to suffering from a subdural hematoma. Today the former champion climbed into the ring to take part in a retirement ceremony and end his career in front of the fans who had supported him through his brief, but successful, career.
Yamanaka, who was clearly full of emotion and in tears, said thanks to everyone and stated that he had fun boxing before echoing some words from former stablemate Hozumi Hasegawa. He seemed thankful to everyone, the Shinsei gym, the fans and those he has trained with, and it's very clear that he will miss fighting.
After talking to the fans Yamanaka got a 10 bell salute, to signify that his career was over.
At the moment it's unclear what Yamanaka will be doing in his post boxing life, but given he's 23 years old he still has his life in front of him. It's always a shame to see such a young fighter retire on health ground but we're glad to note that the injury doesn't appear to have damaged Yamanaka's quality of life, beyond boxing.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
In August former WBO Minimumweight champion Ryuya Yamanaka (16-3, 5) [山中 竜也] announced that he was retiring from boxing, at the age of 23, due to a subdural hematoma. The injury, suffered in his title loss against Vic Saludar, ended what was looking like a very bright career for a very talented young man.
Now it's been confirmed that he will step in the ring one more time, taking part in a public retirement ceremony on October 13th at the next Shinsei Gym promoted card, which will be held at the Kobe Sambo Hall.
The ceremony will be held to honour his career and wish him the best for his post-fighting career.
For those outside of Japan the ceremony's really don't have a Western equivalent. It's a chance for the fans to say good bye to fighters and a chance for the fighters to thank the fans and supporters they've had through their career. In some cases this comes after a long career, with the fans supporting a fighter for over a decade. Sadly in Yamanka's case his short career didn't allow a long relationship with the fans, but it was still a strong one, with the fans in Kobe being their for a local fighter.
The October 13th card will also feature Yuki Yamauchi (1-0, 1) [山内祐希] competing in a 10 round bout against Filipino puncher Alvin Medura (8-2, 7) and will actually be headlined by a bout between Shohei Kawashima (16-2-2, 3) [川島翔平] and Ronnie Campos (8-3-3, 5).
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
News! We try and give you the most interesting news stories from the Asian boxing world!