Earlier today news from Japan broke confirming that Saemi Hanagata (16-7-5, 7) [田中冴美] had officially vacated the IBF Atomweight title and was retiring from boxing, confirming what she had previously stated.
Hanagata was last seen in action defending her title against Eri Matsuda (4-0-1, 1) [松田恵里] back in March and had stated going in that that was going to be her last boyt regardless of the outcome, though hadn't officially handed in her retirement notice, or stated her intention to the IBF.
It appears the reason she hadn't done either of those things is that she was waiting for April 10th, the birthday of her husband.
Hanagata got married last November to a Japanese boxing judge and it seems very much like it was an active decision for Hanagata to delay her announcement to her husband's birthday, seemingly as a gift to her partner.
Previously Hanagata stated that she's going to become a teacher and wanted to start a family. With that in mind we want to wish her all the best in her post boxing life, and hopefully she does still make som appearances in boxing venues, something that seems likely given her husband's role in the sport.
Tomorrow at Korakuen Hall fight fans will get the chance to see IBF Atomweight champion Saemi Hanagata (16-7-4, 7) [田中冴美] defending her title against the skilled Eri Matsuda (4-0, 1) [松田恵里], in a bout which will later be be made available on Boxing Raise for subscribers to their service.
Today, ahead of their bout, the two fighters took part in their weigh in, and both fighters came in comfortable under at 102lb Atomweight limit.
On the scales the defending champion, seeking her second defense, was around 101.2lbs whilst Matsuda, in her first world title fight, was 101.4lbs
After making weight the two fighters spoke to some of the media, and there was some really interesting comments given to the media. Including Hanagata's revelation that tomorrow's fight will be her last. Win or lose, she's going to retire from the sport. She explained that "This is the last time, so I enjoyed adjusting without feeling strange pressure. Weight loss is always difficult, but this time it fell to the limit a week ago. I ate again this morning and headed to the weighing venue." She also added that she is studying to become a teacher and wants to have a child.
Matsuda on the other hand explain that this bout was going to be the beginning for her, and it seemed like she was really respectful of Hanagata's career. She explained she had with Hanagata and that Hanagata has taught her a lot. Despite the respect it seemed clear she was confident of victory, and taking the proverbial mantle, along with the physical title.
Related - IBF Queen Hanagata takes on unbeaten challenger Matsuda
(Image credit - Hanagata Gym)
The usually brilliant Boxing Raise has had a notable downturn this year, with no new shows at all in February and until today they also had nothing official on their schedule for March.
Thankfully that changed today when they revealed their schedule for the month, and it's a mix bag.
Firstly it appears they won't have any live streams this month, which is a massive shame and a real negative for the service. Second they only have 3 shows the entire month. Thankfully however they are all good shows, and the first of those is already available for fans.
The first of those shows, the one now online, was Green Dream Vol 14, headlined by a Japanese Super Bantamweight youth title fight between Satoru Hoshiba [干場悟] and Tom Mizokoshi [溝越 斗夢]. This was a genuine great fight and for those with the service this is well worth watching.
The second show will be Victoriva 6, which takes place on March 18th. This card will be headlined by the much anticipated IBF Atomweight title bout, pitting champion Saemi Hanagata (16-7-4, 7) [田中冴美] against the skilled Eri Matsuda (4-0, 1) [松田恵里] and will also feature the long awaited debut of Narumi Yukawa (0-0) [湯川成美].
The final show on the service this month will be Slugfest 18 from Kadoebi Gym. This will be headlined by a contest between Seiya Tsutsumi (5-0-2, 4) [堤聖也] and Tulio Kuwabata (3-1-1, 2) [桑畑凜生] and will feature a genuine who's who of the Kadoebi Gym, including Yuichiro Kasuya (13-3-2, 4) [粕谷 雄一郎], Takuya Kogawa (30-5-1, 13) [粉川拓也], Yoji Saito (2-1-2, 2) [齊藤陽ニ] and Jukiya Iimura (1-0, 1) [飯村 樹輝弥].
For subscribers it's a decent line up, though it's a huge shame that nothing is being shown live.
Outside of Boxing Raise Japanese fan will have plenty to watch over the remained of the month with the Splendid Boxing show on March 21st being shown live on YouTube via Sakana and Seki Chan, with a live feed here, the March 25th Dynamic Glove card will be live on premium Japanese TV channel G+ and the March 28th "Real Spirits 71" from Shinsei Gym being shown live on YouTube channel BOXING REAL.
(Image credit - Boxing Raise)
Back in December we saw the announcement that IBF Atomweight champion Saemi Hanagata (16-7-4, 7) [田中冴美] would defend her title on February 26th against Eri Matsuda (4-0, 1) [松田恵里]. Sadly however there has now been a change to this bout.
Rather than taking place on February 26th, as originally planned, the bout will now take place on March 18th.
The rescheduling has been put down to changes caused by the recent State of Emergency in and around the Tokyo region.
The bout will be Hanagata's second defense of the IBF title that she won in September 2018, with a win over Yuki Kuroki, and will see her looking to build on her 2019 defense against Nao Ikeyama.
As for Matsuda this will be the first world title bout for the former Japanese and OPBF Atomweight champion, who has been out of the ring since defending the Japanese Atomweight title in September 2019 against Mong Blanc Miki.
Interestingly there are also reports that this will be Hanagata's final bout, though at the moment that is yet to be confirmed.
Earlier today it was announced that IBF Atomweight champion Saemi Hanagata (16-7-4, 7) [田中冴美] would be making her second defense on February 26th at the Korakuen Hall on a Dangan promoted event. In the opposite corner to the world champion will be former amateur Eri Matsuda (4-0, 1) [松田恵里], a former Japanese and OPBF champion
The aggressive Hanagata won the IBF title in September 2018, when she out pointed Yuko Kuroki for the previously vacant title, in what was their third bout together. That win came in Hanagata's 5th shot at a world title and is very much a career defining win for the protege of former WBA Flyweight champion Susumu Hanagata. She made her first defense almost a year later, when she took a split decision win over Nao Ikeyama, to end their trilogy of razor thin bouts.
Having been a professional since 2008 Hanagata has genuine faced a who's who of female boxing, with 3 bouts against Kuroki and 3 against Ikeyama, as well as bouts against Momo Koseki, Kumiko Seeser Ikehara and Naoko Shibata. Through her entire career she has proven to be rugged, aggressive, tough and a solid puncher.
Matsuda on the other hand turned professional in 2018 following a 33 fight amateur career. She was fast tracked like few others in the sport, winning an OPBF title in her second bout and unifying that with the Japanese title just 3 months later. She made a single defense of the Japanese title in 2019, stopping Mont Blanc Miki, but sadly hasn't fought since September 2019.
In the ring Matsuda is very much a textbook boxer, looking to get behind her jab, establish range and use her foot work. Although not a puncher she hits hard enough to get respect, and with against Sana Hazuki, Nanae Suzuki and Mont Blanc Miki have shown that she can cope with aggressive fighters.
Although yet to be confirmed, it seems likely this will be shown on Boxing Raise.
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