Earlier this month we reported that OPBF female Minimumweight champion Sana Hazuki (8-4-1, 2) [葉月さな] would be getting a shot at IBF champion Yokasta Valle (20-2, 9) in Costa Rica. We are now just a week away from that fight and we have some more details about the contest and a way for fans to watch it!
Hazuki left Japan at midnight on January 22nd, leaving from Haneda Airport. Prior to leaving she was working, in fact she worked the evening before she departed, though her work was unlikely to be an issue, as it was revealed she is a fitness instructor for the Just Fitness & Boxing Gym.
Although the arrangements for this bout appear to have been rushed, with the bout only having been planned late last year, Hazuki is expected to be in great condition. Part of that is that she had been pencilled in for a bout in December, which fell through. She didn't really get time to get out of shape, and given her day job keeping fit isn't going to be any sort of a problem.
According to comments made to BBM Sports the bout between Hazuki and Valle is not going to have fans. Hazuki mentioned how this was going to be an advantage, with no one cheering on the local favourite.
As for how to watch, the bout will be televised in Costa Rica on Teletica. From what's being reported in Japan the bout will be streamed live on the Teletica app and website. (Please note there is a possibility a VPN MAY be required, that is unclear at the moment).
Related - Hazuki takes on IBF champion Valle in Costa Rica!
Earlier today the YuKO Fitness Boxing Gym in Japan announced that OPBF female Minimumweight champion Sana Hazuki (8-4-1, 2) [葉月さな] will be getting a shock world title fight on January 29th in Costa Rica, as she takes on IBF champion Yokasta Valle (20-2, 9), in what appears to be a hastily put together bout.
Originally it seemed that Valle was going to be facing WBC champion Tina Rupprecht (10-0-1, 3) in an IBF/WBC unification bout, and a rematch of a 2018 clash won by Rupprecht, on January 16th though it's now being reported that that bout is off. It had a date shift recently to January 12th before being pushed to January 30th, and has now been cancelled all together.
The reasons for the changes seem to be unclear. Some news sites from Costa Rica have put it down to Covid19 and the issues that are affecting Germany whilst another website has stated that the IBF has ordered the fight, with the threat of stripping Valle for not facing her mandatory challenger.
Hazuki will enter the bout as the #1 ranked IBF contender and has won her last two bouts by split decision. Sadly however she was 2-4-1 in her previous 7 bouts. This will also be her first fight outside of Japan and she will be the very, very clear under-dog.
As for Valle this will be her second defense since beating Joana Pastrana in 2019 in Spain, and comes almost a year after her 2020 defense against over-matched Filipino challenger Carleans Rivas. Coming in to this she is currently riding an excellent 7 fight winning streak, though did lose last time she fought a Japanese fighter, losing to the brilliant Naoko Fujioka in 2017.
Sadly for Valle her bout with Rupprecht was supposed to see the IBF, WBC, IBO and Ring Magazine titles all being unified. To go from that to a mandatory defense will be a massive come down for the 28 year old Costa Rican, however she'll know she can't take her eyes off the ball here, of it could cost her that fight further down the line.
Back in the summer we saw the announcement that we would be getting a WBO female Minimumweight title bout between Japanese veteran Ayaka Miyao (23-8-2, 6) [宮尾 綾香] and unbeaten Vietnamese fighter Thi Thu Nhi Nguyen (4-0, 1). The bout was scheduled for September 27th, in Vietnam, and was, to our knowledge, set to be the first world title fight in Vietnam.
Sadly in September that bout was postponed indefinitely due to the on-going global situation, which has made international travel problematic, and made things very awkward for fighters that need to travel.
Now it appears the bout is completely on the back burner, with Watanabe Gym announcing that Miyao will instead take on Etsuko Tada (19-3-3, 6) [多田悦子] for the vacant WBO belt on December 3rd at Korakuen Hall.
The bout is actually a rematch of a contest the two women had earlier this year, when Miyao and Tada fought to a draw in a very good contest. A rematch here will be expected to be just as good as the first bout between the women.
Notably this announcement seemingly makes the December 3rd Watanabe show a triple title show. As well as the WBO female Minimumweight bout we'll also see a Japanese Minimumweight title bout between #1 ranked Masataka Taniguchi (12-3, 7) [谷口将隆] and the #3 ranked contender Hizuki Saso (12-6-2, 4) [佐宗 緋月], and a OPBF female Minimumweiht title bout between defending champion Sana Hazuki (8-4-1, 2) [葉月さな] and former Japanese national champion Mizuki Chimoto (2-0, 1) [千本瑞規]. With that in mind, we really do have a stacked card here!
Earlier this month we reported that there would be a Japanese Minimumweight title bout between #1 ranked Masataka Taniguchi (12-3, 7) [谷口将隆] and the #3 ranked contender Hizuki Saso (12-6-2, 4) [佐宗 緋月]. We also mentioned how that bout would be taking place on December 3rd at Korakuen Hall.
Today it was confirmed that that bout will be one of two of the show, with a supporting bout announced as being a female OPBF title bout at 105lbs between defending champion Sana Hazuki (8-4-1, 2) [葉月さな] and former Japanese national champion Mizuki Chimoto (2-0, 1) [千本瑞規].
For Hazuki, who won the belt in in November with a win over Eruka Hiromoto, this will be her first defense and at 36 years old who really can't afford a loss if she intends to remain in the title mix. As for Chimoto the bout is the next step forward after a very short reign as the Japanese national champion. She was a former amateur standout before turning professional and will, if she wins the OPBF title, likely be fast tracked to a world title fight.
Sadly no other bouts for this card have been confirmed yet, but with the show already being a title double header it's already worthy of some serious interest for those in Tokyo in early December.
Teenager hopeful Eruka Hiromoto (5-1) [廣本江留香] learned a hard lesson today as she lost the OPBF female Minimumweight title in a tough bout against the under-rated Sana Hazuki (8-4-1, 2) [葉月さな] City Sogo Gym in Iwakuni.
On paper this looked very much to be a bout pitting Hiromoto's speed and skills against Hazuki's aggression and pressure and that's exactly what we saw, with pressure winning out over 8 rounds.
Hazuki got off to a great start, taking the lead early on as her work rate and pressure proved to be the difference. Hiromoto looked to create distance between the two fighters but Hazuki refused to allow that distance to be maintained, and landed a number of good right hands.
Hiromoto managed to finally create some space in round 3, and mounted a small fight back in rounds 3 and 4 before we got the open scoring. When the scores were announced the judges had the bout 39-37 to Hiromoto, 39-38 to Hazuki and 39-37 to Hazuki, putting her in a small lead as we headed into the second half of the fight.
Knowing she was behind Hiromoto tried to turn things around in round 5, and she did have success, but couldn't get Hazuki's respect and instead it was Hazuki's pressure which continued to impress in the second half of the fight.
After 8 rounds the judges turned in scores of 77-75 and 77-76 to Hazuki and 77-75 to Hiromoto, giving Hazuki the split decision win and the OPBF title.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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