Yesterday at Korakuen Hall fight fans got the latest show from Misako Gym, and it was an interesting one, that looked great on paper and had a nice mix of action in the ring.
The first bout of note on the show saw Akira Hoshuyama (8-0, 4) [宝珠山晃] continue his rise through the ranks, as he defeated former amateur standout Tomoki Kawasaki (2-3) [川崎智輝] in an 8 rounder. From the off Hoshuyama looked to start fast and get his nose into the lead, Kawasaki tried prevent that from happening but was dropped in the opening round. From there on Hoshuyama seemed to be the busier man, whilst Kawsaki seemed to land the cleaner blows. Unfortunately for Kawasaki it was Hoshuyama was managing to catch the eyes of the judges, with the judges turning in scores of 79-72, twice, and 77-74. The wide seemed too wide here, but it did feel like the right guy won.
The second bout of note was much more dramatic, with Homura Fujita (9-1, 7) [藤田裕崇] stopping Kaiki Yuba (8-2-2, 5) [湯場海樹] in what was an action packed shoot out. Fujita was down twice in the opening round, once from a straight left and once from a right hook, and seemed to barely make it through the round, as he needed to clinch to get to the bell. Fujita was then deducted a point in round 3, before dropping Yuba twice in round 4 to secure his win, in what was a sensational comeback. After the bout Fujita stated that he was now interested in landing a title fight, and if that can't be done he wants to face strong opponents.
The first of two title bouts saw Japanese female Minimumweight champion Nanako Suzuki (7-2, 1) [鈴木なな子] retain her title and secure her first defense as she out-pointed Sarasa Ichimura (4-11-1) [一村更紗] in a surprisingly competitive bout. This was competitive from the off, with Ichimura setting a good tempo early on and dropping Suzuki in the opening round. Suzuki battled back hard, rebounding well, but was caught by counters in the final stages of the bout. Ichimura also ended the bout well, taking the final round, but it wasn't enough, with the champion retaining with scores of 57-56, twice, and 58-55.
The main event saw Japanese Super Flyweight champion Kenta Nakagawa (22-4-1, 12) [中川健太]retain his title with a surprisingly easy win over Hayate Kaji (15-2, 9) [梶颯]. On paper this was an excellent match up, between a talented but fading veteran and a youngster with a point to prove. Sadly however Kaji essentially no showed in the ring as Nakagawa neutralised him with technical skills and good movement, racking up the rounds without Kaji getting any success until it was too late. The judges really found it hard to give Kaji anything, as he fought a timid fight, pressing but never showing the desire needed to turn things around. After 5 rounds Nakagawa was leading 50-45 and 49-46, twice, and by the later stages he had slowed down, going into something of a cruise to the bell, allowing the scores to look more respectable. After 10 rounds the scores were 97-93, twice, and 96-94, all in favour of the champion. For Kaji this is a second loss at title level, and this one will be much harder to bounce back from than his controversial loss to Ryoji Fukunaga late last year.
Tomorrow fight fans in Japan will be able to see Japanese Super Flyweight champion Kenta Nakagawa (21-4-1, 12) [中川健太] defending his title against Hayate Kaji (15-1, 9) [梶颯] at Korakuen Hall.
Today the two men took part in their weigh in for the contest, with both men making the 115lb limit with no issues.
On the scales the champion, defending the title for the first time since capturing it in April to begin his third reign, was114.75lbs and looked in great shape. He explained that the sparring for the bout had been great and that his weight loss was the best of his career, explaining that he had put more physical training into his preparation than before.
As for Kaji he was bang on the limit and explained that he was really happy about getting a title shot so soon after his controversial 2021 loss to Ryoji Fukunaga, a bout that many viewers felt Kaji had done enough to win. Despite losing to Fukunaga it seems the result has instilled new belief in Kaji, who explained that he was stronger after that loss. He was also encouraged by the recent win by stablemate Ryota Toyoshima (16-2-1, 10) [豊嶋亮太].
The Nakagawa Vs Kaji bout isn't the only title bout on the show, with Japanese female Minimumweight champion Nanako Suzuki (6-2, 1) [鈴木なな子] defending her title, for the first time, as she takes on Sarasa Ichimura (4-10-1) [一村更紗]. On the scales Suzuki was 104.6lbs, and explained that she was able to concentrate more on boxing for this bout than usual, as she graduated from college back in Spring. As for Ichimura she was under the limit, at 104lbs, for what is the most important bout of her career, by far.
Related - Kaji gets second shot at title as he takes on Japanese champion Nakagawa
Japanese champion Suzuki defends against Ichimura
Back in April we saw Kenta Nakagawa (21-4-1, 12) [中川健太] become a 3-time Japanese Super Flyweight champion, as he beat veteran Hiroyuki Kudaka (28-19-4, 11) [久髙寛之], who retired after the bout ending his long career. Today we learned what was next for Nakagawa, with the news being that he will return to the ring on August 9th to defend his title against Hayate Kaji (15-1, 9) [梶颯], who gets his second shot at a title.
The 36 year old Nakagawa has been a professional since 2004 and early on his career was a bit stop start, with a big break between his 3rd and 4th bouts. Since then however he has had notable success. He first won the Japanese Super Flyweight title in 2016, when he narrowly defeat Hayato Kimura, but his reign lasted just 5 months as he lost the title to Ryuichi Funai in his first defense. He recaptured the title in 2019 when he defeated Takayuki Okumoto and made one successful defense, beating Yuta Matsuo, before losing in 10 rounds to Ryoji Fukunaga in a triple title unification bout. Since that loss he has notched up two wins, including the one over Kudaka.
Aged 24 Kaji is one of the most unlucky fighters in Japan. He was long tipped for success but has struggled to make the mark many expected of him. He debuted in 2015, winning the All Japan Rookie of the Year as a teenager. That seemed to set him up for big things, but it took until 2021 for him to land a big fight, as he got a shot at the 3 titles held by Ryoji Fukunaga in October 2021, losing a very controversial majority decision. Had he won that bout there's a very good chance he would have been offered a world title bout with Kazuto Ioka at the end of 2021, a shot that went to Fukunaga. Sadly he's been inactive since that bout.
The fight between the two men will take place on August 9th at Korakuen Hall as the main event of a Diamond Glove show. The show will be a pretty notable one, with a Japanese female Minimumweight title bout between Nanako Suzuki (6-2, 1) [鈴木なな子] and Sarasa Ichimura (4-10-1) [一村更紗], a mouth watering clash between Homura Fujita (8-1, 6) [藤田裕崇] and Kaiki Yuba (8-1-2, 5) [湯場海樹] and a bout between Akira Hoshuyama (7-0, 4) [宝珠山晃] and Tomoki Kawasaki (2-2) [川崎智輝].
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