March 8th we were supposed to a Japanese Flyweight title bout with the heavy handed Seigo Yuri Akui (14-2-1, 10) [阿久井政悟] defending his title against Seiya Fujikita (13-4, 6) [藤北誠也] as part of the Champion Carnival. Obvious boxing in Japan was completely stopped as we entered March, postponing that bout which was then pushed back to July on a tentative basis.
The bout has been pushed back even further, with an October 18th date now being pencilled in for the contest, which is expected to take place at the Amakusa Park Gymnasium in Okayama.
The announcement of a date and venue has also seen the promoters state that tickets purchased for the March date will now be refunded by the place of purchase, and will not be able to be used for the October date.
The bout will be Akui's first defense of the title, which he won last year with a scintillating performance against Shun Kosaka. He admitted that he had doubt over whether it was possible for the bout to be held in July, but was training where possible.
As for Fujikita this will actually be his first title bout, and comes more than 7 years after his professional debut.
As of writing it's unclear what will happen in regards to the under-card, but we suspect as we get closer to the show details will begin to emerge on what under-card bouts will take place and what sort of fan measures will be enforced for safety.
Over the last few days we've seen a lot of Japanese title bouts being revealed as part of the Champion Carnival. Earlier today those bouts were set in stone as the Champion Carnival presentation took place, confirming the contests we'd reported and getting all the champions and challengers in one event.
The first of the bouts will take place on February 1st at the Dynamic Glove show, and will see Japanese Welterweight champion Yuki Nagano (17-2, 13) [永野祐樹] defending his title against mandatory challenger Keita Obara (22-4-1, 20) [小原 佳太]. This bout has been known about for weeks and is an exciting, and potentially very explosive, way to kick off the Champion Vs Challenger series. This bout will be at Korakuen Hall, where most of the title bouts will actually take place.
The second bout will take on February 13th, when Lightweight champion Shuichiro Yoshino (11-0, 9) [吉野 修一郎] defends his belt against Izuki Tomioka (7-2-1, 2) [富岡樹]. This is expected to bee a match up showing a lot of skills, from both men, though the power and physical edges with the champion does make him the favourite. This is another bout at Korakuen Hall.
It's then almost a month later until we get the next bout in the series. That'll be on March 7th, on the March Dynamic Glove, when Light Middleweight champion Hironobu Matsunaga (16-1, 10) [松永 宏信] defends his belt against Yuto Shimizu (14-4-2, 5) [清水優人] in a potentially enthralling bout. The champion will be seeking his second defense whilst Shimizu will be getting his first title fight. This will be the third successive bout at Tokyo's Korakuen Hall.
Just one day later, March 8th, we get the Flyweight bout with the heavy handed Seigo Yuri Akui (14-2-1, 10) [阿久井政悟] defending his title against Seiya Fujikita (13-4, 6) [藤北誠也]. Given Akui's style this should be an explosive bout, and one to look forward to. This was announced way back at the start of the year and will take place at the Aeon Mall mall in Okayama City, the first of the bouts outside of Tokyo.
Just a week later, March 15th, action turns to the Aioi Hall in Kariya as Light Flyweight champion Yuto Takahashi (11-4, 5) [高橋悠斗] defends against hard hitting challenger Masamichi Yabuki (10-3, 10) [佐藤政道]. This will be the first title defnense for Takahashi, and will see him entering enemy territory.
The following day, March 16th, Light Welterweight champion Koki Inoue (15-0, 12) [浩樹井上] will take on Daishi Nagata (14-2-1, 5) [永田大士] in the main event of a card at Korakuen Hall from Ohashi. This is one of the few shows where under-card details have been revealed, and it makes for a very decent looking card overall.
After a slew of fights in March we then have a bit of a break before returning on April 9th for a double header at Korakuen Hall. One of the bouts here will see Bantamweight champion Yusuke Suzuki (11-3, 7) [鈴木悠介] make his first defense, as he goes up against Kyosuke Sawada (14-2-1, 6) [澤田京介] in a rematch of a bout both men had back in 2013. The other bout on this card will see Featherweight champion Ryo Sagawa (9-1, 4) [佐川遼] make his second defense as he takes on Hinata Maruta (10-1-1, 8) [丸田陽七太], in what we feel is the standout bout from this year's Carnival.
On April 28th Super Bantamweight champion Yusaku Kuga (19-4-1, 13) [久我勇作] will defend his title against Gakuya Furuhashi (26-8-1, 14) [古橋大輔]. This bout will be Kuga's first defense since reclaiming the title last year and will be Furuhashi's third shot, at a third different champion. This bout is also set to be at Korakuen Hall.
Interestingly the Super Featherweight bout between hard hitting champion Kosuke Saka (20-5, 17) [坂晃典] and teak tough challenger Takuya Watanabe (37-9-1, 21) [渡邉卓也] is pencilled in for April in Osaka, though no date or specific venue was confirmed at today's event.
On May 16th we'll see the Super Flyweight title bout as defending champion Kenta Nakagawa (18-3-1, 12) [中川 健太] takes on Yuta Matsuo (15-4-2, 8) [松尾雄太] at the Sumida City Gymnasium in Tokyo.
No those who are eagle eyed will be aware there were some division's missing.
Firstly the Minimumweight bout hasn't yet been decided. The title is currently vacant, after Norihito Tanaka (19-7, 10) [田中教仁] returned the belt earlier this year. What we do know is that Masataka Taniguchi (12-3, 7) [谷口 将隆] will be involved in the title bout, though there is currently no opponent, date or venue for the bout.
The Middleweight title bout will see the hard hitting Kazuto Takesako (11-0-1, 11) [竹迫司登] defending his belt against Riku Kunimoto (4-0, 2) [国本陸] but this bout has no date or location set. This bout is likely to be scheduled following Takesako's bout this coming weekend against OPBF champion Shinobu Charlie Hosokawa (12-4-1, 11) [細川チャーリー忍].
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
In October Seigo Yuri Akui (14-2-1, 10) [阿久井政悟] claimed the Japanese Flyweight title, as he blitzed Shun Kosaka (16-6, 4) [小坂駿], inside a round. The win saw Akui winning the title which had previously been vacated by Junto Nakatani (20-0, 15) [中谷 潤人], who is focusing on getting a world title fight.
The win for Akui was his 9th opening round win from 10 stoppages, and saw him prove his power was legitimate.
We now know the details of Akui's first title defense, with the bout being a Champion Carnival bout against Seiya Fujikita (13-4, 6) [藤北誠也], who essentially got a bye in his title eliminator last year due to an injury forcing Ryota Yamauchi (5-1, 4) [山内涼太] out of their planned October bout. Interestingly this will be Fujikita's first title bout, of any kind.
Akui and Fujikita will face off on March 8th at the AEON Hall in Okayama, with the bout being the main event of Momotaro Fight Boxing 39. At the moment not much else is known about the card, though we have been informed that Kenya Okada (5-1-1, 3) [岡田兼弥] will be facing Daisuke Sudo (6-6-3) [須藤大介] in a supporting 6 round Flyweight bout.
Although yet to be confirmed it seems likely this will be made available on Boxing Raise, like many of Akui's other recent bouts.
Earlier today in Okayama fans saw a new Japanese Flyweight champion being crowned, as Seigo Yuri Akui (14-2-1, 10) [阿久井政悟] blew through Shun Kosaka (16-6, 4) [小坂駿], inside a round to claim the previously vacant title!
The heavy handed Akui, who is known for his power especially in the opening round, dropped Kosaka very early in the round, essentially with the first solid right hand the he connected with. Akui would get up from the knockdown, but be dropped 3 more times before the referee said enough was enough.
Officially this bout was stopped at 2 minutes 16 seconds into the first round, but the result seemed clear well before that, when Kosaka had no resistance to Akui's power.
Although Akui now has 10 stoppages in 14 wins, all 10 of them have come in the first 3 rounds with 9 in the first 3 minutes, including his last 6 wins!
Sadly for Kosaka this is the second stoppage loss for him, following a 2018 loss in an OPBF title fight to Jayr Raquinel. He had been expected to put up a decent account of himself here, given that he went 8 rounds with Junto Nakatani a year ago, but Akui's power was simply too much.
Despite having literally just won the title, we already know that Akui's first defense will come in the 2020 Champion Carnival, when he takes on mandatory challenger Seiya Fujikita (13-4, 6) [藤北誠也], who became mandatory on Friday when he made weight for his cancelled eliminator.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
When the Japanese eliminators were announced for the 2020 Champion Carnival we originally saw 5 eliminators being pencilled in for the October 26th show at Korakuen Hall. Sadly though we're only getting 4 of those as the Flyweight bout between Ryota Yamauchi (5-1, 4) [山内涼太] and Seiya Fujikita (13-4, 6) [藤北誠也] was cancelled several weeks ago.
Despite the bout being cancelled one of the two men still attended what would have been the weigh in for the bout due to the need to follow procedure.
The original plan had been for Yamauchi and Fujikita to fight, though sadly Yamauchi suffered an injury in his August win over Alphoe Dagayloan. The hope had been for Yamauchi to have been recovered in time for this bout but he was unable get over the injury.
A back up opponent was sought for Fujikita, though no suitable fighter was found. In part that was due to two of the leading contenders, Seigo Yuri Akui (13-2-1, 9) [阿久井政悟] and Shun Kosaka (16-5, 4) [小坂駿], being scheduled to fight for the vacant title on October 27th, whilst other potential opponents, such as Yusuke Sakashita (19-8-3, 14) [阪下優友] and Naoki Mochizuki (16-5, 8) [望月直樹], were in action too recently to be ready for this weekend.
With no suitable opponent Fujikita essentially got a bye to a title fight at the Champion Carnival, on the condition that he made weight for the originally scheduled bout. Which he did today, despite knowing there was no fight set to take place.
This is likely not the way Fujikita would have wanted to land a shot the Japanese Flyweight title, but he won't be complain, and will feel up for facing the winner of the Akui Vs Kosaka bout in the new year.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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