Earlier today at the Amakusa Park Gymnasium in Okayama fans had the chance to see local star Seigo Yuri Akui (15-2-1, 10) [阿久井政悟] make his first defense of the Japanese Flyweight title, as he defeated mandatory challenger Seiya Fujikita (13-5, 6) [藤北誠也].
The bout, which was staged as part of this year's Champion Carnival, had originally been scheduled for March though was delaye for obvious reasons. Despite the delay fans in Okayama got a treat as the bout had some good back and forth at times, but resulted in a win for the star that fans had waited months to see.
Despite Akui's well known fast starts and danger in the opening round, where he has secured 9 stoppages, we actually got Fujikita coming forward early on and looking to crush the distance, preventing Akui from getting full extension on his shots. Despite some success from the challenger it was a round that went to champion.
Akui then found his real groove and seemed to make a strong claim to winning round 2 and again in round 3. He was proving to be up for this and willing to walk into the fire to get to Akui. By then it was clear Akui was going to have to go rounds, something we've not become accustomed to seeing from him. He seemed to realise it was well and began boxing more, using his heavy shots to dictate the range and tempo.
After 5 rounds the scorecards were all over the place. One judge had it a shut out for Akui, 50-45, another had it a little closer, at 49-46 whilst the third had Fujikita leading, 48-47.
Sadly for Fujikita he was unable to keep it up. He continued his toughness and tenacity, but was unable to match the power, boxing, movement and output of Akui, who began to really turn the screw behind his jab, and bust out a few combinations in round 8 as he looked to break down the desire of the challenger, who continued to bustle forward. To his credit Fujiikita wasn't going to fold, but couldn't do enough to turn things around, often landing on the arms of Akui with his shots, and taking counter shots pretty clean. Then fans got an explosive end as round 10 saw both men landing plenty of leather, looking to leave their mark, though both men took the other had to offer.
After the 10th round there was no real debating the decision, with scores of 98-92, 97-93 and 99-91, which was really harsh but had the right winner.
Fujikita admitted that Akui was better, though did mention his gameplan was the right one or pressing but he did expect Akui to be dragged into a war easier than he did, with that not happening until it was too late. Despite the loss he seemed to take positive from the loss and said that he hadn't trained enough yet.
As for Akui he spoke about wanting to progress to a world title fight one day, and it seems clear he has his hopes on becoming Okayama's first world champion.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Tomorrow at the Amakusa Park Gymnasium in Okayama fans will be able to see Japanese Flyweight champion Seigo Yuri Akui (14-2-1, 10) [阿久井政悟] defending his title against mandatory challenger Seiya Fujikita (13-4, 6) [藤北誠也], as part of the prolonged Champion Carnival.
Today, ahead of their clash, the two men took part in their weigh in and both men made the 112lb limit for the bout.
On the scales the heavy handed champion was bang on the 112lb limit and looked in great shape for what will be his first defense the title that he won last year. He explained that his weight loss was easy, thanks to his wife weight loss diet, and that he was determined to win for his family, including his recently born daughter.
The challenger on the other hand came in well under the limit, at around 111.25lbs, though also looked in great condition. He spoke about how long he's been waiting for a title fight after having missed out in the past due to an injury a few years ago, and seemed confident that he could take Akui's vicious power, which has seen the champion score 9 opening round stoppages,
Originally this bout was scheduled to take place in March but was one of the many bouts that had it's schedule changed due to the on going global situation. Despite the delay both men seemed really up for the contest and it should be a real thriller.
For fans who can't make their way to the venue the bout will be made available on demand on Boxing Raise in the days following the bout.
Related - Akui clashes with Fujikita in Champion Carnival bout!
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today Boxing Raise updated their website to show their line up for the rest of October, with the plan now being to have 6 shows on their service this month. Sadly none will be live, but 6 shows in a month is solid regardless.
The first show will be the Kaneko Boxing card, which will take place on October 9th. This will be headlined by a brilliant match up between Rei Nakajima (3-0) [中島玲] and former OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific Middleweight champion Shinobu Charlie Hosokawa (12-5-1, 11) [細川チャーリー忍]. The next show to be added will be the Kadoebi show from October 14th, which will feature the likes of Kazuki Saito (7-2, 5) [斎藤一貴] and Takuya Kogawa (30-6-1, 13) [粉川拓也].
The next show will be from October 18th and will be headlined by Japanese Flyweight champion Seigo Yuri Akui (14-2-1, 10) [阿久井政悟] will be facing mandatory challenger Seiya Fujikita (13-4, 6) [藤北誠也] as part of the Champion Carnival.
After those 3 shows we then get a pair of DANGAN cards, including a 4 round show from October 22nd and the October 30th A and B class tournament show, featuring the likes of Shu Utsuki (6-0, 5) [宇津木秀].
The final show from October that Boxing Raise will get is the East Japan Rookie of the Year show from October 31st.
Although not a great month in terms of quality for Boxing Raise the depth of the shows, ranging from Japanese title level to Rookie of the Year, is solid and the cards are full of good looking bouts and hopefuls. It's not an amazing month, but it's certainly not a bad one.
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)
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