Earlier today the East Japanese Boxing Association announced their award winners for the month of October and we had 3 worth while winners for the month, which was, in fairness, a really good month for fights in Japan.
The MVP for the month was world ranked Super Featherweight Kenichi Ogawa (25-1-1-1, 18) [尾川 堅一], who earned the award following his October 2nd win over Kazuhiro Nishitani (21-5-1, 12) [西谷和宏]. The bout saw both men being dropped, and saw really great action through out, with Ogawa taking a clear, but very hard fought, decision. The win not only netted him this award but also moved him closer to a world title fight, with Nishitani also entering the bout as a world ranked fighter.
The Fight Spirit Award was won by Seiya Tsutsumi (5-0-2, 4) [堤聖也] following his unexpected draw with former WBC Flyweight champion Daigo Higa (16-1-1, 16) [比嘉 大吾] on October 26th. Many had expected Tsutsumi to be easily beaten by the more well known Higa but instead Tsutsumi more than held his own, and some in the venue felt that the under-dog deserved a victory here. Sadly we've not yet seen the bout, though it will be aired on delay in Japan in around 10 days time thanks to TBS.
The Newcomer award was won by Toshiki Kawamitsu (5-0, 2) [川満 俊輝], following his win against Kenshi Noda (2-1, 2) [野田 賢史], in what was an absolutely sensational bout well worthy of a watch. Kawamitsu went into the bout without much fanfare but came out of it as a man who was worth following, and had instantly generated some real buzz. The win for Kawamitsu will open the doors to bigger fights, and if you've not seen this bout with Noda you really should, absolute barn burner by the two youngsters.
Earlier today at Korakuen Hall Japanese fight fans for the chance to see a relatively interesting card with two notable bouts on it.
The first of those bouts saw talented youngster Ryuto Owan (6-1, 4) [大湾硫斗] end a 2 year break from the ring, and pick up a very important win as he stopped Tomoya Kishine (6-4-1, 2) [岸根知也]. The talented Owan looked like the boss through out the contest, before forcing a stoppage in the 5th round.
For Owan this was an ideal result, very much what he needed after such a lengthy break. He got rounds, he got a win and he got the stoppage.
The main event was a much, much more interesting match up and saw former WBC Flyweight champion Daigo Higa (16-1-1, 16) [比嘉 大吾] battle the unbeaten Seiya Tsutsumi (5-0-2, 4) [堤聖也].
On paper this looked like a bout where Higa would be strongly favoured. Though paper doesn't tell us the entire story, and Tsutsumi had twice beaten Higa in the amateurs and was the naturally bigger man, the natural Bantamweight. Given those two things we had expected something very special here, and boy do they seem to have delivered!
From the off Tsutsumi was busy, looking to set the pace, though Higa's tight guard and stiff jab were playing their part. In round 2 headclashes left Tsutsumi cut, and in round 3 Higa was cut. From there on it seemed unlikely the bout would last long, with both men bleeding and headclashes marring the action up close.
Both men seemed to recover well from the headclashes, but Higa struggled to impose his will as Tsutsumi battled hard, using his foot work and aggression to force Higa to think twice about charging in. This lead Higa to needing to turn things around, which he did in round 8, but his momentum was short lived as Tsutsumi backed him up in round 9.
By the final round it was clear that it was a close one, and men tried to do enough in the final 3 minutes to secure victory. Sadly however neither man could drop the other, and in the end we ended up with a majority decision draw, with scores of 95-95, twice, and 96-94 to Higa.
It had been a war, a real testament to both men's desire, toughness and work rate. Sadly however it had been a war without a winner, and was a clear set back for Higa, who perhaps doesn't have what it takes to make a mark on the world stage at Bantamweight. On the other hand it was a great sign that Tsutsumi really is as good as some suggested, and there's a chance that both men may well move forward with this draw, and potentially give us chapter 2 one day in future.
For fans wanting to watch this it will be televised in mid November on TBS, on what has been regarded a stupidly long tape delay. A really disappointing delay in the broadcast for what had been a very, very good fight.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Tomorrow at Korakuen Hall fans will be getting a treat as former WBC Flyweight champion Daigo Higa (16-1, 16) [比嘉 大吾] battles the unbeaten Seiya Tsutsumi (5-0-1, 4) [堤聖也]. The bout is one of the best all-Japanese bouts in recent years and promising us some seriously mouth watering action, with both men being talented, heavy handed, aggressive fighters who's styles should gel perfectly.
Today, ahead of their bout, the two men took part in their weigh in and both men made the Bantamweight limit with room to spare.
On the scales Higa made the weight with room to spare, weighing in at 117.75lbs, and looked ripped to pieces. He was in great shape and seemed to have refound his love for the sport, with his motivation seemingly back to where it once was. He seemed to be a million miles removed from the fighter who was speaking about possibly retiring after his last bout.
Since that bout, back in February, Higa has transferred gym's, joining up with the ambition gym, and reconnected with trainer Joji Nogi, who has seemingly revitalised Higa.
Tsutsumi was slightly lighter on the scales, coming in at 117.5lbs for the bout, but like Higa he was in incredibly physical shape and seemed to be very much determined to make a mark against a man he regards as a close friend. He's fully aware that a win here would put him on the boxing map, and would take him from being a man relatively unknown outside of Japan to being someone spoke about around the world. This is a huge opportunity for Tsutsumi to announce himself, and he'll not be wanting to waste it.
Sadly for fans unable to make it to Korakuen Hall there is a real wait to watch this one, with the bout not being shown on TV until November 18th, when TBS will broadcast the contest on tape delay.
(Image courtesy of Ambition Gym)
Earlier today one of the Japanese newspapers reported details regarding Kazuto Ioka (25-2, 14) [井岡一翔] Vs Kosei Tanaka (15-0, 9) [田中恒成], suggesting the bout has finally been sorted out behind the scenes.
The bout has long been in the works with Tanaka being announced Ioka's mandatory for the WBO Super Flyweight title earlier this year, when Tanaka decided to move up in weight.
The hope for both teams had been to fit in a fight earlier this year, a warm up at Super Flyweight for Tanaka and a straight forward defense for Ioka. This year, however, has seen nothing go to plan and both men have cancelled their plans due to the on going situation. That has left us where we are now, with both men having been out of the ring since New Year's Eve, where they shared a card at the Ota-City General Gymnasium.
That means Ioka has been out of action since beating Jeyvier Cintron, in a mandatory defense, and Tanaka has been inactive since beating Wulan Tuolehazi in an easy year ending defense.
At the moment the full details haven't been made open though the paper does suggest that it will be on News Year's Eve. To be fair, that's probably something we would all have assumed, given it's a date TBS have long pencilled in for boxing, and have a growing tradition for holding events on. Of course we would also assume the bout will be aired on TBS, and affiliates, including MBS and CBC.
One of the biggest questions remaining completely unanswered is the "where" with a variety of places being suggested by fans online. These include Saudi Arabia, Macau, Nagoya and Tokyo.
It appears the full details on the event will be revealed potentially in November, or very late October. It's expected that former WBC Flyweight champion Daigo Higa (16-1, 16) [比嘉 大吾] will also be on the show, if he gets through his October 26th bout with Seiya Tsutsumi (5-0-1, 4) [堤聖也], with out any issues.
The front page from the paper, the Yukan Fuji, can be seen below, with the names of Ioka and Tanaka clearly visible on the side. As can the tweet from the company which states "大晦日、井岡と田中恒成", which translates as "New Year's Eve, Ioka and Kosei Tanaka"
Earlier today it was announced that former WBC Flyweight champion Daigo Higa (16-1, 16) [比嘉 大吾] had signed an image character contract for glove manufacturer Reyes.
Essentially this will mean that Ingram Co Ltd, the Japanese distributor of the Mexican made "punchers gloves", will have Higa as a ambassador for the product. It will also mean that Higa will look to increase the brand's awareness in Japan by using the gloves in training events and on social media.
Higa, who has worn the gloves in the past is quoted in a press release as stating:
"I was very honored to hear this kind of support when I wanted to move to a new gym and do my best. I practiced well with Reyes gloves and returned to the world championship again. I would like to do it. "
Given Higa's destructive power and KO record it appears that Ingram knew the product they were distributing, their market and target the ideal fighter to get attention to the gloves in a country where there are a number of professionals using the gloves.
Although a fairly common glove among the higher echelons of Japanese boxing, many also use the Japanese made Winning, so having someone like Higa essentially being a brand ambassador and his likeness used in promotion for the brand will certainly help Reyes grow into a bigger brand in the country.
For those unaware Higa will return to the ring later this month, October 26th, when he will take on Seiya Tsutsumi (5-0-1, 4) [堤聖也] at Korakuen Hall. That bout will then be televised in November on TBS.
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