Earlier today Japanese fans got a treat as Hiroki Okada (9-0, 7) recorded the first defence of his Japanese Light Welterweight title in an absolutely thrilling and bloody encounter with the always fun to watch Shamgar Koichi (18-6-1, 11).
Koichi, challenging for a title for the first time in his career, brought the pressure behind his trademark high guard. This forced Okada to react to the pressure and saw the men regularly trading shots in what became one of the stand out bouts of the month.
The pressure of Koichi forced Okada to box more on the move than he'd have perhaps liked though when Koichi did cut the distance the bout was great to watch with Okada being forced to fight off Koichi up close.
The high octane action took it's toll on Okada's face when he was cut over the left eye in the second half of the fight. The cut was a nasty one that bled through out the rest of the fight and ended up splattering those at ring side with claret. Despite the blood Okada fought as hard as had previously and managed to survive a late charge by Koichi who was trying to turn the tables before time ran out.
Despite the back and forth action all 3 judges saw the bout the same way, 96-94 in favour of Koichi. Despite the win the champion will have known that this was the toughest bout of his career and it could be some time before he even considers moving beyond the Japanese domestic level.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
It was announced earlier today that their would be a Japanese title double header on July 28th at the Korakuen Hall.
The first of these bouts will see the recently crowned Light Welterweight champion Hiroki Okada (8-0, 7) defending his belt for the first time. The hard hitting and genuinely exciting Okada will be fighting the #5 ranked Shamgar Koichi (18-5-1, 11) who has had some mixed results in recent contests.
With his #5 ranking Koichi is a solid challenger though we'd imagine Okada would have the skills and power to see him off inside the distance. For a first defence of the belt this very acceptable and it's hard to complain about the bout even though former champion Shinya Iwabuchi did stop Koichi inside a round.
The second bout will see the relatively long reigning Japanese Welterweight champion Suyon Takayama (20-1, 7) make the 4th defence of his belt. Takayama is lined up to take on former rival Koshinmaru Saito (20-5-1, 11), the #2 ranked Japanese ranked Welterweight.
These two men met back in 2012 and battled over the then vacant title with Takayama taking a close and hard fought decision to claim the belt. Since their first bout both men have been unbeaten. For Takayama that's a 3 fight unbeaten run whilst for Saito it's 2 fights, including a win over Yuichi IDeta, the only man to have beaten Takayama.
With their first fight having been close it's hard to complain about Takayama/Saito II though we do favour the champion to defend his belt successfully.
(Image, of Okada, courtesy of http://www.kadoebi.com/)
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