Results from Korakuen Hall
Earlier today Korakuen Hall played host to an interesting Dangan card, that wouldn't have got much international attention, but did have a trio of noteworthy Japanese domestic clashes.
The first of the three bouts of note saw OPBF female Flyweight champion Chaoz Minowa (7-3, 6) [チャオズ箕輪] record her first defense, as she stopped Yumemi Ikemoto (7-2) [池本 夢実] in 2 rounds. Minowa, who won the title in 2016, was aggressive from the off, and dropped Imemoto early in round 2 with a left hook. Ikemoto, to her credit, beat the count, but was under intense pressure and dropped a second time soon afterwards. This time the referee waved off the bout with Ikemoto trying to get to her feet.
Minowa was once tipped to be a star, and whilst she has failed to live up to expectations, there is no denying she's a fun fighter to watch and that was shown here. Sadly for Ikemoto she had nothing to challenge Minowa with, and her lack of power was a major issue against someone like Minowa.
The second notable bout was much more competitive and compelling and saw former Japanese Featherweight champion Taiki Minamoto (17-7-1, 13) [源大輝] score a split decision win over Shingo Kusano (13-10-1, 5) [草野慎悟] in a thrilling 8 rounder. Kusano started the bout really well, and controlled the range behind his 1-2's and movement. It was the style and relaxed nature of Kusano that controlled the early portion of the bout, and saw him do what he could to neutralise Minamoto's power.
Sadly for Kusano he couldn't avoid the heavy hands of Minamoto forever and as the bout went on Minamoto gradually got success, rocking Kusano several times in the second half of the bout. Kusano took it well, and managed to continue having moments, but the pressure of Minamoto began to catch the eye and he began to wear down Kusano, who was dropped in round 7, and put into survival mode late in the round.
Despite being dropped Kusano responded well, and fought hard in round 8, and saw out the final bell, but it wasn't enough for him to impress the judges. After 8 rounds Minamoto was favoured 77-74, twice, whilst the third judge went to Kusano, with a score of 76-75.
The final bout of note, and the show's main event, saw the unbeaten Hironori Mishiro (11-0-1, 4) [三代大訓] put in, arguably, the best performance of his career, as he stopped Kazuhiro Nishitani (21-6-1, 12) [西谷和宏] in 6 rounds. This was anticipated to be a really good technical match up between two men who are skilled and intelligent fighters. Instead however Mishiro looked a class or two better than Nishitani.
The bout started with both men battling at mid range, trying to use their jabs to set more up and get a feel of their opponents. It was really good stuff from both men who showed what they could do in the ring. Sadly for Nishitani it wasn't long until Mishiro began to move through the gears, and he bagn to land good body shots with his long right hand. Mishiro would then force Nishitani to pick up the pace and although we were getting technical action it was exciting and at a good tempo.
At the end of round 5 Mishiro managed to drop Nishitani with a gorgeous series of clean shots. Sadly for Mishiro it was too late in the round to jump on Nishitani, but Nishitani hadn't recovered as we went into round 6, and Mishiro went for the kill to start the round, dropping his man with a hard counter right hand. The referee then waved off the bout, without issuing a count whilst Nishitani was flat on his back.
Back in July it was announced that Hironori Mishiro (10-0-1, 3) [三代大訓] and Kazuhiro Nishitani (21-5-1, 12) [西谷和宏] would face off in September, though sadly the bout was cancelled a few weeks later when Mishiro was forced to pull out. Today however we were informed the bout was back on, albeit for a different date.
The bout is now set to headline a show on December 2nd at Korakuen Hall, in a joint promoted show, between Watanabe Promotion and Dangan, with 5 other bouts set for the card.
Interestingly one of the other bouts set for this show, the chief support bout in fact, is another bout that was planned for September before being cancelled, due to a positive covid test on the day before the bout. That is the showdown between Taiki Minamoto (16-7-1, 13) [源大輝] and the under-rated Shingo Kusano (13-9-1, 5) [草野慎悟], in what should be an explosive barn burner.
Although not officially confirmed, it's assumed that this show will be aired on demand on Boxing Raise.
Whilst a lot of focus on Japanese boxing tomorrow will be on Kyoto, there is actually a smaller card in Tokyo, thanks to Dangan. The scheduled main event for the card was supposed to be a bout between former Japanese Featherweight champion Taiki Minamoto (16-7-1, 13) [源大輝] and the under-rated Shingo Kusano (13-9-1, 5) [草野慎悟], in what looked like a mouth watering match up.
Sadly that match up was cancelled earlier today, when Shingo Kusano tested positive for Covid19 with a PCR test taken around the time of the weigh in.
Thankfully this bout is being rescheduled, and has been pencilled in for December 2nd, with Minamoto taking part in a public sparring session tomorrow at Korakuen Hall due to Kusano's test.
Sadly this wasn't the only issue with this show, and wasn't originally scheduled in as the main event. That was a planned bout between Hironori Mishiro (10-0-1, 3) [三代大訓] and Kazuhiro Nishitani (21-5-1, 12) [西谷和宏], which was cancelled when it was clear Mishiro wouldn't be fit for the contest, several weeks ago. As result of two notable bouts being cancelled for his show, we are now left with a main event between Ayaka Miyao (23-9-2, 6) [宮尾綾香] and Kaori Nagai (6-2-3, 2) [長井香織].
Earlier today it was announced that former OPBF Super Featherweight champion Hironori Mishiro (10-0-1, 3) [三代大訓] would be back in the ring on September 22nd when he will face former Japanese Lightweight champion Kazuhiro Nishitani (21-5-1, 12) [西谷和宏] in a really interesting 8 round match up.
The bout will be staged as part of a joint promoted show between Dangan and the Watanabe Gym, and will be held at Korakuen Hall.
For Mishiro this bout will serve as his first contest since he beat former world champion Masayuki Ito (26-3-1, 14) [伊藤 雅雪] around Christmas time, in what was a genuine upset. Another win here would see him banging on the door of a bout with Lightweight triple crown winner Shuichiro Yoshino (13-0, 10) [吉野 修一郎], and maybe even some world ranked fighters down the line. As for Nsihitani the bout is his first since a compelling battle with Kenichi Ogawa (25-1-1-1, 18) [尾川 堅一] back in February, which Nishitani lost but did have some really good moments in.
Today, following the announcement of the bout, both men spoke to Boxmob.
Mishiro revealed that he was hoping to fight Yoshino following his 2020 win over Ito, but those plans were scrapped due to Mishiro himself needing time to recover from an eye injury. He then explained that he had to prepare well for Nishitani, due to Nishitani's unique rhythm, physical strength and power. He also explained that he was determined to win and it seems his focus is still on getting bigger and better fights after this one.
As for Nishitani he explained that he was grateful for an opportunity following the loss to Ogawa, and explained that he wanted to show what he had learned from that loss. He sounded incredibly determined to pick up a win here and repay the thanks of his gym for getting him another big fight.
Also set for this card is a mouth watering Super Featherweight bout between former Japanese Featherweight champion Taiki Minamoto (16-7-1, 13) [源大輝] and Shingo Kusano (13-9-1, 5) [草野慎悟]. Although the records here are less than stellar, their styles and in ring mentalities should give us a legitimate fire cracker of an 8 rounder and a real treat for the fans in attendance.
Watanabe and Kusano provide a thriller in the Hajime No Ippo 30th Anniversary tournament final!
Earlier today we got a card from Korakuen Hall live streamed on subscription service Boxing Raise. The event was a Dangan card that only featured 4 bouts but was brilliant from start to end, with 7 knockdowns from those 4 bouts, and some amazing action.
The event, which was headlined by the Hajime No Ippo 30th Anniversary tournament final was staged in a rather unique environment. Although the event was at Korakuen Hall it was a venue that mixed fans and cardboard cut outs of Hajime No Ippo Characters, in an attempt to fill out the venue and force social distancing. It gave the show a weird look, but one we liked, and one that we want to see replicated in the future, given how this actually did get social distancing to work, something that has failed in some recent shows at Korakuen Hall.
With that said lets go through the action.
In the opening bout we saw knockdowns being traded as Hiro Ichimichi (4-0-1, 3) [一道 宏] battled against Hajime Matsushita (3-4, 2) [松下 一]. The fight wasn't a technically sound fight, but was an entertaining one, with Ichimichi showing real belief in his aggression. The first round was crude and messy but there was a sense of tension with both men having solid fire power. That fire power was seen in round 2 when Matsushita dropped Ichimichi with a clear right hand.
Sadly for Matsushita the knockdown only seemed to fire up Ichimichi, who came out firing in round 3 and pretty much beat the fight out of him. In round 4 Ichimichi dropped Matsushita, who spent much of the round in survival mode.
Despite his moment of success in round 2 this wasn't Matsushita's fight, and he did little other than score the knockdown, making the scoring easy for the judges, who all had it 38-36 to Ichimichi.
The second bout saw former Japanese Lightweight champion Shuhei Tsuchiya (23-7, 18) [土屋 修平] lose a 5 round decision to 2018 All Japan Rookie of the Year winner George Tachibana (9-4, 2) [橘ジョージ] in what was an entertaining little war.
The first round saw Tscuhiya boxing well behind his jab before Tachibana began to come on strong in round 2, with some hammering body shots. From there on there was always questions of whether Tsuchiya had enough left in the tank at the age of 33 to deal with the 25 year old Tachibana.
Rounds 3 to 5 were all really competitive, with each man having their moments and what were hard to score rounds. It seemed like both men had some very eye catching moments, but both struggled to get sustained success. In the end however the judges felt that Tachibana was doing enough in those close rounds to take the decision 49-46, twice, and 48-47.
Sadly for Tsuchiya, this is likely to be the end of his career and is a second loss this year for the well liked slugger. As for Tachibana it gets him back to winning ways after a loss in December to Tomoki Takada.
The third bout saw former world title challenger Shingo Wake (27-6-2, 19) [和氣 慎吾] put his 2019 upset loss to Jhunriel Ramonal behind him as he stopped Shohei Kawashima (18-5-2, 4) [川島翔平]. This was a bit of an odd one, with neither man being the most aggressive and both fighters wanting to draw leads to counter. As a result it wasn't very exciting as a spectacle, but was still an interesting bout to watch.
From the off Wake looked sharp and crisp and it in round 2 he scored the first of 4 knockdowns in Kawashinma, who was dropped again in rounds 3,4 and 6. The referee stopped the bout after Kawashima got to his feet in round, and by then was a long way down on the cards. Without the knockdowns however there was very little to talk about. It was one of those rare fights where the action was minimal, despite the knockdowns. The real talking point, maybe, was the lack of output and intensity from both men and it certainly felt like Wake could have closed the show much earlier than he did. The official time here, for those curios, was 2:44 of round 6. At the time of the stoppage we hadn't given Kawashima a single round.
The main event of the show was the Hajime No Ippo 30th Anniversary Tournament final which ended up being something truly amazing.
The bout saw Daisuke Watanabe (11-4-2, 6) [渡部大介] take a decision over Shingo Kusano (13-9-1, 5) [草野慎悟], but that really doesn't come close to summing up how great the fight was.
The opening round saw Kusano come out aggressive, but he was punished for that aggression as Watanabe countered with some solid right hands. In round 2 we saw Kusano revert to type, boxing off the back foot and being smart with his counter punching, though he was still taking more than he was giving. In rounds 3 and 4 Kusano began to build his success and after 4 rounds we had it even.
Heading into round 5 it seemed like Kusano was in the ascendancy, landing with more success and really looking like the bigger, stronger, tougher man. That was until he was dropped by a huge right hand late in the round. He got up, but the knockdown killed the momentum he had and forced him to change his tactics. That change in gameplan from Kusano saw him going punch for punch in the final 3 rounds with Watanabe on the inside.
With that gameplan change rounds 6, 7 and 8 were none-stop action with both men unloading some serious leather on one an other in 3 of the best rounds we've seen this year. It was high intensity, high drama, high action stuff, and both men seemed to be rocked at times as we got some incredible back and forth action.
Sadly for Kusano the change in tactics and the inside war wasn't his style and wasn't enough to convince the judges he deserved the win, with the judges scoring the bout 76-75, 77-74 and 78-73 all in favour of Watanabe. With the win Watanabe wins the tournament, a large financial prize and will be immortalised as a character in Hajime No Ippo.
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