Earlier today at the 3150 Fight Club in Osaka there was a press conference held by gym chairman Koki Kameda [亀田 興毅], alongside his younger brother Tomoki Kameda (36-3, 20) [亀田和毅].
At the press conference Tomoki confirmed that he would become a member of the gym, allowing him to compete in Japan. He spoke about how he has been out of the ring for 18 months, and was now glad he can return to action, stating that he was enthusiastic about his return.
Koki seemed to suggest that Tomoki's return will be sooner rather than later and explained that he wanted Tomoki to be on a show in Spring. Not only that but he was promising a good purse for his brother, explaining that he wanted to be a promoter who can pay good payments to fighters, and the figure of "10 million yen" was referenced, which seems a ridiculously high figure for what will be a non-title fight.
Interestingly it was explained that the lengthy run of inactivity from Tomoki wasn't planned, though like many things last year it was a result of Covid19. He had planned a bout in April in the US, which was cancelled due to the pandemic. He then his son was born and he returned to Japan, where he has been training since August. He is now based in Osaka, where the gym is, and it seems like Japan will be his base for the foreseeable future.
In regards to Tomoki's future he is planning to remain at Super Bantamweight, despite the WBA ranking him at Featherweight.
Given how much of a problem international transport into Japan is right now the expectation is that Tomoki's return will be against a Japanese fighter, and if we're being honest that's not a bad thing given the incredibly competitive Japanese scene at 122lbs. In fact another Japanese fighter at the weight looking for a contest is Shingo Wake (27-6-2, 19) [和氣 慎吾], who had a planned bout for April cancelled when former IBF Super Bantamweight champion Yukinori Oguni (21-2-1, 8) [小國以載] suffered an injury. Another interesting option would be Hiroaki Teshigawara (22-2-2, 15) [勅使河原 弘晶],though we suspect Kameda is looking at a safer, easier, option than those two given his lengthy absence from the ring.
Back in January we saw an announcement regarding a rematch between former IBF Super Bantamweight champion Yukinori Oguni (21-2-1, 8) [小國以載] and former world title challenger Shingo Wake (27-6-2, 19) [和氣 慎吾]. The bout was announced on January 22nd, during a live stream on Boxing Raise, and was set for April 28th at Korakuen Hall.
It instantly seemed like a brilliant match up and something to look forward to in April, a month that had very little on the schedule.
Sadly however that bout has now been cancelled, with Oguni suffering an injury in training, and will not be available for the April date.
At the moment it's unclear what the plan is, though it seems like Wake will face a replacement opponent, or the bout will be pushed back, and rescheduled for a later date, with a different main event being planned for the show. One thing that does seem clear is that the show it's self will not be cancelled, just this match up.
The bout was an anticipated one, given their history. Around 8 years ago the then unheralded Wake upset Oguni, the then unbeaten OPBF Super Bantamweight champion, and began his rise towards an eventual world title fight. Sadly for Wake his world title fight saw him being battered by hard hitting Dominican Jonathan Guzman, in a bout for the IBF title.
Oguni rebuilt from his loss to Wake, ended up claiming the Japanese title then shocked us all by dethroning Guzman in his first defense, just months after Guzman had battered Wake and literally broken his face. Oguni's reign was, however, a short one losing to Ryosuke Iwasa in his first defense.
At the time of writing it's unclear how serious Oguni's injury is, though we want to wish him a speedy and full recovery.
Earlier today on the latest Dangan card, streamed live on Boxing Raise, we saw an announcement of a mouth watering bout set for April 28th.
The bout in question will be a rematch between former IBF Super Bantamweight champion Yukinori Oguni (21-2-1, 8) [小國以載] and former world title challenger Shingo Wake (27-6-2, 19) [和氣 慎吾], in what genuinely looks like a sensational bit of match making.
The two men first clashed way back in 2013, when Oguni was the unbeaten OPBF Super Bantamweight champion. Oguni entered the bout looking to make his 4th defense of the Oriental title but was dominated by Wake, who stopped him in 10 rounds, ending the unbeaten streak of Oguni.
After that there had been various discussion of the two men having a rematch one day, but they went in different directions.
Since his loss to Oguni went on to claim the Japanese Super Bantamweight title, winning that belt in 2014, and later scored a massive upset at the end of 2016 to dethrone Jonathan Guzman and claim the IBF Super Bantamweight title. Sadly though his reign was a short one, losing in his first defense, to Ryosuke Iwasa before retiring. Like many in boxing his retirement was a short lived on and just 15 months later he was back in the ring, and is now 2-0 (1) since the loss to Iwasa.
Following his win over Oguni popular Wake managed to score 5 defenses of the OPBF title before losing to the aforementioned Jonathan Guzman in a battle for the then vacant IBF Super Bantamweight, suffering numerous knockdowns and severe facial damage in that loss. He bounced back well from that loss, winning the Japanese Super Bantamweight title in 2018, when he stopped Yusaku Kuga. He vacated that title to focus on getting a second world title shot, but those hopes were dashed when he suffered a massive KO loss to Jhunriel Ramonal in 2019. Since then he has fought once, stopping Shohei Kawashima.
For both men a loss here would be very hard to bounce back from, but from a fan perspective we are really looking forward to this one and have very high expectations of the match up, which should be an exciting technical battle.
Whilst this bout has been announced none of the other bouts on the show have been confirmed as of yet. Those other bouts will be confirmed over the coming weeks, and for those wanting to watch the event, the show will be made available over the Boxing Raise service.
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.
Tomorrow at Korakuen Hall former world title challenger Shingo Wake (26-6-2, 18) [和氣 慎吾] will look to get his career back on track, following a huge upset loss last year to Jhunriel Ramonal. In the opposite corner to the popular southpaw sharp shooter will be Shohei Kawashima (18-4-2, 4) [川島翔平].
Today the two men made weight for their bout, with Wake coming in at 123lbs whilst Kawashima was 123.5lbs, bang on the contracted limited.
Rather notably the bout is one of many that Polish betting website STS have got available to bet on for for this weekend.
The odds for this are very one sided with Wake priced as a very clear favourite, with odds of 1.12, to win by any method. The odds on a stoppage for Wake are 1.45 with Wake priced at 3.25 to take a decision win here.
Kawashima is 5.15 to win the bout, with odds of 10 to take the victory by decision and a massive 15 to stop Wake. It's fair to saw that a win for Kawashima would, essentially, end Wake's dream of a second world title fight.
The over/under here us set at 5.5 rounds, with the under being available at 1.75 and the over coming at 1.95.
For fans wanting to watch this one live it will be available on subscription service Boxing Raise.
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