Earlier today fight fans in Japan had the chance to see the latest Dangan card from Korakuen Hall, with the event also being available live on BoxingRaise.
The main event of the show was a Japanese Bantamweight title bout as defending champion Kyosuke Sawada (15-3-2, 6) [澤田京介] sought his first defense of the title, taking on the unbeaten Seiya Tsutsumi (6-0-2, 5) [堤聖也] in what looked like an excellent match up between high skilled boxer and destructive boxer-puncher.
The opening round saw both men looking to see what the other man had, with some busy jabs and cautious action. It seemed that Sawada might have been a tough faster, but there was very little in it, with Tsutsumi looking the more imposing fighter, whilst Sawada used a lot of movement as he looked to keep a safe distance for his straight punches. Sadly for Sawada his suspect chin got checked in round as Tsutusmi set off for the round with bad intentions. Although Sawada saw out the first wave of Tsutsumi's attack it was clear that Tsutsumi had gone up a gear and was finding his groove very quickly. Midway through the round a short left hook from Tsutusumi dropped Sawada, who didn't seem hurt but was under intense pressure the rest of the round. To his credit Sawada survived the round, but he took a beating for much of the rest of the round.
Sawada's best hope was that Tsutsumi would punch himself out and in round 3 we did see Tsutsumi slow down compared to the previous round. Despite slowing down it was another round that the challenger won, as he landed the more telling blows and fought smartly in bursts, notably towards the end of the round. It was however a much, much closer round than the second and in round 4 we saw Sawada have arguably his best round as Tsutusmi seemed to slow further and Sawada really took the fight to the challenger, as he looked to turn the tide. It was a huge effort from the champion who fought as if he knew he was down and knew he had to change the flow of the action. Sadly for Sawada we saw Tsutsumi landing gorgeous shots through round 5 as he re-established control of the action. After 5 rounds we got the open scoring and Tsutusmi was up on all 3 cards with scores of 48-46, 49-45 and 50-44.
In round 6 we saw the two men trading a lot in center ring and getting a loud reaction from the fans. It was clear that the heavier shots were all from Tsutsumi but Sawada landing plenty of the cleaner blows, using his quicker hands to have success at mid range. Sadly for Sawada the heavy shots of Tsutsumi were punishing ones, especially his body shots which were a regular thing up close. Towards the end of the round it seemed obvious that Sawada was doing everything he could, but was also being broken down. That was even more clear in round 7 as Tsutumi, like he had in round 2, set out on a seek and destroy mission and had Sawada in survival mode for much of the round. The champion was under intense pressure early in the round, though gritted it out, doing all he could to keep his title despite taking increasing punishment through the round. The back and forth action of early in the bout was less, and less frequent with Tsutusmi dominating large portions of the round. Early in round 8 the two men began trading but the power of Tsutusmi rocked Sawada, who was forced onto the ropes where he took a pounding as he covered up, until the referee saved him, giving Tsutusmi the 8th round TKO win.
After the bout Tsutusmi revealed he wants to face Takuma Inoue (16-1, 3) [井上拓真] later in the year.
Also on this card fans saw former world title challenger Shingo Wake (28-7-2, 20) [和氣 慎吾] score his latest win, as he stopped Naoto Mizutani (9-8-2, 3) [水谷直人] in the 7th round of a scheduled 8 rounder.
Tomorrow we'll see the first defense of the Japanese Bantamweight title, by defending champion Kyosuke Sawada (15-2-2, 6) [澤田京介], who will be taking on unbeaten challenger Seiya Tsutsumi (5-0-2, 4) [堤聖也] in a mouth watering clash at Korakuen Hall.
Today, ahead of their bout, the two men took part in their weight in for the contest.
On the scales Sawada came in bang on the 118lb weight limit, and he looked in great shape as well being really confident. At the weigh in he spoke about how he was going to stick to his boxing for the bout, and wouldn't be giving Tsutsumi the title. He also revealed that he was impressed by the recent performance of Naoya Inoue, in his early win over Nonito Donaire.
As for Tsutsumi he was under the weight with some room to spare, weighing in around 117.8lbs for the bout. He seemed somewhat serious at the weigh in, though was very much focused, explaining that he has seen a lot of Sawada, was familiar with his style, and had recognised that Sawada's power had improved in recent bouts.
Also on the card will be former world title challenger Shingo Wake (27-7-2, 19) [和氣 慎吾], who takes on Naoto Mizutani (9-7-2, 3) [水谷直人] in a Super Bantamweight bout. On the scales both men came in at 121.75lbs.
Related - Japanese champion Sawada takes on unbeaten Tsutsumi
Earlier today it was announced that Japanese Bantamweight champion Kyosuke Sawada (15-2-2, 6) [澤田京介] would be returning to the ring on June 23rd, at Dangan 251, to make his first defense of the title, in what will be a mandatory defense. In the opposite corner would be the talented, and incredibly unlucky Seiya Tsutsumi (5-0-2, 4) [堤聖也], who gets his first title opportunity.
the 34 year old Sawada won the title back in February, when he took a 5th round technical decision win against Kenshin Oshima. Sadly for him he suffered a nasty cut in that bout, which has prevented him from rapidly building on the victory. That win came in his second shot at the belt, and he will now be looking to avoid the Bantamweight curse, which has struck successive champions in recent years, with injuries, losses and weight problems.
As for Tsutusmi the switch hitting 26 year old has had a career marked with frustration, including controversial draws with Kazuki Nakajima and Daigo Higa in 2020. Sadly since those draws, both of which could have seen him getting the win, Tsutsumi has been out of the ring, with a planned 2021 bout against Tulio Kuwabata falling through on the week of the fight. With more than 18 months out of the ring, ring rust could be an issue, but if he's closer to 100% he will almost certainly feel this is his chance to claim his first professional title.
In the chief support bout on this card we'll see Shingo Wake (27-7-2, 19) [和氣 慎吾] looking to bounce back from a 2021 loss to Takuma Inoue. In the opposite corner to the former world title challenger will be Naoto Mizutani (9-7-2, 3) [水谷直人].
Earlier today the winners of the East Japan Boxing Awards, for November, were announced with 3 winners being named for the month.
The MVP for the month was Takuma Inoue (15-1, 3) [井上拓真], who won the award after becoming a 3-weight OPBF champion in the following his win over Shingo Wake (27-7-2, 19) [和氣 慎吾] on November 11th. Inoue, who won the OPBF Super Bantamweight title with the win, was a clear front runner for the award and his win over Wake is one of the best of his career so far. And that's ignoring how food the actual performance was, as he neutralised the talented Wake and dominated him over 12 rounds.
The Fighting Spirit Award was won by the newly crowned Japanese Light Flyweight champion Shokichi Iwata (7-0, 5) [岩田 翔吉], who won the award, and the Japanese title, thanks to an excellent 9th round TKO win over Rikito Shiba (5-3, 2) [芝 力人]. The bout was a very clear step up in class for Iwata, but it was a step up that he made with relative ease as he took the best Shiba had to offer, and went on to break him down.
The third winner was the Newcomer of the Month, Hyuma Fujioka (12-10-1, 1) [藤岡飛雄馬], who earned the award for his massive upset win over former world title challenger Ryohei Takahashi (19-5-1, 8) [高橋竜平]. Takahashi, best known for his IBF world title bout with TJ Doheny back in 2019, was dropped by Fujiuoka, who took a career best win with an 8 round decision victory here on November 26th.
Earlier today at Korakuen Hall fight fans saw Takuma Inoue (15-1, 3) [井上拓真] become a 3-weight OPBF champion, as he claimed the OPBF Super Bantamweight title and scored one of the best wins of his career.
The talented Inoue, the younger brother the Monster Naoya Inoue, was moving up in weight to take on on former Super Bantamweight title challenger Shingo Wake (27-7-2, 19) [和氣 慎吾], and made it look surprisingly easy against a very talented, sharp shooting southpaw.
From the off Inoue looked the smaller, but sharper fighter, and managed to avoid Wake's heavy straight left hand whilst getting in and out and getting his own shots off. It was tense to begin with, with neither landing anything too meaningful, but it was as if Inoue was that bit sharper, and his youth was showing against the 34 year old Wake. The first real punch of world quality landed in round 4, and it was a hard right hand from Inoue, which dropped Wake on to the seat of his pants. Wake got to his feet, and Inoue tried to close the show, though Wake saw out the storm and got Inoue's respect, whilst seeing out the round.
Following the knockdown Inoue seemed to grow in confidence whilst Wake struggled to get going. The body shots from Inoue were eye catching, and he managed to avoid much of the return fire, as Wake looked like a man who just second best. Inoue was too smart, defensively and offensively, for Wake who tried to get things off, but just never had the success he was expecting, or that he had had against fighters earlier in his career. It was often like Inoue was one, if not two steps ahead of him.
After 12 rounds there was no doubting the winner, with Inoue getting his hand raised, and all 3 judges scoring the bout 117-110 in his favour, with Wake having some success late in the bout as Inoue cruised to the final bell, though still landed some good counter hooks. Interestingly there wasn't a single round given to Wake by all 3 judges.
Following the bout Inoue explained that he was convinced he'd win, and didn't feel different fighting at 122lbs to how he had in other weight classes. His father and trainer, Shingo, spoke highly of his son, but it was Hideyuki Ohashi who was the most glowing, giving him a "perfect score of 100" for the performance, and how he shut down Wake.
Wake was also complimentary of Inoue, explaining that Inoue's defense was good and that it was hard to get him where he wanted. Aged 34 it's hard to see where Wake goes next, though for Inoue there is talk about him being moved towards a second world title shot in 2022.
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