Earlier today fight fans at Korakuen Hall had the latest show in the Phoenix Battle series of shows, which will be aired this coming weekend on Fuji TV. The card featured a Japanese title bout at 140lbs, between Daishi Nagata and Masahiro Suzuki, as well as under-card bouts featurignt he likes of Rentaro Kimura, Akira Hoshuyama, Shisui Kawabata and Ryota Karimata.
For those wanting to watch this, as live, when it's finally aired, we have included this spoiler warning introduction. Please note that spoilers will begin in the paragraph after the next one. We will include the full undercard results for this show as well as the main bout.
The show opened up with a 6 rounder at Super Bantamweight between Shota Ogasawara (6-3-1, 3) [小笠原 梢太] and Naito Oikawa (3-1-1, 1) [笈川 夏愛]. This one was a really well contested bout from the off, with the two men trading shots at mid range through the opening round. Oikawa went to the body of his man, whilst Ogasawara let shots go up top. Through the bout it was fantastic 2-way action, with neither man ever managing to distinguish themselves ahead of their opponent.
After 6 rounds of great action, we went to the judges and they ruled this one a split decision draw, with scors of 58-56, 56-58 and 57-57.
The second bout saw All Japan Rookie of the Year winner Akira Hoshuyama (6-0, 3) [宝珠山 晃] score a 2nd round TKO win over the once touted Shisui Kawabata (2-3, 2) [川畑 嗣穂]. This was exciting from the off, with Hoshuyama dropping his man with a left uppercut in the first round. Kawabata responded to the knockdown by taking the fight to Hoshuyama before being forced to clinch. Kawabata managed to see out the first round, but was swiftly put under pressure in round 2 and the referee was forced to jump in and save after 57 seconds of the round.
The third match on the show saw another all Japan Rookie of the Year champion in action as Ryota Karimata (7-0, 3) [狩俣 綾汰] clashed with Hayato Aoki (4-1, 3) [青木 勇人]. Originally these two were supposed to fight last December, before Aoki was forced to pull out of a scheduled bout, and it meant this one had a touch of backstory to it. Sadly for Aoki he really struggled to get his wayt into the bout, as Karimata out worked him in round 1 and moved through the gears in round 2, finding holes in Aoki's defense. Aoki really did seem like he was focusing on not getting tagged too much, but as a result wasn't letting his own hands go much. As a result Karimata was able to build his confidence and momentum ot the point where he was in a comfortable lead by the time Aoki finally began to fire back.
After 6 rounds the judges really didn't have a tough task here, two had the bout 60-54 to Karimata whilst the third judge had it 59-55, finding a sympathy round for Aoki.
The chief support bout saw the highly regarded Rentaro Kimura (4-0, 3) [木村蓮太朗] score his most notable win to date as he defeated Hikaru Fukunaga (8-2, 5) [福永輝] via a clear 6 round decision. Kimura boxed well at range in the opening round, using his straight left hand to control the tempo and range of the contest through the openoing round. Fukunaga tried to make it into a fight, but he struggled to apply his pressure against the taller, smarter, sharper, smoother Kimura who was simply too good. Through much of the bout it was all about Fukunaga's pressure and Kimura's movement, however in round 6 we saw Kimura try to hunt a finish, with Fukunaga doing well to survive the late assault from Kimura. After 6 rounds this was a shut out, and a very impressive win for Kimura, who is now heading towards his first title fight, which could come before the year is over.
The final bout on the card was a title bout, which saw a minor upset as Daishi Nagata (15-3-2, 6) [永田大士] was dethroned of the Japanese Light Welterweight title by the unbeaten Masahiro Suzuki (6-0, 4) [鈴木 雅弘], who put in a stellar performance in a massive step up bout.
Nagata started the bout fighting behind a tight guard and coming forward, with Suzuki meeting him head first and attacking his body well, and left solid left uppercuts. It was a positive start from the challenger who really did find his groove very quickly and was hammering body shotshome in round 2, before letting combinations go in round 3. By then it was starting to look tough for Nagata who was left with a swollen left eye in round 4. Nagata knew he was needing to turn things around and tried to do then in the fourth, but Suzuki responded to it well, and landed some very well timed head shots as Nagata attempted to close the distance. After 5 rounds Suzuki was up on all 3 cards, 50-45, twice, and 49-46.
Suzuki continued to find his shots landing time and time again, and the gulf in skill between the men was becoming really apparent, despite the hunger and desire from Nagata, who continued to trudge forward, trying to turn things around and break down Suzuki.
Amazingly it was Suzuki who moved up a gear in round 9, and left Nagata cut from an uppercut. He kept the shots landing in round 10, with Nagata's team eventually waving the towel and stopping the bout with just over 50 seconds of the contest remaining.
This is a genuinely massive setback for Nagata, who won the title last year, with a shock win over Koki Inoue, but looked poor in his first defense and completely out classed here. As for Suzuki this was a defining performance and he showed the class he that saw us getting excited after his debut. He has had some weaker performances in recent contests, but here he put it all together and it was a champion making outing from him. With just 6 bouts to his name he's already a Japanese champion and now opens the door to some very, very good domestic bouts. That includes a potential clash with Andy Hiraoka later in the year,
Earlier today at Korakuen Hall fight fans had the latest Kadoebi promoted "Slugfest" card.
The under-card was, on paper, one of the most interest under-card we've seen in Japan this year with two very notable bouts on it.
One of those bouts saw the world ranked Japanese Flyweight Ryota Yamauchi (6-1, 5) [山内涼太] bounce back from the disappointment of missing out on a Japanese title eliminator last year, when he was injured. The talented Yamauchi was up against Filipino visitor MJ Bo (8-4-2, 4) and managed to stop the Filipino in 2 rounds.
Yamauchi looked really good for most of the first round, but was tagged by a hard right late in the round as Bo showed some life, and showed that was dangerous. The two each unloaded heavier shots in the second round, but a right up top and a left to the body dropped Bo for the 10 count, at an official time of 1:27 in round 2. Big things are expected from Yamauchi, but it was clear, again, that he had defensive flaws that needed to be sorted before he steps up again, and he is still susceptible to straight right hands, something we saw him getting caught by numerous times by Wulan Tuolehazi last year.
On paper an even better match up saw youngsters Yuki Nakajima (4-1, 4) [中嶋憂輝] and Shisui Kawabata (2-2, 2) [川畑嗣穂] clash in a mouth watering match up.
From the off this was high skilled stuff, with both both looking to measure the opponents for straight shots in the first couple of rounds. It was clear both men believed they had the power to hurt the other. Nakajima changed the bout up in round 3, when he began to press more, and this is where he really began to build some momentum, attacking the body up close and roughing up Kawabata, with the 4th round being a particularly exciting one. The rough house tactics from Nakajima saw him hitting Kawabata with an illegal shot in round 5, and the referee gave Kawabata time to recover. Despite Kawabata still having moments during rounds 4 and 5, this wasn't the type of fight he was wanting and he was being ground down by the heavy hands and physicality of Nakajima.
In round 6 a Nakajima uppercut dropped Kawabata, who went down hard. The referee started a count, but waved the bout off part way through.
(Photo by A.McGovern)
Earlier today online subscription service Boxing Raise revealed their schedule for February and sadly it's rather lacking with only 3 shows in total, and only 1 live one. That is however a sign of a quiet February in Japan more than anything, with only 7 shows scheduled for the entire month, including the February 1st card which was shown on G+.
The first of the Boxing Raise cards is actually available already and took place today at Korakuen Hall. The card was a rather small and low key one, featuring only 4 round bouts. Whilst the show didn't get much attention it is good to see the service uploading the bouts on the same day which hasn't always been the case.
The next show to be including on the service this month is the February 14th Kadoebi card. This will be headlined by Froilan Saludar (31-3-1, 22) defending the WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight title against Ryoji Fukunaga (11-4, 11) [福永亮次] in what looks likely to be an explosive match up. Other bouts of note on this card will include Ryota Yamauchi (5-1, 4) [山内涼太] facing off with Filipino MJ Bo (8-3-2, 4) and a brilliant match up between Yuki Nakajima (3-1, 3) [中嶋憂輝] and Shisui Kawabata (2-1, 2) [川畑嗣穂].
The only live card for the month will take place on February 27th and is an excellent looking card, headlined by an OPBF Welterweight title bout between Riku Nagahama (11-2-1, 4) [長濱 陸] and Kudura Kaneko (11-0, 8) [クドゥラ 金子] and also featuring the Hajime No Ippo 30th anniversary tournament semi finals. Those semi-finals will see Jae Woo Lee (7-2, 6) [이재우] taking on Shingo Kusano (12-8-1, 5) [草野慎悟] and Richard Pumicpic (21-10-2, 6) clashing with Daisuke Watanabe (9-4-2, 6) [渡部大介].
Whilst it's a shame there's so little content this month, it is impressive that Boxing Raise do have 3 of the 7 Japanese cards from the entire month.
Earlier today Japanese fight fans at the Korakuen Hall got a stacked card featuring some really interesting match ups.
One of those match ups pitted young and unbeaten fighters against each other with Rikito Shiba (4-0, 2) [芝力人] and Shisui Kawabata (2-1, 2) [川端嗣穂] facing off for the Japanese youth Light Flyweight title.
It wasn't a bout that was going to get a lot of international attention, but it certainly looked like an excellent match up between two brilliant young prospects, and it delivered!
Shiba got off to the perfect start, dropping Kawabata in the opening round with a counter shot. Kawabata wasn't badly hurt but the knockdown secured Shiba a 10-8 round, despite a great fight back from Kawabata.
Kawabata's fight back saw him take round 2, as he upped his work rate, but then he struggled to really build on that momentum with Shiba taking the play away in round 3 as he picked up his own pace and forced Kawabata on to the back foot. Rounds 4 and 5 were both close but Shiba's power began to shine in round 6, as he landed clean hurtful shots on Kawabata and built further on his lead in round 7. To his credit Kawabata came back hard in the 8th round, but it was too little too late to over-come Shiba and his lead, with all 3 judges scoring the bout 77-74 to Shiba.
Despite suffering a small nick over his left eye Shiba is pencilled in to return to the ring in December, in a Japanese Light Flyweight title eliminator, as he looks to move from the Youth title to the senior title. In his eliminator he will face off against Masamichi Yabuki (9-3, 9) [佐藤政道].
As for Kawabata his career is certainly not over with this loss, and the 23 year old is likely to get another shot at the belt in the near future. A loss of this kind, this early in his career, will certainly do more good than harm and Kawabata will have learned more from this loss than he would from a string of easy wins.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Tomorrow fans at Korakuen Hall will see a Japanese youth Light Flyweight title bout, with Rikito Shiba (3-0, 2) [芝力人] battling against Shisui Kawabata (2-0, 2) [川端嗣穂] in a mouth watering clash.
Today the two youngsters weighed in for the their bout, and both men made the 108lb limit with no issues.
On the scales Shiba was bang on the Light Flyweight limit, whilst the taller Kawabata was slightly lighter at 107.37lbs.
At the weight in Shiba seemed incredibly confident and had belief in his power. He has already got his next bout arranged, a Japanese title eliminator later in the year against Masamichi Yabuki (9-3, 9) [佐藤政道] and admitted that it would be embarrassing to lose tomorrow and still enter the eliminator for the senior Japanese title.
Kawabata on the other hand seemed comfortable with the weight loss and stated that Shiba was smaller than he'd expected. He revealed his game plan was to box, and be wary of Shiba's power.
Related - Shiba and Kawabata face off for Japanese youth title!
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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