On November 7th at the Saitama Super Arena we'll see Naoya Inoue (18-0, 16) [井上 尚弥] take on Nonito Donaire (40-5, 26) in the WBSS Bantamweight final.
Ahead of that bout Inoue invited the media into his camp for a chance to see how he's getting on with his preparations for the bout.
Today, in front of the press Inoue sparred for 3 rounds with Sho Nakazawa (12-4, 6) [中澤奨], The sparring was similar to the one the two men had had a few weeks ago, the last time the press were able to see the two friends sparring. It was again a case of Inoue looking sharp offensively though certainly paying a lot of attention to his defense, which seems to have been more of a focus than usual.
As well as the sparring today Inoue spoke about the sparring he has had with American amateur standout Japhethlee Llamido, with the two men having sparred together for 20 rounds over 4 sessions.
Llamido spoke impressively of Inoue's strength, with both hands, and revealed that a left hook to the body undid him in their 4th session. Interestingly Japanese press are reporting that in 130 rounds of sparring with Vasyl Lomachenko, the current WBC,WBA and WBO Lightweight champion, Llamido was dropped once, so for Inoue, a naturally smaller man than Loamchenko to do it in 20 rounds, is a sign of his power.
Inoue spoke highly of Llamido and stated that whilst Llamido started slowly he he did change gears impressively and gave all sorts of angles to him in sparring, forcing him to respond with different tactics, and he seemed genuinely impressed by the youngster.
The focus for Inoue seems to be on not only defending the vaunted left hook of Donaire, but overall defending against the overall power of the Filipino flash and the sparring with naturally bigger fighters, like Nakazawa and Llamido, should help keep him defensively smart.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
On November 7th we get one of the biggest fights in Japanese boxing history, as the world turns it's attention to the Saitama Super Arena to see Naoya Inoue (18-0, 16) [井上 尚弥] take on Nonito Donaire (40-5, 26) in the WBSS Bantamweight final. The bout will see the two men look to unify the WBA and IBF titles as well as claim the Muhammad Ali trophy.
Today Inoue took part in a media work out for the press in Japan and, unsurprisingly, he impressed those who attended the work out.
As part of the work out the "Monster" sparred with Ohashi gym stablemate Sho Nakazawa (12-4, 6) [中澤奨], and really seemed to give Nakazawa fits due to his defense. Nakazawa struggled to land anything clean on Inoue who's defense was described in the Japanese as being like an "Iron wall" after the session. As well as being defensively impressive he also showed off his offense and and turned the tables on Nakazawa, who seemed worn out after 3 rounds, but was also impressed by Inoue's often under-rated defense.
The Japanese star also spoke about the ticket sales for the bout, and he seemed genuinely surprised by how quickly had been sold for the bout, given it's on a Thursday. The main ticket places had sold out a few days ago, before extra tickets were made available, and with 2 months to go until the fight it seems obvious they could have opened up a lot more of the venue than the set up they are planning to use.
The training for Inoue is set to take a big step up next week, as he begins fully fledged training, and he's planning to bring in sparring from the US, including a 2020 Olympic hopeful. A running camp is also planned for later in the month as well.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
In 2013 Sho Nakazawa (12-4, 6) [中澤奨] made his professional debut, and the expectation was that he would go a long way. He had been a successful amateur, he was well schooled and looked like he had talent to go well beyond domestic title level. Sadly however he has failed to make the most of the talent he had, and now his career looks like it's close to over.
The touted Nakazawa had stumbled from 8-0 to 12-3 in the last 3 years. The hopes of his career was hanging on by a thread. Today that thread got snipped, big time.
Nakazawa was up against the unheralded Jinya Ito (8-5-1, 3) [伊藤仁也] in what looked like a straight forward, confidence boosting bout for Nakazawa. Instead however he was blitzed by Ito.
Ito looked to fight behind his jab from the opening seconds. Ito would be caught by a solid left hook from Nakazawa but fired back, landing a right hand that dropped Nakazawa. Nakazawa would beat the count but would be unable to defend himself and was dropped for a second time. Again he would rise to feet but was saved by the referee soon afterwards.
This is the third time Nakazawa has been stopped and it really is hard to see him bouncing back from this defeat. As for Ito it seems a permanent move up to Featherweight, following some faltering form at Super Bantamweight, could be something that saves his career, and this win is massive for him, giving him a huge shot in the arm after back to back losses.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Earlier today fight fans in Tokyo had the chance to see a number of notable Ohashi Gym fighters in action at Korakuen Hall. That included 3 bright youngsters, all looking to move forward with their career, two of whom had suffered recent set backs.
One of those looking to rebuild from a recent loss was Ryo Matsumoto (22-3, 20) [松本亮], who had actually lost his last 2 bouts. He made relatively light work of Indonesian visitor Carlos Obisuru (5-2-1, 1), scoring a stoppage in round 2.
Another man rebuilding from a loss was the once touted Sho Nakazawa (12-3, 6) [中澤奨], who scored a much needed win after losing 3 of his last 6. Nakazawa scored a 3rd round win over Jio Alfriando (5-8, 2), in what really was nothing more than a confidence building win for the Japanese fighter.
Arguably the most interesting of the youngsters on this card was Taku Kuwahara (4-0, 3) [桑原拓], who scored a 3rd round win over Aprilianto Rumahpasal (1-4, 1). Kuwahara is one of the many talented Japanese fighters breaking through the ranks at 108lbs and he looked incredibly sharp here, a real one to watch!
Sadly a planned bout between Andy Hiraoka (13-0, 9) [平岡アンディ] and Atchariya Wirojanasunobol (12-0, 5) fell through when the Thai was arrested, though Hiraoka did participate in a spar with Kaiki Yuba (4-0-1, 2) [湯場海樹].
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today we were informed that Ohashi would be putting on their next show on April 8th at the Korakuen Hall. The full hasn't been announced, but plenty of details from the show have been revealed, including the names of many fighters from the card.
The headline attraction is former 3 weight world champion Akira Yaegashi (27-6, 15) [八重樫 東], who will be fighting for the first time since his 2018 war with Hirofumi Mukai. At the moment Yaegashi's opponent hasn't been announced for the contest, though it's not expected to be anyone too testing for the hugely popular warrior.
The most exciting bout that has been confirmed for the show will see Andy Hiraoka (13-0, 9) [平岡アンディ] take on unbeaten Thai Atchariya Wirojanasunobol (12-0, 5), in a really fantastic bout. It's rare we see two unbeaten fighters fighting at this point in their careers, with both heading towards bigger fights, so to see both taking this type of risk is fantastic, and something to get really excited about.
Another bout confirmed for the show will see former Japanese Super Featherweight champion Seiichi Okada (22-6-1, 13) [岡田誠一] take on Nakagawa Kanehiro (6-6, 4) [中川兼玄]. Okada has won his last 4 bouts coming into this, and will be looking to continue his good run of form.
Looking to bounce back from recent defeats will be former world title challenger Ryo Matsumoto (21-3, 19) [松本亮] and the once touted Sho Nakazawa (11-3, 5) [中澤奨], who both suffered stoppage losses late last year. Neither man has had their opponent named, but neither is expected to be up against anyone too testing, given their recent stoppage losses.
One other fighter on this card is fast tracked prospect Taku Kuwahara (3-0, 2) [桑原拓], who will be in his second 8 round bout. He also lacks an opponent, though could end up against someone of some note given how Ohashi seem to view him as a very special talent.
Full bouts are expected to be announced by the middle of March, though it's nice to see that the card already has some notable names on it, and the excellent Hiraoka Vs Atchariya bout.
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