Earlier today at the Saitama Super Arena fans had the chance to see a couple of touted Japanese prospects in action, as part of the supporting card for the WBSS Bantamweight final.
The first of those prospects was Katsuya Fukui (2-0, 2) [福井勝也], who scored his second early win as he defeated Chakkit Ratchakhot (2-4, 2) in 2 rounds. The talented Fukui, who went 59-16 in the unpaid ranks, became the 4th man to stop the Thai, as he continued to put together the building blocks for his promising career.
The Thai was dropped twice during the bout, and was totally out of his depth here as Fukui showcased what he could do. Hopefully next time out Fukui will go up against someone a little bit more testing than another limited Thai import.
The other other prospect in action was the very highly regarded Shokichi Iwata (4-0, 3) [岩田翔吉], who stopped Mexican fighter Alejandro Cruz Valladares (5-2), in the 5th round. Valladares gave a good effort early on but rounds 4 and 5 saw Iwata stepping on the gas and forcing the referee in to save Valladares.
As an amateur was a bit of a star and holds amateur wins over both Takuma Inoue and Kosei Tanaka, so he is certainly one to keep an eye on and he looked very talented here, even if there are still areas for the JBC #15 ranked Light Flyweight to work on.
We've known for a while now that the WBSS Bantamweight final will take place on November 7th, with the highly anticipated clash between Naoya Inoue (18-0, 16) [井上 尚弥] and Nonito Donaire (40-5, 26) headlining the show.
Whilst we've long known about the main event and one of the support bouts, the WBC Bantamweight title bout between Takuma Inoue (13-0, 3) [井上 拓真] and current WBC Bantamweight champion Nordine Oubaali (16-0, 12), there was no other details of the match ups on the card. That was until today.
We now know that the under-card will feature two talented Teiken prospects.
One of those is 23 year old Bantamweight hopeful Katsuya Fukui (1-0, 1) [福井勝也], who will be in a 6 round contest against Chakkit Ratchakhot (2-3, 2), who has scored a couple of wins after beginning his career with 3 straight stoppage losses.
Although not a big name Fukui was a talented amateur, and went 59-16 in the unpaid ranks, and looked good on debut, back in September. His bout is unlikely to be televised but he is certainly one to make a mental note of.
The other Teiken fighter on this card is Shokichi Iwata (3-0, 2) [岩田翔吉], who will take on Mexico fighter Alejandro Cruz Valladares (5-1), in a 6 round Light Flyweight bout.
Iwata is tipped as a future star for Japan, he made his professional debut in the US last year and this will be his third bout this year. On the other hand Valladares will be fighting in his second bout of the year, as he looks to build on a July win over Carlos Brian Vado. Again this is unlikely to be aired on the live broadcast but Iwata is very highly regarded and is certainly deserving of some real attention going forward.
Earlier today we saw two of Teiken's hottest young prospects having their next opponents name, with both set to face Filipino fighters in July.
One of those prospects is Kuntae Lee (1-0, 1) [李 健太], who will be in action on July 6th at Korakuen Hall as part of a Dynamic Glove card. The talented and highly touted Lee, who hardly broke a sweat in his debut earlier in the year, will be up against a much better opponent than his debut foe.
The announced opponent for Lee is unbeaten Filipino Marlon Paniamogan (9-0-1, 5). The unbeaten Paniamogan is a 24 year who made his debut around 5 years ago and has fought his entire career in Paranaque City against Filipino domestic level novices and journeyman. Despite limited competition he does have 46 rounds of professional experience behind him and an unbeaten record should serve up a much better test for Lee than Aphisit Namkhot did back in February.
The other young prospect to have his next opponent named is Shokichi Iwata (2-0, 1) [岩田翔吉], whop fights 6 days later on a stacked card in Osaka. The talented Iwata will, like Lee, take on a Filipino foe, but one who has a less impressive record. His opponent will be 23 year old Paolo Sy (6-3-1, 3).
Like Paniamogan we've yet to see Sy fight outside of the Philippines, or fight above domestic novice level, though hopefully he will ask some questions of Iwata, who is already being groomed as a very special fighter, following amateur wins over the likes of Kosei Tanaka and Takuma Inoue.
Please note - Lee's name is transcribed as Kuntae Lee on the Teiken site, though Boxrec continue to refer to him as Gonte Lee
Unbeaten Japanese prospect Shokichi Iwata (2-0, 1) [岩田翔吉] made his Japanese debut in May, when he easily beat 2018 Light Flyweight Rookie of the Year at Daiki Kameyama (7-3-1, 2) [亀山大輝]. We now been informed that he will be back in a Japanese ring in July.
The talented former amateur standout has become the latest fighter to find himself added to the July 12th card in Osaka, headlined by Ryota Murata's (14-2, 11) [村田 諒太] rematch with WBA "regular" Middleweight champion Rob Brant (25-1, 17).
At the time of writing his opponent for the show hasn't been announced, though we have been told the bout will be a 6 round bout at Light Flyweight, with the possibility that this will be his last bout over the 6 round distance before he moves onto 8 rounders.
Iwata's inclusion on the card gives the show a solid under-card bout to go with the three title bouts. Those include the Brant Vs Murata bout as well as the WBC Light Flyweight title bout, pitting unbeaten champion Kenshiro (15-0, 8) [拳四朗] against mandatory challenger Jonathan Taconing (28-3-1, 22) and a WBO Asia Pacific Super Featherweight title bout between Filipino champion Joe Noynay (17-2-1, 6) and Japanese challenger Satoshi Shimizu (8-0, 8) [清水 聡].
Earlier today at Korakuen Hall fight fans saw the Japanese debut of touted youngster Shokichi Iwata (2-0, 1) [岩田翔吉], who debuted in the US last year defeating Joel Bermudez.
Today's bout was a tough one on paper for Iwata, who took on southpaw foe Daiki Kameyama (7-3-1, 2) [亀山大輝], who had won the 2018 Rookie of the Year at Light Flyweight and had proven to be a very good southpaw hopeful.
Despite looking like an interesting test Iwata made things look relatively straight forward as he took a clear win over Kameyama.
Iwata took the first round, looking quick on his feet and sharp with his left hook which helped neutralise Kamayama's southpaw stance. Not only was the left hook landing well, but so was the right hand, which landed cleanly at the end of the round. Kameyama bounced back well in the second round, using his own speed and right hook, but he was caught by hooks himself and was dropped in round 3, as Iwata landed a great right hand. Kameyama got up from the knockdown, but it put him in a hole, and left him needing to really chase the fight.
Kameyama, knowing he was behind, tried to up the tempo in round 4, but Iwata moved around the ring, using his speed and footwork to avoid the pressure of Kameyama. The footwork from Iwata continued in the final rounds as he landed on Kameyama and got out of range, showing a good boxing brain, great speed and fantastic ring control.
After the 6th and final round there was no debating the winner, with Iwata taking the bout on all 3 scorecards. Two of the judges had it 59-54 to Iwata whilst the other judge had it 58-56.
With this win it's clear Iwata can be moved quicker than most prospects and we're going to look forward to see what's next for him.
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