Last week talented Japanese fighter Masahiro Suzuki (6-0, 4) [鈴木 雅弘] scored a career best win as he stopped Daishi Nagata (15-3-2, 6) [永田大士] and claimed the Japanese Light Welterweight title by the unbeaten. Today it's been announced that his reign is already over, with Suzuki vacating the title less than a week after winning it!
Suzuki is vacating the title to return to his natural Lightweight division, the division that he was ranked in at the start of the year, and the division that better suits his rather small frame. It seems like the plan is for Suzuki to begin pursuing a shot at triple crown Lightweight champion Shuichiro Yoshino (13-0, 10) [吉野 修一郎], who will be defending his Japanese title on August 12th.
Due to Suzuki's decision we now expect to see Andy Hiraoka (17-0, 12) [平岡アンディ] fight for the vacant title later in the year, against a yet to be announced opponent.
Earlier today it was announced that triple crown Lightweight champion Shuichiro Yoshino (13-0, 10) [吉野 修一郎] would be returning to the ring on August 12th to make his next defense of the Japanese Lightweight title, on a "Diamond Glove" show.
The bout, which will take place at Korakuen Hall, will see Yoshino taking on the once beaten Shuma Nakazato (10-1-3, 7) [仲里周磨] in a very, very interesting match up.
Yoshino has, arguably, been the best Lightweight in Japan over the last few years, and has gone on to unify the Japanese, OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific titles during his career. Not only has he unified all 3 titles but he has also been picking up a string of notable wins including victories over Yoshitaka Kato, Harmonito Dela Torre and Valentine Hosokawa, and has shown both lights out power and solid rounded boxing skills. Sadly however he hasn't really kicked on, on been able to make any mark beyond on the Oriental scene, so far.
Nakazato on the other hand is a second generation fighter, following in the footsteps of former fighter Shigeru Nakazato, who fought for a world title and would win the OPBF Super Bantamweight title during his career. Although he has got some marks on his record they include a close loss to Hironori Mishiro in 2017, and draws against the then 6-0 Teppei Kayunuma and Yoshimitsu Kimura, as well as an opening round technical draw with Virgil Puton.
As well as the main event there have been other bouts confirmed for this card, including the return of former Japanese Featherweight champion Ryo Sagawa (10-2, 5) [佐川遼] who will take on Retsu Kosaka (10-6, 4) [小坂烈]. On paper this might not seem like a hugely notably match up, but it does give Sagawa a chance to avenge his first professional loss, and get revenge for a 2017 defeat to Kosaka, in what was Sagawa's second professional bout.
As with all Diamond Glove shows, this will be aired on Fuji TV, on some form of tape delay.
On October 15th we'll see the latest issue of Japanese boxing magazine "Boxing Beat" being released, and it's a stacked edition of the magazine with a host of interesting articles and features included.
The cover features WBA "Super" and IBF Bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16) [井上 尚弥], who will face Australian challenger Jason Moloney (21-1, 18) at the end of October. Inoue is featured in the magazine as he has an interview with the magazine, who also provide a preview of the Inoue Vs Moloney bout, a special feature on the rivalry between Japan and Australia.
Elsewhere in the magazine there is also a feature on the Lightweight division, focusing on this weekend's big bout between Vasyl Lomachenko and Teofimo Lopez, and an interview with Japanese, OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific champion Shuichiro Yoshino.
Also in the magazine is a special feature on Japanese fighters who were expected to reach the world level, such as Naoto Takahashi and Kiyohsi Tanabe.
The magazine also looks over recent results from the world of boxing, and features regular articles on the likes of New Faces and the Champions Hall of Fame.
Earlier today the East Japan Boxing Association announced the monthly award winners for September, naming an MVP, a Fighting Spirit award winner and a Newcomer award.
The MVP was, unsurprisingly, triple crown winner Shuichiro Yoshino (13-0, 10) [吉野 修一郎]who successfully defended his JBC, OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific Lightweight titles and over-came gutsy veteran Valentine Hosokawa (25-8-3, 12) [細川繁]. The win saw Yoshino successfully defending all 3 titles and take one more step towards a world title fight.
The Fighting Spirit award was won by the hard hitting Kazuki Nakajima (9-0-1, 8) [中嶋一輝], who stopped Kenta Nomura (7-4, 3) [野村健太] in 3 rounds to advance a step closer to his first title fight. Although Nakajima's wasn't perfect it was rather exciting, and again showed he is a legitimate puncher, albeit a flawed one who has still got work to do.
Talking about flawed punchers it's worth noting that Yasutaka Fujita (6-1, 6) [藤田裕崇] won the Newcomer award, following his 19 second blast out win over Kensuke Nakamura (4-9-2) [中村 堅亮]. Although still a flawed fighter it's hard to dislike Fujita's aggression and power, and hopefully we see more of him in the near future.
Unlike normal awards the winners will not be given an in ring award ceremony at Korakuen Hall. They will be certificated and prizes and will have comment videos posted online.
Due to the fact some fans will not be wanting to know the result of today's Japanese, OPBF and WBO Asian Pacific Lightweight title bout between defending champion Shuichiro Yoshino [吉野 修一郎] and veteran challenger Valentine Hosokawa [細川繁] we will begin this with a paragraph of text to act as a spoiler warning. Please be aware this is a 1-off paragraph designed to not ruin the bout for those who have accidentally stumbled on this page ahead of the TV broadcast of the bout this coming weekend on Fuji TV. This is something we are only going to be doing when we know that a bout will be televised on delay and will only ever be a 1 paragraph thing, with the idea of allowing fans to watch events as live. With that in mind we'd just like to remind everyone this bout will be aired on Saturday night/Sunday morning in Japan and can be watched as live as part of the Diamond Glove event.
With that spoiler warning out of the way we'll start by discussing the sole under-card bout, which was a blink and you miss affair. The one under-card bout on the show saw Yasutaka Fujita (6-1, 6) [藤田裕崇] blast out Kensuke Nakamura (4-9-2) [中村 堅亮] in just 19 seconds!
Fujita, who lost in the all Japan Rookie of the Year final last year, was fighting for the first time since transferring to the Misako gym earlier this year. Within seconds of the bout started he landed a huge left hand that dropped Nakamura. To his credit Nakamura managed to get to his feet, but was out of it. This really was the perfect start for Fujita as a Misako gym fighter.
The main event of the show saw the JBC, OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific Lightweight champion Shuichiro Yoshino (13-0, 10) [吉野 修一郎] retain his titles as he took a clear decision over veteran Valentine Hosokawa (25-8-3, 12) [細川繁].
Yoshino seemed to be dialed in early on, showing respect to Hosokawa and boxing safely. He was likely aware of the strength and physicality of Hosokawa, and felt that that wasn't a type of fight he wanted. Instead Yoshino used his jab, boxed, kept it at range when he could and used his speed. To his credit Hosokawa was hungry and tried to pick up the pace in rounds 3 and 4. After 4 rounds the judges all had Yoshino in the lead, with scored of 40-36, and 39-37, twice.
In the middle rounds Yoshino picked up his own pace, though Hosokawa stood his ground and fought back, particularly in round 6, when he did that Yoshino got back on the move, using his feet to control the tempo and range of the fight, whilst keeping himself safe. It was a simple use of a clear advantage he had against a smaller, older, slower man. The speed and movement of Yoshino helped him extend his lead, and after 8 rounds he was up 80-72, and 79-73, twice.
Yoshino put his foot on the gas in round 10, as he looked to try and put an exclamation mark on the bout, but Hosokawa's toughness showed through as he refused to just accept defeat, and looked to turn things around. Sadly for him it wasn't to be, with Yoshino continuing to dictate the bout through to the bell.
After 12 rounds there was no doubting the outcome, with Yoshino taking the decision 119-109, twice, and 120-108.
Following the contest Yoshino spoke about the contest, and revealed that getting 12 rounds experience against a veteran like Hosokawa was a positive, and that he was glad to be able to defend his triple crown. He's aiming for a world title fight and a bout like this will clearly help him prepare for it.
As for Hosokawa it's unclear what his future brings. He was clearly beaten here, but Yoshino is a real talent who's style, today, was one that neutralised Hosokawa for the most part. Fingers crossed that this won't be the end for him, as he really does have so much more to give the sport, and he will be a handful for any of the top domestic contenders.
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