Earlier today at Korakuen Hall Japanese fight fans saw triple crown winner Shuichiro Yoshino (12-0, 10) [吉野 修一郎] defending his Japanese Lightweight national title against mandatory challenger Izuki Tomioka (7-3-1, 2) [富岡樹] as part of the 2020 Champion Carnival.
The fight started with Yoshino on the front foot looking to press the speedier, and sharper Tomioka. Despite being the aggressor Yoshino was surprisingly dropped from a counter right hand that netted the challenger the early momentum. Despite the fact Tomioka is very much a light punching the shot was was a beauty and the skills of the challenger were on show with the timing and delivery of the punch. The knockdown was a genuine surprise, and secured Tomioka the big start he would have wanted, with a 10-8 round in his favour.
Having been dropped in the opening round round 2 Yoshino got some revenge as he amped up his pressure and tagged Tomioka with some heavy leather, cutting the youngster around the right eye. The skills from Tonmioka did however show again in round 3 as he made Yoshino miss, and tagged with counters, using his jab an excellent weapon. Sadly for Tomioka he did lack the power to get Yoshino's respect, despite the knockdown, whilst Yoshino's shots seemed to really rock the challenger when they landed.
After 5 rounds Yoshino had fought himself back on to level pegging, with the judges having the bout as a split decision when the scores were announced at the mid-way point. The judges had the bout 48-46 to Tomioka, 48-46 to Yoshino and 47-47, even.
In the second half Tomioka's jab continued to be a brilliant weapon, landing time and time again on Yoshino, and keeping the champion at range. The jab, along with Tomioka's fleet foot work, was exactly what Tomioka needed to do, and seemed to allow him to control rounds 6 and 7, as he began to build some momentum and find his rhythm.
Despite the success of Tomioka there was always the worry that Yoshino's power was going to be too much at some point. Yoshino's power had act as a neutraliser in the past, and that's exactly what ended up happening here in round 8, when he landed a huge left hook. He then cut the distance, finally shutting down the jab of Tomioka's.
With Tomioka hurt Yoshino refused to let off, and jumped over his man, forcing the referee to save the challenger at the 1:55 mark of round 8.
For Yoshino this was his 5th defense of the title, and the toughest since he won the belt. He was out sped, out skilled and out jabbed by the talented Tomioka. As for Tomioka this is the second time he has been stopped in a title bout after having shown his skills, with his other stoppage coming in round 11 against Masayoshi Nakatani.
The win proved that Yoshino still had areas to work on, and although he may have been a little bit guilty of over-looking Tomioka he's a long way from the finished article. He is looking to make his US debut later this year, and will clearly need to be careful when he does return to the ring.
As for Tomioka few can deny his skills. He's a genuinely excellent boxer. However his lack of power and relative lack of physicality is going to be an issue. It's going to be a problem for him going forward, and he's always going to have to work hard for any success he gets. He has the potential to bounce back and win this title down the line, but for now he and his team do need to look on making tweaks to how he fights going forward.
Tomorrow at Korakuen Hall we'll see OPBF, WBO Asia Pacific and Japanese Lightweight champion Shuichiro Yoshino (11-0, 9) [吉野 修一郎] making a mandatory defense of his title.
The unbeaten champion will be up against the skilled and quick Izuki Tomioka (7-2-1, 2) [富岡樹] as part of the Champion Carnival series of fights, in fact it will be the second in the series this year.
Today the two men made weight for the contest, with both men coming in on the 135lb limit. Both looked in good shape, but neither looked totally shredded.
At the weigh in today Yoshino stated that he was the best in Asia and that today's fight would be a chance to prove he was still the best in Japan. He seemed to be aiming for a KO, to continue a current run of them, though it is worth noting that Tomioka is certainly no push over. If he wins however the talk is that he will look to make his US debut later in the year and make strides towards getting a world title fight.
Tomioka, a former Japanese Youth Champion, explained that he was feeling like a child before Christmas, and was really excited about tomorrow's fight. He stated that he knew Yoshino was good fighter, but stated that he was better.
For fans unable to make it to the Korakuen Hall tomorrow the bout is also going to be televised, in some form, on delay this weekend on Fuji TV.
Related - Yoshino defends against mandatory Tomioka!
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Later this week OPBF, WBO Asia Pacific and Japanese Lightweight champion Shuichiro Yoshino (11-0, 9) [吉野 修一郎] will look to kick off his 2020 with a mandatory title defense, of his Japanese title. The unbeaten Yoshino will be up against speedy and talented Izuki Tomioka (7-2-1, 2) [富岡樹] in a Champion Carnival Bout at Korakuen Hall.
In the build up to the fight Yoshino has spoke to the press in Japan. There wasn't too much revealed from the triple-crown champion, but enough to get an idea what he wants to do during 2020.
The fighter told the Sanspo, a Japanese paper, that he wanted to defend his Japanese title to prove that he was the best in Japan. He did, given his triple crown status, have the option of vacant the national title, something some expected, but it seems clear he wants to prove a point by taking on the strongest domestic challenger before advancing his career.
Reportedly Yoshino had had trouble finding suitable domestic opponents last year to defend the title against, but with Tomioka as the mandatory Yoshino seemed to be excited about facing someone who wants to fight him. He stated that Tomioka has "good balance, speed and intuition", and that the two had sparred around 2 years ago.
In his personal life Yoshino had a son born back in September, telling the Sanspo "I think for my family, for my son. I'm working harder than before."
Yoshino revealed he had been sparring hard, with around 100 rounds to prepare for this bout, including ring time with with Jorge Linares back in January. Using that as a chance to study the 3-weight world champion, who would actually make decent sparring for a fighter facing Tomioka due to their similar speed.
As for the longer term Yoshino seemed to be realistic about his standing in the sport, explaining he was "at a much lower level" than Vasyl Lomachenko, but that he was slowly moving towards a world title fight. That should be obvious given he is in the world rankings.
What was among the most notable things from Yoshino in the piece with Sanspo was the fighter stating, "I want to win this match and fight in the United States. Get my name out in the world. I want to play with the World Ranked fighter."
Given that Yoshino will on the same card as former WBC Flyweight champion Daigo Higa (15-1, 15) [比嘉 大吾], who returns after almost 2 years away from the ring to take on Jason Buenaobra (7-4-3, 3) Yoshino admitted "I'm looking forward to seeing more fans than usual,".
For those who want to read the Sanspo Article, which is in Japanese, that's available here.
*All quotes have been anglicised for context and meaning
Yoshino defends against mandatory Tomioka!
On Thursday at Korakuen Hall fight fans will get an interesting card under the Diamond Glove banner.
The main event of the card will see OPBF, WBO Asia Pacific and Japanese Lightweight champion Shuichiro Yoshino (11-0, 9) [吉野 修一郎] defending his national title in a mandatory defense against Izuki Tomioka (7-2-1, 2) [富岡樹] as part of the 2020 Champion Carnival. The main event isn't the only bout of note however, with former WBC Flyweight champion Daigo Higa (15-1, 15) [比嘉 大吾] battling Jason Buenaobra (7-4-3, 3) in the chief support bout.
Sadly for those not at Korakuen Hall the show won't be televised live, however the delay for the broadcast won't be massive, with Fuji TV confirming the bouts will be broadcast, on delay, on Saturday in Japan.
The broadcast is scheduled to take place at 26:15 to 27:20 local time, or from 2:15am Sunday morning to 3:20 if you rather.
The broadcast is likely to show edited versions of both fights, as we typically see with Diamond Glove broadcasts, which is sort of disappointing but better than nothing.
Yoshino defends against mandatory Tomioka!
Higa returns, but can he over-come the rugged Buenaobra?
Over the last few days we've seen a lot of Japanese title bouts being revealed as part of the Champion Carnival. Earlier today those bouts were set in stone as the Champion Carnival presentation took place, confirming the contests we'd reported and getting all the champions and challengers in one event.
The first of the bouts will take place on February 1st at the Dynamic Glove show, and will see Japanese Welterweight champion Yuki Nagano (17-2, 13) [永野祐樹] defending his title against mandatory challenger Keita Obara (22-4-1, 20) [小原 佳太]. This bout has been known about for weeks and is an exciting, and potentially very explosive, way to kick off the Champion Vs Challenger series. This bout will be at Korakuen Hall, where most of the title bouts will actually take place.
The second bout will take on February 13th, when Lightweight champion Shuichiro Yoshino (11-0, 9) [吉野 修一郎] defends his belt against Izuki Tomioka (7-2-1, 2) [富岡樹]. This is expected to bee a match up showing a lot of skills, from both men, though the power and physical edges with the champion does make him the favourite. This is another bout at Korakuen Hall.
It's then almost a month later until we get the next bout in the series. That'll be on March 7th, on the March Dynamic Glove, when Light Middleweight champion Hironobu Matsunaga (16-1, 10) [松永 宏信] defends his belt against Yuto Shimizu (14-4-2, 5) [清水優人] in a potentially enthralling bout. The champion will be seeking his second defense whilst Shimizu will be getting his first title fight. This will be the third successive bout at Tokyo's Korakuen Hall.
Just one day later, March 8th, we get the Flyweight bout with the heavy handed Seigo Yuri Akui (14-2-1, 10) [阿久井政悟] defending his title against Seiya Fujikita (13-4, 6) [藤北誠也]. Given Akui's style this should be an explosive bout, and one to look forward to. This was announced way back at the start of the year and will take place at the Aeon Mall mall in Okayama City, the first of the bouts outside of Tokyo.
Just a week later, March 15th, action turns to the Aioi Hall in Kariya as Light Flyweight champion Yuto Takahashi (11-4, 5) [高橋悠斗] defends against hard hitting challenger Masamichi Yabuki (10-3, 10) [佐藤政道]. This will be the first title defnense for Takahashi, and will see him entering enemy territory.
The following day, March 16th, Light Welterweight champion Koki Inoue (15-0, 12) [浩樹井上] will take on Daishi Nagata (14-2-1, 5) [永田大士] in the main event of a card at Korakuen Hall from Ohashi. This is one of the few shows where under-card details have been revealed, and it makes for a very decent looking card overall.
After a slew of fights in March we then have a bit of a break before returning on April 9th for a double header at Korakuen Hall. One of the bouts here will see Bantamweight champion Yusuke Suzuki (11-3, 7) [鈴木悠介] make his first defense, as he goes up against Kyosuke Sawada (14-2-1, 6) [澤田京介] in a rematch of a bout both men had back in 2013. The other bout on this card will see Featherweight champion Ryo Sagawa (9-1, 4) [佐川遼] make his second defense as he takes on Hinata Maruta (10-1-1, 8) [丸田陽七太], in what we feel is the standout bout from this year's Carnival.
On April 28th Super Bantamweight champion Yusaku Kuga (19-4-1, 13) [久我勇作] will defend his title against Gakuya Furuhashi (26-8-1, 14) [古橋大輔]. This bout will be Kuga's first defense since reclaiming the title last year and will be Furuhashi's third shot, at a third different champion. This bout is also set to be at Korakuen Hall.
Interestingly the Super Featherweight bout between hard hitting champion Kosuke Saka (20-5, 17) [坂晃典] and teak tough challenger Takuya Watanabe (37-9-1, 21) [渡邉卓也] is pencilled in for April in Osaka, though no date or specific venue was confirmed at today's event.
On May 16th we'll see the Super Flyweight title bout as defending champion Kenta Nakagawa (18-3-1, 12) [中川 健太] takes on Yuta Matsuo (15-4-2, 8) [松尾雄太] at the Sumida City Gymnasium in Tokyo.
No those who are eagle eyed will be aware there were some division's missing.
Firstly the Minimumweight bout hasn't yet been decided. The title is currently vacant, after Norihito Tanaka (19-7, 10) [田中教仁] returned the belt earlier this year. What we do know is that Masataka Taniguchi (12-3, 7) [谷口 将隆] will be involved in the title bout, though there is currently no opponent, date or venue for the bout.
The Middleweight title bout will see the hard hitting Kazuto Takesako (11-0-1, 11) [竹迫司登] defending his belt against Riku Kunimoto (4-0, 2) [国本陸] but this bout has no date or location set. This bout is likely to be scheduled following Takesako's bout this coming weekend against OPBF champion Shinobu Charlie Hosokawa (12-4-1, 11) [細川チャーリー忍].
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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