Today saw the shortlists being released from the Japanese Boxing Commission and the Tokyo Sports Press Club for the annual Japanese boxing awards, celebrating the best of Japanese boxing in 2019.
Unsurprisingly Ryota Murata, Kazuto Ioka, Kosei Tanaka, Kenshiro Teraji and Naoya Inoue were in multiple categories following a solid for all 5 men.
Below are the short lists for this years awards, ahead of the annual ceremony, which will take place on February 7th in Tokyo.
Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16) [井上 尚弥]
Kazuto Ioka (25-2, 14) [井岡一翔]
Ryota Murata (16-2, 13) [村田 諒太]
Kosei Tanaka (15-0, 9) [田中恒成]
Kenshiro Teraji (17-0, 10) [寺地 拳四朗]
Ryosuke Iwasa (27-3, 17) [岩佐 亮佑]
Keita Kurihara (15-5, 13) [栗原 慶太]
Shuichiro Yoshino (11-0, 9) [吉野 修一郎]
Hiroaki Teshigawara (21-2-2, 14) [勅使河原 弘晶]
Ginjiro Shigeoka (5-0, 4) [重岡銀次朗]
Koki Inoue (15-0, 12) [浩樹井上]
Junto Nakatani (20-0, 15) [中谷 潤人]
Yuki Nonaka (33-11-3, 10) [野中 悠樹]
Akinori Watanabe (39-7-1, 33) [渡部あきのり]
Yuki Nagano (17-2, 13) [永野祐樹]
Norihito Tanaka (19-7, 10) [田中教仁]
Best Fight of the Year (World title Bout)
Naoya Inoue Vs Nonito Donaire
Naoya Inoue Vs Emanuel Rodriguez
Kazuto Ioka Vs Aston Palicte
Ryota Murata Vs Rob Brant II
Best Fight of the Year (Non-world title)
Kazuto Takesako Vs Shuji Kato 加藤収二]
Yuki Beppu [別府優樹] Vs Ryota Yada [矢田良太]
Toshiya Ishii [石井渡士也] Vs Haruki Ishikawa [石川春樹]
Tenkai Tsunami (27-12-1, 16) [天海 ツナミ]
Kasumi Saeki (4-0, 3) [佐伯霞]
Miyo Yoshida (14-1) [吉田 実代]
Female Fight of the Year
Naoko Fujioka [藤岡 奈穂子] Vs Tenkai Tsunami
Kasumi Saeki Vs Elizabeth Lopez
Monseratt Alcaron Vs Ayaka Miyao [宮尾 綾香]
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Earlier this year we had an absolute barn burner with Japanese Middleweight champion Kazuto Takesako (11-0-1, 11) [竹迫司登] defending his title with a a draw against mandatory challenger Shuji Kato (10-2-2, 6) [加藤収二]. The bout was one of the best domestic title fights of the year so far and left both men wanting a rematch. Today we got that rematch, and a clear winner.
In their first bout Takesako struggled so much with the southpaw jab and the movement of Kato. It seemed like Kato just knew how to do things that Takesako couldn't deal with, and instead the champion had to dig deep to pull out the draw late on. That was a learning experience for Takesako who picked up his sparring and prepared for the southpaw stance this time around.
This time the bout was drastically different, with Takesako realising he had to fight differently against southpaws. He was able to quickly find a home for his left hook and right cross, and although he was tagged himself his shots were the hard ones, the cleaner ones and the more damaging ones. The success of Takesako was clear, and this looked like he had done a lot figure out what went wrong in their first bout. The tactics were spot on and his pressure, aggression and ability to land his power shots early saw him establish a clear lead at the mid way point, with the cards being read as 50-46 and 49-46, twice.
After just 5 rounds the bout couldn't have been much different to their first one.
With Takesako in the lead Kato had to try and turn things around, and he did have some success in round 7, as a body shot seemed to stall the champion. Both men were tiring, although Takesako was in the lead he had put a lot into the fight, whilst Kato had taken a lot of punishment, as well as giving his all. In round 8 the tiredness showed further, with both essentially fighting on instinct. At the end of the round Kato hit the canvas, it wasn't ruled a knockdown, but it was enough to make Kato's team decide to save their man, pulling him out before the start of round 9. By the it was clear he was spent and needed saving before taking any more punishment.
For Takesako this is a third defense of the title, and a good defense at that, but perhaps reveals his ceiling isn't as high as some had hoped. For Kato the bout didn't go as he would have hoped, and his major weapons were neutralised somewhat here. For both this was damaging, tiring, and the sort of fight, like their first, which will require a significant rest following. We wouldn't be surprised if both men waited until 2020 to make their ring return.
(Image coutesy of boxingnews.jp)
Earlier this year we saw a criminally under-rated fight between Japanese Middleweight champion Kazuto Takesako (10-0-1, 10) [竹迫司登] and mandatory challenger Shuji Kato (10-1-2, 6) [加藤収二]. The bout, part of the Champion Carnival, saw Takesako retain his title with a draw, and have his KO streak ended after 10 early wins. For both men the result was a disappointing one, but for fans in attendance the bout was an instant classic, a brilliant 10 round back and forth.
Tomorrow they go again in an immediate rematch.
Today the two fighters took part in their weigh in for the rematch and both men looked in good shape whilst making the 160lb Middleweight limit.
The champion came in slightly lighter than expected, hitting the scales at 159.4lbs. It's similar to what he was last time out, though we expected him to try and hit the limit dead on, to add a touch more physicality to his style, following the frustration he had trapping Kato in the first bout. Interestingly Kato was the same weight, despite looking somewhat bigger at the weigh in.
Takesako revealed that to prepare for this bout he has around 100 rounds of sparring, compared to the 20 or so he had for the first bout, and has focused on preparing for a bout with a southpaw, after all it was the southpaw jab of Kato that gave Takesako so many problems in their first meeting. Kato didn't reveal his tactics for this match up, but did explain he had a secret plan this time, which drew some laughs from those in his team.
Related- Takesako and Kato go again for Japanese Middleweight crown!
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
We've known for a while that August's Diamond Glove card would take place on August 3rd and be headlined by the rematch between Japanese Middleweight champion Kazuto Takesako (10-0-1, 10) [竹迫司登] and Shuji Kato (10-1-2, 6) [加藤収二]. We also knew the show would feature world title challenger Takeshi Inoue (13-1-1, 7) [井上 岳志]. Sadly though we didn't really get any extra news about the card until earlier today.
Today we were given details of the under-card as well as more details about Inoue's bout.
One of the under-card bouts will see Celes gym's new prospect Issay Ochai (0-0) [落合 壱星] make his debut, as he goes up against Thai foe Lerdchai Chaiyawed (1-2). The unbeaten Japanese fighter is a touted 18 year old who is tipped for big things whilst the Thai is a really good test, who holds a win over Samartlek Kokietgym and pushed both Ryoki Hirai and Seita Ogido hard in Japan in his losses. This bout will be scheduled for 6 rounds.
Another prospect on the card will be Takuma Takahashi (3-0, 3) [高橋拓磨], who also takes on a Thai foe as he battles against Sitthidet Banti (11-4, 5) in an 8 round bout. Takahashi is tipped for big things, and despite technical flaws he does look like he can go a very long way, so we're not expecting too many issues for him here. The Thai does hold a notable win over Saddam Kietyongyuth, but has been beaten in 3 of his 4 bouts outside of Thailand.
Another promising fighter on this card will be Kenshin Oshima (5-1-1, 3) [大嶋剣心], though his opponent hasn't yet been announced.
So back to Inoue, his bout for the card has now been announced and he will take on Patomsuk Pathompothong (38-10-1, 24), also known as Komsan Polsan, in a bout for the WBO Asia Pacific Light Middleweight title. This really should be a straight forward win for Inoue, who shouldn't have any problems with the Thai, who has lost in all 3 of his previous visits to Japan.
At the moment it's unclear whether this card will be aired live on G+ or not, though given the quality of the show, and the double main event, we really are hoping G+ will get back to showing live boxing.
On July 6th Japanese fight fans in Tokyo can attend the latest Dynamic Glove card, a show promoted by Teiken and featuring some of their most notable fighters, including Kenichi Ogawa (23-1-0-1, 17) [尾川 堅一], Shuya Masaki (12-1, 5) [正木脩也], Hayate Kaji (12-0, 9), Mikito Nakano (2-0, 2) [中野幹士] and Kuntae Lee (1-0, 1) [李 健太].
Sadly even with that talent on the show we can now report that the card will not be aired live. Instead of being shown on July 6th as a live broadcast it will instead be delayed until the following Tuesday, July 9th, for it's first airing, with a 9PM time slot. It will then be replayed a week later, starting at 10PM.
This is becoming a worrying trend for these G+ cards, and whilst this could be down to a change in main event, with Ogawa's original opponent Azinga Fuzile (14-0, 8) being unable to get a visa in time for the fight, it's still a worry with the show being one of several G+ cards to be pushed to a tape delayed mid-week broadcast.
We've got our fingers crossed that the August show, which will feature the return of former world title challenger Takeshi Inoue (13-1-1, 7) [井上 岳志] and the rematch between Japanese Middleweight champion Kazuto Takesako (10-0-1, 10) [竹迫司登] and Shuji Kato (10-1-2, 6) [加藤収二], will be aired live, but right now it's unclear, especially given how little news has been made available in regards to that card in recent weeks.
It would be a huge shame to see G+ become exclusively a tape delay broadcaster for the sport, but they really have pulled back on their boxing contest in 2019, stopping certain re-runs and other boxing content. That's despite the fact other channels, including TBS and Fuji TV doing some huge numbers on boxing already this year.
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