Earlier today fight fans at Korakuen Hall got the latest show in the Diamond Glove series. The card wasn't the deepest, due in part to losing the planned main event at short notice, but it was still a pretty notable one, with a solid looking 8 rounder in the main event, alongside the debut of a former amateur standout, and the second professional bout of a very, very highly regarded female hopeful.
The first of the three notable bouts on this card saw the amazingly promising Mikyo Watarai (1-0, 1) [渡来美響] make his debut as he stopped Takafumi Shibata (2-1) [柴田尊文]. As an amateur Watari went 77-15, and he used that amateur experience here to over-come Shibata, who was a solid amateur him. Shibata came to win, but was dropped from a counter left hook in the first round as Watari announced himself as one to watch. From there on Shibata attempted to turn things around, but struggled to have sustained success whilst Watari worked the body well. In round 4 Watari ended up hurting Shibata and going to work until the referee stepped in and save Shibata who was under a lot of pressure at the time.
The second bout of note saw Mizuki Hiruta (2-0) [晝田瑞希] announce herself as a super prospect, as she took a wide and clear win over OPBF female Super Flyweight champion Terumi Nuki (12-5, 8) [貫輝美], in what was Hiruta's second professional. From the off the pink haired Hiruta dominated the action with straight punches as she looked to control the range and tempo of the bout. Nuki on the other hand was determined to try and close the distance, but that just left her walking into shots from the extremely talented Hiruta who was in a comfortable lead as we entered the second half of the fight. In round 7 Nuki had a massive break through as she finally connected with some of her heavy leather and dropped Hiruta, but couldn't finish her off. Instead Hiruta recovered to her feet and and despite being under pressure in round 8 did enough to take a comfortable and clear decision win. After 8 rounds Hiruta took the win with scores of 77-73, twice, and 76-74.
The final bout on the card saw former Japanese Featherweight champion Ryo Sagawa (12-2, 7) [佐川遼] score one of the most wins of his career so far, as he took out former WBA Super Bantamweight world champion Shun Kubo (15-3, 10) [久保隼] inside 3 rounds. Sagawa was aggressive from the off, landing clean right hands to the body in the opening round. Kubo tried to fire back, looking to land long left hands, at range. From there on Sagawa began to pick up the pace, and in round 3 he managed to drop his man. To his credit Kubo attempted to beat the count, but the referee reached 10 as Kubo was trying to get to his feet, giving Sagawa the KO win.
Tomorrow fight fans at Korakuen Hall will get the chance to see a mouth-watering clash as former Japanese Featherweight champion Ryo Sagawa (11-2, 6) [佐川遼] faces former WBA Super Bantamweight world champion Shun Kubo (15-2, 10) [久保隼], in an excellent looking 8 rounder.
Today, ahead of their bout, the two men took part in their weigh in for the bout.
On the scales Sagawa was bang on the Featherweight limit and looked great on the scales. He seemed to feel confident here, and explained that "If I beat the former world champion, you can step up. It will lead to great growth for me". He also added "I want to be careful of the left straight at a unique timing and the jab that upsets the sense of distance,", noting that Kubo does have a very good jab and is awkward with it, and "I think that if you control the distance, you will gradually be able to keep pace." Seemingly hinting that he wants to get close and set a high tempo, rather than fight a bout at range.
Although he seemed calm, relaxed and confident it should be noted that this will only be Sagawa's second bout since losing the Japanese title to Hinata Maruta last year.
Kubo on the other hand came in comfortably under the limit, weighing in at 125.75lbs. He seemed fully aware that he was the under-dog here and after making weight told the media "Sagawa has more weapons. How many weapons does he have? I think it will be a closer distance than I expected." Despite being a former world champion, Kubo isn't regarded as highly as some, and although talented, he has been shown to be vulnerable, especially under pressure. Pressure that we expect to see him under here.
For fans unable to make it to Korakuen Hall for the bout, it will be aired on tape delay on Fuji TV.
Earlier today news broke from Japan that Japanese Welterweight champion Keita Obara's (25-4-1, 22) [小原 佳太] has had to pull out of his April 12th bout against former champion Yuki Nagano (19-3, 15) [永野祐樹].
The hard hitting Obara has reportedly suffered an injury to his right leg during training and been forced out of the bout at short notice.
Obara's team, the Misako Gym, have apologised to fans, Nagano and Teiken Gym, for the late withdrawal.
At the moment it's unclear whether the bout will be re-arranged for when Obara recover, or whether the men will be going in different directions. One thing that is known however, is that the show will still go ahead, headlined by a mouth watering clash between former Japanese Featherweight champion Ryo Sagawa (11-2, 6) [佐川遼] and former WBA Super Bantamweight world champion Shun Kubo (15-2, 10) [久保隼].
Earlier today saw the announcement of a brilliant looking Japanese Featherweight bout as former Japanese Featherweight champion Ryo Sagawa (11-2, 6) [佐川遼] is set to clash with former WBA Super Bantamweight world champion Shun Kubo (15-2, 10) [久保隼], with the bout set to take place on April 12th at Korakuen Hall.
For Sagawa this will be his second bout since losing the Japanese Featherweight title in 2021 to the wonderfully gifted Hinata Maruta, in what was a break out win for Maruta. Since that loss he has avenged his only other loss, stopping Retsu Kosaka in 8 rounds back in October. At his best he is a very good technical boxer, with good hand speed, movement and a brilliant boxing brain, but with two stoppage losses to his name there is the suggestion that he's not the toughest fighter out there.
As for Kubo, who will be making his Korakuen Hall debut, this will be his fifth bout since losing the WBA Super Bantamweight title to Daniel Roman in 2017. Sadly since that loss he hasn't been hugely active, and was, rather notably, stopped in 2019 by Can Xu in a bout for the WBA Featherweight title. Although a talented and intelligent fighter there are real worries about his durability, especially at the top of the domestic and above.
The bout will be on the same card as Keita Obara's (25-4-1, 22) [小原 佳太] upcoming Japanese Welterweight title fight against Yuki Nagano (19-3, 15) [永野祐樹], which makes for an excellent Japanese domestic card.
Earlier today Shinsei Gym streamed their latest show, doing so on their YouTube channel Boxing Real, from the Central Gym in Kobe. The card wasn't a big one, but it was certainly one worth tuning into with a former world champion in the main event and a touted prospect in the middle of the card. Sadly the show didn't really provide much in terms of drama, but we did get 5 bouts.
The show kicked off with a 4 round female bout as Japanese ranked Flyweight Marina Hamada (3-0-1) [浜田 麻理菜] took on Japanese ranked Bantamweight Michiko Abiru (2-4, 1) [阿比留 通子]. On paper this looked a mismatch in favour of Hamada, but in the ring in looked clearly like Abiru had the advantage, as she looked much bigger than Hamada and seemed to be the stronger fighter through out the bout.
The bout started very slowly, with both struggling to find their rhythm in the opening round. Thankfully however the bout settled into something of a pattern in round round 2 as Abiru began to press the action forward and Hamada had to try and use her faster feet to maintain some range. Sadly for Abbiru whilst she was the one coming forward, making her size and physical strength count, she was struggling to actually get close and get her shots off, with Hamada countering the pressure well and getting away without taking punishment.
After 4 rounds we went to the scorecards, with the judges turning in scores of 40-36, twice, and 39-37, all to Hamada who took the unanimous decision,
In the second bout we had another 4 rounder as Ren Kobayashi (4-1, 2) [小林 廉] clashed with Kazuki Terasaki (3-3-1, 2) [寺崎 和輝] in a match up that looked good on paper.
Both of these guys started at a good pace, but it seemed like Kobayashi was able to land the better shots from the opening bell. Terasaki showed some real nice touches, much better that we'd expect of a 3-3-1 fighter, but he was coming off second in almost every exchange.
In round 4, with the time ticking down down on the bout, Kobayashi launched the most meaningful assault of the fight, staggering Terasaki, who failed to recover before a follow shot set him down. The referee knew it was too much to ask for Terasaki to get to his feet and quickly waved off the bout with 28 seconds remaining, giving Kobayashi a 4th round TKO win
We saw another 4th round TKO win in the third bout on the show as the charismatic Takahiro Tai (2-0, 2) [田井宜広] scored his second win, and stopped JBC #15 ranked Bantamweight Koichi Wakita (7-3-3, 2) [脇田洸一].
This bout promised quite a lot on paper, but never really came alive. The exciting, wild, and fun Tai, who debuted last year, really didn't look the same here. He press forward, controlled the tempo and action of the fight, but had very little coming back at him. Wakita seemed to taste his power early and never really looked like he wanted to have much of a fight. As a result Wakita played defense against Tai who proved to be wild, open and unpolished.
Despite missing a lot of shots in the first 3 rounds it was clear Tai had absolutely nothing to be worried about when it came to Wakita's offense. Even when Tai wiffed badly with a shot, which he did regularly, Wakita didn't him pay.
In round 4 we finally saw Tai begin to take things a little bit more seriously, putting his foot on the gas, and breaking Wakita down with some big body shots. Late in the rounds the novice hurt his more experienced foe, and a follow up sent him to the canvas, where he lay on all fours whilst the referee waved off the bout.
This was stopped at an official time of 2:47 of round 4. Whislt it's a good win on paper for Tai, who will potentially break into the Japanese rankings, it was a poor performance from him. He has much, much more to show than we saw here, and fingers crossed we see him being genuinely tested sooner rather later.
The chief support bout on the card was an under-whelming contest, as Yuki Yonaha (9-3-1, 6) [与那覇勇気] scored a relatively easy win against Kenta Sakata (7-8-2) [坂田健太].
From the opening round Yonaha looked in total control, control the tempo and distance against the smaller, less talented Sakata. In rounds 2 Yonaha began to showboat, looking away before dropping Sakata with a straight down the pipe, that almost caused an early finish. The bell came soon after Sakata got back to his fee. Sadly for fans, and Sakata, it seemed like Yonaha wanted to get some rounds under his belt and didn't go for the kill, at all. Instead he picked his moments, landed heavy single shots, and really just had his way with Sakata, who had no answers.
In round 6, with Sakata looking a beaten, and bloodied, man his team threw in the towel, saving him from further punishment. The official time here was 2:22 of round 6, though it could easily have been round 3 had Yonaha opened up earlier and not been going through the motions.
The main event of the card saw former WBA Super Bantamweight world champion Shun Kubo (15-2, 10) [久保隼] score his first stoppage win in almost 4 years, as he forced the referee to save 22 year old Ruito Saeki (7-5-1, 1) [佐伯瑠壱斗].
Kubo looked relaxed and comfortable form the off, boxing behind his long, awkward, jab. Sadly Saeki had no answer for it, and he never really looked close to solving the jab. The one time he did was late in round 2 when he landed an uppercut, but that was pretty much the only time he landed anything of note.
In round 3 the clean accurate shots of Kubo took their toll, as he dropped Saeki with a perfect straight, following two soft jabs. Later in the same round Kubo landed another clean straight, that rocked Saeki, who seemed to lose his legs. The referee quickly jumped in, saving Saeki from any potential follow up. It was the right decision, saving Saeki from more punishment in what was quickly becoming a massive mismatch.
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