Earlier today the Japan Professional Boxing Association announced the Strongest Korakuen bouts, which will take place later this year to decide the mandatory challengers for the Japanese titles in the new year, with 10 bouts being announced.
The Minimumweight bout will see WBO Asia Pacific champion Yudai Shigeoka (5-0, 3) [重岡優大] take on Tatsuro Nakashima (11-3-1, 7) [仲島辰郎], with the winner getting a show at the Japanese title, currently held by Yudai's younger brother Ginjiro Shigeoka (8-0, 6) [重岡銀次朗], who actually beat Nakashima for the title. This bout is set to take place at Korakuen Hall on November 17th.
The Light Flyweight eliminator will see Daiki Tomita (18-2, 6) [冨田大樹] battle Rikito Shiba (6-2, 3) [芝力人], though no date or venue has been announced for this bout.
At Super Flyweight we also have no date or venue set, but a mouth watering bout as Ryusei Kawaura (9-1, 6) [川浦龍生] battles Suzumi Takayama (5-0, 4) [高山涼深], in what is potentially the best looking of the bouts announced.
The Bantamweight bout bout will see Jin Minamide (6-2, 5) [南出仁] battle against Yuki Yonaha (11-3-1, 8) [与那覇勇気], in what could prove to be a very explosive bout between two flawed but hard hitting.
On the subject of interesting bouts we'll have a potentially thrilling war at Super Bantamweight as former champions Ryoichi Tamura (14-6-1, 7) [田村亮一] takes on Gakuya Furuhashi (28-9-2, 16) [古橋大輔]. Interestingly these two men also met in a Japanese title eliminator back in 2019, with Furuhashi taking a razor win over Tamura, before winning the title with a sensational battle just 4 months later.
At Featherweight former champion Ryo Sagawa (12-2, 7) [佐川遼] faces off with Daisuke Watanabe (12-5-2, 7) [渡部大介].
At Super Featherweight the hard hitting Yamato Hata (12-1, 11) [波田大和] will face Yuna Hara (11-2-1, 6) [原優奈], with this bout set to take place on October 1st at Korakuen Hall.
On paper one of the more underwhelming bouts is set to take place at Lightweight, as Shuma Nakazato (11-2-3, 7) [仲里周磨] takes on the hard hitting Ken Koibuchi (8-4-1, 7) [鯉淵健], in what might be an bout that's easy to over-look but is very likely to be an explosive encounter.
At Welterweight we're in for a treat as we get a rematch between Hironori Shigeta (8-2-1, 5) [重田裕紀] and Shoki Sakai (26-13-2, 14) [坂井祥紀], who gave us a very fan friendly bout back in 2020 with Sakai taking a clear but hard fought decision win. This bout is set to take place on October 22nd at Korakuen Hall.
At 154lbs Rei Nakajima (5-1) [中島玲] will face Koki Koshikawa (9-6, 6) [越川孝紀]. For Koshikawa he's looking to land his third shot at the Japanese 154lb title whilst Nakajima will be looking to secure his second shot at the title.
Notably there is no bout set for Flyweight, Light Welterweight or Middleweight. At the time of writing it's been reported that former world title challenger Ryota Yamauchi (8-2, 7) [山内涼太] will be getting a shot at Flyweight Cristiano Aoqui (16-9-2, 11), will get a shot at 140lbs and unfortunately there won't be a mandatory challenger for the Champion Carnival at Middleweight.
Earlier this year we saw Satoru Sugita (12-3-4, 7) [杉田 聖] put up a solid effort in a losing performance to Japanese Super Featherweight champion Kenichi Ogawa. Today Sugita booked his second chance at a Japanese title as he over-came veteran Tsuyoshi Tojo (13-14-5, 2) [東上 剛司] in a Strongest Korakuen bout and made himself the mandatory challenger for the domestic title.
The 26 year old Sugita had been favoured over the 36 year old Tojo, but going in Tojo seemed to be aware that this was it, and that if he lost then his career was essentially over. Know thta Tojo wasn't going to roll over for Sugita, and it showed, with the veteran with Tojo tryign to force the action and the fight on to the more talented and quicker Sugita. Sugita started well, using his speed to neutralise the pressure of Tojo, but Tojo did manage to get inside and press the action and at times he managed to draw Sugita into his type of fight.
Sadly whilst Tojo did have success at times they were only limited moments with much of his pressure being ineffective and simply too slow to give Sugita too many problems, and come the final bell there was no argument that Sugita had deserved the decision, with all 3 judges scoring the boat 78-74 to the the younger man.
Although it's unclear who Sugita will fight for the title, with Ogawa set to defend his title against Rikki Naito later in the year, he does seem confident of claiming the title and a performance like this will do him the world of good given that he was fighting for the first time since his loss to Ogawa.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
On paper the best looking bout at today's Strongest Korakuen show was the Super Bantamweight bout between veteran Jonathan Baat (32-8-5, 14) battle rising puncher Yusaku Kuga (13-2-1, 9) [久我 勇作], with the two men both battling for the right to challenge for the Japanese title in 2017. On paper it was a great match up, with Baat's experience and battle hardened mentality up against Kuga's youth and power.
Sadly the bout wasn't as competitive or as interesting as we had all assumed, in stead it was a bout that saw Kuga secure himself a title shot and prove that he was another legitimate player at Super Bantamweight, and one of the rising forces in the division.
From the off the 25 year old set the pace, using his jab to establish himself before following it up with the left hand. A headclash in the opening round slowed his charge slightly as the two men had a moment to recover but it wasn't long until he got back to work dropping Baat for the first time in the fight. Baat would recover from the knock down and took the fight back to Kuga, but that was a mistake with Kuga stopping Baat in round 4 with a brutal body shot that left the veteran in agony for the 10 count.
With the win Kuga has secured himself a second bout for the Japanese title and will be seeking revenge over Yasutaka Ishimoto, who beat at the end of 2015 in bout for the then vacant title. The win also netted Kuga a hefty bonus for being the show's MVP. For 36 year old Baat the loss was just his third stoppage defeat, with the others coming to Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym and Rodrigo Guerrero, and this could well be the end of his long career.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Today at the Korakuen Hall Japanese fans got a key show, that helped decide several Japanese mandatory title challengers.
One of those was at Light Flyweight where veteran Tetsuya Hisada (27-9-2, 17) [久田 哲也] scored a career best win as he stopped Hayato Yamaguchi (14-7-1, 2) [山口 隼人] in 7 rounds, to secure himself a shot at the Japanese title next year.
The two men were involved in a bloody battle that swung one way, the the other with both taking heavy and damaging shots. Just sadly for Yamaguchi his face really told form those shots with several cuts opening up around his face and his team being forced to throw in the towel in the 7th round, saving their man from more punishment.
Although Yamaguchi had been competitive for the most part it did seem like Hisada was becoming too much, and landing too many powerful blows for Yamaguchi who was wilting as well as bleeding before the towel came in.
In theory the win puts Hisada in line for a shot at Ken Shiro, the current Japanese, OPBF and WBC Youth Light Flyweight champion, but it is possible that Ken Shiro will vacate to chase a world title rather than spend more time facing domestic foes. If that happens Hisada will fight for the vacant title in 2017.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Tomorrow Japanese fans at the Korakuen Hall will see a number of mandatory domestic title challengers being established. One of those will come at Light Flyweight where veteran Tetsuya Hisada (26-9-2, 16) [久田 哲也] battles Hayato Yamaguchi (14-6-1, 2) [山口 隼人], with the winner possibly facing Ken Shiro in 2017, in what could be a potentially career changing bout.
Today Yamaguchi and Hisada took part in their weigh in and both came in at the divisional limit of 108lbs, and both looked in tremendous shape for the bout.
For the 31 year old Hisada a win here will see him getting his first Japanese title fight, giving real relavence to a career that began around 13 years ago and has yet to see him actually getting a shot at the top of the domestic table.
As for Yamaguchi the 27 year old is looking to get himself a third Japanese title fight, following defeats to Masayuki Kuroda and Yu Kimura, he is however looking like a fighter who is struggling with consistency and has lost 2 of his last 4, with both of his wins before close decisions.
It's fair to say Ken Shiro won't fear either of these men, and there is talk that may decide to vacate in search of a world title bout than stay around to face the mandatory in 2017, with both Hisada and Yamaguchi being a step backwards for the talented BMB gym fighter, who has unified the JBC, OPBF and Youth titles.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
News! We try and give you the most interesting news stories from the Asian boxing world!