Earlier today Korakeun Hall played host to the latest Ohashi Promoted event, which featured a number of notable bouts, including two title bouts, the debut of a former amateur stand out and the latest bout of a highly touted young prospect.
The first of the notable bouts on the show saw talented former amateur standout Taiga Imanaga (1-0, 1) [今永 虎雅] make a successful debut, as he stopped Takahiro Hamazaki (4-9-3, 1) [浜崎 隆広] in 2 rounds. Imanaga, who won 10 amateur titles before making his debut, looked razor sharp in the opening round, setting a good pace in the opening round, before increasing the pressure in round 2 and scoring 2 knockdowns before Hamazaki's saved their man. It's early days for Imanaga, but on the back of this performance he is a special talent, who can go a very, very long way.
After the expected win from Imanaga we then got a notable upset as 36 year old Hisashi Kato (11-10-2, 7) [加藤 寿] scored a shock 2nd round TKO win over Rikuto Adachi (16-4, 12) [安達 陸虎]. Coming in Adachi was ranked #6 by the JB, but that ranking looked very over inflated early in round 2, when he was dropped from a straight left hand. He recovered to his feet, by was down again just moments later as with the bout being stopped. Notably this win will earn Kato a Japanese ranking, and allow him to continue his career past the typical Japanese retirement age of 37, with the win essentially saving his career.
After back to back blow outs there was hope we would see a bout go some rounds. No one 22 year old Keisuke Matsumoto (5-0, 5) [松本 圭佑], who took just 42 seconds to blast out Thai visitor Nakharin Hangyu (4-2, 2). The Thai was put in to the corner early in the round, and took a beating there until the referee finally stepped in and waved off the bout.
The first of the show's two title bouts saw Yasuhiro Kanzaki (8-2-1, 2) [神崎靖浩] scores his biggest win to date, as he took an 8 round decision over Yoshiki Minato (10-6, 5)[湊義生] to claim the Japanese Youth Super Flyweight title. The bout saw Minato start aggressively and try to pressure Kanzaki, who fought well as a counter puncher, putting together some really nice shots through the guard of Minato. Minato seemed to become more determined to press after that, but continued to be countered by the cleaner, more accurate and sharp shots of Kanzaki, who seemed the smarter more polished fighter through the bout. After 8 rounds we went to the scorecards, which were 78-74, 78-74 and 77-75 to Kanzaki, who claims his first professional title.
The main event saw former 3 weight world champion Kosei Tanaka (17-1, 10) [田中恒成] score an impressive win and claim the WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight title, as he stopped Masayoshi Hashizume (19-1-2, 11) [橋詰 将義] in 5 rounds. Hashizume has some success early on, whilst Tanaka looked to get a read on what was in front of him. After 2 rounds it seemed that Tanaka fully understood what he was up against, and in round 3 he began to press forward more, letting his lands go late in the round. The offensive work of Tanaka grew in round 4, as he intelligently pressed and pressured Hashizume, landing good body shots through the round. It was clear Tanaka was in control and Hashizume was levels below Tanaka, and in round started to really put it on his man, cutting him around the right eye, with a hard straight left hand, before pinning him on the ropes and unloading until the referee stepped in and waved off the bout.
After the contest Tanaka revealed that he is looking to target bouts for either the WBO or the IBF Super Flyweight titles, though his promoter admitted that such a bout might not happen until next year.
Earlier today the Japanese Boxing Federation (JBF) who look after Japanese amateur boxing, announced their award winners for last year, ahead o the award ceremony later this month.
Unsurprisingly the MVP for the year was the fantastic Hayato Tsutsumi [堤駿斗], who impressed for a second year running. The teenager looks like a nailed on star of the future, and had a 2017 to remember as he shone on both the international and domestic scenes. Although still some time off turning professional he will have every major promoter in Japan interested in snapping him up as soon as they can.
The Outstanding fighter award was shared 3 ways, with Arashi Morisaka [森坂嵐], Issei Aramoto [荒本一成] and Taiga Imanaga [今永虎雅] all being awarded the honour.
Another shared honour was the Skill Award, with Ryomei Tanaka [田中亮明], the older brother of Kosei Tanaka, and Ryusei Baba [馬場龍成] both winning here. The Fighting Spirit Award was won by the pairing of Daisuke Narimatsu [成松大介] and Ryutaro Nakagaki [中垣龍汰朗], the Effort award by Tomoya Tsuboi [坪井智也 whilst the new-come award was shared between 4 young fighters, including another fighter from the Tanaka clan.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today saw the finals of the Japanese High School tournament. Among the tournament winners was the very promising Keisuke Matsumoto [松本 圭佑] a youngster tipped for a place at Tokyo 2020 and a potential star of the future.
Matsumoto, who has been in the gym with Akira Yaegashi and Naoya Inoue, claimed the Light Flyweight crown and continued to build on his burgeoning reputation as a genuine one to watch. He claimed the crown with a decision win over Takumi Tamura [田村拓実].
Other winners at the event included-
Ginjiro Shigeoka [重岡銀次郎] at Pinweight,
Hayato Tsutsumi [堤駿斗] at Flyweight, who also built on his success from last year,
Taiga Imanaga [今永虎雅] who claimed the Bantamweight crown, and built on his own success
and Light Welterweight Issei Aramoto [荒本一成].
Whilst the competition doesn't also lead to stars of the future it does tend to highlight the top young teenagers in the Japanese amateur scene and these young men will all be worth following over the coming years. The continued success of a number of these fighters does suggest a very promising future and don't be surprised to see them at Tokyo 2020, or in fact turning professional by the 2020 Olympics.
(Image courtesy of Hideyuki Ohashi's blog)
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