The main event of today's Dangan card at Korakuen Hall was a Japanese Super Featherweight title eliminator between former Japanese Featherweight champion Taiki Minamoto (16-6-1, 13) [源大輝] and the teak tough Takuya Watanabe (37-9-1, 21) [渡邉卓也]. The two men looked well matched on paper and it seemed almost a given that we would be getting a special bout as the styles looked almost certain to gel. We assumed it would be Minamoto's power against Watanabe's toughness, and that we would get a thriller.
We assumed right!
In the opening round it looked like Minamoto's power was not actually his key to victory, instead it was his speed, and he looked much quicker than Watanabe. Watanabe however was pressuring, landing the effective shots and forcing Minamoto to give ground.
From then touch paper was lit and rounds 2,3 and 4 were incredibly wars, each progressively more exciting than the previous. Two them men seemed to try out man each other on the inside, firing off bombs, and mixing shots between head and body at close range. For 3 straight rounds we saw Minamoto fight Watanabe's fight, and although he held his own, he did lose all 3 rounds, and was left with a bloodied nose and the need to reassess his tactics.
Having fought the wrong fight for 3 rounds Minamoto changed up what he did in rounds 5 and 6 as he looked to get some control in the bout. Rather than warring on the inside he boxed on the outside, using his speed and movement to jab and move against the slower Watanabe. The tactic worked really well, and he seemed to actually hurt Watanabe a couple of times in round 5.
The movement was a good change from Minamoto, but not something he could keep up and by round 7 we were back on the inside, and back to trading back and forth. Sadly for Minamoto this round killed any momentum he had, and he was rocked hard late in the round as Watanabe began to land clean shots that stiffened the legs the legs of Minamoto.
Going into the final round it seemed like Watanabe had done enough to avoid defeat, but a win wasn't in the bag for him. Regardless he came out swinging, and gave Minamoto a real beating in the final 3 minutes. It seemed like Watanabe was determined to stop his man, though some how Minamoto remained on his feet, despite being legitimately battered through the round.
At the end of 8 rounds we though Watanabe had done enough, and so did the judges, scoring the bout 77-75, 78-76 and 79-73 in favour of Watanabe. The 79-73 card seemed unfair but the other two were a pretty accurate reflection on what had been an 8 round war.
With the win Watanabe secures a title shut during the 2020 Champion Carnival, and will face either Masaru Sueyoshi (19-1-1, 11) [末吉 大] or Kosuke Saka (19-5, 16) [坂晃典], who face off in early December.
For those who don't subscribe to Boxing Raise this is the quality of bout you're missing out on, for those who do subscriber this was another instant classic on the service which is quickly becoming a must have for fight fans.
Tomorrow in Tokyo, and live on Boxing Raise, fight fans will get a really interesting card as part of the God's Left Bantamweight tournament. Despite the focus being the two tournament semi-finals the show's main event will actually be a Japanese title eliminator Japanese title eliminator between Taiki Minamoto (16-5-1, 13) [源大輝] and Takuya Watanabe (36-9-1, 21) [渡邉卓也], who battle for a shot at the Japanese Super Featherweight title in the 2020 Champion Carnival.
Today, ahead of that bout, they took part in their weight in and both men made the 130lb limit with no issues.
On the scales Watanabe, a former WBO Asia Pacific champion at Super Featherweight, was bang on the 130lb limit and looked in great shape, as he always does. He stated he was in the best condition, and had been able to make weight whilst also taking on water, suggesting he's not had to dehydrate to make the weight. He sounded incredibly confident and despite being the under-dog he sounded like a man with real fire in his belly for this.
Minamoto on the other hand was 129.6lbs, making the weight with some wiggle room. It wasn't much of a surprise to see him make weight with ease, given he was moving up after simply out growing the Featherweight division, where he had been the Japanese champion. He seemed to suggest that the weight was much better on his body than cutting the extra 4lbs and he looked strong, powerful and sounded incredibly confident.
The winner of this is expected to face either Masaru Sueyoshi (19-1-1, 11) [末吉 大] or Kosuke Saka (19-5, 16) [坂晃典], who battle on December 7th, in next year's Champion Carnival.
Related - Hard hitting Minamoto takes on teak tough Watanabe
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
The Boxing Raise service, which we love despite it's sometimes awkward scheduling, have announced that in November they will be picking up 4 cards, including 2 very exciting live tournament shows and 2 tape delay recorded shows.
The first of the shows will be this Saturday's God's Left Bantamweight tournament show, featuring the God's Left semi final bouts between Seiya Tsutsumi (5-0, 4) [堤聖也] and Kenya Yamashita (14-5, 11) [山下賢哉], and Kazuki Nakajima (7-0, 6) [中嶋一輝] against Jin Minamide (4-0, 3) [南出仁]. The card also includes a Japanese title eliminator between Taiki Minamoto (16-5-1, 13) [源大輝] and Takuya Watanabe (36-9-1, 21) [渡邉卓也], and the ring return of former OPBF Minimumweight champion Tsubasa Koura (14-1, 9) [小浦 翼].
The service will also live stream November 19th Hajime No Ippo 30th anniversary tournament on November 19th. This show will feature quarter final bouts for a Featherweight tournament as Jae Woo Lee (6-2, 5) [이재우] takes on Japan's Tsuyoshi Tameda (21-4-2, 19) [溜田剛士], Shingo Kusano (11-8-1, 4) [草野慎悟] meets Chinese visitor Qiang Ma (5-1-2, 3) [马强] and we get an excellent all Japanese bout between Koshin Takeshima (4-0, 3) [竹嶋宏心] and Daisuke Watanabe (9-4-1, 6) [渡部大介]. This card will also feature Masahiro Suzuki (3-0, 2) [鈴木雅弘] against Hokuto Matsumoto (5-2, 1) [松本北斗].
As for the delay cards, Boxing Raise will be showing the November 17th and November 22nd cards.
The first of those two cards will see Eruka Hiromoto (5-0) [廣本江留香], defending her OPBF female Minimumweight title against Sana Hazuki (7-4-1, 2) [葉月さな], whilst the second will feature former Japanese Light Welterweight champion Valentine Hosokawa (24-7-3, 11) [細川繁] battling against Kosuke Arioka (9-4-1, 8) [有岡康輔]
Back in March we saw a massive upset as Lito Dante (16-10-4, 8) scored a huge 12th round TKO win over Japan's previously unbeaten Tsubasa Koura (14-1, 9) [小浦 翼], and ended Koura's reign as the OPBF Minimumweight champion. Since then the talented Koura hasn't been in action, and and has sat over over 6 months.
Today we finally saw news break on what Koura next plan was, with the Cassius Gym fighter now set to fight on the November 9th Dangan card, which will feature the God's Left semi final bouts.
At the moment his opponent hasn't been confirmed by name, though is said to be an Indonesian fighter, who is likely there to help Koura re-establish some confidence following a very damaging and surprising loss.
The card will not only feature the God's Left semi-final bouts but also a Japanese title eliminator between Taiki Minamoto (16-5-1, 13) [源大輝] and Takuya Watanabe (36-9-1, 21) [渡邉卓也], making this a really good card, even if we don't know who Koura will be fighting.
Yesterday we reported that an October 26th card at Korakuen Hall would be playing host to 5 Japanese eliminators as we begin to piece together the 2020 Champion Carnival bouts. Now we've been given a full list of all the eliminators, as we really see the end of the year Japanese boxing calendar take shape.
The first of the bouts will take place on September 13th at Super Bantamweight, and will see former champion Ryoichi Tamura (12-4-1, 6) [田村 亮一] take on experienced veteran Gakuya Furuhashi (25-8-1, 14) [古橋大輔], in what should be a thriller.
The second of the eliminators will take place just a few days later, on September 21st and is another bout that was already known about. This one is the Japanese Minimumweight title eliminator between unbeaten teenager Kai Ishizawa (6-0, 6) [石澤開] and former world title challenger Masataka Taniguchi (11-3, 7) [谷口 将隆].
Following the Minimumweight bout we'll have to wait until October for many of the bouts, with the first of those coming on October 21st and seeing Cristiano Aoqui (14-7-2, 10) [アオキ クリスチャーノ] and Daishi Nagata (13-2-1, 5) [永田大士] clash in an eliminator at 140lbs. On paper this one has explosive action written all over it and could turn out to be the hidden gem of the eliminators.
We then move on to the October 26th card, which features 5 different eliminators. They are the Flyweight eliminator, between Ryota Yamauchi (5-1, 4) [山内涼太] and Seiya Fujikita (13-4, 6) [藤北誠也], the Bantamweight eliminator between Kazuki Tanaka (11-2, 8) [田中一樹] and Kyosuke Sawada (13-2-1, 6) [澤田京介] the Featherweight eliminator, pitting Hinata Maruta (9-1-1, 7) [丸田陽七太] against Takenori Ohashi (17-5-2, 11) [大橋健典], the Lightweight eliminator between Kazuki Saito (7-1, 5) [斎藤一貴] and Izuki Tomioka (6-2-1, 2) [富岡樹] and the Welterweight bout between Keita Obara (21-4-1, 19) [小原 佳太] and Toshiro Tarumi (12-3-3, 6) [垂水稔朗]. This is where the bulk of the bouts are, and is expected to be a sensational card.
The Super Featherweight bout will take place on October 30th and is one of the best match ups. The bout will see former Japanese Featherweight champion Taiki Minamoto (16-5-1, 13) [源大輝] take on Takuya Watanabe (36-9-1, 21) [渡邉卓也]. This pits a huge puncher against a proper tough guy in what could be a very brutal bout.
At Light Middleweight we'll see former champion Nobuyuki Shindo (20-5-2, 8) [新藤寛之] take on Yuto Shimizu (13-4-2, 5) [清水優人] in what looks like a disappointing match up on paper but should prove to be very entertaining. This bout will take place on November 2nd and is expected to be featured on a card that has at least one other noteworthy bout.
The final bout to be scheduled is the Light Flyweight contest, which is set to feature Rikito Shiba (3-0, 2) [芝力人] taking on the big punching Masamichi Yabuki (9-3, 9) [佐藤政道], in another amazing match up. This bout, set to take place in Nagoya on December 15th, is a huge step up for Shiba and a win here would be a huge statement for the youngster.
One bout that has been ordered, but has no set date yet, is the Super Flyweight bout, which will feature former champion Hiroyuki Kudaka (26-18-2, 11) [久高寛之] and Yuta Matsuo (15-4-1, 8) [松尾雄太], in what should be an action packed war, helped by the limitations of the two men involved.
Notably there will be no eliminator at Middleweight and instead Riku Kunimoto (4-0, 2) [国本陸] will get a shot at the belt, likely against current champion Kazuto Takesako (11-0-1, 11) [竹迫司登], in the new year.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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