Just moments ago the latest Dynamic Glove card from Korakuen Hall finished and if we're being honest, it was not a card to remember. In fact it was a really poor show overall, with no bout really standing out as a must watch for those wantign to watch on replay.
On paper the bout between former amateur standout Shigetoshi Kotari (3-1-1, 2) [神足茂利] and glass cannon Kazuaki Miyamoto (7-8, 6) [宮本知彰] wasn't a particularly interesting match up. In fact on paper it seemed like a gimmie for Kotari, and the result would suggest it was, however Kotari had to work to earn a 5th round TKO win over Miyamoto, who came to win.
The first 2 rounds saw Kotari control the bout with his high level boxing skills, but in round 3 we saw Miyamoto look to force a dog fight, and land some bombs of his own, forcing Kotari to go through something of a chin check. Sadly for Miyamoto he couldn't crack the chin of Kotari who ended up dumping taking the pressure, and using it against Miyamoto who was eventually stopped in round 5 having been down several times. Despite the stoppage loss this was a great effort for Miyamoto, who came to fight and gave Kotari tough some rounds, even if Kotari did seem in control of much of the action.
In the second of the meaningful bouts on this show the hard hitting Ken Koibuchi (8-5-1, 7)* [鯉淵健] took on Taison Mukaiyama (7-3, 4) [向山太尊]. From the opening stages Kobuchi seemed to have the upper hand, pressing Mukaiyama backwards and landing big, clean, solid shots. As the bout went on however Mukaiyama began landing some good counter shots, creating space and having some genuine success of his own. Sadly though the power of Koibuchi was always dangerous and at the end of round 3 a huge overhand right from Koibuchi stiffened the legs of Mukaiyama, who looked genuinely unconscious on his feet. Lucky for him the shot was on the bell and he got to his corner and a minute to recover.
Unfortunately however Mukaiyama likely needed more than a minute and early in round 4 he was under pressure again, with the referee stepping into save him as he continued to take some huge blows.
After capturing the attention at the weigh in yesterday, by wearing a bra, Mugicha Nakagawa (24-8-2, 14) [中川 麦茶] took part in his first bout for more than 2 years as he faced off with former 2-time world title challenger Ryo Akaho (38-2-2, 25) [赤穂亮], in the chief support bout. The bout was somewhat messy early on, with both looking rusty and the styles not quite meshing. Sadly that never really changed with the two giving us a real mess of a bout.
Nakagawa wanted to keep things at range, box and move and use his jab, whilst Akaho wanted to get close and land hooks coming in, as a result there was a lot of times the two just came together. As a result of the messy action it was hard to score and a really hard one to watch.
Round 3 continued to see some ugly action, but both men did land some quality work, and Nakagawa's clean head shots were really catching the eye, and at one point he forced Akaho on to the retreat. Nakagawa's success continued in round 4, another round that had some incredibly messy moments, as he landed some excellent counters which continued to frustrate Akaho.
In round 5 Nakagawa went low, which left Akaho irate and saw Nakagawa being taken a point. It was a nothing blow, and given the other minor fouls and soon afterwards there was a takedown by Nakagawa, which forced the referee to put the men in neutral corners and talk to both. Sadly for Akaho when the action resumed he was seemingly hurt from another combination up top from Nakagawa. The referee would again give Nakagawa a verbal warning in round 6, as if he felt he was walking a point being deducted, but just moments later both men unloaded rabbit shots, as the bout continued to head towards a farce.
In round 7 it seemed that Akaho was hurt early on, and gassing, though he managed to put his foot on the gas midway into the round, landing some heavy hooks and clearly tagging Nakagawa hard, with Nakagawa forced to slip and slide under pressure from Akaho's wild, crude, heavy hooks. In the 8th round the two men had a huge headclash early on, not the first of the bout, though it left neither man cut. After the clash Akaho looked to come on strong, and landed some very heavy looking hooks but was pushed over to the canvas in the final 30 seconds. Thankfully come the final bell, would could move on, following what is likely to be one of the ugliest bouts we'll see in a Japanese ring this year. To the fans credit however they applauded the action, which was incredibly polite of them.
After 8 rounds the decision went to Akaho, though it did seem the judges were being a little bit generous to him, with two judges scoring it 79-73 in his favour whilst the other had it 77-75 to him. Regardless of the win it seems his career is about over at the age of 34, and on this performance we're not in a rush to see either man fight again. This was one of those bouts that really didn't click and if you missed, you should feel very, very lucky.
In the main event we saw Japanese domestic amateur standout Koki Koshikawa (9-4, 6) [越川孝紀] takes on Makoto Kawasaki (13-8-1, 2) [川崎真琴]
Thankfully this one was a palette cleanser following the mess we had had in the chief support bout. From the off the younger, fresher, hungrier Koshikawa was all over Kawasaki, with intense pressure and high output through the first minute. Kawasakiw as forced to fight fire with fire, and landed some decent blows in the odd exchange, but was clearly on the wrong end of the punishment for much of the round with Koshikawa mixing good head shots and body shots on to the veteran.
As the rounds went on Koshikawa continued to be the aggressor, pressing hard, but he was putting a lot into each round, and his intensity did begin to wane round by round, giving Kawasaki some space to work with.
By round 5 the tempo from Koshikawa was about done, and both began to look exhausted. Sadly for Koshikawa, that really let Kawasaki into the bout as he began to lean into the younger man and have success with shots up close. Even with more success however Kawasaki was still regularly being caught himself by the busier, younger fighter. Some how however the judges appear to have been watching a different fight, and the open scoring after round 5 had Kawasaki leading 48-47 and 49-46, with the third judge having Koshikawa in a 48-47 lead.
Sadly by round 7 this had gone from an entertaining war, driven by the aggression of Koshikawa, into a bout that was fought up close, with little output from either man, with both happy to lean into each other for large stretches of the bout. Despite that there were still eye catching moments, especially the counter shots of Kawasaki. Those counter shots impressed the judges in the final rounds, along with his love 2-punch combinations that switched between head and body against the really tired looking Koshikawa.
After 10 rounds we went to the scorecards and the judges had this on 96-94, 97-93 and 98-92 all in favour of Kawasaki. Some of those cards seemed far, far too wide in a bout where Koshikawa's early output really should have been enough for him to take plenty of rounds. Though Koshikawa did seem to blow his load in the first half, and struggled with his pacing in the second half of the bout.
Earlier today the East Japan Boxing Association announced the award winners for the month of January, and announced 3 winners for the month, with an MVP, the Fighting Spirit Award Winner and the Newcomer award.
The MVP for the month was, somewhat unsurprisingly, Kai Ishizawa (10-1, 9) [石澤開] for his Japanese title win on January 11th against Katsuki Mori (9-1, 2) [森 且貴], stopping the previously unbeaten Mori to claim the previously vacant title. This is, by far, the biggest win of Ishizawa's career so far, and helps move him towards a world title fight later in the year.
The Fighting Spirit Award was won by Japanese Super Bantamweight champion Gakuya Furuhashi (28-8-2, 16) [古橋大輔] who won the award, and retained his title, following a draw with former champion Yusaku Kuga (20-5-2, 13) [久我勇作] on January 25th. The bout between the two men, much like their first bout in 2021, was a thrilling action brawl and one that deserved a bigger audience than it got, as it was sadly hidden behind a Japan only service rather than made available on something like G+ or Boxing Raise which would have made it available for international fans.
The final award, which was also won for a bout that took place on January 25th, was the Newcomer award. That was won by Taison Mukaiyama (7-2, 4) [向山太尊] who recorded a shock scored win over the well regarded Toru Kiyota (11-5, 8) [清田亨], with Mukaiyama taking out Kiyota in 2 rounds. The win will likely see Mukaiyama being included in rankings from the OPBF, WBO Asia Pacific and JBC in the coming days.
Earlier today fight fans at Koraskuen Hall got a treat as they got a thrilling card headlined by a Japanese Super Bantamweight title bout, and also featuring several other bouts of note. The card wasn't a massive one, not by any stretch, but was a very good domestic level show.
The first bout of note saw former 2-time world title challenger Masayuki Kuroda (30-9-3, 16) [黒田雅之] return to the ring for the first time since May 2019, when he lost to Moruti Mthalane. Sadly for him however it wasn't a happy return as he was out boxed by unbeaten youngster Kantaro Juri (4-0, 2) [重里侃太朗] in an 8 rounder at Super Flyweight. Throughout the fight Juri proved to be too big, too quick, too sharp and too accurate, especially with his jab. Kuroda had moments, here and there, but they were few and far between and after 8 rounds there no questioning the decision. The judges all sided with Juri, with scores of 79-73, 78-74 and 77-75.
The second bout of note on this card ended with a genuine upset as the unheralded Taison Mukaiyama (7-2, 4) [向山太尊] scored a stoppage win over the ranked Toru Kiyota (11-5, 8) [清田亨], who entered with top 10 rankings with the JBC, OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific. Mukaiyama looked crude at times, being made to miss and losing balance early on, but in round 2 a left straight left hand stopped Kiyota. Kiyota recovered to his feet but was instantly under pressure and the referee was forced to save him just moments later. Notably Kiyota was ranked #4 in the WBO Asia Pacific rankings and this win will put Mukaiyama on the verge of a title fight of some kind.
On the subject of title fights the main event of the show as a Japanese Super Bantamweight title bout, as defending champion Gakuya Furuhashi (28-8-2, 16) [古橋大輔] faced off with Yusaku Kuga (20-5-2, 13) [久我勇作], the man he beat for the title last year. From the off this was a great fight, living up to the high expectations fans had of it. Kuga got the better of the early going, jabbing well and moving well, but Furuhashi, like he did in their first bout, kept coming forward and showed little respect to Kuga's much touted power. This lead to Furuhashi forcing Kuga to fight at a high pace, somethign that was expected to take the gas out of Kuga's tank.
In round 4 Furuhashi was left with a cut eye, from an uppercut, and after 5 rounds Kuga was leading on all 3 cards, 48-47, twice, and 49-46.
It was there that Furuhashi began to make the most of his aggression, his pressure and his work rate, as he started to get up close and get to the body of Kuga. He forced Luga to clinch, spoil and try to slow the tempo of the bout, but Furuhashi was incredibly determined to turn the bout his way, and he really got his way back in to the bout in the middle rounds, taking the lead on two of the scorecards as we went into round round 10. It was there that Kuga dug incredibly deeply and managed to narrowly out work and out battle Furuhashi. Sadly for him however it wasn't enough to take home the win.
The scores, after 10 rounds, were 95-95, twice, and 96-94 to Kuga, resulting in a majority draw, and leaving the door open to a third bout between two two men, who have know given us two amazing bouts around a year apart.
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