Just moments ago the JBC website listed one new change to their retired fighters page, listing former Japanese Featherweight champion Takenori Ohashi (17-6-2, 11) [大橋健典] as having retired on November 22nd*.
Ohashi fought as a professional since since 2009 and had some mixed success, including scoring an amazing KO to claim the Japanese Featherweight title in 2017 and truly breath taking KO in 2019 against Shun Wakabayashi.
It's fair to say that Ohashi's heavy hands were clear from the early stages of his career and he stopped his first 4 opponents as he kicked off his career with 5 straights wins. A loss in 2010 to Coach Hiroto saw his winning run come to an end but he rebuilt well in 2011, with 3 more wins, before suffering back to back losses in 2012. His career then struggled to get going again, not helped by a sensational TKO loss to the then rising Tsuyoshi Tameda in 2015.
As we saw several times through his career Ohashi would bounce back, rebuild and get a shot at Japanese Featherweight champion Kosuke Saka in 2017. Few gave Ohashi a chance against the rampant Saka however Ohashi would score a brutal KO at the end of the 5th round when Saka mistook the 10-second clacker for the bell and got knocked out. Sadly Ohashi's reign lasted just a few months, losing the belt in his first defense, to Taiki Watanabe.
Following the loss to Watanabe he never quite the same and needed a KO of the year style finish to bail him out of a poor performance against Shun Wakabayashi in May 2019. He couldn't land another hail Mary 5 months later when he took on Hinata Maruta in a Japanese eliminator, with Maruta dominating Ohashi until he closed the show in 3 rounds. It now seems likely that that will be it for Ohashi.
We've included Ohashi's memorable title win below, which is well worth watching even if it's just for the staggering finish to the bout.
*Note it is now November 22nd in Japan at the time of publication.
Just moments ago at the Korakuen Hall fans learned who would be the challenger for the Japanese Featherweight title at the 2020 Champion Carnival. The not only learned who the challenger would be, but they were also left very impressed by the future challenger who put on one of the best performances of his fledgling career.
The bout saw the very highly touted Hinata Maruta (10-1-1, 8) [丸田陽七太] take out former champion Takenori Ohashi (17-6-2, 11) [大橋健典] in just 3 rounds!
From the opening seconds it was clear Maruta had the edge in speed, movement and given his significantly longer frame he was able to quickly establish his jab. That played a vital role through the fight, but it was his ability to mix in the right hand that proved even more potent, dropping Ohashi inside the first round with a clean, single right hand.
Ohashi got up from the knockdown and tried to be aggressive in round 2, knowing that if he sat off Maruta would have a field day with him from range. That had momentary success, but saw Maruta pinging his clean and sharp jab straight on to the face of Ohashi, busting his nose open. The pressure of Ohashi was neutralised, and he struggled to land anything of note whilst taking consistent punishment.
In round 3, with Ohashi's face covered in blood and things looking hopeless for him, the doctor took a look and stopped the bout, saving a bloodied Ohashi from more punishment at the 2:00 mark of the round.
With this win Maruta has secured himself at the Japanese Featherweight title in 2020, where he will face either Ryo Sagawa (8-1, 4) [佐川遼] or Ryo Hino (13-1-2, 8) [日野僚], who clash on December 12th, for the belt.
For Maruta this was impressive. Yes, sure, Ohashi was made to order but less than 2 yeas he was the Japanese Featherweight champion and he survived until round 7 when taking a beating from Taiki Minamoto last year. This was a more aggressive performance from Maruta than we'd seen at times and it was really impressive how easily he took apart the dangerous Ohashi.
As for Ohashi the 30 year old may need to consider his next step. He's still dangerous but his lack of speed is an issue which will only get worse now he's the wrong side of 30.
At the Korakuen Hall on Saturday fans are set for a treat with 4 Japanese title eliminators, with fighters looking to secure a place at the 2020 Champion Carnival.
One of those eliminators will be taking place at Featherweight, with the very highly touted Hinata Maruta (9-1-1, 7) [丸田陽七太] taking on former champion Takenori Ohashi (17-5-2, 11) [大橋健典]. This in an interesting looking contest between skilled and rising boxer-puncher and big punching former champion.
On the scales Maruta was 125.25lbs and looked, as he always does, in incredibly condition. He still looks like a young boy in a man's sport, but like a very young boy, towering over Ohashi today and making the former champion look very diminutive in comparison. He made it clear his gameplan was based around using his reach and speed and avoiding the power of Ohashi.
The former champion had had to wait see Maruta at the weigh in, with the youngster being held up by the weather in Japan, was pretty much on the limit. He looked in great shape and sounded very confident, stating that he would be scoring a knockout in the second half of the fight.
Related - Maruta and Ohashi clash in Japanese eliminator
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Earlier today we were informed that Japanese Featherweight champion Ryo Sagawa (8-1, 4) [佐川遼] will make his first defense on December 12th, in what is expected to be the final Diamond Glove card of the year.
The champion, who won the title in September with an excellent win against Reiya Abe (19-3-1, 9) [阿部 麗也], will be taking on the once beaten Ryo Hino (13-1-2, 8) [日野僚].
For Sagawa this will be his first defense and his third bout this year, following wins over Al Toyogon and Abe. He has rebuilt his career excellently following a loss in his second pro-bout, back in May 2017, and looks to be in some of the best for of any fighter in Japan. His 7 fight winning run has included not only his wins from this year but also notable victories over Ryo Matsumoto, Junki Sasaki and Shingo Kawamura.
In the ring the champion is an excellent fighter, able to box or brawl and looks to have corrected the issues that lead to him getting stopped in his second bout, against Retsu Kosaka.
Hino is unbeaten since 2015, when he lost to Reiya Abe, and has reeled off 8 wins and a draw since then. Sadly his competition hasn't been great, with the most notable results during that 9 fight unbeaten run being a win over Sho Nakazawa and a draw with Coach Hiroto. On paper he's taking a huge step up but the 29 year old will like it's his time to shine.
The winner of this bout will be expected to defend the title next year at the Champion Carnival, against either former champion Takenori Ohashi (17-5-2, 11) [大橋健典] or the highly touted Hinata Maruta (9-1-1, 7) [丸田陽七太], who clash on October 26th in a title eliminator.
Earlier today Japanese fight fans filled up the Korakuen Hall for the latest A-Sign Bee card, and it was a truly brilliant one, packed with great bouts.
Among those great bouts was a contest for the vacant Japanese Featherweight title, as Reiya Abe (19-3-1, 9) [阿部 麗也] and Ryo Sagawa (8-1, 4) [佐川遼] battled for the belt.
On paper this looked like a great bout but it turned out be even better than expected, and just as competitive!
From the opening round it was hard the two men as both jostled for ring position. Abe was looking to create distance for his southpaw shots whilst Sagawa applied pressure, and the dynamic just worked from the off, with both having moments in the early going. From then on it was never really clear who was in control, with Abe landing his clean, accurate straights at range and Sagawa getting his work off up close. As soon as one man seemed to create some momentum the other took it away.
After 5 rounds the judges had really struggled to split them. The open scoring after 5 rounds had Sagawa leading 48-47, twice, whilst the third judge had Abe up 48-47.
Abe began to change tactics following the scoring, but that seemed to give Sagawa more chances to land his shots, and saw him build momentum, despite the increased effort from Abe. Although Sagawa seemed to be doing just a touch more clean work than Abe, there was little to split them, in what was a very evenly fought back and forth. That was until the final round, as Abe began to have some of his best success of the fight. The sustained attack from Abe seemed to suggest that even he felt he was down, but it was too little too late.
After 10 rounds the judges all had the bout to Sagawa, with scores of 96-94, twice, and 96-95.
For Sagawa this continues a sensational run of form, which has also included wins against Junki Sasaki, Ryo Matsumoto, Shingo Kawamura and Al Toyogon. As for Abe this was his second set back in a Japanese title fight, following a draw with Taiki Minamoto earlier in the year.
The champion is now expected to defend his title later this year, against Ryo Hino (13-1-2, 8) [日野僚], before the winner of that competes in the Champion Carnival, against either Hinata Maruta (9-1-1, 7) [丸田陽七太] against Takenori Ohashi (17-5-2, 11) [大橋健典].
Despite the set back Abe will remain in the title mix and will likely find himself getting another title fight, of some kind in 2020.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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