Earlier today at Korakuen Hall Japanese fight fans got a stacked card from the Ohashi Gym with 4 notables on it, including a Japanese title bout, and several bouts involving promising prospects.
The first of the 4 notable bouts saw Suzumi Takayama (4-0, 4) [高山 涼深] score an opening round win over touted teenager Kosuke Tomioka (4-2, 3) [富岡 浩介]. On paper this one looked like a really interesting bout between two southpaws, but sadly for Tomioka he never even got a chance to get into the bout. After less than a minute a straight left hand from Takayama put Tomioka down. To his credit Tomioka got up, but Takayama smelled blood and jumped on his man, sending him down again. Tomioka showed how bravery by getting up again but was dropped a third time with the referee then halting the bout after just 107 seconds.
Sadly it's hard to see where Tomioka goes here, especially given his loss in the 2020 East Japan Rookie of the Year final to Shunpei Kubo.
The second bout of note saw OPBF ranked Super Flyweight Masayoshi Hashizume (18-0-2, 11) [橋詰 将義] score an 8th round TKO win over Yoshiki Minato (9-5, 4) [湊 義生]. For Hashizume this was his first bout in over 2 years and despite that he looked sharp from the off, with nice jabs, and good speed. Minato tried to fight back was cut in round around the right eye.
As the rounds went on Hashizume's natural size, strength and power played more and more of a factor, as he let his shots go more willingness and in round 8 he ended up forcing the referee in to save Minato in the first minute of round 8.
The third bout of note saw Japanese Youth Bantamweight champion Toshiya Ishii (4-1, 3) [石井渡士也] score a 5th round TKO against the heavy handed Jin Minamide (4-2, 3) [南出仁]. This was exciting from the off, with both letting heavy leather go in the first round. The power of Ishii told first as he dropped Minamide in the first round.
To his credit Minamide not only got to his feet but battled on, though was dropped again in round 3, as Ishii's power, accuracy and speed showed it's self again. Minamide again beat the count, but having been dropped twice in the first 3 rounds he was in a hole. and desperate to try and turn things around. Sadly for Minamide his aggression and hunger came back to bite him, and in round 5 a serious of big shots from Ishii forced the referee to come in and save Minamide.
The main event was a much anticipated Japanese title bout at 112ls as Japanese Flyweight champion Seigo Yuri Akui (16-2-1, 11) [阿久井政悟] made his second defense of the title, and stopped the previously unbeaten Taku Kuwahara (8-1, 4) [桑原拓] in a brilliant 10 round war.
The bout started almost perfectly for Akui who's early power saw him dropping Kuwahara with a counter right hand in the first round. It was a perfect shot and seemed to show that Akui's power could be too much for Kuwahara. That was until the challenger began to show what he could do and finding his groove through the rest of the first half of the bout. The fight back from Kuwahara was impressive, showing his guts, determination and skills as he managed to close the gap on the scorecards.
After 5 rounds we had the open scoring with scores of 47-47 on one card and 48-46 on two others, both to Akui.
Kuwahara had bounced back really well from the bad start, landing good body shots, using his amateur skills well, and showed that he belonged at this level. Akui then began to pick things up himself, applying more constant and intense pressure, trying to take the play away from Kuwahara, who continued to box and move, using his speed and accuracy to try and out work Akui and get his respect.
Going into round 10 it seemed to close to call, and then the judges cards were essentially ripped up as a huge right hand from Akui dropped Kuwahara for the second time in the bout, with just over 10 seconds of the bout left. The referee immediately waved off the bout.
After the contest Akui and his team seemed to suggest that they would be hunting a world title fight in 2022, after the Champion Carnival. That could well mean a rematch with WBO champion Junto Nakatani, who stopped Akui back in 2017.
Tomorrow Korakuen Hall will play host to an excellent Ohashi promoted card head lined by Japanese Flyweight champion Seigo Yuri Akui (15-2-1, 10) [阿久井政悟] defending his title against the unbeaten Taku Kuwahara (8-0, 4) [桑原拓], in a really interesting match up between a dangerous puncher and a highly skilled boxer.
Today, ahead of their bout, the two men took part in their weigh in for the contest.
On the scales Akui came in bang on the 112lb limit and looked in great shape for what will be his second title defense. He stated he was in perfect condition for this one, and it seems clear that he's determined to keep a hold of his title and boost his career further with a win over a man regarded as a former amateur stand out. Notably this will be his first bout at Korakuen Hall in around 4 years, with his last bout in the venue being a loss to Junto Nakatani in 2017. Since then Nakatani has gone on to win the WBO Flyweight title and it seems that if Akui wins here he wants to chase a rematch with Nakatani.
In regards to his game plan Akui has made it clear that he will start with a lot of pressure, and won't let Kuwahara find his groove.
As for Kuwahara he came in at 107.8lbs and looked in truly tremendous condition. He was clearly in the shape of his career for this bout, his first title bout, and he revealed that he has been training hard with a number of notable names, including stable mate Takuma Inoue and former world champions Sho Kimura and Daigo Higa.
Interestingly Kuwahara explained that he'd seen the recent Japanese youth title bout between Jin Sasaki and Kaiki Yuba, and seems to have learned from the way Yuba lost that bout. He knows that Akui is a dangerous fighter.
For fans in Japan this is available to watch live on Hikari TV and dTV.
Related - Akui and Kuwahara battle for Japanese Flyweight crown!
(Image credit - Ohashi Gym)
Earlier today Japanese Flyweight champion Seigo Yuri Akui (15-2-1, 10) [阿久井政悟] took to social media to announce his second defense of the national title he won in October 2019, and it's a mouth watering clash as part of a brilliant Ohashi promoted card at Koraken Hall on July 21st.
The match up in question will see Akui defending his belt against Japanese prospect Taku Kuwahara (8-0, 4) [桑原拓], who gets his first title fight after making his debut in 2018. The touted Ohashi hopeful has long been tipped for the top but this is a legitimate step up for him against a super dangerous puncher.
Coming in the bout is a genuine toss up, the perfect 50/50 type of fight that more shows need. Akui is the more proven and the heavier handed fighter, but the skills and amateur background of Kuwhara will certainly see plenty feeling he has the tools to detrhone Akui.
As well as the brilliant main event the show will also have several other match watering match ups. One of those will see Japanese Youth Bantamweight champion Toshiya Ishii (3-1, 2) [石井渡士也] battle against the heavy handed Jin Minamide (4-1, 3) [南出仁], in what should be a brutal war.
The talented Ishii really impressed in his first 3 bouts, but was out pointed last year by Sho Ishida [石田 匠] in a razor close bout. He was supposed to face Kaito Takeshima [竹嶋海刀] in March but that bout was scrapped when Takeshima's health forced him to pull out. As for Minamide he looked like a brutal puncher early on, but ran into Kazuki Nakajima [中嶋一輝] in the God's Left Bantamweight tournament in 2019, and has been inactive since then. Both men are coming in on a loss but both are exciting fighters and will be looking to get back to winning ways in a potential barn burner here.
Another supporting bout will see Yoshiki Minato (9-4, 4) [湊義生] battle against Masayoshi Hashizume (17-0-2, 10) [橋詰将義] in a bout between two former All Japan Rookie of the Year winners. This one is likely to be a high tempo war, between two men with a point to prove. Minato has lost 3 of his last 4, including losses to Kuwahara and Akui, but has shown a lot of ability and shouldn't be written off, despite his recent losses. Hashizume once seemed to be an emerging star in Osaka, but recent transferred to a gym in Tokyo, and will be looking to kick start his career after some recent setbacks and inactivity.
One other fighter worth noting on this card is once beaten teenager Kosuke Tomioka (4-1, 3) [富岡 浩介], who is in action for the first time since losing in a Rookie of the Year bout last year to Shunpei Kubo [久保 春平]. The talented charismatic and exciting Tomioka is scheduled for a 6 rounder, though his opponent has yet to be named. Interestingly Tomioka was originally supposed to be facing Kotoji Irita (0-0) [入田琴治] this coming weekend as part of a stacked weekend of boxing from Dangan, though the bout was cancelled last week due to issues with the venue. Fingers crossed Irita will be offered this new date for a bout with Tomioka.
Back in January Hideyuki Ohashi announced that 21 year old amateur stand out Kaiyu Toyoshima [豊嶋海優] was turning professional and would be one of the latest amateurs to join up with the Ohashi stable. Today Toyoshima took the next step towards making his professional debut.
Toyoshima took part in his pro-test bout yesterday, sparring with Taku Kuwahara (8-0, 4) [桑原拓]. Today it was confirmed that he had passed the tests required of him to earn a B class license. This means he'll be able to compete in 6 round bouts from his debut.
The talented Toyoshima was the captain of the Toyo University team as an amateur and at 21 years old is still a very young prospect who turns professional with quite a lot of expectations on his shoulders.
Toyoshima wasn't the only member of the Ohashi gym to move his boxing career on to the next chapter recently. He was actually joined by former professional soccer player Dan Howbert [ハウバート・ダン], who passed his test to gain a C class license, letting him box in 4 round bouts.
Dan, who is half Liberian by birth, played professional football in Japan before later becoming a model.
Whilst the long term prospect in boxing of Dan is less exciting than it is of Toyoshima it is interesting to note that Dan is a big lad for a Japanese fighter, standing at around 6'2", and is expected to compete at Middleweight.
Earlier today fight fans at Korakuen Hall had the latest show in the Ohashi promoted Phoenix Battle series of shows, which will be aired this coming weekend on Fuji TV. The card featured 5 bouts in total, a Japanese Youth Welterweight title bout between Rikuto Adachi and Takeru Kobata, a the professional boxing debut of Yoshiki Takei and an interesting match up between Taku Kuwahara and Yoshiki Minato.
For those wanting to watch this, as live, over the weekend we please note that spoilers will begin in the next paragraph, starting with the the first under-card bout, which is unlikely to be televised at all, and then moving on through the other bouts on the show. If you wish to avoid those spoilers, please stop reading now.
The opening bout on the show saw teenage hopeful Yushin Uchida (2-1, 2) [内田 勇心] score an opening round win over Shunsei Sawada (0-1) [澤田 春聖]. This bout, which lasted 161 seconds, saw Uchida drop his man twice to secure the victory.
Amazing the Japanese Youth Welterweight title bout lasted even less time than the opening bout on the show, and this ended with an upset! The much unfancied Takeru Kobata (9-5-1, 4) [小畑武尊] managed to destroy the once touted Rikuto Adachi (14-3, 11) [安達陸仁] in just 123 seconds! Adachi landed the first shot of note, a good body shot, but that seemed to kick start Kobata who pressured afterwards and landed a huge straight left. The shot dropped Adachi an the referee quickly waved off the bout.
For Kobata this is a massive win, a huge upset, and a career defining result up to this point in his career. As for Adachi, it's a second stoppage loss in 4 bouts, and not the return to the ring he would have wanted after more than a year out of the ring.
The third bout on the card ended up being the most competitive, though that wasn't saying a lot. That saw unbeaten hopeful Taku Kuwahara (8-0, 4) [桑原拓] take a wide 8 round decision over Yoshiki Minato (9-4, 4) [湊義生]. From the off Kuwahara was too quick, too sharp, too accurate and too good for Minato who gave a solid effort, but was second best in every facet of his game.
After 8 rounds the scores here were 80-72, twice, and 79-73 to Kuwahara. To his credit the winner did give Minato props, stating that he was strong and good at closing the distance, though the bout was still a clear win for the talented Ohashi gym prospect.
The chief support bout saw former K-1 champion Yoshiki Takei (1-0, 1) [武居由樹] begin his professional career, and do so in impressive fashion as he took out Kazunori Takai (6-8-3, 3) [高井一憲] in the shortest bout on the show. In fact this one lasted just 103 seconds! Takei pressed from the off and backed Takai on to the ropes, where he landed a good right hook and then brilliant combination to drop his man. Takai got back to his feet but was dropped again from a straight left hand just moments later. After the win Takei stated that he wanted to "become a fighter who can carry Japan on my back" an on the back of this performance he may well be able to do just that.
As a K-1 kickboxer Takei was a star and it seems like he has the tools to be a big star in boxing, having been responsible for a huge number of ticket sales on this event. That crossover appeal, added to his clear talent, makes him one of the most interesting prospects in Japan right now, and someone we suspect will be fast tracked.
In the main event fans saw unbeaten hopeful Andy Hiraoka (17-0, 12) [平岡アンディ] take a 3rd round TKO win over Fumisuke Kimura (9-7-1, 6) [木村 文祐], in what was a second bout between the two men. Hiraoka, who hadn't fought in Japan for well over a year, was in charge from the off, pressing the action and backing up Kimura. To his credit Kimura showed his toughness in the first 2 rounds, but in round 3 the referee had seen enough and stepped in, saving Kimura from further punishment.
Interestingly these two men fought back in 2018, and Kimura managed to last 8 rounds with Hiraoka, so this result was an improvement from the youngster. It was also his first main event, and the first time a show has been sold around him. It is however a clear sign that Hiraoka needs to step up now, and title bouts should be sooner rather than later. There's no reason for his team to hold him back, and Japanese, OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific title fights should be on his radar for later in the year.
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