We've known for a while that the Ohashi Gym would be holding an event at Korakuen Hall on March 11th but until today many of the bouts on that card were unknown.
There were 3 bouts that were known. One of those was a clash between Taku Kuwahara (7-0, 4) [桑原拓] and Yoshiki Minato (9-3, 4) [湊義生], which was originally planned for January before needing to be postponed due to Kuwahara being injured. Another was a Japanese Youth Bantamweight title bout between champion Toshiya Ishii (3-1, 2) [石井渡士也] and Kaito Takeshima (6-3-1, 1) [竹嶋海刀]. The third was a bout between former world title challenger Ryo Matsumoto (24-3, 21) [松本亮] and Takashi Igarashi (13-5, 5) [五十嵐嵩視], in what is expected to be an easy win for Matsumoto, who is looking to rebuild his confidence.
Other fighters named for the card were the world ranked 140lb hopeful Andy Hiraoka (16-0, 11) [平岡アンディ], the promising Rikuto Adachi (14-2, 11) [安達陸仁] and former K-1 champion Yoshiki Takei (0-0) [武居由樹], none of whom had had their opponents named until today.
Now we know that that the 24 year old Hiraoka, who is ranked #12 by the IBF, will take on Fumisuke Kimura (9-6-1, 6) [木村 文祐] in an 8 round bout. On paper this shouldn't be a test for Hiraoka, but the reality is that it keeps him busy and sees him fight in Japan for the first time since July 2019. It seems likely that when he returns to the US, for another bout on a Top Rank show, he'll take on a more notable opponent.
We also now know that Adachi will battle against Takeru Kobata (8-5-1, 3) [小畑武尊] in an 8 rounder for the vacant Japanese Youth Welterweight title, making this show a double Youth title event. Adachi will be favoured here, though it is worth noting that he's fought since December 2019 and this will be his Ohashi Gym. Kobata on the other hand fought last December, losing a decision to Shoki Sakai on December 26th.
As for the debuting Takei, he will be up against Kazunori Takai (6-7-3, 3) [高井一憲]. On paper this looks to be somewhat underwhelming for Takei, who has looked very good in K-1 and looked very impressive in a recent spar with Tsuyoshi Tameda (21-6-2, 19) [溜田剛士]. Takai, who's a 34 year old southpaw is 0-5-1 in his last 6 dating back more than 3 years, including 2 stoppage losses.
One other bout on this card will see 18 year old Yushin Uchida (1-1, 1) [内田勇心] battle the debuting Shunsei Sawada (0-0) [澤田春聖] in a 4 rounder.
Earlier this month we reported that Taku Kuwahara (7-0, 4) [桑原拓] and Yoshiki Minato (9-3, 4) [湊義生] would clash on March 11th. Originally they were supposed to face off in January but an injury to Kuwahara saw the bout being pushed back.
Yesterday we saw another bout being added to that card, with Japanese Youth Bantamweight champion Toshiya Ishii (3-1, 2) [石井渡士也] confirmed to be defending his title against Kaito Takeshima (6-3-1, 1) [竹嶋海刀] on the same show.
Now we've seen several more additions to the event as the show has began to fill out.
One of the big announcements for the show is that Japanese Light Welterweight hopeful Andy Hiraoka (16-0, 11) [平岡アンディ] will be on the show. This will be his first bout in Japan in well over a year and see him looking to build on wins in the US. Sadly however his opponent for the show is yet to be announced. In fact there is no details at all about his bout, other than that he will be on the show.
Another fighter without an opponent is Rikuto Adachi (14-2, 11) [安達陸仁], who is scheduled for a 8 round bout, in what will actually be his Ohashi debut.
The show is also expected to feature the debut of former K-1 champion Yoshiki Takei (0-0) [武居由樹], who recently signed with the Ohashi gym and announced that he was heading to professional boxing.
One other bout that was announced was a show down between former world title challenger Ryo Matsumoto (24-3, 21) [松本亮] and Japanese domestic fighter Takashi Igarashi (13-5, 5) [五十嵐嵩視], with the two men clashing in an 8 rounder. The touted Matsumoto hasn't looked good recently, and does appear to be in with an easier opponent that he's faced in a while, though we do wonder where his head is at mentally when it comes to the sport.
Earlier this month we saw a mouth watering bout between Taku Kuwahara (7-0, 4) [桑原拓] and Yoshiki Minato (9-3, 4) [湊義生] being delayed from a scheduled January date to March 11th. At the time of that announcement the bout was the only one scheduled for the Phoenix Battle 76, the Ohashi scheduled show.
Today we saw news break that that show has now had a second bout confirmed for it, and it's a really interesting one as we see the Japanese Bantamweight Youth Champion defending his title for the first time, and takes on a credible challenger.
The champion in question is Toshiya Ishii (3-1, 2) [石井渡士也], who will look to bounce back from his recent loss to Sho Ishida in a non title fight. His challenger will be 22 year old Osakan fighter Kaito Takeshima (6-3-1, 1) [竹嶋海刀].
For Ishii this will be his first defense following an excellent title win in 2019 against Haruki Ishikawa, which we've included below, as for Takeshima this is very much a step up in class for him, despite the fact he has more experience than the talented Ishii.
Interestingly we expect to see highlights of this bout shown on Fuji TV in March, continuing the relationship between the TV channel and the Ohashi Gym, which has really strengthened this year despite the fact Fuji haven't had a live boxing broadcast all year.
We've seen a lot of bouts set for this year being cancelled or delayed, whilst a lot of them have to d to obvious issues regarding the on going global situation there have been other issues, such as injuries to deal with. Amazingly however we are already getting injuries delaying bouts that are scheduled for the new year!
Just last week we saw the planned Featherweight title unification bout between WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight champion Musashi Mori (12-0, 7) [森 武蔵] and OPBF Featherweight champion Satoshi Shimizu (9-1, 9) [清水 聡] being delayed from March to May, to allow Mori to recover from a left hand injury. Today broke of another delay to a bout announced for next year.
This time it was a delay to the scheduled 8 round bout between Taku Kuwahara (7-0, 4) [桑原拓] and Yoshiki Minato (9-3, 4) [湊義生].
Originally this bout was scheduled for January 14th, on Phoenix Battle 75, but it has now been pushed back to March 11th.
The delay here is down to Kuwahara suffering an injury. The specifics of the injury haven't been announced, though with the bout set for a March date the hope is clearly that the injury isn't too bad, and will only force a couple of months delay rather than anything longer.
Yesterday at Korakuen Hall fight fans got the latest Ohashi promoted event under their long established "Phoenix Battle" series. The card, which was gutted by injuries, ended up up just featuring 3 professional bouts and a public exhibition, as Ohashi looked to add value to had been a show that had promises a lot but ended up looking quite bare.
The main event of that card was a WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight title bout between champion Musashi Mori [森 武蔵] and hard hitting challenger Tsuyoshi Tameda [溜田剛士], with the main support bout being a clash between former Japanese Super Featherweight champion Seiichi Okada [岡田誠一] and Hiromu Murota [室田拡夢].
Today it was confirmed both of those bouts, along with the exhibition between former 3-weight world champion Akira Yaegashi (28-7, 16) [八重樫 東] and Taku Kuwahara (7-0, 4) [桑原拓] would be shown, in some form, on Fuji TV in early December.
The Fuji TV website lists the broadcast as being set for a 26:55 to 28:00 time slot on December 5th, which is 1:55am to 3am on December 6th for those not familiar with Japanese TV scheduling. Obviously this will be a tape delay broadcast and will be edited, but we're still glad to be getting this own aired in some form as there was worries it would slip by the TV cameras and not be aired at all.
Note - Due to the broadcast we've removed all records apart from those of Yaegashi and Kuwahara, from this article rather than potentially ruining the results for those who aren't aware of the outcomes.
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