The highly regarded Ohashi Gym, run by former world champion Hideyuki Ohashi, has announce that the gym will be closed from April 7th to try and help battle the on going global issues that is now effecting the planet. The gym has announced that it hopes to open on May 1st, though of course the issue is still pretty much a developing one and could remained closed beyond that date if it needs to.
The gym is a major one in Japan, and is based in one of the most heavily populated areas in the country, so it closing it's doors is a excellent decision. Even more so given no one at the gym has shown any health issues at the moment, rather than waiting for someone to get sick before choosing to lock the doors.
For fans unsure of which fighters this will affect current Ohashi gym fighters include the likes of former 3-weight world champion Akira Yaegashi (28-7, 16) [八重樫 東], the unified Bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16) [井上 尚弥], his brother Takuma Inoue (13-1, 3) [井上 拓真], Japanese Light Welterweight champion Koki Inoue (15-0, 12) [浩樹井上], former world title challenger Ryo Matsumoto (23-3, 21) [松本亮] and prospects such as Taku Kuwahara (7-0, 4) [桑原拓], 2019 All Japan Rookie of the Year winner Katsuki Mori (6-0,1) [森且貴] and Ryutaro Nakagaki [中垣 龍汰朗] and Keisuke Matsumoto [松本圭佑], who were both pencilled in to debut in late May.
Usually closing a gym with this level of talent is likely to have major knock ons for big fights, however with the current climate we don't imagine this decision will cause too many issues, and is actually a very smart move from the gym that is trying to look after it's fighters and staff.
In the coming months the Inoue clan have all got big bouts lined up, but before any of those bouts take place the trio will be taking part in a training camp together, with the three men setting off to Guam today.
The trio, consisting of Bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16) [井上 尚弥], his world ranked brother, Takuma Inoue (13-1, 3) [井上 拓真] and their cousin Koki Inoue (15-0, 12) [浩樹井上] left from Narita airport heading to Guam for their training camp, which will will on February 6th when they had back to Japan.
The trio will be accompanied by trainer Shingo Inoue and a physical trainer, who explained that the reason to head to Guam was the warm conditions and the mountainous roads, which are supposedly for training on.
Last week we saw the announcement that Naoya, the unified the IBF and WBA Bantamweight champion, would be facing WBO champion John Riel Casimero (29-4, 20) on April 25th in he US. He spoke about that bout at the airport today.
Inoue explained due to the unpredictable nature of Casimero and his wildness he will need to stay sharp when the two men face off. He suggest that Casimero was a more dangerous fighter than Donaire, and explained that Casimero has no fear.
Whilst we all know about Naoya's upcoming bout it's worth being aware that all 3 members of the family are in action in coming months.
Takuma, himself a former WBC "interim" Bantamweight champion, will be up against WBO Asia Pacific Super Bantamweight champion Jhunriel Ramonal (17-8-6, 10) in May whilst Koki Inoue (15-0, 12) [浩樹井上] will be defending his Japanese Light Welterweight title in March against mandatory challenger Daishi Nagata (15-2-1, 5) [永田大士].
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
In 2019 Filipino fighter Jhunriel Ramonal (17-8-6, 10) went on a destructive tear in Japan, first he stopped Shingo Wake (26-6-2, 18) [和氣 慎吾] in October before returning to the country and claiming the WBO Asia Pacific Super Bantamweight title with a blow out win over Japanese national champion Yusaku Kuga (19-4-1, 13) [久我勇作].
Earlier today Dino Olivetti Jr, from the Olivetti Boxing Gym which manage Ramonal, announced Ramonal's first defense of the WBO Asia Pacific title.
Olivetti revealed that the bout would be taking place in Tokyo on May 28th and see his charge defending his title against former WBC "interim" Bantamweight champion Takuma Inoue (13-1, 3) [井上 拓真].
For Ramonal the bout would give him a chance to score a third straight upset win on Japanese soil, and really make it clear that he deserves a world title fight. On the other hand it gives Inoue, the younger brother of Naoya Inoue [井上 尚弥], a chance to rebuild following his 2019 loss to WBC Bantamweight world champion Nordine Oubaali.
On paper this is an excellent bout between and heavy handed upset minded champion and highly skilled but light punching challenger. An excellent clash of styles and a potentially very interesting match up.
We expect this bout will be announced by Ohashi Gym, who are almost certainly going to be the promoter of the show, in the near future as Ohashi and team put the finishing touches to the show.
Earlier today at the Ohashi gym in Yokohama Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16) [井上 尚弥] finally returned to sparring, the first time since his November bout with Nonito Donaire, which came in the WBSS final and saw Inoue unifying the IBF and WBA Bantamweight titles.
The Bantamweight kingpin, who is scheduled to defend his titles on April 25th in US, was in the ring with Japanese Youth Bantamweight champion Toshiya Ishii (3-0, 2) [石井渡士也] with their spar lasting 5 rounds.
The spar is long than Inoue typically spars for, though it seems like he will be doing up to 10 rounds of sparring at a time as they build towards the April bout, which is expected to be against WBO champion John Riel Casimero (29-4, 20).
Of course we know fans will be asking about the eye injury Inoue suffered against Donaire. The injury was the reason it's taken so long for Inoue to return to sparring, but appears to be fully healed and they wouldn't have allowed him to spar at all without passing medical clearance.
Interestingly Naoya wasn't the only member of the Inoue family in the gym today as younger brother Takuma Inoue (13-1, 3) [井上 拓真] also took part in some sparring, sharing the ring with Japanese ranked Super Flyweight Rysouke Nasu (11-5-3, 2) [那須亮祐].
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
It's fair to say that 2019 was a big year for Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16) [井上 尚弥], became the first Japanese fighter to win a world title bout in Europe, unified Bantamweight titles, won the World Boxing Super Series and signed with Top Rank.
Today, to kick off 2020, Inoue took part in a work out in front of the press at the Ohashi Gym in Yokohama and spoke to the media about his eye injury, and his plans for the year ahead.
At the end of 2019 Inoue was involved in a number of TV spots, which saw some Japanese fans lash out on social media. He tried to make it clear he was listening today as he told the press"This year, I will concentrate on boxing and reduce the exposure of the media. I want to concentrate on boxing and try Las Vegas" [Translated]
He explained that the injury to his eye, a fractured orbital, is "almost completely healed" [Translated] however he did add "I do not know. Since it is the first time, how much damage will open the wound again. I would like to ask those who have experienced it." [Translated] Which is a worry given the visible scar tissue above his right eye. That scar tissue also appeared pretty visible during today's work out.
The actual work out saw Inoue, and brother Takuma Inoue (13-1, 3) [井上 拓真], work up a sweat shadow boxing, skipping, hitting the mitts and the heavy bag. The plan is to begin sparring again at the end of the month and continuing working towards the April 25th date set for his Top Rank Rank debut.
(Image courtesy of Sponichi)
News! We try and give you the most interesting news stories from the Asian boxing world!