Earlier today in Okayama local fight fans got the chance to see local star Seigo Yuri Akui (17-2-1, 11) [阿久井政悟] make his third defense of the Japanese Flyweight title, as he defeated popular veteran Takuya Kogawa (32-7-1, 14) [粉川拓也], in a fan friendly bout.
The fight started fast with the the challenger closing the distance and getting right in Akui's face. It was a smart gameplan from Kogawa, who was using he experience to know that he had to prevent Akui from getting full leverage on his shots if he was to have a chance of winning. Although Kogawa had success at neutralising much of the power of Akui, he did struggle to get his own shots, and Akui was picking nice shots on the inside, even if he was incredibly cramped for space. The tactic from Kogawa was a genius one, especially given Akui's reputation as a destructive in the early stages. Kogawa looked to do the same thing in round 2, again making the bout physical, rough and preventing Akui from getting full extension on his shots. It was, again, the right tactic, but again one that
Kogawa simply didn't have the output or power to make really work for him.
As the fight went on Kogawa continued to press, hustle and keep things close, it was a tactic that made the fight really exciting, took away Akui's biggest strength, but one that saw Kogawa having limited success as Akui's younger legs began to create more space as the rounds went on, and his busier hands stopped Kogawa from taking rounds. The resulted in all 3 judges having the bout 50-45 when the scores were announced after 5 rounds, and by then it seemed clear that Kogawa had nothing to really trouble Aku, but had the tools to pull a fan friendly war from the champion.
Sadly in the second half Kogawa's low output didn't change, instead Akui picked up his output, landing flurries of eye catching blows before taking some back from Kogawa, who gave a great effort but was out worked, out landed, and out punched. He was always giving a genuine account of himself, and but at 36 he just seemed to lack the energy, speed and work rate to make things work for him, and at times, late on, he looked to be relying on his legendary heart as much as anything.
After 10 rounds we went to the final bell, and whilst there wouldn't have been any complaint if a judge had given Kogawa sympathy round, all 3 judges had this 100-90, a fair and accurate score in what was a very entertaining, though pretty one-sided, action bout.
After taking the decision Akui stated he was wanting to land a world title fight this year, and there is a pretty good chance he'll get one, possibly against old foe Junto Nakatani (22-0, 17) [中谷 潤人], the current WBO world champion. As for Kogawa it's unclear what's next. He stated he wants to continue his career, but will talk to his team before making an official decision on what he'll be doing next.
Japanese Flyweight champion Seigo Yuri Akui (16-2-1, 11) [阿久井政悟] will be looking to make his third defense tomorrow as he takes on popular veteran Takuya Kogawa (32-6-1, 14) [粉川拓也] in Okayama. Today, ahead of their bout, the two men took part in their weigh in, and both men made the 112lb limit with no issues at all.
On the scales the hart hitting champion came in at around 111.25lbs, comfortably under the limit, whilst looking very strong and powerful. He explained that he didn't eat too much over the new year holiday, and has been living a healthy life recently, though making weight was still tricky, he's done it steadily this time. The fact he's so far under the limit, would suggest that this is a good learning experience for him, and we dare suggest he might continue to keep his weight down going forward.
As for Kogawa he came in at 111.75lbs and looked in brilliant shape himself, despite being 36 years old now. He admitted to having eaten this morning, and still made weight without any issues. Notably he explained that whilst Akui was focussed on looking at a world title fight, he was looking to become a Japanese champion again, which would mark his third reign as a national champion, and it seemed his desire was genuinely to win the title, and not look beyond Akui.
Related-Akui takes on veteran Kogawa in Japanese title defense
Earlier today news broke from Japan that Japanese Flyweight champion Seigo Yuri Akui (16-2-1, 11) [阿久井政悟] would be returning on February 27th to make his third defense of the Japanese title, as he takes on popular veteran Takuya Kogawa (32-6-1, 14) [粉川拓也].
The bout will take place at the Suntopia, in Soja, Okayama, a venue that Akui will see as his boxing home, having fought 5 times in the venue. Notably however this will be his first defense in the venue, and his first bout there since blasting Yoshiki Minato back in 2019. The hard hitting champion won the title just 6 months later, and since then has notched defenses against Seiya Fujikita and Taku Kuwahara, whilst moving towards a potential world title fight.
As for Kogawa, the 36 year old is a proper veteran of the sport, and someone who has been around at the top level numerous times, but someone who is looking like father time, and a hard career, is catching up with him. In his prime he was a definite top 10 in the Flyweight division, but that prime was around a decade ago. Now a days he looks like a man who is only a single clean shot away from being taken out, as we saw in 2019 when he faced Jayr Raquinel. At his best he would have been a handful for Akui, but the Kogawa of the last few years hasn't looked the same, and in fact he's been on a bit of a downfall since suffering a 2016, which was a huge year for him, but one that certainly seemed to take it's toll.
A win for Akui is expected to move him to within touching distance of a world title fight, and potentially end Kogawa's career. As for Kogawa, a win would be massive at this point of his career and potentially give him one last run on top of the domestic scene.
Earlier today at Korakuen Hall Kadoebi put on their latest show, which will be added to the Boxing Raise archive in the near future.
The card wasn't a big one, and sadly became smaller when a scheduled bout between Seiya Tsutsumi (5-0-2, 4) [堤聖也] and Tulio Kuwabata (3-1-1, 2) [桑畑凜生] was cancelled on Monday when Kuwabata was taken to hospital due to poor physical condition.
Despite not being a big show it did feature some notable names, and with that in mind we've decided to go through the results from the show.
In the opening bout fans saw Taiga Ito (4-2) [伊藤大賀] score his latest win, as he took a 4 round unanimous decision against fellow novice Tatsuya Aizu (3-11, 3) [會津タツヤ]. From the off Ito was too sharp and too accurate for Aizu, though credit to Aizu for giving a fair effort through out the bout. The scores for this were 39-37, across the board, and with this win Ito has now been promoted to a B class fighter in Japan.
In the second bout on the show fans saw the hard hitting Yoji Saito (3-1-2, 3) [齊藤陽ニ] score a 2nd round KO win over Takahiro Araki (12-10, 4) [荒木 貴裕]. The heavy blows of Saito dropped Araki in round 2. Although he got back to his feet the referee complete the 10 count, with Araki in no fit state to continue.
The third bout was a really competitive one with Yuichiro Kasuya (14-3-2, 4) [粕谷 雄一郎] being pushed all the way by Mirai Naito (8-3, 3) [内藤未来] in a very hotly contested 8 rounder. Kasuya was more aggressive in the early stages than we've seen him in the past, though sadly that aggression resulted in headclashes, leaving Naito cut. Both men began to up the ante in rounds 3 and 4 and it was a genuinely exciting contest, with both men letting shots go, and trying to control the pace and tempo.
Sadly for Naito the cleaner, crisper shots in the later stages seemed to come from Kasuya, who's extra touch of class impressed the judges. After 8 rounds all 3 judges turned in identical scores, of 77-75, giving Kasuya a razor thin win.
In the main event of the show former world title challenger Takuya Kogawa (31-5-1, 13) [粉川拓也] battled Shun Kosaka (16-7, 4) [小坂駿] in an 8 round Flyweight bout. From the opening round Kogawa set the pace, looking to come forward, though to his credit Kosaka responded well and landed some nice counter shots of his own.
As the bout went on Kosaka got on his toes more, moved around the ring and started to try to box on the outside. Kogawa however seemed determined to try and turn this into a fight, pressing forward, even if it did result in him missing. A lot. In the end however it was the pressure, offense and work rate of Kogawa that impressed the judges, and they all scored the bout for him, with scores of 77-75, twice, and 78-74.
Whilst this is a second straight for Kogawa, following a brutal KO loss a few years ago, it's very clear the 35 year old has lost a few steps from his prime and we really do wonder just how much more his body can take in the sport. As for Kosaka this is a 4th loss in 5 bout.
Tomorrow at Korakuen Hall we'll be getting the latest show from the "Slugfest" series of events, promoted by Kadoebi.
As reported earlier in the week the main event from the show has had to change, due to the late cancellation of the anticipated match up between Seiya Tsutsumi (5-0-2, 4) [堤聖也] and Tulio Kuwabata (3-1-1, 2) [桑畑凜生], with Kuwabata being hospitalised earlier this week. Despite that we still a solid show.
The weigh in for the event took place earlier today and all the fighters managed to make weight.
The new main event of the show will see former world title challenger Takuya Kogawa (30-5-1, 13) [粉川拓也] battle against Shun Kosaka (16-6, 4) [小坂駿] in a Flyweight bout. On the scales today Kogawa was around 111.8lbs and looked in great shape. Kosaka, who also looked in good shape, was slightly lighter at 111.3lbs.
The chief support bout will take at Lightweight and will see Yuichiro Kasuya (13-3-2, 4) [粕谷 雄一郎] face off with Mirai Naito (8-2, 3) [内藤未来]. On the scales today both men came in at an identical 134.7lbs. Of the two Kasuya looked in slightly better condition though both looked very good, and this should be a very interesting bout, even if it's not the most action packed.
Another notable fight on this show will see the always fun to watch Yoji Saito (2-1-2, 2) [齊藤陽ニ] take on Takahiro Araki (12-9, 4) [荒木 貴裕] in a Super Featherweight bout. On the scales Saito was the much heavier man, weighing in at 129.6lbs whilst Araki was just 129lbs and looked like the smaller man when the two stood next to each other.
The shows opening bout will see Taiga Ito (3-2) [伊藤大賀] battle against Tatsuya Aizu (3-10, 3) [會津タツヤ] in a 4 round Middleweight bout. On the scales Ito came in at 159.2lbs whilst Aizu was slightly heavier, at around 159.4lbs.
For fans wanting to watch the show it will be made available on Boxing Raise, albeit on tape delay.
(Image credit - Boxingnews.jp)
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