Earlier today it was announced that Japanese Minimumweight champion Ginjiro Shigeoka (8-0, 6) [重岡銀次朗] had vacated the Japanese national title, after having made his first defense of the belt.
Although no specific reason was given for Ginjiro's decision there are two notable reasons.
The first of those is that Ginjiro is on the verge of a world title fight. He is currently ranked #1 by the WBC, and has world rankings with the WBA, IBF and WBO. It's assumed that he and his team have lined up a world title fight for later in the year, and holding the Japanese title for an extra few weeks won't really change things.
A second reason for him vacating the title is the fact that his older brother Yudai Shigeoka (5-0, 3) [重岡優大] was set to take on Tatsuro Nakashima (11-3-1, 7) [仲島辰郎], on November 17th, in an eliminator for the title. That bout is now expected to become a battle for the vacant title, rather than the mandatory position, giving Yudai a chance to claim the Japanese title and unify it with the WBO Asia Pacific title.
Given this decision from Ginjiro, we're expecting him and his team to announce a world title fight in the next few weeks, potentially for a late December date.
Earlier today the Japan Professional Boxing Association announced the Strongest Korakuen bouts, which will take place later this year to decide the mandatory challengers for the Japanese titles in the new year, with 10 bouts being announced.
The Minimumweight bout will see WBO Asia Pacific champion Yudai Shigeoka (5-0, 3) [重岡優大] take on Tatsuro Nakashima (11-3-1, 7) [仲島辰郎], with the winner getting a show at the Japanese title, currently held by Yudai's younger brother Ginjiro Shigeoka (8-0, 6) [重岡銀次朗], who actually beat Nakashima for the title. This bout is set to take place at Korakuen Hall on November 17th.
The Light Flyweight eliminator will see Daiki Tomita (18-2, 6) [冨田大樹] battle Rikito Shiba (6-2, 3) [芝力人], though no date or venue has been announced for this bout.
At Super Flyweight we also have no date or venue set, but a mouth watering bout as Ryusei Kawaura (9-1, 6) [川浦龍生] battles Suzumi Takayama (5-0, 4) [高山涼深], in what is potentially the best looking of the bouts announced.
The Bantamweight bout bout will see Jin Minamide (6-2, 5) [南出仁] battle against Yuki Yonaha (11-3-1, 8) [与那覇勇気], in what could prove to be a very explosive bout between two flawed but hard hitting.
On the subject of interesting bouts we'll have a potentially thrilling war at Super Bantamweight as former champions Ryoichi Tamura (14-6-1, 7) [田村亮一] takes on Gakuya Furuhashi (28-9-2, 16) [古橋大輔]. Interestingly these two men also met in a Japanese title eliminator back in 2019, with Furuhashi taking a razor win over Tamura, before winning the title with a sensational battle just 4 months later.
At Featherweight former champion Ryo Sagawa (12-2, 7) [佐川遼] faces off with Daisuke Watanabe (12-5-2, 7) [渡部大介].
At Super Featherweight the hard hitting Yamato Hata (12-1, 11) [波田大和] will face Yuna Hara (11-2-1, 6) [原優奈], with this bout set to take place on October 1st at Korakuen Hall.
On paper one of the more underwhelming bouts is set to take place at Lightweight, as Shuma Nakazato (11-2-3, 7) [仲里周磨] takes on the hard hitting Ken Koibuchi (8-4-1, 7) [鯉淵健], in what might be an bout that's easy to over-look but is very likely to be an explosive encounter.
At Welterweight we're in for a treat as we get a rematch between Hironori Shigeta (8-2-1, 5) [重田裕紀] and Shoki Sakai (26-13-2, 14) [坂井祥紀], who gave us a very fan friendly bout back in 2020 with Sakai taking a clear but hard fought decision win. This bout is set to take place on October 22nd at Korakuen Hall.
At 154lbs Rei Nakajima (5-1) [中島玲] will face Koki Koshikawa (9-6, 6) [越川孝紀]. For Koshikawa he's looking to land his third shot at the Japanese 154lb title whilst Nakajima will be looking to secure his second shot at the title.
Notably there is no bout set for Flyweight, Light Welterweight or Middleweight. At the time of writing it's been reported that former world title challenger Ryota Yamauchi (8-2, 7) [山内涼太] will be getting a shot at Flyweight Cristiano Aoqui (16-9-2, 11), will get a shot at 140lbs and unfortunately there won't be a mandatory challenger for the Champion Carnival at Middleweight.
Earlier today in Okinawa fight fans had the chance to see a new Japanese Minimumweight champion being crowned as Ginjiro Shigeoka (7-0, 5) [重岡銀次朗] over-came Tatsuro Nakashima (11-3-1, 7) [仲島辰郎], and claimed his second professional title.
The bout, fought in Nakashima's home region of Okinawa, was expected to be a gimme for Shigeoka, though to his credit Nakashima put up a genuine fight and dug deep to extend Shigeoka through the 10 round distance. Albeit in a relatively one-sided fight that saw Shigeoka being forced to answer some new questions. Such as proving his stamina, and what he does when his power doesn't blow out fighters.
From the off Shigeoka pressed forward, showing his usual aggressive style. Rather than folding under that pressure Nakashima showed his toughness, and determination to fire back with some really solid counter shots. Sadly for Nakashima his success with counters didn't didn't really force Shigeoka to back off, but was enough to catch the eye of the judges early on. That success saw Nakashima get some respect from the judges, and after 5 rounds, when scores were made public, he had done enough to keep things close, with Shigeoka leading at the mid-way point thanks to scores of 48-47 and 49-46, twice.
In the second half of the fight Nakashima's success was limited, and he did more surviving than fighting back, as Shigeoka's jab consistently penetrated the defenses of Nakashima, who got on the retreat. Going in to the final rounds the real question was more about whether Nakashima would survive , and he did, in fact in round 9 he put up a genuine effort in turning the bout around and became more offensive. By then though it was too little too late, and Shigeoka remained in control to the final bell.
After 10 rounds the scorecards were announced with Shigeoka winning a wide and clear decision, with scores of 99-91, twice, and 98-92.
After the fight Shigeoka seemed to admit that he made mistakes, and was almost suggesting he was over-anxious to impress given the potential for the judges to be swayed by the fans in favour of Nakashima. He noted that he would improve and raise his level again. Whilst he is critical of him self, it is worth noting that was the first time he'd gone 10 rounds, and that will do him the world of good, rather than another early and quick win. He had to rely more on his boxing, and pressure, rather than his power and again it's something we suspect he felt he needed to show before moving onto world title fights.
As for Nakashima, he seemed to come across as someone who was disappointed not to have made more of his opportunity, whilst also stating that Shigeoka wasn't as good as expected and that he showed Shigeoka too much respect. He also explained that he wanted to build from this performance, fix his mistakes and come again.
Tomorrow in Okinawa fight fans will get the chance to see the very highly regarded Ginjiro Shigeoka (6-0, 5) [重岡銀次朗] face off with Tatsuro Nakashima (11-2-1, 7) [仲島辰郎] in a bout for the Japanese Minimumweight title. Today, ahead of their bout the two men took part in their weigh in, and neither man had any issues at all making the 105lb weight limit.
On the scales Shigeoka was 104.8lbs, comfortably under the limit. After making weight he told journalists "I'm nervous about the match in the enemy's territory", noting that this is Nakashima's boxing homeland. Despite that he did seem fairly confident of winning regardless of being the away fighter. He also added that he wanted to eat some Okinawa Soba after the weigh in.
Nakashima on the other hand was bang on the divisional limit of 105lbs. Notably he spoke about Shigeoka at the weigh in, and revealed that Shigeoka is short than expected, and whilst it's always been known that Shigeoka is short, it was still alarming to see that he was almost half a head shorter than Nakashima.
A win for Shigeoka is widely expected here, and the expectation is that following this bout his team at Watanabe Gym will look to secure him a world title fight later in the year. Despite that he can ill afford to over-look Nakashima, who has nothing to lose, and a lot to gain. Not only is the Japanese title on the line here, but a win for Nakashima would also secure him some world rankings, and help set him up for some career defining opportunities.
Related - Shigeoka goes for domestic gold as he faces Nakashima
Last month we reported that WBO Minimumweight champion Masataka Taniguchi (15-3, 10) [谷口将隆] would make his first defense in April, with a scheduled but against Kai Ishizawa (10-1, 9) [石澤開]. Today it was confirmed that, ahead of that bout, Ishizawa had vacated the Japanese Minimumweight title.
The hard hitting Ishizawa had won the title in January, when he defeated Katsuki Mori (9-1, 2) [森 且貴], and explained that coming into the bout with Ishizawa "By returning the title, if I win, I will have a belt in the world, and if I lose, I will not have anything left."
It's now expected that Ginjiro Shigeoka's (6-0, 5) [重岡銀次朗] upcoming bout against Tatsuro Nakashima (11-2-1, 7) [仲島辰郎], which is set to take place on March 27th at the City Gym, in Okinawa, will be for the title that Ishizawa has vacated.
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