Earlier today we learned that the East Japan Boxing Association Monthly Award Selection Committee had announced their award winners for the month of June, naming winners for the 3 awards.
The MVP for the month was the excellent Masahiro Suzuki (6-0, 4) [鈴木 雅弘], who impressively stopped Daishi Nagata (15-3-2, 6) [永田大士] on June 10th to become the Japanese national champion at 140lbs. Whilst his reign was a short one, vacating the title less than a week after winning it, there was no doubting that his performance was a brilliant one and he was very deserving of this award on the back of it. It's going to be really exciting to see what he does next, given he's stated his intention is to move back down and fight at his more natural weight of 135lbs.
The Fighting Sprit award was won by the hard hitting Ryoji Fukunaga (14-4, 14) [福永亮次], who retained his WBO Asia Pacific and JBC Super Flyweight titles by stopping Takahiro Fujii (12-7-1, 3) [藤井貴博] on June 21st. This was really a disappointingly easy fight for Fukunaga, though he had gone through wars in his previous two bouts, and we expect he will have another war in the near future, so it's hard to complain about him winning this award.
The Newcomer award was won by 26 year old Toru Kiyota (11-4, 8) [清田亨] following his huge upset win over Tatsuya Yanagi (17-7-2, 7) [柳達也] on June 11th. Going in to that bout Yanagi was ranked in the top 5 by the JBC who are likely to put Kiyota into the rankings following his TKO victory.
Earlier today fight fans at Korakuen Hall got the latest show from Kadoebi. Although it wasn't a huge show, and had been a show cut apart by injuries that saw two bouts being cancelled in the build up to it.
Despite bouts falling through there was 3 bouts of note that were still on the show.
Th first of those saw former world title challenger Takuya Kogawa (31-6-1, 14) [粉川拓也] prove there was still life in his career, not something we expected. The veteran took on domestic foe Hayato Yamaguchi (15-9-1, 2) [山口隼人] and managed to secure a 6th round TKO. The bout was competitive and exciting early on, with both men fighting well on the inside in round 2, as the pace picked up but by round 4 the physical strength and power of Kogawa started to break down the naturally smaller Yamaguchi. Despite being on the wrong end of things Yamaguchi dug his toes in, but it was for nought and he was stopped in round 6 when Kogawa landed a series of unanswered shots.
With the win Kogawa essentially saves his career, which looked done when he was knocked out by Jayr Raquinel last year. As for Yamaguchi it's unclear where he goes form this loss.
The second bout of note saw the hard hitting Yoji Saito (2-1-2, 2) [齊藤陽ニ] pick up his second win as a professional as he stopped Masashi Wakita (10-10-2, 5) [脇田将士] inside a round. From the off Saito pressed and pressured, using his physical strength to bully Wakita on to the ropes and around the ring. From there on Saito just unloaded, whilst Wakita tried to fight back. Part way through the round Saito's pressure forced Wakita to the canvas. To his credit Wakita got to his feet but the referee waved off the bout.
For those wondering why we're excited about a guy who started the day 1-1-2, Saito is a really, really exciting guy to watch, and we saw that here. He was a good amateur, and although he's not shone as a professional he is so much fun to watch and well worth following.
The main event saw Japanese ranked Lightweights clash as Kazuki Saito (7-3, 6) [斎藤一貴] faced off with Tatsuya Yanagi (17-6-2, 7) [柳達也].
Yanagi got the first break through of the fight in the second round, dropping Saito with a left hook. The shot landed solidly, but it didn't seem like a huge shot, and was sadly a case of what we've seen before, Saito not having a great chin. To his credit Saito fought back well, making a fight of things in the following rounds. That was until round 6, when Saito found himself pinned on the ropes and Yanagi unloaded until the referee stepped in to save him from further punishment.
For Yanagi this moves him a step closer to a Japanese title fight, whilst Saito's career really is hanging by a thread now, following a third loss in 5 bouts for the talented, though fragile Kadoebi promoted Lightweight.
For fans wanting to watch these bouts they have already been uploaded to the brilliant Boxing Raise service.
Tomorrow at Korakuen Hall Kadoebi will be putting on a show under their "Slugfest" banner. Although not a huge show, and a show that was actually cut down by two bouts needing to be cancelled due to injuries, it is still an interesting one which will provide action for fans in attendance and be available on demand via Boxing Raise.
The main event of the card will see Japanese ranked Lightweights clash, with Kazuki Saito (7-2, 6) [斎藤一貴] taking on Tatsuya Yanagi (16-6-2, 6) [柳達也] in a very interesting, if somewhat easy to over-look, bout.
Today the two men took part in their weigh in for the contest and both men made the Lightweight limit, with room to spare.
On the scales Saito was the heavier man, coming in around 134.7lbs for the bout whilst Yanagi was slightly lighter, weighing in at 134.5lb. Both men looked in good shape and like they had trained hard for the bout.
Notably the two men have sparred before, around 2 years ago, with Saito seemingly still aware of Yanagi's style, and suggesting that the styles would gel well. Saito was also seemingly surprised to be the main event here, making it the first team he has headlined a card.
As for Yanagi his he spoke about giving his career a boost with a win here after a loss last year to Akihiro Kondo, and it seems like a win here could get him a title fight in the near future.
For both men a win really is needed if they are to land a big fight in 2021, and loss would really harm their hopes of getting something big any time soon.
Tomorrow at Korakuen Hall fans will see Japanese veteran Akihiro Kondo (31-9-1, 18) [近藤 明広] look to avoid a third straight loss, as he takes on Tatsuya Yanagi (16-5-2, 6) [柳達也].
Today the two men took part in their weigh in for that bout, and both men made the 62.4KG's, or around 137.8lbs, contracted weight limit.
On the scales Kondo came in bang on the contracted limit and spoke like a man who still had more to give the sport. It's been a bad year for the tough veteran, who was knocked out early in the year by Downua Ruawaiking and then beaten in July by Andy Hiraoka, but he did show real desire to remain relevant as a fighter and has clearly not given up on his career.
Yanagi on the other hand came in comfortably under the limit, weighing in at 137.4lbs. Whilst Kondo's career is faltering Yanagai has been on a roll and is 5-0-1 in his last 6 bouts, with a very notable win in May against Koichi Aso. He'll be looking to continue building his momentum here and will know that another win will move him on to the verges of a Japanese title fight.
For fans wanting to watch this we're expecting the Asign boxing youtube channel to make the bout available in the days following the bout.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
The chief support bout in today's Japanese card from the Sumida City Gymnasium saw the all action Koichi Aso (23-9-1, 15) [麻生興一] battle against Tatsuya Yanagi (16-5-2, 6) [柳達也] in what looked almost nailed on to be a really fun fight. And it delivered!
We've been treat to some amazing fights recently, and this was another with Yanagi fighting Aso's fight, and holding his own in an inside war where both men threw a huge number of shots. From the opening round to the final bell this was high tempo action and near none-stop punching, with one man, or the other, or both, throwing at any moment.
The inside stuff, of which we saw a lot of did, was expected to favour Aso, who has made his career out of banging away up close and fighting on an opponents chest, however it really didn't. Yanagi proved he could do that too, and more than held his own on the inside often forcing Aso on to the back foot. What Yanagi also managed to do was create some space when he needed to, and work at mid range and catch his breath before resuming the up-close battle of attrition. That versatility showed there was more to him than there was to Aso, who really only had one game plan, albeit a very fan friendly one.
The tempo seemed to take a toll on Yanagi in the middle rounds, as he seemed to begin getting out worked by Aso during some totally incredible exchanges. Despite that he gutted things out and refused to let Aso dominate any round. That determined doggedness paid off big time for Yanagi in round 7 when he badly hurt Aso, seemingly breaking his nose. A different referee would have waved it off as Aso took shots on the ropes and seemed unable to escape. The toughness of Aso however saw him battling back as the round closed in what was a real showing of heart from the popular Aso.
Given the damage Aso had taken in round 7 it was a surprise to see him out for 8 though he went out tried to bring the fight but it was another really strong round for Yanagi, who seemed to have managed to get his second wind in the final 2 rounds putting to bed any late charge for Aso.
After 8 rounds it seemed like Yanagi had done enough to get the win, and the judges agreed with scores of 79-73, twice, and 78-74.
We think the cards were a touch harsh on Aso, but completely agree with the winner in what was a truly tremendous war well worthy of a watch on Boxing Raise.
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