On New Year's Eve we were lucky enough to see an instant classic to end the year, with WBO Super Flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka (26-2, 15) [井岡一翔] scoring an 8th round TKO over fellow Japanese fighter Kosei Tanaka (15-1, 9) [田中恒成].
The bout was a spectacular one and was shown across Japan via TBS and affiliates, as well as Paravi, as well as being shown across the world on services like Boxnation, Fox Sports Australia and ESPN in Latin America.
Today the Japanese TV viewing rate for the show, on TBS and MBS, was released. Those are the figures for the Kanto region, which includes Tokyo, Kanagawa and Saitama, as well as the Kansai region, which includes Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo.
The average viewers for the Kanto region was 10.3% whilst the number in Kansai was 10.4%.
Sadly the peak figures for the two regions haven't been reported as of yet. Neither have the other regions the bout was shown in, such as Chubu and Tohoku.
Whilst it's not accurate to turn that viewing figure into a raw number, we do need to add that seems likely that these numbers do translate in to a multi-million viewership. The numbers don't correlate directly to the local population but the Kanto region, back in 2010, had more than 42,000,000 people living there, whilst Kansai had 22,000,000 according to the 2010 census.
For comparison RIZIN, which aired on the same day on Fuji TV, had it's best part averaging 7.3%.
Whilst many in the West assumed that Tanaka was the star, it does need to be noted that in Japan Ioka is the bigger name, and was before this fight. That can be seen quite clearly if we go back to the end of 2019 where Ioka Vs Cintron drew an average of 9.4% in Kanto whilst Tanaka's bout against Wulan Tuolehazi drew 6.1%.
For those curious Japan uses the Video Research Ltd for it's TV audience measurement, like BARB in the UK and Nielsen in Japan. This is a company partially owned by advertising giant Dentsu.
In just over 24 hours we'll see WBO Super Flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka (25-2, 14) [井岡一翔] defending his title against unbeaten challenger Kosei Tanaka (15-0, 9) [田中恒成], in one of the mostly highly anticipated bouts of 2020.
The fight, which is being aired globally thanks to the likes of TBS, Boxnation, ESPN2 in Latin America and Fox Sports in Australia, is a rare Japanese fight that has genuinely caught the attention of a worldwide audience, all wanting to see something special to end a torrid 2020.
Today the two fighters took part in their weigh in for the contest, and both men made the 115lbs weight limit with no issues at all. In fact both came bang on the 115lb limit and looked in excellent physical condition.
Ioka, sporting the cornrows he showed off at the pre-fight medical yesterday, oozed confidence at the weigh in. He seemed like a man who really did believe his words, and seemed to feel that Tanaka wasn't on his level, and that he had done much more than the challenger.
After the weigh in he stated that he would be eating a meal made by his wife whilst isolating at a hotel. In regards to his condition he explained "I'm glad I was able to finish the weighing and play tomorrow with the support of my family and camp." When asked his views on the fight he was, again, scathing towards Tanaka, saying "I will prove who is the champion. I will show the difference in the rank and the level of boxing." and went on to add "I'm not looking down, but I don't care about the existence."
Before getting into the ring tomorrow Ioka plans on putting on between 4KG (8.8lbs) and 4.5KG's (9.9lbs).
As for Tanaka he seemed confidence, but like a man with a burning desire to prove a point. This wasn't the relaxed calmness of Ioka, the self assured, almost dismissive champion. Instead it was a challenger who has done all he can to prepare for a fight which, if he wins, will almost certainly make him the third biggest star in Japanese boxing. He looked incredibly on the scales, and knows it, telling interviewers that he was "in very good shape".
Like he has through the build up, he spoke about the bout being a generational change, as if he knows this is his chance to rip the torch from Ioka, and become a national star. Although well known among boxing fans, particularly those in the West where he has connected brilliantly with fans, he is still not quite the national boxing star that some suspect he is in Japan. A win here would change that, and he knows it.
On the subject of a generational shift Tanaka stated "I think the level of boxing in Japan is very high, so I want to win the 4th class and lead the boxing world. A new era of super talented people. I am prepared to lead it."
As well as both men making the 115lb weight limit, we can also report that both men had negative results in their PCR tests, which were taken yesterday.
As you're all probably aware by now the fight will be shown live around the world through through channels like TBS in Japan, Boxnation in the UK, Fox Sports in Australia and ESPN channels in Latin America, though sadly it wasn't picked up by a US TV channel.
For those in America wanting to watch we suggest a 3 day trial account with Isakura should be ordered today (December 30th) as it can take up to 12 hours to get the details sent through. More details about Isakura can be found here.
Related-The end of year clash - Kazuto Ioka Vs Kosei Tanaka
(Image courtesy of Ambition Gym)
Tomorrow at the Ota-City General Gymnasium we'll get two notable fights. The first of those will see WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight champion Yuki Strong Kobayashi (16-8, 9) [ストロング小林佑樹] battle against former WBC Flyweight champion Daigo Higa (16-1-1, 16) [比嘉 大吾]. The bout will serve as Kobayashi's second defense of the title, whilst Higa will be looking to claim his biggest win since he returned to the sport earlier this year, after a lengthy suspension.
Earlier today the two men took part in their weigh in for the bout, and both men made the Bantamweight limit with no issues at all.
On the scales a determined looking Kobayashi was 117.6lbs, and looked in solid shape. He wasn't shredded and cut to pieces, but he looked solid and like a man who was naturally fighting at his weight. Despite being well under the limit he was clearly the naturally bigger man, and was several inches taller than Higa.
Higa on the other hand weighed in on the 118lbs Bantamweight limit, making weight with no issues at all. In regards to physical shape he looked in better shape than Kobayashi, and looked relaxed, as if he had been in this situation before.
Interestingly Kobayashi wasn't too impressed by his foe's physical shape stating that Higa's body wasn't "insanely big". In face Higa, although heavier, didn't look like the bigger man at all.
For fans wanting to watch this, TBS are airing the bout at 5PM Japan time, along with Paravi, whilst Box Nation and international broadcasters are expected to air the bout after the main event.
Interestingly there is still some confusion on whether the TBS broadcast of the fight will be "live" or "as live", so for those wanting to watch that bout without spoilers, we advise being cautious about this one.
Related - WBO Asia Pacific champion Kobayashi takes on Higa as the year comes to an end!
We are now just a couple of days away from the year ending WBO Super Flyweight world title bout, pitting champion Kazuto Ioka (25-2, 14) [井岡一翔] against unbeaten mandatory challenger Kosei Tanaka (15-0, 9) [田中恒成].
Today, ahead of their bout, the two men under-went the usual pre-fight medical screening and thankfully there was no issues found with either man. They also both under-went a PCR test.
In terms of physical measurements, there really wasn't much at all between the two men. Ioka had a 2cm reach advantage and was marginally, .2cm, the taller man. Interestingly Tanaka had a thicker neck, but Ioka's chest was significantly bigger than Tanaka's
Ioka, sporting cornrows because he's not wanting to cut his hair for the fight, spoke about having Ismael Salas by his side for the fight, and spoke about wanting to repay the support of fans who have been behind him.
He once again made it clear that he feels the bout is about levels and he came across as a man confident that this is going to be a rather easy bout. He added that he was in good condition and it seemed very much like he was going about this like he has any fight, and that there nothing special about this one.
Interestingly, when compared to his last fight, Ioka seems to have changed size slight, and his reach measurement is 2cm longer than it was a year ago, when he fought Jeyvier Cintron,
As for Tanaka he seemed pumped for the fight, and stated that he was in the best condition of his career, despite moving up in weight. He spoke about how is different physically to the man he was a year ago, when he stopped Wulan Tuolehazi, and it seemed really clear that he was focused on being 100% for this bout.
To prepare for the bout has pretty much had the Hatanaka Gym in Nagoya all to himself, with Kiyoshi Hatanaka closing the gym to everyone other than people Tanaka wanted there, and Tanaka has also added to his team.
In regarding the contest it's self he echoed comments that he has made repeatedly, stating that Ioka is a good fighter, that he thinks the fight will be a great one, that he was confident and that he was aiming for a KO.
As well as the details above there was no abnormalities found in checks on the chest, abdomen, pupils or reflexes.
The bout, in Tokyo, will be shown globally through channels like TBS in Japan, Boxnation in the UK, Fox Sports in Australia and ESPN channels in Latin America, though still has no US TV Outlet, meaning US fans have the choice of trawling through illegal streams or using a service like Isakura to watch the bout live.
For those wanting to go the Isakura route, a 3 day trial will need to be ordered at some point on December 30th as it can take up to 12 hours to get the details sent through. More details about Isakura can be found here.
Related-The end of year clash - Kazuto Ioka Vs Kosei Tanaka
(Images courtesy of Ambition Gym)
Earlier today it was confirmed that Japanese fans outside of Kanto will get the chance to watch the full TBS broadcast of the New Year's Eve show thanks to subscription service Paravi.
The service has announced that they will begin their live streaming at around 17:05 local time and will show the WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight title bout between defending champion Yuki Strong Kobayashi (16-8, 9) [ストロング小林佑樹] and former WBC Flyweight champion Daigo Higa (16-1-1, 16) [比嘉 大吾]. This bout will only be aired on TV via TBS in the Kanto region, so putting this on Paravi should satisfy some fans across the country, such as those in the Kansai region or the Chukyo region.
The streaming service also appears to be set to air the WBO Super Flyweight title bout between champion Kazuto Ioka (25-2, 14) [井岡一翔] and mandatory challenger Kosei Tanaka (15-0, 9) [田中恒成]. This bout was being shown in other regions, with CBC set to air it live in Chukyo, the region that Tanaka is from. It was assumed MBS would air the bout in the Kansai region, though it's unclear if that will be the case, given that the bout event isn't currently listed on their schedule. Regardless, Paravi will have a stream for fans in region, which includes Osaka where Ioka is originally from.
Sadly for international viewers Paravi is only available in Japan, and at the time of writing no international TV coverage has been officially confirmed.
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