It feels like it's been weeks since we had stuff to be legitimately excited about, but today Teiken have out done themselves, announce the signing of 4 top Japanese amateurs who have announced they will be turning professional will the very well established Tokyo outfit.
The four men are Kenji Fujita [藤田健児], Subaru Murata [村田昴], Junya Shimada [嶋田淳也] and Kota Kaneko [金子虎旦]. Whilst some of those names will be familiar to fans of international amateur boxing others might not be, so in a minute we'll take a quick look at all 4 men, though what is clear by the signings is that Teiken are strengthening their ranks once again. The gym has taken the cream of the crop from those who failed to make it to the Olympic qualifying events, and with Tokyo 2020 now being delayed a year there's a real chance that these men may find themselves racing through the ranks quickly.
Fujita is probably the more well known of the 4 men. He is currently 26 years old and ran up a frankly stunning amateur record of 153-21 (40), winning 3 All Japan Championships, an Asian Championships bronze medal, in 2013, and competed at the World Championships. Back in November he announced he was retiring from amateur boxing, after 10 years in the sport, but left it unclear on what he would be doing. His decision to turn professional however wasn't much of a surprise and it was clear promoters would be very interested in luring him over to the paid ranks.
Of course Fujita isn't the only notable name from the new signings and Subaru Murata was also a very highly sought after fighter. Murata, who is now 23, ran up a 68-12 amateur record, took a bronze medal in the 2014 Youth Olympics, won an All Japan title and a National Sports Festival. In a comment on Teiken's website he spoke about wanting to unify the 4 Bantamweights titles and seemed to be intent on making a buzz on his debut. He's not quite the established talent of Fujita, but is going to be someone to keep a very close eye on.
The 22 year old Shimada went 58-23 in the amateurs, coming third in successive National Athletic events as a Lightweight. He appears to be turning professional at Featherweight and is probably the least well known of the 4 men. Despite that he does have international experience, and from what we under-stand he participated at the 2018 World University Championships in Russia. We see him as the dark horse of the group but given his age and extensive amateur experience we wouldn't be surprised by him being moved aggressively over the next few years.
Kaneko, who is also 22, is also turning professional at Featherweight after compiling an excellent 56-13 amateur record. His credentials aren't as impressive as the rest of the group. His results are a bit harder to find though interestingly he dd battle Murata as an amateur in 2018, losing to his new stablemate in the Japanese National Championships and that could lead to a rather fun but friendly rivalry between the two new gym mates.
At the moment it's unclear when the pro-tests for the 4 will take place, but it's obvious that all 4 men should be getting B licenses without any issue. With that said it's also unclear when any of the 4 men will debut but the expectation is that both Fujita and Murata will be fast tracked.
Japanese promotional powerhouse Teiken have continued their recent signing spree by inking up the promotional rights to touted American amateur star Jesse Rodriguez (0-0), who will work with trainer Robert Garcia.
The youngster was a real amateur standout and will be looking to show case that talent in both the East and the West with Teiken expected to have Rodriguez in a Japanese ring several times in 2017 whilst also promoting him Stateside, thanks to their connections with Top Rank and Tuto Zabala.
There is no date set yet for his debut but we're expecting an early 2017 date with bouts through the year as the youngster looks to develop into a major threat at 108lbs. It's likely that signing with Teiken will help him secure title bouts and be moved quickly into major bouts, rather than the typical slow progression of fighters in the US.
The signing of Rodriguez follows similar signings of both Brian Viloria and Joselito Velazquez, who will both be fightign under Teiken in 2017.
Yesterday saw Teiken releasing the figure of the bid they used to win the up coming WBC Super Flyweight title fight between Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (24-3-1, 22) and Carlos Cuadras (29-0, 24). The official figure was $302,000 (USD) a bid that was just $12,000 more than the one put forward by Srisaket's promoter Nakornloung Boxing Promotion.
That $12,000 could prove to be major value for Teiken who will get the champion outside of his homeland and give the challenger a big advantage. Against Srisaket however a small advantage like fighting at home may not be enough for Cuadras who will be fighting in his first world title fight.
Whilst Srisaket will be the travelling party he will also be better paid party collecting 70% of the purse bid, around $210,000. Not a bad pay day for a Super Flyweight champion.
This past week saw WBC purse bids called for the enticing Super Flyweight title bout between Thailand's destructive Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (24-3-1, 22) and Mexico's unbeaten Carlos Cuadras (29-0, 24). The winning bid, surprisingly, came from Japan's Teiken promotions.
We've since heard that the bout is likely to take place in May in Cuadras's homeland of Mexico.
For Teiken this is a great coup and a fantastic chance to get Srisaket outside of his comfort zone. In Thailand the champion is an excellent 24-0-1 (22) outside of Thailand however he is 0-3, including a loss to Japan's Akira Yaegashi. Those victories in Thailand include his title victory over Japan's Yota Sato last year and his only defense so far, which also came against a Japanese fighter in the form of Hirofumi Mukai.
In Cuadras we see a very talented and aggressive fighter though one who does have flaws and we're also unsure how he will cope with a monster like Srisaket going on the front foot against him. If he can cope with Srisaket's pressure then we may well have one of the best bouts of the year on our hands with two fighters who love to unload serious leather at their opponents.
Not specific venue or date has been set though we expect that both will be set sooner rather than later and with fireworks guaranteed we really cannot wait for this one!
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