Earlier today the Ohashi Gym announced the main event of their July 12th Phoenix Battle show, "Phoenix Battle 90", as well some of the under-card fights on the show.
The main event will see Japanese 154lb champion Makoto Kawasaki (13-8-1, 2) [川崎真琴] make his first defense, after winning the title earlier this month. The 37 year old veteran will be facing off with Ryosuke Maruki (18-7-1, 13) [丸木凌介], who is set to get his second shot at the title.
Kawsaki's title win, which came on April 2nd when he beat Koki Koshikawa, saw the veteran score the biggest win of his career, by far though he certainly didn't look incredible in the win and the feeling is that his reign could be short one. As for Maruki, the exciting challenger has previously come up short in a great bout with Nobuyuki Shindo, and was also stopped in a bout for the interim title against Akinori Watanabe. Given the styles of the two men, and their man flaws, it's hard to not anticipate a thrilling action bout here.
Another bout that was announced for this card will see Ryutaro Nakagaki (2-0-1, 2) [中垣龍汰朗] take on Toma Kondo (8-7-1, 1) [近藤 冬真] in a scheduled 8 rounder.
Also on the card will be former OPBF Bantamweight champion Kazuki Nakajima (11-1-1, 9 ) [中嶋 一輝], talented Flyweight Taku Kuwahara (9-1, 5) [桑原 拓], promising Lightweight Katsuya Yasuda (8-1, 5) [保田克也] as well as the debut of promising former amateur standout Yuya Tanaka (0-0) [田中湧也]. At the time of writing, none of these three have had their opponents for their bouts named.
Earlier today we had a big card, promoted by Shinsei, at the EDION Arena Osaka. The card was headlined by WBC Light Flyweight champion Kenshiro Teraji [寺地 拳四朗] battling against Tetsuya Hisada [久田 哲也] (our full write up of that one can be read here), whilst the main event deserved a lot of the attention there was also plenty to talk about from the under-card.
First the original show opener, between Yuta Nakatsuji (1-1, 1) [中逵 友太] Hayato Nishimine (2-0, 1) [西峯 勇人], was cancelled this morning after a positive PCR test. The two men made weigth yesterday but sadly a positive test left the bout being scrapped.
Due to the PCR test we then saw the event kick off, on a free stream provided by Shinsei Promotions, with a match up between Daiki Asai (1-1, 1) [浅井 大貴] and Yu Konomura (10-10-2, 4) [此村 勇]. The bout was a real must win for Asai, who turned professional last year and was stopped Kyonosuke Kameda, and he shone.
Konomura wasn't there to roll over, he never has been, but he was unable to compete with the sharpness of Asai, who looked too good through out the bout. Asai controlled much of the bout with his solid skills, but was always forced to work. In round 6 the clean shots started to accumulate, with Asai rocking Konomura and then forcing the referee to step in. After the bout Asai was over-come by emotion and was seen crying in the ring, in what seemed to be a hugely cathartic moment for him and his career.
The second bout saw the touted Kantaro Juri (3-0, 2) [重里 侃太朗] score a brutal 6th round KO win over Toma Kondo (8-7-1, 1) [近藤 冬真] in what was a really entertaining bout. Through the first few rounds Juri looked sensational, picking some great punches and landing some brilliant combinations. He really looked like something special. And then it seemed like he ran his gas tank down, and in rounds 4 and 5 he looked really gassed, and like a man who was struggling with the tempo he had chosen to set. With Juri slowing Kondo began to turn the fight around, applying pressure and really giving a tired looking Juri a test. Sadly for Kondo his great effort came to an end in round 6, when he took a huge counter right hook that sent him down hard. The referee didn't issue a count. He didn't need to. Kondo was done.
In the final under-card bout we got a thriller as talented teenager Ayumu Hanada (6-0, 4) [花田 歩夢] narrowly over-came the heavy handed Mammoth Kazunori (6-4-1, 6) [マンモス和則] in a 6 rounder that is worth checking out.
Early on Hanada looked fantastic. He was sharp, he was accurate, and he was boxing smart. He picked his shots well, dropped Kazunori and looked the absolute boss. He seemed to be completely in charge through the first 3 rounds and even seemed like he could score a stoppage if he chose to put his foot on the gas. But then things changed. Kazunori, knowing he was a long way behind, stopped trying to box with Hanada and instead started looking for a KO. With every shot. He was turning this into a shoot out and it made for some amazing action as Kazunori launched big shot after big shot, and Hanada had to survive, than fire back. For the final 3 rounds this was incredible.
In the end the knockdown, scored by Hanada early on, proved vital, with Hanada winning via scores of 57-56, twice, and 58-55. Without the knockdown this would have been a majority draw.
NOTE THIS WILL FEATURE SPOILERS FOR A BOUT WHICH HAS NOT YET BEEN AIRED IN THE UK, LATIN AMERICA OR AUSTRALIA. IT HAS JUST BEEN AIRED IN JAPAN AT THE TIME OF WRITING. IF YOU DO NOT WISH TO KNOW THE RESULT CLOSE THE PAGE AND DO NOT READ BEYOND THIS PARAGRAPH. THIS IS ALL ABOUT THE WBO ASIA PACIFIC BANTAMWEIGHT TITLE BOUT BETWEEN YUKI STRONG KOBAYASHI AND DAIGO HIGA.
Later today we'll see WBO Super Flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka (25-2, 14) [井岡一翔] defending his belt against Kosei Tanaka (15-0, 9) [田中恒成] in the highly anticipated year ending Japanese super fighter. Before that bout however there were several under-card bouts taking place at Ota-City General Gymnasium.
The bout that opened the show was an 8 round Super Flyweight bout which saw Yuki Nakajima (4-1-1, 4) [中嶋 憂輝] fight to a majority decision draw again Toma Kondo (8-6-1, 1) [近藤 冬真]. The opening round saw Nakajima using his feet whilst Kondo looked to get inside. Kondo managed to gain some early momentum in rounds 2 and 3 before Nakajima finally began to settle down, and go to the body in round 4, with with some real success. The body work seemed to see Nakajima take control through the middle rounds, but in round 7 Kondo began to find his second wind as he dug deep. With the fine finely poised they went to war in round 8, fighting tooth and nail with each other.
After 8 rounds the judges couldn't split them, with two judges having the bout even, at 76-76, and the third having the contest 77-75 to Kondo.
The second bout was the WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight title bout, which saw the title change hands as Yuki Strong Kobayashi (16-9, 9) [ストロング小林佑樹] was destroyed by former WBC Flyweight champion Daigo Higa (17-1-1, 17) [比嘉 大吾].
Higa, who had looked less than stellar in his two previous Bantamweight bouts, including his October draw with Seiya Tsutsumi, found a home for his uppercut almost immediately, and he couldn't miss with it. Round after round his uppercuts connected cleanly, to both head and body. This looked more like the Higa we had all fallen in love with when he was a Flyweight, and not the man who had been forced up to Bantamweight. Kobayashi seemed to feel that the smartest gameplan was to try and get in close to Higa, which just played into Higa's strengths, and short concise combination punching and stiff shots on the inside. It was, potentially, the right game plan, but the gulf in speed, power and the crispness of the shots from the two men, saw Kobayashi punished round after round.
In round 5 Higa landed 2 brilliant right uppercuts, sending Kobayashi down for the count at the 45 second mark of round 5.
For those unsure whether Higa can cut it at Bantamweight, this bout suggests he might be able to, at least against the right fighters.
Following Higa's win Japanese fans in the venue were treat to what was described as a spectacular bout, as Ryohei Arakawa (7-4-1, 4) [荒川 竜平] out pointed 36 year old Wolf Nakano (6-8-4, 2) [中野ウルフ]. The bout was exciting from the off, with Arakawa setting a high tempo and Nakano trying to to respond. Nakano was dropped twice early on, but refused to quit, and came back strong as he looked to avenge the knockdowns. This caused an already exciting fight to feel even more dramatic, especially at the end of round 5, when Arakawa was in all sorts of trouble and seemed to be saved by the bell. Arakawa was hurt again in round 6, but survived the scare and survived to the final bell.
Despite Nakano's late fight back all 3 judges had the bout scored 57-55 to Arakawa, who takes an excellent win over the #15 ranked Japanese Flyweight.
Earlier today Kadoebi revealed that two bouts scheduled for their October 14th show at Korakuen Hall have had to be cancelled due to injuries, though the show will still go ahead.
Kadoebi first announced that scheduled 8 round bout between Yuki Nakajima (4-1, 4) [中嶋憂輝] and Toma Kondo (8-6, 1) [近藤冬真] had been cancelled. The cancellation here was down to Kondo suffering an injury in training forcing him to be pulled from the show. It's an unfortunate injury, though Kadoebi did state that this bout was "postponed", rather than out right cancelled, so there is hope that the bout could be back on later in the year. Of course that depends on the severity of Kondo's injury and how long he'll be away from the gym for.
The other was a scheduled 4 rounder between Tsuyoshi Kato (1-2) [加藤剛] and Yuto Sasaki (2-6-1, 1) [佐々木悠登], this was supposed to be the second bout on the event and appears more likely to be outright cancelled than just postponed.
With these cancellations the show will now only have 4 bouts on it, however the promoters have added a 2 round exhibition to the event, with Teruya Iimura [飯村 樹輝弥] and Jun Ikegawa [池側 純] set to partake in a special spar on the show.
Earlier today in Mie Japanese fight fans were given a small Japanese card.
The first notable bout on the card saw former OPBF Super Bantamweight champion Roli Gasca (25-8-1, 8) defeat Shuma Sugawara (6-2, 4) [菅原秀馬] in an 8 round contest. The bout, Gasca's first since November 2017, saw him starting quietly getting a read on Sugawara who tried to establish his distance. After a quiet opening round Gasca began to find his range, and landed several straights. That drew a response from Sugawara though it was Gasca who seemed to get the last work, with a good right hook landing cleanly. Sugawara tried to turn the fight around with, but his lack of a jab made life easy for the experienced and skilled Gasca, who landed straight shots as and when he wanted.
With Gasca well in the lead after Sugawara tried to turn things around in the final round, but he was unable to trap the smart Gasca, who used good footwork to see out Sugawara's offensive charge. After 8 rounds it was a clear win for Gasca, with scores of 80-73, 79-73 and 78-74.
The main event of the show saw Youth Super Flyweight champion Yuto Nakamura (10-5, 7) [中村祐斗] successfully defending his title against Toma Kondo (7-5, 1) [近藤冬真], in a nail biter.
The fight was a hard to one to split from the off, with two of the judges having the bout even after 4 rounds, The champion looked to establish control behind his jab but the challenger brought the action and had more than his share of success, responding to everything Nakamura did. The fight wasn't just competitive early on but also in the second half, with Nakamura tagging the body of Kondo whilst Kondo pressed, especially in round 8. It was a nip and tuck affair, and that showed on the scorecards with scores of 77-75 to Nakamura, 77-76 to Kondo and a deciding score of 78-75 to Nakamura, who retained his title with a split decision here.
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