Yesterday at Korakuen Hall fight fans got the latest show from Misako Gym, and it was an interesting one, that looked great on paper and had a nice mix of action in the ring.
The first bout of note on the show saw Akira Hoshuyama (8-0, 4) [宝珠山晃] continue his rise through the ranks, as he defeated former amateur standout Tomoki Kawasaki (2-3) [川崎智輝] in an 8 rounder. From the off Hoshuyama looked to start fast and get his nose into the lead, Kawasaki tried prevent that from happening but was dropped in the opening round. From there on Hoshuyama seemed to be the busier man, whilst Kawsaki seemed to land the cleaner blows. Unfortunately for Kawasaki it was Hoshuyama was managing to catch the eyes of the judges, with the judges turning in scores of 79-72, twice, and 77-74. The wide seemed too wide here, but it did feel like the right guy won.
The second bout of note was much more dramatic, with Homura Fujita (9-1, 7) [藤田裕崇] stopping Kaiki Yuba (8-2-2, 5) [湯場海樹] in what was an action packed shoot out. Fujita was down twice in the opening round, once from a straight left and once from a right hook, and seemed to barely make it through the round, as he needed to clinch to get to the bell. Fujita was then deducted a point in round 3, before dropping Yuba twice in round 4 to secure his win, in what was a sensational comeback. After the bout Fujita stated that he was now interested in landing a title fight, and if that can't be done he wants to face strong opponents.
The first of two title bouts saw Japanese female Minimumweight champion Nanako Suzuki (7-2, 1) [鈴木なな子] retain her title and secure her first defense as she out-pointed Sarasa Ichimura (4-11-1) [一村更紗] in a surprisingly competitive bout. This was competitive from the off, with Ichimura setting a good tempo early on and dropping Suzuki in the opening round. Suzuki battled back hard, rebounding well, but was caught by counters in the final stages of the bout. Ichimura also ended the bout well, taking the final round, but it wasn't enough, with the champion retaining with scores of 57-56, twice, and 58-55.
The main event saw Japanese Super Flyweight champion Kenta Nakagawa (22-4-1, 12) [中川健太]retain his title with a surprisingly easy win over Hayate Kaji (15-2, 9) [梶颯]. On paper this was an excellent match up, between a talented but fading veteran and a youngster with a point to prove. Sadly however Kaji essentially no showed in the ring as Nakagawa neutralised him with technical skills and good movement, racking up the rounds without Kaji getting any success until it was too late. The judges really found it hard to give Kaji anything, as he fought a timid fight, pressing but never showing the desire needed to turn things around. After 5 rounds Nakagawa was leading 50-45 and 49-46, twice, and by the later stages he had slowed down, going into something of a cruise to the bell, allowing the scores to look more respectable. After 10 rounds the scores were 97-93, twice, and 96-94, all in favour of the champion. For Kaji this is a second loss at title level, and this one will be much harder to bounce back from than his controversial loss to Ryoji Fukunaga late last year.
Back in April we saw Kenta Nakagawa (21-4-1, 12) [中川健太] become a 3-time Japanese Super Flyweight champion, as he beat veteran Hiroyuki Kudaka (28-19-4, 11) [久髙寛之], who retired after the bout ending his long career. Today we learned what was next for Nakagawa, with the news being that he will return to the ring on August 9th to defend his title against Hayate Kaji (15-1, 9) [梶颯], who gets his second shot at a title.
The 36 year old Nakagawa has been a professional since 2004 and early on his career was a bit stop start, with a big break between his 3rd and 4th bouts. Since then however he has had notable success. He first won the Japanese Super Flyweight title in 2016, when he narrowly defeat Hayato Kimura, but his reign lasted just 5 months as he lost the title to Ryuichi Funai in his first defense. He recaptured the title in 2019 when he defeated Takayuki Okumoto and made one successful defense, beating Yuta Matsuo, before losing in 10 rounds to Ryoji Fukunaga in a triple title unification bout. Since that loss he has notched up two wins, including the one over Kudaka.
Aged 24 Kaji is one of the most unlucky fighters in Japan. He was long tipped for success but has struggled to make the mark many expected of him. He debuted in 2015, winning the All Japan Rookie of the Year as a teenager. That seemed to set him up for big things, but it took until 2021 for him to land a big fight, as he got a shot at the 3 titles held by Ryoji Fukunaga in October 2021, losing a very controversial majority decision. Had he won that bout there's a very good chance he would have been offered a world title bout with Kazuto Ioka at the end of 2021, a shot that went to Fukunaga. Sadly he's been inactive since that bout.
The fight between the two men will take place on August 9th at Korakuen Hall as the main event of a Diamond Glove show. The show will be a pretty notable one, with a Japanese female Minimumweight title bout between Nanako Suzuki (6-2, 1) [鈴木なな子] and Sarasa Ichimura (4-10-1) [一村更紗], a mouth watering clash between Homura Fujita (8-1, 6) [藤田裕崇] and Kaiki Yuba (8-1-2, 5) [湯場海樹] and a bout between Akira Hoshuyama (7-0, 4) [宝珠山晃] and Tomoki Kawasaki (2-2) [川崎智輝].
Earlier today at Korakuen Hall Kadoebi and Dangan put on a rather small but notable show with 7 bouts in total, including a double title bout in the main event and several other noteworthy bouts featuring professional novices. For fans not at Korakuen Hall, the event was streamed online through the excellent Boxing Raise service.
The event kicked off with a 4 rounder between Temple Kamihara (3-1) [テンプル神原] and Kaito Itai (2-2, 1) [板井 海都]. Kamihara got off to the ideal start, dropping his man in the opening round, and controlled the bout through out, taking a clear and wide 4 round decision, 40-35, twice, and 39-36.
The second bout, also a 4 rounder, was a much closer contest which ended in a majority decision win for Daisuke Sumita (3-1, 1) [墨田 大祐], who over-came Fuki Ishigaki (3-3, 2) [石垣 芙季]. Sumita, returning almost almost 5 years away from the ring, looked to take control of the range and managed to ease himself into the bout. As the rounds went on the pace, from both, picked up, with Ishigaki trying to fight his way into the bout, giving us a thrilling finish. After 4 rounds this was 39-37, twice, and 38-38.
A planned 6 rounder between female fighters Megumi Hosoda (3-2) [細田めぐみ] and Honoka Kano (3-0-1, 2) [狩野ほのか] was supposed to be next, before it was cancelled in the build up to the show. As a result the third bout on the card was between Masaki Kobayashi (6-2, 3) [小林 柾貴] and Kojiro Nishikawa (5-3-1, 2) [西川 宏次郎], which saw Kobayashi taking a clear 6 round decision. Kobayashi boxed well here, countered well, and deserved the victory, his first since September 2019. The judges for this one turned in cards of 58-56, twice, and 59-55, all to Kobayashi.
The first of the standout novices to compete on this show was Josuke Nagata (1-0) [永田 丈晶] who took a 6 round decision win over Koji Tsurumi (5-4-1, 2) [鶴海 高士]. The talented Nagata, who had around 60 bouts as an amateur, started well, looked sharp and his jab seemed to land well early on, and he even dropped his man in round 3. Tsurumi however wasn't there to just make up the numbers and instead he fought like a man who was determined to score the upset and he dug deep, making Nagata work hard through the 6 round distance. In the end Nagata earned the win, with scored of 59-54, twice, and 58-55.
In a peculiar 5 round bout Ryo Shintomi (6-6-1) [新冨 凌] took a split decision over Kengo Hatsushika (3-5-2, 2) [初鹿 健吾]. This was hotly contested through out, with an exciting exchange almost at the opening bell. From there it was hard to split the two men, with Hatsushika landing some great shots up top and Shintomi attacking the body well. In the end it was the pressure and work rate of Shintomi that was just enough to earn him the decision, but this was one that could easily have swung the other way. A very tight, well fought, and well matched bout.
In the chief support bout we saw the talented Jukiya Iimura (2-0, 1) [飯村 樹輝弥] take a very hotly contest decision over former amateur stand out Tomoki Kawasaki (0-1) [川崎 智輝], who was unsuccessful on his professional debut. This was high level boxing from both from the opening moments. both men showed solid understanding of the ring, and the sport, using their jabs well, setting traps and fighting at mid range. Despite boxing well at mid-distance Kawasaki fell behind, with Iimura landing the better shots, and in the later stages Kawasaki began to take more risks, getting close, and pressing more. Despite that pressure he couldn't do enough to turn the bout around, and after 6 rounds all 3 judges had this 58-56 to Iimura. Although Kawasaki lost here he has a very bright future ahead of him, and Iimura is someone we were impressed by in his debut. Keep an eye out for both of these men going forward.
In the main event we saw Ryoji Fukunaga (14-4, 14) [福永亮次] retain his WBO Asia Pacific and JBC Super Flyweight titles as he stopped the under-sized Takahiro Fujii (12-7-1, 3) [藤井貴博]. From the off this was a case of seeing how much Fujii could withstand, and credit to him for trying to fight the much bigger, better, stronger Fukunaga. Sadly however Fujii's resistance couldn't last forever and in round 8 the power shots of Fukunaga took their toll, dropping him hard with a brutal 1-2. The referee needed no time to stop this one, waving the bout off before Fujii began to get medical help.
Although the main event was a mismatch, it was actually good to see Fukunaga in a bout where he didn't have to walk through fire to pick up a win, and given his last two bouts were punishing wars it's hard to complain about him getting an easy amd less punishing bout here.
Earlier this week we reported that triple crown champion Ryoji Fukunaga (13-4, 13) [福永亮次], would be defending his WBO Asia Pacific, OPBF and Japanese Super Flyweight titles on May 22nd against Takahiro Fujii (12-6-1, 3) [藤井貴博]. It's now been announced that that bout will be one off two title bouts on the show, with the other being a Japanese female title bout.
That second title bout will see Kanako Taniyama (3-1-1, 1) [谷山佳菜子] and Yuko Henzan (8-10-4, 2) [平安山裕子] battle for the Japanese female Bantamweight title.
Entering the bout Taniyama, a 34 year old fighter from the Watanabe gym, will be the #1 ranked contender for the belt whilst Henzan, who is slightly younger at 33, will enter as the #3 ranked contender.
Taniyama turned professional in 2018, following a career in Karate and Kickboxing, and the expectations were high for her. So high in fact that she fought for the Japanese and OPBF female titles in just her third fight, battling to a draw with Tomoko Okuda. A rematch with Okuda soon afterward resulted in a narrow technical decision loss for Taniyama. On paper her 3-1-1 (1) record is underwhelming, but given Okuda has since gone on to win the WBO female Super Flyweight title the sets are nothing to be ashamed by. In fact it was Okuda vacating the title that has left it open for this bout to take place.
Henzan on the other hand has been a professional since 2010. She failed to win any of her first 4 bouts, going 0-3-1, and was 1-5-2 after 8 bouts. Since then she has managed to turn things around somewhat, going 7-5-2, but she has also lost her last 3 bouts.
Whilst not the greatest match up out there it's not a terrible bout to add to a card that already features Jukiya Iimura (1-0, 1) [飯村 樹輝弥] against Tomoki Kawasaki (0-0) [川崎 智輝] and Mikio Sakai (3-0) [酒井 幹生] taking on veteran Koshinmaru Saito (24-10-2, 13) [斉藤伸介].
A week or so ago it was revealed that DANGAN would be promoting 3 events over 2 days in May, with the dates of May 22nd and May 23rd being set for the events. Other than those minor details little was know about the 3 shows.
Today DANGAN went on to announce the details of the first of those 3 shows, which will take place on May 22nd at the Sumida City Gymnasium, will heavily feature Kadoebi promoted fighters and will be promoted as "Dangan 239 & Slugfest".
The show will be headlined by triple crown champion Ryoji Fukunaga (13-4, 13) [福永亮次], who will be defending his WBO Asia Pacific, OPBF and Japanese Super Flyweight titles against the unheralded Takahiro Fujii (12-6-1, 3) [藤井貴博], who has won hid last 3 and over the likes of Tatsuya Terada and Sonin Nihei during his current run.
Fukunaga had a brilliant 2020, a career defining year in fact. He began the year with a brilliant win over Froilan Saludar, in February, to claim the WBO Asia Pacific title, then beat down Kenta Nakagawa in December to win the Japanese and OPBF titles, to become a triple crown winner. Given those two bouts, which were tough, damaging and punishing battles, we can hardly complain about him having an easier one here against Fujii. As for Fujii this is a massive step up in class, however he may well be getting a shot at Fukunaga at the right time, given the incredible punishment Fukunaga has gone through in his last few bouts.
On the under-card for this show will be a bout between talented 27 year old hopeful Mikio Sakai (3-0) [酒井 幹生] and veteran Koshinmaru Saito (24-10-2, 13) [斉藤伸介], in a big step up bout for Saito. A win for Saito will likely result in him moving into the Japanese rankings, but Saito is true veteran and will not be there to roll over for the skilled Sakai, despite a staggering 15 year age difference between the two men.
Another under-card bout will be a 6 rounders between Jukiya Iimura (1-0, 1) [飯村 樹輝弥] and Tomoki Kawasaki (0-0) [川崎 智輝], which was originally planned for later this month but appears to have been delayed for 2 months to fit on this show instead. Despite the delay we're really looking forward to this one, and we were really impressed by Iimura's debut earlier this year.
A final under-card bout for this show will be a 6 rounder between 23 year old puncher Hiroto Hoshi (4-2-2, 3) [星大翔] and 32 year old Kojiro Nishikawa (5-2-1, 2) [西川宏次郎] in what should a pretty competitive show opener.
Although yet to be officially confirmed, it is expected that this will be available on Boxing Raise, potentially as a live show, as DANGAN look to fill up the scheduled for the service, which has been lacking to begin this year.
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