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.
A few days ago we reported that Kadoebi had announced that their next show would be taking place on March 24th at Korakuen Hall under the Slugfest banner. They also announced a number of fighters set for that show, confirming that Seiya Tsutsumi (5-0-2, 4) [堤聖也], Yuichiro Kasuya (13-3-2, 4) [粕谷 雄一郎], Takuya Kogawa (30-5-1, 13) [粉川拓也], Yoji Saito (2-1-2, 2) [齊藤陽ニ], Taiga Ito (3-2) [伊藤大賀] and Jukiya Iimura (1-0, 1) [飯村 樹輝弥] would all be involved.
Despite confirming the 6 fighters above there was no bouts announced, just the involvement of their own fighters on the show.
Today that changed with Kadoebi announce the opponents for all 6 of their fighters.
The show will open with Taiga Ito taking on the limited Tatsuya Aizu (3-10, 3) [會津タツヤ] in a 4 round Middleweight bout. On paper Ito will be seen as the favourite though he was stopped last time out in a Rookie of the Year bout whilst the limited Aizu scored a win last time out, and also boasts a clear advantage in power.
The second bout on the show will see the always fun to watch Yoji Saito battle against 33 year old foe Takahiro Araki (12-9, 4) [荒木 貴裕]. Saito is one of the fighters who always comes out throwing bombs, and is always looking for a tough, rough and brutal fight, though has struggled to get over the line and get the wins if he hasn't been able to blow opponents out. Araki on the other hand is a veteran, having been a professional since 2012, but has been stopped 5 times including in both of his last 2 bouts.
Jukiya Iimura, who really impressed in his debut this past Saturday, will be up against the debuting Tomoki Kawasaki (0-0) [川崎 智輝], in a clash of 22 year olds. On paper this looks like an all novice bout, but Iimura proved he was a very advanced novice, and his amateur record was very solid, and Kawasaki is also turning professional after a solid amateur career. This might be a 1-0 (1) guy vs a 0-0 guy but we wouldn't be surprised to see this bout outshine many of the others on the card, and to see two very young, talented fighters put on something of a show here.
The talented, though frustrating, Yuichiro Kasuya will be up against 28 year old Mirai Naito (8-2, 3) [内藤未来]. On paper this is a massive step up for Naito, the brother of Rikki Naito, but he's certainly got the tools to make a mark on the sport, and could have the aggression and energy to make life hard for Kasuya. On the other hand Kasuya is the much more talented fighter, and is an excellent technical boxer, though one who can, at times, look like he's missing that 4th and 5th gear. If Kasuya is in full flow he should win here, but if not this could become a very awkward one for him.
Former world title challenger Takuya Kogawa will feature in the chief support bout, as he takes on former OPBF and Japanese title contender Shun Kosaka (16-6, 4) [小坂駿]. For Kogawa the bout will see him trying to build on his October win against Hayato Yamaguchi, in what was a stellar performance from the veteran. Kosaka on the other hand will be looking to bounce back from an opening round blow out loss to Seigo Yuri Akui, way back in October 2019. On paper this one looks interesting, though Kosaka is 1-3 in his last 4 and will enter as the underdog.
In the main event Seiya Tsutsumi will be up against Tulio Kuwabata (3-1-1, 2) [桑畑凜生], who desperately needs a win to get his career back on track. Sadly for Kuwabata we suspect Tsutsumi will be in a mood to make a statement after a frustrating 2020 that saw him score draws against Kazuki Nakajima and Daigo Higa. Although Kuwabata is a very talented fighter we can't help but feel the power and aggression of Tsutsumi will be too much for the skills of Kuwabata.
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