Tomorrow at Korakuen Hall fight fans will be able to enjoy a show from the Misako Gym. The show isn't a huge one but it is one headline by WBO female Super Flyweight champion Tomoko Okuda (7-2-2, 1) [奥田朋子], who is defending her title against Miyo Yoshida (14-2) [吉田 実代], the woman she beat for the belt last year.
Today, a day before their bout, the two women took part in their weigh in and both fighters made weigh with no issues at all.
On the scales the champion was around 114.6lbs, and she stated that she lost more weight for this bout than she had usually. Despite that the champion stated that she prepared well and revealed that rematches in women's boxing are normal, much like this bout. Despite this being a rematch she did say she was wanting to show off some new tricks in this performance and she has been training with the focus on improving her technical ability, and her jab.
Yoshida, the short fighter, was actually the heavier fighter here, coming in at around 114.7lbs. She explained that in her first bout with Okuda she had limited chances to train, but that's no the case here and it seems like she has now settled into training at the Misako Gym, with Hiroki Shiino and Kenta Kato being her main trainers. She's also been encouraged by WBC Light Flyweight champion Kenshiro Teraji, who told her to enjoy boxing more.
In regards to the rematch, Yoshida stated "There is no fighter who has a chance to fight the same opponent again and escape.", and explained that she had turned down a chance to move to Flyweight, to instead face Okuda here.
Related - Okuda and Yoshida II - Repeat or revenge?
(Image credit - Misako Gym)
Earlier today Misako Gym announced WBO female Super Flyweight champion Tomoko Okuda (7-2-2, 1) [奥田朋子] would make her first defense on June 29th at Korakuen Hall, as she defends the belt against Miyo Yoshida (14-2) [吉田 実代], the woman she beat for the title last December.
Last year Yoshida went into the bout looking to make her second defense of the title, but came up short in a rough and tough bout with Okuda, who took the belt via a 6th round technical decision.
Given the frustrating ending of the bout, which came when Okuda was left badly cut, a rematch was always a very real possibility, and the decision to get it sorted makes a lot of sense. Even if it does come about 6 months after their first bout, and neither woman was particularly busy in the ring in 2020.
Coming in to this rematch Okuda will be full of confidence, though will be going into Yoshida's back yard of Tokyo, with their first bout taking place in Osaka.
On the other hand Yoshida will be determined to reclaim the title, which she originally won in June 2019, when she beat Casey Morton via a wide 10 round decision.
At the moment no other details of this show have been announced, though the under-card is expected to be revealed in May at the latest. We suspect it will be a strong under-card, or have a strong co-feature, as whilst this is a good bout, it's perhaps not the big fan draw that promoters will be wanting to headline a late summer card.
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].
Earlier today the nominations for the JBC and Tokyo Athletic Press Club Boxing Subcommittee annual awards were announced, with the media being able to vote on the winners, who will be announced later this month. Unlike usual there will not be a big event ceremony, due to the ongoing Covid19 situation.
Sadly Covid19 really did destroy the boxing calendar in Japan and only a handful of top Japanese fighters managed to squeeze a fight into the year. In fact only 3 of the 7 current male world champions managed to fight, and that include a man who won his world title late year.
The fighters nominated for the "Best Fighter" award were those 3 champions that manage to fight last year:
They were WBO Super Flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka (25-2, 14) [井岡一翔]
WBO Flyweight champion Junto Nakatani (21-0, 16) [中谷 潤人]
And unified WBA "super" and IBF Bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue (20-0, 17) [井上 尚弥]
Those 3 champions are also up in the running for the "Skill Award".
The "Special Merit" award sees Junto Nakatani in the running alongside:
Masayoshi Nakatani (19-1, 13) [中谷正義]
and Hironori Mishiro (10-0-1, 3) [三代大訓]
The Effort/Fighting Award short list is
Ryoji Fukunaga (13-4, 13) [福永亮次]
and Kenichi Horikawa (41-16-1, 14) [堀川 謙一]
The KO award has 4 nominees, with Inoue, Ioka, and both Junto and Masayoshi Nakatani.
The newcomer award sees Mishiro up against:
Daishi Nagata (15-2-2, 6) [永田大士]
and Masamichi Yabuki (12-3, 11) [佐藤政道]
The best bout of the year has been split into two categories, as it has been for a while.
The world title bouts up for the award are:
Kazuto Ioka Vs Kosei Tanaka (15-1, 9) [田中恒成]
Naoya Inoue Vs Jason Moloney
Junto Nakatani Vs Giemel Magramo
As for the none world title bouts, the fights nominated here are:
Riku Nagahama [長濱 陸] Vs Kudura Kaneko [クドゥラ 金子]- For the OPBF Welterweight title
Kenichi Ogawa [尾川 堅一] Vs Kazuhiro Nishitani [西谷和宏] - Non title bout
Masayoshi Nakatani Vs Felix Verdejo - WBO Intercontinental Lightweight title
Ryoji Fukunaga Vs Kenta Nakagawa [中川 健太] - WBO Asia Pacific, JBC and OPBF triple title bout
and Hironori Mishiro Vs Masayuki Ito [伊藤 雅雪] - Non title bout
As for the female awards, the MVP nominess are:
WBO Atomweight champion Mika Iwakawa (10-5-1, 3) [岩川 美花]
WBO female Minimumweight champion Etsuko Tada (20-3-3, 7) [多田悦子]
and WBO female Super Flyweight champion Tomoko Okuda (7-2-2, 1) [奥田朋子]
The best bouts for female boxing are:
Mika Iwakawa Vs Nanae Suzuki [鈴木菜々江]
Etsuko Tada Vs Ayaka Miyao [宮尾 綾香]
and Tomoko Okuda Vs Miyo Yoshida [吉田 実代]
Tomorrow at the EDION Arena Osaka we'll see WBO female Super Flyweight champion Miyo Yoshida (14-1) [吉田 実代] defending her title for the second time, as she goes up against Tomoko Okuda (6-2-2, 1) [奥田朋子].
Today, ahead of their clash, the two fighters took part in their weigh in for the bout, and both fighters made weight.
On the scales Yoshida, who was the much shorter fighters, came in comfortably under the limit, weighing around 114.6lbs for the bout. She spoke about being the shorter fighter and suggested it wasn't going to be an issue and that she had sparred men to prepare for Okuda. She also seemed to feel that she has developed as a fighter following her transfer to the Misako Gym earlier this year and working with a new trainer.
Okuda on the other hand was bang on the limit and looked huge at the weight, though that shouldn't be too much of a surprise given that she has, mostly, been competing at Bantamweight. Interestingly she revealed that she was able to eat well and still make weight, thanks to advice from fellow fighter Shingo Kawamura. She also admitted that she didn't expect this title fight to come so soon, but is grateful for the opportunity.
For fans wanting to watch this it will be made available, on demand, on subscription service Boxing Raise.
Related - Yoshida takes on Okuda in second WBO world title defense
(Image courtesy of Misako Gym)
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