Earlier today the Ohashi Gym put on a big show at Korakuen Hall, with the showing have several notable stories from it. Here's we're going to take a look a few of those.
First before the main show there was two very notable youngster who took part in the pro-test bouts. They were Toramasa Imanaga (0-0) [今永虎雅] and Yuya Tanaka (0-0) [田中湧也] , who both passed, and both are set to make their debuts in the near future.
After passing their tests the two men spoke to the media, with Imanaga stating "From now on, I will do my best to become a world champion. I am planning to make my debut on June 29th, so I will win firmly there."
Tanaka on the other hand told reporters "I am very happy to be a long-sought professional. My goal is to continue to do my best to win the debut match."
Another notable story from the show was the ring return of hard hitting Japanese youngster Jin Sasaki (12-1, 11) [佐々木尽] who began his campaign as a Welterweight with a 5th round TKO against Japanese based American Marcus Smith (7-2-1, 7) [マーカス・スミス]. Sasaki, who hadn't fought since being stopped by Andy Hiraoka last year, struggled with his timing and range in the early going, but began to settling in round 3, with some big hooks. Round 4 was competitive but it was becoming clear that Sasaki was the fresher and better fighter and that was shown when he seemed to hurt Smith late in the round. In the following round Sasaki landed a huge left hook that hurt Smith and the referee quickly jumped in as Sasaki began to unload.
Another notable bout on this card saw former K-1 World Grand Prix Super Bantamweight Champion Yoshiki Takei (4-0, 4) [武居由樹] make a statement as he layed out Shingo Kawamura (15-9-4, 8) [河村真吾] in 2 rounds. Takei was the big favourite here, despite taking a huge step up from his first 3 bouts, and he showed his class, strength and skills through the first round, despite Kawamura trying to close the distance behind a high guard. It was clear Takei wasn't looking for rounds, and early in round 2 he landed some good body shots before detonating with a right hook that dropped Kawamura hard. The referee immediately waved the action off, with Kawamura being taken from the ring on a stretcher.
Earlier today it was announced that we would see former 3 weight world champion Kosei Tanaka (16-1, 9) [田中恒成] return to the ring on June 29th, as he challenges OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight champion Masayoshi Hashizume (19-0-2, 11) [橋詰 将義], with two men battling for the Hashizume's WBO Asia Pacific title.
The bout will take place at Korakuen Hall, as Tanaka returns to the hallowed venue for the first time since his 2014 win over Ryuji Hara, a win that saw him claim the OPBF Minimumweight title, and made fans really sit up and take note of him. That was just his third professional bout. Since then, he has gone on to win world titles at Minimumweight, Light Flyweight and Flyweight, and challenge for the WBO Super Flyweight title, losing to Kazuto Ioka in 2020.
Interesting this will also be the third successive bout that Ioka will have against either a current, or former, Ioka Gym fighter. Having lost to Ioka at the end of 2020, beaten Sho Ishida in 2021, and now facing Hashizume.
As for Hashizume this will be his first defense of the title he won earlier this year, when he beat Akio Furutani in a very competitive bout. A win for him here would open the door for him to potentially fight for a world title. This is, quite clearly, a huge step up in class for him, but a win would give his career a massive boost, and really push his career along. Interestingly his OPBF title isn't up for grabs here, though no reason was made clear in the announcement of the bout
Much like Tanaka's previous bout at Korakuen Hall, this will come on a Hideyuki Ohashi promoted card, with the show being held under the Phoenix Battle banner. The card will also feature a Japanese Youth Super Flyweight bout, as Yasuhiro Kanzaki (7-2-1, 2) [神崎靖浩] takes on Yoshiki Minato (10-5, 5)[湊義生] for the vacant title, in what should be a genuine barn burner.
Others scheduled for this card include former amateur standout Toramasa Imanaga (0-0) [今永虎雅] and teenage hopeful Kenta Yamakawa (0-0) [山川健太], who will both be debuting in scheduled 6 rounders.
For fans in Japan wanting to watch this show, it will be aired on Hikari TV in Japan.
Earlier today Hideyuki Ohashi revealed his latest huge signing, as he officially announced that former Japanese amateur standout Toramasa Imanaga [今永虎雅] had signed with the Ohashi Gym, and was ending his amateur carer after 126 bouts in the unpaid ranks. As an amateur Imanaga ran up an excellent record, going 113-13 (26), whilst winning 10 major amateur titles, including success National Selection tournaments, Inter High School Championships, and National Athletic Meets, and the Taipei International Tournament.
As a professional Imanaga is expected to be fighting as a Lightweight, and will be having his career guided by some of the most notable men in Japanese boxing. Ohashi will be his promoter, he will be trained by former world champion Akira Yaegashi and former world title challenge Koji Matsumoto.
Imanaga explained that he toured several gyms, and was happy to see what was out there for him before turning professional, though it appeared that the Ohashi Gym was always going to be one of the front runners for his signature, given their talent pool, training facilities and the doors the gym can open for him. It's worth noting that whilst he was impressed you the Ohashi set up, Mr Ohashi was also impressed by Imanaga, with Ohashi explaining that Imanaga had a powerful punch and good defense. He also explained that the target for Imanaga is a world title title, and that he wants to get Imanaga a Japanese ranking by the end of the year.
The plan for Imanaga is to take part in his B class protest on April 26th before making his debut in late June, on a yet to be announced Ohashi card, likely in a 6 rounder at or around the Lightweight limit.
As well as Imanaga it was also announced that Ohashi had signed 22 year Yuya Tanaka [田中湧也] and 17 year old Kenta Yamakawa [山川健太], who will both be expected to have very bright futures in the sport, under the guidance of Ohashi.
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