Earlier today at Korakuen Hall fight fans got the chance to attend a small show named "Izumishinkai Medical Service presents Yamato Tamashii 13". Whilst the name is an odd one, the show it's self was certainly a notable one, with two bouts of note taking place on the event.
The show kicked off with a female all-debutant bout that saw the diminutive Shuka Furuya (1-0) [古屋柊華] take a 4 round decision over Amy Matsushita (0-1) [松下エイミー]. This was somewhat competitive, but Furuya took the win with scores of 39-37 from all 3 judges.
The second bout also went the scheduled 4 rounds with Yoshiki Iwai (1-2-1) [岩井 祥來] taking his first professional win, and over-coming Asashi Okawa (0-3) [大川 朝史]. For Okawa this was his first bout in 4 years and he did have some moments, but Iwai fought though a cut and deserved the 4 round victory. Once again all 3 judges turned in scores of 39-37 to the winner.
The third, and final, 4 rounder on the show saw the wonderfully named Joker Ryo (1-1) [ジョーカー リョウ] suffer his first loss, as he was easily beaten by Tsuyoshi Kato (2-2) [加藤 剛]. Kato, who was much, much taller than Ryo, fought at range and used his reach really well to dictate the bout and the action. After 4 rounds the judges had this a shut out to Kato.
The chief support bout saw Toshiki Kawamitsu (6-0. 3) [川満俊輝] blow away 2019 Rookie of the Year winner Kosuke Ando (8-3, 3) [安藤教祐] in just 46 seconds!
The bout came to an end after Kawamitsu landed a solid right hook that dropped Ando hard. What made this more remarkable was the fact Kawamitsu, who impressed us last year against Kenshi Noda, got the bout on short notice after JBC ranked fighter Shuri Hasebe (8-5, 2) [長谷部守里] was forced to pull out of the bout. A great performance from Kawamitsu who got an offer, took it with both hands, and made a statement.
The main event saw an upset, of sorts, as Seigo Hanamori (7-3, 5) [花森 成吾] stopped #7 JBC ranked Super Bantamweight Naoto Mizutani (7-7-2, 2) [水谷 直人] in 4 rounds. Mizutani had some earlier success, and rocked Hanamori in round 2, but from there on Hanamori began to build his own success, upping the tempo in round 3 and forcing a stoppage from the referee in round 4 as he claimed the biggest win of his career, and a fourth straight TKO win.
Earlier today the East Japanese Boxing Association announced their award winners for the month of October and we had 3 worth while winners for the month, which was, in fairness, a really good month for fights in Japan.
The MVP for the month was world ranked Super Featherweight Kenichi Ogawa (25-1-1-1, 18) [尾川 堅一], who earned the award following his October 2nd win over Kazuhiro Nishitani (21-5-1, 12) [西谷和宏]. The bout saw both men being dropped, and saw really great action through out, with Ogawa taking a clear, but very hard fought, decision. The win not only netted him this award but also moved him closer to a world title fight, with Nishitani also entering the bout as a world ranked fighter.
The Fighting Spirit Award was won by Seiya Tsutsumi (5-0-2, 4) [堤聖也] following his unexpected draw with former WBC Flyweight champion Daigo Higa (16-1-1, 16) [比嘉 大吾] on October 26th. Many had expected Tsutsumi to be easily beaten by the more well known Higa but instead Tsutsumi more than held his own, and some in the venue felt that the under-dog deserved a victory here. Sadly we've not yet seen the bout, though it will be aired on delay in Japan in around 10 days time thanks to TBS.
The Newcomer award was won by Toshiki Kawamitsu (5-0, 2) [川満 俊輝], following his win against Kenshi Noda (2-1, 2) [野田 賢史], in what was an absolutely sensational bout well worthy of a watch. Kawamitsu went into the bout without much fanfare but came out of it as a man who was worth following, and had instantly generated some real buzz. The win for Kawamitsu will open the doors to bigger fights, and if you've not seen this bout with Noda you really should, absolute barn burner by the two youngsters.
Earlier today we had the first live televised card in Japan since the sport restarted, and it was a genuine mixed bag with some low level action, some fighters that didn't click, a sensational bout in the middle of the show, an intriguing Japanese title bout in the main event.
In the opening bout of the show the debuting Kodai Kobayashi (1-0) [小林 航大], from the E&J Cassius Gym, took a clear decision win over the win-less Shunsuke Miyauchi (0-2) [宮内 俊亮]. This was a real low level bout from both men, with Miyauchi pressing forward in the early rounds but showing very limited skills and Kobayashi needing time to shake the nervous energy. Thankfully for Kobayashi he seemed to land the better shots and did the cleaner work. After 4 rounds this was scored 40-36, twice, and 39-38 in favour of Kobayashi.
The second bout saw the touted Shigetoshi Kotari (2-0, 1) [神足 茂利] take on southpaw Motosuke Kimura (3-5-2, 1) [木村 元祐]. On paper this was supposed to be an easy second win for Kotari but in reality this didn't go as expected, at all. Kotari was dropped in the opening round from a round house left hand from Kimura, who seemed to land a shot that should never have caught a former amateur standout lime Kimura. The punch wasn't just looping, but was thrown with the back hand and looper around half the ring.
Sadly the knockdown made Kotari super cautious in rounds 2 and 3 and they were rounds that really lacked anything worthy of talking about. Kotari did seem to do enough to take them, but certainly didn't shine. He was caught with a number of clean counters in round 4, the round where be decided he needed to put his foot on the gas, and the counters seemed to take the wind out of his aggression. That lead to a rather dreary ending to the fight, with rounds 5 and 6 both being dull and tiresome.
After 6 rounds Kotari took the decision, but in reality he looked exposed. He wasn't just dropped but he also looked confused, never managed to figure Kimura out, and looked terrified of Kimura's counter's. He tried to draw leads and failed to land his own counter shots and failed to show the confidence needed to let his own hands go. The officials cards were 57-56 and 58-55, twice, but that can't cover over the fact Kotari did not look good.
After some pretty poor action, if we're being honest, to begin the show we got something spectacular in bout #3 as Toshiki Kawamitsu (5-0, 2) [川満 俊輝] and Kenshi Noda (2-1, 2) [野田 賢史] waged war in a sensational back and forth thriller. The fight didn't need a feeling out round, they just got to it, and let their shots go. From the off it looked like both men had a point to prove and they were putting on a high skilled, inside, action war. On paper that was expected to favour Noda, the bigger puncher, but it was Kawamitsu who seemed to be landing the cleaner, better blows.
The intensity continued in round 2 as both men tried to break the other down with great inside action and good work at range, when they were at range. Sadly for Noda however round 3 was a torrid one for him as his stamina, heart and durability were seriously questioned. He started the round well, but his inability to hurt Kawamitsu whilst Kawamitsu fought like a buzzsaw, seemed to drain the legs and belief from Noda, who slipped to the canvas numerous times. He was finally, officially, given a count late in the round, but by then he was looking very, very spent. He went out for round 4,looking to turn things around, but once again Kawamitsu simply showed that he wasn't going to be denied and forced the referee to finally jump in and save an exhausted looking Noda late on.
This was brilliant. The final round and a half might have been a bit too one sided, but the action, the intensity, the and the excitement was relentless. Absolute exhilarating contest between two young men desperate for victory. This was what we needed, this was what Japanese boxing needed back on TV. This was special!
In the co-feature we saw former world title challenger Ryohei Takahashi (19-4-1, 8) [高橋 竜平] taking a very debatable decision win over the Kiyohei Endo (3-4, 3) [遠藤 清平], in a bout that we felt Endo deserved. And we don't think we were the only ones. Endo started aggressively and was unfortunate to have a knockdown scored against him after he was caught on the back of the head.
Endo would continue to press, and pressure and seemed to easily out land Takahashi, but it was Takahashi with the cleaner, more telling single connects. Whilst we under-stand the quality Vs quantity argument we didn't feel the quality of Takahashi's single shots made up for how clearly out landed he was. There was also confusion after Endo seemed to score a knockdown of his own, though we're not totally sure if the referee told the judges to ignore it, as there was some instruction to the judges from the referee in round 6. Whether it was counted or not Endo certainly seemed to have taken the round.
Going into the final round it seemed like Endo was well and truly in it, if not in a slight lead. That wasn't something that Takahashi seemed to believe, with the former world title challenger doing little offensively for the first 2 minutes of the round before landing the two best shots of the round late on, in an attempt to steal it.
We went to the scorecards believing this one was razor thin, but the judges thought other wise, scoring it 78-73 and 77-74, twice, in favour of Takahashi. Those scores however do not reflect the nature of a very, very close bout that could easily have gone the other way.
In the main event we saw Japanese Light Middleweight champion Hironobu Matsunaga (17-1, 11) [松永 宏信] successfully defend his title, for the second time, as he over-came mandatory challenger Yuto Shimizu (14-5-2, 5) [清水優人]. The styles of these two men made for an interesting dynamic on paper, with Matsunaga being a bull like aggressive fighter, who's short in stature but aggressive, busy and strong, and Shimizu being a tall, rangy technical counter puncher. Early on however it took time for either man to find their groove.
The slow going saw Matsunaga taking the early rounds on work rate, whilst Shimizu looked to figure out what the champion brought. This lead to Matsunaga building momentum and in rounds 4 and 5 the champion began to turn the screw, landing clean left hands with alarming regularity. The aggression of the champion gave the challenger chances, and the accurate straight shots of Shimizu left the champion with a cut on the bridge of his nose.
After 5 rounds we had the open scoring and the scores were 50-45, 49-46 and 48-47, all in favour of Matsunaga. That should have made Shimizu feel like he was in with a chance, but instead it seemed to fire up Matsunaga, who had a point to prove and put his foot on the gas again. Shimizu finished round 6 with a nice flash of what he could do, in what seemed like an attempt to steal the round, but it was too little too late.
In round 7 the pressure of Matsunaga finally told. Early in the round he left the challenger with a huge cut over his left eye. Later in the round Matsunaga rocked Shimizu, before pinning him on the ropes and going into over drive, letting shots fly whilst Shimizu tried to clear his head. The shots kept coming and the referee took a close look several times. Finally enough was enough and the referee stepped in, saving the challenger.
For Matsunaga the win is a huge one, and sees him get through his Champion Carnival bout as the champion as he we head towards 2021. As for Shimizu this maybe his one and only chance given he turns 33 in January and he will have a long road back to a second title shot.
At the end of July we saw Teiken announce their next card, set for September 5th at Korakuen Hall. At the time only 2 bouts for the show were announce, but today we were informed of more details relating to the event, which will have 6 bouts on it and will be shown live on G+, as part of their Dynamic Glove series, from Korakuen Hall.
As previously reported the main event will see Kenichi Ogawa (24-1-1-1, 18) [尾川 堅一] take on Kazuhiro Nishitani (21-4-1, 12) [西谷和宏] in a bout between for Japanese champions who are both currently world ranked and both are looking to get a shot at a world title in the near future.
The chief support bout was also previously announced, and will see the highly touted Shokichi Iwata (4-0, 3) [岩田翔吉] taking on Ryo Narizuka (9-9-1) [成塚亮] in an 8 rounder.
A second 8 rounder on this show will see Hikari Mineta (8-1, 5) [峯田 光] take on Ryuya Tsugawa (7-1, 3) [津川 龍也] in a mouth watering 8 round Featherweight bout. Mineta lost in the 2018 Rookie of the Year final, losing to Yuri Takemoto, whilst Tsugawa won the Rookie of the Year last year. This is a brilliant match up, and could end up the most interesting of the bouts on the card.
Another interesting bout on the card will see the unbeaten pairing of Kenshi Noda (2-0, 2) [野田 賢史] and Toshiki Kawamitsu (4-0, 1) [川満 俊輝] face off in a really mouth watering bout. This will be a 6 round Light Flyweight bout and is a fantastic match up, worthy of real attention.
Another unbeaten hopeful announced for this card is Shigetoshi Kotari (1-0, 1) [神足 茂利], who will be up against Motosuke Kimura (3-4-2, 1) [木村 元祐], in a 6 round Featherweight bout.
The opening bout on the show will see Takayoshi Suzuki (5-1-1, 1) [鈴木 敬祥] take on Tamaki Miwa (6-6-1, 1) [干場 悟] in a 6 round Super Bantamweight bout.
Given this event will be the first live televised show in Japan since February this is a key show and we're glad that it has so many interesting bouts on it.
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