Earlier today at Korakuen Hall Japanese fight fans had their last show before the JBC suspension of all Japanese boxing comes into play, on March 1st. The show had a number of notable bouts on it, including bouts for a former OPBF Minimumweight champion and a former Japanese Lightweight champion, who had some very mixed fortunes today.
The first of the two in action was former Japanese Lightweight champion Shuhei Tsuchiya (23-6, 18) [土屋 修平] who faced off against fellow Japanese fighter Shogo Yamaguchi (12-5-3, 7) [山口祥吾] in a 5 round Prize Match. This was Tsuchiya's first bout since a June 2017 win over Shota Suito, and sadly it didn't go the way many had expected.
Tsuchiya had some real moments early on, dropping Yamaguchi in the early part of the fight, but sadly he didn't look like the fighter he once was and he once was. Instead he looked tired, sluggish and slow. His footwork was sloppy and in round 5 Yamaguchi, who had really come on strong following the knockdown, managed to force the referee in to stop the action. With the referee forced to save Tsuchiya his future really doesn't look good. As for Yamaguchi he collects a hefty bonus for scoring the stoppage win, as per the rules of the Prize Matches Dangan are running this year.
There was an even bigger bonus taken by former OPBF Minimumweight champion Tsubasa Koura (15-1, 10) [小浦 翼], who needed 3 rounds to see off Ariston Aton (9-3, 5). Koura, who was fighting for the first time since losing the OPBF title to Lito Dante last March showed some discomfort by the tactics of Aton early on, but began to find his timing and his distance, landing big shots on Aton, who was deducted a point for leading with the head. In round 3 Koura rocked his man, and forced the referee to step in. Aton was unhappy at the stoppage, but it did seem like Koura had adapted to the billy goat style of the Filipino,
We've known for a week or saw that both Shuhei Tsuchiya (23-5, 18) [土屋 修平] and Tsubasa Koura (14-1, 9) [小浦 翼] would be on the February 27th show at Korakuen Hall. The was made public when the poster was revealed a few days ago. What wasn't originally known was the opponents for the two men, which was only revealed recently.
Koura, a former OPBF Minimumweight champion who lost the title last year to Lito Dante last March, will be fighting for the first time in 11 months. Koura was supposed to fight in January, but issues with his opponent, Indonesian fighter Silem Serang, saw it falling through at short notice. He'll be up against Chinese fighter Yujie Zeng (14-10-1, 6) [曾玉洁], in what looks like an easy bout on paper, but will see Koura taking on a naturally bigger man, who has only been stopped once in his 25 fight career.
Tsuchiya, who's a former Japanese Lightweight champion, was also supposed to fight in January before his opponent, Yangyang Li (8-1-2), was unable to get a visa. That was going to be his first bout since June 2017. His opponent for February won't struggle to get a visa this time around as he takes on fellow Japanese fighter Shogo Yamaguchi (11-5-3, 6) [山口祥吾]. Given Tsuchiya's long break from the ring we didn't expect him to face someone too testing, and in Yamaguchi we see Tsuchiya in with an opponent who has failed to win his last 3 and is without a win since 2018.
These bouts will take place on the same card as the Hajime No Ippo 30th anniversary tournament semi finals, which will see Jae Woo Lee (7-2, 6) [이재우] against Shingo Kusano (12-8-1, 5) [草野慎悟] and Richard Pumicpic (21-10-2, 6) against Daisuke Watanabe (9-4-2, 6) [渡部大介]. The card will also feature an OPBF Welterweight title bout between Riku Nagahama (11-2-1, 4) [長濱 陸] and Kudura Kaneko (11-0, 8) [クドゥラ 金子].
The Boxing Raise service, which we love despite it's sometimes awkward scheduling, have announced that in November they will be picking up 4 cards, including 2 very exciting live tournament shows and 2 tape delay recorded shows.
The first of the shows will be this Saturday's God's Left Bantamweight tournament show, featuring the God's Left semi final bouts between Seiya Tsutsumi (5-0, 4) [堤聖也] and Kenya Yamashita (14-5, 11) [山下賢哉], and Kazuki Nakajima (7-0, 6) [中嶋一輝] against Jin Minamide (4-0, 3) [南出仁]. The card also includes a Japanese title eliminator between Taiki Minamoto (16-5-1, 13) [源大輝] and Takuya Watanabe (36-9-1, 21) [渡邉卓也], and the ring return of former OPBF Minimumweight champion Tsubasa Koura (14-1, 9) [小浦 翼].
The service will also live stream November 19th Hajime No Ippo 30th anniversary tournament on November 19th. This show will feature quarter final bouts for a Featherweight tournament as Jae Woo Lee (6-2, 5) [이재우] takes on Japan's Tsuyoshi Tameda (21-4-2, 19) [溜田剛士], Shingo Kusano (11-8-1, 4) [草野慎悟] meets Chinese visitor Qiang Ma (5-1-2, 3) [马强] and we get an excellent all Japanese bout between Koshin Takeshima (4-0, 3) [竹嶋宏心] and Daisuke Watanabe (9-4-1, 6) [渡部大介]. This card will also feature Masahiro Suzuki (3-0, 2) [鈴木雅弘] against Hokuto Matsumoto (5-2, 1) [松本北斗].
As for the delay cards, Boxing Raise will be showing the November 17th and November 22nd cards.
The first of those two cards will see Eruka Hiromoto (5-0) [廣本江留香], defending her OPBF female Minimumweight title against Sana Hazuki (7-4-1, 2) [葉月さな], whilst the second will feature former Japanese Light Welterweight champion Valentine Hosokawa (24-7-3, 11) [細川繁] battling against Kosuke Arioka (9-4-1, 8) [有岡康輔]
Earlier this week we reported that former OPBF Minimumweight champion Tsubasa Koura (14-1, 9) [小浦 翼] would be returning to the ring on on November 9th, in what will be his first since suffering a TKO12 loss to Filipino Lito Dante (16-10-4, 8). At the time we knew the where and the when of that bout, but we weren't informed of his opponent.
Today that changed with Koura's opponent being named Indonesian journeyman Silem Serang (15-20-2, 2).
The Japanese fighter was tipped to have a huge 2019. The bout with Dante was supposed to be his 4th title defense, and it was then assumed he would move on to world level, with rumours of bouts against WBC world champion Wanheng Menayothin. Instead he was battered, beaten and stopped by the under-rated Dante, putting the breaks on his rise in a big way.
The bout with Serang is, obviously, a confidence building fight for Koura but Serang can be a frustrating fighter to face at times and went the 6 round distance with Wanheng in 2016, in a non-title bout and has also gone 6 rounds with Panya Pradabsri. He's very much a fighter who can stick around, if he's feeling up for it, though has been stopped in 12 of his 20 defeats.
The bout will share a place on an exciting card with the God's Left semi final bouts and a Japanese world title eliminator, making this a solid show from Reason Promotions, even if Koura's opponent isn't up to much.
Back in March we saw a massive upset as Lito Dante (16-10-4, 8) scored a huge 12th round TKO win over Japan's previously unbeaten Tsubasa Koura (14-1, 9) [小浦 翼], and ended Koura's reign as the OPBF Minimumweight champion. Since then the talented Koura hasn't been in action, and and has sat over over 6 months.
Today we finally saw news break on what Koura next plan was, with the Cassius Gym fighter now set to fight on the November 9th Dangan card, which will feature the God's Left semi final bouts.
At the moment his opponent hasn't been confirmed by name, though is said to be an Indonesian fighter, who is likely there to help Koura re-establish some confidence following a very damaging and surprising loss.
The card will not only feature the God's Left semi-final bouts but also a Japanese title eliminator between Taiki Minamoto (16-5-1, 13) [源大輝] and Takuya Watanabe (36-9-1, 21) [渡邉卓也], making this a really good card, even if we don't know who Koura will be fighting.
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