On New Year's Eve we got the annual Year ending show, featuring WBO Super Flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka (25-2, 14) [井岡一翔], who defended his title in a mandatory defense against Jeyvier Cintron (11-1-0-1, 5).
Today, after around a week of waiting, the ratings for that were announced, and once again we saw strong evidence that Ioka is among the most popular fighters in Japan, with very impressive numbers for the 4-weight world champion.
The figures, which we've only got for the Kanto region, saw an average audience rating of 9.4% with a peak audience of 11.6%.
As a raw figure that gives an estimated average audience of 3,900,000 and a peak figure of over 4,750,000.
Another notable figure was that of WBO Flyweight champion Kosei Tanaka (15-0, 9) [田中恒成], who stopped Chinese challenger Wulan Tuolehazi (13-4-1, 6) [乌兰] in 3 rounds in their bout. This fight pulled an average of 6.1%, which gives a figure of around 2,500,000 viewers.
Although Ioka and Tanaka weren't in with the most well known of opponents those numbers surely will please TBS, who essentially smashed the figures that RIZIN got on rival channel Fuji TV on the same day, showing how much of a draw Ioka still is.
The raw audience are estimated numbers based on the audience rating, they aren't confirmed figures but are a ball park number, in this case for the Kanto region only.
(Image courtesy of A.McGovern)
Yesterday in Yokohama Japanese superstar Ryota Murata (16-2, 13) [村田 諒太] retained the WBA "regular" Middleweight title, as he eventually broke down and stopped Canadian puncher Steven Butler (28-2-1, 24). Today the TV ratings for the bout came out, and they were impressive numbers.
The bout averaged 12.2% in the Kanto region, the biggest market in Japan which includes places like Tokyo and Yokohama, and 13.4% in the Kansai region, which has places like Osaka. Both are reportedly peaked highly, with Kanto peaking at 15.5%.
To put that into an estimated raw audience figure, that would be an average of around 5,300,000 in Kanto and just over 3,000,000 from the Kansai region. Giving the bout an average figure of around 8,300,000. The peak on Kanto alone was almost 6,750,000.
The figures for Kanto are an increase on Murata's previous bout, which draw an average of 11.9% in the region and peaked at 14.9%.
The figures for the Kanto region were also provided for the IBF Flyweight title bout between Akira Yaegashi (28-7, 16) [八重樫 東] and IBF champion Moruti Mthalane (39-2, 26). This fight averaged 8.6% in Kanto and peaked at 10.6% in the region.
This gives a raw average of an estimated 3,700,000 and a peak of over 4,500,000
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
It should be noted that the viewership numbers, as opposed to viewing percentage, are estimates, and there is a lot more to accurately getting the numbers than simply running the population numbers through the viewership % but they do work as a ball park figure as raw numbers aren't provided in Japan.
Yesterday's sensational bout between Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16) [井上 尚弥] and Nonito Donaire (40-6, 26) has been widely described as one of the best fights of the year. The WBSS final that many though was going to be a mismatch, including ourselves, ended up being something very special, and that was shown not only in the ring but outside of it too.
It was, as previously reported, the first fight ever shown live in 8K and it was also a bout that did incredible numbers on terrestrial TV.
At the time of writing numbers for the second biggest region in Japan, the Kansai region who had the bout on Kansai TV, haven't been made available but the Fuji TV figures, for the Kanto region, have been released and they are impressive to say the least.
The average viewing figure from the Kanto region was 15.2% whilst the peak number from the region was 20.5%.
To put those numbers into estimates of the population, the average figure was around 6.5 million with a peak of approximately 8.7 million.
When Kansai's figures are added in, and Kansai's viewing rates do tend to be higher than that of Kanto, we would expect the average to be bumped to over 8 million and the peak to have been pushed over 12 million, though of course no numbers have been reported for the region, which includes Osaka.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Last Friday Fuji TV, and affiliate Kansai TV, showed a world title double header. The card saw Ryota Murata (15-2, 12) [村田 諒太] reclaim the WBA "regular" Middleweight title, as he stopped Rob Brant (25-2, 17) in 2 rounds, and also saw WBC Light Flyweight champion Kenshiro (16-0, 9) [拳四朗] stop mandatory challenger Jonathan Taconing (28-4-1, 22).
Following those bouts there was a rather long wait for the TV numbers to be released, with that wait ending today. And boy were the numbers impressive!
Kenshiro, who has often missed out on live TV chances with Fuji, drew an average audience of 8.4%, a huge number for a guy that had been so over-looked.
Despite the Light Flyweight champion doing impressive numbers his fight was dwarfed by Murata, who averaged 11.9% in the Kanto region and 12.9% in the Kansai region, and peaked at 14.9% in Kanto and 20.8% in Kansai.
Whilst transferring the % to raw numbers isn't totally accurate it does give us some us fairly rough numbers to be blown away by.
The rough average is a little over 7,000,000 people watching Murata, with a peak of around 11,000,000. A figure that is frankly staggering for a fight, though may end up paving the way for more bouts in Japan to take place on a Friday.
Taro Takeuchi, a producer at Fuji TV, praised the numbers and Murata and made it clear that boxing was getting great figures on Fuji TV, and it seems clear that they are expecting the numbers to continue to grow.
Of course it's not only Murata and Kenshiro who are big names affiliated with the channel, with Naoya Inoue (18-0, 16) [井上 尚弥] also fighting on the channel, and his WBSS final with Nonito Donaire (40-5, 26) will expected to do incredible numbers of Fuji later int he year.
This past Saturday Naoya Inoue (18-0, 16) [井上 尚弥] claimed the IBF Bantamweight title abnd booked his place in the WBSS final with a second round TKO win over Puerto Rican Emmanuel Rodriguez (19-1, 12).
The bout was shown in Japan via 2 different methods. Firstly the bout was shown live on WOWOW at around 5am, not a great time for a TV audience and given that WOWOW is a subscription service the potential audience is limited. The figures for this airing haven't been revealed, though we can't ever recall WOWOW figures being reported in the Japanese press anyway.
The bout was then shown on tape delay during prime time on Sunday night on Fuji TV, Inoue's usual broadcaster. Fuji, for those unaware, is a terrestrial channel, free to air in the Kanto region, with affiliate across the country, such as Kansai TV. The figures have been reported for this broadcast are truly astonishing, especially for a tape broadcast that was available online and had had the result spoiled.
In Kanto, where over 43,000,000 million people live, the audience share is a 10.3%. By raw numbers that's big, and was an increase of 4.8% from the average of the last 4 weeks in the same time slot. That's almost doubling the average that Fuji are getting for that particular slot.
Things were even more impressive in Kansai, the second largest region where around 23,000,000 people live. Here the broadcast drew 13.5% of the audience a figure up 8.4% on the average of the last 4 weeks, almost tripling the previous few weeks numbers.
The figures for the rest of the country haven't been reported yet, but there's a very, very good chance that this bout broke an audience of 10,000,000 viewers, a staggering number for a tape delay broadcast where fans who were in a rush to watch could have found the bout in full online.
According to sources these were the average numbers as well, not the peak viewership leaving real questions as to just how many people tuned in at some point during the broadcast.
With rumours being that his WBSS final against Nonito Donaire (40-5, 26) could be staged at the Kyocera Dome Osaka, a stadium that can hold well over 40,000 for events, it's clear the Monster is a star with a growing fan base in Japan, as well as globally, and if his popularity continues to grow as it has done, there may be no option but to let him headline a Tokyo Dome show in the future.
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