On December 31st we'll see WBO Super Flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka (25-2, 14) [井岡一翔] make his second defense, as he takes on unbeaten challenger Kosei Tanaka (15-0, 9) [田中恒成] in Tokyo.
Today, ahead of that fight, Ioka took part in an online work out and press conference.
Strangely Ioka downplayed the fight, and his opponent, just as he had back in November, explaining "It's neither a big match nor a noteworthy card in me" and added "What I have and what he has is different,". Whilst there is certainly some truth there to Ioka's statements, given his huge unification bout with Akira Yaegashi when he was at Minimumweight, as well as his bouts on foreign soil, there is also probably a sense of trying to wage mental war with Tanaka and down playing the challenger.
To prepare for the bout Ioka has sparred around 100 rounds, including some with former WBC Flyweight champion Daigo Higa, a fellow fighter from the Ambition Gym. He has also been taking up Pilates, and trying new things, admitting that he had made various discoveries in regards to his body and what works.
One other thing that was revealed was that Ismael Salas will work Ioka's corner, and will arrive in Japan next week.
As for the actual work out, it was a pretty low key affair, with Ioka just showing off some light shadow boxing. He looked in good condition and sharp, but didn't really show too much.
(Image courtesy of Ambition Gym)
At the very end of 2020 we'll see WBO Super Flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka (25-2, 14) [井岡一翔] defending his title against mandatory challenger Kosei Tanaka (15-0, 9) [田中恒成], in the final big bout of the year.
This past Friday, in preparation for that bout, Tanaka took part in a media work out for the press, as well as a virtual press conference.
Due the press conference Tanaka explained that he has gone to some interesting lengths to figure out how to best deal with Ioka. That has included a lengthy phone call between his promoter Kiyoshi Hatanaka and former Ioka opponent Donnie Nietes (42-1-5, 23), with the Filipino revealing two weaknesses of Ioka's, though Tanaka didn't share them.
In regards to his own condition Tanaka revealed that he has prepared perfectly for Ioka, and that he wouldn't be bettered in terms of speed, power, technique of mentality. He seemed very much focused on the bout on the bout, and like a man who believes he has all the advantages.
Notably to prepare for Ioka the unbeaten Tanaka has sparred with former WBC "interim" Bantamweight champion Takuma Inoue (13-1, 3) [井上拓真]. Although Ioka and Inoue don't have similar styles it does seem clear that Inoue is a very talented fighter, and would be there to keep Tanaka sharp on his toes.
So far during the month Tanaka has had two PCR tests, on the 4th and 17th of December, with both coming back with negative results. That's not expected to change with Tanaka pretty much having the Hatanaka Gym to himself, with the gym closed to everyone except Tanaka and those he's sparring with and working alongside.
The unbeaten 3-weight world champion seemed bullish through out, and even went on to suggest that he wanted to beat Ioka and then face WBC champion Juan Francisco Estrada, stating that he was confident of beating Estrada.
As for the actual work out Tanaka did some shadow boxing, as well as worked the mitts and some bag work. Nothing too major, but he looked sharp though out and like a man who really was ready to show what he could do at 115lbs. He looked in great condition, and very crisp though out the sessions.
On November 3rd Ring Magazine and WBA Light Flyweight "Super" champion Hiroto Kyoguchi (14-0, 9) [京口 紘人] will be defending his titles against unbeaten Thai challenger Thanongsak Simsri (14-0, 12). Today Simsri had the chance to show what he could do, in an public work out.
Before we talk about the actual work out, lets just quickly talk about Simsri's last few weeks, which he spoke about in a press conference before working out.
The Thai fighter, who has been in Japan since October 7th, entered isolation when he arrived in the country. He spent two weeks in a condo for quarantining purposes along with his manager and his trainer, with the training being Suriyan Sor Rungvisai. During his quarantine he has been keeping busy with several hours of exercise a day, including shadow boxing and using an exercise bike. He's also had meals delivered to his room by Green Tsuda gym chairman Masaya Motoishi.
Simsri was allowed out for the first time yesterday, and explained that leaving the room was like a new life and one quote suggesting it was like heaven.
At today's work out he was asked how he regarded Kyoguchi, explaining that the champion was strong, with good stamina and good body punching, but seemed to suggest that he was the stronger fighter. When asked how the fight would go, he told the media to watch it on November 3rd.
As for the work out he spent 2 rounds sparring with Suriyan, a former WBC Super Flyweight champion who is known in Japan thanks to bouts against the likes of Yota Sato and Shinsuke Yamanaka. The sparring was somewhat light and weak, and it seemed like Simsri was deliberately hiding things, so that anyone scouting him couldn't get a total read on him. He then worked the mitts, and showed more glimpses of what he could do, though still seemed to be holding back.
Kyoguchi's trainer watched the session and seemed to be impressed by Simsri's speed and stamina, as well as his confidence. There is however a big difference between looking confident at a work out, and looking confident in a world title bout against one of the best small men in the sport.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Earlier today at the Watanabe Gym Ring Magazine and WBA Light Flyweight "Super" champion Hiroto Kyoguchi (14-0, 9) [京口 紘人] took part in a public work out, ahead of his November 3rd clash with unbeaten Thai challenger Thanongsak Simsri (14-0, 12).
The session has had footage put online by Boxing Beatm and it's clear that Kyoguchi is in great shape and condition, is razor sharp and has prepared well for the bout. For a man who hasn't been in a fight since last year, when he beat Tetsuya Hisada, he didn't seem to have much ring rust at all during today's session.
During the session we saw 2 rounds of Kyoguchi sparring with Kyotaro Yoshida [吉田京太郎], who will be taking part in his B-License test on November 3rd. During the spar Kyoguchi looked strong, aggressive, exciting and like a man who really is in great shape.
It should be noted that Simsri has been in Japan for a while now and he is finishing his quarantine in the near future. His Japanese manager, Green Tsuda's Masaya Motoishi, was today's event. He revealed the Thai was training for around 3 hours a day, and that they had good counter measures in place for Kyoguchi's, though did admit that Kyoguchi looked strong.
For fans wanting to watch Kyoguchi's bout with Simsri it will be shown live on Kyoguchi's own YouTube channel, which is available here 京口紘人 Hiroto Kyoguchi【WBA世界王者】. Some reports in Japan state it will be the first world title bout in Japan to be shown live on YouTube, that's not actually true, but it will be the first time a Japanese fighter will be streaming a world title fight on their own channel.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Back in December former WBC Flyweight champion Daigo Higa (15-1, 15) [比嘉 大吾] had the date of his long awaited return to the ring announced, on February 13th, and on Christmas his opponent was confirmed to be Jason Buenaobra (7-4-3, 3), of the Philippines.
Today Higa continued to moved towards his first bout, following a lengthy suspension by the JBC, as he took part in a media work out.
Higa was joined by promoter Yoko Gushiken and trainer Tadashi Tomori, both of whom are former world champions themselves, as a press conference and work out took place.
Prior to the work out a relaxed and happy looking Higa spoke to the media. He stated "I will do my best for the fans who have been waiting for a long time." [Translated] before Gushiken added "There are various things, but I will be in good shape with the relaunch in February. I want to get him to a world title again." [Translated]
Gushiken went on to reveal that there is a plan to get Higa to the top of the sport again in a very quick way. The hope is for Higa to get his come back out of the way in February before another fight to get back in to the swing of things, then a world title bout in December. Whether that plan comes to fruition is yet to be seen, but it is good that Gushiken and Higa have got a plan in mind.
Higa later went on to explain that after receiving his ban he didn't enter the gym for several months before slowly returning to train, once a week, then three times a week. But still had no desire to return until fans and family encouraged him to continue his career.
As for the actual work out Higa took part in a 2-round spar with Koki Eto (24-5-1-1, 19) [江藤光喜], and looked crisp through out, though looked a touch slow when he started working the mitts with Tomori, before increasing his speed and power as things went on.
The one thing that did seem to be missing through out the session today was stamina, though Higa's team seemed confident that would be improved by the time he steps in the ring with Buenaobra.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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