Earlier today reports from Japan stated that 35 year old Japanese veteran Kohei Oba (36-3-1, 14) [大場浩平] is looking to make an in ring return, more than 5 years after his last bout.
Oba, also known as the "Mayweather of Nagoya", was last seen in action in September 2014, when he beat Keigo Soma in a bit of a gimme. That bout had followed a loss in an IBF Bantamweight world title eliminator against Randy Caballero, who later won the IBF title. Prior those two bout Oba had previously held the Japanese Bantamweight title, twice, making a combined 7 defenses over his 2 reigns.
When he retired he cited issues with his eyes, including cataracts, though it appears that contact lenses, and time away from the sport has helped his eyes recover. After retiring he served as a trainer, and found that his eyes were healing which seems to have helped reignite his fire for an in ring career.
According to a report in the Japanese Boxingnews website, it appears that his return could end up taking place later this year and could see him taking on 21 year old Yoshiki Minato (8-3, 3) [湊義生], who is a former All Japan Rookie of the Year winner. The bout has been announced, though has no set date or venue and will still require Oba to get a license and for the bout to be given the green light by the Japan Boxing Commission.
A license for Oba has been applied for, but at the time of writing it has yet to be granted.
Back in January we reported that former Japanese Light Welterweight champion Hiroki Okada (19-2, 13) [岡田 博喜] would be returning to the ring on March 26th at Korakuen Hall, in an 8 round bout against Korean fighter Hwang Kil Kim (11-2, 5) [김황길]. Today that bout was confirmed, with Kadoebi going further than just confirming the bout, but giving the full line up of the show, which will be SLUGFEST 14.
The card, which will feature only 8 round bouts, is a really interesting one, not just due to it being Okada's first bout in Japan in almost 2 years, but because several of the bouts are very well matched, or feature notable names.
The chief support bout will see former world title challenger Takuya Kogawa (30-6-1, 13) [粉川拓也] look to bounce back from a heavy KO defeat to Jay-R Raquinel last year. Kogawa will be up against Japanese ranked Light Flyweight Hayato Yamaguchi (15-8-1, 2) [山口隼人], in what should be a relatively safe fight for Kogawa's health, but not a gimme at all, given that Yamaguchi is a talented fighter but a light hitting one. Whilst this isn't a gimme, it is a must win for Kogawa, who turns 35 in April.
Another notable fighter on this show is OPBF Light Middleweight champion Akinori Watanabe (39-7-1, 33) [渡部あきのり], who fights in a non-title bout against Panturak Namtong (13-5-1, 9), in what looks like a stay busy bout for the Oriental champion.
In terms of more interesting fights we'll see Japanese-Brazilian Cristiano Aoqui (14-9-2, 10) [アオキ クリスチャーノ] face off with Fumisuke Kimura (9-5-1, 6) [木村文祐], in what should be a very explosive 140lb bout, between two men who are limited, but can punch. An equally interesting match up will see Yoji Saito (1-1-2, 1) [齊藤陽ニ] take on Takahiro Araki (12-9, 2) [荒木貴裕], in what should be a very brutal match up, given the styles of the two men involved.
Arguable the most interesting of the bouts will see the highly regarded Ayato Hiromoto (2-0, 1) [廣本彩刀] fight in his first 8 rounder as he takes on 2018 Rookie of the Year winner Yoshiki Minato (8-3, 3) [湊義生], in a very good looking step up for Hiromoto.
Related - Hiroki Okada to face Hwang Kil Kim
Earlier today at the EDION Arena Osaka fight fans had the chance to see a new Japanese Youth Flyweight champion being crowned, as Joe Shiraishi (9-0-1, 4) [白石聖] and Yoshiki Minato (8-3, 3) [湊義生] battled for the second time.
The two youngster had originally clashed in 2017, with Shiraishi taking home the win en route to the 2017 Rookie of the Year. In 2018 Minato had gone on to win the Rookie of the Year leading an extra edge to today's bout.
Despite the rivalry between the two men, and the development both men had made since their first bout, this turned out to be much less competitive than expected, though was still highly intriguing.
Shiraishi took control early on, finding his rhythm behind his 1-2, and established himself in the opening round. Minato however struggled to find his way into the bout, finding it hard to avoid the straight punches of Shiraishi, and being tagged by hooks when he did get close.
Despite being behind early, and being outboxed, no one could suggest happily accepted defeat. Instead he was trying, and in round 4 he held his own, in a round that two of the judges scored 10-10. Minato tried to up the tempo against in round 5, but was thwarted by the clean punching of Shiraishi, who landed a solid body shot and took the play away from Minato before he could build any momentum of his own.
Minato's will to win saw him turn on the aggression even further in round 8, knowing he needed a KO to win. It was a great effort but far too little too late from Minato who knew he was a beaten man on the scorecards.
After 8 rounds all 3 judges had the bout scored 79-74 to Shiraishi, who becomes the third ever Japanese Youth Flyweight champion. Given today's performance there is good reason to believe he will go on to mix it for a senior title in the coming years. For Minato this is certainly not the end and we'll look forward to seeing how he bounces back from this losses.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Tomorrow in Osaka City fight fans will see a Japanese Youth Flyweight title bout pitting the unbeaten Joe Shiraishi (8-0-1, 4) [白石聖] against former foe Yoshiki Minato (8-2, 3) [湊義生].
These two men previously faced off in in 2017, with Shiraishi taking a decision over Minato in a Rookie of the Year bout, with Tomita actually winning the Flyweight Rookie of the Year 3 months later, adding an extra edge to this fight.
Coincidentally Tomita would actually bounce back from the loss to Tomita, to win the Rookie of the Year himself, the following year.
Today the two fighters took part in their weigh in for the bout, and both men made the 112lb Flyweight limit.
On the scales Shiraishi, the taller of the two, was 111.7lbs and he stated he was going to focus on his boxing and that this was the best preparation that he's had for a bout. Minato on the other hand was a touch lighter, coming in around 111.5lbs for the contest. Minato stated that he had trained well and sounded like a man full of confidence, telling the press he would capture the title.
For fans wanting to watch this it will be made available, on delay, on Boxing Raise.
Related-Shiraishi and Minato rematch for Youth title!
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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