We've known for a while that the Ohashi Gym would be holding an event at Korakuen Hall on March 11th but until today many of the bouts on that card were unknown.
There were 3 bouts that were known. One of those was a clash between Taku Kuwahara (7-0, 4) [桑原拓] and Yoshiki Minato (9-3, 4) [湊義生], which was originally planned for January before needing to be postponed due to Kuwahara being injured. Another was a Japanese Youth Bantamweight title bout between champion Toshiya Ishii (3-1, 2) [石井渡士也] and Kaito Takeshima (6-3-1, 1) [竹嶋海刀]. The third was a bout between former world title challenger Ryo Matsumoto (24-3, 21) [松本亮] and Takashi Igarashi (13-5, 5) [五十嵐嵩視], in what is expected to be an easy win for Matsumoto, who is looking to rebuild his confidence.
Other fighters named for the card were the world ranked 140lb hopeful Andy Hiraoka (16-0, 11) [平岡アンディ], the promising Rikuto Adachi (14-2, 11) [安達陸仁] and former K-1 champion Yoshiki Takei (0-0) [武居由樹], none of whom had had their opponents named until today.
Now we know that that the 24 year old Hiraoka, who is ranked #12 by the IBF, will take on Fumisuke Kimura (9-6-1, 6) [木村 文祐] in an 8 round bout. On paper this shouldn't be a test for Hiraoka, but the reality is that it keeps him busy and sees him fight in Japan for the first time since July 2019. It seems likely that when he returns to the US, for another bout on a Top Rank show, he'll take on a more notable opponent.
We also now know that Adachi will battle against Takeru Kobata (8-5-1, 3) [小畑武尊] in an 8 rounder for the vacant Japanese Youth Welterweight title, making this show a double Youth title event. Adachi will be favoured here, though it is worth noting that he's fought since December 2019 and this will be his Ohashi Gym. Kobata on the other hand fought last December, losing a decision to Shoki Sakai on December 26th.
As for the debuting Takei, he will be up against Kazunori Takai (6-7-3, 3) [高井一憲]. On paper this looks to be somewhat underwhelming for Takei, who has looked very good in K-1 and looked very impressive in a recent spar with Tsuyoshi Tameda (21-6-2, 19) [溜田剛士]. Takai, who's a 34 year old southpaw is 0-5-1 in his last 6 dating back more than 3 years, including 2 stoppage losses.
One other bout on this card will see 18 year old Yushin Uchida (1-1, 1) [内田勇心] battle the debuting Shunsei Sawada (0-0) [澤田春聖] in a 4 rounder.
Earlier today we reported that former K-1 champion Yoshiki Takei (0-0) [武居由樹] had secured himself a B-class licenses as a professional boxer, ahead of his debut, which is planned for March. We also reported that, as part of his license test, he sparred with Japanese ranked Featherweight Tsuyoshi Tameda (21-6-2, 19) [溜田剛士].
Since we reported Takei's sparring footage from the test has been posted online by the Ohashi Gym, giving us a great chance to see how Takei looked in the spar, and it's fair to say he looked legitimately good, with solid hand speed, good composure, solid foot work and nice variety to his shots. He wasn't flawless, but was still very impressive for someone who hasn't got a long and solid amateur career.
It should be noted that his opponent for his debut, which is scheduled for March 11th at Korakuen Hall, is yet to be named, though on the back of this showing they can certainly put him in with a capable fighter.
It's worth noting that unlike sparring clips released by some fighters, who often want to make themselves look better, this is filmed by the gym, and released with the knowledge from both fighters who are stablemates at the Ohashi Gym. This hasn't been released to make one man look super good or make the other look bad.
Earlier today former K-1 champion Yoshiki Takei (0-0) [武居由樹] took part in his pro-license test and passed, securing himself a B-class license, allowing him to compete in 6 round bouts when he finally debuts.
The test, which took place at the Ohashi Gym, saw Takei passing both the written test and the practical skills test, which included a 2 round spar with Japanese ranked Featherweight Tsuyoshi Tameda (21-6-2, 19) [溜田剛士], who challenged for a regional title late last year.
Following the test Takei spoke about the event, explaining "I was really grateful that I took the protest in such a state of emergency right after I retired from K-1. I thought that it would be postponed for a moment. Now I am on the start line as a boxer. I've set it up. I'd like to have the Yaegashi train me so that I can get as close as possible to the gym people who are all amazing fighters."
The state of emergency mentioned is one affect 3 prefectures in Japan as well as the Tokyo metropolitan area. It was also why his protest took place at the Ohashi Gym rather than the Korakuen Hall, which is usually the home for these types of tests.
When it came to discussing his debut he explain that he is just beginning as a professional, but that he would like to make his name as a boxer one fight at a time, and mark a mark on the sport like he did in K-1.
Of course Takei wasn't the only one to comment after the event with promoter Hideyuki Ohashi stating "When I saw sparring and saw Takei pushing the top players in the upper ranks with power, I felt the high potential again. Now that there are many dark topics, Takei is likely to become a bright topic with ability."
And trainer Akira Yaegashi, himself a former 3 weight world champion explaining they are working on his style as a boxer, and will focus on Takei, rather than his opponent. They want to improve everything by the time Takei debuts and are aiming to win a world title.
Earlier this month we reported that Taku Kuwahara (7-0, 4) [桑原拓] and Yoshiki Minato (9-3, 4) [湊義生] would clash on March 11th. Originally they were supposed to face off in January but an injury to Kuwahara saw the bout being pushed back.
Yesterday we saw another bout being added to that card, with Japanese Youth Bantamweight champion Toshiya Ishii (3-1, 2) [石井渡士也] confirmed to be defending his title against Kaito Takeshima (6-3-1, 1) [竹嶋海刀] on the same show.
Now we've seen several more additions to the event as the show has began to fill out.
One of the big announcements for the show is that Japanese Light Welterweight hopeful Andy Hiraoka (16-0, 11) [平岡アンディ] will be on the show. This will be his first bout in Japan in well over a year and see him looking to build on wins in the US. Sadly however his opponent for the show is yet to be announced. In fact there is no details at all about his bout, other than that he will be on the show.
Another fighter without an opponent is Rikuto Adachi (14-2, 11) [安達陸仁], who is scheduled for a 8 round bout, in what will actually be his Ohashi debut.
The show is also expected to feature the debut of former K-1 champion Yoshiki Takei (0-0) [武居由樹], who recently signed with the Ohashi gym and announced that he was heading to professional boxing.
One other bout that was announced was a show down between former world title challenger Ryo Matsumoto (24-3, 21) [松本亮] and Japanese domestic fighter Takashi Igarashi (13-5, 5) [五十嵐嵩視], with the two men clashing in an 8 rounder. The touted Matsumoto hasn't looked good recently, and does appear to be in with an easier opponent that he's faced in a while, though we do wonder where his head is at mentally when it comes to the sport.
Earlier today the very well regarded Ohashi Gym announced that former K-1 sensation Yoshiki Takei [武居由樹] had signed with them as he begins his professional boxing career, with the plan to debut in Spring 2021 after partaking in his pro-test in January.
The 24 year old really was a sensational kick boxer, winning both the K-1 WORLD GP super Bantamweight championship and the Krush Bantamweight title during his short but success career in kick boxing. As a professional kick boxer he fought just 25 times, though amassed a very impressive 23-2 (16) record and won 22 bouts in a row following a 1-2 start to his professional career.
Although we're not huge followers of kick boxing some of Takei's opponents are people even we recognise, such as Tenshin Nasukawa, with the two men fighting to a draw in the amateurs in 2012, and former boxer Kenji Kubo, who Takei knocked out in 2018 with a right hook. That's right, he knocked out a former professional boxer, with a punch!
From footage of Takei his boxing skills do look solid for a kick boxer, and his hands were clearly something he worked on, with very crisp punches, good understanding of punching range and timing on his punches. Obviously he was also fantastic with his kicks, but we suspect his transition to professional boxing will be a smooth one given how good his hands are.
The talented southpaw will be trained by former 3-weight world champion Akira Yaegashi and will be competing at either Bantamweight or Super Bantamweight. The hope is for him to become a world champion in professional boxing, adding to his combat sport accolades.
For those who have never seen him we have included a 2019 K-1 bout of his below, as he took on Spain's Alex Rivas.
(Image credit - Ohashi Gym)
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