Earlier today we say Ohashi Gym release some details of the September edition of "Phoenix Battle", a show that will be the 80th event under that banner. Whilst not all details for the event were announced we did see some information annouced, inclduing the date, venue, one promising 140lb prospect fighter and one bout being confirmed a little bit lower down the weights.
The show will take at Korakuen Hall on September 9th and is expected to be headlined by unbeaten prospect Andy Hiraoka (17-0, 12) [平岡アンディ]. His opponent for the show hasn't yet been decided, but he's expected to compete in an 8 round bout as he continues to move towards his first professional title. Fingers crossed a title bout will come either at the very end of 2021 or very early in 2022.
Although Hiraoka hasn't had his opponent announced here, we do know that former K-1 champion Yoshiki Takei (1-0, 1) [武居由樹] will be in action against hard hitting Azusa Takeda (5-0, 5) [竹田梓], who is returning to the ring for the first time since July 2019.
The talented Takei impressed in his professional boxing debut, following notable success in K-1, and seems likely to be groomed as a major star for the Ohashi gym, where he's training under the eye of Akira Yaegashi. Takeda on the other hand reached the East Japan Rookie of the Year semi final in 2019 before injury forced him to pull out of the tournament. With his injury now healed up he'll be looking to make a statement, but is in deep against a genuinely talented fighter.
The show will be aired on Fuji TV and several other promising Ohashi Gym fighters are expected to be confirmed for the show over the coming weeks.
Earlier today the East Japan Boxing Association announced the award winners for the month of March, naming 3 award winners for the month, though strangely one of the regular awards didn't actually have a winner.
The Fighting Spirit award winner was Katsuya Fukui (3-0, 2) [福井勝也], who earned the award for his impressive performance on March 25th, when he defeated Hiroki Hanabusa (8-2-3, 3) [英洸貴] in a very good 8 rounder. Although not a fight of the year contender, it was a really good bout, and Fukui really did show very good tools for a man fighting in just his third professional bout.
Interestingly there were two winners of the Newcomer award for the month.
One of those was former K-1 champion Yoshiki Takei (1-0, 1) [武居由樹], who kicked off his professional career back on March 11th with an eye catching performance against Kazunori Takai (6-8-3, 3) [高井一憲]. Takei showed off what he could do in stopping his man inside 2 minutes, and making a real statement of intent about his future in the sport. Fingers crossed his next opponent will be more testing, but this was still a very good performance.
The other winner was former amateur standout Kenji Fujita (1-0, 1) [藤田健児], who scored a 6th round TKO win on March 25th against Motosuke Kimura (3-6-2, 1) [木村元祐]. Hw showed composure and poise here and it's clear he has a lot to give the sport, though will clearly need to face bigger and better tests than Kimura in the near future. He has so much potential, and looked so good as an amateur, that there really is no need to hold him on a leash. Instead Teiken should be looking to move him very quickly.
Strangely there was no MVP for the month, which is a bit strange, though in fairness there was very, very little action in Japan last month, likely explaining why no fighter was picked here.
Earlier today fight fans at Korakuen Hall had the latest show in the Ohashi promoted Phoenix Battle series of shows, which will be aired this coming weekend on Fuji TV. The card featured 5 bouts in total, a Japanese Youth Welterweight title bout between Rikuto Adachi and Takeru Kobata, a the professional boxing debut of Yoshiki Takei and an interesting match up between Taku Kuwahara and Yoshiki Minato.
For those wanting to watch this, as live, over the weekend we please note that spoilers will begin in the next paragraph, starting with the the first under-card bout, which is unlikely to be televised at all, and then moving on through the other bouts on the show. If you wish to avoid those spoilers, please stop reading now.
The opening bout on the show saw teenage hopeful Yushin Uchida (2-1, 2) [内田 勇心] score an opening round win over Shunsei Sawada (0-1) [澤田 春聖]. This bout, which lasted 161 seconds, saw Uchida drop his man twice to secure the victory.
Amazing the Japanese Youth Welterweight title bout lasted even less time than the opening bout on the show, and this ended with an upset! The much unfancied Takeru Kobata (9-5-1, 4) [小畑武尊] managed to destroy the once touted Rikuto Adachi (14-3, 11) [安達陸仁] in just 123 seconds! Adachi landed the first shot of note, a good body shot, but that seemed to kick start Kobata who pressured afterwards and landed a huge straight left. The shot dropped Adachi an the referee quickly waved off the bout.
For Kobata this is a massive win, a huge upset, and a career defining result up to this point in his career. As for Adachi, it's a second stoppage loss in 4 bouts, and not the return to the ring he would have wanted after more than a year out of the ring.
The third bout on the card ended up being the most competitive, though that wasn't saying a lot. That saw unbeaten hopeful Taku Kuwahara (8-0, 4) [桑原拓] take a wide 8 round decision over Yoshiki Minato (9-4, 4) [湊義生]. From the off Kuwahara was too quick, too sharp, too accurate and too good for Minato who gave a solid effort, but was second best in every facet of his game.
After 8 rounds the scores here were 80-72, twice, and 79-73 to Kuwahara. To his credit the winner did give Minato props, stating that he was strong and good at closing the distance, though the bout was still a clear win for the talented Ohashi gym prospect.
The chief support bout saw former K-1 champion Yoshiki Takei (1-0, 1) [武居由樹] begin his professional career, and do so in impressive fashion as he took out Kazunori Takai (6-8-3, 3) [高井一憲] in the shortest bout on the show. In fact this one lasted just 103 seconds! Takei pressed from the off and backed Takai on to the ropes, where he landed a good right hook and then brilliant combination to drop his man. Takai got back to his feet but was dropped again from a straight left hand just moments later. After the win Takei stated that he wanted to "become a fighter who can carry Japan on my back" an on the back of this performance he may well be able to do just that.
As a K-1 kickboxer Takei was a star and it seems like he has the tools to be a big star in boxing, having been responsible for a huge number of ticket sales on this event. That crossover appeal, added to his clear talent, makes him one of the most interesting prospects in Japan right now, and someone we suspect will be fast tracked.
In the main event fans saw unbeaten hopeful Andy Hiraoka (17-0, 12) [平岡アンディ] take a 3rd round TKO win over Fumisuke Kimura (9-7-1, 6) [木村 文祐], in what was a second bout between the two men. Hiraoka, who hadn't fought in Japan for well over a year, was in charge from the off, pressing the action and backing up Kimura. To his credit Kimura showed his toughness in the first 2 rounds, but in round 3 the referee had seen enough and stepped in, saving Kimura from further punishment.
Interestingly these two men fought back in 2018, and Kimura managed to last 8 rounds with Hiraoka, so this result was an improvement from the youngster. It was also his first main event, and the first time a show has been sold around him. It is however a clear sign that Hiraoka needs to step up now, and title bouts should be sooner rather than later. There's no reason for his team to hold him back, and Japanese, OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific title fights should be on his radar for later in the year.
Tomorrow fight fans at the legendary Korakuen Hall will get the chance to see the professional boxing debut of former K-1 champion Yoshiki Takei (0-0) [武居由樹], who kicks off his career with a bout against Kazunori Takai (6-7-3, 3) [高井一憲]. Today, ahead of their bout, the two men took part in their weigh in.
The bout will be taking place at a contracted 120.15lbs and on paper looks like an easy and straight forward introduction to professional boxing for Takei, who was fantastic in K1.
On the scales both men came under the contracted weight, with both weighing 119.9lbs. Despite weighing in the same they looked very different.
The debuting Takei looked in fantastic shape. He looked ripped, confident and like a professional athlete. Takai on the other hand looked like a regular guy, there was no real definition or tone to his body and he looked like someone who could have done more to prepare.
After the weigh in Takei spoke about being excited for his boxing debut and admitted that he hadn't had to weigh in under 55KG's (121.25lbs) for a long time, though it appeared he had no issues at all making agreed weight limit. Notably tickets for the bout sold out quickly and Takei's involvement on the show is said to have been a big reason for the ticket sales, given his success and profile from his days in K-1.
Although he's a massive under-dog Takai stated that he had "no intention of losing" and he seemed incredibly confident of using his experience to score a massive upset. He seemed hungry and determined, though we do wonder whether he really believed what he said, and whether he really gives himself a chance against the outstanding Takei.
For fans wanting to watch this one it will be shown on Fuji TV, on tape delay, this coming weekend.
(Image credit - Ohashi Gym)
Earlier today Boxmob reported that the scheduled March 11th 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] has now, sadly, had to be cancelled.
The bout, which was set for an Ohashi promoted show at Korakuen Hall, has been called off due to Igarashi suffering a nasty injury in sparring, which has left unable to be fight in less than a month's time.
The injury is, reportedly, a broken jaw, which would need significantly longer to heal than the 4 or so weeks we have until the bout.
Sadly this is the second cancellation from the show, with Kaito Takeshima (6-3-1, 1) [竹嶋海刀] needing to pull out of a contest with Japanese Youth Bantamweight champion Toshiya Ishii (3-1, 2) [石井渡士也], due to health reasons.
Despite the cancellations from the show the event still promises a lot.
It features a mouth watering match up between Taku Kuwahara (7-0, 4) [桑原拓] and Yoshiki Minato (9-3, 4) [湊義生], the professional debut of former K-1 champion Yoshiki Takei (0-0) [武居由樹], who takes on Kazunori Takai (6-7-3, 3) [高井一憲], a Japanese Youth Welterweight bout between Rikuto Adachi (14-2, 11) [安達陸仁] and Takeru Kobata (8-5-1, 3) [小畑武尊] and the return to a Japanese for the unbeaten Andy Hiraoka (16-0, 11) [平岡アンディ], who battles Fumisuke Kimura (9-6-1, 6) [木村 文祐].
Even with those bouts still set for the show, we are crossing our fingers and hoping there won't be more cancellations from this event.
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