If there is one set of emerging brother's that really excite us it's the Shigeoka brothers, Ginjiro Shigeoka (5-0, 4) [重岡銀次朗] and his older brother Yudai Shigeoka (2-0, 1) [重岡優大].
We've known for some time that the older of the two men, 22 year old Yudai, would be fighting again on March 17th at Korakuen Hall. Today we found out more details of the bout, and if we're totally honest we're really disappointed.
The bout has been confirmed as an 8 round contest at Minimumweight with Shigeoka facing Sanchai Yotboon (6-4, 6), the fighter Ginjiro stopped in 3 rounds in 2018, in what was Ginjiro's debut. Since then Sanchai has returned to Japan for 3 fights and been stopped in all 3, making this match up a huge step backwards for the 22 year old who was last seen beating Lito Dante in a 6 rounder.
If we're being honest we would be very surprised if Sanchai lasted more than 3 rounds here, and we suspect Yudai would be disappointed if Sanchai even lasted that long.
On the same card Japanese Youth Super Flyweight champion Suzumi Takayama (3-0, 3) [高山 涼深] has had his opponent named as Sophon Klachun (5-4-1, 1), who had lost in 4 previous visits to Japan, including a stoppage defeat last September to Daiki Funayama. On paper this is a better test for Takayama than Sanchai is for Shigeoka, but not significantly better.
Thankfully the card does have an excellent main event, as OPBF Minimumweight champion Lito Dante (16-11-4, 8) battles against Masataka Taniguchi (12-3, 7) [谷口将隆], in an OPBF and Japanese Minimumweight title fight, and WBO Atomweight champion Mika Iwakawa (9-5-1, 3) [岩川 美花] defends her title against Nanae Suzuki (10-3-1, 1) [鈴木菜々江],
Earlier today in Japan Mika Iwakawa (9-5-1, 3) [岩川 美花] announced her first defense of the WBO Atomweight title, which will take place on March 17th at Korakuen Hall. This will see Iwakawa defending her title for the first time since winning it in July 2018, when she beat Nao Ikeyama.
In the opposite corner to Iwakawa will be former Japanese national champion Nanae Suzuki (10-3-1, 1) [鈴木菜々江], who gets her first world title fight.
The press conference today was a pretty interesting one.
It was revealed that Iwakawa team had been desperate to secure a unification bout, and had hoped to unify with the IBF champion, who happens to be fellow Japanese fighter Saemi Hanagata (16-7-4, 7) [田中冴美]. As a result of not being able to secure a unification fight Iwakawa has taken this bout instead, though it was clear she didn't really want to defend in a lower level match up like this, but was "sure to keep the belt".
This bout comes as the second title bout on an already interesting card headlined by OPBF Minimumweight champion Lito Dante (16-11-4, 8) battling against Masataka Taniguchi (12-3, 7) [谷口将隆], for both the OPBF and Japanese titles Minimumweight titles, and also features Yudai Shigeoka (2-0, 1) [重岡優大] and Suzumi Takayama (3-0, 3) [高山 涼深].
(Image courtesy of Daily.co.jp)
Back in mid-December Japanese youngster Yudai Shigeoka (2-0, 1) [重岡優大] shone, when he beat OPBF Minimumweight champion Lito Dante (16-11-4, 8). Since then we've come to learn that Dante will actually return to Japan on March 17th to defend his Oriental title against Masataka Taniguchi (12-3, 7) [谷口将隆], in a bout that will also be for the Japanese Minimumweight title.
Whilst the "irregular" double title bout will be the main event, and is the only bout which has been formerly announced for the show, we can now report that Shigeoka will be on the card, in fact he is one of 3 other fighters now confirmed for the event.
At the moment details regarding Shigioka's opponent are yet to be confirmed, but what is known is that he will be fighting over 8 rounds for the first time, and the bout will be at Minimumweight. Given his win over Dante, how dominant it was, we would expect a solid rival here in what could be his final bout before he fights for a title, of some kind, later in the year.
Given how Shigeoka's younger brother, Ginjiro Shigeoka (5-0, 4) [重岡銀次朗], won his first title in his 4th bout then beat Rey Loreto (25-15, 17) in his 5th bout, we are expecting something big from Yudai Shigeoka in his next few bouts.
Another fighter now set for this show, also in 8 round action, is Japanese Youth Super Flyweight champion Suzumi Takayama (3-0, 3) [高山 涼深], who also hasn't had his opponent for the event confirmed. As well as his opponent not being named it's currently unclear whether he will be defending his title or note on this event.
The only other fighter listed for the show, at the moment, is Daiju Hamaguchi (4-4, 2) [濱口 大樹], who is fighting in a 6 round bout at Super Bantamweight. He's 1-4 in his last 5, so we don't expect to see him being tested here. As with Shigeoka and Takayama his opponent hasn't yet been confirmed.
Earlier today Watanabe gym took a huge, yet well calculated, risk with highly touted youngster Yudai Shigeoka (2-0, 1) [重岡優大], matching him with OPBF Minimumweight champion Lito Dante (16-11-4, 8). This bout came around 6 weeks after Shigeoka's professional debut was an attempt by Watanabe and Shigeoka to make a statement., And that's exactly what they happened, with the youngster dominating the world ranked Filipino.
From the opening round Shigeoka looked like a man who belonged at this level. He took the fight to Dante, with good combinations, sharp body shots and nice looking uppercuts. Dante, who has always been a rugged, tough fighter, began to cut the distance in round 2, but struggled to have any sustained success against the much quicker, more mobile and sharp Shigeoka. The Japanese fighter showed great movement when he needed to, and never allowed Dante to dictate the tempo, catching him on the way in and keeping him at the end of his shots.
In round 5 Shigeoka suffered a cut, from a clash of heads, though never seemed that bothered by it, as he continued to out land, out box and out-speed Dante, who came off second best through out the 6 round contest.
After 6 rounds were completed we went to the judges, who turned in cards of 60-54, twice, and 59-55, to Shigeoka.
Typically this sort of a match up, for a prospect with so little professional experience, would be seen as madness, but Shigeoka made it seem easy and has made it very obvious that he'll be chasing titles in 2020.
After the bout Shigeoka seemed to make it clear that there are improvements to make, but it was hard to not be impressed by him essentially shutting out a regional champion as he did here. As for Dante he explained that Shigeoka didn't have much power, and that it was a smart style of boxing, adding that he felt he would catch up with Shigeoka over 12 rounds, and not the 6 they fought today.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Tomorrow Japanese prospect Yudai Shigeoka (1-0, 1) [重岡優大] will take on a monster test as he battles OPBF Minimumweight champion Lito Dante (16-10-4, 8) in a very tough looking 6 round contest at Korakuen Hall.
The bout, which comes less than 6 weeks after Shigeoka's professional debut, is a serious test for the youngster, and a chance for him to either make a statement, come across as a youngster who has been thrown in to the deep a touch too soon, like countryman Tsubasa Murachi was in September.
Today, ahead of their bout, the two men took part in their weigh in.
On the scales Dante came in at the contracted limit of 48KG's, or around 105.8lbs, and looked in great shape. Shigeoka on the other hand was just under the limit at 47.9KG's, or 105.6lbs.
At the weigh in Shigeoka came across as incredibly cocksure and confident. He stated that he felt lucky because he was fight somebody worth fighter, and someone that can let people evaluate how good he really is. He added that he hadn't seem much of Dante's fighter, knew that he had never been stopped. Even then it seemed like he felt he could do it, and could stop the rugged Filipino.
Dante seemed to know about Shigeoka's amateur reputation, stating he was a great boxing and had won a lot in the amateurs, but did seem confident himself, and wasn't coming across as worried about Shigeoka, then again for a man with his experience we suspect very few fighters will ever worry Dante.
Sadly it's currently unclear whether or not this bout will get TV coverage on TBS's Guts Fighting broadcast later in the week.
Related - Yudai Shigeoka takes on OPBF king Lito Dante in huge step up!
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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