Earlier today it was announced that Japanese Minimumweight champion Ginjiro Shigeoka (8-0, 6) [重岡銀次朗] had vacated the Japanese national title, after having made his first defense of the belt.
Although no specific reason was given for Ginjiro's decision there are two notable reasons.
The first of those is that Ginjiro is on the verge of a world title fight. He is currently ranked #1 by the WBC, and has world rankings with the WBA, IBF and WBO. It's assumed that he and his team have lined up a world title fight for later in the year, and holding the Japanese title for an extra few weeks won't really change things.
A second reason for him vacating the title is the fact that his older brother Yudai Shigeoka (5-0, 3) [重岡優大] was set to take on Tatsuro Nakashima (11-3-1, 7) [仲島辰郎], on November 17th, in an eliminator for the title. That bout is now expected to become a battle for the vacant title, rather than the mandatory position, giving Yudai a chance to claim the Japanese title and unify it with the WBO Asia Pacific title.
Given this decision from Ginjiro, we're expecting him and his team to announce a world title fight in the next few weeks, potentially for a late December date.
Earlier today the Japan Professional Boxing Association announced the Strongest Korakuen bouts, which will take place later this year to decide the mandatory challengers for the Japanese titles in the new year, with 10 bouts being announced.
The Minimumweight bout will see WBO Asia Pacific champion Yudai Shigeoka (5-0, 3) [重岡優大] take on Tatsuro Nakashima (11-3-1, 7) [仲島辰郎], with the winner getting a show at the Japanese title, currently held by Yudai's younger brother Ginjiro Shigeoka (8-0, 6) [重岡銀次朗], who actually beat Nakashima for the title. This bout is set to take place at Korakuen Hall on November 17th.
The Light Flyweight eliminator will see Daiki Tomita (18-2, 6) [冨田大樹] battle Rikito Shiba (6-2, 3) [芝力人], though no date or venue has been announced for this bout.
At Super Flyweight we also have no date or venue set, but a mouth watering bout as Ryusei Kawaura (9-1, 6) [川浦龍生] battles Suzumi Takayama (5-0, 4) [高山涼深], in what is potentially the best looking of the bouts announced.
The Bantamweight bout bout will see Jin Minamide (6-2, 5) [南出仁] battle against Yuki Yonaha (11-3-1, 8) [与那覇勇気], in what could prove to be a very explosive bout between two flawed but hard hitting.
On the subject of interesting bouts we'll have a potentially thrilling war at Super Bantamweight as former champions Ryoichi Tamura (14-6-1, 7) [田村亮一] takes on Gakuya Furuhashi (28-9-2, 16) [古橋大輔]. Interestingly these two men also met in a Japanese title eliminator back in 2019, with Furuhashi taking a razor win over Tamura, before winning the title with a sensational battle just 4 months later.
At Featherweight former champion Ryo Sagawa (12-2, 7) [佐川遼] faces off with Daisuke Watanabe (12-5-2, 7) [渡部大介].
At Super Featherweight the hard hitting Yamato Hata (12-1, 11) [波田大和] will face Yuna Hara (11-2-1, 6) [原優奈], with this bout set to take place on October 1st at Korakuen Hall.
On paper one of the more underwhelming bouts is set to take place at Lightweight, as Shuma Nakazato (11-2-3, 7) [仲里周磨] takes on the hard hitting Ken Koibuchi (8-4-1, 7) [鯉淵健], in what might be an bout that's easy to over-look but is very likely to be an explosive encounter.
At Welterweight we're in for a treat as we get a rematch between Hironori Shigeta (8-2-1, 5) [重田裕紀] and Shoki Sakai (26-13-2, 14) [坂井祥紀], who gave us a very fan friendly bout back in 2020 with Sakai taking a clear but hard fought decision win. This bout is set to take place on October 22nd at Korakuen Hall.
At 154lbs Rei Nakajima (5-1) [中島玲] will face Koki Koshikawa (9-6, 6) [越川孝紀]. For Koshikawa he's looking to land his third shot at the Japanese 154lb title whilst Nakajima will be looking to secure his second shot at the title.
Notably there is no bout set for Flyweight, Light Welterweight or Middleweight. At the time of writing it's been reported that former world title challenger Ryota Yamauchi (8-2, 7) [山内涼太] will be getting a shot at Flyweight Cristiano Aoqui (16-9-2, 11), will get a shot at 140lbs and unfortunately there won't be a mandatory challenger for the Champion Carnival at Middleweight.
Earlier today the Watanabe Gym held their latest show, doing so in Kumamoto where two of the gym's best young talents got a chance to perform in front of their family and friends, rather than the more typical audience that would see them in Tokyo.
The first of the two youngsters was Japanese Minimumweight champion Ginjiro Shigeoka (8-0, 6) [重岡銀次朗], who recorded his first defense of the title as he stopped the usually durable veteran Naoya Haruguchi (18-13, 7) [春口直也] in 4 rounds.
From the off Shigeoka applied constant intelligent pressure, whilst Haruguchi backed off, looked to use the ring and and tie up when Shigeoka got close. Despite being under pressure through the first round Haruguchi saw it out without too many problems, though it was clear that this was going to be a very, very tough night for him, and one that was going to test him mentally and physically. In round 2 the output from Shigeoka increased, and it was clear that he was just starting to go through the gears, with Haruguchi being forced to fire back to just survive. By the end of the round Haruguchi's time seemed to be numbered as Shigeoka landed numerous spiteful shots and looked at ease through the round.
In round 3 we saw Haruguchi's face begin to swell up as the heavy hands of Shigeoka began to take a toll on the challenger, especially around his right eye. That swelling got worse in round 4, as Haruguchi tried to merely survive, and essentially stopped all of his offensive output. Unfortunately for Haruguchi, Shigeoka didn't let up, and with Shigeoka unloading on the challenger the referee stepped in and saved Haruguchi, after 1 minutes 48 seconds of the 4th round.
It seems that next up for Shigeoka will be a world title fight, potentially in the winter.
Following Ginjiro's win we then saw his older brother Yudai Shigeoka (5-0, 3) [重岡優大] retained the WBO Asia Pacific Minimumweight title, and stopped Filipino challenger Cris Ganoza (19-4, 9).
Like his brother we saw Shigeoka apply intelligent pressure early on as Ganoza looked to create space and box from the ropes. Unlike Ginjiro we didn't see all out intense pressure from Yudai, who was happier to show some different looks, and even back off from Ganoza to draw him off the ropes and into the center of the ring. Through out the round it was clear Yudai had too much skill, speed and power for the Filipino, who seemed to feel the jab of Shigeoka several times and backed off after feeling them. The calm, and relaxed nature of Shigeoka's pressure and general work saw him really bossing the first round. He then stepped up his aggression in round 2, holding his feet in center ring and trying to hurt Ganoza when he let his shots go. This forced a response from Ganoza, but the Filipino really struggled to land much clean, whilst he took a lot of heavy shots himself.
In round 3 Shigeoka came out with a seek an destroy mentality, targetting the body of Ganoza from the start of the round. Ganoza showed his toughness and desire, but was almost gutted by a wide, sweeping left hand to the body, that dropped him for the count, securing the older Shigeoka brother his first defense of his regional title
Tomorrow in Kumamoto fight fans will get an interesting title double header thanks to Watanabe Gym. The show is certainly not a big one, but it is an interesting one with two very notable bouts. Today, ahead of those two bouts, the men involved took part in their weigh ins.
One of those bouts will see Japanese Minimumweight champion Ginjiro Shigeoka (7-0, 5) [重岡銀次朗] make his first defense of the title as he takes on Naoya Haruguchi (18-12, 7) [春口直也]. One the scales Shigeoka was bang on the divisional limit, weighing in at 105lbs. He looked in great shape, and he will know that a win here will have him set up perfectly for a world title fight later in the year, potentially against WBC champion Panya Pradabsri. Haruguchi on the other hand was slightly under the limit, at 104.8lbs.
Despite coming in to this bout as a clear under-dog, Haruguchi sounded confident of making the most of his opportunity and the 33 year old will know this is a make or break fight for his career. Interestingly he looked a division bigger than Shigeoka, and towered over the champion. If he's to win, he will have to use that size advantage here.
The other title bout will see Ginjiro's older brother Yudai Shigeoka (4-0, 2) [重岡優大] defind the WBO Asia Pacific Minimumweight title against Filipino challenger Cris Ganoza (19-3, 9).
As with his brother, Yudai came in bang on the weight limit, and revealed that he was happy to fight in Kumamoto, where the two brothers are originally from. As for Ganoza he was 103.6lbs, way under the limit. When the two men stood near enough other it was clear that Shigeoka was the naturally bigger man, but Ganoza coming in so far under the limit was a genuine surprise.
Japanese Ginjiro Shigeoka takes on Haruguchi in first defense
Regional champion Shigeoka takes on Filipino challenger Ganoza
Earlier today Watanabe Gym announced a Shigeoka double header for July 6th at the Kumamoto Prefectural Gymnasium, with both of the talented Shgeioka brothers defending their titles on the show.
the first of the two Shigeoka's in action will be Japanese Minimumweight champion Ginjiro Shigeoka (7-0, 5) [重岡銀次朗], who will be making his first defense of the title as he takes on Naoya Haruguchi (18-12, 7) [春口直也].
The hard hitting Shigeoka won the title in March, when he took a wide decision win over Tatsuro Nakashima, and will be looking to really boost his profile after that win, which was a disappointing performance. The talented Shigeoka is widely regarded as one of the elite prospects at 105lbs, and the 22 year old is widely expected to be fighting for a world title in the very near future. As for Haruguchi he's the #1 ranked contender to the Japanese title and the 32 year old veteran will be getting his second Japanese title fight, following a loss in 2019 to Norihito Tanaka.
The other Shigeoka in action on this card will be Ginjiro's older brother Yudai Shigeoka (4-0, 2) [重岡優大] , who defends the WBO Asia Pacific Minimumweight title, which he won back in November when he defeated Tsubasa Koura in a hard fought majority decision. The 25 year old Shigeoka will be taking on Filipino foe Cris Ganoza (19-3, 9), who enters as the #10 ranked challenger for the title.
The older Shigeoka brother, who is ranked in the top 15 by the WBO and WBC, will know that he's heading towards a world title fight of his own, and a good win here over Ganoza will open doors for him at world level.
Also on this card will be the unbeaten Kyotaro Yoshida (2-0) [吉田京太郎], who competes in his first 8 rounder, though his opponents wasn't announced earlier today.
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