On Saturday in Japan fight fans saw Japanese Youth champion being crowned as we got the previously delayed Japanese Youth Flyweight title bout between Yuga Inoue (12-2-1, 2) [井上夕雅] and Aoba Mori (7-3-1, 1) [森青葉].
This bout had been planned for September, but was cancelled on short notice as Mori tested positive for Covid19. Despite the delay both men were hungry to make a statement and claim the title, which is quickly becoming a major title in Japan and one that is being held by numerous fantastic prospects on their way through the ranks.
From the off Inoue was pressing forward behind a tight guard that Mori struggled to get through. To his credit was throwing some nice combinations, his shots really struggled to find the target, whilst Inoue managed to find a home for his right hands up top and some heavy body shots. As the rounds went on the pace increased round by round, giving us a very, very fan friendly and exciting back and forth, but one where Inoue just had that touch of extra class with his shots, and the fighter defense.
In round 4 Mori had his best round, as Inoue seemed to slow down and not get his shots off like he had earlier in the bout, with Mori managed to get the body of Inoue and breach the guard more consistently. It was however a round that didn't see Mori build and moment and in round 5 we saw Inoue step back up and more than hold his own.
Rounds 7 and 8 were blistering action with both men going in to top gear in an attempt to amaze the fans as well as claim the victory. It was a completely sensational round as they stood only inches apart and traded straight punches up top. Sadly though neither man had the power needed to hurt the other, and as a result we went to the final bell.
After the bell we went to the judges who gave the bout to Inoue with scores of 79-73, 77-75 and 76-76, getting him the majority decision win.
After the bout Masato Yamashita stated the plan for Inoue is to return next time out in a non-title bout, and then look to win a more notable title in the fight after that. Neither he, nor Inoue, sounded happy about his performance, and it seemed clear that more is expected of Inoue.
Mori on the other hand seemed to be encouraged by his performance, though was disappointed by the result. He explained that he would be back doing road work tomorrow and was wanting to fight for a title in the future, and that he was wanting to win one so that he could make his promoter and trainer proud.
Tomorrow there's a big show in Kyoto, headlined by WBC Light Flyweight champion Kenshiro Teraji (17-0, 10) [寺地 拳四朗] defending his title against Japanese fighter Masamichi Yabuki (12-3, 11) [佐藤政道]. That card was set to feature a second title fight, with Aoba Mori (7-2-1, 1) [森青葉] scheduled to face Yuga Inoue (11-2-1, 2) [井上夕雅] for the Japanese Youth Flyweight title.
Sadly the Mori Vs Inoue bout has now been scrapped, on the day of the weigh in, with Mori testing positive for Covid19 in a PCR test.
At the time of writing it's unclear how ill the 21 year old is, though obviously the bout has had to be cancelled due to the positive PCR test. Prior to that test result coming back bot Mori and Inoue had made weight for the contest, with no issues. Mori had come in spot on the limit of 112lbs whilst Inoue had come in at 111.7lbs.
Earlier today at the Archiac Hall in Amagasaki, fight fans got the latest show from Shinsei Promotions. It was a mall one, with only 4 bouts, but one that was made available globally, for free, through the excellent Boxing Real YouTube channel.
The show kicked off with the professional debut of Goki Kobayashi (1-0, 1) [小林 豪己] who took on Hyogo Kimura (6-3-1, 1) [木村 彪吾] in a scheduled 6 rounder. On paper this looked a really tough debut for Kobayashi, who had around 35 bouts as an amateur and it lived up to those expctations, with Kimura fighting to win. Despite a very genuine effort from Kimura he was out boxed and broken down as the more talented Kobayashi hammered his body and left him looking out on his feet through much of round 6. With only around 10 seconds of the bout left the referee waved off the contest, stopping Kimura from taking any more damage in the final moments. He had given a fair account of himself, but lacked the stamina and stopping power to ask real questions of Kobayashi, who lookslike he could be one to keep an eye on over the next few years.
The second bout saw the under-rated Wataru Ikegami (9-5-1, 5) [池上 渉] score his th win in 5 bouts as he over-came the much taller Hibiki Jogo (10-4, 5) [城後 響] in an 8 rounder. On paper this is probbaly not one that screams out as being a good fight, but the styles ended up gellign pretty well to give us a nice little back and forth contest. Early on Jogo was on his toes, moving around the ring and trying to use his height and range whilst Ikegami pressured. As the bout went on Ikegami's workrate increased whilst Jogo landed some very good counter shots. Despite the two men being very different this was a genuinely enjoyable bout between two men each there to win, and two men didn't feel the need to hold instead of fighting. The limitations of both are there to see, but they made for a good, TV friendly, contest with Ikegami doing enough to earn the decision.
The scores here were 77-75, twice, and 78-74, all to Ikegami.
The chief support bout was a contest between Yuga Inoue (11-2-1, 2) [井上 夕雅] and Condor Inaba (7-6-1, 3) [コンドル稲葉]. The naturally bigger Inaba started the bout on the front foot and looked the more aggressive through the opening round as he made his size and strength pay. Sadly however for Inaba he was rocked late in the opening round and it wax clear that, although not a puncher, Inoue had enough in his shots to hurt his man. In round 2 the warning bells from the end of the opening round showed themselves again with Inoue bloodying the nose of Inaba, swelling his eye, forcing him backwards and forcing a doctor inspection of his swollen left eye. With Inaba fighting with just one eye Inoue went for the kill and forced the referee to stop the bout.
The main event saw former Japanese Youth Light Flyweight champion Rikito Shiba (5-1, 3) [芝力人] secure himself a stoppage win over veteran Hideyuki Watanabe (8-14-3, 6) [渡邉秀行]. Despite looking like a mismatch on paper Watanabe got off to a good start, making the most of his southpaw stance, his experience and his ring craft. Though much of the opening round Watanabe was landing the better shots and forcing Shiba to back up. What seemed a good start for Watanabe continued through much of the bout, as Shiba seeemed to be showing signs of ring rust and questionable confidence, following a blow out loss to Masamichi Yabuki last time he fought.
As the rounds went on Shiba looked less and less comfortable and like a man who could be on the end of a major upset loss. That was until round 7 when he pulled out something special. He was under pressure again in the 7th round with Watanabe continuing to have more success than anyone had anticipated, and even walking through a huge hook from Shiba. Another left hook, later in the round, was enough to drop Watanabe, hard. The veteran beat the count, but the referee waved off the bout vewing Watanabe as unfit to continue. A questionable decision from the referee.
Despite the somewhat fortunate call from the ref, this was a huge turn around. It showed that Shiba has fight changing power, but left us with a lot of questions about what exactly he has to offer the sport going forward.
Earlier today at the Tokiwa Arena in Kobe fans were able to attend a small, yet rather notable Senrina Kobe Promotions show featuring a number of talented, and often over-looked, Japanese fighters. Several of which were ranked youngster, or men tipped for potential success.
The first bout of note saw a minor upset as Hiroyuki Takahara (8-3, 6) [高原 裕之] stopped touted youngster Tom Mizokoshi (7-2-1, 4) [溝越 斗夢]. The fight was an intense fight early on and really a fun one for the fans, but in the third round Takahara dropped Mizokoshi with a right hand. Following the knockdown Mizokoshi required a stretcher to help him leave the ring, though thankfully it does appear that was a precaution rather than any potential brain issues. After the bout Mizokoshi took to social media, explaining that was the first time that he had been down in his career, and that he had suffered a fracture to his jaw.
Sadly the result today will mean that Mizokoshi is unlikely to take part in a previously scheduled bout for later in the year. We want to wish him a speedy recovery.
The second bout of note also saw an upset of sorts, as Yuna Hara (9-2-1, 5) [原 優奈] defeated the JBC ranked Chiharu Takasuka (7-7-1, 4) [高須賀 千春], with a 3rd round TKO. Hara looked sharp and quick from the off, and looked like he was wanting to make a statement. In round 3 that statement came as he dropped Takasaku. The win will see Hara climb into the rankings when they are updated and will give his career a huge boost.
The chief support bout was much more competitive, as Yuga Inoue (10-1-1, 1) [井上 夕雅] took a split decision win over Tetsuya Mimura (8-3, 1) [見村 徹弥]. Given both men had a single stoppage to their name neither man was expected to take the other out, and that proved to be the case in what was an intriguing match up. Mimura seemed to have some early success but Inoue managed to change the tempo and increased the pressure well. It was the change in out put and pressure from Inoue that began to catch the eye, and began to grind down Mimura and win over the judges. The skills of Mimura impressed, but the pressure and work rate of Inoue was enough to take him the split decision with scores of 78-74 and 77-75 in his favour, whilst the dissenting judge had it 77-75 in favour of Mimura.
In the main event fans again saw the fighters go to the final bell as Ryosuke Nasu (12-5-3, 2) [那須 亮祐] took a clear decision win over Hiroki Tokuyama (9-3-1, 2) [徳山 洋輝], to retain his JBC ranking. Tokuyama came out aggressively but was dropped in the early stages. That didn't stop him but was dropped again in round 2 and it was clear that his aggression was being punished by the clean, sharper punches of Nasu. Nasu then went off the boil and couldn't close the show, but did manage to take a clear decision with scores of 79-71, 78-72 and 77-73.
One of the best things about the Japanese domestic scene is the fact that hungry youngsters get the chance to prove themselves early in their careers. Unlike some countries where an unbeaten record, and a long line of wins, is key Japan doesn't really punish fighters for losing.
Losing is part of a fighters development, and if fighters fight tough competition they expect losses to happen, with the key being what they do after a loss, how they bounce back, and how hungry they are to carve out their on careers.
Today in Kariya local fans saw two youngster have lost battle in a very interesting match up. Both knew they were risking another defeat, but both wanted to advance their career, and the risk was worth it.
The match up in question saw 20 year old Yuga Inoue (9-1-1, 1) [井上夕雅] take on Katsuya Murakami (8-2-1, 2) [村上勝也] in a brilliant little match up, that was easy to over-look if you didn't follow the Japanese domestic scene. Those who did follow it in detail however knew that this was one to care about.
Inoue had made his name in 2017, when he won the Rookie of the Year. Despite a loss in 2018, to Kai Ishizawa, there was still a lot of potential with the youngster, and that was shown in August this year when he defeated Daiki Kameyama. Murakami on the other hand had only been beaten in the 2016 West Japan Rookie of the Year final, losing to Kota Fujimoto in a Super Flyweight bout.
Although Murakami was fighting at home Inoue boxed wonderfully through out the 8 round bout, and in the later stages of the bout Inoue's clean accurate punching took it's toll on his foe. Murakami was hurt in round 7 and dropped in round 8, as Inoue put the decision beyond doubt, and took a comfortable win.
After 8 rounds it was Inoue who came out with the decision win and continued to build on the success from the win over Kameyama. As for Murakami he'll be back, and clearly has areas to work on from today's losses.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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