Earlier today Japanese fight fans in Shizuoka got the latest show from Suruga Danji and his promotional stable. The event wasn't a huge one, but it was certainly a very interesting one with a lot of notable Japanese prospects on the card, including some who are tipped as future stars and world champions.
With that show now over, we're going to look over the show and cover the results from the event.
The show kicked off with an 8 round bout between the talented, but often over-looked, Tentaro Kimura (7-0-2) [木村 天汰郎] and the "better than his record suggests" Satoru Hoshiba (7-6, 2) [干場悟]. Kimura made this look easy as he controlled the distance and tempo, making the most of his left hook at range and right uppercuts up close. Hoshiba tried to turn things around, coming forward and pressing, but his tactics really were well neutralised by the movement of Kimura who was a ver clear winner, though did seem exhausted in round 8, when he held on a little bit too much for our liking.
After 8 rounds the scores here were 80-72, 79-73 and 77-75.
The second bout on the show saw Narumi Yukawa (3-0, 2) [湯川 成美] score his biggest win since turning professional as he stopped the experienced Yuji Awata (12-9-1, 5) [粟田 祐之] in 4 rounds. Yukawa pressed from the off, and constantly looked to close the distance. The pressure from Yukawa came at a cost early on, as he was dropped from a counter in the opening round, and took a lot of shots as a result of his desire to come forward, but he kept pressing and managed to get a real break through in round 3, when he got inside and started to work the body of Awata. The pressure of Yukawa worked again in round 4, as he hurt his man, backing him up and dropping him with a big left hook.
Whilst it's a worry to see Yukawa being dropped, and we do wonder whether his style is going to be suited to a successful and long career, it's great to see him rebound from a knockdown, stick to his game plan and stopping his man. He needs to tighten up defensively going forward, but there is no doubting how fun he's going to be to watch over the coming years.
The shows first real surprise came in it's third bout as JBC #5 ranked Super Flyweight Tsubasa Murachi (7-1-1, 3) [村地 翼] struggled to a draw against Yuto Nakamura (11-6-2, 8) [中村 祐斗], who had no momentum coming in to the bout. Murachi made a good start, boxing well behind his jab and landing some good right hands to control the first 4 rounds. Despite being out boxed early on Nakamura showed no fear and looked to apply pressure through the bout, pressing and pressuring the touted Murachi, and looking to cut the ring off. In the second half of the fight that pressure began to tell as Nakamura racked up the later rounds, making up for losing the earlier ones. After 8 rounds this was a hard one to call, and it showed on the scorecards which were 78-74, Murachi, 77-75 Nakamura, and 76-76, resulting in a split decision draw.
The chief support bout saw second generation fighter Kento Hatanaka (12-0, 9) [畑中 建人] score his latest win as he took an 8 round decision over the tough Daisuke Sudo (7-8-3) [須藤大介]. Hatanaka, who hadn't fought since February 2020, looked to land crisp left uppercuts up close. Sudo, who likely knew he wouldn't be able to compete with Hatanaka in a boxing contest, looked to make this a war, getting inside when he could and attacking the body in the pocket. That style made this an exciting bout, but Hatanaka's uppercutts up close, and good combinations caught the eye, even if the fight was fought where Sudo wanted it. After 8 rounds Sudo had done enough to take a few rounds, but not make it competitive, and the scorecards were 79-73, twice, and 78-74 all to Hatanaka, who we suspect will be looking to land a Japanese title fight in 2022.
The main event saw the talented Rentaro Kimura (5-0, 3) [木村蓮太朗] get the biggest test of his career, and narrowly come away with a win as he over-came the huge punching Yoji Saito (3-2-2, 3) [齊藤陽ニ] in a hotly contested 8 rounder.
In the opening round Saito's power was the telling fact as he landed a huge right hook, dropping Kimura for the first time in his career. The knockdown was the perfect start for Saito, and a wake up call to Kimura, who realised that he couldn't take risks with someone as heavy handed as Saito. In rounds 2 and 3 Kimura battled back well, winning both rounds with his boxing, speed and skills, to essentially undo the 10-8 opening round. Sadly for Kimura he was dropped again towards the end of round 4, as he found himself in a hole for the second time in the fight.
In round 5 Kimura, who knew he couldn't afford any more slip ups, changed tactics, and rather than boxing, he took the fight to Saito, neutralising the power but smothering the heavy handed Saito. Saito had some success up close, but it was Kimura was regularly getting the better of things, whilst also preventing Saito from getting full purchase on his shots. The final 4 rounds were brilliant, and showed that there was a real fighter in Kimura, who did just enough to earn the decision, with scores of 76-74, twice, and 75-75, to get the majority decision.
The plan for Kimura is to get a title fight next year, and this was the perfect gut check for him before a title bout. He needs to tighten up his defense, he needs to appreciate opponents, like Saito, who are dangerous, but there is no doubting his heart, determination and skills. As for Saito he's one of those fighters with a very misleading record, and he is a devastating puncher, who is a threat to anyone at 130 or 135 in Japan.
Dangan 227 is taking as we speak, and we're now through the rather exciting under-card bouts which were shown live on Boxing Raise.
The show began with an all out thriller between Teiken youngster Kento Matsuoka (1-0-1) [松岡拳人] and 31 year old Suguru Ishikawa (1-1, 1) [石川優]. The opening round saw Ishikawa hurt, and later drop, Matsuoka. The right hand of Ishikawa continued to carry serious danger but Matsuoka dug deep and our worked Ishikawa, leaving him with a bloodied nose in round 3. The final round saw the men fighting to a standstill in truly amazing round of action, with both men being rocked and biting down on their gum shields.
After 4 rounds the judges score-cards were read out, 38-38, and 38-37, twice, to give Matsuoka the majority decision win.
After the thrilling opener we then had a bit of a strange one as Takahiro Araki (12-9, 4) [荒木 貴裕] and Yuji Awata (12-6-1, 5) [粟田 祐之] saw their styles fail to gel.
The two men both adopted counter punching game plans in the opening round, which only really saw 1 notable punch being landed, a shot that forced the referee to give a count to Araki who seemed to be kept up by the ropes. The second was also mostly quiet, with Araki getting the better of it, until he took a risk too many and they two began to exchange. When that happened Araki was dropped, for the second time. He beat the 10 count but the referee seemed to be thinking about his health and waved the bout off.
Whilst Awata will be celebrating the win, especially given he was the under-dog going up against the Japanese ranked Araki, this is not a bout many will be rushing to rewatch.
The third of the under-card bouts, the final bout we're covering in this results article, saw Japanese-Afghan hopeful Kudura Kaneko (11-0, 8) [クドゥラ 金子] continue his ascent up the rankings as he stopped rugged veteran Moon Hyon Yun (18-8-3, 4) [尹 文鉉]. The bout started slowly, with Kaneko establishing total control behind his sharp, straight punches. It wasn't until the final seconds of the opening round that the touch paper seemed to be lit and we got an exchange.
Sadly for Yun he looked old, as if his long and hard career had caught up with him. His high output was none-existent and Kaneko found he was able to stop Yun in his tracks with his jab. In round 2 we found that Kaneko could also beat Yun in Yun's wheel yard, out landing him on the inside., Yun's toughness saw him eat some huge shots to head and body, including a massive uppercut, but towards the end of the round Kaneko put his foot on the gas and dropped Yun just moments before the bell. Yun would beat the count but have the bout waved off, at an official time of 3:09 of round 2
This is another good win for Kaneko and hopefully we see him in the mix for a senior title in 2020. For Yun it's time to retire. We didn't agree with the stoppage, or rather the timing of it, but it was clear that his hard and long career has caught up with him and he should think about hanging them up now, at the age of 35.
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