NOTE THIS WILL FEATURE SPOILERS FOR A BOUT WHICH HAS NOT YET BEEN AIRED IN THE UK, LATIN AMERICA OR AUSTRALIA. IT HAS JUST BEEN AIRED IN JAPAN AT THE TIME OF WRITING. IF YOU DO NOT WISH TO KNOW THE RESULT CLOSE THE PAGE AND DO NOT READ BEYOND THIS PARAGRAPH. THIS IS ALL ABOUT THE WBO ASIA PACIFIC BANTAMWEIGHT TITLE BOUT BETWEEN YUKI STRONG KOBAYASHI AND DAIGO HIGA.
Later today we'll see WBO Super Flyweight champion Kazuto Ioka (25-2, 14) [井岡一翔] defending his belt against Kosei Tanaka (15-0, 9) [田中恒成] in the highly anticipated year ending Japanese super fighter. Before that bout however there were several under-card bouts taking place at Ota-City General Gymnasium.
The bout that opened the show was an 8 round Super Flyweight bout which saw Yuki Nakajima (4-1-1, 4) [中嶋 憂輝] fight to a majority decision draw again Toma Kondo (8-6-1, 1) [近藤 冬真]. The opening round saw Nakajima using his feet whilst Kondo looked to get inside. Kondo managed to gain some early momentum in rounds 2 and 3 before Nakajima finally began to settle down, and go to the body in round 4, with with some real success. The body work seemed to see Nakajima take control through the middle rounds, but in round 7 Kondo began to find his second wind as he dug deep. With the fine finely poised they went to war in round 8, fighting tooth and nail with each other.
After 8 rounds the judges couldn't split them, with two judges having the bout even, at 76-76, and the third having the contest 77-75 to Kondo.
The second bout was the WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight title bout, which saw the title change hands as Yuki Strong Kobayashi (16-9, 9) [ストロング小林佑樹] was destroyed by former WBC Flyweight champion Daigo Higa (17-1-1, 17) [比嘉 大吾].
Higa, who had looked less than stellar in his two previous Bantamweight bouts, including his October draw with Seiya Tsutsumi, found a home for his uppercut almost immediately, and he couldn't miss with it. Round after round his uppercuts connected cleanly, to both head and body. This looked more like the Higa we had all fallen in love with when he was a Flyweight, and not the man who had been forced up to Bantamweight. Kobayashi seemed to feel that the smartest gameplan was to try and get in close to Higa, which just played into Higa's strengths, and short concise combination punching and stiff shots on the inside. It was, potentially, the right game plan, but the gulf in speed, power and the crispness of the shots from the two men, saw Kobayashi punished round after round.
In round 5 Higa landed 2 brilliant right uppercuts, sending Kobayashi down for the count at the 45 second mark of round 5.
For those unsure whether Higa can cut it at Bantamweight, this bout suggests he might be able to, at least against the right fighters.
Following Higa's win Japanese fans in the venue were treat to what was described as a spectacular bout, as Ryohei Arakawa (7-4-1, 4) [荒川 竜平] out pointed 36 year old Wolf Nakano (6-8-4, 2) [中野ウルフ]. The bout was exciting from the off, with Arakawa setting a high tempo and Nakano trying to to respond. Nakano was dropped twice early on, but refused to quit, and came back strong as he looked to avenge the knockdowns. This caused an already exciting fight to feel even more dramatic, especially at the end of round 5, when Arakawa was in all sorts of trouble and seemed to be saved by the bell. Arakawa was hurt again in round 6, but survived the scare and survived to the final bell.
Despite Nakano's late fight back all 3 judges had the bout scored 57-55 to Arakawa, who takes an excellent win over the #15 ranked Japanese Flyweight.
Earlier today Kadoebi revealed that two bouts scheduled for their October 14th show at Korakuen Hall have had to be cancelled due to injuries, though the show will still go ahead.
Kadoebi first announced that scheduled 8 round bout between Yuki Nakajima (4-1, 4) [中嶋憂輝] and Toma Kondo (8-6, 1) [近藤冬真] had been cancelled. The cancellation here was down to Kondo suffering an injury in training forcing him to be pulled from the show. It's an unfortunate injury, though Kadoebi did state that this bout was "postponed", rather than out right cancelled, so there is hope that the bout could be back on later in the year. Of course that depends on the severity of Kondo's injury and how long he'll be away from the gym for.
The other was a scheduled 4 rounder between Tsuyoshi Kato (1-2) [加藤剛] and Yuto Sasaki (2-6-1, 1) [佐々木悠登], this was supposed to be the second bout on the event and appears more likely to be outright cancelled than just postponed.
With these cancellations the show will now only have 4 bouts on it, however the promoters have added a 2 round exhibition to the event, with Teruya Iimura [飯村 樹輝弥] and Jun Ikegawa [池側 純] set to partake in a special spar on the show.
Earlier today at Korakuen Hall fight fans had the latest Kadoebi promoted "Slugfest" card.
The under-card was, on paper, one of the most interest under-card we've seen in Japan this year with two very notable bouts on it.
One of those bouts saw the world ranked Japanese Flyweight Ryota Yamauchi (6-1, 5) [山内涼太] bounce back from the disappointment of missing out on a Japanese title eliminator last year, when he was injured. The talented Yamauchi was up against Filipino visitor MJ Bo (8-4-2, 4) and managed to stop the Filipino in 2 rounds.
Yamauchi looked really good for most of the first round, but was tagged by a hard right late in the round as Bo showed some life, and showed that was dangerous. The two each unloaded heavier shots in the second round, but a right up top and a left to the body dropped Bo for the 10 count, at an official time of 1:27 in round 2. Big things are expected from Yamauchi, but it was clear, again, that he had defensive flaws that needed to be sorted before he steps up again, and he is still susceptible to straight right hands, something we saw him getting caught by numerous times by Wulan Tuolehazi last year.
On paper an even better match up saw youngsters Yuki Nakajima (4-1, 4) [中嶋憂輝] and Shisui Kawabata (2-2, 2) [川畑嗣穂] clash in a mouth watering match up.
From the off this was high skilled stuff, with both both looking to measure the opponents for straight shots in the first couple of rounds. It was clear both men believed they had the power to hurt the other. Nakajima changed the bout up in round 3, when he began to press more, and this is where he really began to build some momentum, attacking the body up close and roughing up Kawabata, with the 4th round being a particularly exciting one. The rough house tactics from Nakajima saw him hitting Kawabata with an illegal shot in round 5, and the referee gave Kawabata time to recover. Despite Kawabata still having moments during rounds 4 and 5, this wasn't the type of fight he was wanting and he was being ground down by the heavy hands and physicality of Nakajima.
In round 6 a Nakajima uppercut dropped Kawabata, who went down hard. The referee started a count, but waved the bout off part way through.
(Photo by A.McGovern)
Earlier today online subscription service Boxing Raise revealed their schedule for February and sadly it's rather lacking with only 3 shows in total, and only 1 live one. That is however a sign of a quiet February in Japan more than anything, with only 7 shows scheduled for the entire month, including the February 1st card which was shown on G+.
The first of the Boxing Raise cards is actually available already and took place today at Korakuen Hall. The card was a rather small and low key one, featuring only 4 round bouts. Whilst the show didn't get much attention it is good to see the service uploading the bouts on the same day which hasn't always been the case.
The next show to be including on the service this month is the February 14th Kadoebi card. This will be headlined by Froilan Saludar (31-3-1, 22) defending the WBO Asia Pacific Super Flyweight title against Ryoji Fukunaga (11-4, 11) [福永亮次] in what looks likely to be an explosive match up. Other bouts of note on this card will include Ryota Yamauchi (5-1, 4) [山内涼太] facing off with Filipino MJ Bo (8-3-2, 4) and a brilliant match up between Yuki Nakajima (3-1, 3) [中嶋憂輝] and Shisui Kawabata (2-1, 2) [川畑嗣穂].
The only live card for the month will take place on February 27th and is an excellent looking card, headlined by an OPBF Welterweight title bout between Riku Nagahama (11-2-1, 4) [長濱 陸] and Kudura Kaneko (11-0, 8) [クドゥラ 金子] and also featuring the Hajime No Ippo 30th anniversary tournament semi finals. Those semi-finals will see Jae Woo Lee (7-2, 6) [이재우] taking on Shingo Kusano (12-8-1, 5) [草野慎悟] and Richard Pumicpic (21-10-2, 6) clashing with Daisuke Watanabe (9-4-2, 6) [渡部大介].
Whilst it's a shame there's so little content this month, it is impressive that Boxing Raise do have 3 of the 7 Japanese cards from the entire month.
Earlier today at Korakuen Hall Japanese fight fans got the latest show from Kadoebi.
Whilst not a bumper show, it was a card with several notable fights on it, with a particularly interesting trio of under-card bouts.
The first of that trio saw talented youngster Yuki Nakajima (3-1, 3) [中嶋憂輝] bounce back from his August loss to Ryu Horikawa by destroying the brave, but out-gunned Yasuhiro Tanaka (6-5-2) [田中康寛]. Nakajima really did as he wished he, and although he was caught quite a few times by Tanaka it really seemed like Tanaka was fighting a tank with a pea shooter. Tanaka never got Nakahjima's respect and instead took a bit of a shellacking from Nakajima, who stopped his man in round 3. Tanaka was dropped by a beauty of a left hook, and although he got back to his feet a follow up forced the referee to jump in.
The second of the bouts saw touted novices clash, with Mikio Sakai (2-0) [酒井幹生] doing enough to take a narrow decision over Ran Tomomatsu (1-1) [友松藍]. These two were incredibly well matched, despite having very different styles. Of the two Tomomatsu always appeared the stronger man, and was the one marching forward, but Sakai's more polished boxing, and smart ring craft was certainly able to neutralise a lot of Tomomatsu's pressure. The boxing of Sakai seemed to be more impressive to the judges who had him edging out a majority decision. Given the lack of professional experience these two had this was a fantastic bout, and is well worth checking out if you have a Boxing Raise subscription.
The third of the notable under-card bouts saw Yuichiro Kasuya (13-2-2, 4) [粕谷雄一郎] and Satoru Sugita (15-6-2, 10) [杉田聖] battle to an 8 round draw. Despite the two men having different strengths and styles, they actually matched up perfectly and made for a very entertaining fight, with Kasuya being the quicker fighter and Sugita having that bit more power on everything he landed. We didn't expect much here but the two men really delivered a very good and engaging 8 round battle which ended in split decision draw.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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