Yesterday Japanese veteran Yuki Nonaka (33-11-3, 10) [野中 悠樹] received the Amagasaki City Sports Special Award, due to the impact he has made on the city in regards to sport.
Today it was also confirmed that he has moved from the Ioka Gym to the Atsumi Gym, something that had been reported in February but never really made too public as the press conference to announce it was cancelled, due to the outbreak of a certain issue that has now become a massive global problem.
At the moment it's unclear when Nonaka will return to the ring, but at the age of 42 time is ticking on his hopes of fighting for a world title. He really needs the global issue that is forcing fights and events to be cancelled to be cleared up shortly, though sadly that's not looking likely given how wide spread, and quickly growing, it is.
We want to congratulate Nonaka on the award.
Today saw the shortlists being released from the Japanese Boxing Commission and the Tokyo Sports Press Club for the annual Japanese boxing awards, celebrating the best of Japanese boxing in 2019.
Unsurprisingly Ryota Murata, Kazuto Ioka, Kosei Tanaka, Kenshiro Teraji and Naoya Inoue were in multiple categories following a solid for all 5 men.
Below are the short lists for this years awards, ahead of the annual ceremony, which will take place on February 7th in Tokyo.
Naoya Inoue (19-0, 16) [井上 尚弥]
Kazuto Ioka (25-2, 14) [井岡一翔]
Ryota Murata (16-2, 13) [村田 諒太]
Kosei Tanaka (15-0, 9) [田中恒成]
Kenshiro Teraji (17-0, 10) [寺地 拳四朗]
Ryosuke Iwasa (27-3, 17) [岩佐 亮佑]
Keita Kurihara (15-5, 13) [栗原 慶太]
Shuichiro Yoshino (11-0, 9) [吉野 修一郎]
Hiroaki Teshigawara (21-2-2, 14) [勅使河原 弘晶]
Ginjiro Shigeoka (5-0, 4) [重岡銀次朗]
Koki Inoue (15-0, 12) [浩樹井上]
Junto Nakatani (20-0, 15) [中谷 潤人]
Yuki Nonaka (33-11-3, 10) [野中 悠樹]
Akinori Watanabe (39-7-1, 33) [渡部あきのり]
Yuki Nagano (17-2, 13) [永野祐樹]
Norihito Tanaka (19-7, 10) [田中教仁]
Best Fight of the Year (World title Bout)
Naoya Inoue Vs Nonito Donaire
Naoya Inoue Vs Emanuel Rodriguez
Kazuto Ioka Vs Aston Palicte
Ryota Murata Vs Rob Brant II
Best Fight of the Year (Non-world title)
Kazuto Takesako Vs Shuji Kato 加藤収二]
Yuki Beppu [別府優樹] Vs Ryota Yada [矢田良太]
Toshiya Ishii [石井渡士也] Vs Haruki Ishikawa [石川春樹]
Tenkai Tsunami (27-12-1, 16) [天海 ツナミ]
Kasumi Saeki (4-0, 3) [佐伯霞]
Miyo Yoshida (14-1) [吉田 実代]
Female Fight of the Year
Naoko Fujioka [藤岡 奈穂子] Vs Tenkai Tsunami
Kasumi Saeki Vs Elizabeth Lopez
Monseratt Alcaron Vs Ayaka Miyao [宮尾 綾香]
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Earlier today in Japan a press conference was held announcing that WBO Asia Pacific Middleweight champion Yuki Nonaka (33-11-3, 10) [野中 悠樹] had signed a 3 year deal with US promoter GCP.
Nonaka is the first Asian fighter to sign with GCP, or Greg Cohen Promotions, and is expected to continue his career in the US, with his next bout now looking likely to take place in early 2020.
At today's event Nonaka told the press:
“It's almost a miracle that a Japanese can sign a contract with an American promoter at this age. I am really grateful for this promotional contract with myself, and I will do my best to be recognized by real American fans so that I can give back the results! " [Translated]
At the age of 41, and with his 42nd birthday taking place in December, Nonaka is certainly a veteran of the ring. Given his age however, it's hard to imagine him completing the 3 year deal but it'll be great to see the talented Osakan in a US ring following this deal!
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
One thing we know about Korean fighters is that they come to win, no matte how big of an under-dog they are they won't step in the ring to just accept a loss.
That was seen earlier today in Osaka when the unheralded South Korean puncher Yang Hyun Min (8-3, 7) [양현민] challenged WBO Asia Pacific Middleweight champion Yuki Nonaka (33-11-3, 10) [野中 悠樹]. On paper this was a mismatch, an easy first defense for Nonaka. But nobody told Min he was there to lose.
The bout started slowly, with Nonaka looking to ease his way into the bout and control the distance. It wasn't long before Min began to find success for his own shots, and in round 2 he began to land heavy shots on Nonaka, who struggled to stamp his authority on the action. Nonaka was becoming wary of Min's hard right hand counters and although the Japanese veteran was doing enough to keep Min honest, and keep his nose in the lead, he wasn't controlling the bout as many, including ourselves, had expected.
Nonaka had success with the right hook in round 5, but the following round he suffered a nasty cut to the bridge of his nose from a straight right hand. The shot seemed to rip a hole in the middle of Nonaka's face and it got worse the following round, as Min began to build some moment and drag Nonaka into his fight.
The bout became an even bigger blood bath the following round when Min was cut from a clash of heads, and the fight quickly became a mess, with regularly head clashes between the two men, who were fighting up close. It wasn't the clean action we'd often seen from Nonaka, through his career, but it was compelling, with both men leaking claret all over the ring.
It was tough for Nonaka, but became even tougher in round 9 when he was deducted a point for low blows. Thankfully for Nonaka Min's lack of experience in the later stages of a fight began to show as both men tired. As the tempo slowed Nonaka's jab began to land with regularity, which allowed him to take some of the later rounds and tighten his grip on the bout.
After 12 rounds both men were a bloody mess, Nonaka cut on the nose, swollen on the left eye and bruised around the chest, whilst Min sported huge cuts over both eyes. Despite the messy action Nonaka retained his title with a split decision, thanks to scores of 117-111 and 115-112 in his favour, and a card of 115-112 to Min.
After the bout Min suggested the bout should have been stopped due to Nonaka's cut, and made it clear he was wanting a rematch. Nonaka however showed little interest in going again, stating that he was wanting a world title fight as soon as possible, admitting that his career hasn't got long left. Nonaka isn't going to be seen as a major threat at world level, but he and his team are clearly chasing one big bout. Interestingly that may come in December, if WBA "regular" champion Ryota Murata is in need for dance partner following Jeff Horn's recent loss.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
Tomorrow we'll see WBO Asia Pacific Middleweight champion Yuki Nonaka (33-10-3, 10) [野中 悠樹] make his first defense of the title title, as he takes on South Korean puncher Yang Hyun Min (8-2, 7) [양현민].
Today the two fighters took part in their weigh in for the contest and both men made the 160lb Middleweight limit.
On the scales Nonaka came in at around 159.6lbs, and looked strong and powerful on the scales. Min was much lighter, at 158.1lbs.
At the weigh in both fighters spoke about winning, though it's clear that Nonaka enters a big favourite. Despite being the wrong side of 40 Nonaka has the edge in skills, experience and still looks much better than many younger fighters. The move up in weight, from Light Middleweight to Middleweight, is also likely to have given Nonaka's career some extra legs, even after 46 bouts many of which have been at national or regional title level.
Related - Preview - Yuki Nonaka Vs Yang Hyun Min
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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