Earlier today MTK Global announced that their expansion was into Japan ad they unveiled their link up with the Muto Gym in Osaka.
The deal will see the Osakan based gym, headed by Takashi Edagawa, having their fighters advised by MTK, who have a list of global stars in their stable. In fact this is the 14th separate territory for MTK to begin working in.
Whilst the Mutoh Gym isn't a big one it does have an established name. It's a gym with a history that includes having created a world champion, in former 2-time WBA Super Flyweight champion Nobuo Nashiro [名城信男], and numerous regional and national champions, including the likes of Masahiro Sakamoto [坂本真宏] and Takayuki Hosokawa [細川貴之].
At the moment the gym is going through some notable transitions with their most well established fighter being WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight champion Yuki Strong Kobayashi (16-8, 9) [ストロング小林佑樹] and notable prospects include Ryosuke Nishida (2-0, 1) [西田 凌佑], Yusuke Mine (3-0, 1) [峯 佑輔] and Tulio Kuwabata (3-1, 2) [桑畑凜生], also known as Dekanarudo Torio.
A press release from MTK Global included quotes from both the MTK Global CEO Sandra Vaughan and Mr Edagawa. The quotes are below:
Vaughan said: “This is a very proud day. We are thrilled to have set up shop in Japan and we welcome our good friend Takashi Edagawa to the team. He’s done a great job building Muto Boxing Gym and now its future is even brighter.
“The sport of boxing in Japan has grown exponentially in recent times and with champions like Naoya Inoue providing the wider public with an icon to follow, further momentum is inevitable.
“Together with Takashi and his team, we look forward to harnessing the huge amount of local talent, finding the right paths for existing champions and ensuring we keep unearthing and developing future prospects.”
Edagawa said: “I feel it is my duty to ensure that Japanese athletes have the opportunities to put in great performances across the world and as I join forces with MTK Global, it gives me more confidence of accomplishing that goal.
“I made a world champion in my fourth year in boxing and now I want to build other fighters to show the world that Japanese boxing is strong. I feel it is my duty to make this happen.
“Thank you to MTK Global for giving me this honourable moment in my career.”
It's unclear what the real effects of this will be, though with some luck it could mean that the Mutoh promoted "You Will be The Champion" branded shows may be made available on YouTube, like other MTK shows have been, for international fans. If that happens then that is a huge bonus for fans, and a huge boost in exposure for the fighters.
Earlier this year Japan's Yuki Strong Kobayashi (16-8, 9) [小林佑樹] scored the biggest win of his career, stopping Ben Mannaquil to become the WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight champion. Today he returned to the ring and faced off with gutsy South Korean challenger Ki Chang Go (8-4, 4).
On paper this was an easy defense, Go had been stopped by Kobayashi's then stablemate Masahiro Sakamoto in 2018 and seemed to have nothing to test Kobayashi with. We were expecting this one to be over early. We were however by Go proving us wrong, and lasting the 12 rounds, in what will be a clear moral victory for the Korean.
Kobayashi took control early on and dropped the Korean in round 2 with a right hand. The Korean got to his feet and tried to fight back, but struggle to make in roads, and was dropped for a second time in round 9. Again Go got up, refusing to just accept the loss and tried to turn things around as the bout became a firefight.
The final rounds were all action with the crowd thoroughly enjoying the fight they were getting, knowing their man just had to stay on his feet to win, something that wasn't in doubt.
Although Kobayashi failed to get the stoppage the decision was a very dominant one, winning 120-106, 119-107 and 118-108 to retain his title. As for Go, on this performance he'll likely be invited back to Japan. This was gutsy and brave and against a lesser opponent he could make for some excellent fights. He though the Korean was levels below Kobayashi.
Tomorrow in Osaka, at the Sumiyoshi Ward Center, fight fans will get the chance to see WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight champion Yuki Strong Kobayashi (15-8, 9) [小林佑樹] make his first defense, as he takes on Korean challenger Ki Chang Go (8-3, 4), who returns to Japan for his second bout in the country.
Today the two men took part in the weigh in for their contest, and both fighters made weight with no issues, coming in comfortably under the Bantamweight limit.
A confident Kobayashi came in around 117.5lbs and looked very comfortable. He explained he had no issue making weight and was going to be planning to stop his opponent in the later rounds. On the scales Go was slightly heavier, hitting the scales at around 117.75lbs.
Interestingly in Go's first bout in Japan he was stopped by Masahiro Sakamoto, a stablemate of Kobayashi's at the time, though has now retired.
For fans wanting to watch this bout it will be made available on demand on Boxing Raise, though it won't be shown live.
Related - Kobayashi defends against Go in Osaka!
(Image - Boxmob.jp)
Earlier today the Boxing Raise service announced their line up for December, and sadly it has no live show available this month. Thankfully however the service is still set to get a lot of action during the month, ranging from some great fights at domestic level, to a world title eliminator, and various things in between.
Firstly they will get the On Demand rights of the November 17th Sanei Pro Fight Boxing, which will be uploaded on December 5th.
The next show they have is the December 8th Real Spirits card, headlined by a brilliant WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight title bout, pitting champion Musashi Mori (10-0, 6) [森 武蔵] against once beaten challenger Takuya Mizuno (17-1-1, 14) [水野拓哉]. The card after that will be the Green Dream show on December 15th, headlined by a bout between Kotatsu Takehara (15-12-3, 8) [竹原真敬] and Ryu Ueda (8-1-1, 5) [上田龍], who battle for the Japanese Heavyweight title.
The next card they will have will be the Kadoebi card from December 16th, headlined by OPBF Light Middleweight champion Akinori Watanabe (38-7-1, 32) [渡部あきのり] defending his title against Thai challenger Sitthidet Banti (12-5, 6).
Unsurprisingly the December 22nd Muto card will also be available on tape delay, with the card actually clashing with the Rookie of the Year final. This show is headlined by WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight champion Yuki Strong Kobayashi (15-8, 9) [小林佑樹]defending his title against South Korean challenger Ki Chang Go (8-3, 4).
After Christmas we'll see a late present with the service bringing up the IBF Super Flyweight world title eliminator between Sho Ishida (28-1, 15) [石田 匠] and Israel Gonzalez (24-3, 11).
While it's disappointing to not have a live card this month, the quality of shows, overall, is solid and with all the other shows on television in December we are set to have a great run in to the end of the year!
Earlier today we were informed that former Japanese amateur standout Yusuke Mine (2-0, 1) [峯 佑輔] would be taking a major step up when he fights again.
We had known for a while that he would be in action on December 22nd in Osaka, and was expected to take on someone with a ranking of some kind, be it OPBF or JBC. What we didn't expect was that it would be a former OPBF champion with experience of fighting for world titles. That however is exactly what has been confirmed.
Mine, who debuted back in July, will be up against 54 fight Filipino veteran Ardin Diale (35-15-4, 17) in an 8 round Super Flyweight bout.
Mine, who scored more than 50 wins in the amateurs, has been compared with Nobuo Nashiro, who won a Japanese title in his 6th bout and a world title in his 8th. Given this sort of step up in class this early in his career he may end up challenging the types of numbers Nashiro needed to win titles. It wasn't until fight #5 that Nashiro faced a former world title challenger, beating Hidenobu Honda in his 5th fight.
Diale isn't in the best form of his career, having lost 3 of his last 4, but when you consider those bouts include decision losses to Jonas Sultan, who fought for a world title just a fight earlier, and Wulan Tuolehazi, who challenges for a world title in December, you can see that Diale is still competing at a high level. He is however more than 3 years removed form being the OPBF Flyweight champion, losing that belt to Daigo Higa in 2016.
Despite Diale being on the slide this is still a massive step up in class for Mine.
At the moment we are still waiting to hear who Tulio Kuwabata (3-0, 2) [桑畑凜生] will face, though the rumour mill has suggest this could also be a notable fighter in another 8 round bout.
The bout will be one of the main supporting bouts for a card headlined by WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight champion Yuki Strong Kobayashi (15-8, 9) [小林佑樹], who takes on South Korean challenger Ki Chang Go (8-3, 4).
(Image courtesy of the Mutoh Gym)
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