Earlier today the Japan Professional Boxing Association announced the Strongest Korakuen bouts, which will take place later this year to decide the mandatory challengers for the Japanese titles in the new year, with 10 bouts being announced.
The Minimumweight bout will see WBO Asia Pacific champion Yudai Shigeoka (5-0, 3) [重岡優大] take on Tatsuro Nakashima (11-3-1, 7) [仲島辰郎], with the winner getting a show at the Japanese title, currently held by Yudai's younger brother Ginjiro Shigeoka (8-0, 6) [重岡銀次朗], who actually beat Nakashima for the title. This bout is set to take place at Korakuen Hall on November 17th.
The Light Flyweight eliminator will see Daiki Tomita (18-2, 6) [冨田大樹] battle Rikito Shiba (6-2, 3) [芝力人], though no date or venue has been announced for this bout.
At Super Flyweight we also have no date or venue set, but a mouth watering bout as Ryusei Kawaura (9-1, 6) [川浦龍生] battles Suzumi Takayama (5-0, 4) [高山涼深], in what is potentially the best looking of the bouts announced.
The Bantamweight bout bout will see Jin Minamide (6-2, 5) [南出仁] battle against Yuki Yonaha (11-3-1, 8) [与那覇勇気], in what could prove to be a very explosive bout between two flawed but hard hitting.
On the subject of interesting bouts we'll have a potentially thrilling war at Super Bantamweight as former champions Ryoichi Tamura (14-6-1, 7) [田村亮一] takes on Gakuya Furuhashi (28-9-2, 16) [古橋大輔]. Interestingly these two men also met in a Japanese title eliminator back in 2019, with Furuhashi taking a razor win over Tamura, before winning the title with a sensational battle just 4 months later.
At Featherweight former champion Ryo Sagawa (12-2, 7) [佐川遼] faces off with Daisuke Watanabe (12-5-2, 7) [渡部大介].
At Super Featherweight the hard hitting Yamato Hata (12-1, 11) [波田大和] will face Yuna Hara (11-2-1, 6) [原優奈], with this bout set to take place on October 1st at Korakuen Hall.
On paper one of the more underwhelming bouts is set to take place at Lightweight, as Shuma Nakazato (11-2-3, 7) [仲里周磨] takes on the hard hitting Ken Koibuchi (8-4-1, 7) [鯉淵健], in what might be an bout that's easy to over-look but is very likely to be an explosive encounter.
At Welterweight we're in for a treat as we get a rematch between Hironori Shigeta (8-2-1, 5) [重田裕紀] and Shoki Sakai (26-13-2, 14) [坂井祥紀], who gave us a very fan friendly bout back in 2020 with Sakai taking a clear but hard fought decision win. This bout is set to take place on October 22nd at Korakuen Hall.
At 154lbs Rei Nakajima (5-1) [中島玲] will face Koki Koshikawa (9-6, 6) [越川孝紀]. For Koshikawa he's looking to land his third shot at the Japanese 154lb title whilst Nakajima will be looking to secure his second shot at the title.
Notably there is no bout set for Flyweight, Light Welterweight or Middleweight. At the time of writing it's been reported that former world title challenger Ryota Yamauchi (8-2, 7) [山内涼太] will be getting a shot at Flyweight Cristiano Aoqui (16-9-2, 11), will get a shot at 140lbs and unfortunately there won't be a mandatory challenger for the Champion Carnival at Middleweight.
Earlier today Shinsei Gym streamed their latest show, doing so on their YouTube channel Boxing Real, from the Central Gym in Kobe. The card wasn't a big one, but it was certainly one worth tuning into with a former world champion in the main event and a touted prospect in the middle of the card. Sadly the show didn't really provide much in terms of drama, but we did get 5 bouts.
The show kicked off with a 4 round female bout as Japanese ranked Flyweight Marina Hamada (3-0-1) [浜田 麻理菜] took on Japanese ranked Bantamweight Michiko Abiru (2-4, 1) [阿比留 通子]. On paper this looked a mismatch in favour of Hamada, but in the ring in looked clearly like Abiru had the advantage, as she looked much bigger than Hamada and seemed to be the stronger fighter through out the bout.
The bout started very slowly, with both struggling to find their rhythm in the opening round. Thankfully however the bout settled into something of a pattern in round round 2 as Abiru began to press the action forward and Hamada had to try and use her faster feet to maintain some range. Sadly for Abbiru whilst she was the one coming forward, making her size and physical strength count, she was struggling to actually get close and get her shots off, with Hamada countering the pressure well and getting away without taking punishment.
After 4 rounds we went to the scorecards, with the judges turning in scores of 40-36, twice, and 39-37, all to Hamada who took the unanimous decision,
In the second bout we had another 4 rounder as Ren Kobayashi (4-1, 2) [小林 廉] clashed with Kazuki Terasaki (3-3-1, 2) [寺崎 和輝] in a match up that looked good on paper.
Both of these guys started at a good pace, but it seemed like Kobayashi was able to land the better shots from the opening bell. Terasaki showed some real nice touches, much better that we'd expect of a 3-3-1 fighter, but he was coming off second in almost every exchange.
In round 4, with the time ticking down down on the bout, Kobayashi launched the most meaningful assault of the fight, staggering Terasaki, who failed to recover before a follow shot set him down. The referee knew it was too much to ask for Terasaki to get to his feet and quickly waved off the bout with 28 seconds remaining, giving Kobayashi a 4th round TKO win
We saw another 4th round TKO win in the third bout on the show as the charismatic Takahiro Tai (2-0, 2) [田井宜広] scored his second win, and stopped JBC #15 ranked Bantamweight Koichi Wakita (7-3-3, 2) [脇田洸一].
This bout promised quite a lot on paper, but never really came alive. The exciting, wild, and fun Tai, who debuted last year, really didn't look the same here. He press forward, controlled the tempo and action of the fight, but had very little coming back at him. Wakita seemed to taste his power early and never really looked like he wanted to have much of a fight. As a result Wakita played defense against Tai who proved to be wild, open and unpolished.
Despite missing a lot of shots in the first 3 rounds it was clear Tai had absolutely nothing to be worried about when it came to Wakita's offense. Even when Tai wiffed badly with a shot, which he did regularly, Wakita didn't him pay.
In round 4 we finally saw Tai begin to take things a little bit more seriously, putting his foot on the gas, and breaking Wakita down with some big body shots. Late in the rounds the novice hurt his more experienced foe, and a follow up sent him to the canvas, where he lay on all fours whilst the referee waved off the bout.
This was stopped at an official time of 2:47 of round 4. Whislt it's a good win on paper for Tai, who will potentially break into the Japanese rankings, it was a poor performance from him. He has much, much more to show than we saw here, and fingers crossed we see him being genuinely tested sooner rather later.
The chief support bout on the card was an under-whelming contest, as Yuki Yonaha (9-3-1, 6) [与那覇勇気] scored a relatively easy win against Kenta Sakata (7-8-2) [坂田健太].
From the opening round Yonaha looked in total control, control the tempo and distance against the smaller, less talented Sakata. In rounds 2 Yonaha began to showboat, looking away before dropping Sakata with a straight down the pipe, that almost caused an early finish. The bell came soon after Sakata got back to his fee. Sadly for fans, and Sakata, it seemed like Yonaha wanted to get some rounds under his belt and didn't go for the kill, at all. Instead he picked his moments, landed heavy single shots, and really just had his way with Sakata, who had no answers.
In round 6, with Sakata looking a beaten, and bloodied, man his team threw in the towel, saving him from further punishment. The official time here was 2:22 of round 6, though it could easily have been round 3 had Yonaha opened up earlier and not been going through the motions.
The main event of the card saw former WBA Super Bantamweight world champion Shun Kubo (15-2, 10) [久保隼] score his first stoppage win in almost 4 years, as he forced the referee to save 22 year old Ruito Saeki (7-5-1, 1) [佐伯瑠壱斗].
Kubo looked relaxed and comfortable form the off, boxing behind his long, awkward, jab. Sadly Saeki had no answer for it, and he never really looked close to solving the jab. The one time he did was late in round 2 when he landed an uppercut, but that was pretty much the only time he landed anything of note.
In round 3 the clean accurate shots of Kubo took their toll, as he dropped Saeki with a perfect straight, following two soft jabs. Later in the same round Kubo landed another clean straight, that rocked Saeki, who seemed to lose his legs. The referee quickly jumped in, saving Saeki from any potential follow up. It was the right decision, saving Saeki from more punishment in what was quickly becoming a massive mismatch.
Tomorrow at the Central Gym in Kobe we'll get the latest show from Shinsei Gym. The card isn't a massive show, by any stretch, but it is one worth being aware of several reasons. It features a former world champion, a charismatic prospect and it's going to be shown live for free online!
The show was originally scheduled to feature 6 bouts in total, though that has been reduced to 5 after Yuri Takemoto (8-2-1, 4) [竹本雄利] was forced to pull out of a scheduled bout with Tamaki Miwa (6-6-1, 1) [三輪珠輝]
Today, ahead of the show, the fighters took part in their weigh in and the 10 fighters on the show all made weight for their bouts.
From the 5 bouts on the show there are 3 are worth some attention.
The first of those, which will be third on the broadcast, is a Super Bantamweight bout between Takahiro Tai (1-0, 1) [田井宜広] and JBC #15 ranked Bantamweight Koichi Wakita (7-2-3, 2) [脇田洸一]. The exciting Tai made his debut last year and immediately impressed with a flashy, fun, exciting style, and we're glad to see him back in the ring in a notable step up.
On the scales these two men were both around 121.5lbs, well under the 122lb limit.
The second bout of note is the chief support bout, which will see Yuki Yonaha (8-3-1, 5) [与那覇勇気] clash with Kenta Sakata (7-7-2) [坂田健太] in an 8 round Super Flyweight bout. Coming in to this Yonaha is ranked by the JBC at Bantamweight and looking to build on a very good 2020 win over the once touted Motoko Osanai.
On the scales neither man came close to the 115lb limit, with Yonaha weighing 114.6lbs and Sakata coming in at 114.4lbs.
The main event will see former WBA Super Bantamweight world champion Shun Kubo (14-2, 9) [久保隼] battle against 22 year old tough guy Ruito Saeki (7-4-1, 1) [佐伯瑠壱斗] in a match up that should be a lot better than it looks on paper. Kubo needs an impressive performance to show that he's back and heading in the right direction whilst Saeki has spoken very confidently in the build up to the bout.
The bout between Kubo and Saeki was set at a contracted weight of 58.5KG's, around 129lbs, and saw Saeki weigh bang on the limit whilst Kubo was slightly lighter, at around 128.8lbs.
For fans wanting to tune in for this one, it will be stream live on the Boxing Real YouTube channel, for free from around 13:00 Japan time. As well as the 3 bouts mentioned the show will also feature 2 bouts scheduled for 4 rounds.
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