Earlier today the Muto Gym, the Japanese partner of MTK Global in their "MTK Japan" expansion, held a press conference in Osaka to announce five bouts.
From the bouts two were already known about, but the other three weren't, and were completely new announcements.
The most notable of the bouts mentioned today was actually one that was revealed yesterday.
That was the Japanese Middleweight title bout between Kazuto Takesako (12-0-1, 11) [竹迫司登] and mandatory challenger Riku Kunimoto (4-0, 2) [国本陸]. Kunimoto, a Muto Gym fighter, will be getting his shot at the Japanese title on May 2nd as part of a Dynamic Glove card at Korakuen Hall, but he will be up against it as he takes on a dominant and heavy handed champion and it's clear he will be the under-dog.
Another bout that was known about before this press conference was a bout between Muto fighter Yusuke Mine (3-0, 1) [峯 佑輔] and former world title challenger Masayuki Kuroda (30-8-3, 16) [黒田 雅之], which was announced earlier in the day. This bout will take place on March 30th at Korakuen Hall, and again it's the Muto fighter who will be regarded as the under-dog.
One of the bouts are set to take place on April 12th, and will see Tulio Kuwabata (3-1, 2) [桑畑凜生], also known as Dekanarudo Torio, look to bounce back from a December loss to Filipino puncher Ken Jordan (9-1-2, 8) as he takes on Japanese ranked fighter Kazuki Tanaka (11-3, 8) [田中一樹], who is looking to bounce back from a loss to Kyosuke Sawada (14-2-1, 6) [澤田京介] in a Japanese title eliminator. This looks like a ridiculous match up, at this point, for Kuwabata, who is talented but deserves an easy win after being blown out by Jordan. This is yet another case of the Muto fighter being the under-dog.
The two remaining bouts are both set for April 19th, and both look more competitive than the other three.
One of those will see Akio Furutani (8-4, 3) [古谷 昭男] take on Chikato Sumida (9-3, 1) [住田愛斗], in what is set to be an 8 round bout at Super Flyweight on "You Will Be the Champion 11". This looked really even on paper and Furutani, the Mutoh fighter, is probably the slight favourite.
The other bout, on the same card, will see Ryosuke Nishida (2-0, 1) [西田凌佑] taking a massive step up in class as he is set to take on Matcha Nakagawa (13-2-1, 5) [武田航], in another 8 rounder, in what looks like a mouth watering match up. Although taking a huge step up Nishida does look like a special fighter and he maybe has the best chance of notching an upset.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
We've known for a while that former world title challenger Masayuki Kuroda (30-8-3, 16) [黒田 雅之] would be back in the ring on March 30th, in what will be his first bout since his loss last May to Moruti Mthalane.
Whilst we've know that Kuroda would be in action we weren't aware of his opponent, until today.
Earlier this morning it was announced that Kuroda's opponent would be Yusuke Mine (3-0, 1) [峯 佑輔], a touted prospect who is looking to be fast tracked.
For the 33 year old Kuroda the bout will be his 42nd since his debut way back in 2005. It will, as mentioned, be his first bout since May when he lost to Mthalane. On paper he will be the favourite, with his experience expected to be key, along with fighting "at home" at the Korakuen Hall where he has fought 31 times during his career. He is however a veteran, and the naturally smaller man, having fought at Light Flyweight for a good portion of his career before moving up for his first world title fight, in 2013 against Juan Carlos Reveco.
Mine on the other hand is 23 years old and regarded as one of the brightest hopes at the Muto Gym in Osaka. The former amateur standout has been tipped for big things, but he was exposed some what last time out when he was dropped twice by Ardin Diale, back in December. On one hand that bout left question marks about his chin, though on the other hand it showed his mental toughness to battle back after a horror start.
The bout will be an 8 round contest at Super Flyweight, giving Mine an advantage in terms of weight, with the younger man being a natural Super Flyweight, but the bout is still a huge ask for the young professional novice.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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 today at the Sumiyoshi Ward Center in Osaka fans saw a touted trio of prospects from the Muto gym, take on a trio of Filipino visitors. Despite the local hopefuls being very highly touted they had mixed fortunes.
Of the trio it was Ryosuke Nishida (2-0, 1) [西田 凌佑] who had the best day, taking a commanding win over Pablito Canada (7-18-4, 1). The talented Nishida couldn't stop Canada, though he did everything but. Nishida was too good in every way and clearly frustrated Canada who had points deducted for hitting on the break and a deliberate head butt. After 6 rounds the scores here were 60-52, from all 3 judges.
The highly regarded Yusuke Mine (3-0, 1) [峯 佑輔] will feel like he got a lot more than he expected, when he shared the ring with former OPBF Flyweight champion Ardin Diale (35-16-4, 17). Mine got the win, but boy did he have to dig deep here. Diale dropped the youngster with a jab at the end of round 1 and then dropped him again, with a right hand, in round 3 as Min found himself in a deep hole, very early on. The knockdowns forced a change in gameplan from Mine, who began to press more, cramping Diale for distance and working up close. It changed the fight and work Diale out, with the Filipino being deducted a point in round 8 for repeatedly spitting out his gum shield. After 8 rounds Mine took the win with scores of 76-75 and 76-73, twice, but had been given a serious test.
The third of the prospects was Tulio Kuwabata (3-1, 2) [桑畑凜生] who fought Filipino puncher Ken Jordan (9-1-2, 8) in the chief support bout. Jordan did what his country men failed to do, and took out Kuwbata in in the first round. Jordan dropped Kuwabata with a counter right hand, and although Kuwabata got back to his feet he was dropped a second time, and failed to beat the count.
For Muto the bouts for Mine and Kuwabata were risky match ups, and they were perhaps lucky to only see one of their men lose here. For Mine it bout was a serious lesson, whilst Kuwabata has to go back to the drawing board. Diale has again proven he's a live fighter, despite picking up recent losses and Jordan looks like a genuine dangerman, and one to watch going forward.
Yesterday we reported that former Japanese amateur standout Yusuke Mine (2-0, 1) [峯 佑輔] would be up against former OPBF Flyweight champion Ardin Diale (35-15-4, 17) in his next bout, which will take place in December.
That bout will be part of the under-card for the WBO Asia Pacific Bantamweight title fight between champion Yuki Strong Kobayashi (15-8, 9) [小林佑樹] and South Korean challenger Ki Chang Go (8-3, 4).
We can now report who Mine's and Kobayashi's stablemates, Ryosuke Nishida (1-0, 1) [西田 凌佑] and Tulio Kuwabata (3-0, 2) [桑畑凜生], will be facing.
Kuwabata, who is in the events chief support bout, will fight in an 8 round Super Flyweight bout against once beaten Filipino puncher Ken Jordan (8-1-2, 7). On paper this is a brilliant match up, pitting a talented former amateur, in just his 4th pro bout, against a hard hitting fellow youngster, with Jordan entering on the back of a 5 fight unbeaten run. This should be a test for Kuwabata, and whilst we expect him to win, we do expect to see him being genuinely given a tough night.
Nishida on the other hand, only debuted in October, will be in a 6 round bout against tough Filipino journeyman Pablito Canada (7-17-4, 1). On paper this is a safe bout for Nishida to get a win in, but Canada get the upset wins, and fans in Mandaluyong City saw that recently when he upset former world title challenger Jetro Pabustan. Again the local prospect should have too much, but this could be a banana skin if Nishida over-looks his foe.
(Image courtesy of Muto Gym)
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