The Coronavirus Countermeasures Liaison Council, set up by the Japan Boxing Commission and Japan Professional Boxing Association had their latest meeting today and took their latest step towards opening up the boxing scene in the country. A full decision on the restart it expect to be made in the coming days but today's meeting did lay down some clear ground work for the return.
In regards to health and safety the hope is to give fighters anti-body tests 3 weeks prior to a bout. That still hasn't been totally signed off but seems to be the standard they will be pushing for. The shows will also be non-spectator events to begin with, and it doesn't seem like their is a clear agreement on when that is going to be changed.
The first show that has been applied for at Korakuen Hall is, still, the planned Ohashi show on July 16th which will be a double header show, with no supporting under-card. That event is planned to see OPBF Featherweight champion Satoshi Shimizu (8-1, 8) [清水 聡] defending his title against Kyohei Tonomoto (9-2-1, 4) [殿本恭平] and Japanese Light Welterweight champion Koki Inoue (15-0, 12) [浩樹井上] defending his belt against mandatory challenger Daishi Nagata (14-2-1, 5) [永田大士].
That may end up not being the first show in Japan in July, with applications made for two shows at the Aioi Hall, one on July 5th and one on July 12, though details of those shows haven't been announced in any sort of detail yet. This could mean Japanese boxing restarts in Central Japan almost 2 weeks before it starts in the capital.
Talking about events in the capital it appears the Japanese Middleweight title bout between Kazuto Takesako (11-0-1, 11) [竹迫司登] and Riku Kunimoto (4-0, 2) [国本陸] will not take place on July 27th as planned, and has been pushed back, potentially to 2012. That was due to Kunimoto requesting a delay based on his inability to train.
Despite that news there is the hope is that Tokyo will host a card on July 22nd, with Kenta Nakagawa (18-3-1, 12) [中川 健太] defending his Japanese Super Flyweight title against Yuta Matsuo (15-4-2, 8) [松尾雄太].
Notably there wasn't any mention of the recently reported WBO Flyweight title bout between Junto Nakatani (20-0, 15) [中谷 潤人] and Giemel Magramo (24-1, 20), which was reportedly looking for a July 4th date.
Earlier today news broke of two planned Japanese shows which have been pencilled in for July, though still need to be given the green light by the Japanese boxing authorities. Not only are two shows planned but the will both be featuring Japanese title fights.
The first of those is planned for July 22nd and will be headlined by Japanese Super Flyweight title bout between Kenta Nakagawa (18-3-1, 12) [中川 健太] and Yuta Matsuo (15-4-2, 8) [松尾雄太], who will be meeting in one of the delayed Champion Carnival bouts.
Originally Nakagawa and Matsuo were supposed to be facing off on May 16th, before boxing in Japan was put on an hiatus due to the ongoing global issues. For Nakagawa the bout will be his first defense of his second reign, following his title win back in December against Takayuki Okumoto. As for Matsuo this will be his third crack at a Japanese title, following losses to Masayuki Kuroda and Takayuki Okumoto.
The plan for the card is to feature 3 under-card bouts alongside the main event.
The second show is planned to take place 5 days later, on July 27th and will see Kazuto Takesako (11-0-1, 11) [竹迫司登] defending his Japanese Middleweight title against Riku Kunimoto (4-0, 2) [国本陸], in a bout that was originally supposed to take place back on May 2nd.
For Takesako the bout will be his 4th defense of the title whilst Kunimoto will be fighting in his first title fight. At the moment there are no details regarding an under-card.
Again it needs to be said that both shows have got to be given the green light, along with the previously reported Ohashi gym card which will feature OPBF Featherweight champion Satoshi Shimizu (8-1, 8) [清水 聡] defending his title against Kyohei Tonomoto (9-2-1, 4) [殿本恭平] and Japanese Light Welterweight champion Koki Inoue (15-0, 12) [浩樹井上] defending his belt against Daishi Nagata (14-2-1, 5) [永田大士].
The shows will all be discussed at an upcoming meeting in Japan, where the three shows will be looked at to make sure they are possible and don't carry too much risk.
There is also a card set for July 30th, which will be be run by the East Japan Boxing Association.
Earlier today on social media Dangan boxing announced that they were cancelling shows scheduled for May 16th and May 17th at the Sumida City Gymnasium.
Unsurprisingly the reason both shows were cancelled relates to the ongoing global issue.
At the moment it's unclear what will happen with the majority of the bouts set for the two shows, which included a Japanese Super Flyweight title bout between Kenta Nakagawa (18-3-1, 12) [中川 健太] takes on Yuta Matsuo (15-4-2, 8) [松尾雄太], which was set for May 16th, and the Hajime No Ippo 30th anniversary tournament final, between Shingo Kusano (13-8-1, 5) [草野慎悟] and Daisuke Watanabe (10-4-2, 6) [渡部大介], which was to take place a day late. It's expected both bouts will be postponed, but it's very unclear when they will take place.
Although the current suspension on boxing in Japan didn't directly affect the two shows the regulations being put on gyms for hosting shows would have effected both events, which were meant to be held as part of a boxing festival, as opposed to just a plan boxing show.
As with, we suspect everyone else, we hope the issue taking over global news come to an end sooner rather than later. It obviously effects more than just boxing, and we really hope everyone reading this is staying as safe as they can through these trying and tough times.
Over the last few days we've seen a lot of Japanese title bouts being revealed as part of the Champion Carnival. Earlier today those bouts were set in stone as the Champion Carnival presentation took place, confirming the contests we'd reported and getting all the champions and challengers in one event.
The first of the bouts will take place on February 1st at the Dynamic Glove show, and will see Japanese Welterweight champion Yuki Nagano (17-2, 13) [永野祐樹] defending his title against mandatory challenger Keita Obara (22-4-1, 20) [小原 佳太]. This bout has been known about for weeks and is an exciting, and potentially very explosive, way to kick off the Champion Vs Challenger series. This bout will be at Korakuen Hall, where most of the title bouts will actually take place.
The second bout will take on February 13th, when Lightweight champion Shuichiro Yoshino (11-0, 9) [吉野 修一郎] defends his belt against Izuki Tomioka (7-2-1, 2) [富岡樹]. This is expected to bee a match up showing a lot of skills, from both men, though the power and physical edges with the champion does make him the favourite. This is another bout at Korakuen Hall.
It's then almost a month later until we get the next bout in the series. That'll be on March 7th, on the March Dynamic Glove, when Light Middleweight champion Hironobu Matsunaga (16-1, 10) [松永 宏信] defends his belt against Yuto Shimizu (14-4-2, 5) [清水優人] in a potentially enthralling bout. The champion will be seeking his second defense whilst Shimizu will be getting his first title fight. This will be the third successive bout at Tokyo's Korakuen Hall.
Just one day later, March 8th, we get the Flyweight bout with the heavy handed Seigo Yuri Akui (14-2-1, 10) [阿久井政悟] defending his title against Seiya Fujikita (13-4, 6) [藤北誠也]. Given Akui's style this should be an explosive bout, and one to look forward to. This was announced way back at the start of the year and will take place at the Aeon Mall mall in Okayama City, the first of the bouts outside of Tokyo.
Just a week later, March 15th, action turns to the Aioi Hall in Kariya as Light Flyweight champion Yuto Takahashi (11-4, 5) [高橋悠斗] defends against hard hitting challenger Masamichi Yabuki (10-3, 10) [佐藤政道]. This will be the first title defnense for Takahashi, and will see him entering enemy territory.
The following day, March 16th, Light Welterweight champion Koki Inoue (15-0, 12) [浩樹井上] will take on Daishi Nagata (14-2-1, 5) [永田大士] in the main event of a card at Korakuen Hall from Ohashi. This is one of the few shows where under-card details have been revealed, and it makes for a very decent looking card overall.
After a slew of fights in March we then have a bit of a break before returning on April 9th for a double header at Korakuen Hall. One of the bouts here will see Bantamweight champion Yusuke Suzuki (11-3, 7) [鈴木悠介] make his first defense, as he goes up against Kyosuke Sawada (14-2-1, 6) [澤田京介] in a rematch of a bout both men had back in 2013. The other bout on this card will see Featherweight champion Ryo Sagawa (9-1, 4) [佐川遼] make his second defense as he takes on Hinata Maruta (10-1-1, 8) [丸田陽七太], in what we feel is the standout bout from this year's Carnival.
On April 28th Super Bantamweight champion Yusaku Kuga (19-4-1, 13) [久我勇作] will defend his title against Gakuya Furuhashi (26-8-1, 14) [古橋大輔]. This bout will be Kuga's first defense since reclaiming the title last year and will be Furuhashi's third shot, at a third different champion. This bout is also set to be at Korakuen Hall.
Interestingly the Super Featherweight bout between hard hitting champion Kosuke Saka (20-5, 17) [坂晃典] and teak tough challenger Takuya Watanabe (37-9-1, 21) [渡邉卓也] is pencilled in for April in Osaka, though no date or specific venue was confirmed at today's event.
On May 16th we'll see the Super Flyweight title bout as defending champion Kenta Nakagawa (18-3-1, 12) [中川 健太] takes on Yuta Matsuo (15-4-2, 8) [松尾雄太] at the Sumida City Gymnasium in Tokyo.
No those who are eagle eyed will be aware there were some division's missing.
Firstly the Minimumweight bout hasn't yet been decided. The title is currently vacant, after Norihito Tanaka (19-7, 10) [田中教仁] returned the belt earlier this year. What we do know is that Masataka Taniguchi (12-3, 7) [谷口 将隆] will be involved in the title bout, though there is currently no opponent, date or venue for the bout.
The Middleweight title bout will see the hard hitting Kazuto Takesako (11-0-1, 11) [竹迫司登] defending his belt against Riku Kunimoto (4-0, 2) [国本陸] but this bout has no date or location set. This bout is likely to be scheduled following Takesako's bout this coming weekend against OPBF champion Shinobu Charlie Hosokawa (12-4-1, 11) [細川チャーリー忍].
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
Earlier today we were informed that Japanese Super Flyweight champion Kenta Nakagawa (18-3-1, 12) [中川 健太] has got his first defense set, as he takes on mandatory challenger Yuta Matsuo (15-4-2, 8) [松尾雄太] as part of the Champion Carnival, on May 16th
For Nakagawa this will be his first defense of his second reign, after he reclaimed the title last year from Takayuki Okumoto, taking a clear decision over Okumoto in Osaka. His first reign was a short one, lasting only 5 months before he lost the title to Ryuichi Funai in his first defense. He'll be hoping for a more meaningful reign this time around.
On the other hand Matsuo is fighting in his third title fight, after having previously fought for the Japanese "interim" Flyweight title and the Japanese Super Flyweight title, losing to Okumoto last year. He earned his shot thanks to a draw with Hiroyuki Kudaka back in December.
Given the styles of the two men involved this should be a very fan friendly bout, even if neither of the men are particularly big names.
The bout is set to take place at the Sumida City Gymnasium in Tokyo. At the time of writing no under-card details have been released, though with the bout set for mid-May we're not expecting many more details on this one any time soon.
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