Earlier today it was reported the the bout between Japanese Flyweight champion Seigo Yuri Akui (15-2-1, 10) [阿久井政悟] and former Japanese Youth Super Flyweight champion Yuto Nakamura (11-6-1, 8) [中村 祐斗], set to take place tomorrow in Okyama, has been cancelled.
The bout was supposed to headline "Momotaro Fight Boxing 40", and supposed to be shown on the Boxing Raise service, on delay, but has sadly been scrapped 1 day before the contest as Nakamura has had to pull out.
The 24 year old Nakamura has fallen ill, with no details on his illness being revealed.
Whilst the bout is cancelled local fans wanting to see the hard hitting Akui will still get the chance, with the promoter putting together a 3 round exhibition with Japanese Light Flyweight champion Masamichi Yabuki (12-3, 11) [佐藤政道]. Not a terrible replacement, though obviously not as good as a bout with Nakamura would have been.
Akui spoke to Boxmob.jp regarding the situation and seemed understanding of Nakamura's situation, whilst also talking up the exhibition with Yabuki, which genuinely should be an entertaining event in it's self. Especially given their history, with Akui stopping Yabuki in an actual fight in 2018.
Earlier today subscription service Boxing Raise released their line up for the month of April and it's a bit of a mixed bag. There are 5 shows, but none of them are live and none of them are particularly big. Notably two of them are also from deep within the Dangan series archive.
The most notable of 3 new shows will be the upcoming Green Tsuda promoted "Crash Boxing Vol 22", a really solid looking show with two touted prospects on it. The show will be headlined by former Japanese Youth Super Bantamweight champion Toshiki Shimomachi (12-1-2, 8) [下町俊貴] who takes on Thunder Teruya (7-8-1, 4) [サンダー照屋]. As well as the main event we are also looking forward to seeing the talented Jinki Maeda (6-0, 4) [前田稔輝] take on Yushi Fujita (9-8-4, 2) [藤田 裕史]. This show takes place tomorrow and will be added to the service at some point over the coming days.
Another show, also taking place on Sunday, will be a Rookie of the Year card. We love Rookie of the Year, and it's nice to see some of the Early Rookie of the Year bouts being made available for fans.
The third of the newer shows will be the April 18th card from Okayama, and will be headlined by Japanese Flyweight champion Seigo Yuri Akui (15-2-1, 10) [阿久井政悟] taking on former Japanese Youth Super Flyweight champion Yuto Nakamura (11-6-1, 8) [中村 祐斗]. There's no title on the line here, but it should serve as an interesting test for the explosive Akui, who has earned a reputation for blowing opponents out very early on.
As for the other two shows, they are both shows from around a decade ago. The first of those is Dangan 27, also known as Dangan Battler, from November 2010. The show is certainly not one of the best from the Dangan series, but it has 8 bouts on it, including 5 bouts scheduled for 8 rounds, and hasn't been available to watch on demand before. The other will be Dangan 32, from May 2011, and features several bouts of note, including a very solid bout between Kentaro Masuda [益田健太郎] and Yosuke Fujihara [藤原陽介].
If we're being honest the service, which we are massive fans of, has been poor so far in 2021, and April is a little bit of a stinger as they had lined up another card that had to be scrapped due to an injury suffered by former IBF Super Bantamweight champion Yukinori Oguni (21-2-1, 8) [小國以載]. Thankfully however May looks set to be a very, very special month with some huge shows expected to take place.
If we're being totally truthful, 2021 has been a quiet year in general for Japanese boxing, as the pandemic has limited shows in the wider Tokyo region. Things now, however, seem like they will begin getting back to normal, and the service should be getting back to it's best sooner rather than later.
Earlier today the Kurashiki Moriyasu gym, which is in charge of Japanese Flyweight champion Seigo Yuri Akui (15-2-1, 10) [阿久井政悟] announced the next bout for the hard hitting champion, and surprisingly it will not be his second defense of the Japanese title. Instead it will be a non-title fight as he tests the water at Super Flyweight, and takes on former Japanese Youth champion Yuto Nakamura (11-6-1, 8) [中村 祐斗], in what should be an explosive clash.
The hard hitting Akui, who won the belt in 2019, when he blasted out Shun Kosaka, defended the Japanese title for the first time last October against mandatory challenger Seiya Fujikita. It was assumed that his next bout would be another defense as he moves onwards upwards, towards potentially bigger bouts and more notable titles. Instead he's taking an interesting choice to see whether he can make a mark 3lbs heavier, and whether his power, which has been destructive at Flyweight, can carry up.
As for Nakamura he was last seen in the ring in December, when he was stopped in 2 rounds by Ryo Akaho in a Super Bantamweight contest, in what was a massive mismatch and really didn't do either man any favours. Here however he will be fighting at his natural weight, and that should give him a chance against Akui.
The bout is scheduled to take place on April 18th at the Amakusa Park Gymnasium in Asakuchi, the same venue that has hosted Akui's last 2 bouts, and will be the headline contest on "Momotaro Fight Boxing 40". At the moment no other bouts have been announced for the show, which we suspect will be made available, on demand, on streaming service Boxing Raise.
In Europe and many former British colonies the day after Christmas is called "Boxing Day". Whilst certainly not a global thing it is certainly something of note and a term that a good portion of the world will be aware of. We don't that would include Japan, but for whatever reason, today been a day where Japan has provided with boxing day action, thanks to a stream from the brilliant team at A-Sign Boxing.
The event kicked off with a competitive affair as Kojiro Nishikawa (5-2-1, 2) [西川 宏次郎] battled to a draw with Daiju Kogo (4-2-1, 3) [向後 大寿] over 6 rounds.
The opening round was a good one for Nishikawa, who seemed in control though out the round. In round 2 Kogo managed to rock Nishikawa, and really went for a finish in the final 40 seconds, though sadly seemed to punch himself out. From there the pace never really recovered, and was instead white a low paced bout with Nishikawa pressing forward and Kogo moving well and countering.
After 6 rounds the judges couldn't split the men, with one judge scoring the bout a narrow win to Kogo, another having it as a win for Nishikawa, whilst the third hard it level at 57-57, to result in a draw. It wasn't the best way to kick off the show, but it was a solid 6 rounder.
In the second bout on the card we saw Takuya Yamaguchi (4-12-3, 2) [山口 拓也] and Masashi Noguchi (13-12-1, 6) [野口 将志] clash for the second time in just over 13 months.
From the off Yamaguchi was firing off wild, wide, looping hooks, and power shots. He was certainly putting in a huge effort, but was being made to miss, a lot. Noguchi, who looked the much more polished, was landing cleaner shots but wasn't letting his hands go much, and was often made to back up, despite landing some very nice, clean jabs.
The bout was a hard one to score as we went into round 6, the final round. That round ended up being sensational back and forth stanza of action, that saw both men looking about spent. Both men looked ready to go at multiple points but gritted it out, recovered and fought back, showing their will to win. After 6 rounds the judges turned in scores of 58-56, each way and 58-57 to Noguchi, giving him the split decision win, and levelling the series between the two men, who are now 1-1.
In the third bout on the show we saw bombs being traded as Kai Chiba (13-1, 8) [千葉開] over-came youngster Haruki Ishikawa (8-3, 6) [石川春樹] in a pretty one-sided, but entertaining, 8 round contest.
Through the bout it seemed Chiba did everything better than Ishikawa. He was quicker, sharper, stronger, and more accurate than Ishikawa, who struggled to get the respect of his hard hitting foe. To his credit however Ishikawa changed tactics in round 6, and tried to turn counter puncher, boxing off the ropes rather than taking center ring. The new tactics had mixed success. The change saw Ishikawa landing more often than he had earlier, but he was still being out landed every round.
The only real change was round 8, where the two men stood and traded bombs through the entire round. It was, sadly for Ishikawa, not enough and after 8 rounds it was hard to give him anything, with Chiba the clear winner. The scores here were 80-72, twice, and 79-73, all for Chiba, the worthy winner.
This was a solid win for Chiba, who looked as good as he ever has and showed good timing and understanding of the ring. He now seems ready for a title fight of some kind at 118lbs, and he really looked crisp, sharp and powerful through out. As for Ishikawa, this was a second straight loss, and he probably does need an easier fight or two to rebuild his confidence.
We saw the "reimported boxer" Shoki Sakai (25-11-2, 12) [坂井 祥記] battle against Takeru Kobata (8-5-1, 3) [小畑 武尊] in the fourth bout on the show and this was another entertaining little war, even if it was another rather one sided bout.
Sakai, fighting in Japan for just the second time, forced the action through much of the contest, pressing forward and trying to out work and out hustle Koabata. Impressively the youngster showed real maturity and composure under the pressure from Sakai, and tried to pick his spots to fight back. Sakai seemed the much stronger, more powerful and more aggressive fighter though out the bout, but credit to Kobata for holding his own in there, and not wilting under Sakai's attacks. In fact Kobata did enough to earn a round or two here and though and proved to be much better than his record suggests.
After 8 rounds Sakai took the decision with scores of 79-73, twice, and 77-75. He deserved the win, but Kobata deserves his share of plaudits, and we suspect he will learn from this loss and, one day down the line, find himself in the domestic title mxx.
The most impressive performance on the card came from the hard hitting Jin Sasaki (10-0, 9) [佐々木尽], who claimed the JBC Youth Light Welterweight title with a destructive TKO3 win over the usually tough Aso Ishiwaki (8-3-1, 6) [石脇麻生].
This was the bout we expected to be something special and it was. From the opening moments. Sasaki set off with the intention of stopping Ishiwaki, and threw bombs almost immediately. Ishiwaki, to his credit fought back, and the two men traded some heavy leather until Ishiwaki was rocked by a right hand, and then dropped by a follow up hook. Ishiwaki got back to his feet but was dropped again towards the end of the opening round as Sasaki looked for a 4th straight opening round win.
Ishiwaki managed to recover brilliantly and cleared his head as we went into round 2, which was a much quieter round until the final minute when Sasaki put his foot on the gas. Ishiwaki responded well, but it was clear that Sasaki was the much stronger, more powerful and more talented fighter. That power and strength showed it's self again in round 3, as Sasaki let Ishiwaki fight up close before decking him for a third time with a brutal flurry of big head shots. With blood coming out of his nose, and 3 knockdowns against him the referee saved Ishiwaki from further punishment, waving off the bout immediately.
This was a real statement from Sasaki. We expected this to be a real test for him, and saw this as a near 50/50 fight. Instead he made it look easy, dropping a tough guy like Ishiwaki 3 times in 3 rounds, was incredibly impressive. This sort of win, at the age of 19, surely marks Sasaki as one of the most exciting prospects in Japan, and one to keep an eye on long term. As for Ishiwaki, this is going to be a hard one to bounce back from, but he's still young and can certainly come again.
In the penultimate bout of the show we saw former 2-time world title challenger Ryo Akaho (36-2-2, 24) [赤穂亮] take on youngster Yuto Nakamura (11-6-1, 8) [中村 祐斗] in what turned out to be a massive mismatch.
After a somewhat competitive opening round we saw the two men go in to a shoot out in round 2 and that was only ever going to favour Akaho. The veteran now only had the edge in experience but also power, toughness and natural size, being a Super Bantamweight taking on a Super Flyweight. Midway through the round Nakamura was rocked by to hooks before Akaho landed a massive right uppercut that dropped Nakamura hard, forcing the bout to be stopped.
For the 34 year old Akaho this was his 40th bout and sadly we're not sure he will ever get a third shot a world title. On this performance however can still make for very fan friendly bouts and could still act as a great draw on these A-Sign cards. As for Nakamura, we really need to wonder who thought it was a good idea for him to move up to Super Bantamweight for this bout.
In the main event of the show we saw a really interesting match up at Lightweight as former WBO Super Featherweight champion Masayuki Ito (26-3-1, 14) [伊藤 雅雪]battled reigning OPBF Super Featherweight champion Hironori Mishiro (10-0-1, 3) [三代大訓] in a 10 round Lightweight bout.
From the very opening moments it was clear this was going to be a high level, high skill, high speed technical battle. The opening round saw Mishiro making the most of his excellent jab, landing it repeatedly, whilst Ito looked to land the heavier leather, from his right hand. That laid down the pattern for much of the fight, with Mishiro easily winning at range, with his jab a constant and effective weapon when he was on the move, but Ito was landing the power shots when the two exchanged, and when Mishiro held his feet.
After a few very close rounds early on, it seemed that Ito found his groove and was starting to outland Mishiro on a fairly regular basis, racking up the points through out the middle rounds. It seemed those rounds had seen him establish control on the scorecards, though the rounds were still hotly competitive, before Ito seemed to begin to tighten his grip on the bout in the second half of the fight. In round 10 the pace picked up from both, and in the final stages Ito seemed to be temporarily hurt, but shook it off quickly as we went to the final bell.
After 10 rounds it felt like Ito had done enough to take a close, competitive, but clear decision. The judges however saw it differently, with one judge scoring it 95-95, a draw, and the other two over ruling them going 96-94 in favour of Mishiro, who got the majority decision, and the notable upset victory.
One of the many bouts set to take place in Tokyo today will see former 2-time world title challenger Ryo Akaho (35-2-2, 23) [赤穂亮] take on youngster Yuto Nakamura (11-5-1, 8) [中村 祐斗], in what is a massive step up in class for Nakamura.
The bout, which will see Nakamura moving up in weight as well as levels, is available to bet on with STSbet who see the bout as a massive mismatch, one of the biggest mismatches in Japan for the day.
They have got Akaho priced at 1/14 to take home the victory, and score his 36th win in his 40th bout. As for Nakamura he is priced as a long shot at 11/2. Sure a win for Nakamura wouldn't be regarded as the upset of the year, but he is certainly not expected to pick up the win here.
Of course it's not just the bookies who see this as an expected win for Akaho but also fans with 74% of those who have predicted the outcome on Boxmob favouring the veteran. On the other hand 25% have gone with Nakamura, with 22% overall favouring a Nakamura stoppage, which would be a massive surprise in our eyes. given Akaho's only stoppage loss came on Pungluang Sor Singyu in a WBO Bantamweight world title fight.
For those wanting to watch this it will be aired as on the A-Sign Boxing Channel, with the show set to be streamed from 14:00 local time, in Japan.
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