A few days ago Yuto Takahashi (11-4, 5) [高橋悠斗] announced his retirement from the sport, despite being the reigning Japanese Light Flyweight champion. Prior to his decision to retire he had been scheduled to make a mandatory defense of the title against the big punching Masamichi Yabuki (10-3, 10) [佐藤政道], as part of the 2020 Champion Carnival. That bout had, sadly, been re-arranged a couple of times due to the on going global situation and it appears that the uncertainty had been part of Takahashi's decision to retire.
Today it was announced that Yabuki will still be fighting for the title, with his new opponent being named as Tsuyoshi Sato (10-1-1, 5) [佐藤剛], with the two clashing for the vacant title on July 26th at the Aioi Hall.
The hard hitting Yabuki earned his title shot last year, when he topped Rikito Shiba in a Japanese eliminator, scoring his third win of 2019. Although that was his first bout as a fully fledged Light Flyweight, he looked very impressive and carried his brutal power down.
Sato on the other hand has won 9 in a row after starting his career 1-1-1. He's an aggressive little warrior who marches forward, lets his hands go and makes for fun fights, but this is a big step up for him and the first time he will be facing a legitimate puncher.
At the moment the bout is still subject to change, but given the July date it does seem likely this will be taking place when scheduled, as long as Japan can get on top of the growing situation affecting th country.
Earlier today Japanese Light Flyweight champion Yuto Takahashi (11-4, 5) [高橋悠斗] took to social media to announce that he was retiring from professional boxing, ending his career and his reign as the Japanese champion.
Last year we had seen the fighter report that he was close to retirement after frustrations of a bout falling through. He's now seen a scheduled title defense against Masamichi Yabuki (10-3, 10) [佐藤政道] fall through twice, the gym he was fighting at close, and a transfer to a new gym which has seemingly not worked out.
The fighter explained that he had spoken to the team at his new gym, the Shirai Gushiken Sports Gym, and that a decision was made to retire. Although he had transferred to the gym it was impossible to go due to work, and with the postponement of the Yabuki fighter it seemingly left him unable to be motivated. Without motivation, and being in the best condition, he seemed to know he couldn't beat Yabuki.
In many ways it's a shame that Takahashi has retired at such a young age, 27, but it seems to be his choice, he seems to have his health and is looking towards the future. We would have loved to see how far he could have gone in the sport, but fully understand he's made his decision and it's very, very clear this wasn't an easy decision for him to make.
Earlier today Makoto Okaniwa., manager／official coordinater of midori promotions.,inc revealed in Japan, informed us of the new date set for the Japanese Light Flyweight title bout between defending champion Yuto Takahashi (11-4, 5) [高橋悠斗] and mandatory challenger Masamichi Yabuki (10-3, 10).
The bout, which was originally set for March 15th though had to be postponed due to the Coronavirus outbreak, will now take place on May 6th.
We've also been informed that the supporting bout between Tom Mizokoshi (7-1-1, 4) [溝越斗夢] and Mugicha Nakagawa (24-7-2, 14) [中川麦茶選手] is still expected to be part of the card, though the other other under-card bouts are currently in negotiations.
It must be noted that there is a chance this will still be postponed, again, if the virus continues to cause sporting events in Japan to be effected in the way it has during March, though the date is now the one the bout is pencilled in for going forward.
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)
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