Earlier this month the Japanese rankings were released for March. The rankings have seen numerous changes and rather than going through all of them we will only be looking at the most notable changes. For fans wanting to see them all we have included links to the rankings released in both February and March.
The first change is at Minimumweight where we have seen Yutaka Sowano (#4) fall following his loss to defending champion Go Odaira on March 26th. Sowano's drop has seen Ryuji Hara (#1) become the top contender for his old title and, if we're being honest, a fight between Odaira and Hara certainly wouldn't be a bad fight.
In the Light Flyweight division we've seen Ken Shiro (listed as “Shiro Ken”) placed into the rankings at #7. It seems clear that the talented youngster won't be heading to Minimumweight and his highly impressive victory over Katsunori Nagamine has seen him being given a solid ranking at 108lbs. We wouldn't be shocked to see BMB push the youngster towards a national title fight later in the year and if this is the weight that suits him it may not be a bad idea to chase a title, especially given that Akira Yaegashi (#3) and Ryo Miyazaki (#4) have no intention of going after a Japanese Light Flyweight title and current champion Yu Kimura seems likely to move onto a world title fight later in the year.
In the Flyweight division the most notable change is the fact Jo Tanooka (#15) is now in the rankings. This is the second time Tanooka has found himself in the rankings and we're hoping to see more from the talented youngster this time around.
At Super Flyweight we've lost former world champion Malcolm Tunacao (previously #2), likely due to inactivity. The removal of Tuancao has seen Teiru Kinoshita (#2) and Takuma Inoue (#3) both move up a place and it seems likely that one of those two will get a shot shortly, if the two don't collide for a vacant title later in the year.
Takuma Inoue's stablemate Ryo Matsumoto (#5) has found himself on the verge of a Japanese title fight, if he wishes to focus on the domestic scene. The general view is that Matsumoto won't be looking at the winner of the upcoming title fight between Kentaro Masuda (reigning champion) and Shohei Omori (#1) though he's certainly in the mix if he chooses to be.
At Super Bantamweight we've seen no change among the top 4 contenders though we have seen Jonathan Baat (#5) boosted up the rankings following his recent victory over Kenta Onjo. Notably we've seen Nobuhisa Coronita Doi (previously #5) drop out of the rankings following his loss to Filipino prospect Alie Laurel.
Rikiya Fukuhara's (#3) recent loss to Satoshi Hosono (champion) has seen him dropping a couple of places down the Featherweight rankings. The new top contender is Daisuke Yokoyama (#1) whilst former champion Hisashi Amagasa (#2) is close behind. Whilst both Hosono and Amagasa have eyes on world honours a fight between the two would be mouth watering, and possibly even act as a world title eliminator. We know that's unlikely but we would love to see the two get it on in what would make for a great fight. Lower down the rankings Hiroshige Osawa (#11) has climbed above Mark Gil Melligen (#12) following the latter's loss in an OPBF title fight.
In the Super Featherweight division there have been no changes, at all, in the top 15.
At Lightweight the most notable changes have come a long way down the rankings. The first has been the rise up the ranks of the exciting Shuhei Tsuchiya (#10) who climbed 2 places whilst Kenta Onjo (#14) has fallen 3 places following his loss to Jonathan Baat.
The Light Welterweight division saw it's title being successfully defended on March 4th by Hiroki Okada. Okada's victory over mandatory challenger Hayato Hokazono (now retired we believe) has allowed Aso Koichi (#1), AKA “Shamgar Koichi”, to become the top contender whilst the exciting Shinya Iwabuchi (#2) sits in the wings. A bout between Koichi and Iwabuchi for the mandatory position would be brilliant though we have actually seen the two meet in a Strongest Korakuen bout already, back in 2011, with Iwabuchi blowing away Koichi.
We also saw the Japanese title at Welterweight being defended on March 4th as Suyon Takayama managed to keep a hold of his belt once again. His foe in that defense, Nobuyuki Shindo (#4), has fallen from the top spot following the loss and the new top contender is Yasuhiro Okawa (#1) whilst Akinori Watanabe (#3) would both make for a very interesting bouts with the champion.
At Light Middleweight the only major change is the removal from the rankings of Kengo Nagashima (previously #4) after having been inactive since last October. Nagashima's removal from the rankings has seen everyone below being moved up a single place.
The Middleweight rankings have seen Sogabe Marcos (previously #8) and Hisao Narita (#9) both being dropped from the rankings.
There have been no changes in the heavier weights with no rankings being provided from Super Middleweight to Cruiserweight whilst the Heavyweight rankings have, unsurprisingly, remained as they were a month ago.
For those interested in the full rankings the March ones are here whilst the February rankings can be found here.
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