It's fair to say that everyone who follows the Japanese boxing scene is excited about the two world title bouts that are set to take place later today. Prior to those bouts fans at the Ariake Colosseum have had some action already in an under-card littered with notable names.
The first of those notable names was youngster Andy Hiraoka (9-0, 6) [平岡アンディ], who finally got in the ring with 2014 All Japan Lightweight Rookie of the Year Shogo Yamaguchi (10-3-1, 5) [山口 祥吾]. These two had been expected to fight back in late 2014, when Hiraoka pulled out due to illness, and earlier this year, when Hiraoka again pulled out. Now fully fit the youngster made a statement and stopped Yamaguchi in round 5, dropping his man who was stopped during the count by the referee.
The second notable name was former world title challenger Satoshi Hosono (33-3-1, 22) [細野 悟] who destroyed recent Japanese Lightweight challenger Masashi Noguchi (12-7-1, 6) [野口将志] in just 136 seconds. Noguchi was absolutely smashed by a hook and couldn't get back to his feet, despite trying. This was Hosono's first bout since losing to Johnathan Victor Barros last year in an IBF world title eliminator, and actually say him moving up in weight. As for Noguchi this was a second successive stoppage loss, and he may now begin to rethink his career.
It didn't take Ryo Matsumoto (20-1, 18) [松本亮] long to see off the awfully over-matched Indonesian veteran Hendrik Barongsay (29-26-3, 18), who was stopped in round 2. The talented Matsumoto admitted after the fight that he's glad he lost in his first meeting with Victor Uriel Lopez and having the subsequent surgery. He's not in pursuit of a world title fight, and is likely to target one of the Japanese fighters currently holding a Super Bantamweight title.
It took 2012 Olympic Bronze medal winner Satoshi Shimizu (3-0, 3) [清水 聡] just 109 seconds to see off the woefully over-matched Takuya Yamamoto (8-7, 4) [山本 拓哉], in what was Shimizu's first bout against a domestic foe. The former amateur standout set a high and aggressive pace from the opening moments and dropped his man early on. Yamamoto recovered to his feet but was tagged soon afterwards and the referee was forced to stop the action.
The bouts may be included on a delay broadcast on one of the Fuji channels in the coming weeks but as for now there is no known broadcast time or date for any of these bouts, sadly.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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