Today our American friends are celebrating thanksgiving and we've decided to join them in their celebrations by thanking the boxing world for a number of things that we've had the fortune of having this year.
1-The rise of Kosei Tanaka
Japanese youngster Kosei Tanaka has been a sensation this year fighting 3 times against progressively better opponents, and better yet he has looked better every time he has stepped in to the ring. In March he went 8 rounds en route to defeating Ronelle Ferreras by wide decision, in July he showed off his power as he stopped Crison Omayao inside a round in a really eye opening result. The best however came at the end of October when he stopped Ryuji Hara in 10 rounds to claim the OPBF title and set up a sensational 2015 for the youngster.
Thank you Kosei for a fantastic year and for pushing yourself from the off!
2-Katsunari Takayama (vs Francisco Rodriguez Jr)
We love Katsunari Takayama, his mentality in regards to the sport is brilliant and he really should be a boxing fans fighter. He's one of the few fighters who appears to always want to fight the best, he seems to be willing to travel for tough bouts and win or lose he's willing to put on a show. We saw him do just that earlier this year when he tried to unify the IBF and WBO Minimumweight titles. For that Takayama had to travel to Mexico to take on Francisco Rodriguez Jr and although the Japanese fighter came up short he showed the heart, fire and spirit that continues to make up look forward to everyone of his bouts.
Thank you Katsunari for never disappointing us!
The Filipino promotional power house may not have been the best promoter this year but they've managed to lead the Filipino boxing scene once again. That, of course, has been built around their recognisable fighters such as Donnie Nietes but has also helped develop the likes of Albert Pagara, who looks sensational, Genesis Servania, who looks likely to become a world champion in 2015 and Mark Magsayo. The continued efforts of ALA have really helped keep the Philippines relevant and show there is more to Filipino boxing than just Nonito Donaire and Manny Pacquiao.
Thank you ALA for investing in and developing Filipino talent
Mr Ohashi, for those who aren't aware, is the man in charge of Ohashi boxing. That puts him in charge of some of the best talent in Japan, such as Naoya Inoue and Akira Yaegashi, and has helped create some of the best bouts and shows this year. They have included the bouts between Kosei Tanaka and Ryuji Hara for the OPBF Minimumweight title, Naoya Inoue and Adrian Hernandez for the WBC Light Flyweight title and Akira Yaegashi and Roman Gonzalez for the WBC Flyweight title. In terms of promotional power Ohashi is the second most powerful promoter in Japan, behind Teiken, though his match ups have seen him becoming a favourite of the fans both domestically and internationally and it seems the match making philosophy is set to continue into 2015 with several big bouts made to end this year.
Thank you Mr Ohashi for proving promoters can care for the fans of the sport
You lovely people who come on to this site, help support us and help us develop what is quickly growing into much more than a hobby. When this site was started we never expected it to take off like it has done in the last year. Thankfully via the support of you guys who come and visit the site, share articles, send us e-mails and tweets and the such, you have helped this site to outgrow what we expected it would be. Hopefully you guys will still be checking out the site next year and hopefully we'll continue to grow as we have done this year. Fingers crossed that we will continue to break the news from the east, introduce new fighters to you guys and help you follow the happenings of the sport in a part of the world that all too often over-looked by western media.
Thank you everyone who visits, it really is appreciated!
(Images courtesy of Kosei Tanaka's blog and ALA Boxing)
Last week we saw the East Japan Rookie of the Year finals, this week comes the West and Central Japan Rookie of the Year finals to find the Western representative for the All Japan Finals in December.
This week then we've tried to break down the 12 bouts for this part of the competition looking at the men involved in the contests and, where we've been lucky, managed to link to some footage of the fighters involved. We hope this helps you understand the fights and fighters ahead on Sunday's bouts.
Reiya Konishi (5-0, 4) Vs Jun Takigawa (5-0, 3)
The show kicks off with almost perfect start as we get very evenly matched and unbeaten fighters colliding in the biggest bout of their careers. There is really little to complain about here and both will putting it all on the line to kick off the action in the best way possible, with an exciting win.
The 21 year old Konishi is from Kobe and part of the Shinsei Gym which has long worked with the excellent Hozumi Hasegawa. If Konishi can have a career like Hasegawa's then it's fair to say that Shinsei will have got themselves a superb fighter. At the moment however the 21 year old is still at the early stages of his career and already ready made an impact barely dropping a round in his 5 career bouts which have included 4 success stoppages including victories over 2 unbeaten men. As well as his impressive record he was also the West Japan Skills award winner suggesting that he has skills to go with his power.
At 24 Takigawa is the older man and the Aichi native will hope that this will be a case of man against boy. The Yakushiji Gym fighter won the Central Japan technical award on his way to this stage of the Rookie of the year and has looked like he can do a bit of everything in his career so far. He turned professional back in mid-2013 though it's been his wins over Hideako Kamiyasu, a 4th round KO, and Naoya Haruguchi, a 5 round unanimous decision, that have really caught the eye.
We'll be honest we're really looking forward to this one.
Seigo Yuri Akui (2-0) Vs Seita Ogido (6-1, 1)
In terms of pure experience the biggest mismatch is at Light Flyweight though we're actually expecting a really good bout, even if the fighters involved aren't punchers, in the slightest.
Okayama native Akui is a 19 year old who made his debut in April of this year and has lost just 1 of his 8 career rounds, interestingly however both of his opponents this far have been unbeaten men suggesting that maybe the novice does know more than his record suggests. A member of the Kurashiki Moriyasu Gym we've got to admit he's not got a large team behind him however Akui will know that winning the All-Japan Rookie of the Year will put him on the proverbial shop window for a transfer to a bigger and stronger gym that maybe able to help him improve as a fighter.
The once beaten Ogido is a 21 year old southpaw boxing out of the Hiranaka gym in Okinawa. Although he's part of this year's Rookie of the Year has has been a professional for more than 3 years having made his debut in June 2011 with a majority decision win over Shingo Yamada, he has however had a stop-start career which saw him spending 22 months out of the ring before re-emerging earlier this year with his sole stoppage victory, a 2nd round TKO over Naoki Shoda. In his most recent bout he over-came Kenta Matsui with a 5 round decision to move on to this interesting and potentially career changing contest.
Shun Kosaka (8-0) Vs Naoki Shoda (4-7-1)
The Flyweight plays host to the winningest fighter on the show as well as the most experienced man in what appears, on paper, to be the biggest mismatch on the show.
Kosaka's 8-0 record is the longest winning run on the show and the Shinsei gym fighter has been going about things quietly but confidently since making his debut in December 2012 as a baby faced 17 year. Unfortunately as he's still a kid, now 19, it appears his man strength hasn't yet started to develop though he has dropped only a handful of his 33 career rounds. We wonder if he will ever truly develop sting on his shots but so far he's not really needed it so it's hard to say if and what will happen when he does require some power.
The 24 year old Shoda is a product of the Missile Kudo boxing gym and although record is blotchy, to say the least, his desire cannot be question and his career, which began in 2009, has had more up and downs than most rollercoasters, he is however with a man who know what it's like to have a rocky career and if any one is going to help him it will be Kudo, a former Japanese champion with a similar looking record to Shoda. It does need noting that Shoda has won just 1 of his last 6 bouts though that was a highly important victory over Kazuyuki Tomita to net his this massive opportunity. A win for Shoda would be a real life Rocky story.
Masayoshi Hashizume (5-0, 3) Vs Eita Sakurai (4-0, 1)
The second all unbeaten bout comes at Super Flyweight in what is the best bout since the Minimumweight bout and it promises to be a very good contest both on paper and in the ring.
The 21 year old Hashizume is a product of the Ioka gym and is regarded by some as the next Ioka gym fighter to become a champion. So far in his career he has been incredible with only Ryusuke Tanaka really giving him any issues in a hard fought, but clear, unanimous decision win. Last time out he looked sensational blowing away Takeshi Kajikawa in 38 seconds to become the West Japan MVP and he'll know a win here will give him a great chance to become the All Japan Rookie of the Year MVP. Fighting as a southpaw this kid looks something a bit special.
Aged 20 Sakurai comes into this bout unbeaten but with with out a really impressive win and his 4 rounder over Teruyuki Kobashi last time out wasn't the sort of stunning win scored by Hasizume. The Shizuoka native is a product of the Fuji gym and like one or two others will know that a win here, especially over someone as touted as Hashizume, would put him in the market for a bigger name trainer. A lot to gain here here for the unbeaten 20 year old but he knows he'll be viewed as the under-dog.
Morihisa Iju (5-0, 4) Vs Keisuke Tabuchi (7-1-2, 5)
Potentially one of the most explosive encounters comes at Bantamweight as both fighters carry some solid whack on their shots and real promise.
The unbeaten Iju,a 25 year old from the Yutaka Okinawa gym, is unbeaten and has looked explosive since making his debut in June 2013. Of his 5 bouts so far only 1 has gone beyond the second round and it's clear that he has heavy hands and likes to use them. Interestingly he did fight his first 2 bouts as a Super Bantamweight before settling this year at Bantamweight where he scored notable stoppages over Koichi Uryu and Masaru Urata, both of whom were unbeaten when he stopped them in in a combined 3 rounds.
Tabuchi comes into this contest as the Fighting Spirit Award winner for the West and the 21 year old from a local gym in Yao, Osaka, has really had to show that fighting spirit in his carer. He lost on debut back in April 2012 and although he's gone 7-0-2 (5) since he has had some real battles including his recent contest, a 5 round struggle over Takaaki Kitagawa. Tabuchi seems to each stop opponents or really struggle with them, there are no easy decisions on his ledger and if he wins here we suspect he will have to do it the hard way again.
Shohei Kawashima (7-0-2, 1) Vs Shisato Okuma (8-1-2, 6)
Two of the most experience men collide in the Super Bantamweight bout which features the fighter with the longest unbeaten record of anyone on the show against a solid puncher.
The unbeaten Kawashima is a 22 year old fighter from the Shinsei gym who boats a 9 fight unbeaten record but has gone 8 bouts with out a stoppage following a 4th round TKO victory on his debut in November 2012. On paper his opponents have been tough with 5 unbeaten foes, including a debutant, though he has struggled to remain unbeaten and we wouldn't be surprised if he does lose when he steps up ever so slightly, whether that's this bout or an All-Japan final is for the future to show us.
Okuma is a product of the Nakazato gym, which currently has Katsunari Takayama and Hiroyuki Hisataka fighting under it's banner. The once beaten 25 year old is on an 8 fight unbeaten streak spanning back almost 3 years though he seems to be one of those fighters who either blasts people away, as he did with Yukiya Higa and Keisuke Fukuda, or struggle as he did with Yuta Horrike and Masatsugu Ito, last time out. He's heavy handed but we do wonder about his over-all skills.
Takashi Igarashi (5-0, 1) Vs Kyohei Tonomoto (4-1, 2)
In the Featherweight bout we get a very even looking contest with both men having the same number of fighters and neither being much of a puncher. It may not be the most attractive of the contests but it does seem like it will probably be very competitive.
The unbeaten Igarashi is a member of his local Tokoname gym and at just 18 years old is a very promising. He won the Central Japan MVP last time out with his win over Sho Takahashi though a number of his bouts have been very close with 3 narrow decisions, including a split decision over Takahashi. We do wonder if his struggles are down to a lack of power, he's not stopped anyone other than Masanari Iwane on his debut, or whether it's a lack of confidence, maturity or experience though we assume when things click he could be one to watch.
The once beaten Tonomoto is also a teenager at 19 years old. A member of the Harada gym he has been a professional since 2013 and made his debut in April 2013 with a 4th round TKO against Takuya Yamamoto. In his second bout he was clearly out pointed by Shingo Kawamura and has since strung together a trio of wins includin a split decision last time out against Toru Kageyama. This will be Tonomoto's first bout against an unbeaten opponent though it is certainly a winnable contest for him and a chance to open up the door to a big opportunity.
Yuya Shimakura (3-0) Vs Masashi Wakita (4-2, 2)
At 130lbs we can interesting bout though on paper it's one of the worst as an unbeaten man takes on an opponent with a couple of losses. With the Japanese scene at Super Featherweight being insane right now this could feature men who are going to be a long way from domestic title contention no matter how good they look in what is left of the Rookie of the Year.
Shimakura is from the Gifu Yokozeki gym and is an unbeaten 19 year who made his debut at the end of last year with a clear decision over the win-less Yosuke Goto, since then he has moved up in quality and his hard fought win over Kazuaki Okada last time out was by far his best win. Without a stoppage through his first 3 fights there is some doubt about his power though he has only lost 3 or 4 rounds so far in his career and with developing confidence and experience there is certainly a bit of promise about the youngster from Gifu city.
Aged 18 Sakita doesn't have a perfect record but is a youngster who is very interesting as a Super Featherweight. Trained at the Sakaihigashi Mitsuki Boxing Gym he's a freakishly tall, 5'10", southpaw who lacks maturity but does have talent. He lost on his debut back in May 2013 when he was just a teenager and he also lost last time out, a KO loss to Takuya Hashimoto in a Lightweight contest, notably though both losses have come at Lightweight. With his frame it could be that he's been a little bit mismanaged and that it would have been better for him to have gone the amateur route whilst he developed physically. At his stature and and stance he is gonna be a nightmare by default just hopefully he's not going to take too much damage before he can physically mature.
Takahiro Shinoda (1-0, 1) Vs Shogo Yamaguchi (5-0-1, 3)
Another of the all-unbeaten bouts comes at Lightweight where we find the least experienced fight on the show fighting someone who has been in 6 times as many bouts and 18 times as many rounds. We kid you not.
It's almost impossible to get any sort of a read on Shinoda who has fought just 1 professional round, in fact it took him just 1 minute to see off Hayato Shimosakoda in August giving the 20 year southpaw the bizarre status of having next to know experience going into this incredibly important contest. What we do know about him is that he's a prospect of the Nara gym but other than that we only know what we saw in his debut, and that was that he had a solid looking right hook that twice dropped Shimosakoda.
At just 21 years old Yamaguchi is himself a youngster though with 6 fights and 18 rounds of professional experience he looks like a veritable veteran in comparison to Shinoda. Yamaguchi made his debut in April 2013 and fought to a draw though has scored 5 straight victories including 3 against unbeaten foes such as Junichi Ibato, Kazuaki Okada and Fine Arai, though he did struggle with Arai who ended a 3 fight stoppage streak of Yamaguchi's. Yamaguchi trains at the Seien Gym, AKA "Far West", and whilst the gym is a relatively small one is does have success stories in it, Yamaguchi will be hoping to become another.
Chocoboy Oizumi (4-2-2, 2) Vs Tetsuya Morisada (3-3, 3)
On paper the Light Welterweight contest appears to be the weakest of the 12 bouts on offer however in some ways it's actually likely to be one of the most entertaining, despite the fighters having only won 50% of their professional contests.
Oizumi is the better known fighter due to his moniker of "Chocoboy" though he is also know as Afro Sho and his real name is actually Sho Oizumi. Aged 23 he's a smidge over 5'7" and fights from the southpaw stance. Although his record doesn't look great it needs to be noted that he actually started his career with a 0-2-1 record and has done really well to turn things around with a 5 fight unbeaten run. As part of the Atsume boxing gym, alongside Japanese Light Middleweight champion Yuki Nonaka and former OPBF Super Featherweight champion Masao Nakamura he has been able to get a very high level of sparring that will certainly help him improve.
With an even record of 3-3 Morisada doesn't look like a man, on paper, who should be competing in a major Rookie of the Year bout like this, however he has won his last 2 bouts including an opening round blow out against the much fancied Yusuke Yamanouchi. Blessed with power the 19 year old Morisada is heavy handed though seems to react bad to being hit and has been stopped twice himself. As a "stop or be stopped" type of fighter we've got to admit we are looking forward to seeing the Niimi gym hopeful in action.
Yuki Beppu (6-0, 6) Vs Shota Yamamoto (5-1, 3)
The Welterweight clash promises to be an explosive one with the hardest hitter, pound-for-pound, on the show against a confident and promising fighter in what looks likely to help move the winner towards not only the All-Japan Rookie of the Year final but also well on their way to a national title shot.
The 23 year old Beppu is a puncher with truly heavy hands. So far his 6 bouts have lasted a combined 9 rounds with only one opponent, Koki Tomio, last more than 2 rounds with him. Beppu is managed but the Kurume gym and has been looking like a fighter who is capable of creating headlines with his power, aggressive style and willingness to finish things early, as he did against Shinpei Tominaga in his most recent bout. We suspect that if Beppu can continue to rip apart the field and become the All-Japan Rookie of the Year then Japanese boxing will have a domestic star on it's hands in the near future.
The once beaten Yamamoto is a 21 year old who stands at 5'10" and is coming into this bout on a 2 fight winning streak since losing a close decision to Hideo Mikan in August 2013. Incidentally Yamamoto began his career with victory over Mkan in Novemeber 2012 before scoring back-to-back opening round victories. Since the loss we've seen Yamamoto blow away Shosui Kitajima and take a very hard fought decision over Ryo Kanda to get him into this position.
Toshihiro Kai (3-6-2) Vs Ryota Ikawa (1-5)
The Middleweight bout is the only one that features two men with losing records though of course the Middleweight division in Japan is centred around only a small number of fighters and the lack of quality here does correlate some what to the domestic scene at large.
Kai is a 29 year old southpaw who has certainly had a stop-start career. He debuted way back in 2003 as a Welterweight and went 1-1-1 in his first 12 months as a professional before taking a 14 month break from the ring. Between October 2005 and May 2012 Kai fought 4 times, lsoing all 4 bouts, including a majority decision to Takayuki Hosokawa. He then took a year long break from the rint before returning last May to beat Shinichi Nomoto since then he has been stopped in a round by Koki Tyson Maebara and fought to a draw with Isamu Yonemitsu. Managed by Miyazaki World this is really his make or break fight.
The 28 year old Ikawa began his career with 5 successive losses between December 2011 and December 2013. Earlier this year however he recorded his first, and so far only, win avenging 2 prior defeats to Brandon Lockhart Shane in what was their third bout together. The 28 year old Ikawa began his career with 5 successive losses between December 2011 and December 2013. Earlier this year however he recorded his first, and so far only, win avenging 2 prior defeats to Brandon Lockhart Shane in what was their third bout together. Promoted by the Oboshi boxing gym it's hard to say what they expect of Ikawa but if he manages a win here then it needs to be said that this is a miraculous career turn around.
When we have some free time we're hoping to add a series of fun articles to the site. Hopefully these will be enjoyable little short features