With so few fights taking place to begin 2021 the founders of Asianboxing.info have decided to take a look at the boxing scene and put our predictions forward in a new series called "Who..."
The idea of this series is to answer a question with who we each think will achieve a specific activity or feat, or potentially even looking back on history and sharing our takes on something from the past.
We intend to mix these up between various categories and a mix of times frames. From the past, to the immediate future and the longer term future.
To begin this series we're going to look at South Korea, where the three of us will all aim to answer the following question:
"Who... will be the next OPBF champion from South Korea?"
Lee: "This should be the one where I am good, so a perfect start to this series for me. I'm really glad to see Korean boxing getting international attention recently, at least earlier this month, and it was the man who headlined that card that I think has the best chance to claim an OPBF title this year. That is, of course, Jong Seon Kang, the all action Featherweight fighter. Aged 19 he is very young, but with a 12-0-2 record, and with good wins stacking up I think he'll break into the OPBF rankings this year, and move towards an OPBF title in 2022.
Kang is also lucky that the winner of Musashi Mori and Satoshi Shimizu, will almost certainly vacate the title later this year, leaving the door open to a vacant title title fight next year. The perfect time for Kang to swoop in"
Takahiro: "Being truthful, my understanding of Korean boxing isn't as good as it should be and as good as it used to be. I have however been sneaky, and looked at the OPBF rankings and there is an obvious choice here. Light Middleweight Jung Kyoung Lee.
Lee is ranked #3 by the OPBF for a vacant title, which was given up last year by Akinori Watanabe. I don't think #1 ranked fighter Tim Tszyu will have any interest in the title and so the door is wide open for Lee to fight for the title. I'm not sure who he would fight for the belt though. I don't think we'll see Lee face Hironobu Matsunaga, but I would like that fight. Very exciting.
Regardless, my pick is Jung Kyoung Lee"
Scott: "There are a lot of really exciting Korean fighters coming through the ranks, like Da Won Gang, Sung Min Yuh, Jong Seon Kang, Min Jang and and Min Hyuk Jang. Those however are all youngsters who are probably a few years away from a big bout.
With that in mind I'm going with someone with more experience, and someone who has spoke about wanting to win the title before. That's Dong Myung Shin the excellent 32 year old Featherweight, who can ill afford to move slowly this year. He spoke about getting a fight at Oriental title level in 2020, before the pandemic destroyed various plans and I think he's probably got the best chance of fighting for the title in the next year or two. The Super Bantamweight and Featherweight divisions are tough ones, but they are both expected to have massive shake ups in the next 12-24 months and that could leave the door open for Shin to get a shot at the vacant title."
*Note - Takahiro's answer is based on the latest OPBF rankings - which are October 2020's. Oddly the OPBF have not published rankings since then.
This coming Friday at Korakuen Hall we’ll see Tentaro Kimura (5-0-2) look to score his biggest win to date as he takes on Koki Mioya in a B Class tournament bout. The bout is being seen by those in Japan as a really interesting one between two young, good looking, fighters who have the pretty boy looks to appeal to female fans, and the promise and potential to get male fight fans following them too. Given the interest in the fight we’ve to give both men a bit of a light, covering Mioya in an “Introducing” article, posted earlier today and now we bring you an “Introducing” about Kimura.
Before we go any further we need to address the elephant in the room. Tentaro is not Rentaro Kimura, despite the fact both look similar and both fight out of the Suruga Danji gym in Shizuoka. Despite that the two men are related with Tentaro being the younger cousin of the very, very highly regarded Rentaro, and the two are genuinely close. Not only that but both of the youngsters are regarded as genuine prospects, though Tentaro lacks the strong amateur pedigree and the power of his cousin.
Kimura was born in Numazu City, in Shizuoka prefecture, and was a sport loving youngster who originally enjoyed playing football before being bitten by the boxing bug in High School. As an amateur he competed in several notable tournaments but failed to win any of the major national tournaments. He then went to university, but dropped out to concentrate on becoming a professional boxer under the guidance of the Suruga Danji Boxing gym, lead by Masaaki Maejima, better known as Suruga Denji.
Before turning professional Kimura had managed to notch up a 10-7 record, but his desire to turn professional saw him begin his professional journey at the age of 19. As a result he debuted in November 2018, when he took on Chinese fighter Bangxin Zhang at Korakuen Hall, in what was a Japan Vs China show. This bout saw the talented Kimura use his speed and amateur fundamentals well, to outland Zhang, and regularly finding a home for his jab. After 4 rounds it was hard to find anything to give to Zhang, with Kimura taking a 4 round shutout over the visitor. For fans wanting to watch this one it is available on Boxing Raise.
Despite looking skilled and sharp, Kimura did look like a man with self belief issues and a lack of confidence in his abilities, something that has been mentioned by his promoter in the past.
In March 2019 we saw Kimura return to the ring and score his second win, this time at the Memorial Center in Gifu, where he easily out pointed Yuki Omori on the under-card of Kosei Tanaka’s bout with Ryoichi Taguchi. Once again it was the speed and skills of Kimura that shone en route to his win. Just 2 months later he was back in the ring, this time in his home prefecture of Shizuoka, as he competed in a Central Japan Rookie of the Year bout against Fuya Tomita.
Against Tomita it seemed like Kimura had become more confident than he was on his debut and he held his feet a lot more than he had on his debut. He still looked sharp, with genuinely nice hand speed and smart foot work, but there appeared to be much more self belief as he out boxed, out worked and out fought Tomita Tomita to a clear decision win.
Kimura would extend his winning record in August 2019 when he took on Teru Nobita at the Aioi Hall in Kariya and took a split decision win over Nobita to become the Central Japan Rookie of the Year at Bantamweight, his biggest success so far since turning professional. Sadly however Kimura’s Rookie of the Year campaign ended soon afterwards, as he fought to a draw around 6 weeks later with Western Japan champion Kantaro Nakanishi, who actually ended up going all the way and winning the All Japan Final in December.
Despite missing out on a chance to compete in the All Japan Rookie of the Year final Kimura kept busy and ended 2019 with a 6 round draw against Tokuken Yoshimoto. On one hand that was disappointing, suffering a second successive draw, however going 6 rounds for the first time would have been a good tick box for Kimura and although Yoshimoto is no world beater he’s a credible domestic opponent, so a draw against him is a decent result.
Sadly Kimura’s rise was slowed dramatically in 2020 when Covid19 prevented many fighters from being active. In July 2020 Rentaro Kimura made his debut, and the focus of many swung to that of Rentaro, who quickly began to look like a star. Despite that Tentaro himself did secure a win in September, when he beat Wataru Yokoyama at the FujisanMesse in Fuji City, Shizuoka. That win saw Kimura put in a solid and entertaining performance, with his speed and work rate being too much for Yokoyama, though the bout certainly had its share of messy action.
On January 22nd, when Kimura takes on Mioya, the opportunity is there for the youngster to shine, though he’s in with a fighter very similar to him. Mioya, like Kimura, is a speedy fighter, with good hand speed and good movement but little in the way of power. Despite that we are looking forward to that contest and it genuinely could be a very action packed one, with the two fighters expected to match each other very well.
As well as being bitten by the boxing bug, Kimura is also a self confessed anime nerd, with a huge collection of anime related items, including Cosplay outfits and various pillows, something he admitted he was spending all his purse money on in 2019 to Sports Hochi. In that very same article his promoter explained that Tentaro lacked confidence, though went on to say that Tentaro is a genius and picks things up very quickly, with an ability to impersonate Mayweather. His promoter also explained that the lack of early KO’s isn’t a problem, and mentioned how Shinsuke Yamanaka also had a lot of early career decision wins, before gaining his confidence and finding his power.
Whether we see that genius or not in the future is unclear, but with Masaaki Maejima’s belief in him and regular sparring along with his cousin the future is bright for Kimura, as long as he can, one day, develop the belief in his own ability. He has the tools and the boxing brain to do well, and the bout with Mioya on Friday should tell us a lot about what he has to offer the sport. Saying that however he’s only 22 now and is still an improving fighter. Win or lose against Mioya we wouldn’t suggest anyone writes off Kimura, who has years left ahead of him to develop and succeeded in the sport.
On January 22nd Boxing Raise will streaming a small, but very good looking, show with 4 bouts on it. Two of those are title bouts, with two of the others being finals of small tournaments that Dangan have been running. One of those tournament finals will feature 23 year old southpaw Koki Mioya (8-1-2, 2) who we’ve decided to take a look at this week in the latest “Introducing”.
Mioya was born in Nikko City, Tochigi Prefecture back in the summer of 1997 and like so many fighters he began boxing because of his father. In fact his profile on the Teiken website explains exactly how he started, stating that he began boxing “Because I enjoyed playing with my dad with toy gloves when I was a kid”.
That enjoyment later led Mioya into amateur boxing, which he did through junior high school and high school. Despite his love for the sport his days in the unpaid ranks weren’t the most successful, as he ran up a less than spectacular 19-16 record through 35 amateur bouts. Despite failing to make a major mark on the amateur he did manage to do well in a Kanto Inter high tournament, where he came second, and he certainly had promise, despite his underwhelming results.
In November 2016, at the age of 19, Mioya made his professional debut as he faced off with fellow novice Taisei Sakai, who entered with a 0-1 record. On paper this looked like a typical novice bout, but sadly it never really got going as a headclash very early inro the bout caused the contest to be waved off after just over half a round. The southpaw stance of Mioya and the orthodox stance of Sakai didn’t gel at all and it quickly became a mess of holding, wrestling and, unfortunately, head clashes, with Mioya coming off second best. After just 97 seconds this was waved off.
Some 5 months after his underwhelming debut Mioya was back in the ring, and picked up his first win, taking a razor thin decision over Yukito Kurasaki, in April 2017. This bout was shown live on G+ and was a great chance to see what the youngster could do, in a bout that was much better than his debut. From the off he looked sharp and quick and had nice variation in his shots, though rocked in rounds 2 and 3 and cut again in round 4, from another head clash. With the win he progressed to the second round of the East Japan Rookie of the year, where he then picked up a decision win against Seiya Kumagai in June, in what was a much better and more polished performance.
Sadly for Mioya his winning run came to an end in September 2017 when he came up short on the scorecards against Riki Hamada in the East Japan semi-final. Notably Hamada himself would lose in the East Japan final to the big punching Arashi Iimi inside a round.
Having done relatively well in the 2017 version of the Rookie of the Year Mioya entered the tournament in 2018, and got a bye in his first round when Haruki Kudo was unable to face him in April. That led to Mioya facing Issei Watanabe in in his July bout, following a 10 month gap between fights. Against Watanabe we saw Mioya take a shutout decision, and move into the East Japan semi-final for a second year. This time the semi-final wouldn’t be his stumbling block as he managed to narrowly over-come Taiga Hayashi, claiming a majority decision, to progress on to the East Japan final. In that final was again pushed all the way, but did enough to take home the split decision win, and progress to December’s All Japan final against Hiroki Hanabusa.
After back to back close decisions to reach the final Mioya had had to prove he could dig deep and had to dig deep again in the All Japan final, where he managed to just hold on for a draw against the then 5-0-1 Hanabusa. Despite the draw it wasn’t enough for him to claim the All Japan crown, with Hanabusa taking the crown on the tie breaker rule.
Despite the disappointment in the Rookie of the Year final we saw Mioya look like a more confident fighter when he returned to the ring in 2019. His first bout of the year saw him scoring his first stoppage, as he KO'd Anurak Madua in 4 rounds, following a barrage of body shots in the corner. He then followed that up with a 4th round TKO win against Tongthep Taeyawong, where Mioya showed lovely speed and started to look like a man, rather than the teenage boy he had been earlier in his career. There were still areas to work on but he looked much more confident than he had in his early bouts.
Sadly Mioya’s development was slowed significantly in 2020 where he fought just a single professional bout, scoring a win over Daiju Hamaguchi in October to book his place in his upcoming B class final. Although it wasn't an amazing match up, the bout did see Mioya answering some questions and going 6 rounds for the first time in his career, as he took a 6 round decision over Hamaguchi.
Although not blessed with incredible power or strength Mioya is a very solid boxer, with nice speed and movement. He has very good height and reach for a Super Bantamweight and nice reflexes. Sadly however he does struggle to get the respect of his opponents and has, in recent bouts, become more focused on drawing mistakes at mid range and countering with his sharp combinations and hand speed. At the level he’s been fighting at this has worked, for the most part, though we do wonder if he can carry it up when he begins to face bigger, better, stronger opponents.
At just 23 years old there is a real chance that Mioya will hit his stride and find his man strength in the coming years, but for now he’s very much struggling to hurt fighters and as a result his fights are going long. In just 11 bouts, all of which have been scheduled for 4, 5 or 6 rounds, he has already fought 44 rounds. Good for his experience, but a sign that he really does struggle with hurting opponents and putting them away and a potential sign that he will really struggle in 8 and 10 rounds in a few years, if he doesn’t develop physically in the near future.
Despite his issues Mioya does have the backing of Teiken and is a popular young fighter and with 3 straight wins he does have momentum behind him here.
It can be strange to think that some fighters who win Linear titles, essentially meaning they are the man who beat the man who beat the man, but are regarded as little more than transitional champions of sorts. One great example of this is Japan's Toshiyuki Igarashi.
Igarashi had competed at the 2004 Olympics and he had been a stellar fighter on the Japanese domestic amateur scene before heading to the professional ranks in 2006. The expectations were on his shoulders early on with Teiken having big hopes for him as a new Flyweight star. He ticked all the boxes. He was young, 22 when he made his debut, talented, a great amateur, and a southpaw with a good frame for the weight.
Sadly Igarashi's career was overshadowed in the end by another Teiken southpaw who debuted in 2006, Shinsuke Yamanaka, but he went on to have a decent, if some what underwhelming, career of his own. And today we look at the 5 most significant wins for... Toshiyuki Igarashi.
Tomoya Kaneshiro (August 2nd 2008)
The first win of real note on Igarashi's record came in August 2008, less than 2 years after his professional debut, and saw him take a split decision win over Tomoya Kaneshiro for "interim" Japanese Flyweight title. The win was Igarashi's first against an opponent coming to win but it was more than that. Kaneshiro had been a former Rookie of the Year winner, had lost just once in 15 bouts and had genuinely wanted to win the interim title. He gave as good as he got, and pushed Igarashi 10 rounds for the first time in Igarashi's career. The bout saw Igarashi being tested, and only narrowly coming out on top in what was a very hotly contested bout. The win also lead Igarashi to get a shot at regular champion Tomonbu Shimizu in December 2008, which he sadly lost.
Takayasu Kobayashi (February 5th 2011)
More than 2 years after losing to Tomonobu Shimizu we saw Igarashi get his second shot at a full Japanese title, as he took on Takayasu Kobayashi in February 2011. The title had been vacated by Shimizu, who was head for bigger things with a world title in his eyes, and Igarashi was getting a shot. This time Igarashi made the most of his shot, stopping Kobayashi in 3 rounds to claim the title. Whilst Kobayashi isn't a notable fighter himself the win, netting Igarashi title title, is a huge victory and certainly one of his most significant victories. It was also a victory that proved he had connected with the Japanese fans who were incredibly loud through the bout.
Wilbert Uicab (November 6th 2011)
After defending the Japanese title just once, with a technical decision win over Kenji Yoshida, we saw Igarashi step up again and take on Mexican Wilbert Uicab in a WBC world title eliminator. This really was a big step up for Igarashi and wasn't the most exciting of contests, with the styles not really clicking very well early on, and the bout becoming quite messy late on. Despite the style of the fight not being the most entertaining, and seeing Uicab being the one who brought the fight, it did result in a close decision win for Igarashi who became the mandatory for the WBC Flyweight title. This mean he had secure his first world title fight, and was finally on the verge of living up to the expectations Teiken had for him early on.
Sonny Boy Jaro (July 16th 2012)
When Igarashi beat Uicab to become the mandatory challenger the WBC Flyweight champion was the legendary Pongsaklek Wonjongkam. Whilst Igarashi was waiting for his shot Wonjongkam was surprisingly upset, in March 2012, by Filipino Sonny Boy Jaro. Just 4 months after that bit win Jaro headed off to face Igarashi in Japan in a mandatory defense. As with many Igarashi bouts with was a close contest with Igarashi to work at range, showing some of his amateur skills but never really hurting Jaro, who looked to land the bigger single shots, and caught the eye with some booming right hands. This was a lot more entertaining than some Igarashi fights, and he did look fantastically skilled at times, but the key thing here was that Igarashi had claimed the WBC and Linear Flyweight throne. He was now the man at Flyweight.
Nestor Daniel Narvaes (November 3rd 2012)
Sadly for Igarashi his reign was a short one with only a single successful defense, with that coming against Nestor Daniel Narvaes in November 2012. On paper this was an easy first defense but it needed up being a really close, and oddly compelling, contest with both men being deducted points for headclashes, both men being bloodied and both men genuinely giving a good account of themselves. Sadly the bout proved what many had come to to expect. Igarashi simply wasn't elite level, and was struggling to get past fighters like Narvaes.
After 12 rounds Igarashi got the majority decision but his reign wouldn't last much longer with Akira Yaegashi dethroning him in April 2013.
After losing to Yaegashi we never really saw what Igarashi could do again. He continued on but wasn't the same fighter due recurring injuries and a lot of bouts that ended following head clashes. After the loss to Yaegashi we saw Igarashi go 6-2-1 (2) with 4 bouts ending in technical decisions, before he lost at the end of 2017 to Sho Kimura in what was Igarashi's final bout.
Boxing involves two athletes or boxers fighting with their fists in padded gloves in a roped square ring. The aim of the sport is to dominate by an accumulation of points or knock the opponent out. They achieve this through tactical punch strikes over a set period of time.
Mixed martial arts (MMA) involved full-contact combat, and it’s a caged fight. Some of the features of the sport include ground wrestle, grappling and striking. MMA is a combination of martial arts and various sports around the world. The fighters aim to dominate the opponent by using control, finishing folds, and striking.
Both sports are unique, even if there have been matches between fighters from either sport. After understanding the differences between these sports, one might consider finding better ways to enjoy the match, especially in MMA (UFC). If you are one of those people, you should consider reading this post on thepunterspage.com. Betting provides you with an opportunity to make some money while enjoying the match. Besides, you get to take advantage of the different betting markets and different odds from the bookmakers.
Below are all the differences between boxing and MMA.
Number of Rounds
In boxing, one round lasts approximately three minutes. Since there are 12 rounds in the fight, the maximum time it can take is 36 minutes, excluding the breaks. In most cases, the fights won't last till the final round for the winner to be determined. If either participant is deemed unable to continue the fight or knocked out, bouts can end in less than 12 rounds.
In MMA, there are three round fights, and each lasts for five minutes. The similarity between MMA and boxing is that the fighters can win through points and knockouts. But that’s not all. A fighter can win via submission. That’s a situation where one fighter holds the other in a dominating hold until the opponent yields.
MMA incorporates several genres of fights ranging from knee tackles, kicks, and fist strikes. There is a wide array of martial arts involved in the sport compared to boxing. As for boxing, fighters can only use their arms and hands to win points or knockout their opponents. However, MMA permits takedowns, fights, ground tackles, submission, Muay Thai skills, kickboxing, and hand and arm strikes.
In both sports, knockouts are the best way of finishing the game. However, in MMA, submission requires more skill, strategy, and effort since it speaks to the fighter's precision. As for boxing, the primary weapon is the fist. Boxers aren’t permitted to hit their opponents when they are down and below the waistline. Slapping, grappling, and backfiring aren’t permitted either.
MMA fighting gloves are lighter compared to boxing gloves. MMA fighting gloves are more flexible, and they weigh 0.1kg. These gloves give more room to the fighters since they expose their fingers. In return, the fighter can accomplish specific strikes, takedowns, submissions, and chokes. Lightweight fighters will have some heavier gloves to help with their blows. However, the weight difference of these gloves isn’t as noticeable compared to that of the boxing gloves.
Boxing gloves are much heavier since they weigh between 0.3 to 0.5 kg. They don’t have any room for exposed fingers, but their function is to protect them. The entire goal of the boxing gloves is to protect the hands when punching. The gloves are bigger to help the fighters fight longer. They will also vary in weight depending on the weight category of the fighter.
Both sports are governed by different rules. There is a three-knockdown rule in boxing where a fight is called off is one opponent is knocked down thrice in the match. There is also a 10-count rule for when fighters are knocked down. That is, the fighter must get back on their feet in 10 seconds when they are knocked down.
Fighters must clench their fists when punching the opponent. The fighter can also be penalized for hitting their opponent below the belt, back of their head, and the kidneys. In case of a knockout out all further strikes are halted, and if the opponent is hit by a low blow, they have five minutes to recover.
As for MMA, the result will depend on the decision of the referee. The bout can continue even when the fighter is knocked down multiple times and is still moving. However, some referees might opt to stop the match in case there are more knockdowns to protect the fighter from any damage.
Even though throwing is permitted in MMA, throwing an opponent out of the cage isn’t. a fighter can implore grappling, throwing, and legal strikes techniques to defeat their opponents. However, some disallowed strikes entail head butts, biting, hair pulling, grabbing the throat, back of the head, and groin.
It’s fair to say that January is usually a quiet month but this January is particularly quiet, with bouts really not being lined up for much of the month, we’ve already seen two scheduled bouts being cancelled due to Covid19 related issues. Despite that we do still have some stuff to be excited about, so let's take a look at what we’ve got coming up this month, and it is very much a prospect heavy month.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
Keita Kurihara (15-5, 13) vs Takuma Inoue (13-1, 3)
The first genuinely big bout set to take place in Asia will be on January 14th as OPBF Bantamweight champion Keita Kurihara looks to defend his title against Takuma Inoue. The bout is a genuinely good looking one and will see Kurihara’s power and aggression against the toughness and skills of Inoue. With both men entering the bout world ranked the winner of this will be banging on the door of a world title fight, and we wouldn't be surprised at all by them landing a really big, international level, fight at the end of the year.
Katsuki Mori (7-0, 1) vs Sora Takeda (6-1, 1)
Highly skilled prospect Katsuki Mori looks to continue building his reputation as he takes on Sora takeda, in a battle between two former Rookie of the Year winners. Mori has received a lot of praise since breaking through in 2019, though with only a single bout in 2020 his career needs a big shot in the arm in 2021. Takeda on the other hand won Rookie of the Year in 2018, and has sadly seen his momentum slow with just 2 bouts since then. The winner of this will begin a move towards a potential Japanese Youth title bout, but could take a year or two for either man to land their first title fight.
Keisuke Matsumoto (1-0, 1) Vs Bejita Ishikawa (3-12-2, 1)
Touted Japanese third generation fighter Keisuke Matsumoto will be looking to record his second win as a professional as he takes on Dragonball Z inspired fighter Bejita Ishikawa, who is well known for his Vegeta styled entrance attire. Matsumoto is very highly regarded and his father was a multi time world title challenger, though he’ll want a better performance than his debut, which saw him being dropped before he stopped Hironori Miyake. Ishikawa shouldn’t provide much of a test here, but he is a unique fighter and certainly has popularity that exceeds his ability.
Ryutaro Nakagaki (1-0, 1) vs Yuji Okinori (10-5-2, 3)
Another prospect looking for their second win is former amateur stand out Ryutaro Nakagaki, who will be looking to build on a successful debut in a notable step up in class, as he takes on the experienced Yuji Okinori. Although perhaps not a big internationally there is very high expectations on Nakagaki in Japanese, after an excellent amateur career, and given how he looked on debut the 21 year old Super Flyweight hopeful really does seem to have the potential to go a very, very long way in the sport. Okinori is a very credible opponent for Nakagaki this early in his career, but it’s hard to see anything but a Nakagaki win.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
Riku Nagahama (12-2-1, 4) Vs Ryota Toyoshima (12-2-1, 8) - OPBF Welterweight title
The second OPBF title fight of 2021 will see Riku Nagahama seek his first defense as he faces off with the heavy handed Ryota Toyoshima. Nagahama, who holds the OPBF Welterweight title, won the belt in 2020 but has had to wait almost a year to defend it. Although not the biggest puncher Nagahama does have a fan friendly style and does get involved in a tear, even if that’s not the best idea for him. Toyoshima is a more patient fighter than Nagahama, but he’s certainly a bigger puncher and he has very under-rated and sneaky body shots in his arsenal. This could, legitimately, turn out to be a genuine war for the OPBF title and could be a gem in a month where big bouts are few and far between.
Jukiya Iimura (0-0) Vs Daisuke Yamada (6-5, 1)
Whilst there is a lack of big bouts there are a lot of prospects in action over the coming days and one of those is Jukiya Iimura, who went 68-13 in the amateurs. He’ll be getting introduced to professional bout with a bout against the solid Daisuke Yamada, in what should be a solid test for the debuting Flyweight.
Jun Ikegawa (0-0) Vs Kakeru Yoshikawa (4-1-2)
Another debutant looking to make a mark in January is Jun Ikegawa, who went 51-15 in the unpaid ranks. The skilled Ikegawa looks to be in a very solid debut match up as he takes on Kakeru Yoshikawa. The 22 year old Ikegawa is tipped for success and will be looking to make his mark at 122lbs. Yoshikawa is a very credible opponent, and his only loss was a split decision back in July 22017. This is not a gimmie for Ikegawa!
Yugo Kon (0-0) Vs Koji Tsurumi (4-3-1, 1)
One other debutant on this show to make a note of is Yugo Kon. He went a less than spectacular 23-11 in the amateur ranks but is regarded as a long term prospect and we should see him being asked genuine questions by Koji Tsurumi, who is better than his record suggests.
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
Kosuke Saka (20-5, 17) Vs Takuya Watanabe (37-9-1, 21)
In another potential hidden gem Japanese Super Featherweight champion Kosuke Saka will take on Takuya Watanabe, and this may well end up being a genuinely brutal war. Saka is an aggressive, heavy handed and exciting fighter, but one who can also be super inconsistent. Despite being hot and cold Saka looked fantastic in his 2019 title winning performance, smashing Masaru Sueyoshi in 5 rounds. Watanabe on the other hand is a super tough, technical warrior who tends to box well, but is much more well known for his ability to genuinely fight. Watanabe’s bouts with Jaesung Lee and Taiki Minamoto showed his toughness and he will have to dip into that again here.
Yusaku Kuga (19-4-1, 13) Vs Gakuya Furuhashi (26-8-1, 14)
Another Japanese title fight will see Yusaku Kuga defending his JBC Super Bantamweight title against Gakuya Furuhashi. For Kuga this is a must win after being taken out in a regional title fight by Jhunriel Ramonal at the end of 2019. Although talented Kuga has been in a number of tough wars, and bouts against the likes of Ryoichi Tamura, Shingo Wake and Yasutaka Ishimoto may well have aged him. As for Furuhashi the 33 year old challenger will know it’s now or never after coming up short in two previous Japanese title fights. Style wise Furuhashi is a grinder, who throws a lot and lacks 1-punch fight changing power, again Kuga his style may be his undoing, or it could lead to an early FOTY contender.
Koki Mioya (8-1-2, 2) v Tentaro Kimura (5-0-2)
In a B class tournament final the once beaten Koki Mioya takes on Tentaro Kimura, in what should be a very evenly matched and exciting 5 rounder. This bout, unlike many, has gotten a lot of interest for what is, for all intents, a lower level Japanese bout, with neither fighter being regarded as a major prospect. Both as popular fighters and the bout is being regarded as one that could end up delivering a lot of action. Fans in the west may overlook this one, but it is genuinely generating plenty of buzz among the hardcore Japanese fans.
Shu Utsuki (7-0, 6) v Masashi Wakita (10-10-2, 5)
In an A Class tournament final the fast rising, and heavy handed, Japanese Lightweight hopeful Shu Utsuki will battle Masashi Wakita. This looks like a mismatch on paper and we suspect it will be, but it will still be great to see Utsuki back in the ring, and there’s a real chance of him getting involved in the Japanese title mix in the next 12 to 24 months. Utsuki is a very nasty and serious puncher, and that is likely to be too much for Wakita, who’s been a genuine servant to Japanese boxing over the years.
Yokasta Valle (20-2, 9) Vs Sana Hazuki (8-4-1, 2)
In a surprising world title fight we’ll see OPBF Minimumweight champion Sana Hazuki challenge IBF champion Yokasta Valle near the end of the month. This bout was only announced in January, after Valle had numerous issues securing a unification fight with WBC champion Tina Rupprecht. Valle will be the heavy, heavy favourite, though there is, maybe, a chance she has looked past Hazuki, who really shouldn’t be much of a taste for the Costa Rican world champion.
Manual Artime Community Center Theater, Miami, Florida, USA
Fazliddin Meliboev (0-0) vs Javonn Davis (3-0-1, 3)
Back to debutants we have talented Uzbek 24 year old Fazliddin Meliboev kicking off his career towards the end of January as he takes on unbeaten American Javonn Davis. Meliboev isn’t one of the elite level Uzbek amateurs we’ve seen making their name on the professional ranks in recent years but he was a very credible amateur and showed real potential in the WSB. He’ll come into this bout as an unknown, but we suspect he has the tools to overcome Davis, who has been fighting at a very, very low level so far.
Kozimbek Mardonov (0-0) vs Chown Sims (5-1, 2)
Another Uzbek making his debut is the touted 23 year old Kozimbek Mardonov, who won shone at the 2019 Military Games in Wuhan. On paper Mardonov looks to be in a serious test here as he goes up against 25 year old American Chown Sims. Sims is unbeaten in his last 3, and has taken a couple of cherry’s since beginning his professional career. He was, however, stopped in 2019 by Ty McLeod and we suspect Mardonov will have too much, in what could be a debut to remember for a very promising young Uzbek.
Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico
Sadriddin Akhmedov (11-0, 10) vs Stephen Danyo (17-3-3, 6)
Highly regarded Kazakh prospect Sadriddin Akhmedov will return to the ring after well over a year out as he takes on Dutch fighter Setephen Danya in a bout for 4 minor titles. The excellent Akhmedov has been one of the most promising Kazakh fighters in recent years and he seems to have it all, with skills, power, stamina, a solid boxing brain and a solid promoter behind him. Given what we’ve seen of Akhmedov the view is that he’s one of the men heading towards world titles. Danyo on the other hand has never been stopped, he’s proven himself as a tough nut and he does have the durability and experience to test the Kazakh youngster, especially given his length lay off. This should be a real good test for Akhmedov, but if he’s as good as we think he should take a very clear win.
Luzhniki, Moscow, Russia
Bektemir Melikuziev (6-0, 5) Vs Sergey Kovalev (34-4-1, 29)
Unbeaten Uzbek destroyer Bektemir Melikuziev is set to take a massive step up in class at the end of the month as he takes on former multi-time Light Heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev. With many tipping the “Bully” to be a future world champion this is the sort of test that will help fast track him to a title, and could be a shrewd bit of match making, or a case of biting off too much too soon. Kovalev has been on the slide for a while, and he no longer looks like the “Krusher” who dismantled the likes of Jean Pascal, but with his power and with a Russian crowd behind him he is very much a live under-dog here. On paper this is a real test for Melikuviez, but if he’s as good as we, and many others, think he could end up retiring Kovalev. Interestingly for Kovalev this will be his first bout since his 2019 loss to Saul Alvarez and at 37 father time may well be just as much of an enemy as Melikuziev. Potentially one of the smartest bits of matchmaking we’ll see in 2021, or a big mistake by Melikueziev’s team.
Back in August 2019 we were really excited to talk about an emerging Japanese hopeful by the name of Toshiya Ishii (then 1-0 (1), now 3-1 (2)). Now, more than a year later we’re going to take a look back at what he’s been up to since we last spoke about him, where his career now and where heading in the near future. Of course with a loss against his name things haven’t been perfect for him, but is still certainly regarded as a top prospect and as a man heading towards big things in the future.
When we spoke about Ishii in 2019 he had scored a debut win over Adam Wijaya in April 2019 and was days away from his second bout, against the then 8-0 Fumiya Fuse, who had won the All Japan Rookie of the Year in 2017. When that bout with Fuse came along we saw Ishii take his second win, claiming a technical decision over Fuse to move his record forward and advance his career onto bigger and better things.
The win over Fuse saw Ishii getting some attention, but it was a mild buzz. That buzz grew massively in December when Ishii battled against Haruki Ishikawa for the Japanese Youth Bantamweight title at Korakuen Hall. Ishii, fighting for just the third time as a professional, went to war with the then 8-1 Ishikawa, and the two men ended up giving a legitimate thriller. In the opening round Ishikawa was dropped, before battling back and rocking Ishii, who was then dropped himself later in the round. In round 4 Ishii managed to see Ishikawa, scoring a sensational finish to what was a brilliant fight.
Sadly Ishii’s rise, like that of so many youngsters in 2020, hit a brick wall in a year where Covid19 essentially closed down boxing for long stretches. The momentum of the win over Ishikawa was soon forgotten, and Ishii sadly began to have his shining career dim a little, despite getting rave reviews from world class fighters that he had been sparring with.
After more than 11 months away we saw Ishii return to the ring in November 2020 when he stepped up massively and took on former world title challenger Sho Ishida in Hyogo. The bout, streamed live by TV Osaka, was a fantastic 8 round bout that saw Ishii acting as the aggressor and the puncher, and Ishida showcasing his excellent jab, his sharp movement and top level experience. In the end it was the jab and experience of Ishida that proved to be key, as he took a very competitive decision win over Ishii.
The loss for Ishii is one of those rare “good losses”, where Ishii’s reputation wasn’t hindered at all. He managed to impress those that saw the bout, but also had some flaws shown up, such as the way he marched without using his jab, and how he failed to cut off the ring when he needed to. It was a loss, and a “1” on his record, but it was a fantastic learning experience for a man who was still just 19 at the time.
Despite the loss to Ishida only coming in November we’ve already seen Ishii’s next bout being scheduled, and that will be on March 11th as he takes on Kaito Takeshima. The bout will be Ishii’s first defense of the Japanese Youth Bantamweight title, and we suspect to see footage of this one shown on Fuji TV, with the bout taking place on Ohashi promoted event.
With a record of 3-1 (2) it would be easy to write off Ishii, but the reality is that we really shouldn’t be writing him off. He ran a former world title challenger close in his only loss, in his fourth bout, he impressed in that loss, and he had already impressed, both in bouts and in terms of top level sparring. He will come again and in 2021 he and his team should concentrate on letting the youngster get a few more bouts under his belt, running up 3 or 4 wins during the year, and then look to chase senior titles in 2022. He’s a brilliant young fighter, and there is no need at all to look down on him for his one loss.
For those that haven’t seen him in action we’ve included his 2019 thriller with Ishikawa below. If you’ve never seen it before you should make time to enjoy this brilliant Youth title bout.
For us one of the best things about these on going series we do is that we can shine a light on a fighter who is perhaps somewhat forgotten or not too well known. Of course we cover some bigger names in these series, and last week we did do Koki Kameda in this very series, but we also like to talk about more obscure fighters. With that in mind were going to take a look at former WBC Super Flyweight champion In Joo Cho today and look at his 5 most significant wins.
For those aren't aware of Cho he was a fabulous amateur who turned professional in the early 1990's and was moved quickly. In just his 13th fight the claimed the WBC Super Flyweight title and he would hold that title from 1998 to 2000, making 5 defenses, before ending his career in 2001. He was a talented boxer who lacked power but made up for that with his skills, movement and ring craft. Sadly though he is one of the final Korean world champions.
With that introduction out of the way lets now look at the 5 most significant wins for... In Joo Cho
Tacy Macalos (January 30th 1994)
The first significant win for In Joo Cho came in just his 6th professional bout, as he took on former IBF Light Flyweight champion Tacy Macalos. Whilst Macalos was well past his best by this point, and fighting well above his best weight, it was still a huge step up in class for Chi who took a 10 round decision over Macalos. Sadly for Macalos he would only fight once more after this, losing in 3 rounds to Puma Toguchi. Given this was Cho's 6th professional bout and came only 21 months after his debut it was a very good win and a clear statement from him that he had the skills to go places. Sadly though this win was followed by some relatively low level bouts.
Gerry Penalosa I (August 29th 1998)
More than 4 years after beating Tacy Macalos we saw Cho finally take the step up to world class. By now he was 12-0 and had been ticking over for a year or two by this point. It seemed very much like his team thought "now or never", and brought over WBC Super Flyweight champion Gerry Penalosa to face Cho. By this point Penalosa had defended the belt 3 times, including a defense in Korea against Young Joo Cho. This turned into a really technical bout between two talented and hugely skilled fighters, but two men who refused to take unnecessary risks. As a result of their styles the bout never really caught fire. Cho was happy to jab and move on the outside whilst Penalosa would pressure but show little in terms of fire. Technically this was pretty high level chess, but it did lack drama, and was certainly not an exciting contest with Cho being ultra negative. It was a controversial one though, with the judges giving the 27 year old Korean a majority decision win. It was one which he didn't really deserve, but it was a significant one leading Cho to a world title, and essentially leading to the two men having a rematch, which we'll talk about a little later on. Again with this series we only look at the significance of a win, not whether the right man got the decision.
Pone Saengmorakot (June 13th 1999)
After winning the title with a controversial win Cho was lucky in his first defense, narrowly defeating Joe Luna Zarate in is first defense. It seemed like the days were number on his reign as he stepped into the ring for his second defense, taking on the then 18-0 Pone Saengmorakot. We were all expecting another close bout, and another less than thrilling encounter. Cho, it seemed, was not true championship material. And then he did what no one really expected and blasted Pone out.
Seemingly aware of the criticism he was getting Cho seemed more aggressive here in what was a pretty interesting fight, much more so than the score-cards suggested, until round 8. In round 8 Cho landed the punch of his career, a perfect short right hand that sent Pone crashing to the canvas. This was the only stoppage Cho would score in his world title bouts and would be a KO that would get played over and over. In terms the win, this is the win that gave Pone his highlight reel KO, was a relatively fun bout and one of his very few unquestionable wins at world level.
Keiji Yamaguchi (September 5th 1999)
Talking about unquestionable wins we need to mention Cho's 1999 win over Japanese challenger Keiji Yamaguchi.
For this bout Cho actually travelled, making his international debut, as he took on Yamaguchi in Tokyo. Yamaguchi had previously held the WBA Light Flyweight title and was looking to become a 2-weight world champion. The Korean was facing the perfect foil here, a smaller man who lacked power and was relatively low risk. The bout saw Cho box well at range, tie up when he needed to, and easily out box the Japanese local, who was often chasing shadows. Although it was a clear decision for Cho, and did come on the road, it was another example of him fighting negatively, doing what he needed to win, but not entertaining.
A win, in Japan, for a Korean world champion, is pretty big news. It's just a shame that the significance of the victory over shadowed the quality of the fight.
Gey Penalosa II (January 2nd 2000)
In his fifth defense Cho took on the man he controversially beat for the title in a long over-due rematch. This time around Penalosa was the challenger, though was again in Korea for the bout. Knowing what had happened last time Penalosa knew the judging wasn't going to be favourable to him and came out more offensive than in his first bout to Cho. He wasn't following Cho as he had in their first bout, but was pressing and letting his hands go. Cho seemingly realised he was in with a man who had a more offensive mindset this time around and knew he had to fight back more. Once again Cho was most on the back foot, moving, tying up when he needed to, but he did show more than he had in his first fight with Penalosa. It however didn't seem enough, and we suspect the referee knew that when he deducted Penalosa a point for having too much water in his corner. That water had caused Cho to slip, twice, and gave the referee a chance to help out the local.
Although the point deduction didn't actually matter on the scorecards in the end, it was a clear sign that Penalosa was going to need a stoppage to get the win. Sadly for him he was unable to get that as Cho remained on his bike in the later rounds. After 12 rounds Cho took a split decision, winning by 3 points on two of the cards. This was a gutting feeling for Penalosa, who probably shouldn't have lost either bout, but another very significant, albeit hugely controversial win for Cho.
Sadly for Cho his reign ended ended less than 8 months later, as he was out pointed by Masamori Tokuyama in Japan. A rematch with Tokuyama saw him being knocked out, and then retiring in 2001 with a record of 18-2 (7).
Although a fantastic talent Cho was also very, very negative, didn't make for fun fights and had more than his share of questionable decisions. Despite that the record books shows two wins over Gerry Penalosa and they will always been very significant, even if they should both have been losses.
We’re now into 2021 but before we leave last year behind there are a few more things we need to look back on for last year. Among those are the Monthly Award winners for December 2020, and it’s a month really dominated by Japanese action, with Japan hosting a large number of shows during the final part of the year.
Fighter of the Month
Kazuto Ioka (26-2, 15)
The fighter of the month for December was an easy one, but one we really needed to wait until the end of the month for, and that was Kazuto Ioka, who successfully defended his WBO Super Flyweight title with an excellent 8th round TKO win against Kosei Tanaka. The Japanese legend was put under pressure early in the bout, was left with double vision in round 2, and had clear damage around his eye soon afterwards. Despite that he stuck to a game plan, took away Tanaka’s best tools, dropped the younger man twice, and then forced Michiaki Someya to save Tanaka from further punishment. A fantastic performance in the final big bout of the year.
Fight of the Month
Masayoshi Nakatani Vs Felix Verdejo
We genuinely had some amazing fights in December, such as the fantastic bout between Ioka and Tanaka fight, the sensational bout between Ali Akhmedov and Carlos Gongora and the brilliant clash between Ryoji Fukunaga and Kenta Nakagawa bout. The one that stood out above them all however was the amazing 9 round bout between Masayoshi Nakatani and Felix Verdejo in the US. The bout had 4 knockdowns, a huge shift in momentum and saw Nakatani pull himself off the canvas, twice, to stop Verdejo. This is up there with the very, very best of 2020 and is a bout that every fan should watch, if they haven’t already. A genuine fantastic fight.
KO of the Month
Etsuko Tada TKO9 Ayaka Miyao
As well as great fights we also had some sensational KO’s. The best of the bunch came in the WBO female Minimumweight title bout with Etsuko Tada taking out Ayaka Miyao with a single, short, straight, left hand. This was a perfect KO, sending Miyao face first onto the canvas, and giving Tada probably the best KO win of her career. In a month where we had some sensational finishes this was really something special and stands up there with the best female KO’s ever, especially given the proven world class ability of Miyao. If you have a Boxing Raise account and haven’t seen this one already go and check it out!
Prospect of the Month
Ryosuke Nishida (3-0, 1)
It’s rare to see a prospect fake on a former world title challenger in their first few fights but that’s exactly what we saw from Ryosuke Nishida on December 19th, when he beat Shohei Omori. Nishida, who was 2-0, and had only made his debut in October 2019, was too quick, too sharp, too hungry and too good for Omori who struggled to get anything going. Nishida started well as he established an early lead. He a little wobble in the middle of the fight, as Omori tried to turn things around, but roared back in the later rounds and came close to stopping Omori whilst securing himself a massive win. This was brilliant from Nishida in a massive step up, and it’s clear that the young southpaw from the Mutoh Gym has the potential to go a very, very long way. This was a performance that genuinely put him on the map and we’re looking forward to seeing the 24 year old return to the ring later this year.
Upset of the Month
Yuichi Ideta MD8 Ryota Yada
When it comes to upsets few will rival the upset win scored by Yuichi Ideta against former Japanese Welterweight champion Ryota Yada. Coming into the bout Ideta had gone 1-15-1 in his previous 17 bouts. He hadn’t scored a win in almost 10 years and had lost 11 in a row. No one gave him a chance, especially not at the age of 36. But then he simply out worked, out fought, out battled, out gritted and out willed Yada en route to taking a truly unexpected decision win. The heavy handed Yada, who is best known for his brilliant 2019 war with Yuki Beppu, was expected to win this one and move on to an OPBF title bout in 2021, but this loss almost certainly ends those plans and leaves his career in a really precarious situation.
Carlos Gongora TKO12 Ali Akhmedov
Round of the Month
Ryoji Fukunaga Vs Kenta Nakagawa (Rd8)
With a lot of brilliant fights taking place in December we also got a lot of excellent rounds and they came right through the levels of the sport, from some of the Rookie bouts world level bouts. For us however the bouts rounds came late in the fantastic bout between Ryoji Fukunaga and Kenta Nakagawa, with round 8 being the best of the bunch. The two men fought each other to a standstill, they each rocked the other and they went hammer and tong, beating the fight out of each other. This was brutal, it was thrilling, exciting, back and forth action. It was exactly what we needed to see. Not only was it great, but the stakes couldn’t be much higher, with the two men fighting for the WBO Asia Pacific, OPBF and Japanese Super Flyweight titles. This was amazing, and followed up by 2 more great rounds making for a real gem of a fight.
We kick off a new year with this series and focus on a controversial Japanese fighter in the form of Koki Kameda (33-2, 18), a man who truly split Japanese fans. He had his lovers, he had his haters, and he had little between. Although a controversial figure he gave Japanese boxing a real boost and helped TBS to some of their best ratings of the 21st century. He also managed to win world titles in 3 weight classes, albeit with some WBA madness in the Bantamweight division and scored numerous notable wins.
Whilst never the out and out best in any weight class Kameda was a key figure from Light Flyweight to Bantamweight. He was a fighter who drew massive TV audience, and the desire some fans had to see him beat helped make him a big star, as did his general attitude, his arrogance and his loud mouth. He was the man Osakan fans needed after Joichiro Tatsuyoshi's career at the top came to an end, and he was one of the men at the forefront of Japanese boxing in the 00's.
Like him or hate him, Koki Kameda was a major figure in lower weight boxing, a force in Asian boxing and a massive player in Japanese boxing, and with that said let us bring you the 5 most significant wins for... Koki Kameda!
Noel Arambulet (November 26th 2005)
An obvious first choice for Koki Kameda's first significant win was his June 2005 win over Saman Sorjaturong and it was in contention here, however when put into some perspective it was a rather meaningless win. Although Saman was a huge name in the lower weights in the 1990's by 2005 he was shot to pieces and had picked up just 1 win in the previous 4 years, whilst losing 4 bouts. He was a shadow of himself. Venezuelan fighter Noel Arambulet on the other hand had been a world champion in 2004, losing WBA the belt in a competitive bout to Yutaka Niida, in their second bout. Not only was Arambulet relevant at the time Kameda beat him but he had never been stopped, and had a number of wins over Japanese fighters. This wasn't Kameda picking on a faded name to beat up but was a relevant contender that he stopped in 7 rounds silencing the critics who complained about his first 8 bouts coming against Thai foes. Notably Arambulet remained a notable fighter right through to 2008, when he fought for the final time, making this win a stellar one for Kameda that aged well.
Juan Jose Landaeta I (August 2nd 2006)
Less than a year after proving his value against Arambulet we saw Kameda get his first world title fight, and take on another Venezuelan opponent, as he took on Juan Jose Landaeta for the vacant WBA Light Flyweight title. The talented Landaeta had never won a world title but was very much a world class fighter, and hadpreviously held "interim" honours. He proved to be a huge step up for Kameda, dropping the Japanese fighter in the first round and then giving as good as he got through a very hotly contested 12 round fight. At the final bell it seemed like Kameda was set to suffer his first loss, but got the run of the green and took a split decision victory. The result sent Japanese boxing fans, and media in to an outrage, and saw fans apologising to Landaeta through the embassy.
This win was as controversial as they come but saw Kameda winning the WBA Light Flyweight title, his first world title and boosting his profile massively. The controversy lead to an immediate rematch, which Kameda easily won, but still left a bad taste in mouth of local fans. This was the win that put Kameda's name at the forefront of everyone's mind in Japan and it's really hard to over-state how huge this win was, despite the massive black cloud cast by the decision.
Daisuke Naito (November 29th 2009)
Kameda's stay at Light Flyweight was a relatively short one, with his only world title defense being the rematch with Landaeta. He then vacated the title and moved up in weight to chase a second world title. He finally got his shot in 2009 in a massive all-Japanese bout with the then WBC Flyweight champion Daisuke Naito.
The bout had everything going for it. Not only did Naito have the WBC title but he also had a huge win over Koki's brother Daiki Kameda, a win that had seen Daiki come close to getting disqualified in the final round for a variety of fouls, that had been encouraged by Koki and their father Shiro.
Despite the animosity between the two fighters the bout was actually a surprisingly tame affair with Kameda using his younger, fresher, faster legs to easily out box the slower, older, Naito. At the time Kameda was 23 whilst Naito was 35, ancient for a Flyweight, and the age difference showed. Kameda won, but put on one of his least exciting performances, knowing that a win here was more important than putting on a show. This wasn't the best bout Kameda was in, but was, for us at least, his biggest and best win. It was a win that saw him claiming not just the WBC title but also the Lineal championship, and it was the first time he faced a fellow Japanese fighter.
Due to the build up and expectations regarding the bout the fight managed to draw an average of 43.1% of TV audience and peaked at a frankly staggering 51.2%, making it the most viewed broadcast of anything in Japan in 2009!
Alexander Munoz (December 26th 2010)
Sadly for Kameda his reign at Flyweight was even shorter than his reign at Light Flyweight, losing the belt in his first defense to Thai legend Pongsaklek Wonjongkam. He then skipped Super Flyweight all together, until his final career bout, and campaigned at Bantamweight. His first fight at 118lbs saw him take on the big punching Alexander Munoz for the WBA "regular" Bantamweight title. For Kameda it was a chance to become the first Japanese "3-weight" world champion, but to do so he would have to get past a man who had developed a reputation as a Japan Killer.
Munoz, the third Venezuelan on this list, had beaten the likes of Celes Kobayashi, Eiji Kojima, Hidenobu Honda, Nobuo Nashiro, Kuniyuki Aizawa and Katsushige Kawashima in Japan. He had never lost on Japanese soil. That was until Kameda beat him, dropping Munoz in round 12 en route to a clear decision.
Whilst becoming a "3 weight champion" was impressive the win also saw Koki and Daiki both holding world titles at the same time, becoming the first Japanese brothers to hold world titles. This was a major achievement and was later followed by Tomoki winning a world title, to leave all 3 Kameda's as world champions and put them in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Jung Oh Son (November 19th 2013)
Our final choice will likely raise a few eyebrows, as Jung Oh Son was certainly not the biggest name that Koki Kameda beat during his WBA Bantamweight world title reign. It was also not his biggest win as a Bantamweight world champion, especially given beat the talented Hugo Ruiz. The bout however is a massively significant win from an historic point of view, and we do love history in this series. The bout saw Kameda travel to South Korea to defeat the relatively Son, who dropped Kameda in the 10th round but didn't do enough to dethrone the Japanese fighter. The bout, which strangely used the 1/2 point scoring system, saw Kameda narrowly retain his title in what was his final defense of the belt.
What made this win so significant is that it was only the fifth time a Japanese male world champion had retain a title on foreign soil, making him the fourth man to achieve the feat, and the second in Korea.
The win was followed by the WBA ordering Kameda to face "Super" champion Anselmo Moreno. Kameda wasn't a fan of that bout, and decide to vacate the title, before out of the ring issues curtailed his career for almost a year. He would returning in November 2014 to score his final win before losing to Kohei Kono in 2015, in the first ever all-Japanese world title bout on US soil. Following that loss retired from professional boxing, though has remained a notable figure within the sport.
This is just an opinion, maaaan! It's easy to share our opinions, and that's what you'll find here, some random opinion pieces