It's fair to say that August has continued to see boxing's return to Asia grow and grow. The bouts may not have been the best but there was plenty of very good bouts and inter match ups, with a good number of events made available to stream internationally and a lot of very talented prospects moving forward with their careers, including 5 notable debuts. We're still a long, long way from the sport being anywhere close to what it was at the start of the year, but we are continuing to see steps taken as the sport continues moving forward.
Fighter of the Month
Although there was a good number of fights in August there really wasn't any huge fights. There was no world title fights and there was a limited number of title bouts in general from Asia. The one fighter who did stand out for their performance was Ryo Sagawa, who had to work hard, but shined in his win over Yuri Takemoto, to retain the Japanese Featherweight title. He took his time, got a read on Takemoto, then went through the gears and broke down Takemoto with some vicious body shots. It's a shame we never got to see Sagawa defend his belt against a top challenger here, but we can't take away from how impressive he looked and how much of a talent he appeared to be here. A real star in the making, who needs better opponents than the game, but out classed, Takemoto.
Fight of the Month
Daisuke Watanabe vs Shingo Kusano
There was some fantastic bouts during August but the one that genuinely stood, by some margin, as the best for us was the 8 round action thriller between Daisuke Watanabe and Shingo Kusano. The bout, which was the final of the Hajime No Ippo 30th anniversary tournament, had everything we could want to see in a bout. We had a nice clash of styles, fantastic back and forth, competitive action and a bout that got better as it went on. The first few rounds were brilliant as both men looked to take control. This saw Kusano coming forward originally, before Watanabe turned the tables. The we saw Kusnao turn counter puncher, and have success, before being dropped in round 5. After 5 great rounds the bout caught fire big time in round 6 and gave us 3 none stop rounds of action. This is up there with the best bouts of 2020 world wide, a fantastic fight!
Ryo Sagawa Vs Yuri Takemoto
Erzhan Turgumbekov Vs Albert Batyrgaziev
KO of the Month
Tsubasa Murata TKO2 Yuya Miyazaki
Despite the fact this was a packed month there wasn't really many true KO's, though one we did see that stood out was Tsubasa Murata's absolute beauty against Yuya Miyazaki in the Central Japan Rookie of the Year. Coming in to this no one would have expected what we got, but in round 2 Murata landed a brutal straight right hand that dropped Miyazaki. The shot was a beauty but the way Miyazaki went down was even better, first falling to one knee, and then flat out face first. If you have Boxing Raise we strongly suggest you hunt this down as it is something special. A truly stunning KO by the 21 year old hopeful who showed surprising power in one of the best 1-punch KO's of 2020.
Prospect of the Month
Tursynbay Kulakhmet (1-0)
The toughest category this month was the prospect of the month, which was a category where people kept throwing their names into the running. For us the winner was Kazakh sensation Tursynbay Kulakhmet, who looked absolute brilliant in his debut. The former amateur standout was expected to be given a test by Sagadat Rakhmankulov, but instead toyed with his man, broke him down and caused him to retire between rounds. Kulakhmet looks like the type of fighter who will be fast tracked, and on the back of this performance there is no reason for MTK to hold him back. Fingers crossed we see him in with a notable name next time out, perhaps even someone like Jeff Horn, who has more than just a bit of name value and is very much on the slide.
If you only look at single prospect from Asia this month Kulakhmet's the one, though it was a very close run competition with the likes of the fighters mentioned in our honourable mentions who are all worth checking out!
Yoshiki Shimomachi, Jinki Maeda, Kamshybek Kunkabayev, Jin Sasaki, Ryotaro Nakagaki
Upset of the Month
Dauren Yeleussinov (8-1-1, 7) Vs Juan Carlos Raygosa (17-15-3, 6)
The upset of the month is strangely not recorded on boxrec, at the time of writing, despite taking place more than a week ago. Despite not being on Boxrec it's hard to deny that this was a shocker as unbeaten Kazakh hopeful Dauren Yeleussinov was shocked by Mexican journeyman Juan Carlos Raygosa. It was expected that the unbeaten Kazakh would shake some ring rust here and take a clear decision over the experienced but limited Raygosa. Instead it was Raygosa that took the initiative and claimed the win. The victory for the Mexican saw him pick up the WBC "international" Middleweight title as well as the W.
George Tachibana UD5 Shuhei Tsuchiya
Dmitrii Khasiev TKO8 Stanislav Kalitskiy
Round of the Month
Daisuke Watanabe vs Shingo Kusano (RD6)
We go back to our Fight of the Month for the best round of the month as well, and that was the 6th round of the brilliant clash between Daisuke Watanabe and Shingo Kusano. This was the round where the bout went into over drive and saw the two men begin to throw caution to the win and unload on each other on the inside. Rounds 7 and 8 were similarly great, but not quite as exciting, as both men began to slow down. The round was a total war and is up there with the very best rounds of 2020. If you missed the bout we advise you watch it in full on Boxing Raise, and we suspect round 6 will be the one you go back and rewatch a few times, as you try and figure out how the two men took the punishment they traded her. A truly brilliant round of action.
Over the last few months we've not had much boxing to talk about, but thankfully that's all set to change in July with the sport returning to various countries after they have managed to get on top of the on going situation. With that in mind we have some fights to look forward this month!
Korakuen Hall, Japan
Satoshi Shimizu (8-1, 8) Vs Kyohei Tonomoto (9-2-1, 4)
OPBF Featherweight champion Satoshi Shimizu returns to the ring after a brutal loss to Joe Noynay last August as he defends his title against the unheralded Kyohei Tonomoto. The hard hitting Shimizu has a lot of questions to answer following his loss and will know that a loss here ends any hope he has of fighting for a world title. As for Tonomoto this is a huge opportunity to make a mark at Oriental level.
Koki Inoue (15-0, 12) Vs Daishi Nagata (14-2-1, 5)
Unbeaten Japanese Light Welterweight (140lbs) champion Koki Inoue will make his next defense as he takes on mandatory challenger Daishi Nagata. Originally this bout was scheduled for March, before Inoue was injured, then delayed due to the ongoing situation. For Inoue this could be his last bout at domestic level and he could well be looking to make a mark at a higher level in the very near future. As for Nagata this is his second shot at a title, after losing in an OPBF title bout against Rikki Naito. This could well be a very, very exciting bout.
Kazakhstan (IFL TV, ESPN+)
Dauren Yeleussinov (8-0-1, 7) Vs Arman Rysbek (7-0, 6)
In a very good looking all-Kazakh bout we'll see Dauren Yeleussinov, the brother of Olympic champion Daniyar Yeleussinov, take on Arman Rysbek. This is the sort of bout we're always excited about, two unbeaten, talented punchers facing off with everything to gain. At 34 Yeleussinov needs a big win, and this should be seen as a must win for him. Rysbek on the other hand is a bit younger, at 29, but can still ill afford a loss. Expect this one to be an excellent bout with two men looking to prove a point
Tursynbay Kulakhmet (0-0) Vs Sagadat Rakhmankulov (6-1, 4)
We love seeing top amateurs matched hard in a their debuts and that's what we have here with Tursynbay Kulakhmet, the 2019 amateur champion at Middleweight and World Championship bronze medal winner, taking on the once beaten Sagadat Rakhmankulov. It's expected that Kulakhmet will be fast tracked and with a debut like this the intention is clear, he is being eyed as a super talent and will be raced to the top. As for Rakhmankulov this will actually be his domestic debut, after entirely in the West so far. This is a big test, and hugely interesting debut.
Talgat Shaiken (0-0) Vs Berikbay Nurymbetov (5-0, 1)
Another notable debut is that of Talgat Shaiken, another Kazakh who is tipped for big things. Shaiken is only a youngster, but is a very strong and powerful kid who if being matched tough here for such a youngster, as he takes on Berikbay Nurymbetov. This is a tough debut, but should be a win for the former Youth Olympic silver medal winner.
Korakuen Hall, Japan (Fuji TV)
Kenta Nakagawa (18-3-1, 12) Vs Yuta Matsuo (15-4-2, 8) - Japanese Super Flyweight title fight
In the second Japanese title fight for the month we'll see Japanese Super Flyweight champion Kenta Nakagawa defending his title, in a mandatory, against Yuta Matsuo. Given the styles of the two men this should be a very good bout, with Matsuo known for his pressure and Nakagawa being known for his solid punching. A very nice bout and one that should be a very competitive one.
Rentaro Kimura (0-0) Vs Yuya Azuma (5-3-1, 1)
Yet another debutant of note for the month is Rentaro Kimura, who will take on Yuya Azuma. Those in Japan are raving about Kimura, who has stated that he wants to fight for a world title in his first 10 bouts. His debut comes against the relatively unknown Yuya Azuma, in what should be a rather straight forward debut for the youngster.
Kobe Central Gymnasium, Japan
Kenichi Horikawa (40-16-1, 13) Vs Daiki Tomita (14-1, 5) - OPBF Light Flyweight title fight
The second OPBF title bout for the month will see veteran Kenichi Horikawa take on Daiki Tomita for the vacant OPBF Light Flyweight title. This bout was supposed to take place in March, though was postponed when boxing was put on an hiatus in Japan. The title, which was vacated by Edward Heno, is often regarded as a stepping stone for world champions, and the title has been held by numerous fighters who have gone on to bigger and better things. For Horikawa a loss will almost certainly be the end of his great career, though a win would see him complete a domestic and regional grandslam. As for Tomita this is his second chance at a title, and a win here would be a huge boost to his fledgling career.
Aioi Hall, Japan
Masamichi Yabuki (10-3, 10) Vs Tsuyoshi Sato (10-1-1, 5) - Japanese Light Flyweight title fight
The final Japanese title fight for the month will take place on July 25th and will see fans attending the event as Masamichi Yabuki and Tsuyoshi Sato battle for the vacant Japanese Light Flyweight title. The title here became vacant when Yuto Takahashi announced his retirement from the sport following issues with motivation and training. Yabuki will be favoured here, given his brutal power, but Sato has been impressive with his pressure, high out put and under-rated power. For one of the first bouts with fans this should be a genuine highlight for the month, and the styles of the men should gell brilliantly.
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