The "Introducing" series has typically focused on top prospects who have aspirations of being a huge name in the sport. Typically they are of stand out amateurs, or Rookie of the Year winners, or people with some achievements behind them. Today however we are looking at someone without that type of background, but someone we still suggest fans should pay some real attention to. That is the big punching, exciting, and promising Mammoth Kazunori (6-2-1, 6).
Although Mammoth really isn't a big name in the sport the 21 year old has the tools to make a rather big mark on the domestic scene in the coming years. He might be in the talent laden Flyweight scene, but there are, very few fighters with the frighting ability to take people out in the same way Mammoth can.
Mammoth began his professional boxing journey under his real name of Kazunori Nakayama back in 2018, when he was just 17 years old. He did so under the guidance of former world champion Yasuei Yakushiji, in Nakayama's backyard of Aichi.
It was under Yakushiji that Mammoth made his debut in December 2016, stopping Taichi Ianaba in 75 seconds, fighting just above the Minimumweight limit. Just 3 months later he had picked up his second quick win, blasting out Kosuke Murakawa in 66 seconds to move to 2-0. It was immediately obvious that the teenager could bang, and fighting out of the southpaw stance he was a scare proposition for opponents. Heavy handed southpaws are no joy for opponents.
In his third professional bout Mammoth competed in the 2017 Central Japan Rookie of the Year Final, where he blasted out Nagara Mizutani in 2 rounds. Sadly for Mammoth his 2017 Rookie of the Year campaign would end at the next level, when he lost a competitive decision to Western Japan champion Tatsuro Nakajima in September 2017.
The loss could have been a major setback for Mammoth but instead he was back in the ring just 2 months later. When he returned he had moved up to Light Flyweight where he scored a 3rd round TKO win over fellow novice Alex Ota.
In 2018 Mammoth was again involved in the Central Japan Rookie of the Year, and began the tournament with an opening round win over Masato Togawa, in the Light Flyweight division. Sadly however Mammoth's dreams of winning the tournament ended in August 2018, in the final, when he was held to a draw by former foe Alex Ota, in what was brutal bout that saw both men take bombs in the opening round. Sadly Ota progressed due to the tie breaker rules in effect.
Mammoth would return to the ring 4 months after the Ota bout and take on Natsu Ohashi in a 6 round bout. The fight was fought close to the Flyweight limit and the 20 year old Mammoth, fighting under his real name for this bout for those interested, really had a nightmare of a performance. He was deducted a point for holding in round 2, was dropped in round 4 and ended up losing a clear decision to Ohashi.
After the loss to to Ohashi we saw Mammoth take a break from the ring, leave the Yakushiji gym, signing up with Chunichi Gym, and take more than a year out of action. Then he returned to the ring in spectacular fashion, scoring a late KO of the Year contender against tough Thai Lerdchai Chaiyawed in a Flyweight bout. The KO came part way through round 5 and saw the Japanese youngster land a dynamite counter left hand that almost headed poor his victim.
Sadly since win over Lerdchai we've not seen Mammoth in the ring, though thankfully we won't have to wait much longer to see him in action on November 1st in Aichi, as part of a Midori Promoted card. In the opposite corner to Mammoth will be Keisuke Iwasaki (4-2-1, 1). On paper this is a very evenly matched bout, and an interesting assignment for the 21 year old Mammoth. Win or lose he's going to be a fun guy to watch.
In the ring Mammoth is exciting, he's a big puncher, he's charismatic, and despite lacking a big backer or amateur experience we can't help but want to see more of him. Don't look at his record and write him off, but instead watch him, and enjoy a heavy handed boxer-puncher, who loves to land bombs, has naturally scary power, and will make for some great fights, and brilliant moments over the coming years.
Generally December is a very Japan centric month in Asian boxing, with the end of shows and Rookie of the Year. This year things seemed even more Japan centric than usual with a host of cards through the month. As a result December's awards were pretty much all in Japan, though that doesn't take away from what was a very interesting month.
Fighter of the Month
In December we had a host of world title fights, some were competitive, some weren't but for us the guy who shone the brightest was Kazuto Ioka. Ioka was in tough with a 2-time Olympian, who was tall, longer and faster. After taking a couple of rounds to figure his man out however Ioka began to adjust and slowly broke down Jeyvier Cintron in what was an excellent over all performance in a fantastic bout. Cintron, we suspect, will win a world title in the future and this is a win that will end up looking very good in a few year's time.
Fight of the Month
Yuki Beppu Vs Ryota Yada
Few fights can truly be described as dramatic, but with 6 knockdowns, bombs being traded through out, and a huge come from behind win it's hard to suggest that anything other than the WBO Asia Pacific Welterweight title bout between Yuki Beppu and Ryota Yada was going to win this. There were other great bouts, the rookie of the year bout between Kodai Honda vs Yasutaka Fujita being among them, but nothing was every going to compete with Beppu Vs Yada. A genuine must watch war.
KO of the Month
Mammoth Kazunori TKO5 Lerdchai Chaiyawed
It seemed that December wanted to try and provide us with the best of everything, and the brutal KO scored by Mammoth Kazunori, against Lerdchai Chaiyawed, tried to steal the KO of the Year with just over 2 weeks of the year left. This was originally doing the rounds from a fan cam, but when the bout was upload to Boxing Raise a few days after it took place the KO looked even better. A single solid left hand turned Lerdchai 's lights out...and then he hit the canvas. This was as clean a shot as Kazunori will likely ever land, and the way Lerdchai hit the canvas was just nasty.
Yudai Shigeoka (2-0, 1)
With a win against an OPBF champion in just his second professional bout, it was hard to give this award to anyone else. Shigeoka might not be as brutal as his younger brother, Ginjiro Shigeoka, but out pointing Lito Dante this early in his career was fantastic and a real statement of intent for someone wanting to be fast-tracked.
Amazingly Yudai's brother stopped Rey Loreto and Bektemir Melikuziev out pointed Vaughn Alexander, in just his 4th bout, during the month. This was an excellent month for prospects.
Renz Rosia UD8 Aston Palicte
The "Filipino fighters are involved in upsets" trend continued through December. Jhack Tepora being stopped by Oscar Escandon, Jhunriel Ramonal stopping Yusaku Kuga and Renz Rosia beating Aston Palicte were the short list for the month. For us Rosia's win gets the award due to the fact he completely out boxed, out fought and out though Palicte. This wasn't a wild shot, or beating someone before they warmed up. This was beating them round, after round, after round. This was Rosia exposing Palicte's flaws, and given where Palicte was at the start of this year was a genuine surprise. What made this really stand out is that Rosia was 1-4-1 in his previous 6 bouts! A genuine shocker.
Toshiya Ishii vs Haruki Ishikawa (Round 2)
We had some amazing rounds this past month, and round 4 of Akira Yaegashi Vs Moruti Mthalane will certainly be a hard one to forget. For sheer drama and too and fro action however the pick from the month was round 2 from Toshiya Ishii's incredible battle with Haruki Ishikawa. Ishii was dropped in the opening seconds, regrouped, the two men staggered each and both were hurt several times before the round concluded. This was sheer, unadulterated awesomeness. A real round of the ages, and came in a Japanese Youth title bout, proving that even this low level of title is worth putting it all on the line for.
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