With the East Japan Rookie of the Year final's coming up on December 20th we felt it made sense to focus on one of the finalists for this week's "Introducing". After looking over the match ups on the card we decided the man who made the most sense to look at was hard hitting Flyweight Shugo Namura (4-0, 4), who promises excitement every time he steps in the ring, and will be a very interesting match up at the East Japan final. But more about that contest a little bit later.
Born in Matsudo City, in Chiba Prefecture, Namura isn't from an area with a hotbed of professional boxers. Whilst some fighters from Chiba have become stars, they have pretty much all had to move away from the region to build there career. Namura is no different and he has fought out of the SRS gym since turning professional last year.
Whilst the SRS gym is certainly not a huge name, like Teiken, Ohashi, Watanabe, Misako or Kadoebi, it is very much a gym rooted in letting youngsters reach their potential and is run by former multi-time world title challenger Hiroyuki Sakamoto, one of the most inspirational fighters in Japan. Unsurprisingly you can actually see a lot of Sakamoto in Namura's style.
For those who can't remember Sakamoto himself he was a he was a Lightweight contender in the 1990's and 00's, who challenged Stevie Johnston, Cesar Bazan, Gilberto Serrano and Takanori Hatakeyama, making a name for himself as a man of few words outside of the ring and heavy hands inside it.
Stylistically Namura is very similar to his mentor. Like Sakamoto we see Namura throwing everything with bad intentions, and he really loads up on his power shots whilst sometimes neglecting his jab. That however makes him real fun to watch and an explosive monster.
Before we discuss his career so far we need to remember that Namura, like many fighters involved in the Rookie of the Year, doesn't have a strong amateur background. In fact none of our usual sources reported any sort of an amateur record for him and to be fair that does show in his style. As mentioned it's almost certainly been moulded by Sakamoto and the folks at the SRS gym, rather than an amateur coach, and it's actually a style that appears to work for him. He's a strong, powerful, hard hitting brute, with a huge hand right and real desire to find the range for his hooks and uppercuts, just like Sakamoto.
Namura made his debut back on September 8th 2019, when he stopped Tatsuya Kawaguchi in just 74 seconds. Namura was on the offensive straight from the off, pressing forward and dropping his man with a left hook around the minute mark. Kawaguchi beat the count but was stopped during the foll up barrage. The youngster was back in the ring just 3 months later, making his Korakuen Hall debut against Shunsuke Miyauchi. This bout had a competitive opening round but as the two men traded shots in round 2 Miyauchi ended up hurt and needing to be saved by the referee, who jumped in when Miyauchi was rocked.
Sadly Namura's rise, like that of many, was slowed in 2020 by the ongoing global situation. As a result he waited almost 10 months for his return, which came in September 2020 against Kei Fujita in an East Japan Rookie of the Year qualifying bout. This was our first chance to see Namura in action and sadly it was over almost before it began with Fujita coming out aggressively and then having the tables turned when Namura's power began to be felt. After about 30 seconds a huge right hand from Namura dropped Fujita who was stopped after 41 seconds.
Having won his qualifying bout in September Namura returned to the ring for the East Japan Rookie of the Year Semi final in November, where he faced Teppei Saito. This looked a great matchup with a 3-0 (3) Namura taking on the 3-0 (2) Saito. As with his previous bout however Namura had too much power. Saito came out with ambition, used his jab well, but then got forced to back up and the pressure from Namura, along with some work inside dropped Saito. It wasn't a hard knockdown but did enough to leave Saito worse for wear and when the bout resumed he was dropped again, with the referee waving the bout off after just 53 seconds.
In his Rookie of the Year final the 4-0 (4) Namura will be up against unbeaten 24 year old Akira Hoshuyama (3-0, 2) in what should be a thriller. Hoshuyama is the more technically skilled fighter, and has twice as many rounds to his name than Namura, but the power and destruction of Namura is likely to swing things his way if he can get inside.
For fans wanting to watch Namura's next bout it will be shown on G+ on December 27th, on tape delay. Win or lose it's going to be a great one to watch given what we've seen of both men.
*Note at the time of writing Boxrec.com list Namura's win over Fujita as a 4 round TKO. It was actually an opening round win, and people wanting to watch it can do so over on Boxing Raise, which has Namura's bouts with Fujita and Saito.
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