Back on January 16th we saw the professional debut of Flyweight hopeful Jukiya Iimura (1-0, 1), who instantly impressed us as he blew out Daisuke Yamada in the first round of a scheduled 6 rounder. Following that win we got really excited about him, and only days later it was announced that the 23 year old would be back in the ring in May for his second professional bout. With that in mind we felt it was a perfect time to give Iimura some attention in our “Introducing…” series, and explain why you should be excited about him, and what the youngster brings to the ring.
Iimura was born in Edogawa, Tokyo, one of the 23 special wards of Tokyo, in January 1998. He picked up boxing at a young age, first taking to the sport in elementary school, and was getting some media attention way back as a teenager. That included attention he got in 2015, when he competed at the 69th National High School Boxing Championships in Nishinomiya City, Hyogo. In that competition he reached the semi-final of the Light Flyweight division, losing a decision to Ryutaro Nakagaki who is now making waves as a professional himself.
Following his impressive performances in the High School tournaments Iimura went to university and was quickly noted as a potential boxing star. In 2016 he won his first bout as part of the Nihon University team and in the years that followed he would go on to become the team captain, and a vital member of the team, for both his leadership and his in ring performances.
Not only was Iimura impressive on the University Boxing scene but also in his other performances, including the All Japan championships. He unfortunately ran into nemesis Ryutaro Nakagaki at the 2017 edition of the tournament, losing a close 3-2 decision. He bounced back the following year as he came runner up in the 2018 National Athletic Meet, and continued to impress for the Nihon University team.
After helping Nihon University to a several league titles Iimura had options in front of him, and in 2020 signed with Kadoebi, alongside fellow amateur standouts Jun Ikegawa and Yugo Kon, with all three passing their pro-tests in September, after a lengthy wait.
By the time he had taken part in his pro-test Iimura had racked up a very, very impressive 68-13 amateur record and it was clear that when he got round to making his professional debut there was going to be genuine intrigue into how he would adapt to professional boxing. Sadly, given he signed with Kadoebi in early 2020, the wait to see what Iimura could do was a long one. That was, in part, due to Covid19. Despite the effects of Covid19 delaying Iimura’s debut fans were able to see what Iimura could do in October, when he took part in an exhibition with the aforementioned Jun Ikegawa During this exhibition both men looked really good, and very exciting talented. Of the two it was Iimura who seemed to have the more polished professional style, pressing forward with educated pressure and showing a polished in ring style. Something very different to the still very amateur like Ikegawa, who was also the much bigger man.
In January we finally got the chance to see what the fuss with Iimura was about, as the youngster came out to the ring in a Sombrero and almost a year after signing with Kadoebi we got Iimura’s debut.
From the very early seconds of the bout you could see he was very much a professional style fighter. He stalked Daisuke Yamada around the ring, before dropping him with a perfectly timed right hand for the first knockdown. Yamada beat the count but Iimura dropped him a second time soon afterwards, forcing the referee to halt the bout, before Yamada was later stretchered from the ring.
Although it’s very, very early in his career it’s obvious that Iimura is a genuine talent. It’s going to be great to see how far he can go and how quickly he can get there. Given he’s at the Kadoebi gym he will be getting top notch sparring, a chance to learn from much older and more experienced heads and will get the chance to tweak his style, though in fairness he really does look like a very good professional boxer.
In his second professional bout Iimura will be facing off with Tomoki Kawasaki, himself a debutant who had a successful amateur career, with their bout set to take place in May. Although it’s a 1-0 (1) fighter taking on a debutant it’s a bout we are really, really looking forward to and think it’ll be a great chance to see what two, talented, youngsters have got to offer the sport. The winner will be moved quickly through the ranks, and the loser will have a lot of time to rebuild and get their career back on track. In a bout like this, neither guy should be written, win or lose.
For those that missed it we’ve included Iimura’s debut bout with Yamada below.
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