The Minimumweight scene might not be everyone's cup of tea, but it's an interesting division right now, especially for young prospects looking to make their make their mark on the sport. We have of super prospects, with the Shigeoka brothers and Hasanboy Dusmatov, but we also have a host of other rising youngsters all looking to make their mark in the coming years. One of those is 21 year old Takumi Chono (5-1, 3), who reached the All Japan Rookie of the Year final in 2019, and is now looking to bounce back from a loss to the fantastic Katsuki Mori.
Despite the loss to Mori we'd certainly advise fans to keep an eye on the potential of Chono, who looks like a real prospect, despite an early loss. And he is very much worthy of being this week's focus of our "Introducing..." series.
Chono is based in Nagoya, one of the smaller Japanese boxing markets but one that is certainly alive, thanks to the rise of Kosei Tanaka and the exciting Kento Hatanaka. Sadly for Chono he's not actually affiliated with the established Hatanaka Gym, but instead the much, much smaller Chunichi Gym, a tiny little gym that really doesn't have many fighters of note. In fact the most notable fighter there is probably the hard hitting Mammoth Kazunori and Chono is probably the #2 fighter there.
Despite fighting for a relatively unknown gym, in one of Japan's smaller markets, Chono has already ticked off quite a few boxes since making his debut in April 2018. He has fought on TV, he has fought abroad, and he has taken the unbeaten records of some opponents.
As mentioned Chono made his debut in April 2018, aged 19, and stopped fellow debutant Katsumi Ichimasu inside a round. Interestingly this all debutant bout is available to watch by Boxing Raise subscribers, who will quickly see that Chono looked like a crude puncher at this early stage in his career. He started the bout rather hyper-actively, but when he began to settle it was clear he could punch, shaking Ichimasu several times before dropping his opponent, and then knocking him clean out. Despite the aggression and power, there was clearly a lot of work to do, especially defensively.
In just his second bout Chono fought on foreign soil for the first time, travelling over to Vietnam where he took a 4 round decision over local hopeful Van Thanh Nguyen. Although he was taken the distance the experience of fighting 4 rounds on foreign soil would have helped his develop and prepared for future road trips, potentially in places like Korea, Thailand and the Philippines, where he may end up fighting in the coming years.
Having debuted, and fought on foreign soil, in 2018 it was really 2019 that Chono began to make a name for himself. He began the year by blasting out Kiyoshi Nakamura inside a round, in March, then stopped Ryusei Ohata in 2 rounds, to win the Rookie of the Year for Central Japan. Those wins moved him to one step closer to the All Japan Rookie of the Year final.
On November 10th Chono took on Sho Hatsuda, with the winner moving on to the All Japan final. Come in both men were unbeaten, Chono was 4-0 (3) and Hatsuda was 2-0. This was the first time we'd been able to see Chono since his debut bout, and it was clear that he had improve, significantly. He was still a powerful and aggressively minded fighter, but he had tightened up his defense significantly, squared up less and controlled his aggression more. He still more open and crude than he'd like to be, but there had been clear improvements from his debut.
Chono narrowly over-came Hatsuda and moved on to the All Japan final where he faced off against the fantastic Katsuki Mori. Sadly for Chono he found himself against a much more skilled and sharper boxer, with Mori clearly winning, and punishing Chono for his mistakes. Despite being out boxed and out fought Chono's will to win never wilted and he tried to win through the entire 5 rounder, against someone we suspect will go all the way.
Having lost to Mori it's fair to say that Chono has got to bounce back in 2020, but given what we've seen of the youngster we're confident he will rebuild from the loss, learn lessons and comeback stronger. He's proven he has desire, he can take a shot, his will to win can't be questioned and he has power. Those are things that can't be taught. Where the work needs to go in is teaching him technical skills, and if his team can do that they could well have a future national champion on their hands.
The 21 year old Chono was scheduled to return on March 15th when he was pencilled in for his first 6 rounder. He was expected to face off against the light punching Takefumi Higashi (5-8, 1), however the bout has been postponed due to the JBC's recent announcement regarding professional boxing in March, to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. If the bout takes place, in the future, we expect Chono to win that, and hopefully continue to show gradual improvements. He has a lot of areas to work on, and we'd like to see see him getting better bout by bout. We don't think he'll ever be as good as Mori, but as an exciting and heavy handed Minimumweight we should giving Chono attention as he continues to develop his career.
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