Covering the entire of 2020 in this series means that we get to jump about the calendar, looking for fights that we enjoyed and then sharing them with you guys in our Treasure Trove series. For some bouts we'll skip to the beginning of the year, and for others we'll look at bouts later in the year. For today's bout we only go back a few months, to November, but it's one that you may not have seen. It that was the case you're in for a treat. And if you have seen it, you'll remember how amazing the second round was and know it's worth a rewatch!
Junpei Tsujimoto (6-2-3, 4) vs Daiki Ogura (4-3-1, 4)
In 2018 Japanese hopeful Junpei Tsujimoto caught our attention by winning the All Japan Rookie of the Year, a sign of good things for a professional novice. Although he had lost on debut he had bounced back, and gone from 0-1 to 4-1-3 (2) by the time of his Rookie of the Year win. He then managed to notch a couple of wins in 2019 and hope was building for him. He had good size, good power, long reach and seemed to tick many boxes.
The he lost in 2 rounds to Nath Nwachuku in in February 2012. His momentum and confidence shattered.
On his return to the ring in November Tsujimoto battled Daiki Ogura.
Ogura was never regarded particularly highly. He had lost 2 of his first 3 bouts and had struggled to get going, though had managed toturn his career around to the point where he was 4-2-1 (4) after 7 bouts. Until a 4 fight unbeaten run was stopped last December by Seyedsaeid Hosseini in a low key bout in Thailand. He was looking to bounce back from that loss when he took on Tsujimoto.
This bout, which was part of the under-card for Junto Nakatani Vs Giemel Magramo, was not expected to be anything special, but it ended up being very memorable, due to one of the most amazing we had in a Japanese ring during the year.
The first round saw Ogura raging forward, trying to get to Tsujimoto, who was happy to back off and use the ring. It was boxing from Tsujimoto, who looked the better boxer and used straight punches very nicely. On the other hand it was fighting from Ogura, who looked to get close and land thudding round house shots whilst pressuring Tsujimoto. Towards the end of the round Tsujimoto certainly seemed to be the one forcing his fight and neutralising the fight of Tsujimoto.
Moments into round 2 Ogura's power paid dividends as he got Tsujimoto backing up, and then he rocked Tsujimoto who was all over the place before going down. He looked dazed when he got up with around 2 minutes left and Ogura went for the kill. It wasn't pretty from Ogura, but it was clear that he wasn't going to to let Tsujimoto catch a break, and several huge left hooks from Ogura landed. Several times it looked liked Tsujimoto was on the verge of going down again, and he seemed to be fighting out of desperation. And then. Out of nowhere, a right hand from Tsujimoto turned the fight on it's head, sending Ogura down, where he stayed as the referee waved off the bout.
It was amazing to see Tsujimoto pull victory from the jaws of defeat, and potentially even saving his career in the process.
This isn't like the wars we've shared the past few weeks, but this is still a fight worth watching and one of the most drastic turn arounds we've seen this year. Remarkable stuff.
Takahiro Onaga is a regular contributor to Asian Boxing and will now be a featured writer in his own column where his takes his shot at various things in the boxing world.