For today's "Reliving the Finish" we though we'd share quite an obscure KO from a Japanese domestic level bout from back in 2009. This is not a bout we expect many fans have seen, but the stoppage to it is worthy of being on a highlight reel. Notably it did feature a man we expect most fight fans to have heard of, and came when he was still a rising hopeful on the domestic scene. The recipient on the other hand wasn't really well known and never really did anything of note afterwards, despite continuing in ring with their career until 2013.
Hisashi Amagasa (12-3-2, 10) vs Koji Nagata (7-3-3)
At the end of 2014 Hisashi Amagasa's name became one of the most searched boxing names, with nobody outside of Japan really having any idea who he was when he was announced as the next challenger for Guillermo Rigondeaux. By the end of December 31st 2014 however his face was plastered everywhere on boxing websites. He looked a swollen, bloodied, beaten mess. He had twice dropped Rigondeaux but had paid the price and been left with some nasty facial injuries as a result.
Following that bout he would remain a figure of interest in the wider boxing world, getting a notable fight in the UK with Josh Warrrington in 2016 before fading back into international obscurity in his homeland.
For this KO we need to rewind way before all of that however and send ourselves back to May 2009. Amagasa, then aged 23, took on domestic foe Koji Nagata. At the time Amagasa was seen a long, rangy fighter with power. He had won 12 of his 17 bouts and stopped 10.
Nagata on the other hand was a 24 year old who had lost on debut before reeling off a 7 fight unbeaten run. Heading into the Amagasa fight things had started to cool down again for Nagata, who had gone from 5-1-2 to 7-3-3. He lacked power, but was a capable fighter. Not a future champion, but a capable fighter all the same.
Through 6 rounds Nagata had given the taller, longer Amagasa some real issues, he had held his own for the most part and even tested Amagasa's chin with some solid shots up top. Amagasa, to his credit, stayed in to the bout, and had belief in his power, but his skills, which were never great, were certainly not impressing. Nagata looked several levels above Amagasa in terms of skills, but lacked the power needed to make Amagasa really pay for his mistakes.
Sadly for Nagata his good work was all undone mid way in round 7 when Amagasa landed what was probably the punch of his career. The shot was a brutal left uppercut that landed clean. The shot landed through the guard, snapping back the head of Nagata who crashed on to the canvas. The shot just turned out the lights on Nagata who stayed down for quite some time. The towel came in from his corner mid way through the count.
To help Nagata a stretcher was brought into get him out of the ring safely, and thankfully there was no linger issues for him.
Despite Nagata having no long term issues he wouldn't return to the ring for 9 months, defeating Tomo Kawai on his ring return. Sadly for him however his career never really took off, and he retired in 2013 with a record of 9-7-4. As for Amagsa, he would win Japanese and OPBF titles, as well as have fights with Rigondeaux and Warrington, before retiring with a 33-7-2 (21) record and later becoming a trainer at one of the gyms that Takashi Uchiyama set up.
At the end of 2014 the combined attention of the boxing world, turned to Japan, more so than usual. On December 30th Naoya Inoue announced himself as a sensation by blowing out Omar Andres Narvaez, claiming a second world title in just his 8th bout. Just a day later Hishashi Amagasa challenged Super Bantamweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux. Whilst Amagasa lost his effort saw him gaining significant international attention. He had gone from unknown outside of Japan, to the guy dropped Rigondeaux twice and was left with a massively swollen face.
Although Amagasa came up short against Rigondeaux, being saved by his corner, the lanky Japanese fighter had put himself on the map and would remain in the mix for big fights through to his retirement in 2018, before hanging them up with a 33-7-2 (21) record. Before retiring he had not only fought Rigondeaux but had also travelled to Europe to fight Josh Warrington in England.
Whilst many will know about Amagasa's bout's with Rigondeaux and Warrington we're here for something else today as we bring you 5 Midweek Facts about Hisashi Amagasa!
1-Prior to turning to boxing Amagasa had been a soccer enthusiast. He had admired soccer players at a young age, but drifted away from the sport. He would later stumble on boxing almost by accident, taking up a free trial at a gym, and decided to stick with it, even leaving home to live with his sister to begin boxing.
2-For several fights Amagasa's ring walk music was "Arise" by Loka. We've included this song at the end of the article for those wanting to give it a listen. Prior to that he used the theme tune ftom Japanese drama series Amachan.
3-Amagasa's famous 2014 bout against Guillermo Rigondeaux came about when Shingo Wake turned the bout down and Amagasa essentially replaced his countryman on short notice. This made it even more impressive than he managed to get down to 122lbs given his huge frame. In fact prior to facing Rigondeaux he had never made the Super Bantamweight division, and he never would again.
4-From Amagasa's 42 career bouts a staggering 39 took place at Korakuen Hall. That makes almost 93% of his career bouts took place in the one venue!
5-Amagasa is a close friend of fellow boxer Tomomi Takano. It's reported that Takano began boxing after watching an Amagasa bout with a friend, and the two would often feature on the same cards together. He's also close friends with Akifumi Shimoda, who handed him a bouquet of flowers at his 2018 retirement ceremony.
We're now set to enter July, so we thought what better time to look over the most notable action from June, which seems to have been a relatively quiet month over-all
The month kicked off quickly as Wanheng Menayothin (38-0, 13) made the second defense of his WBC Minimumweight title as he easily over-came the horribly over-matched, though brave, Jerry Tomogdan (17-6-3, 9) of the Philippines. There was never any real risk here for the Thai champion though he did look sharp and strong in his second of 4 planned defenses this year. Although Tomogdan was never in the fight we do suspect he'll bounce back well and make a name for himself on the Filipino domestic scene.
On the first Saturday of the month we the biggest day in Indonesian boxing since the retirement of Chris John. The show was headlined by Daud Yordan's (34-3-0-1, 24) competitive win over Maxwell Awuku (40-3, 26) though also features wins for many of the “next generation” Indonesian fighters such as Defry Palulu (12-1, 11), Iwan Zoda (6-1,5) and Ferdinand Unitly (3-0, 1). We won't pretend that Indonesian boxing is set for a golden age but this was certainly a notable show and Raja Sapta Oktohari should be proud of the event.
The only OPBF title bout of the month came on June 8th as the exciting Koki Eto (17-3-1, 13) managed to over-come the challenge of Yuki Fukumoto (17-10, 5), who really did perform better than expected. In some ways Eto looked to have under-performed, starting particularly slowly, though we suspect he over-looked his foe as he continues to chase for a world title bout. On this performance we can't see Eto putting up a serious threat to any champion however we will always look forward to seeing him in action.
Kyoei put on one of the most notable Japanese shows of the month on June 10 as we had an IBF world title eliminator as well as the return to action of a recent world title challenger.
The aforementioned world title challenger was Hisashi Amagasa (29-5-2, 19) who over-came Thai visitor Patomsith Pathompothong (12-4, 5) with a clear 10 round decision. The world title eliminator saw Shingo Wake (19-4-2, 11) over-come Mike Tawatchai (35-8-1, 21) with a wide decision. The win for Amagasa was his first bout since his December loss to Guillermo Rigondeaux whilst Wake's win has netted him an IBF world title fight.
One of the months few title fights to feature an Asian fighter came on June 13th when Ryosuke Iwasa (19-2, 12) unfortunately came up short against Englishman Lee Haskins (32-3, 14) in the UK. Iwasa looked one-paced at times though was starting to have success before he walked into a monstrous left hand that he never recovered from. The win for Haskins saw him claim the IBF “interim” Bantamweight title
The month ended in frustrating fashion as IBF Flyweight champion Amnat Ruenroeng (16-0, 5) was allowed to foul and spoil his way through what appeared to be a good match up with Johnriel Casimero (21-3, 13). What was a promising match up on paper was ruined by poor officiating and some dirty tactics that left many thinking that Ruenroeng may struggle to get notable challengers will to travel to Thailand in the future.
(Image courtesy of Thairec.com)
Thinking Out East
With this site being pretty successful so far we've decided to open up about our own views and start what could be considered effectively an editorial style opinion column dubbed "Thinking Out East" (T.O.E).