This past weekend we got the first live televised Japanese card of 2021 and if we’re being honest it wasn’t the best show we’ve seen in recent months. In fact, to be bluntly honest, much of the card seemed to meander, with a few highlights. That was until the chief support bout, which saw Jukiya Iimura (1-0, 1) make his professional debut, taking on Daisuke Yamada (6-6, 1). This was not a bout that had us frothing at the mouth or overly excited going in, but afterwards we felt we’d seen someone a little special make their first mark on professional boxing, and it seems we weren’t alone in thinking that. In fact it seems Iimura has instantly become someone worthy of making a real buzz around.
With that in mind we’ve gone and taken a look back over the bout and decide to share some of our take aways from the contest.
1-Iimura stood out immediately
It’s rare for Japanese fighters to standout in their ring walks, at least during the early stages of their careers. Iimura however stood out immediately. Part of that was the sombrero he was wearing to the ring but there was also an almost cheeky smile and a confident look to him. He didn’t look like a youngster stepping into his first professional bout, but instead he looked like a man who was about to show everyone that he was something special. It was clear, almost immediately that he wanted to catch the eye, he wanted to grab fans attention, and he wanted those watching to make a note of him. We’ll get onto his performance in a moment, but the aura that he gave off on his ring walk was telling and should have been enough to tell everyone in the venue that they weren’t about to see another rather cautious contest.
2-Iimura’s style is VERY pro-ready
Earlier on the card we had seen a number of other Kadoebi debutants, with Yudai Murakami, Yugo Kono and Jun Ikegawa all debuting on this show. All of them looked good, including Kon who suffered a 6th TKO loss to Koji Tsurumi, but they all looked like they hadn’t quite adapted to the professional style of boxing. Iimura on the other hand looked like he was made for this. Unlike the other debutants he wasn’t looking to sharp shoot at distance or point score at range. Instead he wanted to leave an impression. He came forward early on, he looked like he wanted to fight, rather than fiddle, and applied intelligent pressure. That pressure opened up opportunities to land heavy shots and he twice dropped Yamada with fantastic counter right hands, forcing a stoppage after the second knockdown. His style is already looking like that of an experienced professional. He is not only a man who seems to like being in front of an opponent and using subtle movements and footwork, but also has solid power, intelligent shot selection and he looks like a genuinely powerful young kid. His legs look particularly powerful and we suspect the amount of pop he is going to get into his shots is going to become very scary when he gets some more experience under his belt.
If you missed the performance we seriously suggest you go and watch the fight. It was very impressive from the youngster.
3-Daisuke Yamada was there to win
Although nowhere near the best fighter in the Flyweight division in Japan Daisuke Yamada didn’t get into the ring to lose. This was obvious from the way he fought. He came out with ambition and hunger. He pulled himself up after being dropped, both times, and he wanted to fight. He even had some moments of success. Unfortunately for him he was up against a fantastic young prospect who really was several levels above him, but we can’t take anything away from Yamada who wanted to do more than just make up the numbers. He wanted to take home a victory. We need to see more fighters, especially in the west, fight with Yamada’s mentality of wanting to win, even if you are very much up against it.
4-The finish was damn impressive
We mentioned that Iimura dropped Yamada twice but we really need to explain just how impressive the second knockdown was. It was a perfectly placed counter right hand, on the chin, over the extended right hand of Yamada. Watching the slow motion replay really did show how brilliant the shot was. We’re amazed that Yamada managed to get to his feet following the shot, though he obviously had little control of his body as he collapsed into the arms of Michiaki Someya and then later left the ring on a stretcher. We’ve not been told how Yamada is, but we suspect the stretcher was used as a precaution more than anything else.
5-Genuine concern and respect for Yamada
When Yamada was on the canvas after the bout was stopped it was great to see genuine concern and respect from both the crowd and Iimura himself. The youngster had just scored a really impressive win on debut, and rather than celebrating like we suspect he probably wanted to, he was subdued in his corner, and it wasn’t until he had checked on Yamada and spoke to his team that he put back on his Sombrero. As for the crowd they were silent in respect of Yamada until he was being carried out of the hall, where they gave him a round of applause. It wasn’t a big thing, from either the victory or the crowd, but it was still nice to see, and we’d like to see more youngsters showing some concern for their opponent in situations like this.
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).