Last week we looked at some little known facts of Japanese boxing, and today we're going to follow that up with a similar article, this time focusing on the often overlooked women of Japanese boxing, who also have some interesting records of their own!
1-Momo Koseki holds the Japanese record for most world title defenses, with 17. That's not just a female record but a Japanese record, with Koseki defending the WBC Atomweight title 17 times from August 2008, when she won the belt, to her final defense in November 2016. During her reign she also won the WBA Atomweight title beating Ayaka Miyao. The run included 1 wins and a draw and included victories over almost every notable Atomweight of the time, including Nao Ikeyama, Saemi Hanagata and Miyao. She eventually gave up the belt and in 2017, in what was her final bout, she became a 2-weight champion.
2-The oldest Japanese world champion was Nao Ikeyama, who lost the WBO Atomweight title on July 29th 2018, 48 years, 10 months and 9 days. She not only holds the record for the oldest Japanese world champion when she lost the title, but also when she won it, winning the belt at 44 years 7 months and 29 days, and she has the trifecta as she also holds the record for being the oldest for a successful world title defense, coming when she was 47 years, 9 months and 23 days.
3-The Japanese record for the fewest fights to a female world title is a disputed record with 3 different claimants depending on definition.
The fewest fights, as recognised by the JBC, sees Momo Koseki holding the record with 3 sanctioned bouts, however she had fought several times in Thailand prior to that in bouts not recognised by the JBC. Similarly Naomi Togashi the "interim" WBC female Light Flyweight title in her third bout recognised by the JBC, though of course that's an interim title. Togashi would however receive the full version of the title before her 6th professional bout.
The record, as seen on boxrec, is actually held by Kasumi Saeki, who won the WBO female Minimumweight title in her 4th professional bout earlier this year. All of her bouts came after the JBC officially recognised female boxing and there is no confusion over the legitimacy of her bouts or title win.
4-The shortest recorded height of a Japanese female fighter is Yuri Kobayashi, who was 4′ 10½″, or 149cm. She fought from 2006 to 2017 and racked up a 4-4-4 record. Interestingly she is taller than Kazunori Tenryu, who was the shortest Japanese male to fight in a professional bout.
5-The Japanese fighter to win world titles in the most divisions is Naoko Fujioka, who is Japan's only 5 weight world champion. The talented Fujioka began her career at Minimumweight, winning the WBC female Minimumweight title in 2011, when she stopped Anabel Ortiz. She would skip all the way up to Super Flyweight for her second title, dethroning Naoko Yamaguchi in 2013 for the WBA female Super Flyweigth title. Her third title came at Bantamweight, when she captured the WBO female Bantamweight title. Her 5th title saw her dropping to Flyweight, to claim the WBA title in 2017 against Isabel Milan, before dropping down to Light Flyweight for the WBO towards the end of 2017.
Interestingly Fujioka didn't take a Flyweight title until her third shot, losing to both Susi Kentikian and Jessica Chavez in bouts for titles at 112lbs.
Man what a crazy week we've had. We were expecting the WBSS semi finals to be announced, and although that hasn't happened, we have had some notable news across various part of Asian boxing from contract signings to announcements about up coming bouts, to a pretty notable legal case. Unlike last we've we've tried to break our stories in subsections this week, grouping similar stories together.
Srisaket inks deal with DAZN! Details of Feb 8th ring appearance confirmed!
During the week we saw Eddie Hearn announce that he, and Matchroom USA, had inked a deal with WBC and Ring Magazine Super Flyweight champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (47-4-1, 41) [ศรีสะเกษ นครหลวงโปรโมชั่น], making the Thai a DAZN exclusive fighter. This is a huge coup for DAZN who will be showing his rematch with Juan Francisco Estrada, with that bout being eyed for an early April date.
Before Srisaket fights his first bout on DAZN however he will be "fighting" in Thailand in an exhibition bout as part of a stacked February 8th card to raise money for a local hospital. The line up for that card was also announced this week, and more details on that show can be read here:
Muhammad Waseem signs with MTK Global, said to be targeting an April ring return
Another notable fighter signing a contract with a new team was Pakistani Flyweight Muhammad Waseem (8-1, 6) [محمد وسیم] who has now signed with MTK Global ahead of the next chapter of his career. He is best known for his 2018 bout with Moruti Mthalane, and his work with Korean promoter Andy Kim, but it seems like he is needing a promoter with big pockets, and that is what he has got here with MTK Global. Whilst this doesn't explicitly tie Waseem to a particular channel it does seem like it will land him some big fights in the UK, and we're really looking forward to seeing what he can do with MTK Global now guiding his career.
Ryosuke Iwasa to face Cesar Juarez in February!
Former IBF Super Bantamweight champion Ryosuke Iwasa (25-3, 16) [岩佐 亮佑] will be returning to the ring on February 16th to take on exciting Mexican Cesar Juarez (23-6, 17). This is a bout that was rumoured late last year, but was announced until this week, when Juarez let the cat out of the bag. It was later confirmed by the Iwasa team. The contest will be an IBF world title eliminator, and will also be Iwasa's US debut. The match up was announced at short notice, less than 4 weeks before taking place, but with both men being aware of the bout it's hard to imagine either man being ill prepared for what could be a sleeper FOTY contender.
Eri Matsuda and Nanae Suzuki to battle in unification bout!
We all want to see Champion Vs Champion bouts, fighters unifying titles and looking to prove who is the best. This week we saw the announcement that OPBF Atomweight champion Eri Matsuda (2-0) [松田恵里] would be facing Japanese female champion Nanae Suzuki (8-2-1, 1) [鈴木 菜々江], in a mouth watering unification bout. Matsuda looks to be one of the hottest prospects in female boxing, but will need to show what she can do against a more experienced and equally hungry opponent. This is likely to push the winner on to a world title fight, and should be seen as a very significant match up, at least for the fighters involved.
Musashi Mori Vs Richard Pumicpic II set for April 14th, Tsutsumi, Shigeoka and Takeda on undercard!
Last year we saw Musashi Mori (8-0, 5) [森 武蔵] defeat Filipino Richard Pumicpic (21-9-2, 6) to claim the WBO Asia Pacific Featherweight title, in what is clearly his best win to date.The first bout was curtailed due to a headclash, but the fact we're getting a rematch in mid April is certainly not a bad thing.
Not only was the rematch announced here but the under-card was also a lovely bonus, with Ginjiro Shigeoka (1-0, 1) [重岡銀次朗], Seiya Tsutsumi (4-0, 3) [堤聖也] and Rookie of the Year winner Sora Takeda (4-1) [竹田宙] all announced for the show. Sadly none of them have their opponents announced, but we would be very surprised if at least one of them does face a Japanese ranked opponent. A great main event with a potentially solid under-card.
Yuko Kuroki to face Nao Ikeyama in April!
On the same day as the previously mentioned Mori Vs Pumicpic rematch we'll get a mos win female bout, as WBO Atomweight champion Nao Ikeyama (18-5-3, 5) [森脇恵子], who is edging towards her 50th birthday, take on former WBC female Minimumweight champion Yuko Kuroki (17-6-1, 8) [黒木優子]. Female boxing might not be huge but that doesn't stop the sport giving us some huge female bouts, and a contest between Ikeyama, a legend who has competed with the best despite being well beyond the retirement age of most fighters, and Kuroki should be sensational. The loser really has no where to go, but the winner will be on the verge of another world title fight. A high risk, high reward bout between two recent world champions.
Kasumi Saeki to fight for a world title in April!
Staying with female boxing, unbeaten prospect Kasumi Saeki (3-0, 2) [佐伯霞] got informed, live at an event she was speaking at, that her team were pencilling her in for a world title fight on April 27th. The details are lacking, but the WBO Asia Pacific female Minimumweight champion, looks set for a huge step up in class as her team look to make her into a star. We're expecting more details to be announced in the coming weeks, but it's clear that w could see Saeki announce herself on the world stage in just a few weeks.
Notable the April 27th date is also being rumoured as the date for Reiya Konishi's bout with IBF Light Flyweight champion Felix Alvarado.
Suzumi Takayama passes B license test, set for debut on February 26th!
Former amateur standout Suzumi Takayama [高山 涼深] is pencilled in to fight on February 26, he has been for quite some time, but he didn't actually take his B license test until this past week. He has, as expected, passed all the tests and there isn't any issue with him being licensed, and joining the strong stable of hopefuls at the Watanabe Gym.
Shokichi Iwata takes part in B class pro-test
Japanese youngster Shokichi Iwata (1-0, 1) [岩田翔吉] may have made his professional debut last year, but he wasn't allowed to fight under a JBC license until this week, when he claimed a B class licensed and linked up with Teiken. It doesn't seem totally clear on what direction Iwata's career is going to take, but he has opened up doors to fight in Japan, as well as the USA.
Golovkin suing former managers
On a really serious issue, former unified Middleweight king Gennady Golovkin (38-1-1, 34) has began court action as he looks to sue former managers Maximilian and Oleg Hermann, who he claims owe him $3.5 million. The legal action has been filed with claims the Hermann's had their contract ended in 2017 but continued to make money off their relationship with Golovkin. It's going to be very interesting to see how this story develops in the coming months.
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).