November 2020 will not go down as one of the best months in the history of Boxing Raise, despite the service having a lot of shows on it during the month. It wasn't a bad month, by any stretch, but it was one where quantity very much out did quality. It was also one where several very promising bouts were derailed late on and we lost two of the more interesting bouts for the month on the week of the fights.
Despite the service lacking in terms of depth there was more than enough good fights to get your teeth into and for those who missed them we've got you covered in Best of Boxing Raise November 2020.
As with our previous "Best of Boxing Raise" article all the fights featured here can be accessed by subscribers by logging into Boxing Raise and adding the "movie/####" to "https://boxingraise.com/".
The Hidden Gem - Kenta Kamimura (0-0) vs Yuto Kagata (0-0) [/movie/8899/]
The hidden gem of the month came from the Midori promoted GREEN Dream 12 and boy what an unexpected gem this was. It featured debutants Kenta Kamimura and Yuto Kagata who managed to get through a rather dramatic, exciting and thrilling 4 rounder. The quality of the action wasn't great, but the drama was, with both men touching the canvas, knockdowns in 3 different rounds and a nasty cut this is worth a watch. This isn't going to win a place on the Fight of the Year shortlist, not even ours, but it is a fun little tear up!
The rising Contender - Masanori Rikiishi (8-1, 4) vs Soreike Taichi (7-3, 5) [/movie/8889/]
The excellent Masanori Rikiishi dropped shows what he could do when he took on Soreike Taichi, also on the Midori show. This not a competitive bout, and is more a showcase of a real natural talent, but it is still worth watching and could be the last we see of Rikiishi for a while as he really banged up his hand during the fight and will need time to let it heal and recover.
The West Rookie War - Taichi Sugimoto (4-0-1, 1) v Yudai Yoneda (3-1, 1) [/movie/8916/]
So we've had a up and down tear up and a show case in the first two bouts and now we get a war as Taichi Sugimoto and Yudai Yoneda beat 7 bells out of each other in a West Japan Rookie of the Year Final bout. This started slowly but as the rounds went on got more and more hotly contested with rounds 3 and 4 being absolute brilliant as the two men fought more on the inside and let their shots fly. Again a long way from a Fight of the Year contender, but a damn good fight with skills, and heart on show from both.
The Best of the Month - Yoshimitsu Kimura (12-2, 7) v Shuma Nakazato (10-1-2, 7) [/movie/9044/]
Easily the best bout this month on Boxing Raise was the highly anticipated clash between Yoshimitsu Kimura and Shuma Nakazato, which was expected to be great but out did all expectations. This was high level stuff through out, with great boxing early on, drama after the first knockdown, a war taking place in the second half of the fight and a gritty fight back in the dying stages. There is no other bout on Boxing Raise this month that was as good as this and it really deserves your time to fully enjoy. This was seen as a 50/50 bout going in and it ended up living up to those expectations in what was, genuinely, a fantastic fight which deserves a place on any top 10 list of fights for the entire of November, not just this Boxing Raise list.
Zombie takes on determined youngster - Ryoichi Tamura (13-5-1, 7) Vs Ryu Oba (5-4, 3) [movie/9041/]
People who have followed us over the years we know we love the high tempo aggressive fighters who come forward and throw insane amounts of leather. With that in mind we are massive fans of Ryoichi Tamura and his all out aggressive mentality. That was on show here against Ryu Oba who impressed himself by gutting out some intense pressure, fighting back and playing his part in a thoroughly amazing 5 rounder. If you like your boxing to be violent, high tempo, big punches and exchanges this is the one for you. The skill level might not have been the highest but the effort and energy were off the charts. Brilliant fight.
OPBF title bout - Rikki Naito (22-2, 7) vs Yusuke Konno (16-4, 9) [movie/9045/]
The biggest single bout on Boxing Raise during November was it's only title bout, and that was an OPBF Light Welterweight clash between Rikki Naito and Yusuke Konno. This bout didn't live up to our expectations, and we had expected a longer, tougher bout with the final rounds being a real test, but was still a solid contest with rounds 2 and 6 being absolute joys to watch. This was a nice dynamic between the speed, skills and movement of Naito and the power, strength and size of Konno, which worked well to give an entertaining bout. For those who like the cat and mouse fights this was great, and we really did get skills, style and guts from both men.
Novices collide in shoot out - Riku Yamashita (2-0-1, 1) vs Taiga Nagao (2-2-1, 1) [/movie/9059/]
Despite all the recent complaints about the Jake Paul Vs Nate Robinson bout, and how it was disrespectful and dangerous, we're not totally sure how but whatever, we absolutely love novice bouts. We opened this with one and now we have another to close this off. This time it was Riku Yamashita and Taiga Nagao who put on a show of inside fighting. From the opening round these two traded shots at will, with big shots coming on the inside. The bout then went from action to drama in round 2 with both men going down in a brilliantly thrilling round. If you need something short, snappy and exciting this is the perfect little war to entertain you for a few minutes. Fantastic stuff!
This past Sunday in Japan fight fans had the chance to see the latest show under the "Green Dream" banner. The main event of the card saw two Japanese ranked Lightweights face off, as Masanori Rikiishi (9-1, 5) battled Soreike Taichi (7-4, 5). On paper this wasn't a big fight, but as huge fans of Rikiishi it was one we were massively interested in, and one we wanted to give a closer look to.
The bout was a complete mismatch, don't get us wrong. Rikiishi stopped Taichi in the third round, before stating his intention was to challenge for the Japanese Super Featherweight title, officially announce his move down in weight, and look to avenge a very early career defeat to Kosuke Saka. That's one to look forward to, and we genuinely give this, more mature and more experienced, Rikiishi a chance against the heavy handed Saka.
Thankfully, for fans unable to get to Aichi over the weekend, the bout has now been uploaded to Boxing Raise in full, giving us a chance to watch it and talk about it. With that in mind lets have have a look at the things we took away from the bout.
1-The Aioi Hall is a small local venue
Since we've started doing this series one of the things that has really been interesting is the venues. We suspect it's just one thing we've never really been aware of until recently, due to a lack of crowd and due to doing these very specific pieces. One obvious thing is that they all have their own charm, and a lot of these smaller shows in Japan take place in what look like local community centers. It almost gives the venue a homely feeling, like you've been there before, even if you've never set foot there. The more we see of these smaller venues, such as the Aioi Hall and the FujisanMesse, the more we like the local community feel of Japanese boxing. Lots of shows take place at the Korakuen Hall and EDION Arena, but we're really starting to appreciate these smaller, lower profile venues.
One of the interesting things about boxing is it's local scenes, and there are few countries that have as distinct local scenes as Japan, and a venue like the Aioi Hall is key to the local scene in Cental Japan.
2-Rikiishi is a very smart, patient fighter
One of the misconceptions with Japanese boxing is that it's all action stuff. Rikiishi is one of the many fighters in Japan who doesn't have an a hugely aggressive style. Instead his style is somewhat more American than many would realise. He's patient, calm and smart. There's a lot of small half steps, good southpaw footwork, a very sharp jab, and the ability draw, and punish, mistakes. Watching him you can see a very American influence in his boxing, and it's also something we see with his brother, Masamichi Yabuki. He has power, but it's his boxing brain and composure that is his biggest asset.
3-Rikiishi's straight left hand is poison!
We've just mentioned that Rikiishi's boxing brain and composure are his biggest assets, but his straight left hand is his biggest weapon. It is poison. He throws it brilliantly behind the jab, it's straight, it's fast, it's hurtful, and because of the way he sets it up, either behind the jab or on a fighting coming at him, it tends to land incredibly sweetly. He dropped Soreike 3 times here, once at the end of round 2 and twice in round 3, and all 3 were from his left hand. This punch is money for him, and will help take him to some real success.
4-Soreike could be in some fun fights!
Okay lets be honest, Soreike's style was made to order for Rikiishi. He was a slower, aggressive fighter, who took risks, and lacked the ring craft and speed of Rikiishi. The loss however shouldn't be the end of Soreike and if we're being honest there's some really fun fights for him out there on the domestic scene. We'd love to see Soreike against someone like Yoji Saito or Katsunori Endo, Masashi Wakita or Arashi Iimi. Against someone more willing to hold their ground, and not set tracks Soreike could be really fun to watch.
5-Rikiishi won't have problems making 130lbs
We mentioned that Rikiishi was talking about moving down in weight, moving from Lightweight where he is currently ranked by the JBC to Super Featherweight. It can always be a danger to move down in weight, however this bout was fought at a contracted 59.5KG's, which is just over 131lbs, and it's clear that Rikiishi can make 130lbs. In fact he wasn't move over the divisional limit here. He's not a small guy for Lightweight, but he is quite a slim guy, and we suspect the move down in weight will not be an issue at all for him. His style isn't based around being stronger than an opponent, though we suspect he'll actually be stronger at the lower weight and will find very real success, very quickly there. Saying that however, Kosuke Saka will not be a push over, and we'd make Rikiishi the under-dog against the heavy handed Japanese champion.
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).