After a hectic weekend of fights to begin October the last few days have been more restrained, thankfully, but there has still been some interesting action. Among that action was a bout between unbeaten youngster Rei Nakajima (4-0) and former OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific Middleweight champion Shinobu Charlie Hosokawa (12-6-1, 11). This bout took place at Korakuen Hall on Friday and despite lacking TV coverage it was featured on the brilliant Boxing Raise service, on the same day!
Having seen the bout a couple of times now lets share our take aways!
1-Nakajima is hilarious short
We know this one didn't really need sharing for those that had seen Rei Nakajima, but it is something that needs to be shared for those unaware. Nakajima is tiny! He's a Light Middleweight, who fought at Middleweight for this bout and looked diminutive. At 5'4" he's closer, in height, to a Light Flyweight than a typical Light Middleweight. Notably he uses his lack of height well, and makes himself a hard target to hit, but against a busy guy with a good jab he's going to have issues.
2-Hosokawa is maybe starting to look his age
Despite being the much, much taller man Hosokawa looked his 36 years of age through out this bout. He looked slow, he struggled to keep up his output and only threw a handful of flurries the entire bout. He was neutralised, in part, by Nakajima's movement and speed but he also never really seemed to get his own motor going and it could well be that father time is catching up to him, along with the number of tough bouts he's had in recent years. Alternatively it could be the fact that this was an horrific match up for him from a styles perspective, and he has often struggled with opponents who move and can keep the movement going.
3-The Korakuen Hall was weirdly empty
Sure not every show at the iconic Korakuen Hall will be full, in fact right now we'd be worried if the Hall was full, but this looked weirdly empty. Even more empty than it's been in recent weeks. The promoters are limited by how many tickets they are allowed to sell, for obvious reasons, but this seemed much, much emptier than other recent shows. There was large, visible gaps in the people on the benches, and it seemed like social distancing was being used here, albeit from an under-sized crowd rather than necessity.
4-Nakajima is a real talent
We mentioned he was slow, but it needs to be said that Rei Nakajima is a legitimate talent. He looked so relaxed and calm in there, he picked his shots excellently, has a tight guard, is light on his feet, has very nice hand speed, solid body movement and a very good boxing brain. Even giving away notable size he made Hosokawa think twice about letting his jab go and easily out worked Hosokawa through the 8 round bout. It's just a massive, massive shame that he lacks the size of a typical Light Middleweight and he lacks power, if he had those he would be a legitimate prospect with a very, very high ceiling.
5-The judging was questionable
Typically judging in Japan is very, very good. World title bouts in Japan usually have 3 international judges to help make sure things are fair and for top level bouts judging in Japan is considered very fair. Domestically however there are some poor scorecards, and this very much seemed like one of those cases. For us this was a clear win for Nakajima who out landed Hosokawa, out boxed Hosokawa and showed off what he wanted to show off, whilst neutralising Hosokawa. Some how one judge gave Nakajima just 2 rounds, and the others gave him 5, in an 8 round bout that he seemed to win at a canter. Yes Hosokawa landed the heavier shots, we accept that, but he landed so few of them, and was tagged far more often himself. We struggled to give Hosokawa more than 2 rounds here and we're not sure how the judges had it so close.
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).