On Sunday we were treat to a sensational performance by Japanese prospect Rentaro Kimura (2-0, 2), who showcased pretty much everything he could for a 2-0 fighter, as he defeated the incredibly tough Takafumi Iwaya (4-4). The bout was shown on the Suruga Boys YouTube channel for free and the young prospect made the most of his chance to shine for an international audience.
The bout, which was held at the FujisanMesse, was one that we had anticipated being a quick blow out win for Kimura, but instead it turned into something much, much more interesting. And with that in mind we've decided to share some of our take aways from the bout.
1-The Suruga Boy's stream was solid!
Firstly we'll start with the obvious. The stream was solid through out. We've seen numerous events over the years where an official stream is pretty dire but here the stream was a really good quality one, with a multi-camera set up, a high quality feed, and on screen graphics. For, what we believe is, a first attempt this was really good from the folks in charge. Saying that there are areas where improvements can be made. They had a round graphic in the bottom corner, but that could have had a clock on it as well, and they could have given us commentary, replays and little introduction videos. However they are all minor complaints on what was a very good stream and fingers crossed not the last one we see from them.
Compared to the streams from Boxing Real and A-Sign this was a less professional look but it was their first attempt, and it was still very, very good from start to finish. Top job folks!
2-The FujisanMesse looked rather unique
Okay we're again focusing on something that wasn't the fight but instead looking at the venue. For those unaware the FujisanMesse is a multi-purpose convention center at the base of mount Fuji. Looking at the inside of it during the fight however it was easy to mistake the venue for a warehouse or a garage or something. It had a big wide door open that looked like a loading door, the walls looked rather plain and boring and overall it didn't look like a boxing venue. That might sound like a complain but in all honesty it felt raw, unique and different. During these testing times unique venues are certainly not a bad thing and we genuinely liked how this looked. Not the best venue we suspect, but certainly a rather interesting one.
One other thing about the venue was the acoustics. When Kimura landed a meaningful shot you could really hear it, with the sound filling the venue. This issue with the acoustics did however make the post fight in ring interviews a tough unbearable with feedback being a very notable issue.
3-Kimura gets it!
After the bout Rentaro Kimura stated he wanted to not just be a world champion but to be a charismatic one, like Joichiro Tarsuyoshi and Takanori Hatakeyama. He seems to understand that winning sometimes isn't the only thing he needs to do to become a star. As well as winning he needs to entertain, put on a show, and make fans sit up and take note. When you're levels above your opponent, as he was here, the focus is on leaving a mark on the fans, rather than just playing safe. After 2 rounds of trying to break Takafumi Iwaya in half Kimura seemed to change tactics, and rather than continue trying to blast his man out he entertained and showed glimpses of being a superstar. He could have played safe, used his jab, kept Iwaya away and took an easy decision. Instead he stood up close, slipped, slid, countered, lured Iwaya into thinking he was there to hit and moved away. He realised this was a chance to show off his defense as well as his offense and he did just that. It was, perhaps, a case of playing with his food, but it was also realising his food was as tough as a $2 steak.
4-Iwaya really is tough
On a weekend where fans were accusing Jeison Rosario and Downua Ruawaiking of taking dives we saw Iwaya some how walk through hell fire. Kimura banged away at Iwaya's body repeatedly in the early going, smashed him with uppercuts up top and genuinely seemed to use Iwaya as a punch bag. We dare say that Iwaya is toughed than most punch bags. The punishment he took here was just insane, and he played up too the stereo type of Japanese fighters being inhumanly tough. Had Iwaya's corner pulled him out after round 2 we'd have not complained, yet it wasn't until part way through round 5 that they saved their man. Even then he had never been down and kept pressing. Not only was he tough, but he kept trying to win, he was coming forward, trying to get to Kimura and that gets our respect, bit time!
5-Kimura is a very, very special talent
Whilst Kimura is obviously a man who adds flash to his work he also has a lot of substance to what he does. The guy can dazzle with his footwork and quick hand speed but he also knows that he needs to let his shots go and make openings for himself. He realises he can't just wait for the opportunities to come to him. This was shown through out the bout. Early on he seemed to look to barge through the front door but as the bout went on we began to see him spinning off from Iwaya, turning his man at will, using angles and a lot of lateral movement. At times it felt like we were watching the Japanese version of Vasyl Lomachenko with his movement, shot selection and the way he varied the pacing and power on his shots.
We are huge fans of Hinata Maruta, genuinely massive fans of Maruta, but we've seen Maruta sometimes show more style than substance. We dare say that Maruta could learn a lot from watching how Kimura goes about his business and tweaking his style to show what he can do to.
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).