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!
On Saturday we were lucky enough to be able to catch an interesting looking OPBF Light Welterweight / Super Lightweight title bout as Rikki Naito (23-2, 8) faced off with Yusuke Konno (16-5, 9). The bout, Naito's 4th defense of the title, looked like an easy one on paper, but it was one that had real intrigue due to the recent form of Konno, who had won his last 5 including solid wins over Kazuya Maruki, Vladimir Baez and Baishanbo Nasiyiwula. Those wins had seen Konno build up momentum and style wise he seemed to be the kryptonite for Naito, who has long issues with physical boxers and with stamina.
Of course those who watched the bout will known that Naito won the contest when Konno was forced to retire in his corner after 9 rounds with an injury, a disappointing end to a relatively interesting match. And an ending that came just before we expected to see Konno's stamina, toughness and size begin to play their part on the bout.
With the bout now behind we've taken the chance to rewatch it and give our take aways from the bout.
1-Naito is a joy to watch
We need to start with the obvious and that's that Rikki Naito really is a joy to watch. He's a pure boxer, with nice speed, good movement, lovely shot placement, a brilliant straight left hand, and he really does tick a lot of boxes. Sadly though he is very much a boxer and not a fighter. When dragged into a fight he struggles, and his lack of physicality, power, strength and questionable stamina are all major issues. At this sort of level he looks very classy, very talented and very much a wonderful boxer. Sadly for him however being a wonderful boxer does have it's limitations and he lacks those other tools needed to be a real star outside of Japan.
2-Konno's pressure told in round 6
In round 2 and in round 6, to a much bigger degree, we saw Konno's pressure really getting to Naito and it seemed like Naito was falling into the wrong sort of fight. Round 6 in particular made things really interesting, and it's a shame Konno suffered his injury as another round like that and we would could have been looking at a new champion. Konno's toughness, size, and power allowed him to take clean blows from Naito and his physical strength and body work could well have worn down the champion had he gone on unhindered. It really is a shame we saw him suffer the injury to his left shoulder that forced the early conclusion of the bout.
3-The injury of Konno seemed to show as early as round 6
Konno's excellent round 6 seems to come at a very serious price. He didn't take much punishment from Naito but by the dying seconds of the round it seemed he was a 1-handed fighter. He was in the position to throw left hooks a number of times, but simply didn't let them go. It was amazing, looking back, just how much success he had as a 1-handed fighter. It seemed that in round 6 he hadn't completely done in the arm, but was certainly not using it towards the end of the round. He then essentially fought the following 3 rounds without using his left. When he he walked towards his corner something seemed wrong, though strangely his team only iced his right side and not his left.
4-Kadoebi gave their man a chance even with an injury
Likely realising their man was a 1-handed fighter the Kadoebi team in charge of Konno gave their man every opportunity to continue on and allowed him to fight 3 rounds whilst clearly carrying an issue. To his credit he did throw some left hands in round 7, but they were few and far between, and they rarely looked right. To be honest, they looked wild, sloppy and lacked any crispness at all. We suspect those shots really just did more harm than good and likely explained why rounds 8 and 9 saw him essentially give up with the left all together. Credit to his undoubted toughness however, and well done to his team for giving him a chance and then pulling him out before he took any serious punishment or further damaged the shoulder. Fingers crossed he'll be back in the ring in 2021 with a fully healed shoulder
5-Naito's ceiling isn't too much higher than this
We started this saying how Naito is a joy to watch and then listing his flaws. Sadly those flaws are going to keep him at this type of level. At 29 it seems unlikely he'll develop any more in terms of power or physical strength, and if he does they will likely come at the expense of his speed and his already questionable stamina. Naito against anyone near the top of the division wouldn't bode well for the Japanese fighter, no matter how nice, smooth and technical his boxing skills are. With that in mind we see him continuing his career at the OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific type level. On one hand that's disappointing, given his ability, but on the other hand that keeps some really good match ups on the table for him. A rematch between Naito and Daishi Nagata, or Konno, would be great, or Naito against fighters like Hiroki Okada, Andy Hiraoka, Akihiro Kondo, the winner of the upcoming bout between Jin Sasaki and Aso Ishiwaki, Hwang Kil Kil, Downua Ruawaiking and Koichi Aso would be entertaining bouts. His ceiling isn't massively high, but there are a lot of interesting match ups out there for him.
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).