On Wednesday we got the chance to see talented Japanese Flyweight Ryota Yamauchi (7-1, 6) claim his most important win to date as he over-came Satoru Todaka (10-4-4, 4) to become the WBO Asia Pacific Flyweight champion. The bout was one that never seemed in double for the rising Yamauchi, who had Todaka down at the end of round 3 before the corner said enough was enough.
Whilst the bout wasn't shown live it was made available online hours after it took place, and with that in mind we felt it was another great fight to feature in our Take Away's series.
1-Yamauchi still has work to do
We are massive fans of Ryota Yamauchi and have been since very early in his professional career. For a fighter in just his 8th bout he looked very advanced, and seemed to be calming his usual aggression somewhat, using his jab more and having a much tighter defense than we've seen at times. Saying that however there is still real work to do before he thinks about a world title fight. It's clear the intention of this bout was to get him in the WBO rankings and move him closer to a world title shot, which is the right move, but we suspect he is still a few fights away from that level.
That's not to take anything at all away from his performance, but we suspect he's still not ready for any of the true top 10 in the division and a little more seasoning will seriously help him out. He was also caught, in round 2, by some big head shots, that he will will not want to take from the top fighters, he also left himself very open when trying to close the show in round 3. If we were at Kadoebi we would give him another year of before we let him loose at world level.
We genuinely think he has the physical tools and the arsenal to reach the top. His jab is great, his body shots are wicked and his punches are crisp. He does however often end up too close, and doesn't always use his size well, which he probably needs to at world level. A good gate keeper type opponent next would do his career the world of good.
2-Todaka was too small for Flyweight
Although it seems almost certain that Satoru Todaka will be hanging them up after this bout, something he alluded to at the weigh in, we can't help but think Flyweight is not, was not, and never will be, a weight suited to him. He wasn't massively dwarfed in terms of height by Yamauchi, though was clearly the shorter man, but his style was never going to work at the weight. He's not strong enough or powerful enough to make his head down pressure style count. We do wonder whether he could have made 105lbs earlier in his career, as his toughness and determination could have brought him genuine success at the weight.
3-Corner men in Japan aren't too brave
Some thing we've seen recently in the UK and US are corner men that are "too brave" and watch their fighter take rounds of unnecessary punishment in a fight they have no chance of winning. Here we saw Todaka's corner make a swift decision to stop the bout when their man was beginning to fall apart. It was the right decision and a decision that saw them do right by their fighter.
Whilst some fighters obviously want bouts to continue, and again Todaka had spoke about retirement before this bout, there is sometimes a need for a merciful corner and the folk from the Leopard Tamakuma gym did exactly the right thing. Not letting this go on too long and stopping their fighter from taking too much punishment.
4-Boxing Raise is amazing
Whilst there has been a lack of boxing in recent months we are seeing the sport resume and gear up in recent weeks. One of the notable services that is often getting over-looked is the Boxing Raise service. The monthly subscription service delved into their archives when there was no fights taking place and are now picking up a lot of the shows in Japan. For them to have same day availability of this fight is brilliant a testament to the hard work they do. TV channels and bigger services need to take note of what Boxing Raise are doing and begin asking themselves why they can't do similar. This was available just hours after it took place, not days, like Fuji TV, or even weeks, like TBS.
At ¥980 a month this is a bargain for fans of the Japanese scene, and we really recommend people wanting to follow Japanese boxing do give it a shot, especially now that boxing is back!
5-Fans at Korakuen Hall is still a worry
Earlier this week, in our Take Away's article about Ryo Sagawa Vs Yuri Takemoto, we mentioned how fans were sat at Korakuen Hall, and suggested it was a potential issue given what is going on in the world. This show solidified those feelings with the benches again very crowded in the center, and the space not used well for social distancing. We really do wonder whether it's the angle or whether social distancing just isn't in effect. If it's not, it probably should be, even if it does look bad on camera. On the other hand it is great to see everyone wearing masks, with ringside officials wearing face shields as well.
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).