So, another month is in the books for this weird, awkward, odd, never ending, frustrating year. Thankfully whilst there has been a host of issues, both boxing and non-boxing related, we have, thankfully, had this great sport to following during much of the year and October was no different with Subscription Service Boxing Raise once again delivering some of the most interesting action of the month.
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".
Youngster steps up!
Rei Nakajima (3-0) Vs Shinobu Charlie Hosokawa (12-5-1, 11)
First up was the compelling match up between rising youngster Rei Nakajima, who has been impressive but over-looked, taking on former WBO Asia Pacific and OPBF Middleweight champion Shinobu Charlie Hosokawa. This was a compelling bout, rather than an exciting one, with the under-sized Nakajima forced to rely on skills, timing and movement, against the cruder but heavier handed Hosokawa.
Thrilling back and forth war!
Takuya Kogawa (30-6-1, 13) vs Hayato Yamaguchi (15-8-1, 2)
For years we have been huge fans of Takuya Kogawa, a man who could have a full series done in regards to his thrilling wars and all action bouts. In 2019 he suffered the first stoppage loss of his career and many, including ourselves, thought he should probably hang them up. This past month he looked to silence us doubters as he took on domestic foe Hayato Yamaguchi. This turned out to be a real thriller of a fight. The skill levelw asn't the highest but the intensity and action were great, and this was a real fun one to watch.
Yoji Saito (1-1-2, 1) vs Masashi Wakita (10-9-2, 5)
If you only have a few minutes and want something fun and enjoyable we highly recommend watching Yoji Saito's bout with Masashi Wakita. This was very much boxing's version of fast food. There was no feeling our process, with Saito just on the front foot from the off. He faced Wakita to fight off the ropes and just threw pretty much non-stop. A great fun, short, action thriller. A really fun one to watch.
Cracks show in Kazuki's chin!
Tatsuya Yanagi (16-6-2, 6) Vs Kazuki Saito (7-2, 5)
There are two things we know when it comes to Kazuki Saito. He is an incredibly talented boxer. He has a poor chin. With that in mind his bout with Tatsuya Yanagi always looked like it was going to be an interesting one. It proved to be interesting, and despite not being the most exciting bout you'll see this month it was certainly one worth watching.
Japanese title bout!
Seigo Yuri Akui (14-2-1, 10) vs Seiya Fujikita (13-4, 6)
Probably the best bout on Boxing Raise this month was the Japanese Flyweight title bout between defending champion Seigo Yuri Akui and mandatory challenger Seiya Fujikita. This was just a fantastic bout, with Fujikita looking to take the fight to the hard hitting Akui, and really applying determined pressure early on. This was the type of test the champion needed and it was the sort of bout that helped remind us exactly why we all love this sport. If you missed this one, give yourself a 40 minute window in November to watch it, we advise grabbing a few beers too! Genuinely a great fight.
Future Rookie of the year contender?
Jinu Lee (2-0, 1) Vs Naoya Nishimura (4-9-1, 3)
One of the best things about Japanese boxing is the annual Rookie of the Year competition. The competition serves as a major window into the next generation of Japanese domestic fighters and for many it's their first real chance to shine. With that in mind we were really glad to see 24 year old Jinu Lee in action before he participates in Rookie of the Year next year. Here we saw him battle Naoya Nishimura and we were left really wanting to see more of Lee. A fun, destructive, performance from a man some are already tipping for next year.
Utsuki helps Sakai sleep!
Shu Utsuki (6-0, 5) vs Takayuki Sakai (9-2-2, 6)
Japan has a lot of well known prospects, who have received a lot of press and time, and generate buzz when people just mention their names. The country also has a number of lesser known prospects who deserve some of that attention but don't yet get it. One such fighter is Shu Utsuki, who is trying to create buzz by his performances. He did just that in October with a brutal KO win against the over-matched Takayuki Sakai. This was up there with the very best KO's in Japan this month and even knowing the result shouldn't stop you from giving this one a watch. The KO is worth it!
Future Rookie king?
Kosuke Tomioka (3-0, 2) Vs Yota Sato (2-0, 2)
We mentioned Rookie of the Year a little earlier, talking about Jinu Lee who will enter Rookie of the Year next year and we head back to Rookie of the Year here, for a bout from this year's Rookie of the Year. In one corner was touted teenager Kosuke Tomioka, who has been viewed as a special talent since his debut, and in the other corner was Yota Sato, an unbeaten puncher who looked fantastic in his previous bout. This is short, explosive and exciting.
Last weekend fight fans had the chance to see Japanese Flyweight champion Seigo Yuri Akui (15-2-1, 10) make his first defense of his national title. The heavy handed Akui over-came mandatory challenger Seiya Fujikita (13-5, 6) with a 10 round decision to keep a hold of his belt and move one step closer to a world title fight, but did face a spirited effort from Fujikita, who was certainly not there to just make up the numbers.
With the bout now in the books, and with the sport moving on we though we'd take a look back on the bout and share our take aways before the week cam to a close.
1-The canvas was strange
In the west we typically see a blue ring canvas with sponsorships all over it. It's almost the only way we see rings in the US and the UK. Outside of those two regions however there are various ring canvases used, some are awful, such as a white canvas used a few weeks ago by Shinsei, and others are great, such as the old red and white canvases we used to see in, we believe, Panama. The one used for this show was just weird. It was like it had a blue border, with a white center square, broken into 5 stripes. Very strange and very unique.
2-Fujikita had a really good gameplan
Although he came up short no one can question Fujikita's gameplan. It was all about getting inside, taking away Akui's ability to get full extension on his shots, swarming him like a rabid terrier and breaking him down mentally. Against a puncher most fighters don't want to take risks and get inside, knowing they might get caught on the way in. Fujikita however kept close through long stretches of the bout, and worked the body well. He wasn't good enough to get the win, but the gameplan was a really good one, he just lacked the tools needed to make it count.
3-Akui is developing as a boxer
Akui's strength and power has always been his two big calling cards. He has shown some ability to box, but the reality is that he's been more about his power, early on, and less about his ability to box. We saw something different here however. He has success up close, but also did really well at creating some space to use his jab. His boxing is basic, there's no bells and whistles there, but it is a developing asset of his, and will certainly be a valuable tool when he steps up a level. It is, however, clear that there are still improvements to be made here and this should be regarded as a good test and learning experience rather than a sign he's ready for world level.
4-This was a great fight
Genuinely if you have Boxing Raise and haven't yet seen this bout you really need to go and check it out, it's one of the best in recent weeks. It was, for the most part, a well fought, inside bout with Fujikita giving his all and Akui just being that much better. Akui picked his moments well, picked his shots really well, tucked up when he needed to, and controlled stretches of the bout against a very tough and determined challenger. Fujikita was the under-dog, he travelled for the fight, few gave him a chance, but he backed himself and he really played his part in a fantastic contest.
5-Nobuto Ikehara deserves more chances
It's become a bit of a regular thing in this series, but once again we're being positive about a referee, in this case Nobuto Ikehara. The referee caught the attention more than some Japanese referees, but he did a really good job here. He told both men to watch their heads early on, and then involved himself as little as possible in what was a real inside battle. He did a great job, and we're genuinely surprised to see how little refereeing he does in Japan. We accept boxrec is incomplete, esppecially when it comes to officials, but it appears this was one of his first shows in 2020. A real shame as he did a great job. More Ikehara in the ring please JBC!
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).