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).