After a hectic weekend of fights to begin October the last few days have been more restrained, thankfully, but there has still been some interesting action. Among that action was a bout between unbeaten youngster Rei Nakajima (4-0) and former OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific Middleweight champion Shinobu Charlie Hosokawa (12-6-1, 11). This bout took place at Korakuen Hall on Friday and despite lacking TV coverage it was featured on the brilliant Boxing Raise service, on the same day!
Having seen the bout a couple of times now lets share our take aways!
1-Nakajima is hilarious short
We know this one didn't really need sharing for those that had seen Rei Nakajima, but it is something that needs to be shared for those unaware. Nakajima is tiny! He's a Light Middleweight, who fought at Middleweight for this bout and looked diminutive. At 5'4" he's closer, in height, to a Light Flyweight than a typical Light Middleweight. Notably he uses his lack of height well, and makes himself a hard target to hit, but against a busy guy with a good jab he's going to have issues.
2-Hosokawa is maybe starting to look his age
Despite being the much, much taller man Hosokawa looked his 36 years of age through out this bout. He looked slow, he struggled to keep up his output and only threw a handful of flurries the entire bout. He was neutralised, in part, by Nakajima's movement and speed but he also never really seemed to get his own motor going and it could well be that father time is catching up to him, along with the number of tough bouts he's had in recent years. Alternatively it could be the fact that this was an horrific match up for him from a styles perspective, and he has often struggled with opponents who move and can keep the movement going.
3-The Korakuen Hall was weirdly empty
Sure not every show at the iconic Korakuen Hall will be full, in fact right now we'd be worried if the Hall was full, but this looked weirdly empty. Even more empty than it's been in recent weeks. The promoters are limited by how many tickets they are allowed to sell, for obvious reasons, but this seemed much, much emptier than other recent shows. There was large, visible gaps in the people on the benches, and it seemed like social distancing was being used here, albeit from an under-sized crowd rather than necessity.
4-Nakajima is a real talent
We mentioned he was slow, but it needs to be said that Rei Nakajima is a legitimate talent. He looked so relaxed and calm in there, he picked his shots excellently, has a tight guard, is light on his feet, has very nice hand speed, solid body movement and a very good boxing brain. Even giving away notable size he made Hosokawa think twice about letting his jab go and easily out worked Hosokawa through the 8 round bout. It's just a massive, massive shame that he lacks the size of a typical Light Middleweight and he lacks power, if he had those he would be a legitimate prospect with a very, very high ceiling.
5-The judging was questionable
Typically judging in Japan is very, very good. World title bouts in Japan usually have 3 international judges to help make sure things are fair and for top level bouts judging in Japan is considered very fair. Domestically however there are some poor scorecards, and this very much seemed like one of those cases. For us this was a clear win for Nakajima who out landed Hosokawa, out boxed Hosokawa and showed off what he wanted to show off, whilst neutralising Hosokawa. Some how one judge gave Nakajima just 2 rounds, and the others gave him 5, in an 8 round bout that he seemed to win at a canter. Yes Hosokawa landed the heavier shots, we accept that, but he landed so few of them, and was tagged far more often himself. We struggled to give Hosokawa more than 2 rounds here and we're not sure how the judges had it so close.
One of the great things about Japanese boxing right now is the excellent Boxing Raise service which is quickly becoming a necessity for those wanting to watch the best action in Japan every month. The service is certainly not flawless, and the way they share their schedules is nothing short of infuriating at the moment, but it keeps showing some of the best action in Japanese rings on a month by month basis.
With that in mind we've decided to begin a new monthly feature looking at the Best of Boxing Raise. In these articles we will look at the best moments Boxing Raise gave us in the previous month. With this being posted in November we'll be looking over the moments from October, and better yet we'll also include the video reference for those who already subscribe, and briefly explain why the bout is worth watching. We won't, however, share the videos as they are Boxing Raise exclusives, though if you have Boxing Raise and add the "movie/####" to "https://boxingraise.com/" you should be able to go straight to the fight after logging in.
Rematch war-Shinobu Charlie Hosokawa (11-4-1, 10) vs Koki Tyson (14-3-2, 12) II [movie/6862/]
Earlier in 2019 we had seen Shinobu Charlie Hosokawa and Koki Tyson fight to a draw in a bout for the OPBF Middleweight title. That was a good bout, but not spectacular. In October they had a rematch and boy was this one good! The two men fought to a standstill, with both landing some huge shots. Tyson was looking to fight at range and Hosokawa refused to let him, and as a result both men were forced to trade on the inside. A truly fantastic battle
Boom goes the Dynamite-Shingo Wake (26-5-2, 18) Vs Jhunriel Ramonal (15-8-6, 8) [movie/6860/]
The rematch between the world ranked Shingo Wake and Filipino journeyman Jhunriel Ramonal had very few people raving about it before hand, but saw a lit of attention afterwards thanks to a KO of the year Contender. This wasn't the most exciting of bouts to begin with, but was full of drama by the end. A must watch for fans of massive knock outs.
Knock Out Dynamite excitement-Marvin Esquierdo (14-2-1, 8) Vs Koichi Ito (11-7-3, 10) [movie/6892/]
The first bout from the Knock Out Dynamite tournament saw Filipino fighter Marvin Esquierdo go to war with Koichi Ito and although it was a short lived bout on OCtober 19, it was all action in a full on intense shoot out. For us this was the type of bout that the Knock Out Dynamite tournament was designed for, and man was this fun. Sadly though none of the other bouts lived up to this one. A very fun, if short, shoot out!
Prospect Debut-Tuguldur Byambatsogt (0-0) Vs Shusaku Fujinaka (16-11-2, 11) [movie/6899/]
The Knockout Dynamite Tournament was designed to encourage fighters to go for early wins. We didn't actually see that happened when Mongolian fighter Tuguldur Byambatsogt made his debut against Japan's Shusaku Fujinaka. Despite not going for the knock out, the Mongolian genuinely impressed, and for a debut this was the sort of performance that allowed fans a glimpse of what he can do.
Japanese Youth Title action-Tetsuro Ohashi (7-0-1, 2) vs Suzumi Takayama (2-0, 2) [movie/6919/]
One of the real hidden gems of the the month was the Japanese Youth Super Flyweight title bout between Tetsuro Ohashi and Suzumi Takayama. This was fantastic, saw both men being dropped and show cased excellent skills and technique from two very talented youngsters. Although there was a winner and a loser we suspect both men will have improved thanks to this truly fantastic bout from October 19th
Domestic title bout- Seigo Yuri Akui (13-2-1, 9) vs Shun Kosaka (16-5, 4) [movie/6951/]
We've known for a while that Seigo Yuri Akui is a fast starter, though we were interested to see how he'd cope with the usually durable Shun Kosaka in a bout for the Japanese Flyweight title. This looked good on paper, and whilst it didn't live up to expectations it's still well worth a watch for a short and rather explosive performance
Prospect Debut- Yudai Shigeoka (0-0) vs Manop Audomphanawari (3-2, 3) [movie/6969/]
One of the most anticipated debuts in Japan this year was that of prospect Yudai Shigeoka, who's debut came against Thai foe Manop Audomphanawari on the Watanabe promoted "Fight The Power", on October 30th. This wasn't so much a great bout but a showcase for one of Japan's future stars.
(Images courtesy of boxingraise and Boxmob)
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).