This past weekend was a busy one for fight fans who were looking to follow all the fights that took place. Among the ones that were somewhat over-looked was the contest between former world title challenger Shingo Wake (27-6-2, 19) and fellow Japanese fighter Shohei Kawashima (18-5-2, 4). This was certainly not a big fight, but it was an interesting one, even if it did lack in terms of drama and action.
With that bout watched, and now rewatched, we have decided to share our Take Aways from the bout.
1-Using cut outs for Social Distancing was a genius move
To begin with lets talk about Korakuen Hall and how it was laid out. We have complained recently about the venue not enforcing social distance but this time there was social distancing, and it was done in a very clever way. The headline bout of the show was the Hajime No Ippo 30th Anniversary tournament final, and for the entire show there was cut outs of characters from the anime in the crowd. This made the venue look relatively full at first glance but did make people sit between a gap between each other. This was ingenious and something that we should see continue to be done! Also once again it's great to see that everyone is still wearing masks, even though or two people did take them down at times.
2-Shingo Wake is still a fantastic counter puncher
Last year we saw Shingo Wake being upset by Jhunriel Ramonal, this was his first bout since that loss and he looked super sharp at times. His picked his shots well, made Shohei Kawashima pay when he missed and really made it very clear that he was the boss. Scoring 4 knockdowns is impressive against a solid domestic talent like Kawashima, but the way he scored them is worthy of attention. The first was a brilliant little right hook, the second was from a solid straight left hand, the third was a truly brilliant counter straight left hand. If you make a mistake against Wake you better be prepared to pay for it!
3-Can Wake put his foot on the gas?
Although we were really impressed by Wake's counter punching, accuracy, power and timing on the back foot, we did feel like there was a lack of aggression from him at times. He seemed happy to go through the motions, happy to try to land the perfect shot. When he had to force the action it just look natural at all and he really struggled to force the issue. At times it seemed like he was playing with his food as a result and it did mean the bout went on a round or two longer than it had to. Whilst Kawashima is a good counter puncher himself he never looked like he had the power to hurt Wake, and it's a shame that Wake didn't manage to jump on his man and take him out in style. We do wonder if this was a change to a safety conscious style following his loss last time out, or if he really can't keep up an offensive charge now at the of 33.
4-Shohei Kawashima is coming to the end of his career
We're maybe reading too much into this result, but we can't help thinking that Shohei Kawashima's career is coming to an end sooner rather than later. This is his third loss in 4 bouts and his his 5 losses in 9 bouts, his second successive stoppage loss and another very damaging one. We do have to wonder about his punch resistance and whether there is much reason for the 29 year old to continue. After winning Rookie of the Year there was real hope for him, but in recent years he has either been matched softly, or matched too hard. There was a lack of developmental fights from his team and that shows now a days.
5-Dangan do pre-fight videos right!
Dangan are, easily, one of the best promoters in the sport. Watching their shows however we don't tend to see much hype in their things, instead focusing on the fights taking place. Here we got some training footage, interviews and comments before the men got in the ring. We'd love to see more of that type of thing on these Dangan cards. We hate how over the top some TV channels go with their pre-fight hype, and ESPN are terrible for it but a short, 3 or 4 minute build up does add something without getting tiring. Hopefully that sort of thing will becoming a normal thing and will extend to more bouts on a show, rather than just the top bout or two.
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).