When we started this series we didn't expect to be talking about many great KO's scored by a fighter making their debut, but this time around we get to talk about a great KO scored by a fighter on their pro debut. Not only that, but it was also scored earlier this year!
Rentaro Kimura (0-0) vs Yuya Azuma (5-3-1, 1)
After having had a successful amateur career Rentaro Kimura turned professional earlier this year. As an amateur he had won 3 national titles, scored over 70 amateur wins and had a lot of hype in Japan before making his debut. Unlike many Japanese debutants he didn't debut against a foreign fighter, sadly for him that wasn't something that was possible due to the global situation. Instead he had to take on a domestic fighter, and as a result he was matched with Yuya Azuma behind closed doors at Korakuen Hall.
It's fair to say that any amateur standout making their professional debut will want a crowd, they'll want family and friends behind them, seeing them begin their professional journey. Sadly that wasn't possible for Kimura, though thankfully we did have the Fuji TV camera's rolling and they managed to show his entire debut just days after it took place.
Before we talk about the finish we do need to talk, briefly about Yuya Azuma. He had a somewhat scratchy looking record but had won his last 3 bouts, including an upset over Ryo Tanimoto, and, with a little bit of luck, he could easily have been 8-1. He had never been stopped and he had only been clearly beaten once, by Ryuku Oho in June 2018 in what was Azuma's 4th professional bout.
Although no world beater Azuma had proven his ability at at the lower level of the Japanese domestic scene. The win over Ryo Tanimoto was solid, but he had also given rising prospect Tom Mizokoshi a very close run contest.
Azuma had come to win, he had proven that in the first round, by trying to box with Kimura and then trying to take the fight to him in the early stages of round 2. Midway through round 2 however we saw Kimura show his class in a short, but brutal, combination that saw everyone watching get very, very excited about the youngster.
The finish began when Kimura backed Azuma on to the ropes. He then followed up with a few feints, drawing a mistake from Azuma, which was then instantly punished by a brutal combination of straight left hands and sensational uppercuts. The combination send Azuma crashing to the canvas, and forced the referee to wave off the bout. Within the blink of an eye we had seen Kimura lay out Azuma, and poor Azuma had no idea what had happened.
On replay things looked even more brutal, with the finishing uppercut in particularly looking incredibly nasty as it snapped back the head of Azuma.
The finishing combination had been a straight left that had rocked Azuma, a right uppercut, a left hand around the guard, another right that looked more like a jab than anything, a monstrous left hand, and then another right uppercut. The uppercut at the end snapped back the head of Azuma before he crashed to the canvas.
Despite Azuma being badly hurt from the first shot in the combination there no way the referee could have stopped the action, the flew from Kimura with such speed and accuracy that the referee was simply unable to save Azuma from the final blows.
This was nasty from Kimura and the perfect way to make a statement on his debut.
Despite having no fans in attendance Kimura had left the TV audience with something to remember and had left Fuji TV with the perfect highlight reel quality KO. This is how you make a statement in a fan free environment, and this was the perfect way for Kimura to close the show!
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).