Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
This coming Wednesday is a solid day for Japanese fight fans in Tokyo, thanks to a Dangan and Watanabe promoted show headlined by a WBO Asia Pacific title bout, and featuring several solid match ups on the under-card.
The main event is a truly brilliant match up as the much touted Ginjiro Shigeoka (5-0, 4) defends the WBO Asia Pacific Minimumweight title against fellow unbeaten Toshiki Kawamitsu (6-0, 3). The explosive Shigeoka hasn't fought since stopping Rey Loreto at the end of 2019, and has had a really frustrating 18 months or so, needing to recover from an injury having several dates slip away. Given his long break from the ring and the issues that covid has had on his career it's hard to really know where Shigeoka is at mentally coming in to this. Kawamitsu on the other hand has really made his name in the "covid-era" of boxing with a brilliant win in 2020 over Kenshi Noda, in a truly fantastic fight, and a swift win over Kosuke Ando this past January. Those wins have helped put Kawamitsu on the map and a win here would boost him to the verges of a world title fight. This is a bout that should be explosive, high tempo, and a must watch for fans of the lower weights. Our full preview of this bout can be read here Shigeoka returns as he takes on unbeaten Kawamitsu!
The chief support bout is a genuinely brilliant one as the heavy handed Shu Utsuki (8-0, 7) takes on the skilled Ryo Nakai (2-0-1, 1) in a great 8 round Lightweight clash. The hard hitting Utsuki, who is banging on the door of a title fight, has stopped his last 6 opponents in a combined 21 rounds and looks like he's ready for a serious test after wins over the likes of Jerry Castroverde and Masashi Wakita. Although not too well known Nakai is no push over, and is instead a very talented boxer, who has rebuilt well since a draw on his debut. Although talented we do feel this is maybe a little bit too soon for Nakai, who perhaps could have done with 2 or 3 more fights before facing someone as dangerous as Utsuki.
In another interesting supporting bout we'll see the once beaten Fumiya Fuse (9-1, 1) battle against Fuya Tomita (6-2, 2). The talented Fuse, who won Rookie of the Year in 2017, will be fighting for the first time since he beat Melmark Dignos in last 2019, and with more than 18 months out it's going to be interesting to see how he looks here. Tomita on the other hand has been surprisingly busy in recent years, and has fought 3 times since since November 2020, including his win in the All Japan Rookie of the Year in February. Not only is Tomita active and in good form, but he's also a physical freak standing at close to 6 foot, despite fighting as a Bantamweight! This is going to be a very, very tough bout for Fuse.
Also on this card is the debut of 24 year old Watanabe hopeful Kyotaro Yoshida (0-0), who went 32-13 in the amateurs, who takes on the once beaten Hiroki Kinjo (5-1, 4). The talented debutant is expected to be a bright hope for the Watanabe gym and someone the gym could move quickly in the coming years. Kinjo on the other hand is 21 and debuted back in 2018, winning his first 5 before losing to the aforementioned Fuya Tomita last November. Prior to that loss Kinjo had been matched softly and this is certainly one of his toughest bouts so far.