Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
Attention turns to Korakuen Hall once again this coming Tuesday for the first Diamond Glove show of 2022. The card is set to feature 6 bouts in total, but is a very, very top heavy one, with 3 very good bouts, partnered by 3 low key 4 rounders. Of the 3 main bouts, all 3 are worthy of serious attention, with a good domestic level bout, a great bout between two unbeaten prospects and brilliant bout for the vacant Japanese Lightweight title.
The less significant of the three main bouts will see the once beaten Tsubasa Murachi (7-1-1, 3) take on Musashi Yoshino (11-6, 4), in a bout that will move the winner towards a title fight, of some kind. Murachi turned professional with high expectations, and his team moved him very quickly. In fact they moved him a bit too quickly and in just his 5th bout he was stopped by Froilan Saludar in a bout for a regional title. Since then he has bounced back, with 3 wins, but was held to a very disappointing draw last time out against Yuto Nakamura. Yoshino in the other hand hasn't been pushed as anyone special, but comes in on the back of decent wins over Shunpei Kubo and Wataru Ikegami, and will feel full of confidence. Don't expect this one to be the most exciting bout of the show, but it should be a really solid one, it's well matched and both men have plenty of tools in their arsenal.
In the chief support bout of the card we see the very highly regarded Rentaro Kimura (5-0, 3) take on fellow unbeaten Jinki Maeda (8-0, 4) in a mouth watering clash. This was supposed to take place late last year, before Kimura was forced to pull out of the scheduled date with an injury. Rather than seeing the two men go their own way, they have re-arranged it, and we should be in for a treat. Kimura, and his team, feel he is a very special fighter, but in his last bout he was given a genuinely tough time by the hard hitting Yoji Saito, and it will be interesting to see if being dropped twice by Saito will change his approach in the ring. Maeda on the other hand has had to create buzz about himself, winning the 2019 Rookie of the Year and putting in some very good performances since then. On paper Maeda will be the under-dog, but he should be regarded as a very, very live under-dog, and he certainly has the tools to ask serious questions of Kimura.
The main event will see former Japanese 140lb champion Masahiro Suzuki (7-0, 4) look to become a 2-weight champion as he takes on Shu Utsuki (9-0, 7) in a bout for the Japanese Lightweight title. Of the two men Suzuki is the more proven, and the better natural boxer. He moves around the ring easier, and things look more fluid for him, however Utsuki is a heavy handed pressure fighter who will be looking to get to Suzuki, use his superior physicality and break him down. This one could end up being something a little bit special, with skills against power, and the styles clash should deliver something really exciting. Especially if Suzuki gets off to a good start before Utsuki begins to time him with power shots. The winner of this will pick up the title that was vacated in 2021 by Shuichiro Yoshino, and we dare say the winner will begin to actively chase a bout with Yoshino in the next year or two. Our in depth preview of this bout can be read here Suzuki and Utsuki face off for Japanese title