Just 6 months after Ryo Okayama had been left flat on his back courtesy of Koji Numata he faced his second successive former Japanese champion, Yuki Nonaka. As with the bout against Numata we ended up seeing Okayama failing to cope with his opponent, though this time around he did last a bit longer and didn't end up in such a bad state as he did against Numata.
Nonaka, one of Japanese more skilled fighters around Middleweight, seemed to do as he wished with Okayama took control of the fight relatively early though was fighting someone with similar hand speed to himself giving him some issues at times. The speed of Okayama however didn't really help him avoid the shots and in round 6 he was put under heavy pressure forcing the referee to save Okayama.
The performance from Nonaka again saw him showing off his speed, skills and movement though also saw him showing some spite late on, something he has lacked at times in his great career.
Not every fighter is world class and it's fair suggest that no one would ever describe Koji Numata as a world class fighter. Despite that every fighter does have their level and Numata's level is likely at the top of the Japanese domestic scene, afterall he is a former Japanese Welterweight champion.
Numata's reign as the Japanese champion did come back in 2008 though he has continued on with mixed success as his limited skills have allowed some fighters to beat him whilst his power has managed to take out others.
One man to feel his power was Ryo Okayama who lasted less than 4 rounds with Numata last December before being left flat on his back and looking in some trouble as his team got to him.
It wasn't the most amazing of KO's but it was a solid one for Numata who was looking to revive his dreams of getting a second OPBF title fight, having previously lost to Charlie Ota in an OPBF Light Middleweight title bout.
Whilst the win was a good one for Numata it did seem to begin a down fall for Okayama who was later stopped, in 6 rounds, by the talented but light punching Yuki Nonaka.
In our eyes one of Japan's most under-rated fighters is southpaw boxer Yuki Nonaka who appears to be regularly over-looked. One of the reasons Nonaka doesn't seem to get the respect he deserves is his lack of power, as a boxer he really does seem to have everything else with nice speed, shots, movement and understanding of the ring.
Even without power Nonaka has scored some pretty good stoppages including his solid one against Thai journeyman Ekapop Mor Krungthep Thonburee that appeared to come from the placement of a shot as opposed to a power of a show.
The bout, an absolute mismatch from the moment it was signed, was finished with a body shot that seemed to sent Ekapop on his way whilst Nonaka landed a head shot whilst the Thai was on his way down. We can't pretend it was a good fight but it against show off the skills of Nonaka who is a very tidy boxer and has caught out eye a few times now for performances like this.
(We are sorry for the silent sections of this video, it's not an issue with the video but the copyright of the company who own the recording)
When we talk about the most dominant world champions in boxing we need to mention WBC Bantamweight champion Shinsuke Yamanaka. Since winning his world title back in November 2011 with an 11th round TKO against Christian Esquivel he has defended the belt 6 times with 5 of those bouts ending in T/KO and no one really coming close to beating the Japanese fighter.
Yamanaka's most recent defence came against Belgium's former European champion Stephane Jamoye and the Japanese fighter really did as he pleased dominating a usually tough fighter who was dropped 4 times before eventually being stopped in round 9.
The performance, whilst great on paper, did in a way make Yamanaka look like a 1-trick pony at times. Time and time again he was lining up his thunderous left hand though at the end of the day he was using it to great effect and it seemed that almost every time he landed he was hurting the visiting fighter who was unable to adapt. The fact Jamoye couldn't change his game plan, at all, allowed Yamanaka to do what he was doing. It is worth noting however that when pushed in other fights Yamanaka has shown an ability to adapt.
We are awaiting to hear who Yamanaka will be defending his belt against next time out though it seems he will be back in October to defend against a highly ranked challenger. Hopefully that bout will be more compelling than this one which was simply too one sided.
Over the years it's been rare for domestic fights in Japan to get rave reviews in the west though one relatively recent bout did get rave reviews for both the action it contained and for the fighters it involved. That bout was the 2011 Japanese Bantamweight title fight between the then champion Shinsuke Yamanaka and the very highly touted Ryosuke Iwasa.
At the time neither man was a big name, in fact if anything Iwasa was the slightly bigger name with some in Japan tipping him as a potential star though Yamanaka was world ranked by the WBC and WBA at the time. This bout was Yamanaka's first defence but it was supposed to be Iwasa's coming out party and the fight that allowed him to announce himself as a legitimate future champion. What we ended up getting however was a bout that help both men increase their standing in the sport whilst also seeing Yamanaka defend his belt to remain unbeaten.
The fight started somehwat slowly with both trying to establish their jabs in the opening minute or so. From then on however it became a fast paced but highly skilled war with the two men unloading when openings arose, and there was plenty of openings. The action and power of both men seemed to take it's toll at various points with Yamanaka notable shaken in round 2 and Iwasa coming apart late in the bout as he began to tire out.
Despite the loss for the then 21 year old Iwasa he still impressed showing good skills, a lot of heart and real fighting spirit, all things that helped "Eagle Eye" win over fans. For Yamanaka this win helped boost him up the world rankings and in his very next fight he would go on to stop Christian Esquivel for the WBC world title, a title he still holds today. As for Iwasa he would go on to win both the Japanese and OPBF titles and the general view is that he will go on to claim a world title at some point.
(Video courtesy of Gyuzen Meet the Meat Channel)
Prior to 2011 very, very few people knew who Shinsuke Yamanaka was. In 2011 however Yamanaka took his chance to announce himself to the wider boxing public courtesy of 2 fights. The first of those was his thrilling victory over compatriot Ryosuke Iwasa which managed to become a bit of an internet hit with fans around the world and some put it up there as a FOTY contender.
The second was his world title winning effort against against Mexico's Christian Esquivel, a bout that saw both men competing for the previously vacant WBC Bantamweight title. This was the bout that showed Yamanaka was more than just a Japanese level fighter, in fact it was a bout that showed Yamanaka was a world class puncher with dynamite in his left hand, great timing and and understated knowledge of distance, something that is often forgotten about him. Yamanaka's thunderous power was first on show in round 6 when he dropped the Mexican very late in the round to secure a 10-8 round. Although Yamanaka himself was down the following round he never looked hurt, though Esquivel did, several times in the round.
In round 11 and whilst way up on the score cards Yamanaka went for the fan pleasing ending and managed to get it after dropping Esquivel for a second time in the round. Prior to the stoppage the Mexican looked in real trouble and Yamanka spotted it immediately. Since this win Yamanaka has proven his ability time and time again with numerous defences and is now regarded by many as the premier Bantamweight on the planet. For Esquiviel this has been 1 of 3 painful visits to Japan and he has since been stopped by Malcolm Tunacao and Shohei Omori.
(Video, which is in Spanish, is courtesy of Boxeo De Gala)
It's not often that we get all-Asian fights on US soil and even rarer are they world title fights. In 2014 however we had one such contest as "El Mexicanito" Tomoki Kameda successfully defended his WBO Bantamweight title with an excellent and very impressive victory over former champion Pungluang Sor Singyu.
Going in to the bout both men were making their US debuts and for some fans this was the first chance they had had the chance to see any of the Kameda brothers in action. Tomoki went into the bout with the intent of spreading the Kameda name and he did exactly that as he scored one the most eye catching body shot KO's of the year putting the tough Thai down in pure agony.
Following this win Kameda inked a deal with American "advisor" Al Haymon and appears to have done what was needed to secure himself a great future stateside. For Pungluang however this loss will likely dump him down the pecking order.
(Video courtesy of boxingfan778)
The quick rise through the ranks of Naoya Inoue has been incredible and earlier this year he became the quickest Japanese fighter to win a world title by stopping Adrian Hernandez in 6 rounds. On the same show fans also had the chance to see Naoya's younger brother Takuma Inoue in action as he scored a genuinely amazing victory over Fahlan Sakkreerin Jr.
This was Inoue's second professional bout and he was already competing in 8 rounders and even more impressively he was doing it against a world ranked foe in the form of Sakkreerein who had, just a few months earlier, taken out former world champion Ryo Miyazaki in one of the biggest upsets, at least on paper, of 2013.
Sakkreerin had been universally ranked by the 4 world organisations, he had had previous 5 and in terms of experience he was far superior to Inoue who had fought just 6 professional rounds. None of these things helped the Thai however as Inoue out boxed him to a clear 8 round victory that helped Inoue claim several world rankings. The performance wasn't as impressive as his brothers but the 18 year old Takuma made it clear that he, just like Naoya, was a super talent.
(Footage courtesy of gentidori)
When a young prospect bursts on to the scene we tend to follow their rise through the ranks with the knowledge that we could be in with a long wait until we see them fight someone with a pulse. That was never the case with Naoya Inoue who seemed to be on the fast track to the top from the day he fought his public test bout with Masayuki Kuroda.
In just his 6th bout Inoue stepped up to the plate and took on a man many viewed as the best Light Flyweight champion, WBC champion Adrian Hernandez. Hernandez was 2-time world champion who had been enjoying an 18 month reign going into this bout and had gone 8-1 in world title bouts. None of that helped him however against Inoue who showed that his skills were legit.
The fight started excellently for Inoue who took the first 3 rounds with no problems and actually bust the eye of Hernandez who looked less like the champion and more like a novice pro. It wasn't until round 5 that Inoue looked under any sort of pressure but even then fought fire with fire and stood his ground as a desperate Hernandez put up a valiant challenge. By then though it really was the last act of a man who could feel his title slipping and in the following round Inoue showed that he has world class power by stopping Hernandez late in round 6. It wasn't just that Inoue had stopped Hernandez but had actually made Hernandez quit that was arguably the most impressive part of the fight.
With the win Hernandez became the quickest Japanese fighter to ever win a world title, just 6 fights, breaking the previous record of 7 fights held by Kazuto Ioka. This lead to many fans talking up an Ioka/Inoue fight though at the moment that looks some way from happening.
It's fair to say that if Japanese star youngster Naoya Inoue has struggled in a bout so far it was his bout with Ryoichi Taguchi for the Japanese Light Flyweight title. Amazingly since then he has looked nothing short of a spiteful and destructive fighter with fighting tenacity of a demon looking to dismantle opponents quickly and impressively.
The first post-Taguchi bout that Inoue was involved in saw him taking on Filipino fighter Jerson Mancio for the then vacant OPBF Light Flyweight title. Mancio was supposed to be a good test for the 20 year old Inoue but in the end looked like a fighter completely out of his depth. In fact by the end of the opening round Mancio looked like he was in for a painful night.
Inoue, in many ways, dropped some of the movement from his style for this fight, held his feet more and looked to get everything on his shots. This meant even the shots that hit the guard of Mancio seemed to force him backwards. It was little wonder, considering how nasty a lot of Inoue's shots looked, that Mancio was dropped early, going down in round 2. The Filipino then did well to survive the onslaught of Inoue who made it clear he didn't want to hear the final bell.
Inoue made sure that Mancio didn't see the final bell though, to the credit of the Filipino, it did take until round 5 for Inoue to finally close the show as he began teeing off with power shots that forced the referee to step in.
For those who spotted the young gentleman chewing gum at 10:20 that was Naoya's brother, Takuma Inoue, himself a very promising prospect. Earlier on the same show Takuma had made his debut and defeated Tatsuya Fukuhara.
Here we include some of the best, most interesting, most exciting or most eye catching videos from around the Asian boxing world.