Sidney Boquiren recaps Monday's Champion Carnival action (undercard details, plus more news, after the jump). For more Japanese boxing updates, you can follow Sidney on twitter: RingwalkNippon@Twitter
In the featherweight leg of the Champion Carnival, former world title challenger Satoshi Hosono successfully made the first defense of the crown he won three months prior with a unanimous decision over Kazumasa Kihara. Though the 27-year old prospect won by a fairly safe margin on the scorecards (98-92 twice, 97-93), it was hardly an easy outing as the awkward challenger made for a rather exasperating ten rounds.
Unable to contain the ever-moving Kihara, particularly in the first half of the bout, the champ’s offense was limited to one blow at a time. It was only around the sixth frame, with fatigue setting in both combatants, that Hosono began to find opportunities to throw combinations. The eighth was arguably the beltholder’s best, trapping Kihara in corners and along the ropes and ripping the challenger’s body. For a moment, it seemed we might see "Bazooka" unload on the fading Kihara, but the champ could not keep the pressure up and had to settle for the decision.
Hosono advanced to 19-1 (13KO), chalking up his third consecutive win since suffering the first setback of his pro career. Since that close points loss to Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym last January, the return to his original division has produced the right numbers for his record, but has not met the high-expectations set by his battle with the Thai stud. A blowout of a mismatched novice fighter and a decision over a journeyman who was 1-2-2 in his last five are not exactly the types of career-boosting performances for which one would hope. Hosono is clearly a talented boxer-puncher with decent power, and this writer would have given him even odds at beating newly crowned Akifumi Shimoda if he could make the weight. However, tonight’s show suggested that the prospect still has a few things he needs to improve before another run at a world title.
On the undercard, Hosono’s gymmate Ryuji Hara (6-0, 4KO) looked very sharp in stopping a Thai opponent (whose name I will not attempt to try and reproduce from the Japanese translation). A former star in the amateur ranks, the 20-year old appears to be a solid technician with good footwork and a high boxing IQ, and he was particularly impressive in the methodical and economical means in which he stalked his opponent. A left hook at the end of a three-punch salvo put the visiting fighter on the canvas at the 1:00 mark of the fourth. The follow-up barrage, which included several hard left hooks and straight rights in succession, forced the referee to step in and rescue the Thai.
Hara is currently ranked #8 by the JBC. Check out a clip of his fight in December during the rookie tournament here. His opponent, Shuhei Ito, was 9-0 at the time and fights out of the same gym as Hozumi Hasegawa. The stoppage is somewhat premature, but there is some nice action going both ways in the clip. (And yes, the amount of leather he eats in the clip contradicts my glowing comments on his skills above…)
Daiki Kameda to return in April
Former WBA flyweight champ Daiki Kameda will make his first appearance after vacating the title as he is scheduled for a bout in Okinawa on April 2. An opponent has not been set, but Kameda will likely square off with an opponent ranked by the Panamanian organization at 115-pounds.
For more coverage of Japanese boxing, follow Sidney on Twitter: RingwalkNippon@Twitter