May 22, 2014

Former Olympic gold medalist, unbeaten middleweight prospect Ryota Murata (3-0, 3 KOs) (right) will take on Mexican Jesus Nerio (12-3, 6 KOs) in his fourth pro bout today (Thursday) in Kyoto, Japan. Yesterday Murata, a 28-year-old six-footer, tipped the beam at 161.5 to 160 for Nerio under a 162-pound catchweight contest. In a supporting windup, WBC#9 ranked bantam Cristian Esquivel will face unbeaten local rookie Shohei Omori over eight.

We, in Japan, make it a rule to annually celebrate Boxing Day on May 19, since our first world champion Yoshio Shirai captured the belt from Dado Marino on the day in 1952. Many former and current champions gathered at the Korakeun Hall, the regular venue where majority of our bouts take place, to engage in public sparring sessions between champs, charity show, etc. Iwao Hakamada, a Japanese Hurricane Carter who was lately released out of prison after 48 years, was awarded WBC honorary belt rendered by the new president Mauricio Sulaiman through the hand of ex-WBC/WBA minimum champ and president of club-owners union Hideyuki Ohashi. Hakamada, 78, looked very happy to be back to the ring of the Hall and receive the belt in hand.

On this coming Sunday (May 25), WBC female flyweight champion Go Shindo will put her belt on the line against Thai challenger Kledpetch Lookmuangkarn in Wakayama, Japan. For Shindo, it will be her second defense since dethroning Renata Szebeledi of Hungary a year ago.

On July 7, in Tokyo, WBA female superfly titleholder unbeaten Naoko Fujioka will risk her belt against OPBF champ Tomoko Kawanishi, a Carlos Zarate stylist with her advantageous height and reach, in a highly anticipated encounter of compatriots.

On July 21, up-and-coming OPBF 122-pound champ Shingo Wake, a fast-punching southpaw, will make a herofs return to his native Okayama, Japan, where he will cope with OPBF top-ranked Korean titlist Jaesung Lee with his regional belt at stake before his partisan crowd.


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