Japan’s Youth Tournament Finals, Second Day

By Joe Koizumi
Photos by Naoki Fukuda

This long-time reporter since 1964 wonders who and how our Japanese frontrunners will be in five years. Probably our current twelve world champions may change or fade out after attaining fame and fortune through their campaigns, and we may see newcomers coming out to be our new heroes.

We witnessed the second day of the first Japan’s Youth Tournament finals in three additional classes on Wednesday in Tokyo, Japan. It’s fortunate for us to be able to see such bright prospects exchange hot rallies each other with future champions victorious in front of roaring spectators at the Hall.

In the flyweight category, unbeaten southpaw youngster Junto Nakatani (13-0, 10 KOs), 112, won the tourney by collecting another victim in previously unbeaten and prefight favorite Yuri Seigo Akui (11-1-1, 7 KOs), 112, via fine TKO victory at 2:01 of the sixth session in a scheduled eight. The taller and technical southpaw Nakatani took the initiative from the second round on, and controlled the contest as it progressed to accelerate his attack and have the referee intervene to save the helpless loser. JBC#14/OPBF#7 Nakatani may zoom up soon if he should take a punch. The lanky southpaw was named Best Tournament winner.

The bantam final saw lanky southpaw sharpshooter Wataru Takeda (11-1-1, 5 KOs), 118, acquire the belt when he kept accurately connecting with solid lefts and well-timed rights to Yuto Nakamura (7-4, 6 KOs), 117.75, and finally halted him at 1:48 of the eighth and final session. Takeda, tall and fast, proved too much for the slower hard-puncher to impress the crowd. He sharply landed southpaw lefts like ex-WBC ruler Shinsuke Yamanaka and displayed his good reflexes. Should he be durable or physically grow up, Takeda, 23, will climb up a ladder to the top in the near future.

In the 122-pound division, hard-punching Takuya Mizuno (12-1-1, 11 KOs), 121.5, furiously mixed it up with physically stronger Ryota Ishida (8-2, 6 KOs), 122, to be awarded a split verdict (77-75 twice, 76-77) over eight hard-fought rounds. It’s truly a give-and-take affair with Mizuno showing his last surge down the stretch.

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