By Joe Koizumi
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
In a show featuring six bouts, four were cancelled chiefly because of coronavirus infections of the participants and only two games took place on Saturday at the Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan. As the scheduled main event of Shokichi Iwata (6-0, 4 KOs) and Rikito Shiba (5-1, 3 KOs) in quest of the vacant Japanese 108-pound belt resulted in a cancellation due to Iwata’s testing positive for the PCR test at the weigh-in (though both made weight), Teiken Promotions quickly declared the incomplete show to be free by having all the already sold tickets refunded. The slated semi-windup became the main event with JBC#1 Yuki Nagano (19-3, 15), 147.25, demolishing #2 and ex-WBO AP ruler Yuki Beppu (21-3-1, 20 KOs), 146.75, at 0:51 of the fifth round in an eight-round eliminator to decide the next mandatory challenger to the national welterweight champ Keita Obara.
Their first encounter saw Nagano victorious over the hard-hitting Beppu on points in October 2018. Nagano, a taller southpaw, repeated a triumph over his grudge rival, scoring four knockdowns (each once in the third and the fourth, twice more in the fatal fifth) prior to the third man’s merciful stoppage. Nagano will be entitled to have a shot at the national 147-pound belt against Keita Obara whom he had forfeited his JBC title via seventh round TKO in October of the previous year.
The curtain raiser witnessed a sensational rookie named Eigoro Akai, 159.25, fail to deck his pro debut as he was halted by Minori Okamura, 159.75, at 2:24 of the opening session in a four round bout. Eigoro is the son of former world title challenger and currently famous actor Hidekazu Akai, who had an ambitious but unsuccessful crack at Bruce Curry for the WBC 140-pound belt in 1983. A good many media paid great attention to the son’s first participation in the paid ranks. Eigoro will try again, hopefully.
Promoter: Teiken Promotions.
Attendance: 482 (with the JBC’s regulation).