Last year we had the honour of being the streaming partner, in association with CBC, for the WBO Flyweight title bout between Kosei Tanaka (12-0, 7) [田中恒成] and Sho Kimura (17-2-2, 10) [木村翔].

Today that very bout has been announced as the Best Fight at the Japanese boxing awards, which were held at the Tokyo Dome Hotel.

The bout was an incredible 12 round battle that gained international respect for the none-stop action and the fantastic skills, toughness and heart of both men. It was none-stop action and proved to be something that put both men on the map internationally.

Today the two fighters posed happily with each other for photographs, explained that a friendship had grown and looked like men with real respect for each other whilst being honoured for their incredible bout.

Article via

Photo credit: Naoki Fukuda

By Thomas Gerbasi

On paper, it may look easy. Three titles in three weight classes in 12 fights, all at the age of 23. But that’s not the way it’s gone for Kosei Tanaka, who had visited the deck twice and gone through hell with Rangsan Chayanram en route to his perfect record. And that was all before he earned that third title and 12th win on September 24.

He should have expected 12 rounds of hell when he was matched against WBO flyweight champion Sho Kimura. And if he didn’t, he got it anyway, with the result being BoxingScene’s 2018 Fight of the Year.

Like the 2006 Fight of the Year between Somsak Sithchatchawal and Mayhar Monshipour, this was one for the diehards, the folks who have no problem getting up at four in the morning to watch a prizefight. Often, that dedication goes unrewarded. In this case, it was worth any lost sleep as two fighters in different segments of their careers combined for a special bout that was a reminder of all that is good in the sport.

With the surprisingly raucous crowd at Takeda Teva Ocean Arena in Nagoya firmly in the corner of their unbeaten local hero, Tanaka tried to set the tone early with rapid-fire jabs and quick combinations. Kimura, despite having just 21 pro bouts at the age of 30, is the definition of grizzled vet, and he tried to make it a fight, digging in with body punches as the two stood in the pocket.

The pocket was where the fight stayed for most of the 12 rounds. No battles in the corner or along the ropes, virtually no need for referee Mark Nelson to get involved. Tanaka and Kimura were determined to take care of their own business, clinches replaced by forehead to forehead breaks where they briefly recharged for the next exchange.

And though Tanaka held the edge early on, even staggering Kimura late in the second round, Kimura refused to give ground, and he just kept throwing punches. The grind suited Kimura, while Tanaka tried different approaches to keep his foe at bay. In the fourth, the hometown favorite sat down on his punches, and swelling began to show on the champion’s face, but he was undeterred.

A look at Tanaka between rounds saw a young man who knew he was in a fight, and with several frames to go, it had to be a daunting prospect to know his night was far from over. Yet by round six, Tanaka made the adjustments he needed to, and with lateral movement and slick defense, he found the formula he needed to surge ahead, and entering the championship rounds, he was comfortably ahead.

But championship rounds are presumably when champions show their mettle, and Kimura fought like someone who had no intention of giving his title away. In the 12th, the two teed off on each other with right hands, followed by an emptying of the tank by Kimura, who would ultimately lose his belt by scores of 116-112, 115-113 and 114-114.

It wasn’t Gatti-Ward or Corrales-Castillo in terms of action. The drama was subtle, not obvious. But those who appreciate John Coltrane over Cardi B understood that Tanaka-Kimura was boxing at its best.


Jarrett Hurd-Erislandy Lara
The drama in this unification bout was evident, as it took a 12th round knockdown by Hurd to earn him the split decision win in a fight that confirmed Hurd as the kind of fighter that can make a fight with any opponent exciting.

Murat Gassiev-Yuniel Dorticos
The beauty of the World Boxing Super Series was fights like this one, pitting two unbeatens against each other in a tournament format. Gassiev ultimately put himself in the final against Aleksandr Usyk, but not before getting pushed to the limit by Dorticos until three knockdowns in the last round gave Gassiev the win.

Canelo Alvarez-Gennady Golovkin 2
Rematches rarely surpass the original, but Alvarez’ redemptive win over Golovkin after the controversy of the previous year was a fight worth celebrating as the two best middleweights in the world sat in the pocket and played a brand of violent chess that thrilled fans around the globe, even those that didn’t agree with the decision.

Deontay Wilder-Luis Ortiz
The first gut check of Wilder’s career wasn’t Tyson Fury, but Ortiz, who gave the still raw WBC champion all he could handle in March before “The Bronze Bomber” went back to his old reliable power to end the fight with a pair of knockdowns in the tenth round.

Vasyl Lomachenko-Jorge Linares
High-level from start to finish, Lomachenko passed his stiffest test with style, rising from the canvas in the sixth round to halt Linares in the tenth stanza.

Alex Saucedo-Lenny Zappavigna
Saucedo appeared to be cruising to a victory in front of his hometown fans in Oklahoma City in June, dropping game, but seemingly outgunned Lenny Z in the third round. Then Zappavigna hurt and nearly stopped Saucedo in the fourth, and all of a sudden, an instant classic was born, one ultimately won by Saucedo via seventh-round TKO.–135093

In a month that saw Canelo Alvarez defeat Gennady Golovkin and Anthony Joshua knock out Alexander Povetkin at Wembley Stadium, it was Sho Kimura and Kosei Tanaka who may have stolen the show with what may end up as the best boxing fight of the year.

In an all-action fight that never saw a dull moment, Tanaka captured the WBO Flyweight title with a majority decision win over Kimura. Tanaka won on two of the judges’ scorecards with scores of 116-112 and 115-113 while the third judge had the fight even at 114-114.

Both Kimura and Tanaka wasted zero time getting to the action as the first round had both men throwing dozens of power punches. Tanaka initially overwhelmed Kimura with combinations starting with the left jab and ending it with a big right jab. Tanaka, on the other hand, established an offense that saw him primarily try to take down Kimura with hundreds of body punches and uppercuts.

It was Tanaka who initially had the upper hand, hurting Kimura in the second round with a right jab, but the champion quickly bounced back and continued working the body. Over the course of the next few rounds, Kimura would start breaking down Tanaka with the aforementioned body shots.

Despite getting slowed down just a bit by Kimura’s body shots, Tanaka continued to press forward, still throwing vicious combinations. While Kimura tried to fight Tanaka at close range, the challenger wanted to keep his distance a bit and throw the lead right to Kimura. The fight never slowed down with neither fighter taking a round to rest up or simply play defense. At most, the fight had only a couple of clinches and the referee stopping the action at times with Kimura leaning forward and almost headbutting Tanaka, though no foul was ever committed.

The last couple of rounds saw both fighters still throwing every punch imaginable at each other with both faces swelling up from the constant punishment. In the last round, there was a moment where both men threw a single right jab to each other four straight times simulated which sent the crowd at the Takeda Teva Ocean Arena in Nagoya, Japan in a frenzy. By the end, both men were exhausted and unsure of who won the fight.

Kimura now continues his dominance over the lower weight classes after having won world titles at 105 and 108 pounds. Kimura won the WBO minimumweight title in 2015 in his fifth pro fight and then would hold the WBO light flyweight title from 2016 to 2017, making three total title defense across the two previous world title reigns.

The loss ends Kimura’s reign as the WBO champion at nearly 14 months. Kimura won the title last year in China when he scored a minor upset victory over Zou Shiming when Tanaka managed to stop Shiming in the 11th round despite being down on two of the three judges’ scorecards. After successfully defending the title on the annual Japanese New Year’s boxing supercard, Kimura returned to China last July to knock out Froilan Saludar to retain the title a second time, setting up the showdown with Tanaka.

The 23-year old Tanaka also made history with the victory over Kimura. Tanaka became the third-youngest fighter in history to win a world title in three weight classes behind Tony Canzoneri and Wilfredo Benitez. Tanaka also tied the record set by Vasiliy Lomachenko for winning a title in three divisions in the fewest amounts of pro fights fought at 12.


The next world boxing championship fight in Japan will take place on Monday, September 24 at Takeda Teva Ocean Arena in the city of Nagoya, the capital of the province of Aichi, where the Japanese Flyweight world champion of the World Boxing Organization (WBO), the visitor from Tokyo, Sho Kimura (17-1-2 / 10KOs) is going to face the unbeaten Japan’s world # 1 ranked contender and former WBO 105 and 108 pounds world champion Kosei Tanaka (11-0 / 7KOs).

For Sho Kimura, it will be his third title defense, which he conquered in July of 2017 in Shanghai, China, when he defeated by tko in the eleventh round Chinese Shiming Zou, who is a former two-time Olympic champion, and also beat former WBC world champion, and former Olympian Toshiyuki Igarashi through TKO in the ninth round and in his last fight in July 2018 in China, precisely in Qingdao city of Shandong Province, Kimura scored a KO victory in the sixth round over Filipino Froilán Saludar.

Sho Kimura managed to ascend the world throne as the Flyweight king of the WBO in surprise form thanks to his brave and dynamic boxing endowed with endless stamina and durability. It dropped bomb of surprise in world boxing when Sho Kimura ended the reign of Chinese Shiming Zou in China against all expectations. The sports hero of the Chinese people Shimig Zou was victimized by Sho Kimura’s furious attacks.

This occasion, based on his chanting bravery, Sho Kimura is going to defend his title against undefeated local rising double world champion in different divisions Kosei Tanaka, who now calls the powerful intention of Japanese sports journalism to see if this ex-amateur boxer from the city of Nagoya is able to conquer his third world title in his twelfth professional fight to be the world record holder of boxing in order to get faster with less number of fights to become triple world champion in different categories by matching the great Vasyl Lomachenko.

Sho Kimura declares that he will have to finish the fight in high fashion with the attempt of Kosei Tanaka, who is going to throw himself with all surrender to battle with Sho Kimura to defeat him at all costs for the sake of becoming a three-division world champion.

When he was WBO Jr. Flyweight world champion, Kosei Tanaka was able to defend his crown for the first time by defeating by unanimous decision (117-110, 117-110, 116-111) the Puerto Rican Angel “Tito” Acosta, who lost his undefeated, but, now Acosta is the current WBO Jr. Flyweight Champion.

Kosei Tanaka started learning Karate from her childhood as a kinder. When he was the fifth year of elementary school, he started practicing boxing and was a Japanese high school champion.

In 2013, he made the leap to professionalism as a representative of Hatanaka Boxing Gym of Nagoya. His manager-promoter is former world super bantamweight champion Kiyoshi Hatanaka, who was proclaimed super bantam king of the WBC in February 1991 in Nagoya by knocking out in the eighth round the Argentine Pedro Decima and after four months, lost the crown to Mexican Daniel Zaragoza in Nagoya.

Kosei Tanaka was crowned the WBO Mini-Flyweight world champion by winning the Mexican Julián “El Artillero” Yedras by decision in 2015 in the city of Komaki in the province of Aichi for vacant title. Kosei Tanaka won the world crown in his fifth professional fight, which is the mark of Japanese boxing history in terms of the fastest conquest of a world title with less number of matches.

He resigned from the WBO Mini-Flyweight (105lbs) World title to then won the WBO Jr. Flyweight (108lbs) world title in 2016 when he triumphantly came out victorious by TKO in the fifth round over Mexican Moisés Fuentes in the city of Gifu for vacant crown. It was his eighth professional fight with which entered the history of Japanese boxing as a record for becoming fastest two-division champion with less number of fights.

In November 2017, Kosei Tanaka opted to leave the WBO Jr. Flyweight world title after two full defenses with his sights set on conquering the Flyweight (112lbs) world title.

Last March in the city of Nagoya, Kosei Tanaka made his first fight as a flyweight boxer and liquidated by TKO in the ninth round Filipino Ronnie Baldonado.

Photo by BoxingBeat

In just over 2 weeks we’ll see the highly anticipated WBO Flyweight world title match up between defending champion Sho Kimura (17-1-2, 10) [木村翔] mandatory challenger Kosei Tanaka (11-0, 7) [田中恒成].

For the last 2 weeks Kimura has been taking part in a Thai training camp, doing 4 minute rounds and working incredibly hard on improving his stamina. He was not only sparring with top Thai talent but also Japanese Flyweight champion Masayuki Kuroda (30-7-3, 16) [黒田 雅之] .

Today the world champion returned to Japan, ending the training camp in Thailand, and he has no injuries despite a lot of intensive and hard sparring.

Despite ending his Thai camp the fighter has certainly not finished his preparation for Tanaka and stated that he would be back in the gym to focus on sparring and weight loss. It seems clear the the rest of his training will see him further working on developing the game plan to defeat Tanaka, with his stamina and mental toughness being a big part of that game plan.

(Image courtesy of

Unbeaten two-division world champ Kosei Tanaka (11-0, 7 KOs), the enfant terrible in Japan, will make a mandatory shot at the WBO Flyweight belt against compatriot Sho Kimura (17-1-2, 10 KOs) in Nagoya, Japan, on September 24. It was announced by his promoter/manager Kiyoshi Hatanaka, ex-WBC 122-pound titlist, on Tuesday. Kimura, fresh from his second defense over Froilan Saludar via sixth round knockout in China last Friday, didn’t appear in the press conference, but will make his own in Tokyo later.

Should Tanaka win the third world belt in his twelfth bout, it will tie the record of Vasyl Lomachenko. But Hi-Tech suffered the one and only setback to Orlando Salido in his second pro outing, while Tanaka may achieve the establishment with an unblemished mark.

Tanaka, a Chukyo university student, acquired his first 105-pound belt when he, in his fifth bout, unanimously outscored Julian Yedras in May 2015. The fast-developing Kosei gained his second 108-pound throne by halting Moises Fuentes in his eighth game on New Year’s Eve in 2016. Having outgrown the junior flyweight category, he now aims at his third belt in the 112-pound category.

Tanaka said, “Kimura is a strong champion with physical strength and will power. But I’ll knock him out to win my third belt.” Kimura, in every fight, improved his strength, dethroning former Olympic gold medalist Shiming Zou and dispatching Froilan Saludar. It will be such a competitive matchup that we cannot predict who the victor will be.

Report and photo by Joe Koizumi

NAGOYA – Two-division champion Kosei Tanaka announced Tuesday he will challenge Sho Kimura for the World Boxing Organization flyweight belt on Sept. 24.

Tanaka (11-0, seven knockouts), who has previously held the WBO Mini Flyweight and Jr. Flyweights belts, will aim to add a third title at Kimura’s expense when the two meet at Nagoya’s Takeda Teva Ocean Arena.

“If I have a chance to win a title in a third division, I want to achieve it,” the 23-year-old Tanaka told a news conference at his gym.

The 29-year-old Kimura (17-1, 10 Os) retained his belt by beating Froilan Saludar of the Philippines by sixth-round knockout on Friday in Qingdao, China. It was his second defense of the title he won from China’s Zou Shiming last July.

Tanaka most recently defeated Filipino Ronnie Baldonado by TKO in a non-title fight in Nagoya on March 31.

In related news, Hidenori Otake (31-2-3, 14 KOs) is preparing to challenge the United Kingdom’s Isaac Dogboe (19-0, 13 KOs) for the WBO super bantamweight title.

The 37-year-old Otake, 37, the Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation super bantamweight champion, is scheduled to meet the 23-year-old Dogboe in Glendale, Arizona, on Aug. 25.

“If I lose, I will retire, so I’m definitely bringing home the title,” Otake said.

Sho Kimura makes the second defence of WBO flyweight belt when he faces Filipino Froilan Saludar in Quindao, China on Friday.

Kimura 16-1; was already 25-years-old when he made his pro debut in April 2013 and was knocked out in the first round.

However, he came back from this setback to win the WBO flyweight title with a eleventh round stoppage win over Shiming Zou in July 2017 and then made a successful defence against former WBC and The Ring magazine flyweight champion Toshiyuki Igarashi (tko 9) in his most recent fight in December 2017.

Saludar, 29, who has been fighting as a pro since February 2011 has compiled a record of 28-2-1; 19.

His two losses came against good fighters like McWilliams Arroyo (tko 2) and Takuma Inoue (pts 10).

He has a fair amount of experience winning the WBO Asia Pacific Youth and Oriental and Intercontinental Flyweight titles.

The other main organisation champions are WBC, Cristofer Rosales (Nicaragua), WBA, Artem Dalakian (Ukraine) and IBF vacant. mSpy is a mobile monitoring app that can be installed on your child’s phone, and allows you to monitor their phone calls, social media activity, instant messages, locations and a lot more. Once the app is installed on the phone, it runs in the background and completely hides itself. The app then monitors the child’s phone activity and sends reports to your online mSpy account that you can access from any device. This mSpy spy app review is an honest look at one of the world’s most popular spy apps. mSpy is the top selling parental control and monitoring app in the world. mSpy software monitors mobile phones and PC

On July 28, in Qingdao, Sho Kimura returns to the ring for the first time in 2018, to defend his World championship against Filipino challenger, Froilan Saludar.

Sho Kimura (16-1 / 9 KOs) started his boxing career at 25, later than most fighters do. Despite suffering a KO loss in his debut, he quickly bounced back, earning 11 wins and 2 draws within 3 years. In 2016 he faced undefeated Masahiro Sakamoto (8-0*) for the vacant WBO Asia Pacific Flyweight title. After 12 rounds of back and forth action, Kimura got the majority decision and the gold.

However, his real test came in last year’s July, when he challenged Shiming Zou for the WBO World Flyweight championship. Zou, with a record of 9-1 at the time, was a 3-time World Amateur champion and a 2-time Olympic champion, with victories over the likes of future WBC Silver Bantamweight title holder Nordine Oubaali and WBO Intercontinental & European flyweight champion Paddy Barnes. Kimura was coming in as the underdog and was even fighting the champion in his own country. On paper, Zou was going to walk through the Japanese contender, as he had already bested much more experienced fighters as a pro, like Luis de la Rosa (23-3*), Prasitsak Phaprom (28-0*) and Prasitsak Phaprom (40-1*). In a shocking turn of events, Kimura dominated the match in every single round while going for the kill in the 11th, as he blasted Zou with a plethora of body shots and when the Chinese was at his weakest, he nailed him in the head 20 consecutive times to get the TKO win and to finally become the World champion.

Kimura made his triumphant return to Japan, on December of 2017, defending against the former WBC, The Ring and Lineal Flyweight World champion Toshiyuki Igarashi (23-2*) at Ota-City General Gymnasium. Once again, he was facing a great amateur boxer (77-18) and just like Zou, a well-versed rival, who already owned wins over strong boxers like Wilbert Uicab (33-5*), former World champion Sonny Boy Jaro (34-10*) and Nestor Daniel Narvaes (19-0*). Kimura, much like his previous bout, surprised the crowd with his physical prowess and technique, outclassing Igarashi. The fight picked up in the 8th round where both men were swinging for the fences, bringing the fans on their feet. Kimura delivered a vicious combination during the 9th that stunned Igarashi and rendered him unable to respond, leaving no option for the referee but to stop the match.

More at:

By – George Delis (@Delisketo )

Whoever comes out of the upcoming Sho Kimura-Froilan Saludar WBO flyweight title fight next week already has a date with a formidable former champion awaiting them.

Kimura and Saludar, who will meet July 27 in Qingdao, China, will be fighting for one of the 112-pound world title belts, but also for the obligation to stand opposite former two-division champion and mandatory challenger Kosei Tanaka on September 24 in Nagoya, Japan.

Kenneth Rontal, promoter of the Philippines-based Saludar, tells THE RING Saludar is motivated by the mandatory obligation, as it would give him an opportunity to pay Tanaka back for his brother Vic Saludar’s 2015 sixth-round knockout defeat to the unbeaten Japanese fighter.

“Froilan is very eager for the September fight to avenge his brother’s loss,” said Rontal.

Kimura (16-1-2, 9 knockouts) is making his second defense of the belt he won a year earlier with an upset of Zou Shiming, while Froilan Saludar (28-2-1, 19 KOs), who like Kimura is 29, has won five straight and will fight for a world title for the first time.

Saludar is hoping to have the same fate as Vic Saludar earlier this month, when he defeated Ryuya Yamanaka to win the WBO strawweight title in Japan.

Head trainer Michael Palacios likes the style clash, feeling it’s in his fighter’s favor.

“Froilan is a boxer-counterpuncher, and Kimura is a fighter-brawler who loves to move forward. It will be easy to target for Saludar who is called the Sniper,” said Palacios.

Tanaka (11-0, 7 KOs) had previously held the WBO strawweight and junior flyweight titles, and defeated Ronnie Baldonado by ninth round technical knockout in March in his flyweight debut.

The Saludar camp concluded sparring on Wednesday in General Santos City, Philippines and will leave Friday for Manila to train two days at the Penalosa Boxing Gym in Cubao (which is in the shadows of the Araneta Coliseum, site of the Thrilla in Manila) before heading to China on Monday.

Vic Saludar won’t be making the trip with them as he’s currently resting with his family.

“Two brothers, both challengers to capture world title (in the) same month, same year. It will be great for the Philippines and also for the team and our family,” said Palacios.

Ryan Songalia is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and can be reached at

In another historic first for Philippine boxing, two brothers will fight for world title belts on the same month against Japanese champions.

Vic Saludar (17-3,10KO’s) will challenge WBO minimumweight champion Ryuya Yamanaka ( 16-2,5KO’s) on July 13 in Kobe, Japan. Then on July 27, Froilan Saludar (28-2-1,19KO’s) will go for the WBO flyweight title against reigning champion Sho Kimura (16-1-2,9KO’s) in Xiamen, China.

Yamanaka won the title last year by unanimous decision against countryman Tatsuya Fukuhara. This will be the second defense for Yamanaka, having stopped Mexican Moises Calleros in eight rounds last March.

Vic Saludar challenged Japanese Kosei Tanaka for the WBO world minimumweight title on New Year’s Eve 2015 and was leading on the scorecards and even knocked down the Japanese in round five before he succumbed to a hard body shot in the subsequent round. Vic has since gone 6W-1L since the Tanaka fight and is currently ranked number three in the June 2018 ratings of the WBO.

Froilan Saludar has scored five straight wins by KO/TKO since the loss to Japanese Takuma Inoue in a non-title bout two years ago. The June 2018 rankings of the WBO has him at number four.

Kimura is well known in China, having dethroned Chinese boxing hero Zou Shiming last year by 11th round TKO. He defended his title once against countryman Toshiyuki Igarashi last December by 9th round TKO.

This historic Japan vs Philippines match-up in July has been given the green light by the World Boxing Organization (WBO).

The Saludar brothers are managed by Kathy Rosillo and promoted by Kenneth Rontal. They are training in Gen.Santos City with coaches Michael John Palacio, Boy Donaire and Ariel Saludar. The China bout is promoted by Top King Promotions’ Wang Fei and Liu Gang.

By Rene Bonsubre, Jr.

Photo by

By Joe Koizumi
Photos by Naoki Fukuda

Newly crowned WBO flyweight champ Sho Kimura (16-1-2, 9 KOs), 112, retained his belt as he kept boring in, bloodied ex-Olympian Toshiyuki Igarashi (23-3-3, 12 KOs), 112, and scored a well-received TKO at 2:34 of the ninth round on Sunday in Tokyo, Japan. Having upset two-time Olympic champ Shiming Zou to capture the WBO belt in Shanghai last July, Kimura successfully scored his first defense over the more experienced mandatory challenger.

Igarashi, recently a frequent bleeder from his scar tissues, had red ribbon streaming from a cut over the left eyebrow in the third and from another over the right optic in the sixth. He was forced to go on fighting in a bloody mess. Kimura, 29, recklessly kept going forward with roundhouse shots, while Igarashi, 33, only kept circling and retreating without throwing effective punches to the onrushing champ.

Kimura showed his best in the eighth, when he caught the fading challenger with wild left hooks and looping right hooks to have him retreating to the ropes. The fatal ninth saw Kimura fully open his engine and batter him to the ropes with a flurry of punches, when the referee Katsuhiko Nakamura (Japan) wisely waved it off to save the loser. Prior to the stoppage, the official tallies were lopsided: Adalaide Bird (US) 80-72, Luis Ruiz (Puerto Rico) and Takeshi Shimakawa (Japan) both 79-73, all in favor of the defending champ.

Igarashi was a sole representative in boxing from Japan for the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004. He turned professional in Teiken Gym, the oldest stable here which has produced many champions, in 2006. The fast-handed southpaw once nicknamed “Supersonic” wrested the WBC flyweight belt by outspeeding and outfighting Filipino Sonny Boy Jaro and defended it against Argentine Nestor Narvaes, the younger brother of Omar, in 2012. But he, in his second defense, yielded it to a veteran compatriot with a fluctuating career Akira Yaegashi by an upset verdict 2013. He apparently made a mistake as he failed to utilize his potential speed on hand and foot but too recklessly swapped punches toe-to-toe only to be outpunched by the much shorter Yaegashi. Since then, four years and eight months passed for Igarashi to enter the squared circle in order to regain the world throne this time.

Sho Kimura, less talented than Igarashi on amateur credentials, began to learn boxing at the age of fifteen and only briefly boxed some contests in high school. He resumed boxing at 22, when he tasted a bitter defeat, a first round knockout by Shosuke Oji in his pro debut in 2013. Since then, Sho kept winning including a couple of draws. Technically not so superb, nor so power-punching, Kimura was only one of those club fighters. But his manager/trainer Masayuki Ariyoshi of Aoki Gym opened a way for Sho to acquire the vacant WBO Asia Pacific flyweight belt by eking out a majority decision over compatriot Masahiro Sakamoto in November of the previous year.

Rated by the WBO, Kimura was fortunately given an opportunity to face Chinese hero Shiming Zou with his WBO 112-pound belt on the line this July. Before his departure for Shanghai no one in Japan expected him to bring back the world belt by dethroning such a formidable champ as Zou, two-time Olympic gold medalist. But so did he. Trailing on points (94-96, 93-97 for Zou and 96-94 for Kimura), Sho made a do-or-die attack to the fading champ, desperately battered the Chinese and finally wore him down en route to an eleventh-round TKO loss. He’s truly a Cinderella man.

Even after his unexpected coronation Sho lives alone in a small apartment, works to deliver liquor from 7 AM to 3 PM and then regularly train at the Aoki Gym afterward.

The man who gave him only a defeat, Shosuke Oji (who retired after one pro fight with Kimura), was a southpaw. Kimura wasn’t good at fighting a southpaw opponent. After he decided to fight the southpaw mandatory challenger Igarashi, Kimura went abroad to train at Hong Kong and Thailand, where he had some 300 sparring sessions exclusively with southpaw partners. His efforts paid off well.

The badly bleeding and crestfallen loser Igarashi declared a farewell to boxing after this bitter defeat, saying, “I’m happy to be able to fight for the world championship in the end of my career. I already decided before the fight that I’ll hang up gloves if beaten.”

Boxing is sometimes a miniature of life. A year ago Sho Kimura was never expected to be a world champion, but once he took an opportunity in Shanghai, he opened the door for fame and fortune by himself. Having defeated a couple of excellent Olympians Zou and Igarashi, he thus became a different person with good confidence in himself.



Full Report: Kimura stops Olympian Igarashi

WBO champ Kimura to defend against Igarashi

By Joe Koizumi
Photos by Sumio Yamada

The third man means a referee in boxing terminology, but WBO flyweight champ Sho Kimura was the third champ whose participation in the New Year’s Eve tripleheader was announced last—separately on Tuesday. Kimura (15-1-2, 8 KOs) scored an upset to wrest the WBO belt from two-time Olympic gold medalist Shiming Zou in Shanghai this July, and will make his initial defense against top contender Toshiyuki Igarashi (23-2-3, 12 KOs), former WBC 112-pound titlist and also ex-Olympian, along with the title defenses of Ryoichi Taguchi and Hiroto Kyoguchi.

Zou claimed a direct rematch with Kimura to the WBO, but his request was turned down and Kimura decided to face the compatriot Igarashi, four years his senior at 33. It will be a competitive encounter of the aggressive champ and the skillful southpaw speedster. Since both are durable and determined, the combat will probably go the distance, which may be good for the TBS television that may prefer a longer drawing of TV audience’s attention.


WBO Resolution Zou Shiming Sho Kimura

Photo Caption: SHANGHAI, CHINA – JULY 28: Chinese boxer Zou Shiming in action against Japanese boxer Sho Kimura during WBO Championship Defending Fight between Zou Shiming and Sho Kimura on July 28, 2017 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)

WBO Championship Committee Resolution on the request of Zou Xuan Sports of China, on behalf of Zou Shiming against Sho Kimura regarding their July 28, 2017 WBO Flyweight Championship Bout
contested in Shanghai, China.

170918 Final Version Resolution Shiming v. Kimura Rule 18

Photos: Sumio Yamada

Unheralded underdog Sho Kimura (15-1-2, 7 KOs) scored a stunning eleventh round TKO over WBO flyweight champion Zou Shiming (9-2, 2 KOs) on Friday night to claim the WBO belt at the Oriental Sports Center in Shanghai, China. 

Bleeding badly from a cut above the right eye, Kumura finally caught up with the fleet-footed Zou and battered him to the canvas with a barrage of punches. Zou staggered to his feet but was unable to continue. Time was 2:28. At the time of the stoppage, Zou was ahead 96-94, 97-93 on two cards. Kimura was ahead 96-94 on the third card.

This was Shiming’s first defense and first fight since bolting from promoter Top Rank and trainer Freddie Roach. Shiming promoted this card himself under his Zouxuan Sports banner.


 L-Brico Santig, R-Sho Kimura photo by Brico Santig

Sho Kimura scored a massive upset when he knocks out former olympian and China’s only boxing world champion Zou Shiming in eleventh round to claim the WBO world flyweight title in Shanghai China.

Kimura improves his record to 15 wins with 8 knockouts , 2 draws and 1 defeat while Shiming drops to 9 wins with 2 defeats.

Kimura became the third Japanese world champion at flyweight (112 pounds) along WBA champion Kazuto Ioka and WBC champion Daigo Higa.


Date:  Friday – July 28, 2017


Location:  Shanghai Oriental Sports Center, Shanghai, China

Promoter:  Zou Xuan Sport & Culture Development Co. LTD

Supervisor:  Leon Panoncillo, Jr.

Referee:   Danrex Tapdasan

Judges:   Robert Hoyle  96-94,  Edward Ligas  93-97, Sawaeng Thaweekoon  94-96

Results:  The WBO Flyweight Championship Title was won by Sho Kimura.  Sho Kimura (15-1-2, 7 KOs) scored a stunning eleventh round TKO over WBO flyweight champion Zou Shiming (9-2, 2 KOs) to claim the WBO belt against Zou Shiming by KO at the 11th round.


By Unus Alladin

Remember the original Rocky movie? The scene when Apollo Creed is busy wheeling and dealing over his desk and one of his trainers, intrigued by Balboa punching cow carcasses on the TV news report remarks: “You better see this. He means business” by which Creed angrily retorts: “No, I mean business!”

The movie, as we all know, is one of Hollywood’s beloved fictional sports movies, but it seems the scene is being played out in real life in Shanghai where China’s golden boy, Zou Shiming, is preparing to make his first WBO world title defence.

Creed narrowly won his first fight against Rocky by points – he lost the title to Rocky in Rocky II – but the movie depicted Creed as a boxing entrepreneur, who underestimated his opponent.

Zou is the two-time Olympic gold medallist turned professional fighter, turned professional flyweight champion and he treads into unknown territory after he made the announcement this year that he was going to be his own man and promote his own fight as he steps into the ring for the 11th time on July 28.

Zou raised eyebrows by refusing to renew his contract with US promoters Top Rank, who helped him make the transition from top amateur to leading professional in less than four years. But Top Rank will, this time, not help the 36-year-old Zou in any shape or form – nor will his long-time Chinese sports agent and marketing partner, Seca.

Zou will do it alone and that could backfire, as Seca boss Li Sheng suggested recently. “I think he’s making a big mistake,” Li said. “He made the decision to promote the fight by himself with his wife [Ran Yingying]. If he wants to become his own promoter, that’s his own choice. He made the decision after he won the world title last November.”

Zou, who is also the three-time amateur world champion, might know a thing or two about fighting but promoting is not his forte and it will be a whole new ball game for the Zunyi-born fighter. Promotion is a tough business. Sponsors must be found, fighters have to be paid and tickets have to be sold to make the event a success. A weak undercard is not going to help, too. Since Zou is putting up his own money to promote his own title defence, expenses are going to run up.

Fighters are usually wary about whether they are going to get paid. There have been many cases of unscrupulous promoters taking the money and running. Without a reputable name like Top Rank behind him, it’s going to be a slog for the now entrepreneurial mainlander.

Zou takes on Japan’s seventh-ranked Sho Kimura (14-1-2, 7 KOs) at the Shanghai Oriental Sports Centre but the mainlander could find himself in a vulnerable position this time.

Alisports, which is part of e-commerce giant Alibaba, is helping Zou as a partner to promote the event but the boxer they call “Fists of Gold” needed a lot of help – from Hong Kong of all places – with Rex Tso’s manager, Jay Lau Chi-yuen, helping him find suitable sparring partners to be flown to Shanghai.

“It was significant that I won the belt in Las Vegas, the boxing temple. I want to bring this glory and passion, as well as the boxing culture, to China,” said Zou in an interview with Agence France-Presse this week.

“I know this business back to front: not just the training, but also their minds, their injuries, their illness and their promotion,” he said.

In the past, everything was arranged for Zou – his training, his purse and promotion – but this time, he will have do things himself, something he has no experience in.

There are rumours Zou doesn’t even have a proper coach and his preparations haven’t been going too smoothly although Zou insisted he will be ready to defend his title.

Without the services of Hall of Famer Freddie Roach, who oversaw Zou’s previous 10 bouts, plus all the modern facilities that were at his disposal in the United States before, Zou could be reverting back to his amateur days … and that’s risky.

Underestimating Kimura, who Hong Kong fans know well, having seen the Japanese knock out his last opponent on the undercard of the Rex Tso-Hirofumi Mukai fight in March, could prove disastrous.

What if Zou loses? Can he fill Shanghai Oriental Sports Centre? Could he end up losing money?

Zou says he is trying to build up the sport and boxing in China. But in essence, he is promoting his own event so that he can earn a much larger slice of the pie.

Nothing wrong with that with a family to feed but if things don’t go well for him and he loses, it will make it that much harder for him to get another world title shot now that he is 36.

It will be interesting to see how Zou fares in Shanghai and whether going alone turns out to be the right decision for him or a bad idea that could spell disaster to his career.–118864

By Unus Alladin

Chinese star Zou Shiming will be fighting for a larger piece of the pie as a boxer turned promoter, while Japanese underdog Sho Kimura will be fighting in his late mother’s honour in Friday night’s eagerly anticipated WBO flyweight title fight in Shanghai.

Zou recently turned to promoting his own fight after severing links with American promoter Top Rank last year and he will be out to make a good start to this new phase of his career in his first defence of the world title he won in Las Vegas last November.

But Kimura (14-1-2, 7 KOs) warned he will be highly motivated – driven by a desire to honour his mother who died at the age of 44 as he was growing up. He said her passing had motivated him to “train harder than before”. The 28-year-old Tokyo-based fighter also said winning was the only way to “get out of poverty” and live a “financially stable life”.

“I come from a poor family. I can’t even afford a new pair of training shoes,” said Kimura, who spent weeks in Thailand to prepare for the fight at the Shanghai Oriental Sports Centre. Zou tipped the scales at 111.9 pounds, while Kimura was a little lighter at 111.6 pounds, well within the 112-pound limit at Thursday’s official weigh-in.

“Zou Shiming will find out that it’s not going to be easy to beat me. I come from Japan and we are tough warriors. Zou is well known in China, but I can be well known and famous if I beat him. I must take this opportunity and win. Once I start, I am not going to stop until I win. The crowd might get behind Zou, but that’s going to motivate me even more,” he said.

Kimura spoke about growing up in poverty and his struggles to make ends meet.

“I have been struggling all my life. I have been using the same gloves for years and I can’t buy a new pair. The gloves I am wearing are still good even though they are worn out. I do part-time work in a restaurant where I help the restaurant deliver [crates of] beer. If I win this bout, I will quit that job,” said Kimura, who lost his first professional fight in 2013 but has been on an unbeaten streak since.

“I’m going to win this belt and take it home and put it on my mother’s grave. When I won the WBO Asia Pacific flyweight title [last November in Osaka] I put my belt on my mother’s grave. But this one is for the world championship. This one is much more prestigious,” he said.

Kimura is known to Hong Kong fans as he was on the undercard of the Rex Tso vs Hirofumi Mukai clash in March. The Japanese won that fight in a second-round knockout against Thailand’s Wisitsak Saiwaewk.

However, the 36-year-old Zou (9-1-0, 2 KOs) was extremely confident of winning his latest fight, saying he won’t allow the belt to leave China.

“I won this belt in America [Las Vegas] last year. It’s staying here. It’s not going anywhere,” said the two-time Olympic gold medallist as he showed off his belt. “I have never lost to a Japanese opponent [in amateur fights] before. This time, the result will be the same. Kimura might be eight years younger than me, but I will speak with my fists. I will teach the younger boxer a good lesson.”–118895?print_friendly=1

Photos: Sumio Yamada

Zou Shiming 111.9 vs. Sho Kimura 111.5
(WBO world flyweight title)

Dong Chaoqun 160 vs. Sunil Khokhar 159
Sun Bohao 121 vs. Sithsaithong Lapkatok 121.5
Aming Buhe 140 vs. Bima Prakosa 140
Yan Jie 160 vs. Joe Corner 160
Chen Zubiao 114 vs. Anuj Singh 116

Venue: Shanghai Oriental Sports Center, Shanghai, China
Promoter: Zou Shiming