The Cyber Boxing Zone Newswire

Oriental Update: Joe Koizumi

As of July 10, 1999

TAKANORI HATAKEYAMA, former WBA super-feather champ of Japan, is still 23, but has decided to hang up gloves for good. He experienced his first defeat of his career at the hand of Mongolian LAKVA SIM, losing his WBA belt on a 5th round TKO in Tokyo on June 27. Hatakeyama, 22-1-2, 17 KOs, captured the Japanese national and OPBF 130-pound crown prior to his coronation by outscoring Korean bull-fighter Yongsoo Choi in Sept. of the previous year. He kept his title on a split draw with Saul Duran last Feb. but failed in his second defense. His manager of record is Mitsunori Seki, ex-world top feather contender, who couldn't win the title from Sugar Ramos and Vicente Saldivar, but his promoter Kazunori Miyakawa, a wealthy sponsor, has been financially taken care of everything around Hatakeyama. Miyakawa confirmed Hatakeyama's retirement as he respects the ex-champ's decision. It's too early a farewell to the ring, but he has no more intention to fight on.

TICKET SELLING of the WBC bantam title go between Veerapol Nakornluang-Promotion of Thailand and Japanese superstar Joichiro Tatsuyoshi is extravagant. Before Kiyoshi Yoshii, Tatsuyoshi's manager/promoter, began selling tickets of the event at the Osaka Dome, whose capacity is 25,000, on Jul. 1, all the ringside tickets were sold out with prepaid orders. Tatsuyoshi, training strenuously, said, "I will win back the title from Veerapol by a knockout." The Thailander, dubbed "death mask" due to his poker face, completely flattened the overconfident Japanese in the 6th round on Dec. 29 of the previous year. It must be a very tough rematch for Tatsuyoshi, who believes in himself and predicts beating him to the punch to revenge his previous defeat.

KOREAN boxing is rebounding steadily. On Jun. 19, ex-WBA 130-pound champ YONGSOO CHOI made his second comeback fight and demolished Filipino Ariel Neri in 4 rounds in Pusan. On Jun. 20, SANGIK YANG kept his WBC international light fly title by finishing Anthony Villamor in 7 in Seoul. On Jul. 6, WBC #1 ranked light fly YOSAM CHOI was awarded a 5th round TKO over Mexican Martin Acevedo, and WBC #13 lightie JONGKWON BAEK ran his unbeaten mark to 20-0, 18 KOs by disposing of Mexican Esteban Lorenzo in 6, both in Pusan. The newly crowned WBA 130-pound champ is a Korean-based Mongolian Lakva Sim. Sim's first defense is rumored to take place against Baek in Korea, if Baek can move down to the super-feather class. Choi is also gunning for a world title shot agaisnt either WBA fly boss Leo Gamez of Venezuela or WBC light fly kingpin Saman Sorjaturong this fall.

TAKEO IMAOKA, WBC #3 feather, will risk his title of the OPBF (Oriental & Pacific Boxing Federation) against WBC #15 ranked Australian TONY WEHBEE in Tokyo on Oct. 11. It will be an interesting match of outstanding 126-pounders in the OPBF region.

KENGO NAGASHIMA, former OPBF super-feather boss ranked #5 by the WBC, has decided to move down to the 126-pound division, and will meet Korean feather boss Yangsoo Seung in Tokyo on Oct. 2. Nagashima, a slick-punching lefty, aims to fight Cesar Soto in a bid for the WBC title in the near future, but Soto is said to meet Prince Naseem Hamed in a unification bout on Nov. 6. Should Hamed win over Soto, his target may shift to the winner of the third battle of the WBA 126-pound champ Freddy Norwood and Antonio Cermeno, which was ordered by the WBA headquarters.

REYNANTE JAMILI, a Filipino counterpuncher, decided to have an ambitious crack at the WBC super-bantam throne against ERIC MORALES in Tijuana, Mexico, on Jul. 31. Jamili, the leading 122-pounder in Asia, is hoped to show a good performance agaisnt El Terrible.

The WBC super-fly title bout of Korean INJOO CHO and Japanese lefty KEIJI YAMAGUCHI will take place in Tokyo on Sept. 5. Yamaguchi, a tricky Hamed-stylist, is training under the supervision of ex-WBA 130-pound champ Hiroshi Kobayashi and his trainer Goichi Takemoto.

The OPBF super-feather elimination bout between WBC #8 ranked Filipino lefty TIGER ARI and Japanese southpaw KENJI RYUKI will be held in Osaka on Oct. 7. Ryuki was awarded a 6th round technical decision over veteran compatriot Tomoaki Iwasa in a tune-up bout in Osaka on Jul. 9.

TOSHIAKI NISHIOKA, WBC #11 ranked Japanese bantam champ, will face Thai ruler Yodsingh Chuwatana in Tokyo on Aug. 7. Nishioka is an upcoming lefty hard-puncher, who is very much expected to be a future world champ by our boxing fraternity, along with the WBA #5 ranked super-fly Akihiko Nago, an unbeaten lefty handled by ex-WBA 105-pound champ Yoko Gushiken.

IEYASU YASHIRO, a KO victim on Jun. 29, barely saved his life as he successfully recuperated from an brain surgery. He was former All Japan high school champ, and zoomed up to #5 in the Japanese minimum ratings with his unbeaten streak. It's good that he is recovering well, even if we cannot see him fight again.

PANIENG "OKUDA" POONTARAT, WBA #6 fly, is a Japan-based Thailander, who extended his unbeaten mark to 24-0, 10 KOs by unanimously outscoring WBA #14 fly TAKUYA KIYA in Tokyo on Jul. 9. Panieng, younger brother of ex-WBC 115-pound champ Payao Poontarat, is a good speedster, but his obvious lack of convincing power may prevent him from being a popular attraction here.

JESUS "KIKI" ROJAS, Venezuela, will come back here to meet busy-punching Japanese Hideki Todaka in Nagoya on Jul. 31. Rojas has been unbeaten here, stopping Puma Takato Toguchi and Takashi Ohba in Tokyo to his credit. Todaka will have to watch Kiki's versatile display of his excellent left hand.

Ex-WBA minimum champ and WBC #6 contender CHANA PORPAOIN will meet upcoming KEISUKE YOKOYAMA in Tokyo on Aug. 25. On the same card, WBC international super-bantam champ Ahmad Fandy, Indonesia, will face Japan's rookie Hirohisa Ishikawa in a semi-final. It will be an interesting doubleheader.


Joe Koizumi
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