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Japanese Boxing Roundup

1. The focus on the April 15 boxing card in Japan is on the two world title fights: Ryota Murata vs. Emanuele Felice Blandamura for the WBA "regular" middleweight title and Daigo Higa vs. Cristofer Rosales for the WBC flyweight title. Now the third top fight on the card will see Japanese Youth flyweight champion Junto Nakatani fight the biggest fight of his career. He'll be taking on Mario Andrade, who is ranked in the WBC's top 15 in the division. Although it appears that the fight will not be televised on either Japanese or international television, a win for Nakatani could put him in line to potentially challenge for either a full Japanese or OPBF title later this year. Nakatini still would need to get a few more wins, likely a win in the 2019 Champion Carnival, to really start considering challenging for a world title. ESPN is set to televise the Murata vs. Blandamura fight in the early morning on April 15 in the United States.

2. Former WBO super flyweight champion Naoya Inoue is moving up in weight to challenge for Jamie McDonnell's WBA "regular" bantamweight title on May 25. Former world title challenger Genesis Servania has been sparring with Inoue and noted that he noticed his style has not changed but that his power has improved. It's worth noting that McDonnell has been planning on moving up in weight for some time and Inoue moving up in weight where he feels more comfortable could spell the end of both McDonnell's reign as champion and his time in the bantamweight division.

3. In the past few years, there has been an increase in fighters missing weight in Japan, with the most recent notable case being Luis Nery being massively overweight a couple of months ago against Shinsuke Yamanaka. Fights on March 25, 27 and April 1 have been scrapped due to fighters missing weight and now the Japanese Boxing Commission (JBC) will look to impose heavy sanctions from now on for fighters missing weight. A recent commission meeting did not set any penalties, but have put plans in place to organize punishments with the JBC going forward and look to prevent a repeat of the issue. One decision that was made at the board meeting was the financial payments made to fighters who sadly get injured, or pass away after a fighter. The amount paid to a fighters family in case of a fatality will increase from ¥17,000,000 (about $159,000) to ¥24,000,000 (about $224,880) while a payment for a craniotomy has increased from ¥3,500,000 (about $32,795) to ¥5,000,000 (about $46,850). Other payments for injuries will also be increased going forward.

4. As previously reported on Fightful, former world champions Koki Kameda and Pongsaklek Wonjongkam will come out of retirement for one more fight against each other on May 5 at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo. The fight is set to take place at bantamweight, but from the looks of it, the Japanese Boxing Commission will not give Wonjongkam a boxing license for this fight. Under the current rules, the commission does not grant boxing licenses to those who are over the age of 37 years old and have not professionally in more than three years. No one is certain what will happen to the fight, but it appears one of three things will happen: the fight continues as an exhibition bout, Kameda fights a replacement opponent or Kameda and Wonjongkam do not fight at all on the May 5 Korakuen Hall show. The only fight confirmed for that event is Masaru Sueyoshi vs. Tsuyoshi Tojo for the Japanese super featherweight title.

5. Former WBO Female flyweight champion Nana Yoshikawa has officially announced her retirement after nearly two decades in the sport as both a professional and amateur fighter. Yoshikawa spent 14 years as an amateur, claiming an amateur title in three different weight classes in 77 fights. When she turned professional in 2013, she was quickly put on the OPBF title picture. In her third professional fight in less than eight months, she captured the OPBF Female light flyweight title and got put on the world title picture 13 months later. Yoshikawa's reign as world champion only lasted six months from 2016-2017, but did win the interim WBC Female flyweight title in her last fight last December. Yoshikawa retires with an 8-2 (4 KO) professional record.

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