Youth pugilists do battle in Pacific Boxing Showdown

Eyes will be on the Okinawa Convention Center Sunday afternoon as the vacant World Boxing Council Youth World Bantamweight Championship is settled, and a series of bouts take place in the flyweight and featherweight divisions.

The Bantamweight Championship is now vacant, but either Masamitsu Nozaki of Japan or Vergel Nebran of the Philippines will capture the title in a ten-round event.  Earlier, in the Flyweight class, Wars Katsumata of the Philippines faces Isack Junior of India, and Goo Onaga of Okinawa meets an as yet unnamed mainland Japanese fighter.  In the Featherweight class, Robert Kopa Palue of India faces Kouseki Nakama of  Okinawa, and Serillo Espino of the Philippines meets Shogo Ishikawa of Okinawa.

An undercard has three bouts, one featherweight, one 58 kilogram and one flyweight.  Yasuyuki Masuda of Japan meets Shota Chinen of Okinawa in a S. Featerweight six-round event, while Yousuke Kawano of Japan faces Tadamasa Takahashi of Okinawa in the 58kg class.  The Flyweight undercard has Yuji Okinori of Japan against Yukou Tanaka of Okinawa.

The Pacific Boxing Showdown is sponsored by the Sankei Sports Executive Committee of Pacific Boxing Showdown in Okinawa, by authorization of the World Boxing Council and Japan Boxing Commission.  Doors open at 2 p.m., and fights begin at 2:30 p.m. at the Okinawa Convention Center.

Peace, cooperation and prosperity are some of the most important values among the Pacific Rim countries, but recent events have caused organizers to recognize the importance of always having strong ties of friendship.  To improve mutual understanding and friendship within Pacific Rim countries, the Pacific Boxing Showdown was created.  Its first run was at Camp Zama on mainland Japan, the first time such an event took place inside a U.S. military base in Japan.

To date, Okinawa has produced seven world boxing champions.  Yoko Gushiken was the first person from Okinawa to become a world boxing champion.  He was followed by Yasutsune Uehara, Katsuo Tokashiki, Tadashi Tomori, Tsuyoshi Hamada, Akinobu Hiranaka and Nobuo Nashiro.  Boxing was introduced and became popular following World War II when American military introduced Okinawans to American culture.