Ryosuke Iwasa: ‘I could not afford to lose to Yukinori Oguni’
Ryosuke Iwasa entered his IBF junior featherweight title match against Yukinori Oguni at the EDION Arena, Osaka, earlier this month as the underdog (5/2 or +250), he knew it was an opportunity he had to make the most of.
Iwasa (24-2, 16 knockouts) had previously lost to long-reigning WBC bantamweight and THE RING Magazine champion Shinsuke Yamanaka in 2011, when he was on his way up, then in his only fight on foreign soil, he was routed by Lee Haskins.
Both losses took place at bantamweight and, after the Haskins debacle, “Eagle Eye” reinvented himself at 122 pounds and steadied the ship with four wins. None the less, he could ill afford to lose against his countryman.
The 27-year-old Japanese southpaw got off to a fast start, dropping the defending titlist in the opening round and twice more in the second. To Oguni’s credit, he tried to fight back but it wasn’t enough. The fight was called off at 2:16 of the sixth round due to advice from the ringside physician.
Although it was a joyous moment for the Chiba resident, he later revealed that he was very nervous, doubtlessly knowing he couldn’t afford another setback.
“The fight was the one I could not afford to lose,” Iwasa told RingTV.com through Tomoyuki Kataoka. “That was the last chance for me. Therefore, I was able to work hard to win.
“Initially, I felt nervous and was rigid. In the middle of the bout, I got a push from Oguni. However, I was able to push him back to win.
“I was able to draw a sigh of relief because I was be able to prove, in accordance this victory, that I am worthy of being a world champion.”
As well as the IBF belt, Iwasa was gifted a prestigious sports car.
“I received a great gift of a Ferrari 458 Spider from our sponsor Mr. Takayuki Nakagawa, president of World Wing Inc.” he said proudly.
It remains early days and Iwasa and his team are enjoying some down time after their outstanding win, which saw him enter THE RING junior featherweight ratings at No. 8. However, he did suggest he’d be interested in avenging his previous losses.
“If I can do rematches with both of them, I would like to challenge to do so.” he said.
Former WBA junior bantamweight titlist Celes Kobayashi, the manager and owner of Celes Boxing Sports Gym, who looks after Iwasa, is pleased his pupil was able to learn from previous experiences and come good when he needed to.
“He was able to utilize his experience of the loss against Haskins in the U.K. in order to prepare this bout,” said Kobayashi. “I would like to sincerely offer my congratulations on his victory.”
Kobayashi also stated he’s unsure of their next move, “I can say that he will not fight again in 2017. We have not decided any concrete plan on his next bout yet.”
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