Athlete of the Month in June – Hayato Tsutsumi
Japan’s flag bearer and teenage star Hayato Tsutsumi delivered another sensational performance in the ASBC Asian Confederation Youth Boxing Championships in Bangkok, Thailand in the recent one week and following the Asian Boxing Confederation’s Facebook voting he was named as the Best Boxer of the Month.
Hayato Tsutsumi was born in Chiba Prefecture on July 12 in 1999 and began boxing with coach Takayoshi Sonezaki at the age of 10. His first success in the sport was a gold medal at the 2013 Japanese Junior National Championships which result inspired also his younger brother to join to the sport.
Tsutsumi was involved to the Japanese junior national team in 2015 and he competed at the ASBC Asian Confederation Junior Boxing Championships in Tashkent and also in the AIBA Junior World Boxing Championships in St. Petersburg, Russia but he was able to do his real breakthrough in 2016.
South Korea’s No.1 Lee Hee Seop proved superb performance in the road to the finals of the 2016 ASBC Asian Confederation Youth Boxing Championships in Pavlodar. The Korean southpaw attacked from the first rounds against Japan’s Hayato Tsutsumi who eliminated Kazakhstan’s star Aidos Arapov in the semi-final. The Japanese boxer worked better in the final round which was the difference between them therefore Tsutsumi was able to beat his top opponent in Pavlodar. Tsutsumi won Japan’s first ever gold medal in the history of the ASBC Asian Confederation Youth Boxing Championships.
The new Japanese sensation Hayato Tsutsumi is the country’s biggest future hope who could keep his unbeaten series also in the AIBA Youth World Boxing Championships in St. Petersburg where he defeated all of his five tough rivals at the flyweight (52kg). Tsutsumi was too strong for Cuba’s Elio Crespo in the final of the AIBA Youth World Boxing Championships in November 2016. His strongest opponent in the AIBA Youth World Boxing Championships was Uzbekistan’s Otabek Kholmatov in the semi-final who was a southpaw, a heavy puncher and Tsutsumi did a really close bout against him in St. Petersburg.
Japan’s defending AIBA Youth World Champion and ASBC Asian Youth Champion Hayato Tsutsumi met with Thailand’s most experienced youth boxer Pluem Wangkhlaklang in the final of the ASBC Asian Confederation Youth Boxing Championships. Tsutsumi was excellent in the final minutes and he was able to retain his Asian youth title in Bangkok winning the final by split decision at the bantamweight (56kg). The Best Boxer Trophy was won by Japan’s Hayato Tsutsumi who won his second Asian youth title in Bangkok a few days ago.
The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games is his main goal and he will have more than three years to reach the level of the top elite boxers. The 17-year-old Japanese talent proved amazing performance and development in 2016 and in 2017 when he was able to win all of his international and national bouts.
Tsutsumi was surprised when he saw Japan’s current No.1 at the bantamweight (56kg) Ryomei Tanaka’s strength in the trainings and sparrings. Tanaka is the Japanese National Elite Champion in his current weight class and six years older than Tsutsumi but his time could come quickly after these amazing youth successes. Tsutsumi knows his road will be hard but his main target is to get the gold medal in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games for Japan.