Chonan (Pictured; file photo), 34, seeks to get back on track after a devastating, 19-second knockout at the hands of Taisuke Okuno in December. The “Piranha” has gone 3-2 in Japan since his April 2009 release from the UFC, but has not lost in Deep since 2002. Despite a sub-.500 record, 36-year-old Iwase has won four of his last six starts, faltering only in a pair of decisions to current Deep welterweight ace Yuya Shirai.
Deep’s first offering of the summer goes down Friday at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo and is headlined by two championship tilts. Vying for the bantamweight belt recently vacated by Masakazu Imanari will be former Deep featherweight champ Takafumi Otsuka (136.7) and the man who bested Imanari in a February non-title bout, “Iron” Hiroshi Nakamura (136.5). Meanwhile, the second light heavyweight title fight in Deep history features inaugural champ Yoshiyuki Nakanishi (202.6) attempting to defend against “Tragic Comedian” Bernard Ackah (201.9).
Other bouts of note will see Sengoku 2008 lightweight grand prix finalist Kazunori Yokota (144.8) clash with Shoji Maruyama (144.6), unbeaten Californian Alex Soto (135.8) square off against Seiji Akao (136.5), and surging South Korean A Sol Kwon (weight unavailable) step in for Doo Ho Choi to face “Barbaro44,” Yoshihiro Tomioka (159.4) in a 160-pound catchweight contest.
Deep ‘54 Impact’ weigh-in results:
DEEP Light Heavyweight Championship
Yoshiyuki Nakanishi (202.6) vs. Bernard Ackah (201.9)
DEEP Bantamweight Championship
Hiroshi Nakamura (136.5) vs. Takafumi Otsuka (136.7)
Kazunori Yokota (144.8) vs. Shoji Maruyama (144.6)
Ryo Chonan (170) vs. Shigetoshi Iwase (169.7)
Seigo Mizuguchi (did not weigh in) vs. Levan Razmadze (275.6)
Yoshihiro Tomioka (159.4) vs. A Sol Kwon (n/a)
Tomomi Iwama (144.2) vs. Myung Sik Kwak (n/a)
Hiromitsu Kanehara (184.7) vs. Hideto Tatsumi (184.5)
Hirohide Fujinuma (185.4) vs. Kentaro Onishi (182.1)
Yoshiki Harada (136.2) vs. Toru Harai (136.5)
Alex Soto (135.8) vs. Seiji Akao (136.5)
Yoshitomo Watanabe (169.1) vs. Takeshi (166.7)
Luiz Andrade I (154.1) vs. Yasuhiro Kawasaki (153.7)