It was announced earlier today that OPBF and Japanese Middleweight champion Akio Shibata (23-8-1, 9) will be defending his titles on December 6th against former opponent and former world title challenger Makoto Fuchigami (21-9, 12). The bout, which will serve as a co-main feature alongside Yoshitaka Kato's (28-5-1, 9) third bout with Nihito Arakawa (25-4-1, 16), looks to be a great contest on paper despite both men better known for their losses than there wins.
Shibata is best known by many fans for his loss to Ryota Murata on what was Murata's debut last year. Since then however he has won back to back bouts against Daisuke Nakagawa and Hikaru Nishida. The Nakagawa win saw Shibata unifying OPBF and Japanese titles whilst the win over Nishida saw him defending the combined thrown for the first time. His current reign as a double title holder is Shibata's second having previously held unified titles at Light Middleweight.
Although known for his loss to Murata it's worth noting that Shibata has beaten the likes of Yuki Nonaka, Daisuke Nakagawa, Takayuki Hosokawa and Makoko Fuchigami whilst he has suffered other high profile losses to Motoki Sasaki and Charlie Ota, twice.
As for Fuchigami he is best known for being stopped by Gennady Golovkin in a WBA Middleweight world title bout. Prior to that loss Fuchigami had been a unified Middleweight champion and had beaten the likes of Tetsuya Suzuki, Fukutaro Ujiie and Koji Sato all by stoppage to ascend to the top of the Asian Middleweight division. Unfortunately since losing to Golvokin in May 2012 Fuchigami has struggled losing to both Shibata and Hikaru Nishida whilst defeating only Marlon Alta and Jamed Jalarante.
In the first meeting between the two men, back in May 2013, Shibata won a clear 9th round technical decision to take the OPBF belt from Fuchigami. This time Fuchigami will be seeking revenge though we do tend to feel that Fuchigami is close to being a "shot fighter".
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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