On Saturday night fight fans had the chance to see see highly touted American based Japanese fighter Shokichi Iwata (1-0, 1) [岩田翔吉] make his professional debut, and make it a successful one.
The 22 year old Light Flyweight was up against fellow professional novice Joel Bermudez (0-2), of the US, and quickly looked the part despite some resistance from Bermudez.
The American had been stopped in the opening round on his debut, but showed some resolve here, until the final round, when Iwata's shots began to take their toll. Iwata seemed to really want the stoppage, despite almost certainly having the win in the bout, and turned it on with a series of good head shot in the final minute, forcing the referee to half the contest, with less than 20 seconds left.
On one hand we suspect Iwata wanted a quicker win here, given how quickly Bermudez was stopped on his debut, but he certainly showed he could do 4 rounds at a good pace, and it does seem like they can put him in 6 rounders sooner, rather than later.
Earlier this month saw former Japanese amateur stand out Shokichi Iwata (0-0) [岩田翔吉] announce that he would be making his professional debut on December 8th, as part of the HBO card from the Stubhub Center in Carson, California. At the time of that announcement there wasn't an opponent, just a date and a venue, now however we know significantly more about Iwata's debut.
We know that, despite him being an amateur stand out, his debut will just be a 4 rounder, and unfortunately it won't come against an opponent of any value. Instead of facing a tough Mexican journeyman or some experienced Filipino he will be up against 29 year old American Joel Bermudez (0-1).
Bermudez made his debut in August, against the limited Giovanni Noriega, and was stopped in 71 seconds. Given that result it's hard to imagine Iwata having any issues Bermudez.
A few days ago American promotional All Star Boxing outfit announced that they had signed Japanese former amateur stand out Shokichi Iwata (0-0) [岩田翔吉], and were planning his debut for November 16th in Florida.
The 22 year old from Tokyo had run up an impressive amateur record, reportedly 59-12 which includes a notable triumph at the August 2013 Japanese Interschool Athletic Meet, where he beat both Kosei Tanaka and Takuma Inoue, before making his decision to turn professional.
In a press release Iwata stated “I want to be the next Mayweather of Japan, for this reason I’m going to be campaigning in the US, I’m very excited and want to thank All Star and Teiken for this opportunity to achieve my dreams”. Despite those dreams it should be noted that Iwata will be fighting around the Light Flyweight division, a division that has no real depth in the US. Instead it seems likely that he will be fighting on under-cards against Latin American opponents whilst looking to build his experience and reputation over the coming years, with the plan being for him to fight 3 times a year on the Boxeo Telemundo series of shows.
It's rare to see Japanese fighters beginning their career in the West, especially basing their career there, but there has been several fighters who have done that in the past. One of the most successful is Tomoki Kameda, who began his career in Mexico, whilst another is Shoki Sakai, who has fought his entire career in the West. Interestingly one time Middleweight challenger Koji Sato actually debuted in the US, though would only leave Japan to once more losing in Germany to Felix Sturm.
(Image courtesy of All Star Boxing)
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