A week ago we reported that Takuya Watanabe (34-8-1, 19) [渡邉卓也] would be back in action on September 29th in Taipei, Taiwan as he fights for an OPBF Silver title. Now we've seen a lot more information about that contest being revealed.
The bout will see the teak tough Watanabe battle against Thai veteran Maxsaisai Sithsaithong (19-10, 8), also known as Paiboon Lorkham, who has faced the likes of Hisashi Amagasa, Joel Brunker, Rogelio Jun Doliguez, AJ Banal and Romero Duno. Sadly whilst the Thai has mixed in good company he has been racking up losses in his more notable bouts, earlier this year was beaten by Indonesian homeful Ilham Loeisa on a notable card in Indonesia.
Watanabe is also known for losing his biggest bouts, including losses to Jae Sung Lee, Satoshi Hosono and Masayuki Ito, but has proven himself a battle hardened fighter who certainly belongs at this level. He has claimed various regional titles, such as the WBO Asia Pacific Super Featherweight and IBF Asia Featherweight title as well as the WBC Youth Lightweight title.
We're expecting to see Watanabe pick up the win here, but he's rarely in a dull fight and we suspect he'll manage to make this one fan friendly and continue to build on his reputation as being a fighter who will put on a show for fans anywhere he fights, something he has now done through much of East Asia.
When we last spoke about this card there was only one other bout confirmed for the show, a female bout between Wensi Huang (9-3-1, 3) and Jutamas Jitpong (4-2, 2). We have now had another bout added to the card, with the unbeaten pairing of Shengling Lin (1-0) and Kenneth Lee (1-0, 1) facing off.
(Image courtesy of the OPBF)
We've long known about a Chinese card set for March 20th, but for the most part the bouts hadn't beeen announced. That changed today when several contests were confirmed, include a really interesting test for local Lightweight hopeful Yongqiang Yang (9-0, 7) [杨永强], who we now know will be taking on teak tough Japanese visitor Takuya Watanabe [33-7-1, 18) [渡邉卓也], in what is a huge step up for the Chinese fighter.
The bout, which will be for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Lightweight Title will see Yang making his first defense of the title. The 25 year old Chinese fighter turned professional around 2 years ago and has compiled a decent record already, but his best are against limited foes from China and Indonesia, with this bout being a massive leap up in class, but one that will see him being very well rewarded if he can win as he will move towards a world ranking.
As for Watanabe, the Japanese fighter is one of the more under-rated fighters from Tokyo. The 29 year old from the Aoki gym has fought through out Asia, picking up wins in Thailand, South Korea and Hong Kong, but this will be his first fight on the Chinese mainland. Given his success on the road the experience of fighting in China won't be an issue, and neither will Yang's unbeaten record, as Watanabe has mixed with fighters like Masayuki Ito, Satosho Hosono, Jae Sung Lee and Hisashi Amagasa.
Incidentally Watanabe's stable mate, and current WBO Flyweight champion, Sho Kimura is seen as a popular figure in China after defeating Zou Shiming in Shainghai last year, and is expected to work Watanabe's corner for this bout.
Another interesting bout confirmed for this card today will see Yelieqiati Nihemaituola (12-0-1, 4) [葉列恰提·尼合買托拉] battling against Filipino Conrado Tanamor (10-0, 4) in a regional title bout at Bantamweight, whilst promising Thai Wanchana Menayothin (9-0, 4) will battle against Que Xu (11-2-1, 4) [徐雀] in a bout for a regional Featherweight title.
On October 7th we'll see former 2-time world title challenger Kohei Kono (33-10-1, 14) [河野 公平] battle with Hong Kong star Rex Tso (21-0, 13) [曹星如] for the WBO International Super Flyweight title. Today it was revealed that that wouldn't be the only title bout on the show, as two others were announced.
One of those will see Tso's sparring partner Takuya Watanabe (32-7-1, 17) [渡邉 卓也] take on China's Leshan Li (13-2-1, 8) [黎乐善] for the WBO Oriental Super Featherweight title. The bout looks a pretty interesting one, with Watanabe, a former WBO Asia Pacific champion, looking to build on his reputation as an under-the-radar threat, whilst Li looks to make a splash on the international stage in a massive step up in class.
The other will see OPBF female Super Bantamweight champion Ayumi Goto (7-0, 5) [後藤あゆみ] either defending her title, or fighting for the WBO Asia Pacific title, against against unbeaten Indian teenager Kirti (3-0, 2). This bout is less exciting than the other two, though sees Goto continue to look towards making her name in Hong Kong, in what will be her second bout there. For Kirti it will mark the first time she has fought outside of India.
It was also revealed that 8,000 tickets have been sold for the show, and the venue is expected to be totally packed out for what could be a FOTY contender.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
On October 7th we'll see the all action Rex Tso (21-0, 13) [曹星如] take on his biggest test to date, as he faces former 2-time world champion Kohei Kono (34-10-1, 15) [河野 公平] in Hong Kong. In preparation for that bout the unbeaten Hong Kong star has been sparring with Japan's teak tough Takuya Watanabe (32-7-1, 17) [渡邉 卓也].
Recently Watanabe gave comments to the media and revealed that Tso is impressing him with his phsyicality, a surprise given that Watanabe has fought much of his career at Featherweight and Super Featherweight whilst Tso is a Super Flyweight. Not only is Tso physically impressing but Watanabe has also stated that Tso's speed and stamina are impressive as well.
The comments weren'tall about Tso and the Japanese fighter also stated that whilst he doesn't really understand English he is now learnign it,with the helpof books and youtube, and it does seem like hes enjoying the challenges of adapting to the culture of Hong Kong.
One other thing he spoke about was the success of stablemate Sho Kimura (15-1-2, 8) [木村翔], who recently shocked the Asian boxing world with a massive upset over Zou Shiming [邹市明] for the WBO Flyweight title. He jokes that Kimura owed him a meal with the money he earned from that bout, but also admitted that he understood just how important hard practice was, suggesting he'll be upping the ante himself in training.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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