At the moment the other bouts on this card haven't been widely announced, but this is an exceptional main event and something to be very excited about.
For fans who haven't seen the men in action we've included footage of both. Please note Watanabe's bout with Lee is a total blood bath!
Over the last 24 hours sources from China have revealed that Def Promotions, the biggest promotional group in Hong Kong, are looking to promote a card in May featuring several major bouts. The details are scarce, though there some details out there suggesting talks have began to try and piece the card together and for Def Promotions to work with Watanabe Promotions and Aoki Promotions.
From what has been leaked it would be early May, with May 6th deemed the most likely date, though could be a day or two earlier. The show would take place in Hong Kong, and 3 fighters mentioned for the card.
Those fighters are Takuya Watanabe (35-8-1, 20) [渡邉卓也], who is rumoured to be fighting for the OPBF Super Featherweight title, Nanako Suzuki (3-1, 1) [鈴木なな子] and Hong Kong's very own Raymond Poon (7-1, 4) [潘啟情].
We need to state these appear to be very, very, early plans from Def, and TBS was also mentioned by the sources as being a key part of the plans, perhaps hinting at their being bigger plans involving a world title fight, though no world champion was mentioned by the sources.
Earlier today we were informed that OPBF "silver" Super Featherweight champion Takuya Watanabe (35-8-1, 20) [渡邉卓也] would be returning to the ring on November 28th to make his first defense, as he takes to the ring in Shenzhen.
The Japanese fighter, who has fought in Hong Kong, China and Taipei in recent bouts, Will be up against Thai foe SaksithYutthana Chaiyonggym (6-7, 5), aka Wisitsak Saiwaew, who actually took on Watanabe's stablemate and good friend Sho Kimura in Hong Kong back in 2017. The Thai was, worryingly, stopped by Kimura down at Featherweight in just 2 rounds, suggesting that Watanabe won't struggle to over-come the Thai.
The card will also feature two other title bouts. One of those will see Peng Qu (13-2-1, 9) battle against Abraham Tabul (14-1-1, 12) for the WBC Asian Boxing Council Continental Cruiserweight title.
Qu was once seen as a Light Heavyweight hopeful, but a loss last year to Gasan Gasanov saw him moving up to Cruiserweight, with this being his second bout since that loss. Tabul, a 28 year old old from Ghana, has gone 2-1-1 (2) in his last 4 bouts but this will be his first bout outside of Ghana.
The other title bout Cheng Su (12-2-1, 6) taking on Panturak Namtong (10-4-1, 7) for the WBO Oriental Light Middleweight title. The is a pretty poor fight, if we're being honest, but neither man seems to take a shot, so this could be relatively entertaining, if nothing else.
Earlier today in Taiwan fans got one of their biggest shows ever, in fact their first show since June 2000. For the most part it wasn't a massive show, and many of the fighters on it were debutants, though the main event was certainly a notable contest established veterans from Japan and Thailand faced off. The bout was on a totally different level to the others on the card and was clearly the bout used to get attention for the show.
The men in question were Japan's teak tough Takuya Watanabe (35-8-1, 20) [渡邉卓也] and 39 year old Thai Maxsaisai Sithsaithong (19-11, 8), who were fighting over the OPBF Silver Super Featherweight title.
Neither man was world class, but both knew how to fight and both knew how to put on a show which they did.
The first round was relatively quiet, with Watanabe seemingly happy to find out what the Thai had in his locker. From that however the well travelled Japanese fighter began to crank up the pressure and let his hands go. This really drew the fighting spirit out of the Thai who stood his feet, especially in round 3, and decided to fight fire with fire, making for some fantastic back and forth sequences.
Sadly for the Thai his natural size disadvantage and his 39 year old body couldn't keep up with Watanabe's pressure. Instead Watanabe began to chip away on the Thai, taking it's toll round by round.
In round 6 Maxsaisai took a real pounding as his stamina wore out and Watanabe's pressure continued to come. He did enough late on to show that he shouldn't be pulled out of the bout, but was on the wrong of some hurtful body shots and solid right hands up top. The shots from Watanabe refused to stop, and the following round he landed a brutal combination of head shots that dropped the Thai, with the referee waving the bout off soon afterwards.
Watanabe had controlled much of the bout, and picked up the title making him the leading contender to the OPBF title, though did suffer a rather nasty looking cut on his right cheek which he would have wanted to have avoided.
For Maxsaisai this bout is likely to be his last at title level. Despite the loss he acquitted himself well and certainly shouldn't be ashamed of his effort here.
As for the fans in Taiwan we would hope the all action performance of the main event fighters will have won over a new audience and hopefully inspired some fighters of the future. The Taiwanese boxing scene has been dead for a while, but hopefully shows like this will become the norm and we will see the country build a stable boxing community in the near future.
Tomorrow fight fans in Taiwan will get the chance to see the biggest show in the country's history.
The main event of the show will see Japan's Takuya Watanabe (34-8-1, 19) [渡邉卓也] battle against Thai foe Maxsaisai Sithsaithong (19-10, 8) in a battle for the OPBF Silver Super Featherweight title.
On Friday the two men took part in their weigh in for the contest, and both fighters made weight, though Watanabe did need to do some last minute work.
The Thai fighter made weight at the first attempt and had no problems at all making weight. That really shouldn't have been any sort of a surprise however given that he had fought as low as Flyweight and was has regularly fought at Featherweight.
Watanabe had originally been fine on the test scales and had apparently been a bit too comfortable, drinking a bit of water. Foolishly he drank too much and came in slightly overweight before going to the toilet and making weight afterwards. He really was just over the limit, coming in 0.1lbs over the limit.
Sadly we've not been informed of the broadcast status of this card, though it is certainly a very interesting match up in regards to how it could help develop boxing in Taiwan. It is, however, expected to be a straight forward win for the teak tough Watanabe.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
News! We try and give you the most interesting news stories from the Asian boxing world!