Late last year Japanese Minimumweight champion Go Odaira (11-4-3, 1) came up short as he stepped up to world class and was stopped, in 7 rounds, by the excellent Katsunari Takayama. That bout was for the WBO and IBF Minimumweight world titles and although Odaira as clearly beaten and looking out of his depth when Takayama forced the stoppage Odaira was allowed to keep the Japanese title, though would likely have been forced to vacate had he won.
We'll see Odaira return to the ring on March 26th, just a few short months after that loss to Takayama, and we'll see him return in a Japanese title defence as he takes on Yutaka Sowanao (9-5-1, 6) in what will be Odaira's 3rd defence of the title that he won last January.
Despite the loss to Takayama in December we were impressed by Odaira who, early on, was holding his own with the "Lightning Kid" in fact through 6 rounds Odaira was level on 2 of the score-cards with scores of 57-57 whilst the third judge actually had him winning 58-56. It's fair to say last year was a career year for Odaira and even if he's unlikely to ever win a world title he still got close to one than many fighters ever do.
Sadly we know very little about Sowano who is a 32 year old fighting in his first 10 round bout. Although he has been a professional for almost 5 years he has only really faced one fighter of note, Hiroyuki Otsuka, who stopped him in the 5th of a scheduled 6 rounds. Whilst our knowledge of the challenger is limited his record suggests he's a puncher and if that's the case we suspect he'll be made to look somewhat stupid by the speedy Odaira who won his title when he beat Masashi Tada,also a puncher.
This bout is to be the secondary title fight on the March 26th Dangan card at the Korakuen Hall. The other title contest will see Japanese and OPBF Middleweight champion Akio Shibata (24-8-1, 10) defending his title against Yasuyuki Akiyama (10-4-1, 8), though at the moment it's unclear if Shibata will be defending both belts or just his Japanese title. There will also be an excellent all-prospect bout as Ken Shiro (2-0, 1) battles against Katsunori Nagamine (10-0, 6) in possibly the best bout of the 3 currently confirmed for this show.
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