On March 28th wee see a personal rivalry rear it's head against as Japanese Featherweight champion Satoshi Hosono (30-2-1, 20) [細野 悟] takes on old adversary, and current mandatory challenger, Rikiya Fukuhara (31-8-1, 23) [福原 力也] in what will be their third meeting together.
The bout, which was announced at the recent “Champion Carnival” announcement, will see Hosono seeking a third win over his exciting foe whilst Fukuhara will be hoping to finally over-come Hosono at the third time of asking.
Coming in to this one Hosono will be full of confidence. He, of course, has a 2-0 record against his foe and he's unbeaten since losing a WBA Featherweight world title fight to Celestino Caballero way back in December 2011. Since then he has gone 10-0-1 (5) scoring the two wins over Fukuhara, as well as other notable wins over the likes of Takuya Watanabe and Akifumi Shimoda, whilst also staying on the verges of a 4th world title shot.
Aged 32 the champion will be trying to shine and convince promoter Hideyuki Ohashi to push him towards a world title fight. Although Hosono hasn't looked his best recently but will know that a win here could help his case for a shot at one of the champions, such as Leo Santa Cruz, Vasyl Lomachenko or Lee Selby, with Selby being a man who has mentioned an interest in.
For Fukuhara this is a continued effort to become a 2-weight Japanese champion, having previously held the Super Bantamweight title in 2005-2006. Down at 122lbs he was a really exciting puncher but as he's moved up he's found his power has been less effective and has since come up short in bouts for the OPBF Super Featherweight, Japanese Super Featherweight and Japanese Featherweight crowns.
In the last few years Fukuhara has looked like he's become relatively settled at Featherweight, and has only lost twice in the last 4 years, unfortunately for him his 7-2 run of results has however seen him twice defeated by Hosono who simply seems too tough and too strong for him. Notably he is now 37 and really is looking likely to be his final shot at this level.
For those who haven't seen these two in action we have included videos of both below.
(Image courtesy of http://ameblo.jp/rikiya-f/)
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