Earlier today Japanese fans saw Welterweight hopeful Yuki Beppu (14-0, 14) [別府 優樹] extend his winning run with an 85 second knockout over an over-matched Thai opponent. Following the bout it became clear he would be fighting for a Japanese title in 2017, however who he will be facing is unclear.
It's unclear because on November 14th reigning champion Toshio Arikawa (13-4, 11) [有川 稔男] will be defending his title, for the first time, as he takes on veteran Yasuhiro Okawa (14-12-3, 5), who gets his second shot at the belt, in an intriguing rematch between two men who first faced off 3 years ago
For Arikawa the bout sees him defending the title he won earlier this year, when he broke down Nobuyuki Shindo in the 10th round, incidentally that was Shindo's first defense. Arikawa had entered that bout the top ranked challenger, following a surprising 2015 win over Akinori Watanabe. Entering this bout the champion is riding a 5 fight winning run, including 4 successive T/KO's and his last 2 wins have been big ones domestically. Although not the most skilled he is heavy handed and appears to have become a late bloomer turning around a 8-4 (7) record in the last 2 years.
Okawa on the other hand is a true veteran with 32 fights to his name over the last 14 years. Like Arikawa he had to turn a faltering career around, in fact he was 1-3-2 after his first 6 bouts, but has managed to forge a credible career with notable wins over Hidekazu Matsunobu an, in 2013, a decision over Arikawa. Over the last few years he has turned around a 9-11-3 (3) record and actually fought for the title this past January, losing a bout for the vacant title to Nobuyuki Shindo, his only loss in the last 5 years.
The bout was announced earlier today and will take place at the Korakuen Hall on a card under the "Untouchable fight" banner.
News! We try and give you the most interesting news stories from the Asian boxing world!