Earlier today it was announced that Japanese fans would get an early Christmas present as Nihito Arakawa (25-4-1, 16) has agreed to fight Japanese Lightweight champion Yoshitaka Kato (28-5-1, 9) in what will be a rubber match between the two talented, exciting and tough Lightweights.
The men, who will be fighting on December 6th at the Korakuen Hall, have agreed for the bout not to be a title bout, instead fighting at a contracted 62KG, a little over 136.5lbs. We're unsure why the bout hasn't been made at Lightweight though in all honesty we don't care considering just how great we expect the bout will be between two of the toughest men in boxing.
As mentioned this will be a rubber match. The two men first fought way back in November 2005 when both men were unbeaten hopefuls. On that occasion Arakawa won a 6 round split decision over Kato in a bout that really could have gone either way. The following year the men met for the second time and in that bout Kato managed to avenge his loss by taking an 8 round majority decision over Kato. It was another bout that could have gone either way though proved that the fighters were very equally skilled.
For their first two bouts together both men were relative novices, now however both are experienced fighters and both have proven their championship quality. Both have held Japanese and OPBF Lightweight titles and although Arakawa is better known, courtesy in part to his thrilling loss to Omar Figueroa, neither has proven himself to be significantly better than the other.
Aged 32 Arakawa is the older man though has fought in fewer bous and substantially fewer rounds. He does however have extra miles on the clock courtesy of that bout with Figueroa as well as contests with Daniel Estrada and Jorge Linares. As for the 29 year old Kato he has really come into his own in recent years successfully defending the Japanese title 7 times in a little over 3 years.
At the moment the full details of the card haven't yet been released though this is expected to be the main event of the show. It's also expected that that the loser will consider retirement, though we tend to feel that both men still have a lot to give the sport.
(Images courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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