Back in May we saw Japanese Middleweight champion Hikaru Nishida (16-8-1, 7) [西田 光] unify the regular title with the interim title as he defeated a determined, and heavy handed, Tomohiro Ebisu [胡 朋宏] with a clear decision.
Today we saw his next defense being announced, and as one would assume it's not the best of match ups, an issue caused in part due to the recently announced challenger determination bout between Shoma Fukumoto (11-1, 9) [福本祥馬] and Kazuto Takesako (6-0, 6) [竹迫司登], which is really mouth watering.
The announced bout will see Nishida take on Kazuyuki Fukuyama (11-8, 3) [福山 和徹], who is ranked #4 by the JBC coming into this bout. With the two meeting at the Korakuen Hall on September 22nd.
For Nishida the bout will be his second defense of the Japanese title, which he claimed back in March 2016, when he stopped Akio Shibata in 3 rounds, and will see him looking to build on the bit win over Ebisu in May. Although his record doesn't suggest he's anything special it's worth noting that Nishida really has proven his worth after a 4-5-1 (1) start to his professional career. During his last 14 bouts he has notched notable wins against the likes of Ebisu, Shibata, Makoto Fuchigami, Kazuhiko Hidaka and current OPBF Light Middleweigth champion Ratchasi Sithsaithong.
The challenger on the other hand has struggled in recent years, losing 4 of his last 6 including losses to Shoma Fukumoto and Tomohuiro Ebisu. Early in his career Fukuyama struggled for form, lsoing his first 3, before going 9-1, claiming the 2010 Middleweight Rookie of the Year crown along the war. Sadly though his streak form has reared it's head again and he's certainly going to be in need of a career best win to over-come the exciting and aggressive champion.
For those wondering, the winner of Nishida Vs Fukuyama will be mandated to face the winner of Fukumoto Vs Takesako in 2018 as part of the Champion Carnival.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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