On February 9th we see this year's Champion Carnival kick off in Japan with an excellent looking Japanese Super Featherweight title bout between unbeaten champion Rikki Naito (11-0, 5) and unbeaten challenger Masayuki Ito (16-0-1, 7). The unbeaten showdown is possibly the most interesting of this years Champion Carnival bouts and is a perfect way to kick things off.
Today the two fighters met face to face at a press conference held at Japanese Boxing Commission headquarters to officially announce the bout.
At the conference both men spoke about their recent training camps which saw both men training in the US. For Naito it included time at the highly regarded Wildcard gym and time spent with former Lightweight world title challenger Denis Shafikov whilst for Ito time was spent training with former world champion Miguel Vazquez.
For both men this bout is a step towards the next level. For Naito this is a chance to secure a 3rd defense of the title and move towards either an OPBF title fight or a world title fight whilst for Ito it's a chance to claim his second title, having previously won the WBC Youth Lightweight title.
Of course for both men the eventual aim will be world honours. A loss here will be a set back but with both men being young there is every chance they'll bounce back and a loss will certainly not end their dreams.
(Image courtesy of boxingnews.jp)
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