The title, which became vacant earlier this year after Suguru Muranaka came in over-weight for his bout with Tetsuma Hayashi, is being contest by the top 2 Japanese ranked contenders with Kogawa, a former champion, entering the bout as the #1 contender and Saito as the #2 ranked contender.
We've known about this match up for a while though we were awaiting the announcement in regards to a date. With the bout now just about 7 weeks away we have to say we are pretty excited, as we always are when Kogawa is set to step in to the ring.
Kogawa is a former holder of the title, incidentally losing it to Muranaka in a really fun to watch bout back in 2013. Coming in to the bout he is 1-2 though those losses came in the Muranaka bout, via split decision, and to the then WBA interim Flyweight champion Yodmongkol Vor Saengthep, in a very unfortunate majority decision loss. His sole win during his last 3 bouts was a decision against Hiroyuki Hisataka, fought well above his natural Flyweight division.
Whilst Kogawa has been struggling for wins over the last 18 months or so Saito has really been in great form, and in fact his record is a genuinely misleading one. He has won his last 3 bouts, including a big win last November over Jo Tanoka, and genuinely rebuild his career after a 6-4 start. On paper that sounds like a poor start to a career but when you consider Saito's most recent losses came to Muranaka, Hayashi and future OPBF title challenger Yuki Fukumoto.
Of course it's hard to back Saito here, but he's clear a live under-dog and hasn't got the miles on the clock that Kogawa has. On paper it looks a mismatch but in reality this is a fantastic match up and well worth the status as the main event come July 17th.