We'll admit there hasn't been the swathes of announcements that we were expecting so far this year and the future of numerous world class fighters is still relatively undecided. Today however we did have a world title fight announced in Japan, and one featuring an unbeaten Japanese challenger and a very well respected world champion.
Sadly however, for some fans anyway, it's a female world title fight.
The announcement is that the unbeaten Nana Yoshikawa (4-0, 2) would challenge WBA female Minimumweight champion Anabel Ortiz (16-3, 3) on April 29th.
The unbeaten Yoshikawa is a former OPBF Light Flyweight champion who had been angling for a world title fight since the end of last year. Although Yoshikawa is unbeaten she's not untested and prior to turning professional in 2013 she was a top female amateur and as a result has very good pedigree which has allowed her to be fast tracked, a good thing considering the fact she is already 36 years old.
For Yoshikawa this bout was a natural step up. She had blown away former world title challengers Krikanok Islandmuaythai and Kledpetch KKP in a combined 3 rounds and it seemed obvious that holding her back was effectively a waste of time. It may seem like she's being thrown in at the deep end but in many ways she has to swim with sharks if she's going to live up to her own high expectations.
As for Ortiz she's a battle hardened veteran despite only being 28 years old. She is a former WBC female Minimumweight champion and is now in her second reign as a world champion. Notably she has faced some of the best in the business, both in South America, where she has battled Ibeth Zamora Silva and Yessica Yolanda Bopp, and in Asia. In fact this will Ortiz's 4th bout in Japan where she has a 2-1 record. She has managed to out pointed Nanako Kikuchi, to claim the WBC female Minimumweight title, and Etsuko Tada, to claim her current WBA strap, whilst her sole loss came at the hands of the sensational Naoko Fujioka. Notably the last time she fought a Japanese opponent came late last year when she scored a controversial win in a rematch over Tada last year, albeit Mexico.
The bout, set to take place at the Sangyo Shinko Center in Sakai, Osaka, will be a major test for Yoshikawa given the vast differences in professional experience. She will however be hoping to neutralise that advantage with her home advantage and a clear difference in natural size. That size advantage includes a notable 4" difference in height, as well as a clear reach over the diminutive Ortiz. However in the past Ortiz has managed to take advantage of her small stature as she's gotten inside and worked away on taller rangier fighters.
(Image courtesy of Nana Yoshikawa's blog)
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