The 31 year old Kimura won the title last year, with a split decision over the hard luck Kenichi Horikawa, and managed to secure a couple of defenses later in the year. Of those 3 wins Kimura scored in 2014 the most impressive came against Yuki Chinen, who was left chasing shadows by the world ranked Kimura. Whilst the title win and defenses were impressive what was even more impressive was Kimura's rise through the world rankings and he is now ranked by all 4 world title bodies.
Whilst Kimura had a sensational 2014 the same cannot be said for the 32 year old Ono who won 2 bouts last year though came up short in his most significant contest, suffering a decision loss to Katsunari Takayama in an IBF world title bout. That bout was close for the most part, though a couple of knockdowns late in the bout by Takayama decided the result and left Ono coming up short.
We suspect the winner of this will get a world title bout later in the year and whilst it's obviously a significant bout domestically it's also a major bout in terms of where the winner will go in the future. The contest will have implication in all 4 sets of world rankings and it's fair to say that the champions should all be aware of the winner of this one.
This bout has been arranged for April and will take place at the Korakuen Hall however no under-card bouts have been announced as of yet.
(Image of Kimura courtesy of boxingnews.jp)