It could be be seen as being harsh to feature a 3-time world champion in our "Who are you?" series but when it comes to female boxing most female fighters are pretty unknown, even the ones who have stood out as being among the best over the last decade. One example of the is Japan's Etsuko Tada (19-3-2, 6), who has held WBA, IBF and WBO titles during her career, and she hunts another WBO belt on January 28th, when she faces Ayaka Miyao.
Tada took up boxing after being involved in a number of street fights during high school, and quickly excelled. Within just a few years of her taking up the sport, she had claimed a bronze in the 2001 Asian Championships and would lose only a handful of her 50 amateur bouts, including domestic losses to future world champions Naoko Fujioka and Momo Koseki.
In 2008 Tada turned to the pro ranks, signing up with the Futur Gym and debuting in May 2008. Her ability was obvious and in just her second pro bout she set a Japanese record for the quickest win in a female fight, stopping Nonglek Sithsornpichai in just 31 seconds. Within just 5 months of her debut Tada had moved to 3-0 (2) and was racing towards a world title fight.
To kick off 2009 Tada took a 6 round decision over Hye-Min Kim and then, in just her 5th bout, got a shot at the then WBA female Minimumweight champion ChoRong Son. Although Son was an unbeaten world champion with a 10-0 record she was easily beaten by Tada, who took a very clear decision to claim the title.
Tada did what few wanted to do at the time and took on top competition straight away. Her first defense was against an unbeaten Thai, Yani Kokietgym, who was also the PABA champion, who she beat in a very competitive bout. Her second defense was in a unification bout with fellow Japanese world champion Naomi Togashi, in a bout that ended in a draw, before she travelled to Trinidad and Tobago and fought to another draw with Ria Ramnarine.
Tada's reign as the WBA champion went from strength to strength as she notched notable wins over Ibeth Zamora Silva, Maria Salinas, Naoko Shibata and Yuko Kuroki, all of which look better now than they did at the time. Sadly though it did come to an end in 2013 we she lost the first of two bouts with Mexican starlet Anabel Ortiz. This was hotly contested through out with Ortiz getting a razor thin split decision, despite the bout being held in Tokyo. A return match the following year saw Ortiz take a second split decision over Tada, to retain the WBA title she had taken from Tada.
Despite the loses to Ortiz it wasn't long until Tada recaptured gold, winning the IBF title in December 2015, when she beaten Kareli Lopez. Despite the win it was clear Tada wasn't the same fighter she had once been. She was slower, less busy, less sharp and at 34 years old was certainly not the fighter who had burst onto the scene 6 years earlier. Sadly her reign he wasn't one to remember, and after a stay busy fight 6 months after winning the title Tada would lose the belt in China in January 2017 to Cai Zong Ju.
The loss to Cai Zong Ju seemed like a passing of the torch fight. The Chinese fighter was a rising star, and looked too young, too fresh, too fast for Tada, who was showing signs of her age. Sadly Though Cai never managed to kick on with her career whilst Tada has continued on, and bounced back from the loss by claiming the WBO Asia Pacific female Minimumweight title in November 2017.
In 2018 Tada took her third step towards becoming a grandslam champion, a champion who has won all 4 major world titles, by beating Kayoko Ebata to claim the WBO Minimumweight title. Sadly she vacated this title, rather than defend it, to allow stablemate Kasume Saeki to win the belt and turn her own focus to a WBC title fight. The WBC shot never came, and instead Tada will look to become a 2-time WBO champion on January 28th when she takes on former WBA Atomweight champion Ayaka Miyao, in a mouth watering match up between two world class veterans of the Japanese scene.
During her career Tada has moved from the Futur Gym to the Shinsei gym, she has changed from being a speedy boxer-mover, to more of a brawler-fighter, making up for her ageing legs. She's still world class, but there is a clear gameplan to beat her. It's not an easy gameplan to carry out, but it's a clear one. Few will have the tools to do it at the moment, but in a year or two, with Tada slowing down further she'll be there to be beaten.
Although Tada is a faded force, she is still someone fans should be aware of. She's talented, she's fought a who's who, and she's always come to fight!
The final 10 or so days of April are set to be packed with a fantastic variety of bouts, from national title fights, to world title fights. We see one of the most anticipated bouts of 2019, a female prodigy going for a world title in her 4th bout and the return of the WBSS. This is how you end a month!
As, has become custom in recent years, the calendar for December is genuinely stacked, from wall to wall, making it probably the busiest month for us arguably ever! As a result we'll be breaking our "What's to come" into 3 different parts. The first part, this one, will look at the hectic start to the month, covering everything from a world title fight to a former world champion returning after more than a year away to great looking prospect Vs prospect match!
Mark Anthony Barriga (9-0, 1) Vs Carlos Licona (13-0, 2)- USA
A crazy December 1st starts Japan, but the highlight of the day is in the US due to a stacked American card. Among the bouts on that card is an IBF Minimumweight title bout, as the Filipino sensation Mark Anthony Barriga takes on Carlos Licona, for the title that was vacated by Hiroto Kyoguchi. We've not seen anything much of Licona but Barriga has always impressed and we're expecting this to be an excellent technical contest.
Valentine Hosokawa (23-6-3, 10) Vs Takashi Inagaki (20-17-2, 9) -Tokyo, Japan
Japanese Light Welterweight champion Valentine Hosokawa returns for his second defense as he takes on fellow veteran Takashi Inagaki. This bout looks like it's going to be one sided, at least on paper, but Inagaki will know that this will be his final shot, and will almost certain risk it all for a chance to become a champion, after previously coming up short twice.
Yukinori Oguni (19-2-1, 7) Vs Arega Yunian (6-11, 1) - Tokyo, Japan
Former IBF Super Bantamweight champion Yukinori Oguni returns to the ring after more than a year out, as he fights in a tune up bout against limited Indonesian visitor Arega Yunian. This really will be a mismatch, but it's great to see the popular Oguni back in the ring and he's seemingly got serious plans for 2019.
Kayoko Ebata (12-7, 6) Vs Etsuko Tada (17-3-2, 5) - Osaka, Japan
The Barriga Vs Licona bout isn't the only world title fight this coming Saturday, as WBO female Minimumweight champion Kayoko Ebata defends her title against former WBA and IBF champion Etsuko Tada. Ebata is looking to make her second defense of the belt, and if we're being honest a loss will almost certainly end her career. The talented Tada isn't the fighter she once was, but is the younger fighter and will likely be the crowd favourite here.
Eri Matsuda (1-0) Vs Minayo Kei (6-3, 1) - Osaka, Japan
Talented novice Eri Matsuda looks to claim her first title in just her second professional bout, as she takes on Minayo Kei in an OPBF Atomweight title fight. This could be a good test for Matsuda, who is tipped to have a very successful career, and if she wins she could well end up moving into world title bouts by the summer of 2019. For Kei this is a chance to over-come a touted opponent.
Wakako Fujiwara (6-2-2, 2) Vs Kimika Miyoshi (13-11-1, 5) II - Osaka, Japan
The relatively unknown Wakako Fujiwara shocked Kimika Miyoshi earlier this year, to claim the OPBF female Featherweight title. Now she'll be looking to repeat the feat in a rematch against the former champion, and former world title challenger. It's hard to see where the loser goes from here, whilst the winner may well end up moving in the direction of a world title fight in the new year.
Kasumi Saeki (2-0, 1) Vs Wassana Kamdee (3-4, 2) - Osaka, Japan
Matsuda isn't the only novice looking to claim their first title very early in their career as Kasumi Saeki looks to claim the WBO Asia Pacific Female Minimumweight in just her third bout. The talented Saeki will be up against Thai visitor Wassana Kamdee. We suspect Saeki will win, but we're more intrigued by her performance, rather than just the result.
Reiya Konishi (16-1, 6) Vs Richard Rosales (13-7-2, 7) - Osaka, Japan
Former world title challenger Reiya Konishi looks to make his first defense of the WBO Asia Pacific Light Flyweight, and move a step closer to a second world title fight as he takes on Filipino Richard Rosales. The talented Konishi failed to shine in his title win, but is expected to look really good against Rosales. To his credit Rosales has mixed with good opponents, but isn't expected to be a serious test here.
Masao Nakamura (24-3, 23) Vs Carlo Magali (23-10-3, 12) - Osaka, Japan
Another Japan Vs Philippines bout will see former OPBF Super Featherweight champions Masao Nakamura and Carlo Magali face off for the vacant WBO Asia Pacific Super Featherweight title. The heavy handed Nakamura was once tipped for big things, but has shown a frailty through his career, whilst Magali has a very misleading record and he can be a nightmare at this level. We're expecting a pretty exciting tear up when these two get in the ring together, and the winner will take a huge step towards a potential WBO world title fight.
Arata Matsuoka (6-6, 4) Vs Hikaru Ota (9-8, 5) - Hyogo, Japan
In a bout for the Japanese Youth Flyweight title we'll see Arata Matsuoka and Hikaru Ota face off. This bout doesn't scream amazing on paper, but these youth title bouts are typically very good to watch and this one looks amazingly competitive, with both being very limited fighters. In a way it's a shame that these two are fighting for a title vacated by the brilliant Junto Nakatani, but we should at leats get a 50-50 bout, something we wouldn't have got had Nakatani defended the belt against one of these two.
Hikaru Matsuoka (14-4-3, 2) Vs Noboru Osato (10-6-4, 2)- Hyogo, Japan
A second Japanese Youth title fight will see Hikaru Matsuoka take on Noboru Osato for the Super Bantamweight belt. Hikaru Matsuoka, is the twin brother of Arata Matsuoka, from the Flyweight bout, and we could potentially see twins ending the day as Japanese Youth champions. Osato is however a very capable fighter and footage of both men suggest that this will be a match up between two technically capable fighters each looking to box at range in what could an interest chess match.
Satoshi Shimizu (7-0, 7) Vs Takuya Uehara (16-0, 10) - Tokyo, Japan
Reigning OPBF Featherweight champion Satoshi Shimizu will be looking top make his 4th defense, and take a huge step towards a world title fight as he takes on unbeaten challenge Takuya Uehara. The champion, a 2012 Olympic bronze medal winner, is a technically flawed fighter, but one who has serious power and throws from awkward angles. Uehara is a more technically fighter, rather than the free swinging and unorthodox style of Shimizu, but it is the challenger who is taking a massive step up in class.
Hinata Maruta (7-1-1, 6) Vs Tsuyoshi Tameda (18-3-2, 16) - Tokyo, Japan
A brilliant prospect vs prospect bout for this part of the month will see the very highly regarded Hinata Maruta taking on the heavy handed Tsuyoshi Tameda in a really outstanding bit of match making. Maruta is the more naturally gifted, and when he made his debut he genuinely impressed, beating Jason Canoy, but has yet to really show what he can really do. Tameda is a real brutish puncher, with several wins of note, but he has come up short against the better boxers he's been up against. This could seriously be the bout of the month and is fantastically matched!
This is just an opinion, maaaan! It's easy to share our opinions, and that's what you'll find here, some random opinion pieces