The Japanese scene seems to red hot with emerging talent, and this year, probably more than any other recently, we've seen fighters decide to abandon the amateur code and begin their professional campaigns. There's a long list of fighters who have turned pro this year, and one of the most highly regarded among them is Ryu Horikawa (2-0, 1) who has signed with the well established Misako Gym and looks to be their next big hope.
At the moment the Misako gym is absolutely on fire, 5 Japanese champions. The success of Norihito Tanaka, Kenichi Horikawa, Ryo Sagawa, Yusuke Suzuki and Shuichiro Yoshino has got the gym bouncing whilst other names are also making their mark there. The confidence in the gym is high and with Horikawa there they seem to have a real star for the future.
Aged 19 Horikawa is seen as one of the faces of the future for Japanese boxing. He turned professional earlier this year, following a 37-8 amateur career. That amateur record included a good run in the 2018 Japanese High School Selection Tournament, where he lost in the semi-final to Shogo Tanaka, the eventual winner.
In his debut the youngster didn't really impress in the way he should. He seemed over-eager to impress and rather than using the boxing skills he had in his arsenal he came out aggressively and took some solid counters from Jun Ishimoto. The aggression however did pay off when Ishimoto corner stopped the bout in round 3. By that point Horikawa had began to show more maturity and composure, though had been rocked early in the bout.
His debut left question marks, though thankfully his second bout put minds at ease as he out pointed fellow promising youngster Yukji Nakajima in a B class tournament bout. This was a real 50-50 type bout, with both men facing off super early in their careers and both expected to go a long way. Whilst a loss, this early, wouldn't have been the end it was still high risk for both fighters. Impressively Horikawa put on a incredibly mature performance, boxing behind his jab, being aggressive yet smart, and showing real sharpness to his punches. Given his reckless debut this was an incredible transformation and he really did out box Nakajima. After 6 rounds Horikawa was the worthy winner of the bout, taking a clear decision.
Next time out Horikawa will face off with Xiang Li (7-2-1, 2) in a WBO Youth Light Flyweight title bout. That bout, which will take place on October 17th, isn't just Horikawa's first bout but will also be his first bout outside of Japan, with the contest taking place in Shanghai, and his first 10 rounder. Although likely to be the under-dog, given the fact he has to fight in China against a Chinese local, Horikawa will see this bout as a winnable one and a real chance to make his make outside of Japan.
Given his talent, his eagerness to face stiff competition and the strong team behind him, the future is very bright for Horikawa and we're really looking forward to seeing how far he goes, and how quickly he gets there!
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