Japanese fighters are often accused of “failing to perform” when they fight away from home. Recent examples have shown some truth to that with notable losses for Ryosuke Iwasa and Tomoki Kameda. If you looked at the record of Tenkai Tsunami (21-10, 10) you probably accuse her of under-performing on the road, where she has gone 4-8. The truth however is that she's lost some very tight ones, to some of the very best female fighters on the planet.
On August 22nd we see Tsunami again take to a foreign land as she makes her Chilean debut, and takes on current IBF female Bantamweight champion Carolina Rodriguez (14-0, 1), the first ever Chilean to claim a “world title” in boxing.
Although her record doesn't suggest it Tsunami is a world class fighter. Over her 31 fight career, dating back to 2005, she has shared the ring with a who's who of female boxing. She's scored notable wins over the likes of Ayaka Miyao, Zhang Xi Yan and Kayoko Ebata, whilst suffering losses to the likes of Naoko Yamaguchi, Janeth Perez, Mariana Juarez, Zulina Munoz, Jessica Chavez and Arely Mucino.
Some of those losses have been clear defeats, such as the one to Juarez, others however have been unfortunate, such as the ones last year to Jessica Chavez and Arely Mucino, both of which could easily have gone Tsunami's way.
In the ring Tsunami is an aggressively minded fighter who comes forward relentlessly, she's not an out-and-out pressure fight but she's an intelligent aggressive fighter who comes to fight every time she's in the ring. She can be out boxed, and she can be out fought but very fighters will ever get in the ring with her and have an easy time with her. Sadly where she is flawed is that she lacks killer power, she's not the quickest and she isn't the most accurate, however given that she's got a great engine, and aggressive mentality few will enjoy sharing a ring with her.
Whilst Tsunami fights like her name suggests, always coming forward, the Chilean champion is a very different type of fighter. She has a forward gear but also a backwards gear and whilst she can come out swinging she often seems to prefer to box and move, using her legs, great timing and counter shows. She's very slick and has solid ring IQ even if she does, completely, lack power.
Sadly for Tsunami we can't see any way in which the judges will give her a decision in Rodriguez homeland. She may give the Chilean fight a real nightmare in the ring but the only way the Japanese fighter will win is with a knockout. Given the ability and style of Rodriguez we can't see than ever coming close to happening. As a result we suspect that Rodriguez will retain her title with a decision win, albeit one she has to work very hard to get.
Here we preview the key female title bouts involving an Asian fighter.