June 19th is set to be a hectic day for fight fans thanks to a big show in Chiba. One of the many bouts on that card will see a new WBO female Super Flyweight champion being crowned, as Miyo Yoshida (12-1) and Casey Morton (8-1-3, 1) battle for the currently vacant title. For both fighters this will be their first world title bout, and potentially their only shot at world gold, given that both are the wrong side of 30.
Yoshida has been a revelation over the last 2 years or so. She debuted in 2014, in a 4 round bout, and struggled past Ayaka Sato and then took a significant break from the ring before returning to struggle past Yuko Henzan. Yoshida would win her first 4 bouts, all close decisions, before her luck ran out and she was beaten by Yuki Koseki in September 2016. Since the loss however she has gone 7-0 and shown massive improvements. Her 7-0 run has seen her avenge her loss to Koseki as well as claim the Japanese female Bantamweight title, with a win over Tomomi Takano, and later unify the title with the OPBF female Bantamweight title, which she won in 2018 with a technical decision over Gretel de Paz.
In the ring Yoshida is a good boxer-mover. She lacks power but has shown an ability to fight at a good pace, grit her teeth when he needs to and dig deep to get the win. He victory over Takano was deemed a big upset and since then her confidence has grown and grown. Sadly whilst her confidence has gotten better her competition really hasn't improved, though a win in March against Yoshie Wakasa was among her best wins to date.
At the age of 31 Yoshida is on the wrong end of 30, however Morton is the older fighter, at 35, and is also the fighter with the less impressive form coming in to this bout. The "Lady Hawaiian Punch" also debuted in 2014 and has fought consistently since then, with multiple bouts a year. She has fought not in the US and Mexico but has also been on an Asia tour, of sorts, in recent years with her last 5 bouts being spread between the Philippines and China. We mentioned her form a moment a go and that is, in part at least, due to her 2018 upset loss to Jutamas Jitpong in China, in a bout where Morton was made to look second rate to the Thai. It's also worth noting that over her last 8 she is 5-1-2, with draws against the then debuting Karla Gonzalez and the then 1-2 Samantha Salazar.
To date Morton's best win, at least on paper, is a shut out in the Philippines against Kanchana Tungthaisong, who was a shadow of the fighter she had once been and a narrow win over Japanese female Minimumweight champion Chie Higano. Both several classes below Yoshida, both technically and physically.
Morton will know this may well be her first and only chance at a world title, but she will be up against a naturally bigger fighter who is full of confidence and we suspect that size and belief will be the difference, leading to a clear decision win for Yoshida.
Prediction UD10 Yoshida
This coming Saturday we'll get another female world title fight featuring a Japanese fighter, the third in just a few days. This time it's the turn of Tamao Ozawa (13-4, 5) who battles Raja Amasheh (20-1-1-1, 4) for the vacant WBO female Super Flyweight title, in Karlsruhe Germany.
For the 32 year old Japanese fighter this will be a second world title shot, following her 2017 bout against Su Yun Hong for the WBO female Light Flyweight title whilst Amasheh will be fighting for her first “big 4” world title, though is a former 2-weight WBF world champion, having claim the Flyweight and Super Flyweight titles.
Against Hong we saw Ozawa fight pretty well, but she was always just a step or two behind the talented Korean. That was arguably the second most notable bout of Ozawa's career, behind a 2016 bout with Mexican icon Mariana Juarez, who took a wide 10 round decision over the Japanese fighter. What those losses showed was that Ozawa has toughened up since her early career. In fact she was stopped twice in her first 8 bouts, an opening round TKO to the Tomoko Kawanishi and a 2nd round stoppage to Kai Johnson. Since then she has improved a loss, avenging the loss to Johnson and claiming the OPBF Super Flyweight title, as well as being competitive with Hong and going 10 rounds with Juarez.
Technically Ozawa is a pretty decent boxer but that's about as polite as you can be. She's slow, a little clumsy, her footwork isn't too sharp and defensively she has holes. She went the distance with Hong but her face took a toll, and her left eye was badly swollen from the consistent shots the Korean was landing, and although gutsy her defensive flaws could be an issue going forward.
Aged 35 Amasheh is possibly getting her only shot at a major world. The German based fighter, originally from Jordan, drew on her debut before going on an impressive run from 2009 to late 2016, going 19-0-0-1, with the only black mark being a split decision loss-turned-No Contest against Amira Hamzaoui. In 2016 we finally saw that unbeaten run come to an end, as Amasheh was defeated by the under-rated Ana Arrazola. She did bounce back from that loss by winning the WBC Silver Super Flyweight title last March, beating the limited Kleopatra Tolnai. Since then however Amasheh has been away from the ring, for almost a year.
From footage of Amasheh she is an aggressive fighter who rushes forward behind a tight guard and looks to fight behind combinations, thrown in flurries. She's defensively open when letting her shots go but seems to fight like she sees her best defense as her offense. When she's not on the front foot she is defensively tight, but looks like she can't transition from one to the other. She's defensive, or offensive.
Whilst we expect to see a bit of ring rust from Amasheh we also expect her to be more aggressive, more crisp and bustier than Ozawa. Ozawa will take a lot to be stopped, but that's not out of the question, especially not late on. We don't imagine Ozawa has the power or speed to be competitive, but she should be able to put up a decent and entertaining effort en route to a clear loss.
Whilst boxing, at it's heart, might be a combat sport where participants get hit in the face some fighters do do well outside of the sport based on their looks. It's shallow and ignores their skills but it's certainly something a lot of fighters, especially female ones, have made a part of their careers in recent years.
One of the fighters who has certainly attracted a lot of attention is Japanese fighter Tomomi Takano (8-1, 5) who moves up in class this coming Wednesday to take part in her first world title bout. The gorgeous Japanese fighter will be up against the more proved and much more experienced Argentinian world champion Daniela Romina Bermudez (17-3-2, 5), the current WBO female Super Flyweight world champion.
The 28 year old Japanese fighter took up boxing late in life and although she's not rounded off her skills there is a lot to appreciate about her. Physically she has the build to be an excellent boxer. She's tall, long, rangy and in fantastic condition. If she had taken to boxing at a young age she could have rounded off her skills to develop and excellent jab and move gameplan that could have taken her far.
As it is Takano's not a terrible fighter. She's not the accomplished fighter that she could have been but she's improving all the time and is a fighter who scarcely resembles what she once was. She's not the most powerful but she now knows her way around the ring, she knows how to box and she knows how to use her physical traits to her advantage, though she's perhaps not able to do it against good competition.
As for the champion she's a real fighter who has been a professional for more than 5 years and mixed with some excellent opposition, including Edith Soledad Matthysse, Yesica Yolanda Bopp, Mayerlin Rivas, Linda Laura Lecca and Venesa Lorena Taborda. Whilst it's fair to note that she has lost to Bopp, twice, and Matthysse she has been mixing with success against very good competition.
In the ring Bermudez is a fighter. She can box but she's a gritty fighter who is likely to find the test of facing Takano and interesting one. She's the much small fighter but is one who will likely apply pressure from the off and look to get inside where she can go to work, if she can do that she'll be letting her hands go and breaking down the challenger.
Before we get on to our prediction we do need to note one more thing. Takano's weight. Stood at close to 5'10, and having fought as high as Super Bantamweight, we know she'll struggle to make 115lbs for this bout.
Given what we know about Takano, he struggles to make weight and her loss, a stoppage to Kei Johnson, we have to favour Bermudez to simply wear her down. The champion may not be a puncher but she will, simply, be too good for Takano.
Here we preview the key female title bouts involving an Asian fighter.