The champion, defending his title for the second time, is Yukinori Oguni (14-1-1, 4), a former OPBF champion who suffered his sole loss to the excellent Shingo Wake. His challenger is the heavy handed Taiki Minamoto (10-4, 9), who may lack in skills but is a danger at the domestic level. It's a puncher vs a boxer contest and could well provide a bout that either sees skills blunting brute force or brute force over-coming the more skilled man.
In the ring Oguni is a boxer. He's a quick fight who likes to use his sharp jab, his quick movement and establish a comfortable range whilst he prevents an opponent from getting into rhythm. Early on he had great success by doing that and won his first 10 bouts. It was during that run that he won the OPBF Super Bantamweight title, upsetting Roli Gasca, and defended it 3 times. Back then it seemed like he was on his way to the top.
Unfortunately for Oguni his winning run came to an end against Wake who did everything better than Oguni, and hit harder, eventually breaking down Oguni in 10 rounds with Oguni's corner team then stopping their man. Since then he has bounced back with 4 wins and a draw, though did look less than outstanding in his last couple of bouts, a razor thin win over Yasutaka Ishimoto and a draw with Gakuya Furuhashi.
Although Oguni hasn't looked great recently he's also not looked terrible, and he has been facing solid competition. We know Ishimoto and Furuhashi aren't world class, but both are very good fighters who will mix in, and around, the top of the domestic level for the foreseeable future.
Whilst Oguni has had notable success we're about to see Minamoto step up to title level for the first time. Whilst this will be his first title fight he's certainly not facing his first notable opponent, in fact over the last 3 years he has faced the likes of Akihiko Katagri, Masayuki Ito, Eita Kikuchi, Seizo Kono and Yukinori Hisanaga. He has lost to Katagiri, Ito and Hisanaga but he did score botable stoppages over Kikuchi and Kono over the last 2 years.
Minamoto isn't the most skilled but with 9 T/KO's in his 10 wins it's clear he can punch and it's obvious that he will try to use that power to unsettle Oguni. It will be a case of whether or not he gets the chance to land on the slippery champion. If he does then this will be interesting.
Although we do give Minamoto a chance, given his power, we suspect that Oguni will be too good, too quick and too skilled for the challenger, who will never give up looking for that KO punch but will never quite land it.
(Image courtesy of Kadoebi.com)