Exciting fighters make for exciting fights, especially when we get two exciting and aggressively minded fighters in there together. One of the sports most exciting fighters is Japanese Flyweight champion Takuya Kogawa (24-4, 13), Although a very unheralded fighter he is as action as they come and combines fantastic work rate, desire and toughness to make a fighter who is rarely in a bad fight.
Earlier this year Kogawa became a 2-time Japanese champion and in November he will make the first defense of his second reign as he takes on former toe, and fellow exciting fighter, Tetsuma Hayashi (25-3-2, 9), himself a former Japanese title challenger.
For those who recognise Kogawa's name he has really been in some great fights. His most notable bout was a loss to Pongsaklek Wonjongkam back in 2011. Since then he has been regularly involved in thrillers, including a 2012 win over Hayashi to defend the Japanese Flyweight title, a loss to Suguru Muranaka in 2013, a loss to Yodmongkol Vor Seanghtep for the WBA interim Flyweight title and a win over Hiroyuki Hisataka, also late last year.
In the ring Kogawa lacks power and in some ways defense. He is however a perpetual punching machine who seems to feel his best defense is his offense and more often than not that makes for great action. When he needs to however Kogawa can fight on the retreat, though he seems to prefer to be an offensive windmill.
Whilst Kogawa is a 2-time Japanese champion, a former OPBF champion and a former world title challenger he's yet to have the international respect that his talent and style deserve. In fact very few international fans will really know too much about him. They will however know more than they know about Hayashi.
In many ways Hayashi's most notable bout was his loss to Kogawa. Prior to that he had gone 18-1-1 (6) with his sole loss being a split decision to the more experienced Takayasu Kobayashi. Against Kogawa we saw Hayashi really push the more established man close, though his lack of experience against quality opponents did show at times.
Since that loss Hayashi has gone 7-1-1 with his best win coming over Junichi Ebisuoka and his sole loss coming to Suguru Muranaka, in a Japanese title fight that saw Muranaka lose his belt on the scales. In many ways that bout, which was actually his most recent, was his most impressive despite losing. It say Hayashi really give Muranaka all he could handle with the former champion pulling out a very narrow win. Whilst it was a great performance by Hayashi it was one that seemed to again show his lack of 10 round experience.
Coming in to this one we're expecting to see Hayashi at his very best, we're expecting a better performance than he had first time around against Kogawa. Likewise however we're expecting to see Kogawa at his best, knowing that another loss will kill any chance of him getting another title shot. Unfortunately for the challenger he hasn't yet shown the type of ability a fighter needs to beat Kogawa, he will however run him very close in another enthralling encounter, bout that will leave the Korakuen Hall in raptures of cheers once again.
For those wanting to see the first bout between the two men, we've included that below.
On October 22nd Japanese fans have a potential treat as the heavy handed “Bazooka” Satoshi Hosono (28-2-1, 20) defends his Japanese Featherweight title against the teak tough and incredibly gutsy Takuya Watanabe (26-5-1, 12). The bout really pits a banger against a gutsy guy in a fight that could, potentially, be a thriller.
Of the two men it's Hosono who is more well known and he has been on the radar for quite a while. In fact many of Hosono's early fights were on TV and in 2008 he claimed his first title, the OPBF Featherweight title. Since then he has fought in 15 title fights. They have included wins, and defenses of the OPBF and Japanese Featherweight titles, and 3 world title challenges. Although he has yet to win a world title he certainly hasn't shamed himself, losing a close one to Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym, being widely out pointed by Celestino Caballero and suffering a technical draw with Chris John.
Although known, on the world stage, for those 3 major set backs Hosono is one of those perennial contenders looking for another shot at a world title. From what we understand he needs a good performance before promoter Hideyuki Ohashi will do the leg work to get Hosono another shot, and it's hoped that an impressive win here will convince Ohashi to splash the cash and bring a champion over to Japan for their man.
In the ring Hosono is a fun to watch fighter. He's very aggressive, powerful, tough and strong. Technically he is a bit limited and he is relatively slow but more often than not his pressure takes an effect on his opponents and his power breaks them down.
Whilst we've had plenty of time to become Hosono fans over the last few years the same cannot be said of Watanabe who really came to our attention just last year when he suffered a loss to Jaesung Lee, albeit in a blood bath in Korea. Prior to that bout he had fought in just two title bouts, winning the WBC Youth Lightweight title and coming up short in a Japanese Featherweight title fight with Hisashi Amagasa, losing clearly in that one.
It was the Lee fight that showed just how tough and gutsy Watanabe was. In that bout he suffered a nasty cut that bled, and bled and bled, through out much of the fight covering the shorts of Lee in claret, which also left the canvas sodden and was over the referee. It was one of the most recent “blood baths” in boxing and yet never once did it look like Watanabe would quit, instead fighting out to the bitter end.
In the ring Watanabe isn't just gutsy but is a solid fighter. Sadly however his competition, on the whole, has been very poor. That's been seen in 5 of his last 6 bouts which have seen him facing very poor Thais. The one exception during that run saw him face Shun Shimazaki and that was a very competitive bout.
What we know of the two men suggests they are on totally different levels and we suspect this will be shown with Hosono recording an easy, but exciting, defense against a man who will look out of his depth despite being game.
(Image courtesy of Ohashi gym)
Having canned the old "Full Schedule" of Asianboxing we have instead decided to concentrate more on the major bouts. This section, the "Preview" section will look at major bouts involving OPBF and national titles. Hopefully leading to a more informative style for, you the reader.