That challenger is the unranked Fijian Abhay Chand (16-13-4, 10), a 35 year old who has certainly not had the sort of fights to get on the radar of many fans.
What we do know about Chand is that he has been a pro turn since the turn of the century having made his debut in 2000 in his native Fiji where we believe he has fought 26 of his 33 professional bouts. As well as his homeland Chand has fought twice in Samoa, losing both bouts including an opening round loss to Leti Leti last time out, and 5 times in Australia, where again he has lost every time he has fought in the country.
Although footage and images of Chand are hard to come by we have thankfully recognised some of the fighters who have beaten him, including Zac Awad, Daniel Dawson and Robert Medley, who have all stopped Chand.
One other thing we know about Chand is that he has often fought in lower weights including Welterweight. It's been at lower weights that Chand has scored his most notable achievements having won both the Fijian Middleweight title and the Oceanic Boxing Association Light Middleweight title.
Up against Chand will be Japan's heavy handed OPBF champion Yuzo Kiyota (26-4-1, 24), one of the heaviest handed men in Asia and someone who we tend to enjoy watching. Of course to compare Chand, an unknown, to Kiyota is frankly ridiculous and we'd be very surprised if anyone reading this wasn't at least aware of Kiyota who of course challenged Robert Stieglitz for the WBO Super Middleweight title last year. Although Kiyota came up short against Stieglitz it was still a chance for many to be introduced to a man who had run roughshod over the national and regional scenes in recent years.
Kiyota, a genuine puncher with a real mean streak, is a multi-time OPBF champion at 168lbs and has featured in every bout for the title over the last 6 years. We'll not pretend he's been beating a who's who of the division but he has been scoring stoppages regularly whilst defending his title against the likes of Les Piper, Shintaro Matsumoto and Hiromitso Miura.
Sadly for Kiyota, though also part of the reasoning for this bout with Chand, is the fact he is seen as a high risk-low reward opponent in an area of the world where Super Middleweights are few and far between. The better ranked contenders, such as Zac Dunn, Jake Carr, Ben McCulloch and Trent Broadhurst, come from Australia where they can get paid more for non-title fights against the limited locals than they would get for a fight with the heavy handed Kiyota. It's been this that has meant his last two bouts have both been non-title fights and also why Chand is viewed as an acceptable challenger despite not being ranked.
Although we don't know much about Chand we are aware than he has been stopped in many of his defeats and suspect that, with Kiyota's power, that will again be the outcome here with the finish likely occurring in the first 6 or 7 rounds, essentially whenever Kiyota feels comfortable going for the kill.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)