In 2015 we saw Japan's Ryo Takenaka (13-3-1, 7) [竹中 良] claim the OPBF Featherweight title and score his most notable win so far, whilst also bouncing back from a 2014 that ended with disappointment. To begin 2016 he'll be looking to continue on the success that saw him score an eye catching KO over Vinvin Rufino and retain his title as he battles Akira Shono (9-7-2, 5) [正野 晃], a man looking to secure a defining win.
Aged 30 Takenaka has got a few years left in the sport and given how he fought last year it seems like he's a man who is still improving, despite having been a professional for more than 7 years, and having been a touted prospect when he began his professional journey. Like many prospects in Japan Takenaka began his career as a 6 round fighter, and quickly progressed to 8 round bouts.
Although touted as a novice Takenaka's career failed to go as expected and after 10 bouts he was 7-2-1 (4) with his career in the balance. Since then he has gone 6-1, losing only a 12th round TKO to Hisashi Amagasa in a bout he was winning prior to the stoppage. Those 6 wins have all come against opponents with winning records, and have included wins over Rufino, Rene Bestudio and Vergel Nebran.
In the ring Takenaka is a talented boxer-mover though, as seen against Rufino, he also has very solid power with perhaps his biggest issue being his relative lack of durability, with 2 of his losses being by stoppage. Notably though those losses came to Amagasa and former world Ryol Li Lee, two very good fighters.
When it comes to Shono there is very little footage available of him, though one thing that can't be denied is that at 35 years old Shono really is unlikely to get another opportunity if he fails to make the most of this one.
Shono debuted almost 9 years ago, and struggled at times to get going. He began his career 2-2 (2), and other times was 5-4-2 (3) and even 7-7-2 (4), he is however on a 2 fight winning streak and has shown his ability by mixing with good fighters, though he was beaten by the likes of Ryota Kajiki and Satoru Sugita.
With a 9-7-2 (5) record Shono certainly doesn't look like a great challenger, especially given that he has suffered a pair of stoppage losses, and has never gone beyond 8 rounds, with this bout being a 12 rounder. Whilst we don't know a lot about Shono we do know that he will be the major under-dog against Takenaka and we can't really see how the challenger will win, as a result we're predicting a stoppage win for the champion, likely inside 6 rounds.
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.