Japanese, and even Filipino fighters, rarely make a mark above Super Featherweight with only a handful of world champions above 130lbs between the two countries, who are both power houses of the lower weight classes. This coming Friday however we'll see two notable names trading blows for the OPBF Lightweight title, one of those names is a world ranked fighter looking to move towards a world title bout whilst the other is looking to gate crash the world rankings and build some international success several years after his career best win.
The fighters in question are current OPBF Lightweight champion Masayoshi Nakatani (12-0, 7), who is looking for his 6th defense of the title, and former OPBF Super Featherweight champion Allan Tanada (14-5-3, 6), who is looking to become a 2-weight OPBF champion and get his career back on track after 3 losses in his last 4 bouts.
Of the two men it's certainly Nakatani with the more promise and more potential. The Ioka gym fighter is 27 years old and despite only having a 12 fight professional career he already holds notable wins over the likes of Shuhei Tsuchiya, Yoshitaka Kato and Ricky Sismundo, 3 really good wins. Sadly however since beating Sismundo we've seen Nakatani's career has stagnate with 4 domestic level bouts dressed by as OPBF title bouts.
In the ring Nakatani is a freakish Lightweight, stood just shy of 6” and with freakishly long arms. Those dimensions of Nakatani make him a nightmare to outbox, and he is an exceptional boxer at range, using his size brilliantly well. As well as fighting at range Nakatani can also fight on the inside, and his win against Tsuchiya saw him using body uppercuts with remarkable success.
Not only is Nakatani really promising but he's also spent a lot of time in the gym with world class fighters, like Kazuto Ioka and Sho Ishida, developing skills that many 12 fight professionals won't have.
Tanada is younger than Nakatani but some have written him off as damaged goods. At his best he was a handful and he holds notable wins over Richard Pumicpic, Jose Ocampo and most importantly Rikiya Fukuhara, who he beat in 3 rounds for the OPBF Super Featherweight title. Unfortunately since beating Fukuhara back in September 2010 he has gone 4-5-3 (1) suffering losses to Masao Nakamura, Gamalier Rodriguez, Sonny Katiandagho, Soslan Tedeev and former Nakatani foe Accel Sumiyoshi. He's also unfortunately fighting in weight classes that sees him as the smaller fighter, and he'll be a very diminutive fighter against Nakatani.
In the ring Tanada is a fighter who has more sting on his shots than his record suggests, he's also proven to be tough with only a single stoppage against his name. He's a smart puncher, with good timing, but unfortunately he's a fighter who is fighting well outside of his best weight classes, he's a fighter who is travelling for fights and at times can be found to be a bit lazy. If he puts his stuff together he could really trouble Nakatani, but the reality is that he'll never quite into the fight, he'll not put things together and will instead be found wanting at the end of Nakatani's jab.
Whilst we know Tanada is better than his record suggests we also think he's a fight who peaked at a young age and is now heading downwards, and quickly, picking up paydays on the way down. This is likely to be a payday, but a painful one with Nakatani being too big, too heavy handed and simply too good for anyone who isn't at the top of their game. With that in mind we see Nakatani easily retaining his title, and probably stopping Tanada in the later rounds, with a steady stream of clean blows from the under-rated champion. If he wins, as expected, we suspect he'll look to move through the world rankings in 2017 and build towards a world title fight towards the end of the year.
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.