The match up will see 32 year old champion Tetsuya Hisada (28-9-2, 17) attempt to make his first defense of the title as he takes on fellow 32 year old Atsushi Kakutani (19-5-1, 12), who is getting his third shot at a Japanese title.
Of the two fighters it's the challenger who is the better known. He's a tall and wiry fighter who debuted back in 2008 and fought between Minimumweight and Super Flyweight, as he's looked for opportunities. That has seen him sharing the ring with a bit of a who's who, and he's suffered losses to Warlito Parrenas, Teiru Kinoshita, Adrian Hernandez and Ken Shiro whilst scoring a very notable win against Rey Loreto.
At his best Kakutani is a solid boxer-puncher, but unfortunately his lack of durability is a real issue and he has been stopped in 4 of his 5 losses, and was taken out in a round by both Parrenas and Ken Shiro.
Although “only” 32 and with “only” 25 bouts on his record the reality is that Kakutani is an old fighter. He has had a lot of damaging bouts and really has aged more than most fighters who have his raw “numbers”. He has also struggled to score wins of note, often facing Thai journeymen to stay active, and that's hard helped when he's had to move up through the levels and faced of the more notable names in his career.
With 39 bouts on his record Hisada would “seem” like the older and more worn man but the reality is that his career, whilst is has been hard, hasn't really had the damaging fights, and that's depsite having more than twice as many rounds as Kakutani. His only stoppage defeat was more than 5 years ago, to Hiroyuki Hisataka, and although he has suffered losses they haven't been the break damaging beatings that Kakutani has had, where he has been dropped multiple times. Instead they have been decisions. Those losses have included defeats to the likes of Ryoichi Taguchi and Kenichi Horikawa, as well as a string of lesser names. In recent years however he has found his rhythm and got things going his way, with a 7 fight winning run, punctuated by a decision over Kenichi Horikawa in April to win the title.
Although Hisada has got power, and has stopped 6 of his last 7, he's more of a gutsy fighter, looking for a fight rather than a punch out. His engine is solid, and he can take a shot, two things we suspect could be a key here, along with his confidence and the fact he is riding the crest of momentum.
At their best this really could be a thriller. However we do believe that Kakutani has seen better days and that this version of Kakutani won't be able to last the distance with a hungry and driven Hisada, and that's despite the fact he's going to be coming in to this as a man knowing he's in last chance saloon.