The OPBF Welterweight title has been a bit of an outlier in recent years with no one really making it “theirs” in years. The most notable reign of the last decade was that of Akinori Watanabe and even that only consisted of 5 defenses over the space of 2 years, and since then we've seen Yoshiro Kamegai and Jack Brubaker hold the title but never really establish themselves as the King of the Orient and Pacific region. In fact you probably need to go back to the 1990's to find the last man who was truly the dominant force in Asia at 140lbs, as that was Jung Oh Park who defended the belt 13 times from 1989 to 1994.
A new champion will be crowned on December 9th when the vacant title is put up for grabs and will be the star prize for a bout between British born Australian Ben Savva (4-1) and Filipino journeyman Dennis Padua (10-11-2, 5). And if we're being honest bouts like this do little to raise the title's standing, which is a shame as the recent Jack Brubaker Vs Suyon Takayama fight was brilliant and saw the title and interim belt being unified in fantastic fashion.
Savva, as mentioned, was born in the UK but has fought his whole career in Australia. He debuted back in April 2015 and lost on debut to Richard Smith but has reeled off 4 straight wins since, including a win over Indonesian journeyman Roy Tua Manihuruk and Australian veteran Alex Ah Tong, with that win seeing Savva claim an Australian State title. Although he has had a 4 fight winning streak all of those have been decision wins and all have been against fighters with less than great records over 8 rounds or less.
Whilst Savaa is a novice, with just a combined 28 rounds, the same cannot be said of Padua, who has had 23 fights during his now 9 year long career. Sadly though, many of those fights have ended with Padua coming up short. In fact he has been stopped in 8 of his 23 career bouts and despite having 23 fights he has only notched up 103 career rounds. Whilst he has mixed with good company, and does hold a notable draw with Jay Solmiano from back in 2008, he has typically come up short suffering stoppages to the likes of Teerachai Kratingdaenggym, Hayato Hokazono, Sirimongkol Singwancha, Yosuke Kirima, and Baishanbo Nasiyiwula.
Although Savva isn't a puncher we'd be shocked to see he need the 12 rounds to over-come Padua. This bout does little to help the OPBF title, and with Padua only winning 1 of his last 10 bouts questions need to be asked as to why he has got a shot, but it will see a champion crowned and hopefully lead to some interesting bouts for the winner in 2017.
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.