This coming Tuesday fight fans in Japan are in for a little bit of a treat, as the teak tough Hidenori Otake (30-2-3, 13) defends the OPBF Super Bantamweight title against the big punching Brian Lobetania (13-4-3, 11). The bout is likely to be one of the hidden gems of 2018 and could be one of those rare fights that really goes under the radar yet gives the hardcore fans something really memorable.
Otake is best known for his 2014 loss to the then WBA Super Bantamweight champion Scott Quigg. Since then however Otake has gone 8-0 (4) and claimed the OPBF title, as he's began a charge towards a second world title fight. He's not just gone unbeaten but has done so against good competition, beating the likes of Jelbirt Gomera, Kinshiro Usui and the very talented Hinata Maruta. Those bouts have all shown that Otake, at 36 years old now, has an amazing engine still and is just as teak tough as he showed against Quigg.
Although not the most technically gifted fighter out there Otake has so many things going for him. As mentioned he is incredibly tough, he was pounded by Scott Quigg but never took a backwards step and kept coming, even getting stronger the longer the bout went on. He has an incredible work ethic and can fight 12 rounds at a great tempo, often picking up the pace later in fights. He also has a lot of experience, with 231 rounds under his belt and 9 title bouts, in which he has gone 8-1 and has under-rated skills, with a nice jab, a solid right hand and great body work.
Looking at flaws with Otake he's not very quick, not a big puncher and pretty much a 1-trick pony, however it's a very good single trick. He will bring insane amounts of pressure, from round 1 to round 12 he will come forward, marching behind his jab, and look to out work opponents. It's not enough to win him a world title, against smarter, quicker opponents who move and take advantage of his slow feet, but against anyone below world level he's a nightmare.
Whilst fans in the west have seen Otake odds are they won't have seen the challenger, whilst fans in Japan have seen him, with his last bout being a mild upset win against the promising Kai Chiba. That bout showed that Lobetania is pretty limited, and like Otake is a one trick pony. Thankfully for Lobetania that one trick is pretty potent, and is a brutal overhand right hand. Against Chiba we saw Lobetania essentially spam his right hand, like a video game character, he missed with a lot of them, but every time it connected Chiba felt it, and wobbled hard in round 3 before being stopped the following round.
Aside from the win over Chiba it's easy to question Lobetania's record. He has 4 to his name, with only one of those coming against a really notable name, and that was against Jonas Sultan. Against Chiba however Lobetania proved not only that he has power, but also toughness, taking some bombs from the Japanese fighter. It should be noted he has only been stopped once, a surprise given his relatively open defense. Lobetania can punch, and take a shot, though interestingly he has got questions about his stamina, and he is 0-3 in bouts that have gone beyond 6 rounds.
What we're expecting here is for Otake to look to control the bout fighting at mid range early on and letting Lobetania tire himself out with the wild swings, before returning fire with busy combinations. In the second half of the fight, as the challenger slows down, Otake will be coming on strong and potentially even breaking down Lobetania in the second half for a TKO. If Otake can't stop the Filipino, we still expect him to take a clear and wide decision, in what will be an exciting war, until Lobetania starts to slow and fade.
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.