At the OPBF level we get a lot of really interesting match ups. They may not have the big names or the pizazz of a world title fight but, at least on paper, they often appear to be really matched and very competitive looking contests.
We get one such bout on August 10th when the once beaten Masayuki Ito (16-1-1, 7) battles against the under-rated Dai Iwai (17-3-1, 6) in a bout for the OPBF Super Featherweight title. Coming in to the bout neither fighter is really recognised by an international fan base yet both have serious ability, both are young and both will be looking to claim the title and really kick on with their career.
Aged 24 Ito is the younger man and although less experienced many consider him to have, by far, the more upside. That's despite losing last time out to Japanese champion Rikki Naito in a very hotly contested national title fight.
Like many Japanese fighters Ito began his professional career with out a big amateur background though his talent was evident early on and in 2012 he became the All Japan Featherweight Rookie of the Year. Since then he has raced through the ranks claiming the WBC Youth Lightweight title and scoring noteworthy wins over Masao Nakamura and Ryan Sermona.
Slippery, sharp and accurate Ito is a pure boxer. He lacks power but more than makes up for it in ability, and in fact in reasons years he has began sitting down on his shots, showing a belief in his own strength and toughness.
Whilst Ito is considered a really promising fighter it's fair to say that the same can also be said about Iwai who is only 26 himself and has, himself proven his ability, despite beginning his career with a struggling 4-2. Iwai, who debuted at just 17, has fought hard through his career and, like Ito, claimed a WBC Youth belt, albeit it “silver” title at Featherweight.
Talented, tough and gutsy Iwai enters this bout on an 8 fight winning streak dating back almost 3 years. Interesting only one fighter really seems to have had his number, Takaomi Abe, with Abe having inflicted 2 of Iwai's 3 defeats as well as his sole draw. That 8 fight winning streak has seen Iwai score little in terms of notable wins, though he did stop Noriyuki Ueno last time out.
Although not as technically capable as Ito it's fair to say that Iwai is a confident and talented fighter and his win over Ueno last time out showed an improvement in power and force.
Coming in to the bout both men will know that a win will boost their career significantly. We however suspect that Ito will have too much skill for his foe in what will be a competitive but clear decision win for the younger man.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)
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.